July 18, 2017 – FRACKING

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The left likes victims. That’s why they dislike Israel so much because Israel refuses to be a victim. Domestically the left wants us to be weak and is happy to be at the mercy of the world’s oil producers. Victor Davis Hanson writes on what we owe to the fracking industry because it keeps us from being victims.  

… “Peak oil” — the theory that the world had already extracted more crude oil than was still left in the ground — was America’s supposed bleak fate. Ten years ago, rising gas prices, spiraling trade deficits, and ongoing war in the oil-rich Middle East only underscored America’s precarious dependence on foreign sources of oil. …

… In 2012, when gas prices were hitting $4 a gallon in some areas, President Obama admonished the country that we “can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.” That was a putdown of former Alaska governor and vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s refrain “Drill, baby, drill.”

Obama barred new oil and gas permits on federal lands. Steven Chu, who would become secretary of energy in the Obama administration, had earlier mused that gas prices might ideally rise to European levels (about $10 a gallon), thereby forcing Americans to turn to expensive subsidized alternative green fuels. …

… Fracking has given America virtual energy independence, freeing it from the leverage of unstable and often hostile Middle East regimes. The result is less need to interfere in the chronic squabbling in the oil-rich but unstable Persian Gulf.

Fracking has reduced oil prices and radically weakened America’s rivals and enemies. Desperate oil exporters like Iran, Russia, and Venezuela are short about half the oil income that they enjoyed ten years ago.

The late Hugo Chávez’s oil-fed socialist utopia in Venezuela is bankrupt.

What so far constrains Russian president Vladimir Putin is as much a shortage of petrodollars as fear of NATO. …

 

 

 

IBD Editors celebrate our energy boom. It’s great to have a president who wants our country to be strong and self-reliant.

Last week President Trump announced plans to make the U.S. not just energy independent, but a global energy powerhouse. Too bad everyone was hyperfocused on his tweets. … 

… Administration critics, naturally, are determined to downplay this announcement by saying — as both Reuters and CNBC put it, using exactly the same words — that Trump had simply “re-branded efforts … set in motion during the previous presidential administration.”

But the truth is that the difference between Trump and President Obama on energy could hardly be more stark.

While Obama mouthed the words “all of the above” when describing his own energy policy, his administration did everything it could to thwart all sources of energy except unreliable and heavily subsidized wind and solar.

Obama canceled the Keystone XL pipeline; put vast tracts of land and offshore areas off-limits to oil and gas development; denied a permit for a liquefied natural gas export terminal in Oregon; endlessly pushed for huge tax hikes on energy companies; called oil the “energy of the past”; and tried to kill coal with his “Clean Power Plan.” Nuclear power was at a standstill. Even hydropower production dropped 7% on his watch.

It is true that oil and natural gas production took off while Obama was in the White House, but this was despite Obama’s best efforts, not because of them, since those production gains were on private lands. …

 

 

 

More bad news for petro states like Russia and Venezuela. American Interest posts on a major find in the Gulf of Mexico.

An international consortium of oil companies has struck oil in shallow waters off the coast of Mexico in what could be one of the five largest discoveries in the past five years, and among the top fifteen in the last two decades. The find could be good for 1.4 to 2 billion barrels of light crude. …

… This is a big win for Mexico, which two years ago decided to allow private companies to participate in energy projects. If this find turns out to be as significant as early indicators seem to have it, expect even more international companies to get interested.

It’s also yet another reminder of just how off the “peak oil” prognosticators have been. This is a substantive find of easy to process light crude in shallow waters; no fracking or next-gen technological requirements will be necessary to exploit it. Greens may not love it, but the age of oil appears to not quite yet be over.

 

 

 

“Useful Idiots” was the term Lenin used to describe Westerners who were willing to overlook his thuggery and their loyalty to their countries for the idea of a “greater” good. Lincoln Stephens quickly comes to mind. He visited the Soviet Union in 1919 and famously said, “I have seen the future, and it works.” Stephens was not a 22 year-old know nothing. He was 53 years old in 1919 and had been a journalist since 1898. All of this is proof the media has been screwed up for a long long time and fake news is nothing new. Then there’s the NY Times guy in Moscow, Walter Duranty, who lied about the existence of the Ukrainian Famine in the early 1930′s. The Times was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting. And to its everlasting shame, the Times still touts that award. Another of the West’s ”useful idiots” was the playwright and journalist George Bernard Shaw. He met Stalin in 1931 and said Stalin was ”a Georgian gentleman with no malice in him.” This for the man who was responsible for the deaths of tens of millions.

 

Daily Signal tells how the Russians are helping finance and colluding with this generation’s version of useful idiots – those who want to stop fracking. As always, the left liberals want our country to be weak.

Forget about allegations of Russian interference in U.S. presidential elections for a moment, or even “collusion” between Russian officials and Trump campaign operatives.

The real action is in the European and U.S. energy markets, according to a letter from two Texas congressmen to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that details what they call “a covert anti-fracking campaign” with “little or no paper trail.”

The Daily Signal obtained a copy of the June 29 letter to Mnuchin from Reps. Lamar Smith and Randy Weber, both Republicans who chair energy-related House panels. (See the full letter below.)

Smith and Weber quote sources saying the Russian government has been colluding with environmental groups to circulate “disinformation” and “propaganda” aimed at undermining hydraulic fracturing. Commonly called fracking, the process makes it possible to access natural gas deposits.

The sources include a former secretary-general of NATO, …

… In their letter to the treasury secretary, Smith and Weber also say the Russians have been able to advance their strategy without “a paper trail.”

They pass along reports that Russia apparently funnels the money through a Bermuda-based “shell company” known as Klein Ltd.

Tens of millions of dollars are moved from Russia through Klein “in the form of anonymous donations” to a U.S.-based nonprofit called the Sea Change Foundation.

The money, the congressmen write, then is moved in the form of grants to U.S. environmental organizations. …

 

 

For a reminder of the bullet we dodged last November, we have this quote from a May 2016 Fortune Magazine

… The front-runner for the Democratic party nomination (H. Clinton) used a debate in Flint, Michigan on Sunday night to oppose fracking anywhere local communities were against it, wherever it polluted air or water, and whenever companies refused to disclose what chemicals they use in the process.

“By the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place,” she said. …

July 15, 2017 – JANE SANDERS II

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June 23rd Pickings covered the troubles of Jane Sanders growing out of her seven year stewardship of the now bankrupt Burlington College. Under her direction, the college improvidently, and perhaps fraudulently, borrowed ten million dollars to purchase land for a new campus. Our first look was a single article from Politico. Now, WaPo investigative reporters have much more. We will have more items, but it is worth noting the first two pieces on her travails have appeared in friendly publications.

A federal investigation of a land deal led by Jane Sanders, the wife and political adviser of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), has accelerated in recent months — with prosecutors hauling off more than a dozen boxes of records from the Vermont college she once ran and calling a state official to testify before a grand jury, according to interviews and documents. 

Half a dozen people said in interviews in recent days that they had been contacted by the FBI or federal prosecutors, and former college trustees told The Washington Post that attorneys representing Jane Sanders had interviewed them to learn what potential witnesses might tell the government.

The investigation centers on the 2010 land purchase that relocated BurlingtonCollege to a new campus on more than 32 acres along Lake Champlain. While lining up a $6.7 million loan and additional financing, Jane Sanders told college trustees and lenders that the college had commitments for millions of dollars in donations that could be used to repay the loan, according to former trustees and state officials. 

Trustees said they later discovered that many of the donors had not agreed to the amounts or the timing of the donations listed on documents Jane Sanders provided to a state bonding agency and a bank. That led to her resignation in 2011 amid complaints from some trustees that she had provided inaccurate information, former college officials said. 

The land deal, the officials said, became a financial albatross for the 160-student school, contributing to its closure last year. …

 

 

A report in Fox News says the probe into Sanders’s wife was started by opposition research in the Clinton campaign. Then again, perhaps those rascally Russians did it.

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ claims that an ongoing FBI probe of his wife is based on partisan politics don’t square with the fact that it began under President Obama and appears to closely track Democratic opposition research revealed in the hacked emails of the Hillary Clinton campaign.

