June 30, 2015

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Word Press is having some difficulties today so we’ll proceed without a summary of pull quotes


Interesting post by John Tierney in Instapundit on how the left and right use language.

… But here’s another way to look at the results. Liberals talk about politics in language that appeals to our primal socialist instincts, developed on the savanna when we belonged to small clans of hunter-gatherers who really did look out for their kin. Conservatives discuss politics in language that reflects modern reality: socialism doesn’t work in groups larger than a clan, because people do not behave selflessly when they belong to a large group of unrelated strangers. Liberals believe in what the economist Daniel Klein calls “The People’s Romance,” but that fallacy has been exposed by Adam Smith, de Toqueville and Darth Vader, among others.

When liberals say that “government is the word we give to the things we choose to do together,” they score high on affiliation, and some of them may even believe government is one big happy collaboration among equals. But conservatives know that philosophy just means giving one small group of people in the capital more power to boss and coerce the rest of us.



A couple of our favorites look at Greece. John Fund is first.

… There will be endless discussion about who bears the most blame for the Greek crisis: a series of profligate Greek governments that often veered into outright corruption or the euro-zone governments that allowed Greece to borrow at artificially low interest rates while they overlooked the obviously flawed statistics touting the health of the Greek economy.

I gave a series of lectures in Greece in May and am certainly not going to defend the magical thinking of many Greeks or their incompetent leftish government when it comes to economics. But let me say something in defense of Greece. Echoing my NRO colleague Andrew Stuttaford, I note that at least the Greeks are letting their people have a direct say in their future — a fitting move given that Greece gave birth to the democratic ideal.

The bureaucrats in Brussels and their counterparts in Europe’s national governments are furious with the Greeks for daring to consult their own people. Daniel Hannan, a British member of the European parliament, sarcastically tweeted, “Calling a referendum is, to Eurocrats, the most offensive thing a politician can do.” Stripped of their veneer, Eucrocrats’ arguments against all referendums amount to saying that referendums are a bad idea because they shift power from small cliques of unelected but wise rulers to an unsophisticated, nationalistic mob that might fall prey to populism, scare stories, and tabloid headlines. …



Then Victor Davis Hanson.

… Behind all the acrimony is an unspoken Greek assumption that has nothing to do with either economics or politics, but reflects a growing trend around the world.

The thinking goes something like this. The rich Northern Europeans have more money per capita than do the Greeks. They could write off the entire Greek debt and not really miss what they lost. In the Greek redistributionist mindset, why should one group of affluent Europeans grow even wealthier off poorer Europeans?

Athens has adopted the equality-of-result mentality that believes factors other than hard work, thrift, honesty, and competency make one nation poor and another rich. Instead, sheer luck, a stacked deck, greed, or a fickle inheritance better explain inequality. Fate or cosmic unfairness can result in good but poor people owing money to bad but wealthy people.

Default, then, is sometimes morally justified. The Greeks fault their most prominent creditor, Germany, for its cruel past Nazi occupation of Greece, for its cold obsessions with the financial bottom line, and for its ethnocentric manipulation of the euro and the EU itself.

Something similar to the Greek mindset arose during the U.S. housing bubble and collapse of 2008.

Millions of Americans unwisely took out subprime mortgages for houses they could not afford and then walked away from their debt when the economy tanked. They understandably blamed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, avaricious Wall Street speculators, rah-rah realtors, and dishonest banks that pushed overpriced homes and mortgages onto the unsuspecting.

The current student-debt fiasco is also similar. …



Margaret Wente in the Toronto Globe and Mail with a thoughtful post on our children – “precious little snowflakes.”

The other day a proud father showed me a photo of his son’s graduation. There was the beaming scholar, diploma in hand, tasselled mortarboard on head, ready to take on the world.

“Congratulations,” I said. But something puzzled me. The kid is only three feet tall. He’s graduating from nursery school.

“Since when do nursery schools have graduation ceremonies?” I asked.

“Oh, they have graduation ceremonies for everything these days,” he said. “It was a big deal. All the parents came. Grandparents too. And of course the nannies.”

This celebration of a child’s every accomplishment, however slight, is something new. By the time a kid reaches 18, she will have accumulated boxes and boxes of diplomas, medals, ribbons, trophies and certificates for just showing up – whether she’s any good at anything or not. …


… The trouble is, snowflakes are not very resilient. They tend to melt when they hit the pavement. How will our snowflake children handle the routine stresses of the grownup world – the obnoxious colleagues, pointless meetings, promotions that don’t come their way? How will they cope when no one thinks they’re special any more?

I’m afraid they could be in for a hard landing.









June 29, 2015

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Today is filled by two long-form pieces on H. Clinton by two of our favorites. Andrew Ferguson is first. 

When news broke this spring about Bill and Hillary Clinton’s appetite for other people’s money and their indifference to other people’s rules, I was rereading my way through a shelf of old Hillary biographies. My memory thus was doubly stimulated. In the fresh revelations, as in the books, the traits of the Clintons were spread out for a new generation to marvel at: the furtiveness, the shifting accounts of hazy events, the parsing of language, the bald and unnecessary denial of often trivial facts (did she have two phones or one?). Her admirers, old and young, veteran and novice alike, were faced with the Hillary Paradox.

The paradox is a problem only for her admirers, and as it happens I read only books about the Clintons that are written by their admirers, on the general principle that you can learn more about someone from his friends than from his enemies. Besides, with a few notable exceptions—most recently, Peter Schweizer’s Clinton Cash and Daniel Halper’s Clinton, Inc.—books written by skeptics and detractors are almost psychotically hostile to Mrs. Clinton. I don’t need any encouragement. 

The Hillary Paradox consists of two perceptions that are irreconcilable. The first is that Hillary Clinton is a person of uncommon decency, compassionate and deeply committed to justice. The second is that many of her actions over many years are the work of a person who couldn’t possibly be uncommonly decent. How could someone with a wonderful reputation so often behave disreputably? …


… Bernstein approvingly quotes a Clinton aide: “She’s happiest when she’s fighting.” Once, as another Bill Clinton womanizing story broke in the press during the 1992 campaign, Hillary turned mildly to the writer Gail Sheehy and told her she should follow up a rumor Hillary had heard about George H.W. Bush’s “extramarital life.” She even gave Sheehy a name to pursue. Sheehy declined the offer—she had interviewed the woman several years before. (Hillary soon found a willing buyer in a courtier journalist named Joe Conason, who wrote up the probably false story of Bush’s “affair” for the cover of Spy magazine a few months before the fall election.)

Sheehy perceived in the episode another trait of Hillary the fighter. No matter what fight you were in, the other side started it. All offense is payback. She explained to Sheehy, with a sincere but dubious grasp of political history: “In 1980, Republicans started negative advertising. In 1992, [they] have paid political assassination. What Bill doesn’t understand is, you gotta do the same thing.” The crucial word here is Republican. Belligerence is not a quality normally admired by the kind of people who admire Hillary. But they’ll make the exception, considering the enemy and the stakes. …


…The typical Clinton scandal follows a pattern, as the biographies show. Husband or wife commits a shabby indiscretion. Bill will snap the garters of an employee, for instance, or Hillary will befriend unsavory characters in a scheme to make easy money. Except for Bill’s admitted perjury before a federal judge in the Lewinsky scandal, the Clintons are rarely shown to have violated a law. So, whatever the indiscretion, it is probably legal. But it is mean. And its uncovering could threaten the idea that the couple has no motives beyond “uplifting the American people,” in Bill’s phrase.

The indiscretion lies there, out of sight, for weeks or months or years. Then someone finds out about it. Panic ensues. Staff is enlisted to ensure that outsiders believe the indiscretion either didn’t occur or was the work of functionaries. The indiscretion inflates into a scandal when this effort fails. The functionaries, and usually the Clintons themselves, resort to misdirection, bogus legalism, and shifting narratives so complicated that most observers grow bored, then exhausted, then distracted by something else. 

