Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Slavery, re-branded

Socialism 101.

It is important for people to learn the connection between property rights as being directly protected by liberty, and how this connection ensures life. To help picture this clearly, think of yourself as Robinson Crusoe. Or Tom Hanks in Cast Away. Or if you’re talking to the very young, Matt Damon in The Martian.

These fictional characters illustrate this bond between property and life. When these castaways were shipwrecked alone, the only choices presented to them is either to survive or to perish. In order to live, they will have to employ the use of their mind and direct their body to produce the necessary requirement of survival: shelter, water, food.

A socialist will bring up the example: imagine if a year later, another castaway is stranded on the same patch of land as you. Don’t you have the moral obligation to share your shelter, water and food with him? The answer to this is not “yes you’re obligated morally to share” nor “no, you’re not obligated morally to share”, but rather, the correct answer is: “you shall decide”.

Why is “you shall decide” the right answer? It is because the shelter, water and food you’ve created is a product of your mind and body, which is an extension to your very life.

The laws of survival which applies to you when you were first shipwrecked applies to the new castaway, as well. He too must employ his mind and body to ensuring his own survival. Because if he did produce the requirement for his survival, you yourself do not have the right to take the product of his labor from him against his will in the case where you fail to produce what you need to survive.

Naturally, logic obliges, that if another person is shipwrecked, you’d want to help him, because he will in turn, be a useful addition to your life. You could request that he help you plow your land in exchange for food. In this case, both parties engage in the exchange of value for value. No one is required to involuntary give up their property.

This is capitalism. This is the reason why socialist despises the defining of liberty as being tied to property rights, and want to do away with property rights completely, by condemning the profit motive in capitalism. It is because capitalism isn’t slavery.

A bit awkardly-written, shall we say, in spots—but let he who is without sin cast the first etc…ahem. I suspect maybe English is not her first language, not that there’s anything wrong with that. No biggie, of course; all in all, she lays out the core philosophical case defining socialism as slavery simply and well, I think, without resort to the practical argument reciting the litany of its sure-thing-every-time failure. How useful her argument might be in terms of persuasion is open to question at best, sadly enough, since the blockhead Left isn’t listening anyway.

(Via Insty)

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Down Under rocks the world!

What IS it about Australia that produces such great rock and roll, anyway? These guys have been around awhile, but I only just recently found out about ’em, and I’m glad I did.




And then there’s this, which truly is the Living End:



Nothing but badass, in three pieces and with upright bass. Of course, I’m sure I don’t even have to mention…



Couldn’t find a vid of the Howlin’ Moondoggies’ best song (“Still Alive”), but this one will certainly do.



Four sterling examples of pure, powerful Oz-rock, and you just know there’s plenty more where that came from too. So how do they do it? Maybe it’s all the deadly flora and fauna contributing to the fatalistic, cocksure, devil-may-care recklessness all good rock and roll requires. Maybe it’s their nation-of-convicts-and-rejects history. Maybe it’s all the beautiful girls. Or maybe it’s just all that strong beer. Whatever the cause, it’s wonderful…and damned near uncanny.

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Meme-a-licious!

All of these are great, but my absolute favorite is this one:

StrawChase.jpg

Check ’em all out.

As for the Great Democrat-Socialist Straw Ban, there’s, uhh, a slight problem. Several, in fact, all of them being the usual ones when it comes to arrant liberal horseshit.

As Angela points out in the video above, the case against the plastic straw is exceedingly weak. There aren’t as many plastic straws thrown away as claimed, and only a tiny portion of U.S. straws end up anywhere near the oceans—the vast majority of municipal solid waste in this country ends up either buried in landfills, recycled, or burned up in incinerators, far from any congested sea turtles.  

The vast majority of plastic waste in oceans actually comes not from advanced countries like the U.S. but from countries like China and Indonesia that consume a large volume of plastic products but lack our modern waste collection infrastructure. Much of their plastic waste ends up washed into major river systems that empty into the oceans. A study published last year in the journal Environment Science & Technology by three German researchers found that 90% of the plastic debris found in the world’s oceans is dumped there by just ten of the world’s rivers—none of which are in the Western Hemisphere, much less the United States.

Beside the fact that U.S. consumers are contributing very little to the ostensible problem is the other side of the equation: the benefits of the straws themselves. I suspect many Americans who were initially receptive to the idea of a ban were genuinely surprised to learn that disposable drinking straws are very important to people with certain disabilities. British disability rights activist Penny Pepper recently commented in the Guardian about how she depends on plastic straws—and other single-use, disposable products like baby wipes—writing “I don’t have the luxury of a plastic-free life.” The durability, convenience, cleanliness, low price, and resistance to heat of disposable plastic straws make them irreplaceable to people with many different physical limitations.

Not everyone’s need for convenience is as specific and pressing as Ms. Pepper’s, but it shouldn’t have to be. Giving disabled Americans an “opt-out” of a plastic straw ban would certainly be better than no accommodation at all, but it gets the presumption of a free society backwards. Absent causing some real harm—and a straw that ends up buried in a landfill on the edge of town doesn’t meet that threshold—we should be free to eat, drink, and slurp as we see fit. No one should have to get a license or undergo an exam to qualify for access to a simple consumer product. Does anyone really believe that empowering public officials to decide who is allowed to have plastic utensils and disposable hygiene products will yield positive results?

Depends on what you consider positive. For the Democrat Socialist Left, empowering government officials is always a positive result in and of itself. A “free society”? They’re ag’in it. So it all adds up to a win-win for them, see. Regarding the “Americans throw away 500 million straws a day” claim that got the whole turdball rolling, well…uhhh…lemme see…

Yep: arrant horseshit.

NBC News official Twitter account tweeted Wednesday morning, “The average American uses 584 straws a year — most of them ending up in our waterways. We can do better.”

The NBC tweet linked to an accompanying article that claimed, “Nationwide, 500 million drinking straws are thrown away each year — enough straws to fill about 46,400 school buses.”

“At an average rate, Americans use 1.6 straws a day, or 584 a year, according to the National Parks Service,” it added. “Environmental groups have targeted disposable drinking straws — that are not recyclable or compostable — for extinction. The ultimate goal: Prevent non-degradable plastic straws from polluting our beaches, waterways and oceans.”

Okay, here’s the first problem: The NPS’ website actually says Americans use 500 million drinking straws per day, not per year. NBC screwed up the number.

There’s an even bigger issue than merely bungling the number, however, and it involves where private companies and government agencies get that 500 million per day statistic. As it turns out, that number comes from a child. I am not making this up.

“The actual number of straws being used is unclear,” Reason magazine reported in January.

“The 500 million figure is often attributed to the National Park Service; it in turn got it from the recycling company Eco-Cycle,” the report continues. “Eco-Cycle is unable to provide any data to back up this number, telling Reason that it was relying on the research of one Milo Cress. Cress—whose Be Straw Free Campaign is hosted on Eco-Cycle’s website—tells Reason that he arrived at the 500 million straws a day figure from phone surveys he conducted of straw manufacturers in 2011, when he was just 9 years old.”

Cress, who is now 16-years-old, told Reason that the National Restaurant Association has endorsed his estimate privately. That’s to his credit, but the problem remains: He appears to be the sole source for this number.

So in sum, this straw ban is:

  • Unworkable
  • Counterfactual
  • Silly
  • Pointless
  • Childish—in this case, literally
  • Based on scientifically-unsupportable nonsense
  • Abusive of individual rights and freedom
  • Misdirected, against the nation least responsible for the “problem,” which doesn’t really exist in the first place
  • Costly, intrusive, oppressive, and unnecessary
  • Capable of accomplishing nothing except making life more difficult for people left out of liberal-fascist calculations

Yep, it’s another bass-ackwards Democrat-Socialist shitshow, all right.

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History lesson

How America went astray.

If governments through the ages have had a fixed star, it would begin with their Bureaucracy.

In the debates over how the new Constitution of 1787 should look, one constant both Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans seemed to agree was that the size and power of government should depend entirely on the people’s control of the men who both could increase the size and mission of government, and also raise the money to pay for it.

Despite their animosity towards one another, the Federalists and Republicans were of one mind about keeping the federal government very lean. The idea that the federal government should want to grow did not begin until the formation of the Democratic Party and Andrew Jackson, 1824-28, when the spoils system was first introduced…after all the lions had passed away.