The FBI and U.S. Attorney in Vermont are investigating Jane O’Meara Sanders for her role in a failed 2010, $10 million college land deal that she orchestrated during her seven-year stint as president of BurlingtonCollege in Vermont.

According to a series of 2015 emails to and from Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, leaked to and published on Wikileaks, the Clinton team wrote an extensive political opposition memo entitled “Sanders Top Hits-Thematics.” The memo details Mrs. Sanders’ role in the college’s financial failure, and parallels the ongoing FBI investigation, now before a grand jury, into the scandal.  Other email correspondence shows the Clinton team believed scandals surrounding the college and Jane Sanders provided an opportunity to knock the Vermont senator’s reputation and chances to win the Democratic primary election.

“I think our first question is how are we going to defeat Sanders. … he’s not who he says he is — gun votes, DSCC money, Jane. …

… Sen. Sanders has alleged that (the GOP’s) Toensing was motivated to file the complaint because of his ties to Trump. But Toensing told Fox News that is simply wrong. He didn’t take on the role of Vermont state chairman for the Trump campaign until the summer of 2016, well after the federal grand jury investigation of Mrs. Sanders began.

“This investigation was started under President Obama’s Justice Department,” Toensing said. “The senator’s claims are a common, but lame diversion for politicians faced with a grand jury investigation. He should focus on answering the allegations, which are solidly based on analysis of facts from documents obtained through public records requests and evidence gathered by investigative reporters.” …

 

 

 

Turns out failed BurlingtonCollege paid $500,000 to the for-profit woodworking school of Bernie’s daughter. Investment Watchdog has the story.

… Last year, Politico described BurlingtonCollege as catering to “nontraditional students, such as veterans and adults. It grew from its original 14 students to about 200 in recent years, finding appeal with its small student-to-faculty ratio and degrees in unusual fields including woodworking.” Yet, when Jane Sanders first arrived at BurlingtonCollege in 2004 no degree program in woodworking existed. It isn’t until 2009 that public tax records show BurlingtonCollege paying VermontWoodworkingSchool $56,474 for materials, charges and lease of bench space based on student enrollment reflecting what appears to be the beginning of the College’s woodworking program. The college was forced to report this expenditure as it related to a relationship between an interested party (Jane Sander’s daughter, Carina Driscoll) and BurlingtonCollege. Over the next four years, funds to VT Woodworking School increased considerably from this original amount to $133,134 in 2010; $138,571 in 2011; and, $182,741 in 2012 (the last year program expenses are reported in the tax filings).

 

 

 

Another leftist with feet of clay, Elizabeth Warren, is up for election next year. Milo Yiannopoulos Blog tells us about the real Indian who will challenge the fake one.

… “I think only a real Indian can defeat a fake Indian. I sent her a DNA test kit for her birthday, and I was very sad that she returned it. I tweeted it out, and it went viral all over the internet,” Ayyadurai said, referencing Warren’s dubious claim that she has Native American ancestry.

“The issue of a real Indian and a fake Indian — there is a truth there because there is a woman who actually checked off the box that she is Native American. This foretells a person who is basically a self-serving elitist, is willing to cut in line as she needs, is willing to promote policies, for example, illegal immigration, so others can cut in line. I came in as a legal immigrant. My dad came first. We had to wait about a year. So it’s essentially disrespect for the law and disrespect for the country.

 

Not many cartoons for Jane Sanders yet, BUT there’s lots for Liz Warren.

July 9, 2017 – NATIONAL REVIEW

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Targeted by the unabomber in 1993, Yale professor David Gelernter can truly be said to be engaged in the culture wars. In Friday’s WSJ he takes conservative intellectuals to task for their disdain for Trump and their unwillingness to take on his execrable predecessor.

… I’d love for him (Trump) to be a more eloquent, elegant speaker. But if I had to choose between deeds and delivery, it wouldn’t be hard. Many conservative intellectuals insist that Mr. Trump’s wrong policies are what they dislike. So what if he has restarted the large pipeline projects, scrapped many statist regulations, appointed a fine cabinet and a first-rate Supreme Court justice, asked NATO countries to pay what they owe, re-established solid relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia, signaled an inclination to use troops in Afghanistan to win and not merely cover our retreat, led us out of the Paris climate accord, plans to increase military spending (granted, not enough), is trying to get rid of ObamaCare to the extent possible, proposed to lower taxes significantly and revamp immigration policy and enforcement? What has he done lately?

Conservative thinkers should recall that they helped create President Trump. They never blasted President Obama as he deserved. Mr. Obama’s policies punished the economy and made the country and its international standing worse year by year; his patronizing arrogance drove people crazy. He was the perfect embodiment of a one-term president. The tea-party outbreak of 2009-10 made it clear where he was headed. History will record that the press saved him. Naturally the mainstream press loved him, but too many conservative commentators never felt equal to taking him on. They had every reason to point out repeatedly that Mr. Obama was the worst president since Jimmy Carter, surrounded by a left-wing cabinet and advisers, hostile to Israel, crazed regarding Iran, and even less competent to deal with the issues than Mr. Carter was—which is saying plenty. 

But they didn’t say plenty. They didn’t say much at all. The rank and file noticed and got mad. …

 

Conservative intellectuals think that if Trump were asked about the conservative canon, he would ask why anyone is interested in obsolete artillery; missing entirely the point of the collection of thought containing the intellectual basis for the idea of free markets. The magazine National Review has been the center of effort of the conservative “Never Trump” movement. And there has been little change in their negativity since the election. Reagan quoted de Tocqueville and Frederick Hayek so thinkers on the right warmed to him. But there is little chance that will happen with Trump. Consequently writers from National Review have been scarce in our pages for the last year. This post aims to begin to correct that. John Fund, an old friend and Pickings reader has written a good piece on London’s towering inferno.

I was in London last week and woke up to horrifying pictures of the inferno that engulfed the GrenfellTower public housing project in London. They were among the most unsettling images I’ve seen since I watched the WorldTradeCenter collapse from my office building just across the street on 9/11. …

… GrenfellTower was owned by the local council, which in turn had turned over management to the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Company, a not-for-profit that is managed by a board of directors consisting of eight elected tenants, four council members, and three independent members.

“Social housing” in Britain — what we call public housing in the U.S. — has turned into areas of deprivation and neglect. Although many tenants have bought their units under plans initiated by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, many current tenants are poor, recent immigrants without the wherewithal to buy their units.

It was the council that made the key decisions about the controversial retrofit of the building. …

  

 

Notable in his absence from the “never Trumpers” at National Review was Victor Davis Hanson. His essay on the never ending ironies of the Trump presidency is worth a read.

The Left was mostly untroubled for eight years about the often unconstitutional abuses of Barack Obama — given that they saw their shared noble aims as justifying almost any means necessary to achieve them.

There was the not uncommon Rice-Gruber-Rhodes-Holder sort of deception (on Benghazi, on the conduct of Bowe Bergdahl, on the Affordable Care Act, the Iran deal, on Fast and Furious, etc.) — a required tactic because so much of the Obama agenda was antithetical to the wishes and preferences of the American electorate and thus had to be disguised and camouflaged to become enacted. …

… So along came the next Republican president, empowered by Obama’s exemptions to do almost anything he wished, albeit without the thin exculpatory veneer of Ivy League pretension, multicultural indemnity, and studied smoothness.

In biblical “there is a season” fashion, for every sermon about not building your business, making too much money, or profiting at the wrong time, there was a Trump retort to profit as never before.

For every too-frequent gala golf outing of a metrosexual Obama decked out in spiffy attire, there is a plumper Trump swinging away, oblivious to the angry pack of reporters that Obama once so carefully courted.

For every rapper with an ankle bracelet that went off in the White House, there is now a White House photo-op with Ted Nugent. …

… Even the most die-hard Never Trump conservative has had to make some adjustments.

Despite assurances that Trump would not get the nomination, he did.

Despite assurances that he could never be elected, he was.

Despite prognostications that Trump was a liberal wolf hiding in conservative fleece, Trump’s appointments, his executive orders, his legislation pending before the Congress, his abrupt withdrawal from the Paris global-warming accords, his fierce support for vouchers, his pro-life advocacy, and his immigration normality were so far orthodoxly conservative. …

 

 

David Harsanyi asks, “What If Donald Trump Doesn’t Sink the Republican Party?”

