Friday, August 31, 2018

If what Archbishop Viganò claims is true... part two

In the face of continuing non-denial denials from the Vatican, Paul Rahe advances the story:
In the last few weeks, we have received further evidence of the power of the prelate-pederasts. A grand jury convened in Pennsylvania has revealed that Donald Wuerl, while bishop of Pittsburgh, covered up a priest-run child-porn ring and a host of other abuse cases involving something on the order of 100 priests, using the age-old trick of pay-offs and non-disclosure agreements. This did not stop him from being named archbishop of Washington DC and of being made a cardinal — which is to say, a Prince of the Church.

He was not even high on the list of possible nominees submitted by the Papal Nuncio. Someone powerful in the Vatican wanted him promoted, and Pope Francis responded to the news of his guilt not by ordering an investigation into Wuerl’s promotion, but with a dodge — by attributing collective guilt to us all.
We all are sinners, but collective guilt is something else entirely. But there's more -- back to Rahe:
In the meantime, Monsignor Jean-Francois Lantheaume, former first counsellor at the apostolic nunciature in Washington D.C. has emerged to confirm that Viganò‘s predecessor had been instructed to confine McCarrick by Pope Benedict, that he had witnessed the confrontation with McCarrick, and that everything else that Viganò had said was true. To this, we must add that Viganò named names in the Vatican, specifying which high officials had obstructed the investigation into McCarrick’s conduct.

As all of this suggests, we are now at a turning point. The Lavender Mafia controls the papacy and the Vatican overall, and Pope Francis is packing the College of Cardinals, who will elect the next pope, with sympathizers. Pope Francis and his minions have now been exposed, named, and shamed; and there will be a civil war within the Roman Catholic Church.

Either Francis leaves and his supporters and clients are purged, or the church is conceded to those who for decades have sheltered and promoted the pederasts and those who regard their abuse of minors as an indifferent matter. It is time that those bishops, archbishops, and cardinals who are innocent of such conduct stand up and force a house-cleaning. In the meantime, the laity should speak up loud and clear.
I need to know more, but I'm definitely clearing my throat. There's a lot more at the link. It's worth your time.

Thursday, August 30, 2018


The bitter end:
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has reportedly not been invited to attend funeral services for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), her onetime running mate.

NBC News reported Wednesday that Palin had not been invited. A source within the Palin family told NBC News that “out of respect to Senator McCain and his family we have nothing to add at this point.” 
As a reminder:
A parting lesson in American civility from Sen. John McCain lies in the roster of leaders he personally selected to pay tribute at his memorial service Saturday at the National Cathedral.

It was a day in early April when Barack Obama received an unexpected call from McCain, who was battling brain cancer and said he had a blunt question to ask: Would you deliver one of the eulogies at my funeral?
Palin has always been loyal to John McCain. Obama trashed him. That's how civility works, folks.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Home Truth

Victor Davis Hanson, on why Never Trump is a mug's game, especially for its most visible practitioners:
Republicans who for two years have made the argument that Trump’s personal downsides have outweighed his otherwise conservative agenda, or that his unorthodox ideas on trade and immigration nullify his judicial appointments and tax and deregulation record, will not suddenly be called in to nurse a Republican Phoenix to arise out of the Trump ashes.

At least 85 to 90 percent of the Republican party disagrees with Never Trump absolutism. Fair or not, the so-called Never Trumpers would be as likely to be blamed for their nonstop ankle-biting of a deposed Trump as they are to be cited as prescient in warning of the ultimate wages of his sins.

It is also likely that MSNBC, CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times would view Never Trumpers in the fashion that MSNBC once saw Pat Buchanan after the end of the Bush presidency, the successful Iraq surge, and the ascendency of Barack Obama: a once-expedient conservative resource to fuel Bush opposition, but no longer needed or wanted after his utility was over, and so to be gradually eased out once a suitable illiberal pretext could be found.

While it is desirable for liberal organs to have a “conservative” writing 24/7 about the evils of Trump, it is not of much value, once the evils of Trump are ostensibly gone. In other words, in a post-Trump world, many of the Never Trump Republicans would likely be faced with either becoming permanent converts to the liberal cause or being orphaned from their once-welcoming liberal friends and current coveted progressive billets.
The name on the byline might say Kristol, or French, or Will, or Sykes, but the real name is Charmin.

Anyone heard?

I was wondering how that investigation of Keith Ellison is going. Although I suspect the real question is where it's going.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

If what Archbishop Viganò claims is true. . .

. . . the implications are enormous. Writing for The American Conservative, Rod Dreher sums it up:
If it’s true, though, then we have to see conservative Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano’s statement over the weekend as a nuclear bomb going off in the enemy’s capital.

Vigano said openly the kinds of things that Catholic conservatives have said privately for years. He has told tales out of school. Some defenders of Pope Francis are questioning Vigano’s motivations for doing so, but no questions about his reasons are remotely as important as this one: “Is Vigano telling the truth?”

A source reported to me recently that a prominent journalist in Francis’s circles had been saying that the McCarrick scandal had the potential to make the Church “implode.” I didn’t understand how that could happen, but now that Vigano has published, it makes sense. McCarrick is a condensed symbol of the entire web of sexual, ecclesial, and financial corruption spread throughout significant portions of the Catholic hierarchy.
The corruption began many years ago. We've been watching a modified limited hangout for the last twenty years. It never seems to end because too many people are still trying to avoid telling the truth. The linked piece is quite long and includes long passages from other sources, but it's worth your time.