But they finally got an income tax in 1913 (16th Amendment), (count the years, by generations, 126 and 4) which, while very, very small, its fine print enabled Congress to increase it almost at will, and then, 19 years later, 1932, with the Great Depression, and the next generation of Progressives called in to fix it, (FDR and the New Deal), the government grew like mushrooms in a rain forest. Many of those programs survived well into the 60’s, until LBJ could replace them with a new set of programs, The Great Society, which haunts us still.

It was in this period that federal employment first jumped its territorial boundaries in the District and invaded Virginia and Maryland. And someone in Big Government figured out this was a good thing for Big Government, which in those days was entirely Democrat. Even the good ol’ boys in the rural south. FDR’s New Deal saved the old South, where loyalty to the Democrats was even higher than in the northeast until the Cold War-Civil Rights days. That’s because the first basic handshake FDR had with the old Confederacy was that if they’d back the national Party and their plans, and keep the blacks from voting (they were largely Republican then…ask MLK) he’d keep the federal programs coming their way.

I hate trying to compress thousands of pages of American history into a few paragraphs just to focus on how the bureaucracy came into being roughly 125 years after the federal government was formed, but it’s important to note this was where, like that rutting deer, it always wanted to go.

Trust me on this: Bureaucracies are organic, and it’s in their nature to want to expand and grow.

Since 2010, at least, “the people” who’d lost this control over their government, have been pushing back to change (through process), while the bureaucracy has been resisting, using every string they have in Congress to prevent it. The bureaucracy has been sensitive to this threat for many years.

In every agency in government, not just the high profile ones (EPA, CIA, State), there is a struggle going on between Trump’s new administration and the careerist deep-state. In some of those the struggle is exacerbated by left-right political ideology, where climate change and the billions it generates in universities and slush-fund companies such as Solyndra, is as much a life-and-death issue to many true believers at EPA as Iran becoming a nuclear power is to the Left in State and CIA. (Just watch John Brennan or James Clapper speak for two minutes and you’ll know what I mean.)

But on these issues, the Constitution names who wins the coin-toss in every case. “The people” through Congress decide, which is why Congress is so conflicted, for it is “the people” who puts them in Washington with a nice $174,000/yr salary, plus other benefits. But Congress’ real loyalty is to those people who can carry them to the next level, some on K Street and other connections, and turn them into millionaires and powerful brokers; who turned Harry Reid’s senate salary into millions, as well as Paul Ryan’s.

In that world, the federal bureaucracy, not “the people”, is the real Congressional constituency, only “the people” aren’t supposed to know this, and Congress over the past 30 years at least, have spent billions trying to keep “the people” in the dark. (Think of a Connecticut commuter-bank executive who keeps a mistress in Manhattan. Same tryst, same secrets.)

This is why they call it “the Swamp”. Apt name; marsh gas and weeds. And alligators, bugs and things that crawl in the night.

Lots more here—LOTS—and no matter how much you may think you already know about it, or how much you actually DO know, it’s all must-read stuff.

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THAT’S how you do it

Fixing the unfixable.

On July 1, the New York Times ran a long article by Ellen Barry and Martin Selsoe Sorensen headlined “In Denmark, Harsh New Laws for Immigrant ‘Ghettos.’” How harsh? Henceforth, starting at the age of one, children living in designated “ghettos” – in other words, “low-income and heavily Muslim enclaves” – have to spend at least 25 hours a week receiving instruction in Danish values, “including the traditions of Christmas and Easter, and Danish language.” Parents who refuse to obey may lose their welfare payments.

Given the proven failure (over decades) of innumerable Muslim immigrants in Denmark to learn Danish, find jobs, and otherwise integrate into Danish society – not to mention the tendency of young people who’ve grown up in those “enclaves” to join gangs, commit violence, and express open hostility to native Danes and their culture – these laws sound eminently reasonable. In fact, anyone aware of the scale of the problem might well pronounce them tame and insufficient. But not the Times. Barry and Sorensen describe the new laws not as a responsible attempt to prevent the kind of social and economic collapse looming in next-door Sweden, and to preserve a free, safe, and solvent Denmark for future generations of ethnic Danes and the descendants of immigrants, but rather as a “tough” and “sinister” expression of the Danish government’s “ire.”

One law that the Times writers single out for disdain “would impose a four-year prison sentence on immigrant parents who force their children to make extended visits to their country of origin…in that way damaging their ‘schooling, language and well-being.’” Barry and Sorensen plainly find this law unspeakably severe. One wonders if they know what they’re talking about. The fact is that countless Muslim parents in Europe send their kids “back home” for years at a time – it’s called “dumping” – so that they can attend Koran schools, soak up Islamic codes of conduct, and (most important) be shielded from such abhorrent Western phenomena as individual liberty and sexual equality.

As it happens, this practice has been studied extensively. It represents a profound danger to the children involved – girls especially – as well as to the Western countries to which they eventually return. In her 2001 book But the Greatest of These Is Freedom: The Consequences of Immigration in Europe (2011), Hege Storhaug of Norway’s Human Rights Service explained that “girls are sent abroad so that they won’t be able to live on equal terms with males and enjoy the right to choose their own spouses”; some of them, moreover, “are sent abroad at puberty to be prepared for marriage – to be prepared, that is, to be good wives who live up to the demands and standards set by men in their families’ homeland.” Is a four-year prison sentence too tough a penalty for parents who do such things to their children? No, especially when you consider that Danish prisons could be mistaken for luxury hotels while the madrassas in which these people enroll their kids look like, well, prisons – and the marriages (usually cousin marriages) into which those girls end up being forced are, in all but name, prison sentences.

Barry and Sorensen interviewed two critics of the new laws – a pair of Muslim sisters whom they depict as model citizens and describe as being fluent in Danish (but who are also, bemusingly, on welfare). “Danish politics is just about Muslims now,” one of the sisters complained. “I don’t know when they will be satisfied with us.” Gee, maybe when you stop bleeding the Danish treasury dry? Maybe when the 30,000 or so members of your “community” across Europe who belong to Islamic terrorist cells stop plotting murderous mayhem? Sister #2 griped that “her daughter was being taught so much about Christmas in kindergarten that she came home begging for presents from Santa Claus.” Sounds like a salutary change from what’s happening elsewhere in Western Europe, where, as part of nefarious propaganda campaigns, non-Muslim kids are routinely taken on school trips to mosques, shown how to put on a hijab, and taught to recite the shahada – all of which the Times and newspapers like it routinely celebrate. “Nobody should tell me,” Sister #2 added, “whether or how my daughter should go to preschool….I’d rather lose my benefits than submit to force.” Fine. Get a job.

Heh. Tell ’em, Daniel.

It’s a sad, telling indicator of how far into supine, cringing defenselessness multi-culti “liberalism” has dragged the West that anybody would regard this move as anything but a perfectly reasonable attempt at preserving their own country and culture from those actively trying to destroy it. We, and the Danes, can only hope it isn’t already too late. Greenfield has plenty more, of which you’ll want to read the all.

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Creative destruction

I started calling him Trump the Disrupter way back when for a reason, you know.

In Chinese eyes, Mr Trump’s response is a form of “creative destruction”. He is systematically destroying the existing institutions — from the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement to Nato and the Iran nuclear deal — as a first step towards renegotiating the world order on terms more favourable to Washington.

My interlocutors say that Mr Trump is the US first president for more than 40 years to bash China on three fronts simultaneously: trade, military and ideology. They describe him as a master tactician, focusing on one issue at a time, and extracting as many concessions as he can. They speak of the skilful way Mr Trump has treated President Xi Jinping. “Look at how he handled North Korea,” one says. “He got Xi Jinping to agree to UN sanctions [half a dozen] times, creating an economic stranglehold on the country. China almost turned North Korea into a sworn enemy of the country.” But they also see him as a strategist, willing to declare a truce in each area when there are no more concessions to be had, and then start again with a new front.

For the Chinese, even Mr Trump’s sycophantic press conference with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, in Helsinki had a strategic purpose. They see it as Henry Kissinger in reverse. In 1972, the US nudged China off the Soviet axis in order to put pressure on its real rival, the Soviet Union. Today Mr Trump is reaching out to Russia in order to isolate China.

