Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The same thing everywhere you go

Reporting from Australia, where the leftish Labor Party went down to an ignominious defeat over the weekend, Claire Lehmann sees some familiar behaviors:
Progressive politicians like to assume that, on election day at least, blue-collar workers and urban progressives will bridge their differences, and make common cause to support leftist economic policies. This assumption might once have been warranted. But it certainly isn’t now—in large part because the intellectuals, activists and media pundits who present the most visible face of modern leftism are the same people openly attacking the values and cultural tastes of working and middle-class voters. And thanks to social media (and the caustic news-media culture that social media has encouraged and normalized), these attacks are no longer confined to dinner-party titterings and university lecture halls. Brigid Delaney, a senior writer for Guardian Australia, responded to Saturday’s election result with a column about how Australia has shown itself to be “rotten.” One well-known Australian feminist and op-ed writer, Clementine Ford, has been fond of Tweeting sentiments such as “All men are scum and must die.” Former Australian Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane, who also has served as a high-profile newspaper columnist, argues that even many mainstream political positions—such as expressing concern about the Chinese government’s rising regional influence—are a smokescreen for racism.
Rotten. Scum, Racist. Yeah, that's all quite familiar. If you actually engage on social media, you're likely to be called all those things, whether you're Down Under or in a coffee shop in Linden Hills. Haters are more likely to let their freak flags fly these days and while it's no long astonishing to see it, the ferocity still can bring you up short. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Fair questions

You may have heard that Rep. Justin Amash, R-Michigan, is now calling for Bad Orange Man's impeachment. If you have followed Amash's career, you are likely aware that he is best known for being a libertarian of the Ron Paul stripe.

So how do you square that philosophy with supporting the Big State behavior of Trump's tormentors? Not sure you can, really. A few other relevant questions from Liz Sheld:
One more thing, J-Am, where are your libertarian principles regarding illegal surveillance on American citizens? On Illegal FISA warrants, national security letters, human intelligence assets being placed around a political campaign by the unelected political bureaucracy? The jack-booted fedgov strong-arming people to plead to process crimes? U cool with that bro, because TRUMP?
I would bet Amash won't answer those questions. But he should, because a principled politician (I know, I know) would have greater concerns over the behavior of the government before and after Trump took office. Amash may be many things, but he's not a libertarian if he's cool with what happened to candidate Trump.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Still alive

A few quick updates and ruminations from the blogger:

  • Things are picking up on the job search a bit -- I feel confident I will be back in the saddle soon. More as I know more.
  • We were back in St. Louis earlier in the week to bring Fearless Maria back for the summer. We would definitely like to have the state of Iowa physically removed from the trip. It's 566 miles each way from our house to the campus. That's a lot of driving.
  • Politics continue to meander, but I sense AG Barr is starting to frighten the correct people. That's an encouraging sign. Let's see if they do anything more than identify the miscreants. If Roger Stone gets a no-knock nighttime raid, James Comey really ought to have one, too.
  • Or better yet, let's get rid of no-knock nighttime raids altogether, please? This Gestapo stuff really needs to end.
  • As expected, the citizenry of Minnesota and Wisconsin both have big-time buyer's remorse concerning their respective governors. It's worth remembering; even if you don't like Bad Orange Man, he's not likely to do much more than irritate your sensibilities. Democrats like to take your things.
  • Fear the Deer.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Doris Day, RIP

97 years old. Quite a run.

"My last picture for Warners was Romance on the High Seas. It was Doris Day's first picture; that was before she became a virgin."

-- Oscar Levant

A world long gone. RIP.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Rejected Prince Archie Baby Names

Spaghetti Day
in One Hour (at Walgreens)
Bel Air
New Power Generation

Add your own in the comments!

Friday, May 03, 2019

Open thread

Lake Johanna, Arden Hills, MN

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Dirty Cop Barr

I saw a little of the circus up on Capitol Hill yesterday, in which various half-witted Democratic senators (redundant, I suppose) tried to turn Attorney General William Barr into an international supervillain. I thought to myself --

  • they don't really believe any of their claims, but 
  • they need to get the narrative rolling right away, because 
  • when Barr starts indicting people, they will then be able to claim he's a Trump stooge, and 
  • that Hillary Clinton in particular needed to have that narrative in the air

As usual, Victor Davis Hanson got there first, with a list of useful reminders:
Russians likely fed salacious but untrue allegations about Trump to ex-British spy Christopher Steele, who was being paid in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to find dirt on Trump.

The Russians rightly assumed that Steele would lap up their fantasies, seed them among Trump-hating officials in the Barack Obama administration and thereby cause hysteria during the election, the transition and, eventually, the Trump presidency.

Russia succeeded in sowing such chaos, thanks ultimately to Clinton, who likely had broken federal laws by using a British national and, by extension, Russian sources to warp an election. Without the fallacious Steele dossier, the entire Russian collusion hoax never would have taken off.
100% true statement. Back to Hanson:
Without Steele's skullduggery, there likely would have been no Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court-approved surveillance of Trump aide Carter Page. There might have been no FBI plants inserted into the Trump campaign. There might have been no subsequent leaking to the press of classified documents to prompt a Trump collusion investigation.

Given the Steele travesty and other past scandals, it is inexplicable that Clinton has not been indicted.
It is. But her luck could be running out soon, despite the 20-screen multiplex of project emanating from Cory Booker, Mazie Hirono, Kamala Harris, et al. Why? Back to Hanson:
For much of her professional life, Hillary Clinton had acted above and beyond the law on the assumption that as the wife of a governor, as first lady of the United States, as a senator from New York, as secretary of state and as a two-time candidate for the presidency, she could ignore the law without worry over the consequences.

