Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

“Catastrophe”

And coverup.

In 2013, hundreds of CIA officers — many working nonstop for weeks — scrambled to contain a disaster of global proportions: a compromise of the agency’s internet-based covert communications system used to interact with its informants in dark corners around the world. Teams of CIA experts worked feverishly to take down and reconfigure the websites secretly used for these communications; others managed operations to quickly spirit assets to safety and oversaw other forms of triage.

“When this was going on, it was all that mattered,” said one former intelligence community official. The situation was “catastrophic,” said another former senior intelligence official.

From around 2009 to 2013, the U.S. intelligence community experienced crippling intelligence failures related to the secret internet-based communications system, a key means for remote messaging between CIA officers and their sources on the ground worldwide. The previously unreported global problem originated in Iran and spiderwebbed to other countries, and was left unrepaired — despite warnings about what was happening — until more than two dozen sources died in China in 2011 and 2012 as a result, according to 11 former intelligence and national security officials.

The disaster ensnared every corner of the national security bureaucracy — from multiple intelligence agencies, congressional intelligence committees and independent contractors to internal government watchdogs — forcing a slow-moving, complex government machine to grapple with the deadly dangers of emerging technologies.

More than just a question of a single failure, the fiasco illustrates a breakdown that was never properly addressed. The government’s inability to address the communication system’s insecurities until after sources were rolled up in China was disastrous. “We’re still dealing with the fallout,” said one former national security official. “Dozens of people around the world were killed because of this.”

Now guess on whose watch this disastrous fiasco occurred. Go on, guess.

This is simply stunning. A rollup of networks across the world — an event that began in Iran, where the Obama administration would soon enough be negotiating its much sought-after “nuclear deal framework,” and ended with numerous deaths is the kind of thing of which intelligence nightmares and national-security disasters are made. One’s first instinct is to look back and see who was CIA director during that period: Leon Panetta (Feb. 2009-June 2011); Michael Morell (acting director, July-Sept. 2011); David Petraeus (Sept. 2011-Nov. 2012); Morell again (acting, Nov. 2012-March 2013); and finally John Brennan, who served out the remainder of the Obama administration.

In other words, a lot of churn during what we now know was a tumultuous time. Oddly enough, one important national-security position experienced exactly zero churn during these years, that of Homeland Security adviser. Which chair was occupied by John Brennan, until he stepped in at the CIA.

I emphasized the incompetent asshole Brennan above, just because. But it can’t fairly be said that the buck stopped with him; it went much higher than that, of course.

The fact is, networks get rolled up all the time, especially when the controlling agency becomes complacent, or goes to the well once too often. Communication methods must always be reassessed — especially when they seem to be working — and changed. But the Obama administration’s cavalier attitude toward security basics is nonetheless shocking, and evidence of the rank amateurism with which the Obamanauts approached foreign policy and national security.

Gee, imagine my surprise. Walsh also notes that the story finally surfaced on Nov 2, and sarcastically wonders why it “got mighty little attention from the national media.” He knows quite well, and so do you.

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How it’s done

Street justice served, fresh and piping hot.

Members of the far-right men’s group “Proud Boys” beat up at least three protesters Friday in the streets of Manhattan after an event Friday night. The members of the pro-Trump organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies as a hate group had gathered at the Metropolitan Republican Club on the Upper East Side to hear a speech by the group’s founder, Gavin McInnes. Minutes after they left the event, some 30 members of the group took part in the beating, which allegedly began when three anti-fascist protesters knocked a “Make America Great Again” hat off the head of a Proud Boy member.

Don’t start no shit, won’t be no shit, AntiFa fascist. But if you make a bonehead move with ill intent, prepare to tote the full-load ass-whuppin’, just like you deserve. The New Rule, a la Schichter, is: what goes around comes around. In full measure, with a quickness.

Videos posted on social media show the violence that included apparent members of Proud Boys beating protesters while shouting “faggot” and “cocksucker.” None of the Proud Boys were detained for the attacks although three anti-fascist protesters were arrested. Police accused the protesters of attacking a 30-year-old man who was leaving the rally.

Two journalists who were at the scene, Sandi Bachom and Shay Horse, talked to the HuffPost and described how the “confrontation turned into a mob assault” with Proud Boys vastly outnumbering the protesters. “They turned it into a pummeling,” Horse said. “This was three people on the ground and people just kicking the shit out of them.” After the attacks, the Proud Boys members posed for a photo while flashing “white power” hand signs, according to a photo posted on Twitter. “I haven’t seen a fight that violent in a long time,” Horse tweeted.

Good. I hope they got their sorry asses beaten half to death, and will be walking with a limp, jumping at loud noises, and peeing through a tube into a bag for life. The only unsatisfying part of this feel-good story is that there weren’t more Lefty oxygen thieves present to take their dose along with these three simps.

“The proud boys were totally ready and willing to be violent tonight. They didn’t even wear masks.” Members of the group also reportedly shouted “I like beer” repeatedly, a clear reference to what Justice Brett Kavanaugh said during his confirmation hearings.

Heh. You go, ‘Boys. If there’s gotta be blood in the street, I’d much rather it be theirs.

The Proud Boys are a sterling example to us all, clearly ready to take care of business at the slightest provocation from fascist pussyfarts and deal out the right stuff in response, rather than curling into a fetal ball and whimpering about “civility” or some such.

In their faces. Twice as hard. “You must condemn the right-wing violence,” sniffs Leftiecakes? Yeah, go fuck yourself with a splintery, rotten 2×4. Cuck nancyboys, too, can snivel and whine right alongside their libtard leash-holders about how just awfully awfully awful it all is; Proud Boys don’t give a shit what they think either. Me, I fucking love it.

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A new low

The question rings out: Can they really BE this dumb? And the answer comes instantly back: Oh, quite a bit dumber than you think, even.



I won’t bother explaining what’s fundamentally wrong with that risible assertion. You guys all know already, and they ain’t listening anyway. Even if they were, it would be over their heads, like reading Shakespeare to a damned dog or something.

OOOPS update! Another hilariously ludicrous assertion which I don’t have to bother explaining. But it’s remarkable in its own right, because it’s Hillary!™ telling nothing but the pure, unvarnished truth, possibly for the first time in her entire miserable life, if inadvertently.

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviewed Clinton about the joint speaking tour she is going on with Bill, where tickets to attend are going for up to $700 each, according to the Daily Mail.

“You say that you are going to talk about the difficulties that your husband went through, that you went through,” Amanpour said. “Obviously you’re going to be prepared to have questions about that moment in 1998, the impeachment, the allegations of sexual [misconduct] against your own husband.”

“Are you prepared to answer those questions?” Amanpour asked. “Is he prepared to answer them? And how do you see that similar or different from what President Trump is being accused of and Kavanaugh and others today?”

Clinton responded by saying the allegations against her husband were totally different because partisan politics were involved.

“There’s a very significant difference,” Clinton responded. “And that is the intense, long-lasting partisan investigation that was conducted in the ’90s.”

Yeah, they’re different all right, and significantly for sure: the ones against your “husband” were, y’know, true, with plenty of evidence to back ’em up.

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The future is…here?

Crazy, man, crazy.

The Army adopted its battle rifle in 1963 and has spent 55 years looking for a replacement for the M-16 and its variants.

They might have found it in Martin Grier’s Colorado Springs garage. Grier, a self-described inventor who has worked at a local bed and breakfast, built the new “ribbon gun” with a hobbyist’s tools. It looks like a space-age toy drawn by a fifth-grader.

But goofy origins and cartoon-looks aside, this could be the gun of the future. The Army is studying Grier’s gun and has ordered a military-grade prototype.

The specifications are incredible, four 6 mm barrels cut side by side within one steel block. New ammunition blocks fired by electromagnetic actuators that could theoretically give the weapon a firing rate of 250 rounds per second.

And then there’s the feature no soldier would turn down. “It’s called a power shot,” Grier said.

That’s the shotgun feature of this sniper-shot, machine-assault gun that can send four bullets simultaneously whizzing toward an enemy at more than 2,500 mph.

It isn’t science fiction. He’s built the gun and patented the technology behind it. Now his garage-based company, FD munitions, is hoping the Army will buy it.