The scandal called “Travelgate” was the first controversy to emerge from the White House bearing this Clinton trademark. Travelgate is the idiotic name the press gave to the abrupt firing of employees in the White House travel office, allegedly on grounds of sloppy bookkeeping. The office handled travel arrangements for staff and press on the president’s out-of-town trips. After the firings its work was meant to be handed over to a 25-year-old friend of the Clintons from Arkansas and a wealthy Clinton benefactor who owned a fledgling aviation company. It was a plum: The travel account could generate as much as $40,000 a day in business. The White House credential alone would be an invaluable boost to the benefactor’s company. …


…The Hillary Paradox—that a woman of such excellent character should be capable of such tawdriness and worse—the paradox vanishes if you drop the first part of the proposition. Her reputation for good character, after all, rests largely on simple assertion, on what she says as a public figure, on her politics, rather than on what she’s done. Leave aside the politics, and the shabby behavior is easily explainable: She does what she does because she is who she is. 

But renouncing their admiration is precisely what supporters of Hillary Clinton can’t bring themselves to do. Otherwise her enemies might win.

It is odd the things they will swallow, and odd the things they choke on. …




Matthew Continetti is next.

… Her husband campaigned in the ’90s as a tough-on-crime neoliberal who would lock up criminals, even put them to death, who challenged the racism of Sister Souljah, promised to “mend” affirmative action, worked hard to recover the Democratic position in white working class precincts. Hillary was his active partner. Nor did she denounce her husband’s policies when she ran for Senate in 2000 and 2006 and for president in 2008, when the chances of her nomination rested on her ability to win “beer track” white and Hispanic Democrats.

It is only today, when the Democratic Party of Barack Obama has veered left, written off the white working class, and been seized by a practically religious enthusiasm for cultural reformation and purgation, that Clinton has called for an “end to the era of mass incarceration,” said America has “to face hard truths about race and justice,” and launched a campaign, in the words of the New York Times, “focused more on mobilizing supporters in the Great Lakes states and in parts of the West and South than on persuading undecided voters.”

What we have, on issue after issue, is a presidential frontrunner uninterested in leadership, who holds an ambivalent attitude toward notions of political courage and intellectual independence, who is devoted exclusively and mechanically to the capture of high office. …


… Clinton isn’t the first politician who’s inconsistent—far from it. What she and her husband have pioneered is a mode of inconsistency, an entire lifestyle of ideological flexibility the goal of which isn’t public-minded but wholly self-interested. “The only way a man can remain consistent amid changing circumstances is to change with them while preserving the same dominating purpose,” Churchill wrote in “Consistency in Politics” (1932). But the dominating purpose Churchill had in mind was a public one: the common good. And the pursuit of the common good often requires the statesman to disagree with public opinion—to challenge his base, or indeed the majority.

Earlier this year Bill Clinton identified the dominant purpose behind his family’s inconsistency: “I gotta pay our bills.”  …


…The maintenance of what Mickey Kaus calls the “Clinton mode of production” requires at least one member of the family to hold office, so that powerful and wealthy people might obtain a frisson of access and influence through financial gift-giving. What the Clintons understand is that the easiest way to hold office, and thereby keep up the mansions and private jets and villas and beach vacations, is to flatter and cater to the ever-changing morality and self-conception of the liberal ruling caste, to understand what troubles their guilty consciences, to put yourself forward as the representative of their fluctuating and malleable concerns.

Such an approach requires a canny operator able to obscure changes in policy behind a smooth veneer of likability and guile—and if we have learned anything so far in this campaign it is that Hillary Clinton is not such an operator. She is clumsy, stilted, tentative, suspicious, rehearsed, monotonous.



For a bonus, we inserted into the Continetti article a couple of Hillary 2008 campaign buttons with a Confederate flag motif.

June 28, 2015

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Roger Simon points out most of the racism in the country comes from the Democrat party and the left.

Ninety percent of the racism in America today comes from the Democratic Party and the Left.  They live off it and exploit it.  It is unconscionable to the degree they do this, ruining the lives and futures of the very people they say they are helping in the process.

I am uniquely positioned to say this because I spent most of my life on the Left and was a civil rights worker in the South in my early twenties. I was also, to my everlasting regret, a donor to the Black Panther Party in the seventies.

So I have seen this personally from both sides and my conclusion is inescapable.  The Left is far, far worse. They are obsessed with race in a manner that does not allow them to see straight.  Further, they project racism onto others continually, exacerbating situations, which in most instances weren’t even there in the first place.  From Al Sharpton to Hillary Clinton, they all do it.

Barack Obama is one of the worst offenders in this regard.  Recently, in reaction to the horrid actions of the deranged, but solitary racist Dylann Root, the president claimed racism is in our DNA.

How could he possibly utter such nonsense and who was he talking about? …



Seth Mandel thinks a perfect illustration of Simon’s above point is the left’s treatment of Bobby Jindal.

Early Thursday, an odd story went up on the BBC’s website: “Bobby Jindal presidential bid sparks Twitter mockery.”

The mockery in question wasn’t because Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, is a mere footnote in the polls. Nor was the mockery about Jindal’s seriousness as a political figure.

Rather, the mockery consisted of explicit racism. And the story was odd not because of the existence of the tweets (welcome to the Internet, governor!) but because it was a positive story, with the Beeb openly praising the bigotry.

(The article extolled one line of ethnic sneering as “a series of hilarious tweets.” Sample: “Bobby Jindal spends 2 hours a day in the shower scrubbing his skin with a brush & screaming ‘why won’t it come out?’ #bobbyjindalissowhite.”)

The reason Jindal has come in for such treatment is because he’s an eloquent advocate for integration and the promise of America. They’re not making fun of his background — they’re treating him like the Indian Clarence Thomas. …

… Even though Jindal was born in the United States, they won’t allow him to simply be “American.” They refuse to let him identify by his country of birth, instead forcing him to identify by the birth country of his parents.

It’s bitter, and it’s bigoted, and it’s extraordinarily unseemly. But it’s also enlightening, telling us what leftists really think about the American melting pot: They don’t like it one bit.



Kevin Williamson has more on the left’s Jindal jive.

Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is, we are informed by all the best people, insufficiently ethnic. Governor Jindal, born in Baton Rouge, is Punjabi in the sense that your average Philadelphian with a surname ending in a vowel is Italian: ancestrally, trivially. Governor Jindal’s speech, culture, mannerisms, politics, religion, habits, and affect are as far removed from Chandigarh, the north Indian city where his parents met, as they are from Bogota or Stuttgart. The governor insistently rejects the tossed salad model in favor of the melting pot: an American is an American is an American, in his view.

For his political conservatism Governor Jindal, like Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina and conservative activist Dinesh D’Souza, also Republicans of Indian origin, is savaged as an Uncle Tamas — an Indian guilty of acting white. The charge has been led by The New Republic, the former political journal turned vanity press owned by Facebook millionaire Chris Hughes, one of the whitest white men in the history of whiteness, an argyle sock of a man. One cannot delegate ethnic-purity policing to the likes of Elspeth Reeve or Gabriel Snyder, but Jeet Heer was, blessedly, ready for duty. Heer is a Canadian of Indian background. He is an expert on comic books.

His analysis is appropriately cartoonish. He argues that the Indian-Americans in his crosshairs — D’Souza especially — are racists, and adds: “Anti-black racism, I’ve often thought, is one of the more unwholesome manifestations of assimilation.” One wonders if he has ever been to India, where anti-black racism is quite common: Africans traveling in India or living there routinely are denied accommodations in hotels; the culture minister of the state of Goa recently described Nigerians (about 50,000 of whom live in India) as a “cancer,” and they are habitually blamed for India’s illegal drug trade. (Here is a sign reading: “No to Nigerians, No to drugs.”) There has been talk of mass expulsion. …




Mona Charen says we shouldn’t be surprised. The Dems have a long record of racism. 