What if Republican voters who don’t particularly like President Donald Trump are also able to compartmentalize their votes? What if they dislike Democrats more than they do the president? What if, rather than being punished for Trump’s unpopularity, local candidates are rewarded for their moderation? This would be a disaster for Democrats. And Tuesday’s runoff election in Georgia’s Sixth District shows that it might be possible.

Now, had Jon Ossoff come out ahead of Karen Handel, the coverage would have painted this as a game-changing moment: a referendum on conservatism itself, a harbinger of a coming liberal wave, and a rejection of Trump’s disastrous presidency. It would have illustrated that Democrats had figured out how to flip those suburban and affluent Republicans who aren’t crazy about the president.

Perhaps some of that will still play out during the midterms, because one race (or even four) doesn’t tell us everything we need to know. Every district is unique. Still, there are definitely ominous signs for Democrats. …

  

 

For sheer fun, you can’t beat Kevin Williamson on the Clintons – “Big Creep, Mrs. Creep, and Little Creep.”

… Chelsea Clinton, most recently lionized on the cover of Variety, is a 37-year-old multi-millionaire who has never uttered an interesting word about any subject at any time during the course of her life. Judging from the evidence of her public statements, she has never had an original thought — it isn’t clear that she has had a thought at all. In tribute to her parents, she was given a series of lucrative sinecures, producing a smattering of sophomoric videos for NBC at a salary of $600,000 a year. She later went more formally into the family business, leaving her fake job at NBC for a fake job in her parents’ fake charity. She gave interviews about how she just couldn’t get interested in money and bought a $10 million Manhattan apartment that stretches for the better part of a city block.

And, since her mother’s most recent foray into ignominious defeat, she has been inescapable: magazine covers, fawning interviews, talk of running her in New York’s 17th congressional district. The Democrats are doing their best to make Chelsea happen.

And, who knows, it might work. It would be tempting to write her off as a know-nothing rich kid who has made a living off her family connections while operating one of the world’s most truly asinine Twitter accounts, but . . . well, you know.

But, for Pete’s sake, stop it. Have a little self-respect, Democrats. Build Bill Clinton a statue or . . . whatever. Send him your daughters like a bunch of bone-in-the-nose primitives paying tribute to the tribal chieftain. But stop trying to inflict this empty-headed, grasping, sanctimonious, risible, simpering, saccharine little twerp on American public life.

It’s stupid enough out there.

  

 

Rich Lowry writes on the Dem blindspot on culture.

How much do Democrats really want to defeat Donald Trump?

It’s worth asking in the wake of the latest Democratic failure to notch an electoral victory for the resistance, this time in the Georgia special election.

There’s no doubt that Democrats want to watch TV programs that excoriate the president. They want to give money to candidates opposing him. They want to fantasize about frog-marching him straight from his impeachment proceedings to the nearest federal penitentiary. But do they want to do the one thing that would make it easier to win tough races in marginal areas, namely moderate on the cultural issues? Not so much.

In retrospect, Jon Ossoff’s loss in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District was overdetermined. Youthful to a fault, he didn’t live in the district and had no record of public service. Yet it didn’t help that he was an orthodox liberal who conceded nothing on cultural issues, even though he was running in a Republican district in the South.

In this, Ossoff merely reflected his party’s attitude. Stopping Trump is imperative, so long as it doesn’t require the party rethinking its uncompromising stance on abortion, guns or immigration.

 

 

June 27, 2017 – CORRUPT MEDIA

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The corruption of the media is today’s subject. We start with the latest issue of Hillsdale College’s Imprimis which is taken from a speech given by Michael Goodwin at a Hillsdale Leadership Function in Atlanta. Mr. Godwin calls the corruption the demise of journalistic standards. He’s more polite than Pickerhead.

… It’s not exactly breaking news that most journalists lean left. I used to do that myself. I grew up at The New York Times, so I’m familiar with the species. For most of the media, bias grew out of the social revolution of the 1960s and ’70s. Fueled by the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements, the media jumped on the anti-authority bandwagon writ large. The deal was sealed with Watergate, when journalism was viewed as more trusted than government—and far more exciting and glamorous. Think Robert Redford in All the President’s Men. Ever since, young people became journalists because they wanted to be the next Woodward and Bernstein, find a Deep Throat, and bring down a president. Of course, most of them only wanted to bring down a Republican president. That’s because liberalism is baked into the journalism cake.

During the years I spent teaching at the Columbia University School of Journalism, I often found myself telling my students that the job of the reporter was “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” I’m not even sure where I first heard that line, but it still captures the way most journalists think about what they do. Translate the first part of that compassionate-sounding idea into the daily decisions about what makes news, and it is easy to fall into the habit of thinking that every person afflicted by something is entitled to help. Or, as liberals like to say, “Government is what we do together.” From there, it’s a short drive to the conclusion that every problem has a government solution.

The rest of that journalistic ethos—“afflict the comfortable”—leads to the knee-jerk support of endless taxation. Somebody has to pay for that government intervention the media loves to demand. In the same vein, and for the same reason, the average reporter will support every conceivable regulation as a way to equalize conditions for the poor. He will also give sympathetic coverage to groups like Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter.

I knew all of this about the media mindset going into the 2016 presidential campaign. But I was still shocked at what happened. This was not naïve liberalism run amok. This was a whole new approach to politics. No one in modern times had seen anything like it. …

… As we know now, most of the media totally missed Trump’s appeal to millions upon millions of Americans. The prejudice against him blinded those news organizations to what was happening in the country. Even more incredibly, I believe the bias and hostility directed at Trump backfired. The feeling that the election was, in part, a referendum on the media, gave some voters an extra incentive to vote for Trump. A vote for him was a vote against the media and against Washington. Not incidentally, Trump used that sentiment to his advantage, often revving up his crowds with attacks on reporters. He still does.

If I haven’t made it clear, let me do so now. The behavior of much of the media, but especially The New York Times, was a disgrace. I don’t believe it ever will recover the public trust it squandered.

The Times’ previous reputation for having the highest standards was legitimate. Those standards were developed over decades to force reporters and editors to be fair and to gain public trust. The commitment to fairness made The New York Times the flagship of American journalism. But standards are like laws in the sense that they are designed to guide your behavior in good times and in bad. Consistent adherence to them was the source of the Times’ credibility. And eliminating them has made the paper less than ordinary. Its only standards now are double standards. …

… Incredible advances in technology are also on the side of free speech. The explosion of choices makes it almost impossible to silence all dissent and gain a monopoly, though certainly Facebook and Google are trying.

As for the necessity of preserving capitalism, look around the world. Nations without economic liberty usually have little or no dissent. That’s not a coincidence. In this, I’m reminded of an enduring image from the Occupy Wall Street movement. That movement was a pestilence, egged on by President Obama and others who view other people’s wealth as a crime against the common good. This attitude was on vivid display as the protesters held up their iPhones to demand the end of capitalism. As I wrote at the time, did they believe Steve Jobs made each and every Apple product one at a time in his garage? Did they not have a clue about how capital markets make life better for more people than any other system known to man? They had no clue. And neither do many government officials, who think they can kill the golden goose and still get golden eggs. …

 

 

 

As luck would have it, a great example of media bias was on the blog The Other McCain. And since last week’s Georgia election is the gift that keeps on giving, this post grows out of that night’s CNN’s coverage.

Tuesday night, I monitored election results from Georgia’s 6th District special election on my phone (via AoSHQ Decision Desk) while finishing up a day mowing lawns for my son’s contracting business. We were leaning on the truck and enjoying cold beverages while Jim chatted with his business partner when the Decision Desk called it for Republican Karen Handel — a sweet moment. Democrats had poured an estimated $30 million into “Pajamaboy Carpetbagger” Jon Osoff’s doomed campaign and came away with another “L,” their fourth consecutive special-election defeat since Trump’s election.

Democrats’ hope of returning to power by riding a wave of anti-Trump “backlash” has been exposed as a delusion based on denial. Along with their media allies, Democrats simply refuse to accept the reality that American voters have rejected them. Democrats are the ex-boyfriend who refuses to move on, and voters are the girl getting stalked on Facebook by an obsessed loser who can’t take a hint. It’s creepy.