In the short term, China is talking tough in response to Mr Trump’s trade assault. At the same time they are trying to develop a multiplayer front against him by reaching out to the EU, Japan and South Korea. But many Chinese experts are quietly calling for a rethink of the longer-term strategy. They want to prepare the ground for a new grand bargain with the US based on Chinese retrenchment. Many feel that Mr Xi has over-reached and worry that it was a mistake simultaneously to antagonise the US economically and militarily in the South China Sea.

That’s from a Financial Times article which, unfortunately, is securely locked up behind a paywall; I saw it mentioned elsewhere several days ago and tried to find a way around to no avail. But Matt Vespa found a way to excerpt it somehow, appending some commentary of his own:

China is one of our biggest geopolitical rivals. Is this a bad course of action? No, but Trump will never be given the credit. Instead, we’ll focus on how he hurt some European leader’s feelings and go into hysterics over that, among 10,000 other tiny, irrelevant things he does because that’s how our anti-Trump news media is as of late. But across the vast gulf of the Pacific, our enemies, rivals, competitors, or whatever you want to call them, have a much higher opinion of Trump’s intelligence and capability as a leader. They view him as an effective tactician. They view him as a threat, not based on his tweets, but in what he’s reportedly trying to do. How Trump can accomplish this long-term goal would require swamp draining for sure, but it also shows that Democrats, so blinded by hate, are missing one helluva show that could be in production in East Asia.

It’s clear by now that what Trump intends is a reworking of the post-WW2 world order, which is long outdated and badly in need of modification with American interests in mind. He’s bypassed the shriekers entirely; while they’re all busy accusing him of being a stupid, incompetent fool, he’s running rings around their dumb asses to enjoy success after success. It is indeed a hell of a show, to say the very least.

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The mantra of tyrants

Which only makes sense: Leftism, after all, is the ideology of tyranny.

One of the more bizarre news items of the day relates to a continuing fetish of American municipal governments for banning plastic straws. Now, a liberal acquaintance of mine assured me that he was not inconvenienced by the use of biodegradable paper and wax straws, and plastic straws do have various environmental consequences. In this, my liberal acquaintance is entirely correct. Yet I still disagree vociferously with these straw bans.

The usual argument is that banning doesn’t work because people will get what they want regardless. There will be speakeasies and bootleggers, organized crime and street thugs. That’s partially correct. But let’s be frank. None of those things will be a problem for banning plastic straws. Certainly, I don’t see organized crime selling crates of plastic straws out of the backs of sketchy minivans. So what’s the real issue?

This leads us right back to the lack of principle. What the Left doesn’t like must be banned. They are quite casual with bans, too. They’ll ban guns and plastic straws, both. I heard a tale once of a town in Texas which banned inflatable gorillas. While I’m sure there is an amusing story behind the ban, it illustrates that nothing is beyond the reach of the ban hammer.

This morning, a local community page was full of demands to ban fireworks on behalf of pets, veterans with PTSD, and idiots who hurt themselves doing dumb things with fireworks. The chief proponent of the ban rattled off statistics not unlike what you see in the Prohibition propaganda. 12,000 people annually are hurt by fireworks, she said, and we can’t even count the harm to pets and veterans. They should be replaced with laser light shows, she demanded.

Once you get into debating the pros and cons of a ban, you have already implicitly conceded that bans are justified given a certain harm/benefit ratio. At that point, you are now vulnerable to the manipulation and spin of said data, which is commonplace. It’s an endless rabbit hole, and debates like that spiral into infinity. We’re all caught over the event horizon of a singularity of stupid.

So I’ll repeat the heresy: ban nothing.

In a truly free country, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. But we’d have to get rid of all the Leftards first. Read all of it, natch; I particularly like his closer, and the Declination gang is going rocketing into the blogroll and bookmarks for it.

(Via Hoyt)

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“They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them”

Source for my title quote, if you haven’t heard it before. In light of this, I thought it apt.

It turns out, plenty of people did vote for President Trump, and a new book provides insight and clarity into who those people are and why they voted the way they did. The Great Revolt:Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics by Salena Zito and Brad Todd presents a delicious mix of quantitative and qualitative data analysis regarding the 2016 election cycle. You might remember Zito through her dispatches from flyover country during the election in publications such as The New York PostThe Washington Examiner, and The Atlantic. Many election-watchers may have been caught off guard when Trump won the presidency, but I suspect Zito was not.

Her co-author Todd, a GOP consultant and political ad guru, also had a reputation for unique insight into Trump voters. Todd’s observation that “voters take Donald Trump seriously but not literally, while journalists take him literally, but not seriously” ended up as one of the most quoted lines of the 2016 election.

While some voters were hesitant to pull the lever, fully aware of Trump’s shortcomings, their trepidation could not outweigh their dissatisfaction with beltway business as usual. One thing you won’t find coming from the interview subjects is the tired refrain we hear from the political celebrity class, hopelessly doomed to misunderstand the 2016 election: Trump voters are racist, sexist, xenophobic, and the like. Rather, the common theme from these unexpected voters was a revolt against the status quo, a revolt that transcended political partisanship.

It wasn’t that one party or another had let them down. It was the entire political system and those in its orbit that had failed at addressing their concerns. They were very intentionally voting for a complete outsider.

It would be comforting to think that the group most in need of understanding The Great Revolt will read it and reflect on how the Trump victory came to be. However, the political industry has abandoned good-faith reflection in favor of doubling down on their cartoonish characterization of President Trump and his supporters as part of their political advocacy.

Even anti-Trump Republicans, still bitter over the Trump victory, are investing more time in damaging the Trump agenda than they ever did the Obama agenda. The media, entertainers, and the political establishment live in cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Washington DC, and they are far away from the communities and personal realities described in Zito and Todd’s book.

Which brings us right back ’round to the Kael quote again, amusingly enough.

(Via OregonMuse)

Update! Shclichter expands on the theme:

Here’s the reality. In 2016, Normal Americans rebelled against an establishment composed of liberal fascists in government and a hateful cultural elite, as well as their allegedly conservative kept boys who placed their personal positions and prosperity above the people’s interests. As my upcoming book Militant Normals: How Regular Americans Are Rebelling Against the Elite to Reclaim Our Democracy recounts, in the kind of clear, unrestrained prose that goes hand-in-hand with not having to be FCC-language compliant, how the rise of Donald Trump was the inevitable result of a cultural war where our side was desperate for a fighter who would actually take up our banner and win. Remember how Abe Lincoln had to prune the deadwood in the Union Army before he could find a general to lead the fight against the Democrats the last time they tried to win a civil war? Like Ulysses S. Grant, Donald Trump is imperfect, but he fights and he wins.

Donald Trump was incorrect when he promised that we would get tired of all the winning – well, not really incorrect since he was joking. No, we are not tiring of winning. Not even close. Trump, unlike those foes he has vanquished, actually understands Americans. He knows we won’t ever tire of winning because Americans consider winning to be our natural state.

That fact, as Militant Normals viciously and profanely argues, highlights the great difference between American Normals and the elite that seeks to govern them. Normal Americans expect to win – they demand it, because winning is what Americans do. We believe, deeply, that we are better than every other nation and culture on earth, largely based upon the fact that we are. American exceptionalism is the core of our identity. If you ain’t American, you ain’t Adam Schiff.

But our elites, the snooty people who are supposed to be taking care of our institutions and making them work smoothly for everyone else (in return for prestige, power, and material renumeration) no longer believe in American exceptionalism. This is largely the fault of academia, which the elite controls, training future elitists that their own countrymen suck and that their loyalty should be to an unelected transnational class of like-minded snobs with glowing credentials but no track record of success in actually accomplishing the basic tasks that elites are supposed to accomplish.

And when the society the elite has so woefully mismanaged predictably manifests problems, they don’t look in the mirror and say, “Whoa, we’re screwing up. We had better do a deep personal inventory to correct our shortcomings.” No, they blame the very people on whose behalf they are supposed to be running things. The elite can’t possibly be at fault; it’s got to be that America is flawed. And therefore, losing should be our natural state, because Americans are undeserving of winning.