Here’s what the former president of the United States had to say when he eulogized his mentor, an Arkansas senator:

“We come to celebrate and give thanks for the remarkable life of J. William Fulbright, a life that changed our country and our world forever and for the better. … In the work he did, the words he spoke and the life he lived, Bill Fulbright stood against the 20th century’s most destructive forces and fought to advance its brightest hopes.”

So spoke President William J. Clinton in 1995 of a man who was among the 99 Democrats in Congress to sign the “Southern Manifesto” in 1956. (Two Republicans also signed it.) The Southern Manifesto declared the signatories’ opposition to the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education and their commitment to segregation forever. Fulbright was also among those who filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That filibuster continued for 83 days.

Speaking of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, let’s review (since they don’t teach this in schools): The percentage of House Democrats who supported the legislation? 61 percent. House Republicans? 80 percent. In the Senate, 69 percent of Democrats voted yes, compared with 82 percent of Republicans. …



A good example of Democrat racism is Woodrow Wilson. Randy Barnett says we should start removing his name from places of honor.

… Born in Virginia and raised in Georgia and South Carolina, Wilson was a loyal son of the old South who regretted the outcome of the Civil War. He used his high office to reverse some of its consequences. When he entered the White House a hundred years ago today, Washington was a rigidly segregated town — except for federal government agencies. They had been integrated during the post-war Reconstruction period, enabling African-Americans to obtain federal jobs and work side by side with whites in government agencies. Wilson promptly authorized members of his cabinet to reverse this long-standing policy of racial integration in the federal civil service.

Cabinet heads — such as his son-in-law, Secretary of the Treasury William McAdoo of Tennessee – re-segregated facilities such as restrooms and cafeterias in their buildings. In some federal offices, screens were set up to separate white and black workers. African-Americans found it difficult to secure high-level civil service positions, which some had held under previous Republican administrations.

A delegation of black professionals led by Monroe Trotter, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard and Boston newspaper editor, appeared at the White House to protest the new policies. But Wilson treated them rudely and declared that “segregation is not a humiliation but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen.”

The novel “The Clansman” by Thomas Dixon – a longtime political supporter, friend and former classmate of Wilson’s at JohnsHopkinsUniversity – was published in 1905. A decade later, with Wilson in the White House, cinematographer D.W. Griffith produced a motion picture version of the book, titled “Birth of a Nation.”

With quotations from Wilson’s scholarly writings in its subtitles, the silent film denounced the Reconstruction period in the South when blacks briefly held elective office in several states. It hailed the rise of the Ku Klux Klan as a sign of southern white society’s recovery from the humiliation and suffering to which the federal government and the northern “carpetbaggers” had subjected it after its defeat in the Civil War. The film depicted African-Americans (most played by white actors in blackface) as uncouth, uncivilized rabble. …

June 25, 2015

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In the Federalist, Mollie Hemmingway says; “Congratulations, you oppose the confederate flag. Now What?” 

The U.S. Civil War was a war that never should have been fought. Some 620,000 men died because slavery, an inhumane and evil practice, was permitted in many portions of this country. The South gets most of the blame for that, but the north benefited from the regime as well, even though it didn’t directly practice enslavement at the time of the war.

I used to think the war was a bit more complicated than I do now, having had my mind changed thanks to some relatively recent guided readings of President Abraham Lincoln. But long story short, the Confederacy was wrong. For whatever it’s worth, I have no nostalgia for the Confederacy and zero positive feelings for flags that reference the Confederacy, save the one painted on the General Lee or, perhaps, the one painted on RuPaul.

For some reason, 100% of media types (give or take) dealt with their feelings of anger and powerlessness in the aftermath of the racist murders of 9 black members of EmanuelAMEChurch in Charleston, South Carolina, by calling in unison for a removal of a Confederate flag from South Carolina’s capitol grounds. The flag was only put up during the centenary of the Civil War and a modified version was moved to a less conspicuous place about 15 years ago. …

… Basically it’s just such a hysterical atmosphere at this point, that no one can conceive of a person who is against something but also willing to tolerate the expression of that thing. Can we be against Jeff Davis — and also against destroying art and monuments and history just because they involve Jeff Davis?

Symbols are tremendously important, and state sponsorship of symbols is very much worth fighting about. But there are ways to express disapproval of art, monuments and aspects of history without taking the approach of, say, blowing up the Buddhas, to take one recent example.

And how we manage these processes of disapproval truly is important for civil society. To quote Heinrich Heine, a man who definitely knew of what he spoke, “Where they have burned books, they will end in burning men.” Mobs aren’t actually the best judges of such processes, no matter how righteous they feel or certain of their cause.

Listen, it’s great that we’re aiming to be an anti-racist society. That’s very, very good! But it’s bad that we are slowly forgetting how to dislike something without seeking its utter destruction. Somehow we’ve abandoned the aesthetic of Abraham Lincoln for that of Mao Tse-Tung. …




By all means, says Victor Davis Hanson, lets get rid of the flag that divides us. While we’re at it, he suggests, let’s get rid of La Raza and the Congressional Black Caucus.

… There are plenty of other overt racialist symbols that separate Americans. One is the prominent use of La Raza, “The Race” — seen most prominently in the National Council of La Raza, an ethnic lobbying organization that has been and is currently a recipient of federal funds. The National Council of La Raza should be free to use any title it wishes, but it should not expect the federal government to subsidize its separatist nomenclature.

The pedigree of the term La Raza is just as incendiary as that of the Confederate battle flag. The Spanish noun raza (cf. Latin radix: “root” or “race”) is akin to the now-discarded German use of Volk, which in the early 20th century came to denote a common German racial identity that transcended linguistic and cultural affinities: To be a real member of the Volk one had to “appear” German, in addition to speaking German and possessing German citizenship.

La Raza is just such a racialist term. It goes beyond a common language and country of origin, and thus transcends the more neutral puebla (“people”: Latin populus) or gente (“people”: Latin gens). Raza was deliberately reintroduced in the 1960s to promote a racially superior identity of indigenous peoples and mestizos born in the Spanish-speaking countries of the New World. …

… One wonders why in 2015 there is still nomenclature such as “the Congressional Black Caucus,” over half a century after the civil-rights movement sought to promote integration and the idea that Americans should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.. The Caucus ostensibly seeks to ensure the end of exclusion by race from full participation in American society by creating a lobbying group focused entirely on one particular race. The postmodern rationale is either that groups that have suffered past disfranchisement and discrimination should not be subject to current anti-discriminatory protocols, or that they should at least enjoy a compensatory period of exclusion from color-blind values to offset centuries of oppression.

Thus the group’s membership is entirely race-based. The Caucus is not open to those members of the House of Representatives who are not African-American, but who might share the Caucus’s racial or political agenda — as the Jewish-American Representative Steven Cohen learned when he was elected to Congress in 2006. The Lebanese-American Ralph Nader was once attacked at a Caucus meeting in clearly racial terms on the understanding that the group was exempt from charges of racism. How far is the racial concept transferable — “the Asian Caucus”? “the Latino Caucus?” “the White Caucus?” “the European-American Caucus”? The premise seems to be that African-American House members seek to promote a common “black” agenda that transcends their local, county, or state interests. If an Asian, white, or Latino voter’s congressional representative is a member of the “Black Caucus,” does that mean that the voter will receive less attention than a black voter — as de facto white caucuses in the Old South most certainly did ignore the interests of their non-white constituents? Is that why conservative African-American legislators who see all their constituents in terms that transcend race tend to avoid joining the Caucus? Could not the “Black Caucus” rebrand itself as the “Civil Rights Caucus” or the “Progressive Caucus”? …




Kevin Williamson thinks we’re in an era of peak leftism and that it will soon be in decline.