The now iconic image of the CNN crew at 9:43 pm ET Tuesday is a perfect distillation of a problem we can call the Establishment Media Bubble.

Those pictured were CNN’s political director David Chalian, CNN’s chief political analyst Gloria Berger, CNN’s executive director of Political Programming/Sr. Political Analyst Mark Preston, and Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash.

The pretense of journalistic objectivity, which is the Establishment Media’s stock in trade, has become so transparently implausible that no intelligent viewer could be deceived by it. Beyond that, and perhaps more importantly, the media’s pretense of political expertise was even more brutally exposed as a fraud — a hoax as bogus as “Haven Monahan.” …

 

… CNN, like every other Establishment Media organization, actively discriminates against Republicans in its hiring decisions. Mark Preston’s network is a sort of political cult that only employs True Believers. The organization’s journalistic standards are subordinated to its political mission, which is to persuade viewers to vote Democrat. Period. …

 

… Mark Preston is not an omniscient political genius. He is not really that much smarter than the average Democrat, or else he wouldn’t have been sitting there Tuesday night on the CNN set looking like a guy who just got home from Vegas and has to tell his wife how much money he lost. …

 

June 26, 2017 – MORE LAUGHTER

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More laughter as we look again at the race in Georgia’s 6th district. You know, the one where the Dem candidate was downgraded by the NY Times from “political neophyte” to “upstart.” Daily Beast is first.

… Democrats will have more soul searching to do. They are now zero-for-four in special elections since Trump became the president and need to understand why.

They’ll be quick to say the Ossoff race never should have been so close, which is true. And that Ossoff won in a sense just by being competitive in an R+10 district, which is sort of true.

But after $23 million, a candidate who genuinely ignited the grassroots, and a Republican president who may or may not be (but probably is) under FBI investigation and can’t stop talking about it, the real question Democrats need to answer is: What’s it going to take to win an election in the era of Trump?

As of Tuesday night, they still have no idea.

  

 

Red State says Dems have written a new song called Moral Victories.

… Republican and conservative voters don’t go to the polls with identity politics in their head. Filipovic doesn’t even get the irony that Ossoff, the straight white male, was defeated by a woman. 

Sooner or later, somebody in the Democratic party will realize some self-reflection is required and perhaps recognize they are the problem and not the voters they insist are too stupid to vote for the right candidate.

Until they do that, Democrats will sell lots of copies of ‘Moral Victories’ but won’t actually win anything of substance.

 

 

And we find out from HotAir Ossoff is calling for campaign finance reform. Now, that is chutzpah.

… With all due respect, Mr. Ossoff, you just lost the most expensive House race the country has ever seen. And you gladly took in and slathered cash all over the landscape in an effort to win it. There’s no dishonor in losing a hard fought campaign, but calling for campaign finance reform on the final day of that spending spree is a bit much even by the standards of lifelong Washington.

   

 

American Thinker wants to know how that referendum on Trump worked out for the Dems and their media minders.

… Get a load of this now comical pompous pre-election analysis that ran earlier this week in the New York Times (emphasis mine):

The hard-fought battle for Mr. Price’s seat in Atlanta’s northern reaches has not only become a financial arms race – by far the most expensive House contest in history – it has evolved into one of the most consequential special elections in decades.

Republicans, weighed down by Mr. Trump’s growing unpopularity, must demonstrate they can separate themselves from the president enough to hold suburban districts that only now are becoming battlegrounds.

And Democrats, facing a restive base hungry for victory after disappointing losses in Montana and Kansas, are under pressure to show they can notch something more than a moral victory in the sort of affluent seat they will need in order to take back the House majority.

An outright win in Georgia would serve as validation of the party’s overall strategy.

Didn’t turn out as they thought it would. ..

… Now the Democrats are left with a steaming pile of $23 million in campaign debt, shelling out $200 per vote, all because they thought hating on Trump was a winning strategy that would thrill the voters.  And if that isn’t clear enough a message, a similar race in the 5th District of South Carolina came out the same way.

The left wanted a referendum on Trump.  Today, they got it.

  

 

From Ricochet we can see the Dems are not in a moderation mode.

I’ve read the Republican “health care” bill. … They’re paying for tax cuts with American lives.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) June 22, 2017

Let us be clear and this is not trying to be overly dramatic: Thousands of people will die if the Republican health care bill becomes law.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 23, 2017

Forget death panels. If Republicans pass this bill, they’re the death party.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 23, 2017

 

 

John Podhoretz sounds a note of caution for both parties.

… There’s no question national Democratic enthusiasm is real. The issue going forward for them and for Republicans goes to sustainability. The disappointment that will follow the Ossoff result could depress that enthusiasm at exactly the wrong moment.

That $30 million could’ve funded six House races next year in which Democrats would’ve had a better shot than they did here. Democrats only need to flip 24 Republican seats to take majority control of the House — and there are 23 districts held by Republicans that Hillary Clinton actually won in 2016. The Ossoff district wasn’t one of them.

The Georgia results ought to be a warning shot for Democrats, not a battle cry. They have to be smarter. They have to spend their money more wisely. They have to win where they can, not where they hope to.

As for Republicans and Trump: They, too, need to be cold-eyed and ruthless about what last night meant. It wasn’t great news for them to win a district by a margin 19 points lower than the one in November 2016. Triumphalism would be short-sighted and foolish. This was no triumph. They dodged a bullet.

 

 Good bunch of cartoons today.

 

June 23, 2017 – JANE SANDERS

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It is maddeningly easy to commit felony bank fraud. All it takes is for natural optimism to find it’s way into a bank loan application. The story of Jane Sander’s peril in an FBI investigation follows. Jane is the wife of Bernie, the socialist from Vermont. Harry Jaffe, a writer from the area tells the story of the fall of Burlington College and Jane Sanders. The title is “Jane Sanders Lawyers Up” and was published by Politico.

Bernie Sanders was in the midst of an interview with a local TV reporter early last month when the senator fielded an unexpected question about an uncomfortable matter. 

“There’s an implication, and from at least one individual, an explicit argument that when they called for an investigation into Burlington College that you used your influence to secure a loan from People’s United—”

The senator cut him off. 

Sanders is used to fielding softball questions from an adoring local press, but his inquisitor, Kyle Midura of Burlington TV station WCAX, had a rare opportunity to put him on the spot. Investigative reporters had been breaking stories about a federal investigation into allegations that the senator’s wife, Jane Sanders, had committed fraud in obtaining bank loans for the now defunct BurlingtonCollege, and that Sanders’s Senate office had weighed in. 

Sanders had never responded to questions about the case, but he took the bait this time. Briefly. 

“Well, as you know,” he said, “it would be improp— this implication came from Donald Trump’s campaign manager in Vermont. Let me leave it at that, because it would be improper at this point for me to say anything more.” … 

… Sanders and his wife have been trying to ignore the federal investigation since reporters for VTDigger, an online publication, confirmed the FBI’s involvement in April. The original request for an investigation into the potential bank fraud did indeed come from Brady Toensing, an attorney who chaired Trump’s Vermont campaign, and whose January 2016 letter to the U.S. attorney for Vermont put federal agents on the trail. (Toensing, in an email to Politico Magazine, notes, “The investigation was started more than a year ago under President Obama, his Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and his United States Attorney, all of whom are Democrats.”) 

Now, Senator Sanders and his wife are taking the case more seriously. Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ longtime top political adviser who heads Sanders’ political organization, Our Revolution, confirms to Politico Magazine that Bernie and Jane Sanders have lawyered up. The couple has retained Rich Cassidy, a well-connected Burlington attorney and Sanders devotee, and Larry Robbins, the renowned Washington-based defense attorney who has represented I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and disgraced former Rep. Bill Jefferson, to represent Jane Sanders in the matter. 