Yeah, no.

And their inability to shame or drive off Trump’s supporters, devoted as those supporters are to the changes he’s making in DC business as usual, has in its turn driven them all completely nuts. His every success to them is like a flaming stake dipped in pure essence of spite driven directly into their very eyeballs.

Think we’re seeing Peak Crazy now, though? Just wait till their precious “blue wave” fails to crest, and then he’s re-elected in 2020. The conniptions and hissy-fits are really going to be something to see.

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When men were men, and America was still America

Antidote to the bitter cynicism of my last post.

Lewis Puller, nicknamed “Chesty” because of his perfect posture and the fact that his torso somewhat resembled a full-size beer keg full of lead bricks, raw muscle and horse steroids, was a hard-as-shit motherfucker who is almost universally-recognized as the most badass dude to ever wear the uniform of the United States Marine Corps.  Not bad, considering that being revered as the pinnacle of toughness by the USMC is kind of like being King of the Vikings or the toughest Klingon to ever set foot on the planet Kronos.  In his thirty-seven years of service to the Corps, Puller would rise through the ranks from Private to General, kick more asses than Juan Valdez on an insane bender, and become the most decorated Marine in American history.

Born in the small town of West Point, Virginia, Puller grew up hunting, fishing, armwrestling black bears and reading about military history.  He enrolled in the prestigious Virginia Military Academy in 1917, but dropped out after a year to enlist in the Marines, mostly because he didn’t want to fuck around reading books about kicking sack when he could be out there booting it himself.  He was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserves, but was placed on the inactive list ten days after his enlistment (WWI was winding down, and the government was scaling the military back).  Since nothing was going to stand between Chesty Puller and his mad desire to shoot motherfuckers in the eye, Puller re-enlisted in the Corps, this time going in as a lowly Private.  After thirteen weeks of running eighty miles a day, climbing sheer cliff faces with his bare hands, and crawling under barbed wire while pissed-off Drill Instructors whacked him over the head with rusty medieval polearms and belted forth a constant stream of compound profanities vile enough to make the baby Jesus cry, Puller was shipped out to kick asses in Haiti.

Puller’s mission was to maintain order in Haiti by killing endless hordes of Caco Rebels bent on the violent overthrow of the U.S.-sponsored Haitian government.  Over the course of five years, Chesty fought in over forty engagements against these rebels, where he gained valuable experience in small-unit tactics, jungle warfare, and ripping his enemies’ hearts out through their ribcages with his bare hands.  His toughness and badassitude earned him rapid promotions, and by the time he was shipped out to Nicaragua in 1930 he was already a commissioned Lieutenant.  Er… again.

As the commander of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, Puller’s men were tasked with making an amphibious assault near the Matanikau River on the sunny Pacific resort island of Guadalcanal and staking out a critical strategic Margarita stand.  Two companies of the 1/7 hit the beaches, and almost immediately ran into a force of Japanese regular infantry much larger and more well-prepared than anything the Marines were expecting to face there.  The invasion force was cut-off and surrounded by an enemy counter attack, and Puller quickly realized that he had to get his boys out of there before they were cut to pieces.  Another group of Marines tried to break through the Japanese flank and reach the stranded men, but the enemy resistance was too strong and they were too well-fortified to be displaced.  The commander of the operation told Puller that it was hopeless, and that those Marines were lost.  Well Chesty Fucking Puller never resigned defeat for any reason.  He slammed his fist down on the table and immediately stormed out of camp toward the beach, where he flagged down a U.S. Destroyer that happened to be sailing off the coast.  Despite having absolutely no authority to do so, Puller boarded the vessel and immediately began organizing a second amphibious assault aimed at breaking through the Japanese lines.  From the deck of the ship he directed the Destroyer to fire everything they had at the enemy fortifications.  The shelling, coupled with the second landing, punched through the enemy blockade and cleared a path for the stranded Marines to escape.  One week after this defeat, Puller and his men would return to the mouth of the Matanikau River and obliterate all Japanese opposition in the sector, probably with their bare hands.

During that same campaign, Puller would once again prove his brass-ballsitude by going above and beyond the call of duty in the name of kicking every ass he could find.  On the night of 24 October 1942, 700 men of the 1/7 were positioned in a thin, mile-long line, defending an American airfield that was critical for the success of the Guadalcanal operation.  They suddenly came under an intense onslaught from the seasoned men of the Japanese 17th Army, who came charging full-speed at the U.S. positions.  For over three hours in the middle of the night, Chesty Puller ran up and down the U.S. lines directing his men and giving orders to his company commanders.  When the smoke cleared the next morning, the hard-fighting men of the 1st Marines had killed 1,400 of the enemy and captured seventeen trucks loaded with weapons and PlayStations while sustaining fewer than 70 casualties.  Before he would leave Guadalcanal, Puller would be shot twice by snipers and hit once with shrapnel from an exploding mortar round, but none of that bullshit would slow him down because he had well over 200 hit points thanks to his 18 Constitution score and the fact that he was a Level 15 Marine Commander.  Shit, fucking Admiral Yamamoto himself could have swooped in on a giant fucking red dragon that breathed fire right in Puller’s fucking face and Chesty would have just casually dusted himself off, broken the dragon’s neck, and hurled the Admiral into an active volcano.

With Puller, “badass” doesn’t even begin to cover it, as evidenced by the quote that closes the article:

“Where the Hell do you put the bayonet?”

– Chesty Puller, on first seeing a flamethrower

Heh. Just imagine Puller back home in the States as a retired Reservist called up to help quell an Antifa riot. San Fran’s fecal-pile problem would worsen by several orders of magnitude the moment those masked punks got a load of the lightning bolts of contempt and disgust emanating from Chesty’s eyes on his first gander at the cowardly fucking pussies.

It would be all too easy to say that they just don’t make ’em like Puller anymore, but A) I’m fortunate enough to count a good few SEALs, Rangers, and Marines—both former- and active-duty—among my circle of friends and close acquaintances, not one of which is in any way bereft of bad-assitude, and B) they only ever made just the one of him anyway. God rest him.

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Line: drawn

Lesson: ignored, probably.

We are not better than that, and this is who we are. We’re fighting back, no matter how much and how shrilly the Fredocons complain. We’re Normal Americans and we’re done being the guests of honor at the liberals’ witch burnings.

Case in point, one James Gunn. He’s a tiresome lefty jerk who jumped on Twitter to cheer Rosanne’s recent defenestration by the SJW mob. Except it turns out he had a whole bunch of icky tweets from a decade ago lurking on the Interwebs, and some conservatives dug them up. Oops. He just had his pointy head stuck on a figurative pike and I just don’t care.

Not even a little. Not anymore.

Cultural war is hell, and I propose it be hell first and foremost on the liberals who started it.

I want people to be able to say what they want. I think it’s an awful idea to persecute folks for saying controversial stuff. I want people to not do that. But here’s the catch – I want all people not to do that, not just us conservatives.

I don’t like it, but the New Rules are what the New Rules are, and I propose we cram them down the left’s throat to make the foie gras of liberty.

It’s the last and only hope of staving off the catastrophe discussed in the post below, forlorn though it is.

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Johnny Rotten gets it

Punk as fuck.

“What I dislike is the left-wing media in America are trying to smear the bloke as a racist, and that’s completely not true,” the 61-year-old said. “There’s many, many problems with him as a human being, but he’s not that, and there just might be a chance something good will come out of that situation, because he terrifies politicians.”

Mr. Lydon said Mr. Trump is like a “political Sex Pistol” whose purpose is to rattle the status quo. After co-host Piers Morgan described Mr. Trump as “the archetypal anti-establishment character,” Mr. Lydon added: “Dare I say, a possible friend.”

The former lead singer also declared his support for Brexit, saying he stands with Britain’s “working class” who voted to exit the European Union in June.

“Where do I stand on Brexit? Well, here it goes: The working class have spoke, and I’m one of them, and I’m with them,” Mr. Lydon said, raising his fist. “And there it is.”

And there it is indeed. Good on ya, John.

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Shoot the moon

I guess the ship has sailed on nuking it, then.