… The Confederate flag, and other rebel iconography, is a marker of Southern distinctiveness, which, like American distinctiveness, is inextricably bound up with the enslavement and oppression of black people. But only the South is irredeemable in the Left’s view, and it has been so only since about 1994, when it went Republican. Which is to say, the Confederate flag is an emblem of regional distinctiveness disapproved of by 21st-century Democrats. Their reinvigorated concern is awfully nice: When the South actually was a segregationist backwater that African-Americans were fleeing by the million — when Democrats were running the show — they were ho-hum. Today the South is an economic powerhouse, dominated by Republicans, and attracting new African-American residents by the thousands. And so the Left and its creature, the Democratic party, insist that Southern identity as such must be anathematized. The horrific crime that shocked the nation notwithstanding, black life in Charleston remains very different, in attractive ways, from black life in such Left-dominated horror shows as Cleveland and Detroit, and the state’s governor is, in the parlance of identity politics, a woman of color — but she is a Republican, too, and therefore there must be shrieking, rending of garments, and gnashing of teeth.

This is a fraud, and some scales are starting to fall from some eyes. Americans believe broadly in sexual equality, but only a vanishing minority of us describe ourselves as “feminists.” “Social-justice warrior” is a term of derision. The Bernie Sanders movement, like the draft-Warren movement of which it is an offshoot, is rooted in disgust at the opportunistic politics of the Clinton claque. Young people who have heard all their lives that the Republican party and the conservative movement are for old white men — young people who may be not be quite old enough to remember Democrats’ boasting of their “double-Bubba” ticket in 1992, pairing the protégé of one Southern segregationist with the son of another — see before them Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, Susana Martinez, Carly Fiorina, Tim Scott, Mia Love, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Elise Stefanik. None of those men and women is bawling about “microaggressions” or dreaming up new sexless pronouns. None belongs to the party that hoisted Dixie over the capitol in South Carolina either. Governor Haley may be sensitive to the history of her state, but she is a member of the party of Lincoln with family roots in Punjab — it isn’t her flag.

What’s going to happen between now and November 8 of next year will be a political campaign on one side of the aisle only. On the other side, it’s going to be something between a temper tantrum and a panic attack. That’s excellent news if you’re Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, or Carly Fiorina. It’s less good news if you live in Baltimore or Philadelphia. 



Peter Wehner, a  former speechwriter for W, says good riddance to the flag. 

As everyone knows by now, in the wake of the massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina lasted week, allegedly perpetrated by a racist, Dylann Roof, there have been renewed calls to remove the Confederate flag from state grounds.

Among Republicans, those calls have come from prominent lawmakers from South Carolina, most especially  Governor Nikki Haley, who is playing a significant role in transforming this debate. Among those running (or are likely soon to run) for president, Jeb Bush and Rick Perry signaled early on they wanted the flag taken down. Scott Walker, after days of hesitation, then followed. So, now, has Rand Paul. (Here’s a good score card of who stands where.)

Yet several others – including Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio – have said it’s a decision best left to South Carolinians. They have so far remained basically neutral when it comes to rendering a judgment on the Confederate flag.

They shouldn’t. In politics there are a lot of hard calls; this isn’t one of them. …

… it’s worth recapitulating the reasons the debate has changed in such a decisive way. The first one has to do with the history of the Confederate flag. For all the talk from defenders of the flag who insist otherwise, it was a symbol of slavery, white supremacy, and the dissolution of the Union. The flag was fundamentally about hate, not heritage; about subjugation, not Southern ancestry. There is a reason white supremacist groups embrace the Confederate flag as their symbol, and it doesn’t have to do with its aesthetic appeal.

The second reason has to do with the history of the Republican Party. It was founded in the 1850s by anti-slavery activists and in opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Its slogan in 1856 was “free labor, free land, free men.” The first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, was America’s “great emancipator” who freed the slaves. So the Confederate flag was never a symbol associated with the Republican Party – including in South Carolina, where the flag was first flown over the statehouse in 1962, at the request of Democrats in the state like Governor Fritz Hollings and Representative John A. May. Yet the Republican Party has somehow found a way to get itself attached to this toxic symbol of division and repression. …

June 24, 2015

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Christopher Booker in Telegraph, UK starts off our day of the Pope.

… When future historians come to look back on our age, few things will puzzle them more than the extent to which our politics became so dominated and bedevilled by two belief-systems, each based on an obsessive attempt to force into being an immensely complicated political construct which defied economic, psychological and scientific reality.

One of these was the peculiar way in which Europe’s politicians, with full support from the US, had set out to unite their continent under a form of supra-national government unlike anything the world had seen before. The other was the way those same politicians fell for the idea not just that human activities were disastrously changing Earth’s climate, but that by taking the most drastic measures they could somehow change it back again.

Although for quite a time these two belief systems seemed to carry all before them, each was essentially based on a fantasy view of the world; and it is in the nature of trying to act out a fantasy that it must eventually overreach itself, to the point where it collides unpleasantly with reality. …

… the Pope, under the spell of his chief scientific adviser, a fanatical German climate activist called Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, calls for an end to use of the very fossil fuels which keep the Vatican’s own lights on. In asking us to pray for that global climate treaty, Pope Francis solemnly trots out all those familiar plaints about “melting polar ice caps”, “rising sea levels”, unprecedented droughts, “extreme weather events” and the rest of that greenie litany which has no basis in honest science whatever. …




John Hinderaker thinks someone should tell the Pope how environmentalism crushes the poor.

… It is easy for Pope Francis, Tom Steyer, Barack Obama and others who don’t have to worry about money to say that government policy should make electricity and gasoline more expensive so that other Americans–the poor and middle class–can’t afford to consume so much energy. But if you aren’t wealthy, government-mandated increases in energy costs mean very real cuts in the rest of your budget–a budget that goes almost entirely for food, clothing, shelter and health care. These are the necessities that millions of Americans have to forgo because of arrogant liberal policies.

We can’t un-elect the Pope–although perhaps we can educate him–but for God’s sake let’s not vote for any more Democrats who care more about discredited global warming theories than about the well-being of poor and middle-class Americans.



Robert Tracinski wants to know how thick the Pope’s bubble is.

I have started Laudato Si, Pope Francis’s newly release papal encyclical on global warming, and it’s something of a slog. As one of my colleagues put it, popes never seem to use one word when 500 will do.

I feel somewhat free to take things slowly when analyzing these documents. There’s something about an institution that’s been around for 2,000-odd years that makes you feel less beholden to the 24-hour news cycle (or the 5-minute news cycle of the Twitter era). But I’m ready to make one preliminary observation, which stands out with particular clarity in the early sections of Laudato Si.

These are the sections in which Francis lays out what he sees as the facts about a global environmental crisis, and it is a series of blatantly one-sided errors and exaggerations, including many which have been well-discussed and refuted, even in the New York Times.

For example, we’re told that the earth is “laid waste’” and that “the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life.” This, at a time when agricultural production across the world is higher than it has ever been, surely not a sign of “sickness in the soil.” Francis uncritically repeats scary stories about mass extinction, in which “each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost for ever,” even though this is based on misleading projections that have been debunked.

The centerpiece of the encyclical, of course, is the papal endorsement of the global warming hysteria. …




The Editors of the Manchester Union-Leader have thoughts.

Pope Francis leapt last week into the rising waters of climate change hysteria, where his exclamations showed that he was in over his head.

In an encyclical released Thursday, he called for swift action to cool the planet. For good measure, he criticized capitalism. …

… Capitalism is the greatest antidote for poverty that humanity has ever created. Free-market capitalism creates the “financial activities” that allow the poor to replace subsistence farming with more lucrative work, and it funds the social services that aid the needy.

Rising standards of living created by free-market capitalism also lead to better environmental protections than in more repressive and less developed nations.

Pope Francis’ mistaken foray into economic theory shows, once again, the pitfalls of basing complex policy prescriptions on simple moral impulses.




John Hinderaker catches another one. We live in an age where we have a stupid president and a stupid pope.