The Tribute

"Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue," said the 17th Century French writer François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld. Conversely, it is apparently incumbent upon the Leader of the Free World to praise the late Senator John McCain, a man who despised the Leader of the Free World, a man who (a) was involved in the promulgation of the Steele Dossier and (b) theatrically cast the deciding vote against Obamacare repeal.

Trump saw no reason to honor a political enemy, until he was essentially forced to do so. You can question Trump on any number of issues; goodness knows I have. On this one, I don't. As I wrote yesterday, McCain may have been a hero in one facet of his life, but that did not mean he was consistently heroic, or even virtuous, throughout his political career. We have lowered the flag to half staff consistently throughout the years and, in many instances, it has been in tribute to scoundrels. In many cases, a flag is lowered to half staff and most of us aren't even sure why.

We will spend the next week honoring a man with an exceedingly complicated legacy. That's fine, but I wish we'd spend less time paying tribute and more time trying to unwind the implications of those legacies.

Monday, August 27, 2018

John McCain, RIP

It's not polite to speak ill of the dead, especially when the decedent has recently earned the mantel of a Good Republican. So be it.

For a guy who demonstrated great valor as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, John McCain had a lot of Stockholm Syndrome in his political career. He claimed to be a conservative and, at times, was one. But he never really challenged the premises of his political opponents and seemed to accept their worldview. He was clearly more comfortable with losing honorably than with winning. I suspect that's because winners get to decide, while losers get to react, and there was always a lot more potential for praise in Washington if you were reacting, rather than deciding. Especially if you reacted in a manner that granted the premises of those you ostensibly opposed. John McCain was a master at this. If you really wanted to see his anger, you had to challenge him from the political right. And if you doubt that John McCain didn't like to be challenged, consider his role in promulgating the odious campaign finance law that bears his name. Free speech, along with every value conservatives hold dear,  was always negotiable.

As far as I know, John McCain never drowned a woman in an Oldsmobile. We have no evidence he was a thief or a sexual predator. That's not enough. I had great respect for the valor of John Glenn, but he was not much of a senator, either. John McCain served his country for his entire life. Longevity and value are not the same thing. I will pray for his family in their time of grief. But I will not miss his political career in the slightest.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Faithful

We've been away a few days and there are countless things to discuss. Where to begin? We'll start here.

The primary order of business was bringing Fearless Maria to college. She is a student at Saint Louis University. She hasn't decided on a major yet, which seems wise inasmuch as she's only beginning her education tomorrow morning. SLU is a lot of things -- it's a mid-sized university with about 8,000 undergraduates. It's a Jesuit institution in a city with a large Catholic presence, but in a state that is part of the Bible Belt. It's a school that spends much of its time teaching its students practical things, with a heavy emphasis on STEM professions, especially in the medical field. It's an ambitious institution with a large endowment, north of a billion dollars, placing it in the top echelon of universities in the United States, although its renown does not match that of similar Catholic colleges such as Georgetown, Notre Dame, or Boston College. It lives in the considerable shadow of its neighbor five miles to the west, Washington University. It's a school that has benefited greatly from the pitched battles for students who seek to go to a top-echelon school, but fall just short for reasons that seem completely arbitrary. SLU lacks the glamor of Georgetown, but the substance of the education will be quite similar. It's also a long way from Minneapolis, every bit of nine hours by car. The city of St. Louis has its issues, but there are ample opportunities there. We are eager to see what happens in the next four years.


We returned to the Twin Cities on Friday and attended Mass at our home parish, St. Rose of Lima in Roseville. The presider at Mass was Archbishop Bernard Hebda, who was there to formally install our new pastor, Fr. Marc Paveglio. It was a lively Mass and it was a rare event to have the Archbishop in your house of worship. Hebda did not avoid the painful subject of clerical abuse, which continues to unfold. Many Catholics have turned away from the Church, but today's Gospel reading, from John 6, spoke directly to the question.

Many of Jesus' disciples who were listening said,
"This saying is hard; who can accept it?"
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, "Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending
to where he was before? 
It is the spirit that gives life,
while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe."
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him. 
And he said,
"For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father."

As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?" 
Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? 
You have the words of eternal life. 
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God."

Emphasis mine. Archbishop Hebda reminded us that we face the same question that Peter had to answer. The Church has made it easy, too easy, for people to leave, to go elsewhere. My sense is many Catholics are not becoming mainline Protestants, either, but rather turning away from organized religion entirely and, too often, turning away from God. I do not mean to diminish the horror of what too many priests and their superiors did to their victims, but the greater sin these men bear is that of turning away the faithful through their actions. Hebda's challenge, which Fr. Paveglio also shares, is to help us face the continuing reckoning, while also ensuring we do not lose faith, that we do not turn away from the promise of eternal life.

And the challenge continues, as today's headlines suggest:
In an extraordinary 11-page written testament, a former apostolic nuncio to the United States has accused several senior prelates of complicity in covering up Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s allegations of sexual abuse, and has claimed that Pope Francis knew about sanctions imposed on then-Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI but chose to repeal them.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, 77, who served as apostolic nuncio in Washington D.C. from 2011 to 2016, said that in the late 2000s, Benedict had “imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis” and that Viganò personally told Pope Francis about those sanctions in 2013.