Forty-nine years ago today, and just a few hours from now, is the exact anniversary of when 50,000 steely-eyed missile men, crew-cutted geeks with pocket protectors, test pilots, fighter pilots, and hundreds of metric tons of raw testosterone kicked the rest of the world’s ass right to the bottom of the heap, going back to the dawn of time, from the moment that Eagle landed, to when this guy’s foot stepped off the LEM ladder.

Neil Armstrong, ace X-15 test pilot, and mission commander of Apollo XI, became the first man from earth to ever set foot on the Moon, and if and until we ever get people to Mars, he put every explorer in history, and even every guy to follow, below him on what Tom Wolfe correctly called “the top of the pyramid.”

He was there because his sidekick, lunar module pilot, and outside-the-box revolutionary thinker Buzz Aldrin

had managed to land the lunar module, off course, and with mere seconds remaining for landing before a crash-tastrophe, because you don’t fly 250,000 miles to puss out at the last 12 seconds, just for such piddling concerns as running out of fuel.

Meanwhile, as command module pilot Michael Collins was searching the Moon’s surface from lunar orbit to spot whereinhell (or rather, the Sea Of Tranquility) Eagle had actually landed, Armstrong and Aldrin were running through checklists and getting ready for the culmination of the combined effort of tens of thousands of people at NASA (back when they had a purpose, and a clue) and hundreds of thousands of contractors and subcontractors, accomplished to make the trip possible, less than a decade from Kennedy’s speech promising we’d do it.

Because that’s what Americans do.

Well, it WAS, at least. One of Aesop’s commenters explains why that’s no longer the case:

I like to compare and contrast Apollo 11 to the big event that happened not far from where I was. Woodstock. 

The first was a tribute to hard working men and women: engineers, technicians, assemblers, and tens of thousands of hard working people who undertook a task that many viewed as impossible. “To land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth by the end of this decade”. It was hard work, it was risky work. Men died: outstanding men you’d be proud to have known or worked with. It was a triumph of intellect, done with slide rules and calculators that your Smart Phone out powers by a factor of thousands. Even today, it is thought of as being so hard to do that about 5% of the US population thinks we never did it. 

The second was a bunch of kids having sex in the mud while drugged out of their minds, listening to singers and musicians drugged out of their minds.

The first group was dedicated to doing things others can barely only imagine – bending the universe to their will through sheer intellect and power. They are “can do” people. 

The second group was dedicated to rubbing body parts against each other with no effort of will and no character. Their entire focus in life is their genitals. 

The second group is now in charge of the country.

The time of the first moon shot was pretty much the final glory of America That Was; it was also the end of the era in which the last of the sane, patriotic Democrats—however beguiled they might have already been by the Great Darkness of hard Leftism—still roamed the Earth. Must be a coincidence, right?

On the “bright” side though, since Trump is a bought and paid for vassal of Putin, we ought to have no trouble continuing to hitch rides into space on rickety Russian rockets. So we got that going for us, right?

All kidding around aside, the moon landing was little short of a miraculous achievement, a truly stunning effort requiring brilliance, absolute commitment, sacrifice, and incredible courage. That succeeding generations have fallen so dismally short in all those areas and more diminishes the accomplishment not a whit. In hindsight, it’s almost as if the effort involved simply exhausted us, rendering us incapable of doing much than sitting back and gasping for breath. Nothing against their scientists, engineers, and astronauts, mind, but for some of us it will be quite a bittersweet day when some other nation—China, India, whoever it might be—takes up the reins, blasts off for the Final Frontier and leaves America in its Earthbound dust for good.

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O sole mio

Gonna be some truly epic excerpting here, by way of warning. But this just might be the best Steyn music post ever, so if you like these anything like as much as I do you should definitely stick with it.

Trust me.

Song of the Week, marking the death one hundred years ago of a composer whose name you may not know but whose best known composition you certainly will – even if you only know it in various pop iterations from Elvis and Dino and others. When actor-director-singer-author-sculptor-goodfella Paul Sorvino and his wife Dee Dee dropped by The Mark Steyn Show, I was surprised to discover that, of all the thousands of singers who’ve sung this song, Paul has a unique connection to it, as we’ll hear.

Eduardo di Capua was born in Naples in 1865 and died there exactly a century ago – October 3rd 1917. He was a Neapolitan who wrote Neapolitan songs, some of which traveled a long way from Napoli – “O Marie” was a hit for Louis Prima and others, and, retooled as “It’s Now or Never”, today’s song became a worldwide smash for Elvis Presley. But it took a long and tortuous path before it fell into the hands of the King in Graceland. “It’s Now Or Never” has its origins in …go on, take a wild guess.

Naples?

Close. The Ukraine.

Now, I hardly ever watch online videos of any kind, I have to admit. Who knows why, I just very seldom do. But I watched the one embedded in Steyn’s post, featuring Sorvino explaining his family connection with Capua and Capurro’s immortal classic, and I’m glad I did. After the vid, Steyn digs down deep:

Charles W Harrison recorded the first English-language version in 1915, but the anglophone lyric never really caught on. Half a century after Giovanni Capurro wrote the original text and several thousand miles west, three savvy Tin Pan Alleymen figured there might be a market for a real English lyric – not just a translation, but an authentic Anglo-American pop song. Al Hoffmann was a potent hit maker and king of the novelty song: His catalogue includes “Mairzy Doats (and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey)”, “Hot Diggety (dog ziggety boom! what you do to me)”, “Gilly, Gilly, Ossenfeffer, Katzenellen Bogen By The Sea”, “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo”, “Chi-Baba, Chi-Baba”, “Papa Loves Mambo”, “Bear Down, Chicago Bears”, “Black-Eyed Susan Brown”, “If I Knew You Were Coming, I’d’ve Baked A Cake (Howdja do? Howdja do? Howdja do?)”, etc, etc. But he also wrote that beautiful Sinatra ballad, “Close To You”. Leon Carr and Leo Corday are best remembered for their TV jingles, such as Dinah Shore’s longtime theme song, “See The USA In Your Chevrolet”. But in 1949 Hoffman, Carr and Corday came together to transform “O Sole Mio” into one of the first of an entire series of big arioso Italiano love songs that proved solid Hit Parade fodder through the Fifties. The big balladeer who cleaned up with the song was Tony Martin…

Not long after, Freddie Bienstock, his music publisher back in the States, flew over to see Elvis, and the young soldier told him that he really loved “There’s No Tomorrow”. He was looking ahead to getting discharged and back to the music business, and asked Bienstock to get somebody to write him some new lyrics for the tune. “Why don’t you just record the Tony Martin lyrics?” the publisher asked. Elvis said he didn’t like ’em. So Bienstock flew back to America and to the offices of Hill & Range Music. He might have run into some of the company’s other staffers, such as Ben Weisman, Ben Wise and Dolores Fuller, writers of “Rock-A-Hula Baby”. But, as it happens, the only guys who were around that day were Wally Gold and Aaron Schroeder. Gold was a former sax player and member of the vocal quartet the Four Esquires who’d decided to try his hand at songwriting (he would go on to compose Lesley Gore’s “It’s My Party”). As for Aaron Schroeder, his career goes back to “At A Sidewalk Penny Arcade”, the song he wrote for the B-side of Rosemary Clooney’s first solo record. In the decades that followed, he discovered Gene Pitney and teamed him up with Bacharach & David for “Twenty-Four Hours From Tulsa” and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”, and he helped launch Barry White’s career after White, languishing in prison for stealing tires, heard an Aaron Schroeder song that he claimed changed his life. But, to be honest, if I had to name my own favorite Aaron Schroeder song it would be a goofy novelty number written with Guy Wood (composer of that luminous Sinatra ballad “My One And Only Love”) that got tricked out in a wild Nelson Riddle arrangement complete with swingin’ soundbites from “La Marseillaise” and transformed into a zany single for Frank in 1958:

If you turn me down once more I’ll join the French Foreign Legion
Bet you they would welcome me with open arms
First you love me, yes; then you love me, no
I don’t know where I stand
Do we march together down the aisle
Or do I march that desert sand?

Delightful as that is, it’s not a song to rest your royalties on. So today Aaron Schroeder’s reputation as a writer rests mainly on the five Number One hits he wrote for Elvis Presley – “A Big Hunk O’ Love”, “Good Luck Charm”, “I Got Stung”, “Stuck On You”, and the biggest of the lot:

It’s Now Or Never
Come hold me tight
Kiss me my darling
Be mine tonight…

Those five Number Ones were some of Elvis’s very best, and among my own personal favorites.