“A multibore firearm, with several bores within a single barrel, could potentially exhibit many of the advantages of a multibarrel design, while reducing the size, weight and complexity disadvantages,” Grier wrote in his 2016 patent application.

Pretty damned interesting stuff, ain’t it? Although at 250 rounds per second, I can see lugging the great gobs of ammo required to keep this beast fed being a real problem for the groundpounder of the not-so-distant future. Guess the Green Machine is going to need to get to work on those exoskeletons—or better yet, Heinlein’s powered-armor MI combat suits.

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True American hero

Meet Sabo.

Los Angeles
It’s not much to look at from the outside, a dingy apartment building in a downwardly mobile stretch of burglar bars, psychics, and coin laundries. When asked the name of the neighborhood, one inhabitant classifies it as “no place in the middle of every place.”

It’s not much better on the inside. The guy I have come to see answers the door of his cheerless one-bedroom shirtless, in camo shorts and Chucks, while pulling on a white polo in order to appear less feral. He’s not a down-on-his-luck porn producer, though he used to work in the industry. He’s not some middle-aged gangbanger, though he could pass for one: solidly built with his name tattooed on his knuckles and a branding-iron mark singed into his chest. He is Sabo, America’s preeminent right-wing guerrilla street artist.

This sounds impressive. Yet being the Banksy or the Shep Fairey of the right is not a high pile to climb. It’s a bit like being the foremost reggae singer at the Grand Ole Opry or the premier scuba outfitter in the Kalahari. There’s not a lot of competition.

In this most liberal of cities (where even unaffiliated voters outnumber registered Republicans) and out of these modest digs, Sabo runs a one-man torture emporium. His victims include everyone from lefty politicians and Big Tech overlords to smug celebrities who never cease to subject us to the hot blasts of their virtue-signaling.

When inspiration strikes, Sabo might hijack a billboard, as he did last year with one advertising the film The Greatest Showman. It featured the actress Zendaya on a trapeze, and Sabo added a smirking Al Franken behind her with his lechy come-hither hands outstretched. Or he might crank out cheeky T-shirts with the letters “DOU” next to a picture of Che’s face.

The fashionable hypocrisy of the left drives Sabo bonkers, which explains the “F— Tibet” sign in his living room. It’s not that he doesn’t feel for the Dalai Lama’s oppressed people. But he’ll see some L.A. fashionista in a Mao shirt hauling a Free Tibet tote bag, “And I’m like, ‘You realize the reason Tibet needs to be freed is because of the f—ing Communists?’ These are the idiots I have to deal with.”

We all do, buddy, we all do. Read every word of it; as WRSA says, it’s good stuff. His apartment sounds like one hell of a fun place to hang out:

From the moment you step inside Sabo’s place, you get the sense that artistic violence is committed here. Amidst the skateboards and racks of spray-paint that adorn the hovel of this 50-year-old man-child, there’s a tattered Koran, which serves as his doorstop. It’s missing pages, since he’s used a few when out of toilet paper. If a visitor didn’t get the point that he’s not a fan of Islam, one wall also features Beyoncé in a burka.

Next to the coffin-sized printer that cranks out the posters that he plasters all over Los Angeles, there’s a wall-sized depiction of Elizabeth Warren in a Pocahontas headdress. There’s also the Hillary Clinton Wizard of Oz-style flying monkey campaign placard (with which he blanketed Brentwood before one of Hillary’s deep-pockets presidential fundraisers) and the tin of “Planned Parenthood Baby Dick Sausages by Vienna” (his nod to the unborn, though he’s ambivalently pro-choice).

Sabo’s also pro gay-marriage. But just when you think he’s going bleeding-heart on you, his bathroom door features the traditional ladies’ room silhouette of a woman, but from under her skirt is protruding, like a turtle head from a shell, a man’s unit. The bathroom is marked neither “Men” nor “Women,” but rather “It.” Though Sabo hastens to add that with their high rates of attempted suicide, he has nothing against “trannies.” “I hurt for them in a good way…just don’t try and tell me that it’s normal.”

Then there’s the MAGAphone—a megaphone inscribed with Donald Trump’s favorite acronym, as well as “Eat Shit Commie” around the horn. 

This is a fascinating, well-written warts-and-all bio of a fascinating young man who’s led a fascinating, rough and tumble life. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned the introduction from Sabo’s website before here, but it bears repeating:

Bush the Younger was elected President and the claws came out in Hollywood. I lost my friends along with a great deal of peace. It was not a good time to be a Republican in Hollywood. There was no place I could go where I wasn’t punched in the face by some sort of art defining who I was for being a Republican. Evil, Bigotted, Homophobic, Out of Touch, Rich, Greedy, on and on. And then I snapped. Why was the Left allowed to define me and where are the dissenting voices from the Right setting the record straight? Creatively speaking, no one.

I believe the Right has a great message, sadly the only people telling it are those on the Left and they do a damn fine job making us look like ass holes and what do Republicans do about it, NOT A DAMN THING!!! Fuck it! I guess it’s just going to have to be me, I thought. My aim as an artist is to be as dirty, ground level, and mean as any Liberal artist out there, more so if I can. Use their tactics, their methods, appeal to their audience, the young, urban, street urchins with a message they never hear in a style they own. My name is SABO, I’m an UNSAVORYAGENT.

We need all of ’em we can get, now more than ever. Okay, okay, one more excerpt, which I just love:

Sabo became a tank crewman, from which he derives his handle. A “sabot” is a type of armor-piercing round—“pretty much a bullet for a tank.” The Call of Duty nerds like to test him on this, claiming, Sabo says while imitating their pedantic whine, that it “isn’t the round, it’s one of the things that cup the round.” Disgusted, he adds: “I’m like, ‘Bitch, I only slept on one for four years. Shut up. I used sabot rounds as a goddamned pillow.’ ” He doesn’t let his real name out there, since antifa types would chronically harass him, possibly worse, and he doesn’t need any help in the paranoia department: “I wouldn’t be surprised if celebrities have witches trying to f— me with spells. Sometimes when I do [a job], I get really sick.”

It was in the Corps that Sabo became a drunk. Everyone was a two-fister. “They literally had Coke machines filled with beer.” He never saw combat, but there was plenty of fighting. “When I got into a bar fight, the whole bar fought,” he says, suppressing a grin. He was once slam-dancing at a bar, and some Navy killjoy said, “Dude, you spilled my drink.”

Sabo responded, “Dude, it’s a slam-dance song.”

“It’s Barry Manilow,” said his rival.

Heh. Now if THAT doesn’t convince you of how much you’ll enjoy reading this one, I don’t know what would. It’s in an unlikely spot—the Weekly Standard (!)—so naturally the interviewer works in the obligatory NeverTrumpTard complaints. Sabo, himself no Trump fan early on, responds with piercing insight and admirable ferocity (“…he’s ‘kicking the teeth in’ of everyone who needs their teeth kicked in…’How can I say it, dude?’ he goes on about people like me criticizing Trump while still enjoying the spoils of his Supreme Court picks, his pushback on the thought police, and his promoting of America instead of apologizing for it. ‘It’s like grow the f— up'”), and he’s right on the button.

Do I even have to say “read it all” again? No. No, I do not.

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Happy 9/11 Day!

17 years. Aesop remembers:

We (you, me, Western civilization, etc.) haven’t delivered to them the Third Punic War level of recompense they richly deserve, because reasons. Mostly bullshit ones, at that.

It’s too much.
Hey, fuckwit, they wiped out international air travel for months, vaporized billions in the economy of every nation in the world, including the ones least able to absorb that, not just ours in the U.S., engendering a decade-plus series of wars and thousands to tens of thousands of casualties, that really hasn’t stopped since they started circa the 7th Century, and won’t until we end the problem, by ending the problem children.

Sorry if that unvarnished reality spoils your breakfast, but shit happens.

It’s mean.
Really, dipshit? Meaner than destroying the lives of thousands of strangers in the service of your child-molesting leader, and his fanatical devotion to an imaginary death-cult deity?