Archbishop Viganò said in his written statement, simultaneously released to the Register and other media, (see full text below) that Pope Francis “continued to cover” for McCarrick and not only did he “not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on him” but also made McCarrick “his trusted counselor.”  Viganò said that the former archbishop of Washington advised the Pope to appoint a number of bishops in the United States, including Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Newark.

Archbishop Viganò, who said his “conscience dictates” that the truth be known as “the corruption has reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy,” ended his testimony by calling on Pope Francis and all of those implicated in the cover up of Archbishop McCarrick’s abuse to resign.   
By the way, Cardinal Tobin, who has his own issues, replaced Archbishop Hebda, who had been in Newark before Pope Francis sent him to St. Paul-Minneapolis. But let's set that aside for the moment. The real question is this: what do we make of this sensational allegation? Francis, above all else, is supposed to be a reformer, but if Archbishop Viganò is correct, Francis is an active participant in the continuing scandal. And it also raises another question -- what other forces were at play when Benedict XVI stepped aside? 

I have struggled with Francis since he became Pope. In important ways, he's been helping us focus on first principles, especially the importance of joining faith and good works. But in other ways, he's muddied the waters. Discernment is a continuing activity for Catholics; it has to be, really, because unexamined faith withers away. 


I had planned to get to John McCain and the continuing Trump circus, but that's enough for this evening. We'll get back to that and more in the coming days.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Road show

We're heading south today to bring Fearless Maria to college. Likely light posting for the next few days. I did hear there was some news in the Moby Trump pursuit. I suspect the Great Orange Whale will have a countermove or two in the coming days. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Everything leaves, even the Mindset List

So Beloit College's annual excuse to proclaim its existence, The Mindset List, arrived today. With it came some news:
“All good things must come to a conclusion,” notes the Mindset List’s creator Ron Nief, Public affairs director emeritus at Beloit College. This will be the last year that the Mindset List will be associated with Beloit College, but it will continue in the future at or at a new institutional home. “We have enjoyed our 20 plus years of association with Beloit College, where the List began,” said Ron Nief.
As a proud alumnus of Beloit College, I'm sad to see it leave, but at the same time the Mindset List has been played out for a while now. And, as usual, it's been a hodgepodge of nostalgia and questionable assertions. For example, this pair of observations, numbers 3 and 4:
3. They have always been able to refer to Wikipedia.
4. They have grown up afraid that a shooting could happen at their school, too
Have kids really worried that much about school shootings? They've prepared for them, but it's never really been a fear at most places. Or try this pair, numbers 32 and 33:
32. Robert Downey Jr. has always been the sober Iron Man.
33. Exotic animals have always been providing emotional support to passengers on planes.
That second observation is simply not true. You never heard of support animals until a few years ago, although laws were on the books that theoretically supported their existence as far back as the 1970s.  No one was trying to bring a Shetland pony on a plane until quite recently. The first rules about support animals in college dormitories were promulgated in 2013, which you can look up in, well, Wikipedia.

Beloit has hosted other entities in the past that have left, including the Beloit Poetry Journal, a small but highly influential little magazine that moved to Maine over 30 years ago. The Mindset List has been a publicity bonanza for ol' alma mater, but apparently that's over. It will also mean that the List itself will be on a future list, around 2033 or thereabouts.

This makes it easy

So when John Brennan called Donald Trump treasonous, he didn't mean Donald Trump committed treason:
Brennan clarified the comment during an interview Friday, after MSNBC's Rachel Maddow said Brennan said the press conference "rose to treason."

The former CIA director disputed the characterization of his "treason" tweet, saying that he felt compelled to make the comment after Trump sided with Putin's denials of Russia's election interference.

"And for Mr. Trump to so cavalierly so dismiss that, yes, sometimes my Irish comes out and in my tweets," Brennan said.  "And I did say that it rises to and exceeds the level of high crimes and misdemeanors and nothing short of treasonous, because he had the opportunity there to be able to say to the world that this is something that happened."

"And that's why I said it was nothing short of treasonous.  I didn't mean that he committed treason.  But it was a term that I used, nothing short of treasonous," he said.
So Trump does treasonous things but doesn't commit treason when he does treasonous things? All righty, then. In other words, John Brennan will say any damn thing, but don't hold him to it. His opinion means nothing. Proceed accordingly.

Monday, August 20, 2018


Not really a lightning round. Just a few random things:

  • So the DFL is going to try to brazen it out on Ellison. They'd better hope Karen Monahan doesn't have a tape. I expect Tina Smith and maybe even the never-to-be-challenged Amy Klobuchar will get to answer a lot of questions in the coming days. The DFL will have a chance to do some message testing at the State Fair and if it breaks badly, you may yet see some maneuvering.
  • We're getting ready to travel again, as Fearless Maria will begin studies at Saint Louis University next week. SLU has been in the news lately because it will be the first school to put an Amazon Echo Dot in every residence hall room. Is it Big Brother? Is it necessary? I'm guessing students will use the devices here and there, but it would not surprise me at all if most of them are unplugged and thrown in a desk drawer before too long. It's not particularly difficult to get information from other sources, so I'm guessing it won't be a big factor in FM's life.
  • I get the sense that our favorite president (he says so himself) is about to flip the chessboard on the Russia game. That September 1 deadline his attorneys gave Robert Mueller has a larger meaning, I suspect. It could get interesting.
  • The NFL has to figure out their rules about hitting the quarterback. My stance on the Anthony Barr hit on Aaron Rodgers was that it wasn't illegal, but it was unnecessary. The penalty called on Vikings linebacker Antwione Williams in Saturday's preseason game was frankly bizarre. Either you get to tackle the quarterback, or you don't, especially if he still has the ball. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Ellison in the spotlight