It was Elvis’ biggest hit, selling some 25 million copies worldwide, Number One for five weeks in the US and for eight weeks in Britain. For the rest of his life it was Presley’s personal favorite out of all his records. And it was “It’s Now Or Never” that spurred Barry White’s Pauline prison conversion from a life of crime to a life of heavy-breathing luuuuuurv ballads.

“We were the only ones sitting in the office,” recalled Wally Gold of the day Freddie Bienstock commissioned the song. “We jumped in a cab to go back to Aaron’s studio. We got the title in the cab, the melody was already written, and in half an hour we knocked off the lyric.” Considering that the only reason they needed a new lyric was that Elvis didn’t like the old lyric, you can’t help noticing that the new text is basically the old text cranked up a notch, but starting with the same central idea.

By 1960, “O Sole Mio” was out of copyright in the United States so any Tom, Dick or Harry was free to write a new lyric to it. Under British Commonwealth and European law, however, the original was still protected by copyright, and a legal dispute held up the release of “Now Or Never” through the summer and early autumn. By the time the song was released in November, demand was so huge that it entered the British charts at Number One and stayed there for two months. It was the fastest-selling single ever, and on the first Saturday of its release some London record stores were so overwhelmed that they closed their doors to all customers except those wanting the Elvis record.

Which is pretty odd when you think about it. There’s not a whiff of pre-army Presley – of “Jailhouse Rock” or “Heartbreak Hotel” – in “It’s Now Or Never”. It’s a cha-cha-flavored ballad. But Elvis had always wanted to be Dean Martin, and it’s interesting that, in one of the few instances where he didn’t merely sing what was shoved in front of his nose, he insisted on a reworking of a Dino ballad.

Not so strange really, if you know and understand that Elvis’s most compelling ambition was to be not merely a hip-shakin’ rock and roller but a serious singer of The Great American Songbook. Which makes his career all the more remarkable,starting with his original innovative blending of blues and country into rockabilly, which expanded in the RCA years into a more accessible and complex thing we now just refer to as rock and roll. He moved on from there to explore gospel, more-modern country and even a little pure honky-tonk, later putting his ever-evolving stylistic stamp on pure pop, sweeping ballads, movie-soundtrack fluff, and even show tunes.

He went on to duet with Sinatra, who had long made no secret of utterly despising both Elvis and his music, and easily held his own.



Yes, Elvis lost his way going into the 70s, both artistically and personally, for a variety of reasons. He wound up a sad mockery of his former self, a show-biz joke eclipsed first by the British Invasion and then the evolution of “rock and roll” into “rock” towards the end of the 60’s. But that dimishes his earlier achievements not one whit: the man was a true popular-music colossus, and the mark he made on the world cannot be erased. There has simply never been anyone like him, and there never will be.

Incredible as it no doubt seems, there’s even more to the O Sole Mio story yet, my profligate excerpting notwithstanding. As I said, if you dig Steyn’s music posts like I do this one’s a real pip, and you’ll want to read it all.

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Dopes

What happens when conventional wisdom…isn’t? When the supposed experts…aren’t?

It really is quite simple. Everyone is smart except Donald J. Trump. That’s why they all are billionaires and all got elected President. Only Trump does not know what he is doing. Only Trump does not know how to negotiate with Vladimir Putin. Anderson Cooper knows how to stand up to Putin. The whole crowd at MSNBC does. All the journalists do.

They could not stand up to Matt Lauer at NBC. They could not stand up to Charlie Rose at CBS. They could not stand up to Mark Halperin at NBC. Nor up to Leon Wieseltier at the New Republic, nor Jann Wenner at Rolling Stone, nor Michael Oreskes at NPR, at the New York Times, or at the Associated Press. But — oh, wow! — can they ever stand up to Putin! Only Trump is incapable of negotiating with the Russian tyrant.

Remember the four years when Anderson Cooper was President of the United States? And before that — when the entire Washington Post editorial staff jointly were elected to be President? Remember? Neither do I.

*Shudder*

Trump’s voters get him because not only is he we, but we are he. We were not snowflaked-for-life by effete professors who themselves never had negotiated tough life-or-death serious deals. Instead we live in the real world, and we know how that works. Not based on social science theories, not based on “conceptual negotiating models.” But based on the people we have met over life and always will hate. That worst boss we ever had. The coworker who tried to sabotage us. We know the sons of bums whom we survived, the dastardly types who are out there, and we learned from those experiences how to deal with them. We won’t have John Kerry soothe us by having James Taylor sing “You’ve Got a Friend” carols.

The Bushes got us into all kinds of messes. The first one killed the economic miracle that Reagan had fashioned. The second one screwed up the Middle East, where Iraq and Iran beautifully were engaged in killing each other for years, and he got us mired into the middle of the muddle. Clinton was too busy with Monica Lewinsky to protect us from Osama bin Laden when we had him in our sights. Hillary gave us Benghazi and more. And Obama and Kerry gave us the Iran Deal, ISIS run amok, America in retreat. All to the daily praise of a media who now attack Trump every minute of every day.

Fischer then gets down to specifics—and it’s mighty good stuff, too—before laying down the bottom line:

At the end of the day, Donald Trump is over seventy years old. He has made many mistakes in his life. He still makes some. He is human. But Trump likewise has spent three score and a dozen years learning. He has seen some of his businesses go bankrupt, and he has learned from those experiences to be a billionaire and not let it happen again. No doubt that he has been fooled, outsmarted in years past. And he has learned from life.

He is a tough and smart negotiator. He sizes up his opponent, and he knows that the approach that works best for one is not the same as for another. It does not matter what he says publicly about his negotiating opponent. What matters is what results months later. In his first eighteen months in Washington, this man has turned around the American economy, brought us near full employment, reduced the welfare and food stamp lines, wiped out ISIS in Raqqa, moved America’s Israel embassy to Jerusalem, successfully has launched massive deregulation of the economy, has opened oil exploration in ANWR, is rebuilding the military massively, has walked out of the useless Paris Climate Accords that were negotiated by America’s amateurs who always get snookered, canned the disastrous Iran Deal, exited the bogus United Nations Human Rights Council. He has Canada and Mexico convinced he will walk out of NAFTA if they do not pony up, and he has the Europeans convinced he will walk out of NATO if they don’t stop being the cheap and lazy parasitic penny-pinchers they are. He has slashed income taxes, expanded legal protections for college students falsely accused of crimes, has taken real steps to protect religious freedoms and liberties promised in the First Amendment, boldly has taken on the lyme-disease-quality of a legislative mess that he inherited from Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama on immigration, and has appointed a steady line of remarkably brilliant conservative federal judges to sit on the district courts, the circuit appellate courts, and the Supreme Court.

What has Anderson Cooper achieved during that period? Jim Acosta or the editorial staffs of the New York Times and Washington Post?

Well, they’ve managed some record-setting sniveling and whining, the pissant little bitches—all the more desolated because they know the real Americans they loathe just aren’t listening anymore, and Trump doesn’t give a single shit about them either.

Update! Codevilla scores the Putin meet:

The high professional quality of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s performance at their Monday press conference in Helsinki contrasts sharply with the obloquy by which the bipartisan U.S. ruling class showcases its willful incompetence.

Though I voted for Trump, I’ve never been a fan of his and I am not one now. But, having taught diplomacy for many years, I would choose the Trump-Putin press conference as an exemplar of how these things should be done. Both spoke with the frankness and specificity of serious business. This performance rates an A+.

For serious analysis of serious matters, I’ll take Codevilla over blow-dried buffoons like Acosta and Cooper six days a week, and twice on Sunday.

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Showing fight

ZOMFG!!!



It’s about damned time somebody—some purported “conservative,” that is—did this. And it took Trump, bless him, to do it. Liberal “journalists,” as one would expect, immediately lapsed into paroxysms of fearful, tearful hysteria, moaning about “authoritarianism,” “oppression,” “jailing reporters,” “a climate of fear” and such-like. All Trump did was speak the plain truth about these lying propagandists; they ought to spend some time with some real journalists locked up in commie gulags like Cuba sometime to see what tyranny REALLY looks like, from inside the belly of the voracious beast.