Meaner than setting buildings on fire, and subjecting thousands of strangers to slow torture by fire, smoke, and worst of all, the time to contemplate the full hopelessness of their situation, such that they’d rather, in hundreds of cases, try flying from the 80th floor of a skyscraper rather than burn to death, or wait to be crushed under hundreds of tons of smoking rubble, screaming all the way to the impact at the bottom?

Okay, you win. I hereby concede that justice demands that every fanatical follower of theirs, including their bomb-toting children, should only be lit on fire, and kicked out of an aircraft at altitude, to scream in unspeakable agony the entire way until impact. Call it Hammurabi 2.0.

Happy now?

That’s not who we are.
You got a mouse in your pocket, soy-boi?

Who we are is a disgrace. Who we should be, are the guys who nuked Mecca and Medina, same day, then slaughtered everything left after that, in a feat worthy of Genghis Khan, and then introduced endangered species to graze there in perpetuity, so as to have enough lions and crocodiles handy to feed any stragglers to for the next few centuries.

Remember 9/11??

You must be joking.

The half-assed, half-witted, half-stepping pseudo-response to 9/11 has ensured that every day is 9/11.

Yep. It’s all gone pretty much exactly as Glenn predicted on the very day itself; there’s a reason that he and I both re-run his dismally prophetic post every damned year. To wit:

TOM CLANCY WAS RIGHT: (Reposted from earlier today) And we’re living one of his scenarios right now. Not much is known for sure, but it’s obvious that the United States is the target of a major terrorist assault. There’s a lot of bloviation on the cable news channels, most of which will turn out to be wrong or misleading later. Here, for your consideration, are a few points to be taken from past experience:

The Fog of War: Nobody knows much right now. Many things that we think we know are likely to be wrong.

Overreaction is the Terrorist’s Friend: Even in major cases like this, the terrorist’s real weapon is fear and hysteria. Overreacting will play into their hands.

It’s Not Just Terrorists Who Take Advantage: Someone will propose new “Antiterrorism” legislation. It will be full of things off of bureaucrats’ wish lists. They will be things that wouldn’t have prevented these attacks even if they had been in place yesterday. Many of them will be civil-liberties disasters. Some of them will actually promote the kind of ill-feeling that breeds terrorism. That’s what happened in 1996. Let’s not let it happen again.

Only One Antiterrorism Method Works: That’s punishing those behind it. The actual terrorists are hard to reach. But terrorism of this scale is always backed by governments. If they’re punished severely — and that means severely, not a bombed aspirin-factory but something that puts those behind it in the crosshairs — this kind of thing won’t happen again. That was the lesson of the Libyan bombing.

“Increased Security” Won’t Work. When you try to defend everything, you defend nothing. Airport security is a joke because it’s spread so thin that it can’t possibly stop people who are really serious. You can’t prevent terrorism by defensive measures; at most you can stop a few amateurs who can barely function. Note that the increased measures after TWA 800 (which wasn’t terrorism anyway, we’re told) didn’t prevent what appear to be coordinated hijackings. (Archie Bunker’s plan, in which each passenger is issued a gun on embarking, would have worked better). Deterrence works here, just as everywhere else. But you have to be serious about it.

For now, the terrorists have won. They’ve shut down the U.S. government, more or less. They’ve shut down air travel. They’re all over TV. But whether they really win depends on how we deal with this; hysterically, or like angry — but measured — adults.

As he says: “SADLY, my predictions made on 9/11/01 turned out to be pretty accurate.” Only “pretty accurate”? My God, there’s not ONE WORD in it that misses. It’s a marker of Glenn’s genius—and it IS genius, pure and simple—that he could see so clearly on a day and in a moment that the rest of us were shocked and horrified damned near out of our wits.

And he just keeps on keepin’ on, too. Day after day, month after month, year after year, he hammers out nothing but pure quality. Reynolds says more—and says it better—with his characteristic short, pithy bursts of inspiration than many of us can in a thousand words. His occasional longer posts are if anything even better. His work in the wake of the 9/11 attacks inspired a great many of us OG bloggers to take it up too; he continues to be both an inspiration and an example, showing us how the thing is properly done. Guess it’s no accident that he teaches for a living.

There’s a reason they call him the Blogfather. It still applies, with bells on. The coveted Instalanche is still a much-sought-after symbol of blogging success, proof positive of having finally churned something out that was worthy of serious note. Hats off to ya, Glenn, on this day of days; long may you wave, whether America at large remembers how and why it all came to be or not.

Update! The monkey speaks his mind.

September 11th 2001 was a singular event in American history, and one that should be respected, not used as a facile and inflammatory analogy for other events. “This silly and culturally unimportant event is like 9/11” should be stricken from the style guides of every columnist and pundit and assorted ass-hat who chooses to trivialize the murder of 3,000 Americans. And part of me suspects that the construction is purposeful, to shrink the attacks down to a forgettable size, to make them just another bump in the road to the new world order that so many enemies of America desire.

Too much of our current recognition of the attacks are a maudlin paean to loss, rather than a cold and brutal reminder that we are in a war for our very existence. Perhaps “9/11” should be more closely aligned with “Remember Pearl Harbor,” with its martial connotations and call to arms.

This date evokes in me a cold fury, that we were attacked, that we have not yet brought the full weight of our culture and might to bear on those who would destroy us.

Which is EXACTLY why this blog is named what it is.

Yes Mr. Schlichter, we are still killing them, and we are not beaten. But a renewed attention to our martial spirit is in order. I am confident that our armed forces are up to the task, especially with the cataclysmic shift in the oval office, but the focus is still on surgical strikes and guarding the delicate sensibilities of the soft and effeminate West, at the expense of American blood. Too many Americans have died because of this attitude, and it is long past the time at which we move to a real war footing. The lives of Americans must be considered more valuable, and must be preserved. If that means that more civilians in far-off lands are killed as a result of actions against our enemies, then so be it. It is time to take to heart the phrase, “America First,” not as the isolationist organization that collapsed just days after Pearl Harbor, or as a KKK slogan (which is just what the media wants), but as a reminder that we have the right and obligation to defend our national interests against all attacks, and to place the well-being of Americans above all others.

Problem being, that would first require acknowledging a basic fact that way too many of us are damned skittish about facing: that we were attacked in the name of Islam, by primordial savages using our own modern technology against us in perfect accord with the unholy scriptures of their vile pseudo-religion.

9/11 was wrought not by any phantasmagorical “perversion” of Islam, contrary to the convenient dodge deployed by people in the West enthralled by the wishful thinking that posits the existence of a great mass of “moderate Muslims”…somewhere. Which is not to say that there are no “moderate Muslims” out there at all; there are. It’s just that they’re known to their stricter, more rigid brethren as “apostates.” Which, according to Muslim scripture itself, is entirely correct.

Until we can bring ourselves to confront the ugly truth about Islam—a monstrous, oppressive belief system responsible for mind-boggling acts of savagery and murder throughout the entire world—we will never be either safe or secure, and any “war” we fight against “terrorism” will be costly, never-ending, and bootless. Period fucking dot.

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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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Man Vs Boy-man

Oh, the Barrackorrhoids ain’t gonna like this one bit.

Some men walk into a room and the room just belongs to them. The head guy in the room. The man in charge. It doesn’t matter if it’s a room of five or a room of 500, everyone looks.

It’s not a height thing. It’s not a wealth thing. It’s not about brains or brawn or what kind of car he drives. It is simply a matter of having “it,” and “it” is a quality that few men possess.

Luckily for America, Trump has this in spades. It may be maddening to his domestic opponents in the media, but it is positively enraging to America’s enemies. And we are a lucky nation for it.

As someone who once vehemently opposed Trump (I poured my heart and soul into getting Ted Cruz the GOP nomination), so many parts of Trump’s nomination were difficult to fathom. Looking back on it, I should have known better. Every debate was all about Trump. Every TV interview, no matter the candidate, was all about Trump. The media and the moderators made it all about Trump.

In the end, for those who loved and those who hated him, the voters made it all about Trump. Because he’s simply one of those guys who create a gravitational pull around him. Wherever he goes, it’s all about Trump. Even the general election was all about him. (Granted, it helped that his opponent, Nurse Ratched, gave people little to cheer about.)