Keith Ellison may be about to get Torricellied:
“I was listening to my podcast and he walked in, he said, ‘I need you to take the trash out.’ And I kept, I was on my stomach, I heard him and I … shook my head [in acknowledgement]. And he looked at me [and] goes, ‘Hey! You f—— hear me?’ And then he looked at me, he goes, ‘B—-, get the f— out of my house!’ and he started trying to drag me off the bed. That’s when I put my camera on to video him,” Monahan said.
That's Karen Monahan, the former girlfriend of Ellison, looking right at the camera. And there's more:
The two broke up, but Monahan claims they met before he announced his attorney general run in June. He was allegedly concerned she would go public about the incident that she says happened in 2016.

“At this point in time, I’m grounded and I know who I am. I have healed for a year and a half. I looked straight at him, I said, ‘I never ruined your career, I didn’t choose to do the things you did, I didn’t choose for you to drag me off the bed, call me a b—-, tell me you hate me. I didn’t choose that,'” Monahan said.
She has chosen to come forward and tell her story, and the DFL apparat is nervous:
With just 82 days left until the November election, DFL party leaders say they are still looking for answers from their candidate.

“The DFL party takes any allegation of domestic abuse seriously. It’s a fluid situation, it’s still developing,” said Minnesota DFL party chair Ken Martin. “We believe that Keith Ellison should answer the questions that have been posed to him, and he should address those questions head on.”
It's worth remembering there are earlier allegations against Ellison from another woman. Could a third woman be out there? If so, that would be the end of him.

The DFL has held the AG's office for over 50 years. Ellison could lose the election and damage the entire ticket. Do you think Tim Walz wants to spend his time talking about Ellison? How about Tina Smith? Watch what happens at the DFL central committee meeting this weekend.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

One brief thing to call to your attention this morning

One thing about the infamous Steele Dossier has always puzzled me, which is the early support of the effort to get dirt on Republican candidates, especially Trump, by the Washington Free Beacon, which is largely a conservative website. It's also puzzled me why The Weekly Standard, which has long fancied itself a bulwark of conservatism, Beltway-style, has always been so supportive of taking Trump down, even now, nearly two years since the election.

We may have an answer, thanks to this report from Julie Kelly, writing for the website American Greatness, discussing the recent support from Bill Kristol's publication for the odious Peter Strzok:
So, what’s with the fanboying between the Standard—an allegedly serious publication dedicated to advancing conservative principles—and a corrupt government bureaucrat who embodies everything the conservative movement fought against for decades?

I found an article in the Standard archives this week that might explain why. On July 24, 2016, just days before Strzok helped launch a counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign, Kristol gave Strzok and the Obama Justice Department a big assist from the anti-Trump Right by posting a flawed and questionably-sourced article. “Putin’s Party” is compelling evidence that Kristol and the Standard were far from mere sideline observers as the Trump-Russia collusion scam took shape in the summer of 2016.

At the very least, the timing of the article suggests there was careful coordination between the central players—including the Hillary Clinton campaign—and Bill Kristol to derail Trump’s candidacy just weeks before the election. But the article’s content also serves to raise alarming questions about the claims by many Republicans that “conservatives” had no knowledge of or involvement with the Christopher Steele dossier.
Oh, it's another conspiracy theory! But read on:
A few hours after the Standard piece went online, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook reinforced Kristol’s message in an interview on CNN. Desperate to change the subject from DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s pending resignation, Mook also claimed the Russians were behind the DNC’s computer hack because Putin wanted Trump to win. There were other similarities to Kristol’s article. “Trump and his allies made changes to the Republican platform to make it more pro-Russian,” Mook told Jake Tapper. “And we saw him talking about how NATO shouldn’t intervene to defend our Eastern European allies if they are attacked by Russia. So, I think, when you put all this together, it’s a disturbing picture.”

The next day, Carter Page received his first text from a reporter and former Wall Street Journal colleague of Simpson’s, asking him about his ties to Russia and mentioning dossier-sourced specifics. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest fielded his first (planted) question during the daily press briefing by an AP reporter, who oddly asked whether the DNC hack was an attempt to influence the election in favor of Donald Trump.

Coincidence? Not a chance.

Kristol would take to Twitter dozens of times before the election to promote the Trump-Russia collusion fantasy, even referring to the GOP as “the Putin Party.” Kristol’s handpicked candidate to challenge Trump, Evan McMullin, also pushed the Trump-Russia narrative. (On the other hand, despite Fusion and Glenn Simpson being covered in the conservative media for more than a year, Kristol has zero tweets about the firm.)

It might be easy to dismiss all of this as mere happenstance, the rantings of a fierce Trump foe determined to do whatever he could to stop Trump from winning. But there is an important sidebar to consider: The Washington Free Beacon admitted last year that they retained Fusion from late 2015 until April 2016 to gather opposition research on Republican primary candidates. The website is run by Kristol’s son-in-law, Matthew Continetti. The Beacon posted numerous negative stories about the Trump campaign in 2016, including hit pieces on Carter Page in March and July.
Rudy Giuliani has been huffing and puffing rather a lot lately about how it's all about to come crashing down and demanding the Mueller write his report now. It's worth remembering that Trump has access to every document Mueller has used up to this point. He also has access to all the information that was used against him. He's been waiting, waiting, occasionally firing a jab at Jeff Sessions, but mostly letting things play out. The game will be on shortly, I think.