Pope Francis is rapidly convincing me that he is not just a leftist, but a dope. Speaking to a group of young people in Turin, he departed from his script and launched into a rambling denunciation of, among others, arms manufacturers:

“It makes me think of … people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit a distrust, doesn’t it?” he said to applause.

He also criticized those who invest in weapons industries, saying “duplicity is the currency of today … they say one thing and do another.”

We are a long way from “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.” Pope Francis then went on a tour of world history that included this gem:

“The great powers had the pictures of the railway lines that brought the trains to the concentration camps like Auschwitz to kill Jews, Christians, homosexuals, everybody. Why didn’t they bomb (the railway lines)?”

With what? Oh yeah, that would be bombs. Dropped out of bombers. Manufactured by…whom?

Pope Francis needs to pull out of his recent tailspin before he becomes an international laughingstock.



Roger Simon closes with his comments about Hillary jumping on the PopeMobile.

There’s no stopping Hillary Clinton when it comes to either outright lies or distortions of truth.  At 2PM on June 19, Our Lady of Chappaqua jumped on Pope Francis’ climate bandwagon with the following tweet…

.@Pontifex is right—climate change is a moral crisis that disproportionately harms the neediest among us. We need leadership, not denial. -H

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 19, 2015

Say what?  The neediest suffer most from climate change?  What horse hockey.  The poor suffer most from restrictions on their energy based on Climate Mythology that raises their bills.  That’s how they suffer most.

As for the Pope’s sadly morally narcissistic encyclical, where else but the indispensible Watts Up With That climate blog do you find the proper rejoinder? There, Dr. Tim Ball asks Is the Catholic Church Burned by the Sun Again, reminding us that we’ve all heard this song before: …


The cartoonists are on the Pope Bandwagon too.

June 23, 2015

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Someone who is objective and qualified to know, has written about more of the devastating results of this president. Michael Oren’s book is reviewed by Matthew Continetti.

By the summer of 2013, President Obama had convinced several key Israelis that he wasn’t bluffing about using force against the Iranian nuclear program. Then he failed to enforce his red line against Syrian dictator Bashar Assad—and the Israelis realized they’d been snookered. Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the United States, recalls the shock inside his government. “Everyone went quiet,” he said in a recent interview. “An eerie quiet. Everyone understood that that was not an option, that we’re on our own.”

Reading Oren’s new memoir Ally, it’s clear that Israel has been on her own since the day Obama took office. Oren provides an inside account of relations between the administration of Barack Obama and the government of Bibi Netanyahu, and his thesis is overwhelming, authoritative, and damning: For the last six and a half years the president of the United States has treated the home of the Jewish people more like a rogue nation standing in the way of peace than a longtime democratic ally. Now the alliance is “in tatters.”

Oren is not a conservative looking to make a political issue of support for Israel. Indeed, by Washington Free Beacon standards, he’s something of a squish. The author of a classic history of U.S. involvement in the Middle East and a sometime professor at Yale, Harvard, and Georgetown, Oren served for five years as a contributor to the New Republic, has contributed to the New York Review of Books, and supports what he calls a “two-state situation” focused on institution-building and economic aid to the West Bank. He’s a member of the Knesset, but not of Netanyahu’s Likud Party. He joined the comparatively dovish Kulanu Party last December.

Oren’s credentials and relationships make him hard to dismiss. …



Michael Rubin posts on the reception of Oren’s book by the administration. 

The Obama administration is reportedly furious with Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States, for publishing a behind-the-scenes account of U.S.-Israeli relations during the early portion of President Obama’s administration. Suffice to say, the Oren memoir did not stick to Obama administration talking points.

The umbrage that Obama administration officials and the State Department take is just a bit hypocritical. After all, multiple Obama administration officials were veterans of earlier administrations and, during the Republican interlude, wrote books. For example, former George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administration diplomat Dennis Ross castigated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in The Missing Peace, his 2004 memoir of behind-the-scenes efforts to win Palestinian-Israeli peace. For example, he wrote for just one example, “What went wrong? To put it simply, Netanyahu was not willing to concede anything.” Never mind Yasser Arafat’s terrorism and two-faced behavior; it was Netanyahu’s fault. How awkward, then, it must have been to return to Obama’s National Security Council to work on Middle East issues after having badmouthed Netanyahu, who had also returned to office in the meantime. …



John Hinderaker says the president has disgraced himself again.

I haven’t written anything about the murders in Charleston, mostly because I haven’t had time. I expect to talk about the murders tomorrow on the Laura Ingraham show, where I will be guest hosting. I would encourage you to tune in for that. In the meantime, one obvious point can be made: Barack Obama has disgraced himself, once again, by trying to make political hay out of the murders:

“I have had to make statement like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times,” Obama said. “We don’t have all the facts. But we do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.”

Murder is a terrible thing, but thankfully, the homicide rate in the United States is dropping. It was lower in 2014 than in 2013, and lower in 2013 than in 2012. Today, it is only about half what it was during the Clinton administration. In the intervening years, private handgun ownership has exploded. Many argue, and statistics support the claim, that broader gun ownership has contributed to this stunning reduction in the homicide rate. …


The president is hostage to a fact free brain so David Harsanyi tries to help.

President Barack Obama responded to the horrific shooting at a historic black church in Charleston that left nine dead with an earnest statement—well, other than that contention that was completely untrue.

Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. … We as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.

Let’s set aside the assertion that it’s too easy to obtain guns in America and deal with the implication that we are somehow uniquely violent or that “mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.” The president has made this claim in various ways and with various qualifiers.

Parlez vous Hebdo? Because surely the president recalls that in January of this year two gunmen entered the office of a satirical magazine in France with an assortment of guns and murdered 11 people (and injured 11 more). After leaving, they killed a police officer. And in a marketplace catering to Jews another five were murdered and 11 wounded. France is, allegedly, an advanced country, is it not? Perhaps if Obama had attended the anti-terror rally in Paris like every other leader of advanced countries did, his recollection would be sharper.

It only takes some quick research to discover that rampage killers, acts of terror (as the Charleston shooting most certainly is), school attacks, spree killers are not unique to the United States. …



Ilya Somin writes on the tenth anniversary of the infamous Supreme Court Kelo decision.

June 23 marks the 10th anniversary of Kelo v. City of New London, when the Supreme Court held in a 5-4 ruling that government could use eminent domain to take private property for “economic development.” At issue in the case were 15 homes, including a little pink house owned by Susette Kelo, in the city of New London, Conn., which wanted to transfer the properties to a private nonprofit with plans to revitalize the area. But after the court ruled and the houses were razed (with the exception of Ms. Kelo’s, which was moved at private expense), those plans fell through.

The condemned land remains empty, housing only a few feral cats. After Hurricane Irene in 2011, the city used it as a dumping ground for debris. Yet the first real development since the Supreme Court’s controversial decision might now be on its way: New London Mayor Daryl Finizio, who was elected in 2011 as a critic of the government taking, recently announced a plan to turn the former site of Ms. Kelo’s house into a park that will “serve as a memorial to all those adversely affected by the city’s use of eminent domain.”

It would be a fitting tribute. Although the Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo was consistent with precedent, it was nonetheless a serious error. …

June 22, 2015

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Some of our favorites comment on Trump. Andrew Malcolm is first.

… When was the last time a really rich guy said he wanted to take the presidency from incompetent, untrustworthy pols and restore America’s grandeur? 1992. Ross Perot.

The tiny Texas billionaire with the personal grudge against George H.W. Bush bought his way on to sufficient state ballots to split the conservative vote and hand the White House to — Oh, look! — these same Clintons.


Trump’s very presence on a crowded Republican debate stage with serious contenders not only denies a genuine candidate priceless national exposure. It makes a mockery of those putting themselves through the rigorous selection process of a political party’s leader. And of conscientious voters watching.