Okay, all that is delightfully funny sure enough, especially when you compare it to this:




But let’s get on down to brass tacks here, shall we?

The truth is Trump has spent his life in boardrooms hammering out deals. And he’s used to being in charge of that boardroom. This is not a small thing, especially when dealing with male-dominated dictatorial cultures like North Korea and Iran. Trump knows how to handle himself with other powerful men, and that is worth something tangible.

Umm, don’t look now folks, but he just did it again, by the way. Onwards.

Part of the journalistic angst that Trump is that guy comes from the fact their savior, Barack Obama, just could never be. There are two big reasons Obama’s foreign policy had all the staying power of raw shrimp in a hot car. His natural inclination to agree with foreign dictators that America is an evil place in need of “fundamental change,” as he put it, hurt him when dealing with them.

But what hurt him the most was his rank amateur status at anything involving the real world. He never stood in a room of powerful men used to getting what they want and trying to assert their dominance. He moved seamlessly through a world of academia, liberal activism, then politics. It’s not even reasonable to expect a man to stroll off the cushy world of liberal academia into a room of wolves and expect him to perform. He got eaten alive. Conservatives joked about that video of Obama curling women’s yoga weights, but maybe the mullahs of Iran were laughing too.

Yep. The mullahs, and Putin, and Li’l Rocket Man (oh, and by the way once again—ahem), and Chavez, and China, and everybody else Little Barky tried to impress with his “leading from the rear” approach. They chewed him up, spat him out, and laughed at the weak-sauce taste. That’s what comes of sending a boy to do a man’s job.

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The fear

As with any other cornered animal, it can make them more dangerous.

#TheResistance to Trump’s Black Swan presidency so far has been triggered by fear—a fear that has molted over the course of the past year. First it was the fear of losing the White House, then it became the fear of the Outsider; latterly, it’s the fear that Trump may not be as vulnerable as they thought, that their deep state rogue intel op to take him down has failed, and that the public actually likes what he’s doing, even if they won’t admit it to pollsters.

And now it’s the fear of abyss itself: if Trump is successful, the entire Progressive project has been a fraud. All the Kennedy School of Government bureaucrats and functionaries in the world cannot affect the course of history as much as one man who doesn’t give a damn what they think. What Trump’s doing is far more important than simply upending the D.C. establishment and putting the Circumlocution Office on notice that its services are no longer needed. He’s single-handedly reviving the Great Man theory of leadership, and daring the rest of the world, including the colorless, impotent, and barren harem eunuchs of Europe, to catch up.

Thus, Trump’s carrot-and-stick handling of Kim not only got the little dictator’s attention, it also emboldened the president to apply a cattle prod to the genitals of the mullahs in Iran; naturally, the Lippmanns of Washington decried both moves as “destabilizing.” But destabilizing an insupportable and disgraceful status quo is exactly the platform Trump ran on; the president may not be an intellectual, but he understands chain reactions, and can’t wait to start them.

It becomes more apparent every day that he understands one hell of a lot more than his enemies give him credit for. Just another of their many, many miscalculations. But of all his strengths, I still think Trump’s greatest and most effective one is that, as Walsh mentions, he simply doesn’t give a shit what they think.

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School yourself

A great idea.

Heroes for liberty are not particular to any region of the world or to a particular time period or to one sex. They hail from all nationalities, races, faiths, and creeds. They inspire others to a noble and universal cause—that all people should be free to live their lives in peace so long as they do no harm to the equal rights of others. They are passionate not solely for their own liberty, but for that of others as well.

In my last book, Real Heroes: Inspiring True Stories of Courage, Character and Conviction, I wrote about 40 individuals whose views, decisions, and actions served this cause in various ways. That book planted the seed for this new weekly series to be published each Thursday at FEE.org. But this time, others from around the world will do the writing, and I’ll be content to do the editing while keeping that to a minimum to preserve the author’s voice. It is my hope that when all is said and done some months from now, the literature of liberty will be greatly complemented by this collection of short biographies. The authors will be writing about heroes for liberty who are (or were) citizens of each author’s own country. Each week’s installment will be added to the collection here.

This week’s edition is about the life of one of the greatest heroes of liberty, Austrian economist and philosopher Ludwig von Mises, and it is written by FEE’s own Dan Sanchez.

That’s from the preface to, as the man says, the latest installment in what looks to be a compelling and worthwhile series. The Mises article linked above is fantastic stuff:

The death knell of the age of liberalism could be heard in the cannonades of the First World War. And Mises had barely enough time to finish, publish, and defend his treatise on money before he himself was sent to the eastern front as an artillery officer.

Imagine the mind of the greatest critic of central planning being snuffed out by the war that represented central planning’s apotheosis.

Other scholars of comparable qualifications were given safe roles in war-planning offices. But Mises, whose liberal ideas were out of step with the establishment in Austria, was put directly in harm’s way. One of history’s greatest geniuses was a single air burst away from having his career nipped in the bud.

How tragic that would have been! Mises had not yet even written his great 1920 essay Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth, which contained the single most powerful argument against central planning that had ever been formulated. Imagine the mind of the greatest critic of central planning being snuffed out by the war that represented central planning’s apotheosis.

Put yourself in Mises’s shoes on the front line. You, better than anyone else in history, understand the workings of the peaceful market society. You understand the fatal flaws of socialism and interventionism and the futility of war. You have the answers! You know the societal code that would unlock and unleash humanity’s potential.

But nobody will listen to you, and you are surrounded by destruction and madness. Moreover, you yourself may, at any moment, be devoured by this war that rages around you, and all these unwritten ideas that are bubbling over in your mind will be lost to humanity forever.

It would be enough to break almost any man. But, fortunately for us, Mises was not only a genius but also a paragon of moral courage. In this harrowing crisis, as in all his subsequent trials, Mises bolstered that courage with a scrap of Latin poetry he had learned as a schoolboy.

No matter how much you may or may not already know about this remarkable man’s life and work (and I freely confess to knowing very little), you’ll want to read all of this one. There’s a whole slew of other pieces on the main page for the collection already, which I hastily bookmarked and will be wading through and mentioning here as and when I can. I’ll probably provide a blogroll link to it as well. Many thanks to Glenn for hipping us to this worthy effort.

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D-M-U-B

I gotta like this guy.

The New Jersey Assemblyman criticized for posing in front of a Confederate flag in a photo he posted to his Facebook page apparently has something just as offensive up his sleeve — a tattoo of the Stars and Bars on his left arm.

The tattoo appears in multiple photos of Assemblyman Parker Space posted on a Sussex County-based blog called Skylands Patriot.

In the snaps, Parker wears short sleeved shirts that show the flag on his left inner bicep.

Last week, Space posted on his Facebook page a photo of himself and his wife standing in front of a Confederate flag superimposed with the face of country singer Hank Williams Jr. The flag included this Williams lyric: “If the South would’ve won, we would’ve had it made.”

Being the proud bearer of a Battle Flag tattoo myself, I obviously have no problem with that. And the “Confederate flag” they’re talking about is actually one of those novelty deals featuring Hank Jr’s face superimposed on the center of it, framed by the tag line and title from an old song of his. The lyrics are actually kind of funny, lighthearted and tongue in cheek if kind of awkwardly phrased in spots, clearly not intended to give offense. I can’t imagine many folks in the Northeast having just a whole lot of warm regard for the line on Space’s flag just the same.

We had a flag very like it, with Elvis in a cowboy hat instead of Bocephus and minus any song lyrics, hanging in the living room of my old NYC apartment. That grand old flag belonged to one of my roommates, a longtime New Yorker who was originally from…uhh, Chicago(?!?) and remains a dear friend of mine to this day. I only wish I had kept the flag myself; I’ve looked for another one since, but never have seen one. Which tells me that American truckstops and flea markets, particularly here in the South, just ain’t what they used to be.

That said, Space’s forced explanation is kind of weaselly, frankly. I don’t doubt his political career is now over, however fair or unfair anybody might think that to be. It’s kind of mind-boggling that the guy—anybody, really, much less a politician—was oblivious to what posting such things on Facebook was going to get him. It doesn’t speak at all well of his astuteness regarding political realities and the current cultural state of play, particularly in the Northeast. And this is even worse:

“Hope no one is offended! LOL!” Space captioned the photo — later removing the “LOL.”