More at the link. Worth your time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The obligatory recap

So what happened yesterday? A few thoughts:

  • I was surprised Jeff Johnson won, but in retrospect I should have seen his victory over Tim Pawlenty coming a mile away. Johnson was the GOP nominee in 2014, so he's hardly a newcomer. Pawlenty had a lot of money behind him, but little rationale behind his campaign. In important respects, the dynamic was the same as what happened to Tommy Thompson when he lost to Tammy Baldwin in the senate race in Wisconsin in 2012; the brand name is rarely enough and the politician with the name still has to make the sale. The business about Pawlenty's dissing of Trump was a factor, but Pawlenty's evident disdain in dealing with the state party (he blew off the nominating process and the convention) was far more important. Johnson has been campaigning hard all year. The party activists were out in force and they voted for Johnson. Other than an ad attacking Johnson, Pawlenty was barely visible. Pawlenty thought he was invincible. Guess not.
  • On the DFL side, Tim Walz will be hard to beat. He has a dozen years of experience pretending to be a moderate and he'll tack to the center now that he has the DFL nomination, but operationally he's no different than Erin Murphy. Johnson's task will be to demonstrate that Walz is a phony. As for Lori Swanson, good riddance. We can also hope that Mike Hatch, the éminence grise behind Swanson, is finally gone as well.
  • I wonder how Alliance for a Better Minnesota is going to play things now. They were clearly planning to carpet-bomb T-Paw, but he's gone. Let's see what the big brains do.
  • Keith Ellison is a dumpster fire, but he won the Attorney General's race easily. Can he make the sale statewide? I suspect Doug Wardlow, the GOP nominee, will get some help. Ellison is a deeply corrupt individual and the notion that he should be attorney general is preposterous, but those three letters after his name carry a lot of weight.
  • Ilhan Omar is a fraud, too, but she's almost certainly going to Congress. The good news is she'll be a nonentity backbencher. Betty McCollum will save a seat for her.
Game on!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Herd of Independent Editorialists

Harold Rosenberg, from 1948, and every word is still true 70 years on:
The mass-culture maker, who takes his start from the experience of others, is essentially a reflector of myths, and is without experience to communicate. To him man is an object seen from the outside. Indeed it could be demonstrated that the modern mass-culture élite, even when it trots around the globe in search of historical hotspots where every six months the destiny of man is decided, actually has less experience than the rest of humanity, less even than the consumers of its products. To the professional of mass culture, knowledge is the knowledge of what is going on in other people; he alone trades his experience for the experience of experience. Everyone has met those culture-conscious “responsibles” who think a book or movie or magazine wonderful not because it illuminates or pleases them but because it tells “the people” what they “ought to know.”
We're still all about telling the people what they "ought to know":
More than 100 publications across the US will publish editorials rejecting Donald Trump's repeated attacks on the press.

The move is part of a coordinated effort by the Boston Globe's editorial board to denounce the president's claim that the media "is the enemy of the American people". Each newspaper involved in the campaign will publish their own unique editorial refuting such criticisms, to arrive on newsstands Thursday, 16 August.

In a statement calling on other newspapers to join the effort, the Boston Globe wrote, "We propose to publish an editorial on August 16 on the dangers of the administration's assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date".
Put another way, in a stellar example of how Twitter can illuminate:

Blinded by the light
Of course, Trump didn't say the media in its entirety is the enemy of the people. Trump's own tweet calls out some organizations, but certainly not all:

He left out the Star Tribune, much to its disappointment

Never mind that.

"This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." I'm certain Sunday's newspapers will be nothing short of legendary.

Monday, August 13, 2018

In case you'd forgotten

The message from Keith Ellison? MeToo, but not me. But Pepperidge Farm remembers:
On Wednesday afternoon, another of Franken’s Minnesota congressional colleagues, Rep. Betty McCollum, said the growing number of allegations make it “impossible for him to be an effective senator for Minnesota.” Rep. Keith Ellison also called for Franken to resign.
That was December 6, 2017. Now?
Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison on Sunday denied an allegation from an ex-girlfriend that he had once dragged her off a bed while screaming obscenities at her — an allegation that came just days before a Tuesday primary in which the congressman is among several Democrats running for state attorney general.

The allegation first surfaced Saturday night from Karen Monahan after her son alleged in a Facebook post that he had seen hundreds of angry text messages from Ellison, some threatening his mother. He also wrote he had viewed a video in which Ellison dragged Monahan off the bed by her feet. Monahan, a Minneapolis political organizer, said via Twitter that what her son posted was "true."
Question for the audience -- should Franken call for Ellison to step down?

Sunday, August 12, 2018

More fun than a screen door on a submarine

Keith Ellison gets blown up on the eve of his election:
Rep. Keith Ellison, who is currently running for attorney general of Minnesota, is being accused of domestic violence against his former partner Karen Monahan.

Austin Monahan, Karen Monahan’s son, aired the allegations in a Facebook post Saturday night. According to Austin Monahan, Ellison put his mother through “pure hell.” In the Facebook post, he claims to have seen a video of Ellison dragging Karen Monahan off the bed by her feet while screaming expletives at her. The alleged incident is just one of several, Austin Monahan warned.
That report is from Alpha News, a right-leaning website. The rest of the local media is trying to protect precious, of course. But it might not work. Karen Monahan has been hinting at Ellison's issues for quite a long time now.