Remember now, Trump was an original birther who credits himself with forcing Obama to release his birth certificate. There’s a qualification to occupy the Oval Office, right?

Yes, Trump is a TV/casino/real estate showman. “You’re Fired!” So was Barnum. Both provided popular entertainment. But Barnum focused on harmless hoaxes like the Fiji Mermaid and General Tom Thumb, the “Smallest Person Ever to Walk Alone.” …



Peter Wehner calls Trump a stain on the GOP.

… What, then, could possibly be the attraction of Trump to conservatives? For some, it seems, the attraction is found in the Trump style, which is precisely the concern. Mr. Trump’s announcement speech was rambling, vague, shallow, simplistic, insulting, ad hominem, and self-obsessed. He has no governing agenda and no governing philosophy; all he has is an attitude. And that attitude is crude and off-putting. Trump would be temperamentally and intellectually unqualified to run for the state legislature; running for president is ludicrous. But that’s where we are.

I’m not quite sure what the Republican Party and the conservative movement can do about Trump. If he polls well enough to be invited to participate in the debates, it’s hard to keep him out. Doing so might become a rallying point for him and his supporters. But here’s what I know they shouldn’t do, which is to be sympathetic towards him and his candidacy. Nor should they speak as if Trump has something to useful and constructive to offer. To say, as Fox’s Eric Bolling did, that Trump is “refreshing.” He isn’t.

Donald Trump is a stain on the Republican Party and conservatism, and leaders of the party shouldn’t be afraid to say so.



Michael Gerson says it is politics by hammer.

… Trump’s policy agenda is too skeletal or absurd to analyze. He will pick better generals to defeat the Islamic State. He will slap a 25 percent tariff on Chinese goods. He will build a wall across the continent and make Mexico pay for it.

There is little chance that Trump will have much influence when votes are tallied — even the most celebrity-blinded Republican is unlikely to forget Trump’s political contributions to Harry Reid — but there is plenty of time for mischief between now and then. And the largest risk, in the end, is not to Republicanism but to populism.

Trump’s form of populism promises not reform but deliverance. The answer to every problem is a leader who can make deals, knock heads and get results. The defects of democracy, in this view, are remedied by the strongman. It is not a coincidence that Trump expresses admiration for Vladimir Putin. “He’s doing a great job,” says Trump, “in rebuilding the image of Russia and also rebuilding Russia, period.”

This is populism as Caesarism. The fact that Trump is laughable in the role of Caesar does not make the argument less pernicious. And it tells you a lot about the blind anger of the anti-establishment right that Rush Limbaugh is more favorable to Donald Trump than to Jeb Bush.



Jonathan Tobin says Trump means the GOP has joined the circus. 

If you thought the 2016 Republican presidential race was going to be a sober affair, Donald Trump had other ideas. Trump jumped into the GOP race today with a long rant in which he boasted of his prowess as a negotiator and dismissed his competitors as a bunch of unintelligent losers who deserve to be thrown off a game show. It was a characteristically bizarre as well as an oddly compelling piece of political theater. But rather than attempting to analyze the laundry list of positions on the issues that he put forward in his speech, pundits would do better to ask whether Trump really intends to spend the next several months attempting to win the Republican nomination. If Trump is prepared to invest the time and the considerable personal wealth he has at his disposal in this enterprise, then the attitude toward his candidacy should not be limited to the mixture of dismay and mockery with which it was greeted by most of the press. A clownish, albeit opinionated celebrity, Trump doesn’t deserve serious consideration from the voters. But his presence will disrupt the race in ways that we can’t predict. Like it or not, if he meant what he said today, the Republican Party has just joined the Donald Trump circus.

Given Trump’s history as publicity hound rather than an actual office seeker, it’s entirely possible that this announcement was, like his past flirtations with presidential runs, merely a stunt that will soon be retracted. If so, the rest of the GOP field will breathe a sigh of relief. Though not even the least interesting or intelligent of the Republican presidential wannabes need fear a comparison with Trump as a potential commander-in-chief, they should all be worried about the way the developer/television personality has of sucking the oxygen out of a room. …



Last, but not least, we have Kevin Williamson continuing his evisceration of the Donald.

… Trump brings out two of the Right’s worst tendencies: the inability to distinguish between entertainers and political leaders, and the habit of treating politics as an exercise in emotional vindication.

Whatever Trump’s appeal is to the Right’s populist elements, it isn’t policy. He is a tax-happy crony capitalist who is hostile to free trade but very enthusiastic about using state violence to homejack private citizens — he backed the Kelo decision “100 percent” and has tried to use eminent domain in the service of his own empire of vulgarity — and generally has about as much command of the issues as the average sophomore at a not especially good college, which is what he was (sorry, Fordham) until his family connections got him into Penn.

If it’s not the issues, it’s certainly not the record of the man himself. Never mind that he’s a crony capitalist, he’s not even an especially good crony capitalist: The casino racket is protected from competition by a strict cartel-oriented licensing regime, but Trump, being the type of businessman who could bankrupt a mint, managed to be the biggest loser in Atlantic City, which is no small feat. He is a lifelong supporter of Democratic politicians, including Chuck Schumer and, awkwardly, the woman against whom he is pretending to run: Hillary Rodham Clinton. He is dishonest (“Oh, he lies a great deal,” said architect and collaborator Philip Johnson) and has shown himself to be a bad bet for bankers, business partners, and wives, among others.

“But he speaks his mind!” shout the Trumpkins. Indeed, he does, in a practically stream-of-consciousness fashion: His announcement speech was like Finnegans Wake as reimagined by an unlettered person with a short attention span. The value of speaking one’s mind depends heavily on the mind in question, and Trump’s is second-rate. …

June 21, 2015

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Two Eyes Watching has more on the newly discovered link between the brain and the immune system.

In last week’s issue of Nature, researchers led by University of Virginia neuroscientist Jony Kipnis describe their discovery of lymphatic vessels in the tissues beneath a mouse’s skull. Their observation was unexpected, to say the least. Lymphatic vessels complement the body’s blood vessels, carrying immune cells throughout the body instead of blood. But for decades, researchers had assumed that the lymphatic system stopped short of the brain. Kipnis’ team’s discovery turns that assumption on its head. “They’ll have to change the textbooks,” Kevin Lee, PhD, chairman of the UVA Department of Neuroscience, recounted telling his colleaguesupon hearing of their finding.

The science linking the brain and the body has come a long way in the past decade. Disorders like autism are anecdotally associated with gastrointestinal problems in children, and mouse models of autism have been empirically associated with the balance of their gut microbes. Similarly, an over-reacting immune system is associated with autism-like behaviors in mice, and can even transform strep throat into a psychiatric illness called PANDAS, a deceivingly cuddly acronym that stands for pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococci.

But how are gut microbes, the immune system, and neurons connected in the first place? Until recently, this was anyone’s bet. …



From Debrief Daily, a member of AA takes exception to the poor press the group is receiving.

… It seems every few years a new study comes out saying how Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t effective, or is a cult, or that something else has come along that is better. I’m not going to link to them, but they’re easily found online. I’m only here to share my own experience, since that’s the only thing that I can speak on with any authority. YMMV and all that.

To say I was a mess when I arrived in AA would be an understatement. If you’re interested in what got me to AA in the first place, you can read it all here. So any amount of hope was a welcomed change of pace. And I got that hope in AA. The hope that maybe I wouldn’t die drunk in the streets, or worse yet crud away like one of those old drunks you see. “But isn’t AA a cult?” you ask? It might be. I’ve never been in a cult. I will say that AA doesn’t fit the full definition of a cult, in that the requested behavior isn’t what I would call “deviant”. They ask that I not drink, turn my life over to god as I understand god, and help others do the same. Let’s look at their own description for a minute:

Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.

Oh yeah, the god thing. This is the hangup I most often see. …



Mental Floss has a list of 15 amazing things aluminum foil can do. Pickerhead says it’s still not bacon which can do anything.