Now, President Donald Trump’s Justice Department is handling an investigation that will proceed at the discretion of a U.S. attorney of Vermont that Trump has yet to appoint. … 

… The couple met and fell in love during Sanders’ startling 10-vote victory in Burlington’s 1980 mayoral race. His victory uprooted the Democratic machine in Vermont’s largest city and elevated an unabashed socialist at a time when Republicans across the U.S. started using liberal as an epithet. At the time, she was 31. He was her first husband; she was his second wife. For the next 23 years, she worked as his professional sidekick, enforcer and strategist. While he was mayor, Jane Sanders directed Burlington’s youth services division. When he ran for the House in 1990, she managed his campaign, then ran his congressional office as chief of staff. But when the chance came to step out and build her own legacy in 2004, she pounced and became president of BurlingtonCollege. … 

… On January 10, 2016, in the midst of Sanders’ sudden stardom—just weeks before the votes in Iowa and New Hampshire—the U.S. attorney for Vermont was sent a “Request for an Investigation into Apparent Federal Bank Fraud.” 

Backed by six exhibits and a dozen documents, the four-page letter described how Jane Sanders had “orchestrated” the purchase of 33 acres along Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, where her husband had minted his populist political brand as mayor. The deal closed in 2010, when the senator’s wife was president of BurlingtonCollege, a tiny, obscure, nontraditional school that always seemed to be struggling for students and funds. The letter alleged that to secure a $10 million loan and execute her grand plan to expand the college, Jane Sanders had falsified and inflated nearly $2 million that she’d claimed donors had pledged to repay the loans. 

Sanders had “successfully and intentionally engaged in a fraudulent scheme to actively conceal and misrepresent material facts from a federal financial institution,” the letter alleged. It pressed for a federal investigation into potential bank fraud. 

Bernie and Jane Sanders shrugged off the charges. Reporters, mesmerized by the rumpled Vermont senator’s razor-thin margin in Iowa and crushing defeat of Clinton in New Hampshire, ignored the letter. The allegations got no traction on the trail. … 

… Jane Sanders took over in 2004 as a self-described “turnaround” president. Steeped in alternative schooling, she had earned her undergraduate degree at GoddardCollege, a slightly larger alternative school in Plainfield, Vermont, that offers a “holistic” approach to higher education. She got a doctorate in leadership studies in politics and education at Union Institute and University, an accredited nontraditional school based in Ohio that specializes in distance learning. 

Sanders had big plans for BurlingtonCollege. As president, she immediately wanted to grow the student body and campus. “In 2005 she said that increasing numbers was vital because tuition dollars would help pay for the overall plan she was developing,” (Greg) Guma wrote in his deeply researched 2016 essay, Paradise Lost: The Fall of Burlington College. “As it turned out tuition dollars rose, but the number of students didn’t.” 

In 2006, Sanders announced a $6 million plan to expand the campus. That plan never materialized. At the same time, faculty and students began to bridle at Sanders’ leadership style. In the four years since she had taken over, two dozen faculty and staff had left the tiny college. The Student Government Association in late 2008 described a “toxic and disruptive environment on campus.” Nearly half of the students and faculty members signed a petition demanding a meeting about the “crisis in leadership.” Even so, Sanders’ salary rose to $150,000 in 2009, according to college records, as tuition increased by $5,000, to $22,407 in 2011, and enrollment dropped to 156 students. 

Sanders’ 2008 dismissal of Genese Grill, a popular literature professor, exposed more of the college’s inner turmoil. In a letter to the school’s academic affairs committee, Grill described what she termed Sanders’ “harassment and unethical treatment of other faculty and staff members, many of whom have since left the college disgruntled and angry.” The American Association of University Professors noted the school’s lack of a formal grievance policy for faculty and offered to help create one. Sanders declined. She told reporters at the time that the guidelines would have been for tenured faculty and “would be extremely difficult to do at such a small college.” …

 

… Brady Toensing was never one to miss an opportunity. 

While Berniemania consumed most Vermonters—starting during his decade as Burlington mayor and continuing through his statewide campaigns for the House and Senate and 2016 presidential run—Toensing appreciated Sanders’ political skills but balked at his positions. The 49-year-old lawyer has conservative politics in his blood. 

His mother, Victoria Toensing, is one of the most committed conservative lawyers in Washington, D.C. She was Barry Goldwater’s chief counsel from 1981 to 1984, and served in Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department. She later married Joseph diGenova, a storied lawyer who investigated Mayor Marion Barry while serving as U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia during the Reagan administration. The two now run diGenova & Toensing, a law firm active in conservative causes (both had cameos on Fox News when they represented the whistleblowers in the Benghazi attacks). Though he lives and pays taxes in Vermont, Brady Toensing is a partner at his mother’s Washington-based law firm. 

For more than a decade, Brady Toensing has been vice chair of the Vermont Republican Party. He chaired Donald Trump’s campaign in the GreenMountainState and remained loyal even as more moderate elected Republicans vowed not to vote for Trump. Known in Vermont political circles as a jocular, entertaining activist, he’s constantly on alert for cases where he can slip the knife into Democratic politicians. In 2013, when news broke that then-Governor Peter Shumlin might have taken advantage of a neighbor in acquiring land, Toensing took the neighbor’s case. But the rise of Bernie Sanders clearly stuck in his craw—especially given what he considered to be the lack of scrutiny Sanders enjoyed. 

So it was no surprise that Toensing scrutinized Jane Sanders’ rise and fall at Burlington College. 

On July 7, 2014, Seven Days, a Vermont alternative weekly newspaper, published a deeply reported (There’s that “deeply” guy again- Pkrhd) piece by Alicia Freese about Burlington College’s plummeting fortunes. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges had put it on probation because of the school’s shaky finances. The college was about to sell off land to defray its mounting debt. 

Two weeks after Freese’s piece appeared, Toensing requested loan documents from the Vermont Educational and Health Buildings Finance Agency that had issued the $6.5 million bonds for the land. The August 1 response from the bonding agency produced a trove of documents that detailed how Jane Sanders convinced the bank and the church that Burlington College could pay back its millions of dollars in loans. … 

… In hindsight, it’s hard to avoid blaming Jane Sanders for the Burlington College fiasco. She took over a struggling-but-functioning institution and set it on a course that led to its demise. But in a state where Bernie Sanders is sacrosanct, no one was—or is—eager to unload on his wife. 

Carol Moore, a veteran Vermont educator, lowered the boom in an essay published by the Chronicle of Higher Education in September 2016. “BC’s fate was set when its former board members hired an inexperienced president and, six years later, approved the imprudent purchase of a $10 million piece of property for campus expansion,” Moore wrote. “Enrollment that year was about 195 and the budget just over $4 million, less than half of this ill-advised investment. What were they thinking?” 

She then suggests an answer: “Who is to blame for this appallingly inappropriate business deal? Perhaps a board that steered clear of the tough questions which needed to be asked. Or a bank in the state of an influential senator—a senator, as it turned out, with bigger ambitions?” … 

… Hiring a lawyer is no admission of guilt, but it does speak to the potential seriousness of the federal investigation. “It would be negligent for anyone involved in the matter to not retain counsel,” Weaver tells Politico Magazine. 

Charges of bank fraud, say legal experts, are not easy to prove. “It requires that the act be performed knowingly,” says William Lawler, a former federal prosecutor now with the law firm Vinson & Elkins. “Not every mistake is going to rise to the level of a crime.” 

As yet, the investigation has not concluded. Once FBI or other federal agents present the results of their investigation to federal prosecutors, the top lawyers will have discretion on whether or not to bring charges. 

Once the federal investigation concludes, the Justice Department will decide whether or not to bring charges—which some worry will give Donald Trump a chance to affect the course of action. 

That gives President Donald Trump a chance to affect the course of the investigation and potential for prosecution, as Trump’s Department of Justice—led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime senatorial colleague of Bernie Sanders—will make the call on whether to prosecute the wife of a senator who has been deeply critical of this president and once called him a “pathological liar.” 

Trump’s largest potential impact on the case, though, could come in his choice of U.S. attorney for Vermont—a post that has been awaiting a nominee since the resignation of Obama appointee Eric Miller in February. This week, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, and Governor Phil Scott, a Republican, recommended that Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan become the state’s next U.S. attorney. …

 

 

June 21, 2017 – YOU GOTTA LAUGH

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You have to have a heart of stone not to laugh at looney liberals in the country as the results come in from the special election in Georgia. Trump only carried the district by two points in the fall’s election. But now, having seen the government Trump assembled, the voters in the district gave the GOP a six point win. The losing Dem is now called an “upstart” in today’s NY Times headline. Roger Simon says hollywood was the “yuuuge” loser.