No, it's not going away
We have early voting in Minnesota. It's safe to assume ol' Keith has a lot of early votes in the bank, but will it be enough? Tomorrow should be even more fun. And no, we haven't forgotten about Lori Swanson's problems, either.

Friday, August 10, 2018

To the point

Kurt Schlichter, making the point that needs to be made, yet again:
The post-war order did not start out as a massive scam, but we’re really far post the war today, and different times require different arrangements. Back in the late 1940s, with Europe in ruins and America relatively unscathed – actually, ascendant – it made sense for us to pick up the slack to help our allies get on their feet again. It was a hand-up, not a hand-out. The Marshall Plan, which rebuilt Europe, was genius – it created a bulwark against communism while ensuring prosperity.

But that was 70 years ago. Things change. The USSR is gone (a spectacular victory of the postwar order). Germany and the rest of Europe are no longer smoldering piles of rubble (another success). In fact, they are now prosperous and complacent, and of course they don’t want the American subsidy to end. It allows them to pay-off their barren, soul-dead populations via their bloated welfare states with the money they don’t have to contribute to their own defense. America snapping a ball and chain around its ankle in the form of the noxious climate pact lets them virtue signal, while unequal trade arrangements let them take advantage of our markets while blocking access to theirs. They can posture by importing half the Third World because our generosity (and gullibility) gives them the flexibility to do it.
It's rarely about virtue any more. It's always about virtue signaling. More at the link.

Real Socialist Candidates of Genius

As the Democrats try to figure out their new generation of leadership, we're learning plenty about the intellectual acumen of our putative betters. The new face of this generation might be Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-avowed "Democratic Socialist" who offered this pearl of wisdom concerning our healthcare system:
So, we’re paying for this system. We — Americans have the sticker shock of healthcare as it is, and what we’re also not talking about is, why aren’t we incorporating the cost of all the funeral expenses of those who died because they can’t afford access to healthcare? That is part of the cost of our system.
No ma'am, it isn't. Then again, perhaps she's right, as this Tweet makes the connection (h/t Instapundit):

Volume, volume, volume!
It's quite cost-effective.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

(Less than) One week out -- Attorney General

While the governor is ultimately more consequential, the attorney general of a state has a lot of power. The incumbent AG, Lori Swanson, lost her endorsement at the DFL convention and decided instead to run for governor. That opened up the door for a bunch of candidates on the DFL side. Of this group, the most prominent is Rep. Keith Ellison, who is giving up his seat in Congress to run for the office. Nearly everyone on the right worries about Ellison, but many do for the wrong reason. Ellison is a Muslim, so some think he'd try to impose sharia law or something like that. That's silly, of course. We have over a decade of evidence to weigh Ellison and it's pretty clear -- the only thing Ellison wants to impose on the people is, well, Keith Ellison. And that is reason enough to oppose him. His dim identity politics and Farrakhan footsie are simply tools in his quest for self-aggrandizement. He wants out of Washington because he couldn't be the big kahuna at the Democratic National Committee. If he can control the power of a state attorney general's office, he can indulge his impulses, including harassing Donald Trump. And he may get his wish.

The other candidates in the field include the guy who won the DFL endorsement, political newcomer Matt Pelikan. Pelikan is a straight-up SJW type and could finish last, because there's no compelling reason for his candidacy. Tom Foley was once the Ramsey County Attorney but hasn't been active in politics for nearly 25 years now, making him well past his sell-by date. Mike Rothman and Debra Hillstrom both come from the more moderate wing of the DFL and would likely conduct themselves in office similar to the way Swanson and her predecessor, Mike Hatch, ran the show. Rothman was Mark Dayton's commerce commissioner and he got an endorsement from the Star Tribune, but he's almost a complete unknown. Hillstrom has been in the Lege for nearly 20 years and has also been a prosecutor in Anoka County. She'd probably do the least harm of the five, but she's not going to beat Ellison in a primary where the key advantage is name recognition. Advantage: Ellison.

On the Republican side, the endorsed candidate is Doug Wardlow, who served one term in the Lege and has subsequently been mostly in private practice. He's a typical Republican candidate -- rock solid on understanding the role of government and more interested in protecting the citizenry than in mounting noisy crusades. He would be great. Wardlow first has to fight off the surprise candidacy of Bob Lessard, who was a big wheel DFLer on the Iron Range since the beginning of the Pleistocene Epoch. Lessard is a big outdoorsman/conservationist and well-known in the state, but is remembered mostly by people who are approaching retirement age. People who know who Lessard is will also know he's not actually a Republican, so in the end I suspect Wardlow will win the primary. It will be interesting to see if any of the big money comes into Minnesota to support his candidacy, especially if Ellison gets the DFL nod. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

One week out

Primaries are next week in Minnesota. I haven't written about them yet. Probably should. Quick synopsis, starting with the governor's race:

Governor: I'm not particularly impressed with any of the DFL candidates, but it may not matter because this election is shaping up as a test of the overall strength of the DFL machine and its support system, especially Education Minnesota and the Alliance for a Better Minnesota. If you've been watching the ads on television, most of the portside messaging is attacking Tim Pawlenty, who apparently was governor a long time ago, maybe succeeding Karl Rolvaag, but one can't be sure. I would guess Tim Walz will prevail, but there's very little to recommend him. He has spent six terms in Washington as a backbencher, but he's less frightening than Betty McCollum, so he has the institutional support. Lori Swanson must be gaining, because there was a big hit piece in the Intercept about her. This is largely being ignored in the local media, of course, but I suspect Walz will make use of it in the next week. The earlier attacks on Swanson's running mate, crusty old Rick Nolan, were designed to help the endorsed DFL candidates, Erin Murphy and Erin Maye Quade, who appear to be running a distant third, despite (or perhaps because of) the DFL endorsement. The Erins are a little loony, frankly, and while they carry the DFL endorsement, the party apparat would prefer Walz or Swanson sotto voce, because they (theoretically) wouldn't get destroyed on the Iron Range. The best news about this lineup is Walz giving up his congressional seat, which should be good pickup possibility for the Republicans in November. Advantage: Walz, for no particular reason.

On the Republican side, we have Jeff Johnson, who I personally like quite a lot, against the aforementioned Pawlenty. Pawlenty is probably going to win, but Johnson, who got chloroformed by Mark Dayton in the 2014 election, is giving it a go despite an obvious lack of resources. Pawlenty wasn't a terrible governor, but I'm not sure he deserves another go. Either of these two fellows would be a big improvement over Mark Dayton or the collection of nasties on the other side, but I'm not sure either has what it takes to win an election when ABM and the teacher's union are done with them. Johnson is trying to get nastier, but I'm not sure he's going to be tough enough to stand up to the onslaught. If Pawlenty wins, he'll have all the money he needs, but he'll have a muddled message and an indifferent record to defend, making him the de facto embattled incumbent. Pawlenty barely won in 2006 over the sputtering Mike Hatch, who didn't have the trained assassins of ABM working for him. If Johnson prevails, I'm guessing the big money folks behind T-Paw will take their bankrolls and go home. Advantage: Pawlenty.

Next: Attorney General.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Ballad of a shirtless man

From what I've been able to gather about the guy and his works, life is too short to spend much time listening to Alex Jones, so I haven't bothered with him. Based on what I see of him from social media, he seems to be an angry guy who likes (a) conspiracy theories, and (b) to be photographed without his shirt on, even though he appears to be pretty tubby. I will add that nearly every time I see something about him, it's because a lefty has called it to my attention.

But something is happening here, and you don't know what it is. Do you, Mr. Jones?
All but one of the major content platforms have banned the American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, as the companies raced to act in the wake of Apple’s decision to remove five podcasts by Jones and his Infowars website.

Facebook unpublished four pages run by Jones for “repeated violations of community standards”, the company said on Monday. YouTube terminated Jones’s account over him repeatedly appearing in videos despite being subject to a 90-day ban from the website, and Spotify removed the entirety of one of Jones’s podcasts for “hate content”.

Facebook’s removal of the pages – the Alex Jones Channel Page, the Alex Jones Page, the Infowars Page and the Infowars Nightly News Page – comes after the social network imposed a 30-day ban on Jones personally “for his role in posting violating content to these pages”.
Is there evidence that Jones has become a more effective propagandist? Has his following increased? If his stuff was okay before, why isn't it now?

This is dumb. If the argument is this guy is too dangerous to have his stuff out there for public consumption, banning him is the best way possible to ensure he'll get even a larger audience. We've known this since the Garden of Eden, which was also well known for shirtless dudes -- forbidden fruit is always going to have an audience. What does Alex Jones know that "they" don't want you to know? This is Conspiracy Theory 101.

It's not a First Amendment issue, because the government isn't stopping Jones from speaking. If you want that sort of thing, you need to check with Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. Still, I'm not crazy about the trendline. As long as I'm free to continue ignoring Alex Jones, I'm free. Once we are told his nonsense cannot be considered in any context, we have a much larger problem than whatever he's talking about. Based on what I know, Alex Jones is a bad dude. It's always a bad idea to make a bad dude a martyr.

Monday, August 06, 2018

There's nothing for you here

Politicians sit yourselves down, there's nothing for you here
Won't you please come to Chicago for a ride
Don't ask jack to help you `cause he'll turn the other ear
Won't you please come to Chicago or else join the other side

I was born in the Chicago area. My parents left when I was six months old. I lived in the Chicago area for five years. We've been back to visit twice, briefly, in the last month. Chicago is an important part of my life. And in many parts of the city, it's become Hell:
Dozens of people have been wounded in weekend shootings across Chicago police said.

63 people have been shot, ten fatally, since 5 p.m. Friday. 34 of the shootings and five deaths occurred between 10 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday, according to police.

During one two-and-a-half hour-hour period, 25 people were shot in five multi-injury shootings. One paramedic described Saturday evening into Sunday morning as "a war zone."

"We know that some of these incidents were targeted and are related to gang conflicts in those areas," said Chicago Police Chief of Patrol Fred Waller at a press conference Sunday afternoon.

CPD said the majority of the shootings took place in the six, tenth and 11th districts and that gunmen shot into large crowds.
That last part is what merits particular attention. If you had active shooters firing into large crowds most other places in the country, it would be a huge story and David Hogg would be on the scene. In Chicago, you say? Crickets.

But this really isn't about guns or gun control. There are plenty of gun laws on the books in Chicago, but the bullets fly anyway. The areas in question are on the south side and the west side of Chicago, in neighborhoods that were dangerous 25 years ago and remain so today. 