Aluminum foil is more than just a handy way to wrap leftovers. The thin metal sheets are all-purpose powerhouses around the house, ready to help you with your cooking, cleaning, laundry, and even home decorating. There are plenty of unusual ways to put foil to use. You can use it as a …

1. Dish scrubber

When the rough side of your sponge isn’t enough for set-in grease and food remains, use a balled-up piece of foil to wipe your baking dishes clean. Foil works just as well on a dirty grill. 

2. Scissor sharpener 

Fold a piece of aluminum foil several times. Cut a few straight lines through the foil with your dull scissors. This cleans and sharpens the blade, sort of like a razor strop. …



So where do hummingbirds go in the winter? Garden and Gun has answers.

Where do they go? It’s what every Southern gardener wonders at some point after the ruby-throated hummingbirds disappear. These “glittering garments of the rainbow,” as John James Audubon called them, delight us all summer not only with their beauty, but also with their antics. They’re better than daytime drama. They are the bold and the beautiful, the young and the restless. Despite their appearance on genteel needlepoint pillows, they are not genteel. Despite eating sugar water, they are not sweet. At home in Oxford, Mississippi, I love to watch the dominant male who perches in our Bradford pear, hidden among the leaves, waiting for another hummer to even think about sipping his nectar. Should one try, he zings after it and bullies it off, then loops back to his perch and resettles himself with a cartoonish fluffing of his throat gorget. But round about time the maples start to redden and Ole Miss has started conference play, I realize we haven’t seen him in a day or two. And the feeder activity is definitely lighter. Then, a week later, the hummers have disappeared entirely. Long after the last sugar water has been dumped and the feeders washed and stored, the question remains. Where do they go?

As it turns out, they go exactly where many of us would go: due south for the winter. In late summer, the rubythroats start drifting down through North America, and when they reach the Gulf states, they linger. They gorge until they’ve doubled their weight, to roughly a nickel’s worth. Then they lift off one evening and fly through the night without stopping, a trip of five hundred miles, to winter in Mexico and Central America. Their migratory route appears to be hardwired into the genetic codes packed inside their BB-size brains. …

June 18, 2015

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Victor Davis Hanson in an essay points out the politics and hypocrisy of the left’s charges of racism and sexism.

… Certainly, few on the left worried much about the slurs against Sarah Palin during and after her vice-presidential run. America’s overclass in the media and leftist politics constructed a sexist portrait of a clueless white-trash mom in Wasilla, Alaska, mindlessly having lots of kids after barely graduating from the University of Idaho. …

… The Black Caucus rarely if ever comes to the defense of Justice Clarence Thomas when, periodically, liberal commentators suggest that he was and is unqualified, and is largely a token black conservative. No one suggests that the New York Times is on an anti-Latino crusade against Marco Rubio in trying to fashion a story of recklessness from the paltry evidence of his receiving one traffic ticket every four years. … 

… Would Elizabeth Warren really have become a Harvard law professor had she not, during her long years of academic ascent, identified herself (at least privately, on universities’ pedigree forms) as a Native American? Ward Churchill, with his beads and Indian get-up, won a university career that otherwise might have been scuttled by his mediocrity, his pathological untruths, and his aberrant behavior. Why would the current head of the NAACP in Spokane, Wash., a white middle-class woman named Rachel Dolezal, go to the trouble of faking a genealogy, using skin cosmetics and hair styling, and constructing false racist enemies to ensure that she was accepted as a victimized black woman?

The obvious inference is that Ms. Dolezal assumed that being a liberal black woman brought with it career opportunities in activist groups and academia otherwise beyond her reach as a middle-class white female of so-so talent. …

… Poor George Zimmerman. His last name stereotyped him as some sort of Germanic gun nut. But had he just ethnicized his maternal half-Afro Peruvian identity and reemerged as Jorgé Mesa, Zimmerman would have largely escaped charges of racism. He should have taken a cue from Barack Obama, who sometime in his late teens at OccidentalCollege discovered that the exotic nomenclature of Barack Obama radiated a minority edge, in a way that the name of his alter ego, Barry Soetoro, apparently never quite had. …

… Fourth, sexism and racism are abstractions of the liberal elite that rarely translate into praxis. Barack Obama could have done symbolic wonders for the public schools by taking his kids out of Sidwell Friends and putting them into the D.C. school system. Elizabeth Warren could have cemented her feminist populist fides by vowing to stop flipping houses. Feminist Bill Clinton could have renounced all affairs with female subordinates. Eric Holder could have vowed never to use government jets to take his kids to horse races. In solidarity with co-eds struggling with student loans, Hillary Clinton could have promised to limit her university speaking fees to a thousand dollars per minute rather than the ten thousand dollars for each 60 seconds of chatting that she actually gets, and she might have prefaced her public attacks on hedge funds by dressing down her son-in-law. …



Some of our favorites have comments on Rachel Dolezal – the fake black. Peter Wehner is first.

There is something comedic and pathetic about the story of Rachel Dolezal. Ms. Dolezal, 37, is the president of the NAACP local chapter in Spokane, Washington and a part-time Africana Studies professor at EasternWashingtonUniversity. It turns out that after claiming for years that she was black – including on applications, posting pictures on a Facebook page of an African-American man she falsely claimed was her father, and insisting that her adopted brother (who is black) was her child – Ms. Dolezal is actually white. Her birth certificate proves it. And her biological parents, Ruthanne and Lawrence Dolezal, have confirmed it.

“Rachel has wanted to be somebody she’s not. She’s chosen not to just be herself but to represent herself as an African American woman or a biracial person. And that’s simply not true,” Ruthanne Dolezal said. Her mother said Rachel began to “disguise herself” in 2006 or 2007.

This interview shows Dolezal being caught in her lie. It also seems quite likely that her claim that she’s received racially motivated hate letters and pictures was a ruse. (Police are still investigating, but say that whoever placed the mail must have had access to the mailbox, as it was not processed through the regular mail.) …



Jonathan Tobin is next.  

… it is precisely the sort of race-baiting activism that Dolezal (who was an active participant in the Baltimore protests over the killing of a black man by the police) has engaged in that makes such a goal unattainable. Ironically, rather than working to create a post-racial society in which the barriers between the races are demolished, Dolezal and many of her adopted comrades in what now styles itself the civil rights movement seek to entrench the divides between us and even to enshrine them in law. It is the advocates of affirmative action and other counter-productive race entitlements that hold onto the notion that America is a country primarily motivated by old hatreds long after such notions have become marginal or altogether discarded. Rather than the virtually non-existent supporters of Jim Crow being the problem, it is the Al Sharptons and their lesser-known acolytes such as Dolezal who do the most to render us a nation divided by race in 2015. …



John Hinderaker quotes a comment to one his Power Line posts.

… Maybe there is a silver lining to the Rachel Dolezal / Sen. Elizabeth Warren race frauds. If racial identity and gender identity have become matters of personal preference, i.e., how you choose to identify yourself is how the world should treat you, then the entire race-based / gender-based affirmative action apparatus could be brought to its knees. Suppose all the Asian students denied admission to Harvard decided to check the “African-American” box on their applications, instead of the “Asian” box? When challenged, they would simply say, “Well, I always felt more African-American than Asian; heck, I’ve never even been to Asia.” Suppose every single “White” or “Asian” student randomly checked a “Latino,” “African-American” or “Native-American” box on their applications? How would the affirmative-action apparatus sort out what the applicant’s “real” races are? Would they administer blood tests? Demand photographs (which would be far from conclusive)? How would they deal with the ever-increasing numbers of applicants with mixed racial origins?

If self-declaration is all that’s necessary, then why shouldn’t all students declare the “race” that maximizes their chances of admission? A mass protest of this nature would expose the affirmative-action apparatus for what it is: a quota system based upon self-proclaimed ethnic origin. What if an entire class of high-school seniors all agreed to check the same box, as a form of protest? “We’re all Native Americans, here!” What would the race-baiters do? …



Kevin Williamson writes on the Trump entrance in a piece titled “Witless Ape Rides Escalator.”