As a resident of Hollywood, CA, I didn’t exactly see crying in the streets, but I did “feel their pain,” as the saying goes.

According to (where else?) Variety, the local entertainment industry went in big time in support of Jon Ossoff, the jejune sometime documentarian, in his quest to win the election in Georgia’s sixth congressional district.

Rosie O’Donnell [ je suis shockay], Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, Sean Daniel, Connie Britton, Sam Waterston and Kyra Sedgwick are among those who have donated to Democrat Jon Ossoff’s campaign, while others have been participating in phone banks to get out the vote and a few, like actress Alyssa Milano, have volunteered to go door to door in the suburban Atlanta district.

Will these moral narcissists talk with Ossoff again, now that he has lost by a solid margin, more than predicted, failing to do any better than Hillary against their Public Enemy #1  (Donald J. Trump) despite having by far the largest war chest in American congressional history, nine times bigger than his opponent’s? …

 

 

More from Paul Mirengoff at Power Line.

Republican Karen Handel has what looks like a commanding lead in the special Georgia congressional race. With about 80 percent of the vote counted, she’s up by 52.4 to 47.6 over boy Democrat Jon Ossoff.

The folks at FiveThirtyEight have all but given up on Ossoff. …

… The Democrats placed an enormous amount of hope, not to mention dough, in this race. It looks like they have come up empty.

If so, they will try hard to spin this as a moral victory, or something. Don’t buy it. This is a bad result for them.

  

 

Jonah Goldberg sounds a note of caution.

… On the other hand, a Handel win is not anywhere near the victory/mandate/endorsement the Trump team will claim it to be. This is a Republican district. The only reason it was close: A lot of Republicans voted for a Democrat. So, the GOP victory on the merits is pretty limited. Spending enough money to scald a wet mule (to borrow a phrase from Haley Barbour) to hold on to a district that Tom Price (Trump’s HHS secretary) and Newt Gingrich held is not a sign of Republican health. I’m okay with calling that a moral victory for Ossoff, as the media certainly will. But a moral victory plus $1.89 will buy me a large coffee at my local Starbucks. Meanwhile, a literal defeat for the GOP would have been a disaster.

 

June 19, 2017 – CAMILLE PAGLIA

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The Weekly Standard interviewed Ms. Paglia this week which prompted a day just for her. The first question for her was on President Trump.

Camille Paglia is one America’s smartest and most fearless writers. Like Elvis, she’s the kind of superstar who really needs no introduction—though it is worth pointing out that Pantheon has just published a collection of her essays on sex, gender, and feminism, titled Free Women, Free Men. It’s fantastic and if you love her work, it’s must-reading. (And there’s another collection due out in the Fall of 2018, which is more good news.)

JVL Last week I sat down with Paglia over email to talk about Donald Trump, Islamist terrorism, and the transgender crusade. Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

CP … The point here is that Donald Trump won the nomination fair and square against a host of serious, experienced opponents who simply failed to connect with a majority of GOP primary voters. However, there were too many unknowns about Trump, who had never held elective office and whose randy history in the shadowy demimonde of casinos and beauty pageants laid him open to a cascade of feverish accusations and innuendos from the ever-churning gnomes of the cash-propelled Clinton propaganda machine. In actuality, the sexism allegations about Trump were relatively few and minor, compared to the long list of lurid claims about the predatory Bill Clinton.

My position continues to be that Hillary, with her supercilious, Marie Antoinette-style entitlement, was a disastrously wrong candidate for 2016 and that she secured the nomination only through overt chicanery by the Democratic National Committee, assisted by a corrupt national media who, for over a year, imposed a virtual blackout on potential primary rivals. Bernie Sanders had the populist passion, economic message, government record, and personal warmth to counter Trump. It was Sanders, for example, who addressed the crisis of crippling student debt, an issue that other candidates (including Hillary) then took up. Despite his history of embarrassing gaffes, the affable, plain-spoken Joe Biden, in my view, could also have defeated Trump, but he was blocked from running at literally the last moment by President Barack Obama, for reasons that the major media refused to explore. …

… Had Hillary won, everyone would have expected disappointed Trump voters to show a modicum of respect for the electoral results as well as for the historic ceremony of the inauguration, during which former combatants momentarily unite to pay homage to the peaceful transition of power in our democracy. But that was not the reaction of a vast cadre of Democrats shocked by Trump’s win. In an abject failure of leadership that may be one of the most disgraceful episodes in the history of the modern Democratic party, Chuck Schumer, who had risen to become the Senate Democratic leader after the retirement of Harry Reid, asserted absolutely no moral authority as the party spun out of control in a nationwide orgy of rage and spite. Nor were there statesmanlike words of caution and restraint from two seasoned politicians whom I have admired for decades and believe should have run for president long ago—Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. How do Democrats imagine they can ever expand their electoral support if they go on and on in this self-destructive way, impugning half the nation as vile racists and homophobes? …

… the media, consumed with their preposterous Russian fantasies, were fixated on former FBI director James Comey’s maudlin testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. (Comey is an effete charlatan who should have been fired within 48 hours of either Hillary or Trump taking office.) Meanwhile, Trump was going about his business. The following morning, he made remarks at the Department of Transportation about “regulatory relief,” excerpts of which I happened to hear on my car radio that afternoon. His words about iron, aluminum, and steel seemed to cut like a knife through the airwaves. I later found the entire text on the White House website. Some key passages:

“We are here today to focus on solving one of the biggest obstacles to creating this new and desperately needed infrastructure, and that is the painfully slow, costly, and time-consuming process of getting permits and approvals to build. And I also knew that from the private sector. It is a long, slow, unnecessarily burdensome process. My administration is committed to ending these terrible delays once and for all. The excruciating wait time for permitting has inflicted enormous financial pain to cities and states all throughout our nation and has blocked many important projects from ever getting off the ground…”

… Of course this rousing speech (with its can-do World War Two spirit) got scant coverage in the mainstream media. Drunk with words, spin, and snark, middle-class journalists can’t be bothered to notice the complex physical constructions that make modern civilization possible. The laborers who build and maintain these marvels are recognized only if they can be shoehorned into victim status. But if they dare to think for themselves and vote differently from their liberal overlords, they are branded as rubes and pariahs.

In summary: to have any hope of retaking the White House, Democrats must get off their high horse, lose the rabid rhetoric, and reorient themselves toward practical reality and the free country they are damned lucky to live in. …

 

Earlier Paglia was interviewed by the Free Beacon

… What impact, if any, do you think Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016 had on feminism? Former Texas state senator Wendy Davis said Clinton faced a “misogynistic climate” during the election. Do you agree with this?

Misogyny played no significant role whatever in Hillary Clinton’s two defeats as a presidential candidate. This claim is such a crock! What a gross exploitation of feminism—in the service of an unaccomplished woman whose entire career was spent attached to her husband’s coat tails. Hillary was handed job after job but produced no tangible results in any of them—except of course for her destabilization of North Africa during her rocky tenure as secretary of state. And for all her lip service to women and children, what program serving their needs did Hillary ever conceive and promote? She routinely signed on to other people’s programs or legislative bills but spent the bulk of her time in fundraising and networking for her own personal ambitions. Beyond that, I fail to see how authentic feminism can ever be ascribed to a woman who turned a blind eye to the victims of her husband’s serial abuse and workplace seductions. The hypocrisy of feminist leaders was on full display during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, which incontrovertibly demonstrated Bill Clinton’s gross violation of basic sexual harassment policy. Although I had voted for him twice, I was the only feminist at the time who publicly condemned Clinton for his squalid and unethical behavior with an intern whose life (it is now clear) he ruined. Gloria Steinem’s slick casuistry during that shocking episode did severe damage to feminism, from which it has never fully recovered. …

 

Continuing her book tour, Paglia was interviewed by the Examiner.

… Fresh off a spirited panel with Christina Hoff Sommers hosted by the Independent Women’s Forum, the iconic feminist dissident, who serves as a professor of media studies at the University of the Arts, accused journalists of colluding with the Democratic Party in an effort to damage the Trump administration.