The Onion is a parody site, but too often it tells the truth:

Garfield Park? No problem. Hyde Park? Problem
The lyrics excerpted above, written in the moment when 60s idealism was turning to cynicism, aren't accurate. There's always been something in Chicago for politicians. It's the people in Lawndale, and Garfield Park, and Woodlawn, who have nothing. It never surprises me to read these reports, but it always saddens me.

Friday, August 03, 2018

She seems nice

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

For what it's worth, I don't watch Battlestar Galactica either
That's some of the collected wisdom and deep thoughts of Sarah Jeong, freshly minted member of the New York Times editorial board. Let's cut to the chase, shall we?

  • I don't have any say over who joins the editorial board of the Gray Lady.
  • If this is the sort of person the Times thinks ought to help guide their efforts, that's their business.
  • I do think they ought to own the decision, though.
  • Apologies in advance for being just another dog pissing on a fire hydrant, but my opinion about the Times in general and Ms. Jeong in particular? To hell with them.

Thursday, August 02, 2018


When Donald Trump began his campaign in 2015, I was disgusted with him. During 2016, I publicly identified myself as a NeverTrumper. For however long Trump is president, I'll never be very comfortable with him. But he is the president. And many of the people who oppose him are far worse than Trump is. 

John Kass, writing for the Chicago Tribune, makes the salient point:
So, what is bothersome isn’t that reporters and many pundits don’t understand Trump. I really don’t know who does understand him. He wasn’t my choice for president.

But what concerns me are his voters, our countrymen and women. That’s half of our nation. And what bothers me is that I really don’t think many in journalism want to understand them.

Shame them? Yes. Understand them? No.
Pharisees come in many packages. Back to Kass:
But Trump’s voters know what put him in the White House. It wasn’t merely that Hillary Clinton was a lousy candidate. It was that Trump voters detested the crowd that backed her, loathed them; and those voters in turn were viewed as something to be stepped on, to be ridiculed for heresy.

By not wanting to understand them, I worry that journalism blinds itself to something very real, critical and, in the long term, dangerous in our nation: A simmering resentment against the establishment in much of red state America.

And it’s not going away even if Trump goes away.
I've spent the better part of the past 18 months trying to grapple with these issues, especially in this feature. Kass is correct -- from what I see, the concerns of many Trump voters are somehow illegitimate, at least to those who make their living telling us how the world is. And that leads to a bad place. Victor Davis Hanson senses it, too:
Ideologies and apologies accumulated to justify the new divide. In a reversal of cause and effect, losers, crazies, clingers, American “East Germans,” and deplorables themselves were blamed for driving industries out of their neighborhoods (as if the characters out of Duck Dynasty or Ax Men turned off potential employers). Or, more charitably to the elites, the muscular classes were too racist, xenophobic, or dense to get with the globalist agenda, and deserved the ostracism and isolation they suffered from the new “world is flat” community. London and New York shared far more cultural affinities than did New York and Salt Lake City.

Meanwhile, the naturally progressive, more enlightened, and certainly cooler and hipper transcended their parents’ parochialism and therefore plugged in properly to the global project. And they felt that they were rightly compensated for both their talent and their ideological commitment to building a better post-American, globalized world.

One cultural artifact was that as our techies and financiers became rich, as did those who engaged in electric paper across time and space (lawyers, academics, insurers, investors, bankers, bureaucratic managers), the value of muscularity and the trades was deprecated. That was a strange development. After all, prestige cars, kitchen upgrades, gentrified home remodels, and niche food were never more in demand by the new elite. But who exactly laid the tile, put the engine inside the cars, grew the arugula, or put slate on the new hip roof?
In many cases, people who voted for Trump provided the services Hanson describes. My job requires me to market products and services that people who lay tile require. I can't ignore their concerns and stay in business. And those who earn their living in media shouldn't, either. But too often they do. Back to Kass:
Think back on that laughter, on that giggling when she talked of “deplorables.” What followed were the snickers of the clique who get the joke at the expense of those who don’t.

That laughter stuck. And Trump voters took the memory of it to the polls on Election Day. Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump voters overwhelmingly gave him the Electoral College victory.

Now, Democrats are lathered up with the trial of this B-movie villain, this Manafort, whose alleged crimes took place long before he worked a few months for Trump.

Let’s say their Manafort fantasies come true, and he cuts a deal, and he serves Trump to special prosecutor Robert Mueller and the orange presidential head is placed upon a platter.

Then what?

What do you do with the millions who voted for Trump? Mock them into submission? Have them grovel and beg forgiveness before they’re re-educated?

You don’t have to understand Trump. But it’s dangerous not to understand the 63 million who voted for him. They’re not going into exile. They’re here.
And the lesson I've learned? They are me.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Spurs 1, AC Milan 0

We went to the People's Stadium last night for a friendly between the English club I somewhat follow, Tottenham Hotspur, vs. AC Milan, once the province of Silvio Berlusconi. It was actually pretty easy getting through security and our seats, while not fantastic, were decent enough, in the corner but only two rows up in middle section.

Game on
Soccer is well down the list of my favorite sports, but it was an enjoyable evening and these are two of the most successful clubs in the world. Even though it was an exhibition and really nothing was on the line, the play was fun to watch. It's also significantly easier to get into the People's Stadium to see futbol rather than football. Benster hopes his beloved Everton comes to the United States next year; if they do, it might be worth a road trip.