For Clinton now to project that the president should be indicted suggests she is worried about her own potential indictment. And she is rightly concerned that for the first time in 40 years, neither she nor her husband is serving in government or running for some office, and therefore could be held accountable.
Thus, she and her patrons must turn William Barr into a dirty cop. The alternative?

Monday, April 29, 2019

Hear the children/Don't turn around oh oh oh

It's great fun to be a commissar, Megan McArdle reminds us:
Revolutionaries and reformers, working from outside the system, can't force people to renounce wrong-think by threatening to strip them of their livelihoods and drum them out of the public square. Those weapons are available only to the powers-that-be.

To advocate such tactics is therefore to admit that you are no longer fighting the system, but that you are the system -- that in the centers of cultural production, at least, Rosa Luxemburg is giving way to the commissars, and Martin Luther to the Grand Inquisitor.
McArdle is referencing recent events at Middlebury College, but she could have just as easily used any number of other liberal arts colleges, including my own alma mater. To get a sense of what's going on, consider the demands of the Middlebury student government:
Any organization or academic department that invites a speaker to campus will be required to fill out a due diligence form created by the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in coordination with the SGA Institutional Diversity Committee. These questions should be created to determine whether a speaker’s beliefs align with Middlebury’s community standards, removing the burden of researching speakers from the student body.
Heterodox opinions need not apply. There's more:
Additionally, administrators will ask Faculty Council to require all academic departments to have Student Advisory Boards which will have access to a list of speakers invited by the department at least a month in advance. The Student Advisory Boards’ purpose will be to ask the student body for potential community input when necessary.
They won't really be asking, though.

One tradition that many schools have is to assign a book to all incoming freshmen. I might suggest future Middlebury students ought to be given a copy of Lord of the Flies and a mirror. But in the meantime, there is the matter of all the undergrad commissars and their enforcement of woke orthodoxy. Back to McArdle:
Woke-ism may have some of the emotional tenor of church, but it lacks the supernatural beliefs and cohesive ritual of a real faith.

As for cultural socialism ... what could "collective ownership of the means of production" mean when applied to culture, which is collectively produced now and always has been?

I suspect that both sides are searching for a different word, one associated with both religion and Marxism: What they are trying to describe is an orthodoxy, a received wisdom enforced not by argument but by social, economic or even violent coercion.
So how do you enforce it?
Existing orthodoxies are largely self-enforcing, transmitted by a million little social signals you absorb without noticing.

Adopting a new orthodoxy, however, is messy. And while the new orthodoxy gropes toward its final shape, people living under it experience a special, debilitating terror: the fear that anything you say might be held against you, that what is mandatory today might be forbidden tomorrow, with ex post facto justice meted out to anyone who failed to anticipate the change.
It's a clear case, Herr Kommissar
'Cause all the children know
They're all slidin' down into the valley
They're all slipping on the same snow

Alles klar? 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Ask an expert

The pot calling out the kettle:

It's going to be so sweet when Trump declassifies everything. And I remain convinced he will.

The Iger Sanction

Or, more properly, sanctioning someone who finds Disney honcho Bob Iger, well, icky. Take it away, Matthew Continetti:
If it were not for her last name, Abigail Disney would be just another alumna of Yale (B.A.), Stanford (M.A.), and Columbia (PhD) living in Manhattan. No one would pay SJmuch attention to her opinions, none of them especially unique or different from others shared by her class. But she is a Disney, dammit, and in America in the twenty-first century we must heed the rich and privileged, especially if they parrot the left wing of the Democratic Party. 
Abigail doesn't like money, you see. Well, making money. She's cool with her trust fund, but Iger is a businessman doing business and that won't do:
"I like Bob Iger," she wrote in a Twitter rant this week. "I do NOT speak for my family but only for myself." And she has nothing to do with the company other than holding shares "(not that many)." But Iger's compensation in 2018 of $65.6 million is "insane." Someone has to "speak out about the naked indecency" of it all, she wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post, a newspaper owned by the richest man on Earth. 
Is Iger worth $65.6 million? Apparently so, since the Disney board of directors gladly paid it to him. Considering Disney's market cap has gone up by $25 billion on his watch, he seems to have a talent for creating value. But it's indecent to do that, you see.

Limousine liberals are, for my money, the most annoying subspecies you can find. Continetti does a fine job of illuminating what's inside the limo. Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

This seems significant

Judicial Watch strikes again:
Judicial Watch announced today that a senior FBI official admitted, in writing and under oath, that the agency found Clinton email records in the Obama White House, specifically, the Executive Office of the President. The FBI also admitted nearly 49,000 Clinton server emails were reviewed as result of a search warrant for her material on the laptop of Anthony Weiner.

E.W. (Bill) Priestap, assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division, made the disclosure to Judicial Watch as part of court-ordered discovery into the Clinton email issue.
There's more:
Priestap was asked by Judicial Watch to identify representatives of Hillary Clinton, her former staff, and government agencies from which “email repositories were obtained.” Priestap responded with the following non-exhaustive list: 
Bryan Pagliano
Cheryl Mills
Executive Office of the President [Emphasis added]
Heather Samuelson
Jacob Sullivan
Justin Cooper
United States Department of State
United States Secret Service
Williams & Connolly LLP 
Priestap also testifies that 48,982 emails were reviewed as a result of a warrant for Clinton email account information from the laptop of Anthony Weiner, who had been married to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
All the screaming about impeachment, especially now, is a distraction. Watch the show.


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