Acosta’s whimpering, child-like response is absolutely priceless.

Best. Fucking. President. EVER. And the NeverTrumpTards wonder why, no matter how much they sneer at us and him both, we still love the guy. Ace provides a damned good explanation for them on that one, which they won’t get either:

Here’s the problem with Jonah Goldberg and why we’ve ejected him from the movement forever:

He never took a damn thing he’s written seriously. It’s all just a hustle, a paycheck. So it’s very easy for him to forget things he’s written before — he didn’t mean them when he wrote them, so it’s easy enough to slough them off like a snake’s old skin now.

At some point we all realized these people didn’t mean a word they were saying at any time. And since they didn’t give a shit about their #PaycheckConservative bullshit, we stopped giving a shit about it too.

These people lie and lie and lie, never putting the majority of the base’s concerns as any kind of priority, just paying lip service to those concerns as they ruthlessly sacrifice the base’s actual primary concerns to secure their own primary concerns, or the concerns of their liberal friends and corporate donors.

We’re tired of that. We don’t want you any more. Whether it’s Trump or whether it’s a literal circus clown: We will take the literal circus clown over you.

We. Are. Done. With. You.

Forever.

There is no “spell” to break and there is no cult of personality. What there may be is an anti-Cult of Personality — millions of Republicans united not in worship of someone but united in antipathy bordering on hatred for a group of charlatan liberals who’ve been sabotaging the alleged conservative movement for decades.

We’re not coming back, and you’re not coming back, either. 

And there it is. As I always say: ask yourselves why we hate you. Or don’t, at this point we don’t give a shit whether you figure it out or not.

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Notable quotes

I’ve seen some of the D-Right guys here and there disparaging Thomas Sowell as—well, not quite a cuck, maybe, but definitely one of the useless Conservative Old Guard. I dunno, I’ve always liked the guy myself, and still do. He’s sharp as they come, and definitely has a way with words. To wit:

21. “It would be hard to think of a more ridiculous way to make decisions than to transfer those decisions to third parties who pay no price for being wrong. Yet that is what at least half of the bright ideas of the political left amount to.”

20. “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear. People with careers as ethnic leaders usually tell their followers what they want to hear.”

19. “‘We are a nation of immigrants,’ we are constantly reminded. We are also a nation of people with ten fingers and ten toes. Does that mean that anyone who has ten fingers and ten toes should be welcomed and given American citizenship?”

18. “It is amazing how many people think that the government’s role is to give them what they want by overriding what other people want.”

Hawkins has collected thirty of ’em for this article, my own favorite being this one:

15. “Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.”

They’re all damned good, although the Tweet that leads things off is kinda depressing. Here’s another short piece, noting his retirement a couple years ago, which includes a link to an archive of his excellent work. Long may you wave, Dr Sowell, and happy belated birthday to you.

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Disrupter no more

He’s morphed into Trump The Transformer.

We can now say we’re entering the age of Trump. It’s been a long march to this moment. Around this time last year, the summer of Scaramucci, Donald Trump’s staffing was an unholy mess, his poll numbers hit new lows and the GOP health care initiative died in Congress. Perhaps Trump could not govern, some speculated. But a year later, and just a few months before the midterm elections, Trump is most definitely in charge — and he is changing the character of America step by step.

Every President’s first midterm contest is about the President; it’s a referendum on how they’re doing, a chance for the opposition to mobilize and throw congressional roadblocks in front of the executive’s agenda. Few midterms, however, will be quite as angry or polarized as the upcoming one, and not because 2018 represents a vote in the context of Trump’s failure. Because it’s a vote at a moment of his success.

Trump continues his streak of surprises. First, he won the election, then he proved far better at manipulating the media, setting the issue agenda and exerting executive authority than might have been expected. He has slowly colonized the Republican Party, achieving a growing uniformity of opinion. The fact that all of this “winning” is not reflecting in his opinion polls – which still put his job approval below 50% — only demonstrates that for Trump to triumph in his own particular way, he has to alienate a lot of people on the other side of the argument, to divide the country in two and trust that there are enough of his people in the right number of congressional districts, or electoral votes-rich states, to keep him in authority.

Trump is not the President for all Americans, but he is finally redefining the country along lines approved of by those Americans who lent him their votes in 2016.

Actually, he’s not “the President for all Americans” because a lot of ’em aren’t really Americans in the first place.

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“If You Don’t Believe In Limited Self-Government, You’re Not An American Patriot”

NAILED it.

America is not whatever you want it to be. America is not freedom from worry. It is not free stuff from the taxpayer. It is not a guarantee that you will be successful in life. It’s not even the flag or the troops or the fireworks. America isn’t “paying taxes.” It is not “never having to worry about your medical bills.” In short, America is not customizable to your fleeting whims or whatever you are “feeling” whenever the fireworks are sparkling in your eyes.

“Patriotism” is not difficult to define, as much as the Left would have you think it so. It is not a fluid thing. Torching the flag and crapping on the anthem is not patriotism. It may be a reflection of the freedom that makes America great, but it is not patriotism.

Patriotism in America means loving limited government. It is that simple. You love that America has a constitutionally limited government, or you do not love America. Saying you love America and do not want the government limited is like saying you love your car but hate the engine, seats, and interior.

Which means that, as you guys already know, we have one political party that not only despises America, but has worked tirelessly for nearly a century to “fundamentally transform” it (ahem) into the exact opposite of what it was intended to be. Yet some of us still balk at calling them on it—at speaking the plain truth about them, at acknowledging a self-declared enemy as…an enemy. It isn’t “civil.”

Well, y’know, fuck civility then.

As progressives continue to tear our social fabric apart by mobbing people in restaurants, calling for social upheaval to overturn elections, and so forth, they naturally provoke stronger and stronger reactions from the Right. As we grapple with this new reality, conservatives have to figure out how far is too far when fighting back. But while appropriate restraint is always a part of this consideration, we go too far when we decide that we must always adhere to every aspect of a dying civility no matter the cost. Failing to openly defy the Left’s blatant aggression does not preserve civility — it only emboldens the uncivil and betrays their victims.

Conservatives make a category error when we declare that we should rather lose the culture war than be uncivil. Like most such errors, this one is rooted in a powerful truth: On moral absolutes, we should absolutely rather lose than violate them. It really is better to fail than to succeed by murdering; it really is better to suffer than to enjoy adultery; etc. Nevertheless, the error creeps in because conservatives tend to put certain kinds of traditional behavior into this same category. Contrary to this tendency, things like courtesy and civility are not moral absolutes; they are social contracts.

Nowhere is this made clearer than when our rules of courtesy and civility permit or even enjoin the violation of true moral absolutes. Go back a little ways into our history and you’ll find that dueling was a civil and courteous practice — violent, sure, but rooted in exactly the sort of manners, rules, and traditions that mark courtesy. That doesn’t mean it was moral — or even a terribly good idea — but it was civil.

Oh, I dunno. Might be a good thing if we brought it back, seems to me. Ideally, it might give the Brat Left pause before offering insult to someone liable to call them on it in a serious fashion and “demand satisfaction,” as they used to say. The revival of dueling would also doubtless remove some of the detritus currently mucking up the gene pool. On the other hand, bringing back the “field of honor” is bound to prove a bit problematic when the people you’re dragging there have none in the first place.

Cochran goes on to make several good points, but his closer is key:

Like it or not, we are in an existential struggle with the social justice left. They do not want to compromise. They don’t really even want to merely get their way. They want to annihilate opposing opinions. The whole point of calling everyone who disagrees with them Nazis is that punching Nazis is a socially acceptable solution. The only common debate about whether it would be okay to kill Hitler is about whether it would still be okay to travel back in time and kill him as an infant.

It is therefore no great mystery why the left is becoming more and more comfortable with violence. You do not compromise with Nazis, you eliminate them. So next time one of them flips out about Chick-Fil-A, ask yourself something: If they can’t even stand the thought of Christians selling chicken sandwiches; exactly what place do you think they will allow us to occupy in society when they’re in charge? Are you really going to abandon your family, your friends, your fellow conservatives, and your fellow Christians to the left’s non-existent mercy simply because it would be impolite to do otherwise?