… Donald Trump, being Donald Trump, announced his candidacy at TrumpPlaza, making a weird grand entrance via escalator — going down, of course, the symbolism of which is lost on that witless ape. But who could witness that scene — the self-made man who started with nothing but a modest portfolio of 27,000 New York City properties acquired by his millionaire slumlord father, barely out of his latest bankruptcy and possibly headed for another one as the casino/jiggle-joint bearing his name sinks into the filthy mire of the one U.S. city that makes Las Vegas look respectable, a reality-television grotesque with his plastic-surgery-disaster wife, grunting like a baboon about our country’s “brand” and his own vast wealth — and not see the peerless sign of our times?

On the substance, Trump is — how to put it gently? Oh, why bother! — an ass. Not just an ass, but an ass of exceptionally intense asininity. China? “China’s leaders are like Tom Brady, and the U.S. is like a high-school football team,” Trump says. And so, we should do what? …

… We’ve been to this corner of Crazytown before. If we’re going to have a billionaire dope running for the presidency, I prefer Ross Perot and his cracked tales of Vietnamese hit squads dispatched to take him out while Lee Atwater plotted to crash his daughter’s wedding with phonied-up lesbian sex pictures. …



Speaking of crackpots, Bjørn Lomborg has ideas about how Pope Ignoramus could really help the poor. 

Pope Francis’s concern for the poor is clear, so it is understandable that climate change is the topic of his forthcoming Encyclical — a Papal letter that is sent out to the world. Climate change will hit the most destitute people first and worst.

But the Pope after his letter is officially published, he should tread carefully. The climate policies of today will do little for the poor.

A cruel truth is that almost every significant challenge on Earth hits the poor more than the wealthy: hunger, a lack of clean drinking water, malaria, indoor air pollution. The question then is how we make the most difference for the most vulnerable.

A reasonable starting point is to listen to the world’s citizens. A United Nations survey of 7.5 million people found that many other issues are deemed more urgent. The top priorities were education, health, jobs, corruption and nutrition. Of 16 problems, the climate was rated the lowest priority.

One reason may be that today’s climate policies themselves have a cost, which predominantly hits the poor.

Cuts in electricity consumption require price hikes that hurt the worst-off and elderly. Relying on expensive green energy sources like wind and solar power makes electricity pricier and less available for those who desperately need it.

The biggest problem with today’s climate change policies is that they will cost a fortune for very little good. …



The cartoonists have fun with the two frauds – Rachel Dolezal and Donald.

June 17, 2015

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John Fund writes on the expected summer of our discontent.

It’s hard to get 96 percent of people to agree on anything, but last month’s Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that 96 percent of those surveyed believe we are in for a summer of racial unrest. In the wake of Ferguson and Baltimore, it’s time for some reflection on how we got here.

This year marks two significant anniversaries. In August 1965, the Watts riots broke out in Los Angeles, leading to 34 deaths and $300 million in property damage. Coming after the passage of well-intentioned Great Society welfare programs, the riots made clear that government spending wasn’t going to solve all the problems of urban America.

Indeed, another 50th anniversary we mark this year is that of a seminal work that helped explain why government would be no panacea: Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s “The Negro Family: A Call for National Action.” Published in 1965 and known as “the Moynihan Report,” it burst many bubbles of liberal thinking.

After analyzing reams of relevant social-science research, Moynihan concluded that the decline of the two-parent family was fueling the growth of poverty and unemployment, and leading to rising crime rates in black neighborhoods and schools without discipline.

“At the heart of the deterioration of the fabric of Negro society is the deterioration of the Negro family. It is the fundamental source of the weakness of the Negro community at the present time,” Moynihan argued. Families that consisted solely of single female parents weakened the role of black men as authority figures in the lives of children. Moynihan also warned: “The steady expansion of welfare programs, as of public assistance programs in general, can be taken as a measure of the steady disintegration of the Negro family structure over the past generation in the United States.”

Sadly, as soon as Moynihan’s report was leaked to the media, it came under withering assault from his fellow liberals. …

… We cannot ignore culture. “The poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits every year since 1994,” the economist Thomas Sowell has noted. “Behavior matters and facts matter, more than the prevailing social visions or political empires built on those visions.” …




Heather Mac Donald has more on the people who try to explain away the new crime wave in our cities.

I recently observed in these pages that violent crime is rising sharply in many cities. Having spoken with police officers and commanders, I hypothesized that the growing reluctance of cops to engage in proactive policing may help explain the spike in violent crime. The past nine months have seen unprecedented antipolice agitation dedicated to the proposition that bias infects policing in predominantly black communities, a message echoed at the highest reaches of government and the media. Officers in urban areas are encountering high levels of resistance and hostility when they try to make an arrest.

Faced with the prospect of ending up in a widely distributed video if an arrest goes awry, and possibly being indicted, officers tell me that they are increasingly reluctant to investigate suspicious behavior. St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson last fall called the relationship between decreased enforcement and increased crime the “Ferguson effect.” I noted that if it continues the primary victims will be the millions of law-abiding residents of inner-city neighborhoods who rely on police to keep order.

A sharply critical response from some quarters greeted the article. It belonged to a “long line of conservative efforts to undermine racial equality,” wrote ColumbiaUniversity law professor Bernard Harcourt in the Guardian, decrying the article as “crime fiction” intended to undermine “the country’s newest civil rights movement.” Charles Blow of the New York Times called me a “fear-mongering iron fist-er” who was using “racial pathology arguments” and “smearing the blood running in the street onto the hands holding the placards.” The article was part of a “growing backlash against police reform,” an attempt to “shame people who dare to speak up about police abuse,” wrote journalist Radley Balko in the Washington Post. …




Thomas Sowell shows how the left is promoting “micro-totalitarianism.”

… Word games are just one of the ways of silencing politically incorrect ideas, instead of debating them. Demands that various conservative organizations be forced to reveal the names of their donors are another way of silencing ideas by intimidating people who facilitate the spread of those ideas. Whatever the rationale for wanting those names, the implicit threat is retaliation.

This same tactic was used, decades ago, by Southern segregationists who tried to force black civil rights organizations to reveal the names of their donors, in a situation where retaliation might have included violence as well as economic losses.

In a sense, the political left’s attempts to silence ideas they cannot, or will not, debate are a confession of intellectual bankruptcy. But this is just one of the left’s ever-increasing restrictions on other people’s freedom to live their lives as they see fit, rather than as their betters tell them.

Current attempts by the Obama administration to force low-income housing to be built in middle class and upscale communities are on a par with forcing people to buy the kind of health insurance the government wants them to buy — ObamaCare — rather than leaving them free to buy whatever suits their own situation and preferences.

The left is not necessarily aiming at totalitarianism. But their know-it-all mindset leads repeatedly and pervasively in that direction, even if by small steps, each of which might be called “micro-totalitarianism.”




During celebrations of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, George Will points out the 1803 SCOTUS decision of Marbury v. Madison was part of the picket fence of defenses of the original document. 

Americans should light 800 candles for the birthday of the document that began paving the meandering path to limited government. Magna Carta laid down the law about “fish weirs” on English rivers, “assizes of darrein presentment,” people being “distrained to make bridges,” and other “liberties. . . to hold in our realm of England in perpetuity.” But what King John accepted at Runnymede meadow on June 15, 1215, matters to Americans because of something that happened 588 years later in the living room of Stelle’s Hotel in Washington, where the Library of Congress now sits.

Although the “great charter” purported to establish certain rights in “perpetuity,” almost everything in it has been repealed or otherwise superseded. Magna Carta led to parliamentary supremacy (over the sovereign — the king or queen) but not to effective limits on government. The importance of the document was its assertion that the sovereign’s will could be constrained.