Dude. “Hope no one is offended”? SERIOUSLY? I mean, just…DUDE.

By the way, this post is an example of GAB paying off, seeing as how I found it in one of my new followers’ posts, which I’d link to here if I knew how. So, y’know, there’s that.

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Tocsin, ringing

Nobody nails it like Codevilla.

At least half of Americans sense that their country has been taken from them. In 2016, they voted for Donald Trump despite obvious reasons not to: churchgoers, despite his lack of religiosity; women, despite his womanizing, small business people, despite his big business identity; advocates of civility, despite his plain incivilities, and so on. They voted for protection against government, big business, the media, the educational and even the religious establishments, which wage a cold civil war to push them and their “deplorable” way of life to society’s margins.

But the election’s aftermath confirmed fears that mere voting cannot reestablish traditional American priorities. It has done and can do little to lessen the ruling class’s relentless pressures on how we live our lives. How to save a way of life while avoiding surrender, or a hot civil war, is the subject of anguish, and much debate.

In principle, the solution is simple, sufficient, and deeply rooted in American history: what some call “subsidiarity,” previously practiced in America as federalism. As culturally diverse people sort themselves out over a vast land, only despotism can force each part to live in ways repugnant to its majority. Hence, I suggested in 2017 that just as people on the Right should be content with the majority of Californians’ decision to be a “sanctuary” from national immigration laws, those on the Left should be just as tolerant of Texans or North Dakotans deciding to make their states “sanctuaries” from Federal Court decisions concerning abortion or a bunch of other things.

But avoiding civil war on this basis is inconceivable now because the Left believes it has the right, duty, and power to force universal adherence to its dictates’ utmost details. Nor can surrender purchase peace, because the Left’s dictates do not and cannot have a final form. Endlessly evolving, they are less about what is being imposed on America than about inflicting righteous punishment on inferiors—the appetite and power for which increase with every success.

That is why the prescriptions of “conservative reformers”—for example, Yuval Levin’s The Fractured Republic—deny reality. They suppose that economics, ever the ground of compromise, is the dividing line between Right and Left. Hence they posit that the American Left is amenable to retreat from confrontation, to live-and-let-live.

But money has never been the point.

As with every other word the man utters, I dare you not to read all of it. There simply is no more insightful, eloquent, and unflinching commentator around.

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Hey, it’s SCIENCE!

Hoist by his own petard.

Disney and Netflix officials said Friday they’re not sure why references to chromosomes and gender were removed from a 21-year-old episode of “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” which is available now for online streaming.

The 1996 episode, “Probability,” originally featured a cast member saying, “I’m a girl. Could have just as easily been a boy, though, because the probability of becoming a girl is always 1 in 2.”

“See, inside each of our cells are these things called chromosomes, and they control whether we become a boy or a girl,” she added. “See, there are only two possibilities: XX, a girl, or XY, a boy.”

That segment has since been removed, and it is not available in the version that is now streaming on Netflix, the Washington Free Beacon was first to report.

Nye’s new program, “Bill Nye Saves the World,” which is exclusive to Netflix, departs from his old television show’s position on gender.

“Gender is like sex, it’s on the spectrum,” Nye said in one of his newer episodes.

News that Nye’s old television program has been edited for Netflix comes on the heels of the premiere of his new online show, which takes a very progressive approach to a number of issues, including climate change, world population and gender.

Well, nothing says “science” more than hiding the facts to fit whatever political narrative is currently popular and maintain the approval of your fellow Progressivists, right?

Hey, balance the ball on your nose now, Science Guy, and clap your flippers together; maybe the libtards will throw you another fish. MJ has a couple of pertinently impertinent questions:

Shower thought: Doesn’t discussion of the wage gap assume someone’s gender?

Shower thought II: Does the B in LGBT assume there are only two genders?

Gee, I dunno. Maybe we could get a real scientist, instead of a PC douchebag like Bill Nye, to address those sometime.

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It’s a wonderful life

One of my all-time favorite movies, but I had no idea at all about any of this.

The man was A.P. Giannini who was said to be who Capra modeled the character of George Bailey as well as the bank president in Capra’s 1932 movie, American Madness, after. At the age of 14, Giannini left school and began working with his step father, Lorenzo Scatena, in the produce industry as a produce broker. By the time he was 31, he was able to sell much of his interest in this company to his employees and had planned to retire. However, one year later, he was asked to join the Columbus Savings & Loan Society, which was a small bank in North Beach, California.

Once he joined up, he found that almost nobody at the Savings & Loan, nor other banks, were willing to give loans to anyone but the rich or those owning businesses. At first, Giannini attempted to convince the other directors at the Savings & Loan to start lending to working class citizens, to give them home and auto loans, among other things. He felt that working class citizens, though lacking in assets to guarantee the loan against, were generally honest and would pay back their loans when they could. Further, by loaning them money, it would allow working class citizens to better themselves in ways they would not have been able to do without the money lent to them, such as being able to buy a home or to start a new business. He was never able to convince the other directors to begin lending to the working class.

Not to be dissuaded, he then set out to start his own bank. With $150,000 raised from various friends and family, Giannini founded the Bank of Italy in 1904, which would be a bank specializing in loaning money to the common man. The first Bank of Italy branch was in a converted saloon across the street from the Savings & Loan he had formerly been a member of. The assistant teller at the Bank of Italy was the former bartender of that very saloon.

Mr Martini, a teller at George’s bank? How odd and…UNEXPECTED! Okay, sorry. Onwards.

He then went about educating the working class on what a bank does and how one could help them. He then made a practice of not offering loans based on how much money or equity a person had, but based primarily on how he judged their character. Within a year, Bank of Italy had over $700,000 in deposits from these working class individuals, which is somewhere around $15-$20 million today. By the middle of the 1920s, it had become the third largest bank in the United States.

I’ve always said that in order to get a loan from a bank, you first have to conclusively prove to them that you don’t need one. Much, much more fascinating stuff here, including this:

During his time with Bank of Italy and eventually Bank of America, as it became, he instituted a variety of practices that are standard among nearly all banks today. He also was a key figure in making California what it is today, including: being an integral part of the California wine industry getting started; providing numerous loans to various entities in Hollywood in its early days, by starting the motion-picture loan division, which provided loans to many budding Hollywood groups and individuals including funding Walt Disney’s Snow White, when it had gone $2 million over budget; and funded the United Artists, which was founded by Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith.

He also loaned money to the founders of HP, William Hewlett and David Packard, to start their business. More significantly, he had his bank purchase the necessary bonds to fund the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. And, of course, the aforementioned integral role in financing much of the rebuilding of San Francisco directly after the earthquake of 1906, among other things.

By 1930, Giannini had retired once again and this time moved to Europe. However, his successor began running the bank like traditional banks of the day, only lending to the wealthy and businesses and the like. Because of this, Giannini came back to the United States and rallied various employees and depositors to him, with them buying shares in the bank until they owned the controlling interest. He eventually accumulated enough shares owned by working class citizens, who backed him, to allow him to regain control of the bank, at which point, he returned it to its former ways of lending to the “little man”. He did not retire again.

Much like the fictitious George Bailey, Giannini kept little for himself through all this. Despite that fact that the bank he started was worth billions at the time of his death, Giannini’s entire estate was valued at only $500,000 when he died at the age of 79 in 1949. He avoided acquiring great wealth as he felt it would cause him to lose touch with the working class. For much of his career, he refused pay for his work and when the board attempted to give him $1.5 million as a bonus one year, he gave it all away to the University of California stating “Money itch is a bad thing. I never had that trouble.”

Turns out his bank was the originator of the VISA card too, and there’s loads more yet. All in all, it’s a truly remarkable story about a truly remarkable man, and a downright riveting read. Don’t miss it, including the “fun facts” that follow the actual article.

(Via Debby Witt)

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“I will therefore content myself with the observation that no better Constitution was ever better written in English”

No wonder Obama sent his bust back.