“Democrats are doing this in collusion with the media obviously, because they just want to create chaos,” she said when asked to comment on the aforementioned stories. “They want to completely obliterate any sense that the Trump administration is making any progress on anything.” …

 

And from an essay in Time, Paglia writes;

… The Free Speech Movement, led by a fiery Italian-American, Mario Savio, erupted at the University of California at Berkeley in 1964, the year I entered college. It was a cardinal moment for my generation. The anti-establishment stance of the Free Speech Movement represented the authentic populist revolution of the 1960s, which resisted encroachments of authority by a repressive elite. How is it possible that today’s academic Left has supported rather than protested campus speech codes as well as the grotesque surveillance and over-regulation of student life? American colleges have abandoned their educational mission and become government colonies, ruled by officious bureaucrats enforcing federal dictates. This despotic imperialism has no place in a modern democracy. An enlightened feminism, animated by a courageous code of personal responsibility, can only be built upon a wary alliance of strong women and strong men.

June 15, 2017 – THERESA MAY – BLUNDER WOMAN

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While we’ve been watching the Comey circus, important things were happening – to wit – the disaster of an election in Great Britain. We have some comments from some of our favorites from years ago; Theodore Dalrymple and Tunku Varadarajan. Dalrymple is the nom de plume of Anthony Daniels who was a doctor in the British prison system and is now retired. He writes in City Journal

Theresa May has proved an apt pupil of the David Cameron school of political incompetence. Lacking principle, she is not even good at being unprincipled: a Machiavellian, it turns out, minus the cunning.

It did not help that she had the charisma of a carrot and the sparkle of a spade. As she presented herself to the public, no one would have wanted her as a dinner guest, except under the deepest social obligation. Technically, she won the election, in the sense that she received more votes than anyone else, but few voted for her with enthusiasm rather than from fear of the alternative. Her disastrous campaign included repeated genuflections in the direction of social democracy. Even after her defeat, moral if not quite literal, she burbled about a society in which no one was left behind—never mind that it would entail a society in which no one would be out in front, that is to say, a society resting in the stagnant pool of its own mediocrity. …

… Corbyn and his party’s solutions to the country’s problems were supposedly to be paid for by higher taxes on the richest 5 percent of the population. This proposal overlooked the fact that the top 1 percent of earners already pay almost three times as much in income tax as the bottom 50 percent combined, and also the fact that wealth is dynamic rather than static, resembling more closely the bloom of a grape than a cake to be sliced. Taxes on capital (in other words, state expropriation) were Corbyn’s obvious next step, with capital flight the equally obvious consequence.

None of this worried the young, who had as yet no stake in property, only what are sometimes called ideals. The Labour Party offered them and others the beguiling vision of living perpetually at the expense of others—Frédéric Bastiat’s definition of the state. The Laffer curve meant nothing to them; punishing the prosperous was more important and gratifying than understanding how to maximize tax receipts.

The election could take Britain back more than 50 years.

  

 

Mr. Varadarajan used to write for the WSJ. This item came from Politico.

At the time of writing, the Conservatives are forecast to win 318 out of the 650 seats in the House of Commons, humiliatingly fewer than the 400+ that had been on Theresa May’s mind when she called her Oliver Twist election (with apologies to Dickens) earlier this year. 

Please sir, can I have some more, she had said, even as she sat fairly pretty on 331 seats. She had no real need to call this election, but she did, wagering on a win that would enhance her majority in parliament, crush the Labour opposition, and let the negotiators in Brussels know that they were dealing with a prime minister who had the mother of all mandates to exact from Europe the most favorable exit terms.

Even as the results come in, it’s possible to see who the winners of this remarkable election are, and who the losers. …

… Losers Bracket 

Theresa May

Her victory speech at her Maidenhead constituency was quavering, uncertain and inarticulate, words that might well describe the manner in which May has governed as prime minister. Disparaged as the Last Woman Standing — a way of saying that she got the job because no one else wanted it after the Brexit referendum, or was untainted enough to have it — May flubbed her way through a campaign that was so poor that it left Labour, under a leader who was a liability in his own right, with unexpected hope of pulling off an election upset. The true problem of May’s election call was that few in Britain had an appetite for it. Yes, she said that she needed a fresh and vigorous mandate to strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations, but many voters saw her decision to go to the polls as one born of hubris and greed. It will take a miracle for her to retain the PM’s job. Which means that she won’t. She had 330 days in office, which seem about as many as she deserved. …

  

 

Francis Turner at Liberty.Me described Theresa May as “Blunder Woman” and said the Tories were suggesting May was the reincarnation of Lady Thatcher, but was in fact their version of Hillary; ”only without the sleaze and pathological lying.” 

… What I think was worst about the Tory campaign is that they wrapped the campaign around Mrs May and then she hid away from the electorate and the media. She didn’t do TV debates, she didn’t do interviews, she didn’t do hustings. In fact pretty much all she did was show up in various places to make speeches in front of vetted loyalists. Even worse it all sounds a little like the failed campaign of Mrs Clinton last year only without the sleaze and pathological lying. Perhaps worse, thanks to a pretty miserable manifesto, she and her team then spent half the campaign rowing back key elements of it and generally denying that they were doing so. This did not exactly inspire anyone to believe the spin that Mrs May was a tough leader, a good negotiator or anything similar. All in all if you are going to run a campaign that suggests that Mrs May is the reincarnation of the Iron Lady Thatcher  then it would help your narrative if your candidate can actually stand up and face the media and the public and smite the naysayers. …

  

 

Michael Walsh of Pajamas Media has more discouragement.

… As Great Britain dies, mostly thanks to the deliberate suicide of the Labour Party, it’s the Tories who are going to suffer. What England needed in the weak Cameron’s wake was a decisive leader who would reverse the effects (insofar as possible) of Labour’s gambit to boost its electorate via immigration, and to start a serious crackdown on the hordes of foreign Muslims who are already fundamentally changing the nature of the British state. Unable to stand up to bogus charges of “racism,” the Tories capitulated in principle, and got two attacks in London and the massacre in Manchester in return.

No wonder they lost. Spinelessness is not an attractive character trait in anyone, much less a putative leader. What Mrs. May just discovered — and what we all should learn — is that the days of managing cultural decline via the administrative and the police state are over. At this point, it’s either fight back, defend your patrimony, or die.

Americans made that choice in November, and yet the pushback from the DeepState and the Democrats remains ferocious. Absent the return of St. George, it’s hard to see how the UK comes out of this alive.

 

 

According to Walter Russell Mead of American Interest, there is one welcome victor because now May must align with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Northern Ireland.

… The biggest winner may end up being… Israel!

Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in various combinations have been a potent force in British politics among both Tories and Labour since WW2. The non-Thatcherite Right and the Corbynite Left don’t have much in common, but dislike for Israel and for America’s support for it are strong at both ends of the British political spectrum.

One of the few reservoirs of strong pro-Israel feeling in the UK lies in Northern Ireland, the homeland of the Scots-Irish, who are the core of Jacksonian politics in the United States. The DUP is the most “Jacksonian” (that is to say rightwing, nationalist-populist) political force in the UK, and many of Ulster’s Protestants are as sympathetic to Israel as their U.S. cousins. Travelers in Northern Ireland will sometimes see Palestinian flags in Catholic neighborhoods and the Star of David banner in Protestant ones.

Last night’s election turned those Ulster Protestants into kingmakers; …

  

 

Spectator, UK has an inside look at how the Tories will reprogram Theresa.

Had Theresa May won the election with the landslide she expected, she’d have fired several of the cabinet with her trademark brutality. They knew who they were. And last Monday, three of them took the opportunity to tell the Prime Minister where she had gone wrong. In the first meeting of the political cabinet since she blew her party’s majority, Philip Hammond asked why there had been no economic message in the campaign. Andrea Leadsom said that while May had repeatedly claimed the election was all about Brexit, she had never said what Brexit was actually for. The most pointed contribution, though, came from Sajid Javid, who lambasted the high-handed way that May’s team had run No. 10.