One doesn’t have to don a black mask and start throwing bricks at social justice warriors in order to fight them. Nor do we need to eject from our lives anyone who disagrees with us. We do, however, need to protect our families and our nation from the ones who do these things. So stop virtue signaling about how you’ll be polite to the very grave, and start deliberating about when its right to be civil and when it’s not.

Speaking strictly for myself, the time for even bothering about civility is long past. We’re closing in fast on the “throwing bricks” stage of the struggle now—in large measure because our side kept clinging to the archaic concept of civility too long, hoping for our courtesy to be requited by people who hold the very notion—and us—in contempt. We’re in a truly existential conflict now, a war to the knife against an enemy with no compunction against using every conceivable low-blow and eye-gouging dirty trick their fiendish imaginations can come up with.

Things have gotten ugly, and it didn’t happen overnight. They’re going to get uglier still before a victor finally emerges. Count on it. Be civil if you still think it worth the effort, by all means. But don’t let it distract you from loading magazines.

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Tweet of the century

No, really.



Via WRSA.

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American anthem

This ought to be the national anthem, if you ask me.

In 1893, a Massachusetts professor called Katharine Lee Bates was giving a series of summer lectures on English literature at Colorado College, in Colorado Springs. “One day,” she recalled, “some of the other teachers and I decided to go on a trip to 14,000-foot Pikes Peak. We hired a prairie wagon. Near the top we had to leave the wagon and go the rest of the way on mules. I was very tired. But when I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there.”

Professor Bates had not previously traveled in the Rockies or seen much of her country at all beyond New England, and the unbounded beauty of the land awed her – and inspired her. It was “the most glorious scenery I ever beheld, and I had seen the Alps and the Pyrenees,” she said. “My memory of that supreme day of our Colorado sojourn is fairly distinct even across the stretch of 35 crowded years,” Miss Bates wrote a year before her death in 1929. “We stood at last on that Gate-of-Heaven summit, hallowed by the worship of perished races, and gazed in wordless rapture over the far expanse.”

Though she insisted “the sublimity of the Rockies smote my pencil with despair”, she was not “wordless” for long. “It was then and there, as I was looking out over the sea-like expanse of fertile country spreading away so far under those ample skies, that the opening lines of the hymn floated into my mind”:

Oh beautiful for spacious skies
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!

She put them down on paper that evening in her room at the Antlers Hotel. Today you’d be hard put to find a quatrain known to more Americans. Whether it’s Gary Larson’s “Far Side” cartoon of Columbus approaching land and saying, “Look! Purple mountains! Spacious skies!…Is someone writing this down?” or Rush Limbaugh at noon eastern welcoming listeners “across the fruited plain” to his daily radio show, every anchorman, cartoonist, comedian or advertising copywriter who evokes those words is assured that they’re as instantly familiar to his audience as any lines ever written in American English.

One way or another many of the patriotic underpinnings of 20th century America derive from the 1893 Exposition: the Pledge of Allegiance was written for it, and Columbus Day became a national holiday because of it. But its greatest gift to the nation was “America The Beautiful” – for without the fair in Chicago Katharine Lee Bates would never have set off on her great voyage of discovery. On July 3rd, the two Katharines caught the train to Colorado and the following day, Independence Day, she sat in the car and watched – what’s the word? – waves of Kansas wheat rolling by. She was, she confided to her diary, “a better American for such a Fourth”.

This Fourth of July, Americans will sing the first verse, which at most performances nowadays is all we hear. But Miss Bates had more to say than mere topographic description. 

It’s another of Steyn’s brilliant musical magnum opuses (opi? opii?!? oh, the hell with it) so you already know it’s fascinating. As for making it the national anthem, I ain’t alone in that by any means; the inimitable Ray Charles thought so too, and made the most sublime case for it imaginable.




The only argument I can see against making the switch is that it would have to be sung, each and every time, by…Ray Charles. Nobody did it like he did.

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Polemic made easy

It’s getting mighty hard to parody them, but Surber just made a damned fine job of it.

Writing newspaper editorials is an exercise in exasperating futility. They have scant impact. 243 newspapers endorsed Hillary. 20 endorsed Donald John Trump. Who won?

To those still laboring at a craft that last had impact in the 19th century, I draw upon my 27 years of experience to offer this generic editorial on whomever President Trump nominates for the Supreme Court.

You may cut and paste it, and your boss will not notice the difference.

The Senate Must Reject This Monster

President Trump — a vain, deranged, and impulsive man elected by Russia and not a majority of Americans — has nominated the worst judicial candidate since Roger Brooke Taney, the chief justice who authored the Dred Scott decision. [Nominee’s name] may be worse. Not only does [he or she] view African-Americans as chattel, but women as second-class citizens!

Most Republicans want to return America to the oppressive and conformist days of the 1950s when everyone had a job instead of welfare!

President Trump has nominated a person who wants to return to the slave days of 1850s!

This would be Armageddon for our Constitution. Women would be forced to seek reproduction freedom from back-alley butchers again. Republicans would bar minorities and millennials from voting. People would be allowed to own as many guns as they like without registering them; vaginas would be more regulated than assault weapons!

They’re so comically predictable by now it pretty much writes itself, in a way. And damned if I didn’t just realize that Surber isn’t in Ye Old Blogrolle, which I remedied with a quickness. I really need to give that thing a good going-over soon.

Dream a little dream update! Elsewhere Surber explores a topic I mentioned here not long ago myself, but in much greater detail than I did.

In addition to being an obscene poison pen writer, Kevin D. Williamson is sloppy. He penned an ode to Harley-Davidson because it is standing up to “The Man” by shipping more production overseas to protest President Trump’s tariffs.

Williamson missed the real story. Harley-Davidson owes its existence to tariffs imposed by President Reagan in 1983. Ingratitude is hard to see when you are a Never Trumper basking in the glow of conservative victories that President Trump earned.

Harley now has plants all over the world. Harley, Williamson and the National Review ignored Reagan’s actions and words. They bet against America. They call it free trade, but given the low wages paid in Thailand, where Harley is building a plant, maybe we should call it slave trade.

Williamson wrote, “unilateral free trade is an idea far too radical for our current timid national mood.”

Unilateral free trade is economic euthanasia.

“Free trade” is a chimera, a unicorn. As long as there are nation-states with governments pursuing competing interests, it will not exist—it cannot exist.

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Right man, right place, right time

Seconded, heartily.

The 5-4 SCOTUS decisions upholding the constitutionality of President Trump’s travel ban and declaring the unconstitutionality of public sector unions extorting money from non-members to support political parties, candidates, and causes they oppose are two more benefits from President Trump’s appointment of originalist Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

The retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy provides another opportunity to appoint another justice like the late Antonin Scalia, an originalist who believed that the words of the Constitution should be interpreted as written by the Founders in the context of the time in which they were written. I put forward the name of Sen. Ted Cruz.

Trump warned during the campaign that the Second Amendment was under attack, and there was no better defender of the Second Amendment than Ted Cruz. He would be a worthy replacement for the late Justice Scalia, with whom Cruz helped save the Second Amendment in the momentous Heller decision.

What few people know — and the media won’t remind them — is that Ted Cruz was a prime mover in getting Heller, in which Scalia wrote the majority opinion, before the Court and decided in favor of gun rights, ruling that the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right and that the word “militia”, as the Founders intended, meant the “whole people” of the United States. If Heller had gone the other way, our gun rights would have been thrown on the ash heap of history.

Before endorsing Trump, and perhaps one of the reasons aside from SCOTUS picks, Cruz received support from Trump in fighting the Obama administration’sInternet giveaway that removed it from U.S. control. They are more in agreement than some commentators think.

Sobieski mentions that there are those out there who think Cruz might turn it down, but I can’t really see that myself. Ted seems to have the right idea about SC jurisprudence and the Constitution itself—with the added benefit that such a move by Trump would give GOPe NeverTrumpTards a nervous breakdown over whether to shit or go blind. The Left, of course, will continue on with their rubber-room hysterics no matter who he nominates. All in all, I think Cruz would make a fine Justice, and a most salutary replacement for the execrable Ginsberg.

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"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

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