No one can think clearly or sensibly about this vast and burning topic without in the first instance making up his mind upon the fundamental issue. Does he value the State above the citizen, or the citizen above the State? Does a government exist for the individual, or do individuals exist for the government?

In the United States, also, economic crisis has led to an extension of the activities of the Executive and to the pillorying, by irresponsible agitators, of certain groups and sections of the population as enemies of the rest. There have been efforts to exalt the power of the central government and to limit the rights of individuals. It has been sought to mobilize behind this reversal of the American tradition, at once the selfishness of the pensioners, or would-be pensioners, of Washington, and the patriotism of all who wish to see their country prosperous once more.

It is when passions and cupidities are thus unleashed and, at the same time, the sense of public duty rides high in the hearts of all men and women of good will that the handcuffs can be slipped upon the citizens and they can be brought into entire subjugation to the executive government. Then they are led to believe that, if they will only yield themselves, body, mind and soul, to the State, and obey unquestioningly its injunctions, some dazzling future of riches and power will open to them…

I take the opposite view. I hold that governments are meant to be, and must remain, the servants of the citizens; that states and federations only come into existence and can only by justified by preserving the ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ in the homes and families of individuals. The true right and power rest in the individual. He gives of his right and power to the State, expecting and requiring thereby in return to receive certain advantages and guarantees. I do not admit that an economic crisis can ever truly be compared with the kind of struggle for existence by races constantly under primordial conditions. I do not think that modern nations in time of peace ought to regard themselves as if they were the inhabitants of besieged cities, liable to be put to the sword or led into slavery if they cannot make good their defense.

Socialism or overweening State life, whether in peace or war, is only sharing miseries and not blessings. Every self-respecting citizen in every country must be on his guard lest the rulers demand of him in time of peace sacrifices only tolerable in a period of war for national self-preservation.

I judge the civilization of any community by simple tests. What is the degree of freedom possessed by the citizen or subject? Can he think, speak and act freely under well-established, well-known laws? Can he criticize the executive government? Can he sue the State if it has infringed his rights? Are there also great processes for changing the law to meet new conditions?

It’s the great Winston Churchill, of course. The man was a visionary and a genius. Hs words are plain but eloquent, and beautifully direct; the wisdom expressed by them is beyond argument. That some arrogant-in-ignorance little pipsqueak like the Current Occupant would dare presume to offer him any conceivable insult is incomprehensibly offensive. Churchill in his prescience had something to say to present-day advocates for the Constitution as a “living document,” too:

And here we must note a dangerous misuse of terminology. ‘Taking the rigidity out of the American Constitution’ means, and is intended to mean, new gigantic accessions of power to the dominating centre of government and giving it the means to make new fundamental laws enforceable upon all American citizens.

And so it has turned out. It didn’t happen by accident, either. He would no doubt be sick to his core at what both our nation and his own have become. And he’d be right about that, too.

(Via Weird Dave and Constitution Daily)

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In defense of the electoral college—AGAIN

A republic. If you can keep it.

The Nation alerted its readers that “Republican nominee will become president with less popular support than a number of major-party candidates who lost races for the presidency.” (The Nation conveniently ignores the fact that Bill Clinton won his first race with just 43% of the popular vote.)

California Sen. Barbara Boxer introduced a bill to eliminate the Electoral College, calling it an “undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society that.”

The feelings among those who supported Hillary Clinton is understandable. After all, as it stands, Trump currently has 46.78% of the vote, compared with Clinton’s 47.69%. And as votes continue to be counted, her margin has increased, according to data from US Election Atlas.

But a closer look at the election returns show that Hillary’s lead in the popular vote is entirely due to her oversized margin of victory in uber-liberal California.

Read all of it—and thank God every minute of every day for the genius of our Founding Fathers, who knew exactly what they were doing right down the line. The electoral college might have been the very best of their many great and forward-looking ideas. They knew very well that sooner or later, a political faction would come along which would represent precisely the kind of tyranny they loathed and feared. It has, in our time, and it’s called the Democratic Party. Bottom line:

Yes, the Electoral College occasionally produces the odd outcome where the popular vote winner is the election night loser. But without the Electoral College, abnormally partisan states like California could permanently dominate the nation’s politics.

It’s unlikely people in “flyover” country would consider that fair, or even democratic.

It’s even more unlikely that they’d put up with it for very long. This election represented a giant middle finger waved in the Democrat Socialists’ faces, along with a heartfelt “fuck you!” for good measure. But nobody needs to think for a moment that it will be the last time we’ll need to do it. Thankfully, the Founders provided us with a means for doing exactly that, in a way that actually matters.

(Via Insty)

The root of the problem update! Repeal the 17th. Period, full stop, end of story.

The citizens’ representatives in the federal government were called—well, Representatives—and they made up the House of Representatives. The Representatives were chosen directly by the voters, apportioned by population. The House was given the power of the purse—which the Founders’ generation understood to be paramount (“no taxation without representation”)—and which meant every Representative had to face the voters with frequency and regularity.

Each state got two electoral votes by virtue of its two Senators, and one vote for each Representative. Please note that under the original Constitution each state government was treated perfectly equally. Each state government got two Senators. No disparity there! Only when the progressives overthrew this system by means of the Seventeenth Amendment did a kind of disparity appear. The 17th Amendment instituted the direct election of Senators, the system we now have. It took away from the states the power to appoint the Senators who were to represent them in the federal government and to oversee federal execution of the responsibilities the states had delegated to the federal government. The result was a diminishing of the power of the states and the growth of the gargantuan central government we have today.

The 17th Amendment reneged on a deal honorably entered into by honorable men, and approved by the voters of the Founders’ generation. The method of election so perfectly suited to choosing the Representatives, and so imperfect for the function of the Senate, was imposed on the Senate by the progressive “reform.” Today, Progressives use the disparity which resulted from what they did as a reason to go even further—and abolish the Electoral College.

That’s why they are called Progressives; they never stop their assaults on the Constitution.

We may ask: did the Constitution fail America or did Americans fail the Constitution? The question answers itself. The generation which ratified the Seventeenth Amendment failed in its primary responsibility as citizens, its responsibility to understand and defend the Constitution. We are living with the consequences of their failure—a federal Leviathan operating in an increasingly post-Constitutional America.

One can legitimately take hope from this election in which the Electoral College may have again saved the Constitution—or at least given us another chance to save it.

May we prove worthy of this opportunity.

Indeed. Frankly, I think any push for this would have to come from someplace other than Trump himself; it’s not the sort of thing I can imagine him being much interested in. Although wouldn’t it be great to find out I was wrong about that assumption?

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In defense of the electoral college

JC Dodge takes the long view:

Tuesday’s election results have given normal people (it’s just like firearms magazines, a 30 round rifle mag is normal capacity not “high” capacity, just like being conservative is normal thinking not “extreme” thinking) some breathing room. How long this “breathing room” will last is anyone’s guess. We are seeing protests and riots across the country based on what the sore losers feel was “their win”.

Facts are funny things. Fact #1, those who are protesting now didn’t seem to have an issue with the “unfair” electoral college till it slapped them in their “collective” (literal and figurative) faces.

Actually, that’s not really so; the Left has been bitching about the electoral college for about as long as I can remember, and no wonder: it’s one of the only things that stands between us and the absolute tyranny they’re so eager to set up. It was one of the Founders’ most brilliant ideas, and it needs to be defended by anyone not interested in having their home state run like New York, Chicago, or LA. Thus:

Former Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, who lost to George H.W. Bush in 1988, re-upped his call to abolish the Electoral College after Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump on Tuesday.

“Hillary won this election, and when the votes are all counted, by what will likely be more than a million votes. So how come she isn’t going to the White House in January? Because of an anachronistic Electoral College system which should have been abolished 150 years ago,” he wrote Sunday in an email to POLITICO.

Or, more accurately, because of one of the very fundamentals of the system of government bequeathed to us by some of the most prescient statesmen who ever walked the earth. But then, liberals don’t much like the Constitution, either. In truth, they’re not happy with most of the other aspects of the way this nation was set up, and much prefer the Eurosocialist model. So why would anybody expect them to feel any different about the electoral college?