However, this was ritual humiliation, not a mutiny. The Tories have decided to keep Theresa May who, in turn, has agreed to the departure of her two chiefs of staff, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy. She knows, as her cabinet knows, that she has just committed the greatest unforced error in modern political history. In normal circumstances, she would be gone. But the Conservative party is in shock, petrified of another election and fearful that Jeremy Corbyn could become prime minister. Instead of deposing May straight away, they are going to try to reprogram her: to make her a different kind of politician. …

 

 

June 4, 2017 – CLIMATE

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Some of our favorites comment on the withdrawal from the Paris Accord. Richard Epstein posted a few days before Trump’s decision. 
The Trump administration is currently facing a major decision—whether to withdraw the United States from the Paris Accords on climate change. The huge multi-national agreement was finalized in the closing weeks of the Obama administration, just days before Trump’s surprise victory in the presidential election. The key commitment made by the United States under the accords is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the next decade by about a quarter of their 2005 rate, with further reductions to come thereafter. But during his campaign, Donald Trump promised to pull out of the accords, and, at the recent meeting of the G-7, was the lone holdout against a ringing endorsement of the agreement.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been insisting that the United States stay the course, but it appears as if Trump is inclined to honor his campaign promise to pull out of the accords, a position in line with that of Scott Pruitt, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
The President’s instincts are spot on here. He should withdraw the United States from the accords and be prepared to stoutly defend his decision on both political and scientific grounds. Ironically, the best reasons for getting out of the accords are the evident weaknesses in the reasons that a wide range of businesses and environmental groups offer for staying in. …
 
 
Craig Pirrong celebrates.
The wailing, gnashing of teeth, and rending of garments that has followed Trump’s widely expected decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Accord is truly amazing to witness. It is virtue signaling taken to a new extreme. Indeed, since so many people want to signal simultaneously, each apparently feels obliged to outdo the other in hysterics in order to attract the attention their precious egos crave. Hence the apocalyptic paroxysms of rage that started the moment Trump spoke.Truth be told, even if one believes the predictions of standard climate models, and even if one believes there will be compliance with the commitments of the Accord (which is slightly less likely than my becoming Pope), it would have a trivial impact on global temperatures: on the order of .2 degrees. The impact of the US withdrawal alone, given its declining CO2 emissions relatively (especially compared to China and India) and even absolutely (something the pious Europeans have not been able to manage despite their moribund economy and costly—and insane–commitment to renewables), means that Trump’s action by itself will have an immeasurable effect on climate in any time frame.

So despite all of the screeching that Trump has doomed—doomed I say!—life on earth, in reality the accord is not a practical agreement, but a ritual. And like all rituals, its primary purpose is to provide an opportunity to display obeisance to a creed, theology, doctrine, or dogma.

Which explains the overwrought reaction: …

 
 
 
 
Roger Simon likes getting rid of one of obama’s “three authoritarianisms.” 
Sometimes — maybe almost always — the world seems to run on Freudian projection. One of the salient recent examples is Barack Obama’s supporters — and Obama himself, literally and by implication — calling Donald Trump “authoritarian.”But in non-projected reality, during his administration, Obama is the one who imposed what we might deem – in appropriately Maoist parlance – the “Three Authoritarianisms.” They were the Paris climate accord, the Iran deal, and US intelligence agencies being used to surveil American citizens.

All three of these “authoritarianisms” were entirely ex-Constitutional. …

… Even a cursory look at history reveals that totalitarianism does not always come with the obvious iron fist of a Comrade Stalin.  Sometimes it arrives in a subtler manner, as it did in the Obama administration when the then president’s amanuensis/lackey Ben Rhodes was so naive or arrogant (or both) as to brag to a New York Times writer how he duped young and uneducated reporters into parroting what the administration wanted them to say about the Iran deal.  The KGB couldn’t have done it better.

In the cases of Paris and Iran, it’s clear the (totalitarian) decision to avoid Congress was deliberate.  But now Trump has put a crimp in the former by pulling out of the Paris climate ( global warming) accord. The international chorus of hissy fits was so instantaneous and predictable — no more eminent scientist than actor Mark Ruffalo has declared “Trump will have the death of whole nations on his hands” — one must ask the obligatory question: Was it ever really about climate or was it, in the immortal words of  H. L. Mencken, “about the money“? …

 
 
 
 
David Harsanyi says the Dems have lost on climate change.
… Cuomo claims he “is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington’s irresponsible actions.” Yet as governor, he’s blocked natural gas pipelines and banned fracking, which has proven to be one of the most effective ways to mitigate carbon emissions. U.S. energy-related carbon emissions have fallen almost 14 percent since they peaked in 2007 according to the OECD – this, without any fabricated carbon market schemes. The driving reason is the shift to natural gas. Why do liberals hate science? Why do they condemn our grandchildren to a fiery end?
 
Fact is, Obama—as was his wont—tried to shift American policy with his pen rather than by building consensus (which was also an assault on proper norms of American governance, but the “Trump is destroying the Constitution!” crowd is conveniently flexible on this issue.) It’s not a feasible or lasting way to govern, unless the system collapses. It is also transparently ideological.

This, I suspect, is one major reason climate change isn’t really a salient politic issue. No amount of hysteria is going to reverse this dynamic. Because, in the end, Malthusianism is no better than denialism – it is denialism, in fact. It is a belief that ignores history, human nature, and most importantly tradeoffs. Lots of people seem to understand this, either in stark political terms or intuitively. Sure, they say the things expected of them, but their actions betray a trust in human adaptability and technology more than in guesstimates. Many of them have lived through the eco-scaremongering of the 70s and 80s, and yet, they now see innovation spreading in a cleaner world where poverty has dramatically fallen and, by almost every quantifiable measure, human existence is improving.

 
 
 
Scott Adams wants a global warming betting exchange.
… There is social pressure to say you side with the majority of climate scientists. To do otherwise would make many people feel like ignoramuses. So they craft their personalities around a belief in climate change doom because they are people who respect science. It fits their identity preference.Until you ask them to invest their money.

Then people bet against it.

Here I’m not talking about every person. I’m talking about a tendency for some members of a group to be frictionless-only members. As soon as you give them friction – such as a financial risk – some (not all) climate alarmists might become climate skeptics. 

That’s just a hypothesis. 

Another hypothesis is that markets are short-sighted. But how much short-term benefit does the entire economy get from leaving the Paris Accords? I haven’t seen the argument for it helping directly in the next quarter or two, except in terms of optimism for the long-term.

And yet another hypothesis is that the people who have extra money to invest have a different view of climate risks than people who don’t have money. And that could be because the investor class is either smarter or dumber on this topic, on average, than non-investors. 

All of this makes me wonder why there isn’t a more robust betting market for climate change predictions. …

 
 
 
Another example of pseudo-science and government gone awry is the campaign against dietary fat. It turned out to be wrong. Worse it led people to adopt diets that have started an epidemic of obesity. A summary comes from the Tonic Blog
Let’s say you want to lose some weight. Which of these foods would you choose: A skim-milk latte, or the same drink with whole milk? A low-cal breakfast bar or steak and eggs? A salad tossed in light dressing or the same salad doused with buttermilk ranch? If you’re like most Americans, you either aren’t sure how to answer, or you’re very sure—but very wrong. And it’s not your fault. It’s the fault, experts say, of decades of flawed or misleading nutrition advice—advice that was never based on solid science. 

The US Department of Agriculture, along with the agency that is now called Health and Human Services, first released a set of national dietary guidelines back in 1980. That 20-page booklet trained its focus primarily on three health villains: fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. 

Recently, research has come out strongly in support of dietary fat and cholesterol as benign, rather than harmful, additions to person’s diet. Saturated fat seems poised for a similar pardon. “The science that these guidelines were based on was wrong,” Robert Lustig, a neuro-endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, told Tonic. In particular, the idea that cutting fat from a person’s diet would offer some health benefit was never backed by hard evidence, Lustig said. 

Just this week, some of Lustig’s colleagues at UCSF released an incendiary report revealing that in the 1960s, sugar industry lobbyists funded research that linked heart disease to fat and cholesterol while downplaying evidence that sugar was the real killer.

Nina Teicholz, a science journalist and author of the The Big Fat Surprise, said a lot of the early anti-fat push came from the American Heart Association (AHA), which based its anti-fat stance on the fact that fat is roughly twice as calorie-dense as protein and carbohydrates. 

“They had no clinical data to show that a low-fat diet alone would help with obesity or heart disease,” Teicholz told Tonic. But because fat was high in calories, they adopted this anti-fat position, and the government followed their lead. Surely the 1960s research rigged by the Sugar Association, which was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, added to our collective fat fears. …