The former Massachusetts governor’s call echoes a sentiment expressed by none other than Trump himself in 2012. When it briefly looked like Mitt Romney had won the popular vote, he tweeted, “The Electoral College is a disaster for a democracy.”

Trump was wrong. Sure, it’s a disaster for democracy—but we aren’t a democracy. We’re a republic, and the electoral college is the lone bulwark that ensures we benighted, racist, xenophobic bigots in less populous states still have a say in our own governance.

Which, y’know, no wonder they don’t like it.

And, during the 2000 recount, Clinton herself called for its abolishment.

“I believe strongly that in democracy we should respect the will of the people, and to me that means it’s time to do away with the Electoral College and move to the popular election of our president,” she said at the time, shortly after her own election to the Senate.

Yeah, well, screw you, and everybody who thinks like you. This ain’t no democracy; it never was, and it was never supposed to be. All of us in flyover country can thank God for that, and hope that it never will be.

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Hamilton

I gotta say it: this show sounds absolutely fantastic, and my hat is off to the brilliant Lin-Manuel Miranda for conceiving and creating it. I saw a 60 Minutes report (transcript here, video here) on it back when it first aired in November, and although my first thought on the whole idea of “hip-hop Founding Fathers” was, umm, profanely uncharitable, let’s say, the more I read and hear about it, the more I realize what a wonderful idea the whole production was.

Burr really has two roles in the show: the omniscient narrator, and himself in the present moment. In the affecting finale, as he recounts the moments that led up to his and Hamilton’s fateful, fatal conflict, Odom’s voice takes on a note of barely disguised panic. As the keeper of the narrative, he knows what is coming yet is powerless to stop it.

Odom has said in interviews that he lets himself be shocked by the ending every night, lets himself believe it can be avoided until it can’t. He is a miraculous actor, one whom you can watch thinking, a rare and impressive skill. As he takes his position in the final duel, his eyes wide with fear, you can feel every inevitable step that led to this. Burr’s last “present-moment” word, as he’s shooting Hamilton, is “Wait!” in a terrifyingly sad recollection of his earlier catchphrase, which was the watchword of his ambitions—now to be dashed.

This leads to his all-too-knowing coda to the duel: “History obliterates—in every picture it paints, it paints me in all my mistakes…Now I’m the villain in your history. I was too young and blind to see—I should have known the world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me.” (That last is something the real Burr actually said before his own death at 80.) Odom weeps as he sings this, both out of regret and out of catharsis for all the pent-up frustration he’s been holding in the entire show.

If you’re in NYC, you probably ought to consider making a beeline to this one as soon as you can. Miranda has done the nation a real service by bringing American history–too much of it forgotten by too many of us–to glorious life for modern audiences, and he deserves all the credit in the world for it.

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Happy birthday!

To my all-time favorite composer.

EFFREY BROWN: Welcome, Rob Kapilow.

Let’s start by acknowledging this is one of the world’s great musical geniuses, right?

ROB KAPILOW: So true. I mean, just, whenever you think of musical prodigy, who do you think of but Mozart? Writing simple keyboard pieces at 5, violin sonatas and orchestral music at 6 and 7, first symphony at 9. It’s really disgusting, if you’re a composer like me. You just don’t even want to think about Mozart’s birthday.

Follows, some conversation about his Symphony Number 40, which has never been one of my favorites, actually–I’ll take the Jupiter any day, just to name one. But then we get some good analysis of the thing:

ROB KAPILOW: The whole universe in three notes, a cosmic essence.

We hear Mozart think out loud. What I can do? And he says what if I just…

JEFFREY BROWN: Even those three notes, what…

ROB KAPILOW: Yes, what can I do with these three notes?

And it’s not much. Right? This is not great. He says, what if I just take the ending and put it down here in the flute and oboe, and overlap like this? Try it up higher, even higher.

Trying to find out, what does the idea mean? And then the ultimate final step is, we reduce the whole thing to nothing but the first three notes. Who would dream that this could be the topic for an entire piece?

JEFFREY BROWN: We started, though, this conversation about genius. Your case is that that is sort of the essence of it, is taking something simple, creating a whole universe in a sense.

ROB KAPILOW: Exactly.

There’s that quote from Ezra Pound, genius is the capacity to see 10 things where the ordinary man sees one. We just hear that opening idea, but he sees, as you have just heard, at least 20 things in an idea that we never could have imagined.

A great Mark Twain quote: “There never was yet an uninteresting life.”

Inside the dullest exterior, there is a drama, a comedy and a tragedy. And Mozart heard the drama, comedy, and tragedy in all of us, and turned it into music.

That he most certainly did, with a scope, depth, and passion found just about nowhere else–except, ironically enough (or perhaps not, given the profundity of Mozart’s influence on him), Beethoven.

I’ve said many times in conversation with friends of mine that I can’t for the life of me see how anyone could be a truly serious musician without believing in God, or at the very least some undefinable power higher than ourselves, on a plane of existence only very occasionally and fleetingly reachable by us mere mortals. Mozart is a perfect example of why that is so; without at least a nod in the direction of the Almighty, there can be no explaining or understanding him, and even then only in the crudest and most incomplete of ways. Anybody who can hear some of his best work, some of it dating to his childhood, and then scoff at the notion of a higher intelligence far beyond our own and basically incomprehensible to us as the inspiration and wellspring of that work–and the insuperable mystery underpinning it–is not talking about anything I’ll ever understand. And has probably never written a note of listenable music in his life…and never will.

Which is not to say that there aren’t any good musicians who aren’t atheists themselves, mind. I’m sure there are–some insist that Beethoven himself was, although that science is far from settled, to coin a phrase. But I think they either are laboring under the influence of an overpowering arrogance and conceit, or are simply not interested in delving into the “why” of it at all. But hey, your mileage may vary on that one. I can only say that, while I’ve written hundreds of songs myself, a small handful of which were decent and I was actually proud of, I never wrote a single one of them by myself. They all came from someplace else entirely, exactly as if they were handed down to me very nearly whole from there, and you can refer to that place by whatever name you want to.

Composers–other than a lot of modern ones whose work is mostly reductionist, a sort of tinkering with simple mathematics and little more–have a voice in their head that sings to them instead of just talking, and they can then capture snatches of that melody and put it down for the rest of us to hear, using their own talent, training, experience, and personality to filter it. You can call that whatever you like, too. But if you know what you’re about, you can’t call it Nothing, or say it isn’t there. Or so I believe, anyway.

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Sees the light

Political correctness eats itself. And everything else.

A former equality chief has branded his years working to stamp out racial discrimination as ‘utterly wrong’.

Writer and broadcaster Trevor Phillips said efforts made under the Blair government turned anti-racism into an ‘ugly new doctrine’.

Mr Phillips is the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and has waged a 30-year campaign to tackle issues around discrimination and equality.

In an upcoming Channel 4 documentary, called Things We Won’t Say About Race That Are True, he says attempts to stop prejudice instead encouraged abuse and endangered lives as well as contributed to the rise of parties like Ukip. 

He explains: ‘It was my job to to make sure that different racial and religious groups got on.

‘Campaigners like me seriously believed that if we could prevent people expressing prejudiced ideas then eventually they would stop thinking them. 

‘But now I’m convinced we were utterly wrong.’

Mr Phillips, a Labour party member, says anti-racism began with good intentions but turned into ‘thought control’. 

But Mr Phillips insists people should be free to use racial stereotypes, such as that many Jews are rich or that black people are more likely to be convicted for robbery, because they are true.

Explaining the issue, he said: ‘The dividing lines of race, religion and culture are probably the most dangerous flashpoints in Britain today, but they’re also the ones we find hardest to talk about in public.

Of course they are, you fool. That was the whole point of what you were doing. You were attempting to rein in free expression; who but a damned liberal-fascist SUPERGENIUS!! could possibly consider that anything other than “thought control”? You try to eliminate unpopular or even downright ugly opinions by government coercion and then act surprised that it becomes “difficult to talk about” them? That it became “thought control,” when it was never anything but precisely that in the first place?

Thought control was the goal. Making it “hard to talk about” unpleasant opinions–illegal to talk about them, in fact–was the mechanism by which you hoped to achieve that goal. It wasn’t some surprising “unintended consequence”; it was the whole fucking point of what you were doing.

And now we all have to sit back and watch you laboriously pick that profound intellectual lintwad out of your friggin’ navel, and pat you on the head for your courageous, honest genius after you’re done?

Sheesh.

(Via Insty)

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Cool Cal

In praise of a truly great President. Y’know, as opposed to the neo-Marxist trainwreck of a dictator we have now.

Reagan inherited President Jimmy Carter’s anemic economy. He cut taxes and with Paul Volcker as his guide cut inflation. He put the economy on a growth curve for years thereafter. Yet, as Shlaes points out, he failed to reduce the deficit — though he did reduce it as a percentage of GDP — and he failed to cut the federal budget.

Coolidge did. In fact, he cut the top income tax rate to 25 percent, three percentage points lower than Reagan’s historic 1986 tax cuts, and the economy grew. Coolidge reduced the national debt from $28 billion to $17.65 billion with a combination of economies and tax cuts. He actually balanced the budget. When, in 1929, he returned to his Massachusetts home he left the federal budget smaller than it was when he had arrived in 1921. Of equal importance, the economy was now solidly growing.

The unemployment rate that was at 5.7 million in July 1921 had dropped to 1.8 million. Manufacturing had climbed by a third since 1921 and iron and steel production had doubled. Finally, the revenue acts of 1921, 1924, and 1928 represented strong growth despite tax reduction. Something was working.

Funny how that mysterious, inexplicable “something” has worked every single time it’s been tried. Which is more than you’ll ever be able to say about Ogabe’s schoolboy socialism. Thus:

Coolidge’s secretary of the treasury, Andrew Mellon, called it “scientific taxation.” Today we would call his tax plan supply-side economics. By cutting marginal tax rates Coolidge and Mellon goaded economic activity and raised tax revenue. Yet through all the years of his presidency Coolidge along with his secretary of the treasury Mellon had to fight off big spenders, not only the Democrats but also those Republicans infected with a kind of influenza for Big Government called progressivism. There were great projects such as the hydroelectric project called Muscle Shoals and there were noble gestures such as the veterans’ pensions that kept the pressure on the Administration to spend and tax and burst the budget.

Cal resisted most of these impulses with his pocket veto and fifty vetoes, but it wore him down. In 1927 he cryptically signed a message to the world, “I do not choose to run for President in Nineteen Twenty-Eight.” Hoover ran and returned the progressive impulse to Washington.

And that was the beginning of the long, dreary end for America That Was.

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How it’s done

It was so when I started blogging, and it still is today: nobody does it quite like Lileks.

Yes, James, I mean that as a compliment. Highest praise, in fact.

Ever opened a menu, looked at it up and down, and thought: there’s not a damned thing here that strikes my fancy. Oh, there’s a hamburger, but it’s off to the side in a box, which tells you that they’ll make it if they must, but really. You came here. For a hamburger. I mean, I recognized everything – chicken, for example; I clung to that as a lifeline. If all else fails there’s chicken – but you’d find a word that had promise, like Ravioli, and it would be immediately followed by “gourd” or or “braised okra,” and you realized that everything here was going to be subtle. The menu was proud to announce that all the foods were locally produced, which really isn’t the first thing I look for when I’m dining out. No one ever takes a bite of steak and says “man, you can really taste the proximity.”

The beef dish – which had no price; it was Market Price, the fluctuations in the daily beef market being so volatile they can’t commit – was described in a way that failed to suggest the form or shape or type of beef, only that it was beef, and there was okra, and perhaps artisanal potatoes. There was fondue for appetizers, but we were assured it wasn’t Seventies fondue.

“Although fondue in the Seventies could be awesome,” said the waiter, who was born around the time Prince started disappointing the casual fan. When it came I noticed that the forks were from the 50s or 60s, a rather staid design. This meant were supposed to consume the fondue without irony. If they’d come with long orange skewers we would have to be self-conscious about how they were reinventing a long-maligned dish, and how the period forks were putting a kitschy gloss on the experience to justify ordering the fondue.

Eating as a pastime is more work than you’d think.

Nice. And man, I hate those precious, pretentious places myself. Fortunately, they tend not to survive too long. Immediately followed by: Kelvinators, Rockolas, and how you do a feature story. Naturally.

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The campus radical finally gets a look at reality

It takes an “intellectual” to be this stupid.

After squinting through binoculars into a nation frozen in time, US President Barack Obama reeled off a contempt-laden and startlingly frank indictment of North Korea.

The Stalinist remnant of the Cold War was, in Obama’s eyes, nothing but a nation which cannot make “anything of any use”, “doesn’t work”, and even its vaunted weapons exports were hardly state of the art.

“It is like you are in a time warp,” Obama said Sunday, after he toured a rocky border post in the demilitarised buffer zone that has split the Korean peninsular for longer than he has been alive.

“It is like you are looking across 50 years into a country that has missed 40 years or 50 years of progress,” Obama marvelled later, after taking a helicopter back to teeming, prosperous Seoul, just 25 miles (40 kilometres) away.

Incredible as it may seem (even for him), he really doesn’t seem to have known all this until just now. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take them at their word when you go crawling to the bargaining table to make some meaningless agreement or other with them though, does it, Perfesser? Nor does it mean we should fail to pay proper respect to their system of governance and ideology, or pass judgment on them as being somehow “inferior” to our own. That just wouldn’t do.

And lest we kid ourselves for a moment that His Royal Majesty was ever actually in any danger of learning something, there’s the blinding irony of this sentence ever leaving his lying yap:

“There are certain things that just don’t work and what they are doing doesn’t work.”

Pretty fuckin’ rich coming from a socialist, innit? Further droning calls for more of the same tired Leftist “solutions” from the useless tool just as soon as his handlers have him safely re-inserted into his warm, cozy cocoon back at the Imperial Palace.

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Moron is as moron duhs

I never did understand why anyone took such an obvious dolt as Matthew Yglesias seriously. Might as well concede that his fellow Juice Box Mafia consigliere Ezra Klein is a Constitutional scholar too and call it a day.

Here’s Matthew Yglesias with a quick history of American news media:

The Grand Old Days of American journalism were characterized first and foremost by severely curtailed competition. There were three television networks, and outside of New York each city had basically one newspaper.

At first I thought this couldn’t be serious. I understand that the days when there were only three broadcast networks are before Yglesias’s time–but it isn’t exactly ancient history. There are lots of people who were around then. Some of them even work at Slate. You would think that, if he couldn’t be bothered to research the period, Yglesias might have queried one of them.

For instance, when I was a kid growing up outside Philadelphia, we had: the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Daily News, the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, and the Philadelphia Journal. That is, in addition to the two local dailies, the Gloucester County Times and the Courier-Post.

Without thinking too hard, Boston had the Herald and the Globe (that’s off the top of my head, they may have had more); Seattle had the Seattle Times, the News-Tribune, and the Post Intelligencer; St. Louis had the Globe-Democrat and the Post-Dispatch.

You get the idea. Back in the Grand Old Days most cities had at least two newspapers. (And that’s just counting the major papers–there were tons of smaller ethnic and alternative papers.) I know it’s hard to believe, but once upon a time the major American cities actually had morning and afternoon newspapers. And many of these cities had papers competing even within those time slots!

I know. It sounds crazy. And really, who can be expected to know about stuff that happened way back in the age of rotary dials. I don’t blame Yglesias. It would have taken him 30, maybe even 45 minutes of research to find this out because since most of these papers disappeared before the digital age it’s hard to find them mentioned on the internet.

And really, you can’t blame a journalist for not knowing something if it isn’t in Wikipedia or on Google’s first three results pages. I mean what–do you want journalists to have to read books just so they understand stupid details about what the world was like before iPhones and Twitter?

Perish the thought. Liberal idiots like Yglesias don’t have to actually know anything at all to know they’re smarter than you and me, duuuh. Jonathan kindly throws in a couple of other links to previous posts demonstrating the absolute superiority of this paragon of Lefty erudition’s mental process. Follow the links and snicker away, folks; you don’t get self-beclownment this toothsome every day, you know.

Well, okay, you do. But still.

Duhpdate! Shut up and dance, fluffmuffin.

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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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