Archive for the 'General' Category

What do these pieces have in common?

Saturday, December 14th, 2019


The Party That Ruined the Planet. The most terrifying aspect of the U.S. political drama isn’t the revelation that the president has abused his power for personal gain. If you didn’t see that coming from the day Donald Trump was elected, you weren’t paying attention. No, the real revelation has been the utter depravity of the Republican Party. Essentially every elected or appointed official in that party has chosen to defend Trump by buying into crazy, debunked conspiracy theories. That is, one of America’s two major parties is beyond redemption; given that, it’s hard to see how democracy can long endure, even if Trump is defeated. However, the scariest reporting I’ve seen recently has been about science, not politics. A new federal report finds that climate change in the Arctic is accelerating, matching what used to be considered worst-case scenarios. And there are indications that Arctic warming may be turning into a self-reinforcing spiral, as the thawing tundra itself releases vast quantities of greenhouse gases. Catastrophic sea-level rise, heat waves that make major population centers uninhabitable, and more are now looking more likely than not, and sooner rather than later. But the terrifying political news and the terrifying climate news are closely related. Why, after all, has the world failed to take action on climate, and why is it still failing to act even as the danger gets ever more obvious? There are, of course, many culprits; action was never going to be easy. But one factor stands out above all others: the fanatical opposition of America’s Republicans


Donald Trump Is Bad for the Jews. The Trump administration is, beyond any reasonable doubt, an anti-democratic, white nationalist regime. And while it is not (yet) explicitly anti-Semitic, many of its allies are: “Jews will not replace us” chanted the “very fine people” carrying torches in Charlottesville, Va. You have to be willfully ignorant of the past not to know where all this leads. Indeed, it’s happening already: anti-Semitic incidents have soared (and my hate mail has gotten interesting). Jews aren’t the only people who have figured this out. Many Asian-American voters used to support Republicans, but the group is now overwhelmingly Democratic. Indian-Americans, in particular, are like American Jews: a high-income, high-education group that votes Democratic by large margins, presumably because many of its members also realize where white nationalism will take us. In all of this, Republicans — not just Trump, but his whole party — are reaping what they sowed. Their strategy for decades has been to win votes from working-class whites, despite an anti-worker agenda, by appealing to racial resentment. Trump has just made that racial appeal cruder and louder.

So what do the pieces have in common? A guy with a Nobel Prize wrote them. Instead of copying these pieces, today we were going to ask what on earth the D’s hope to accomplish with this super-silly impeachment rubbish, since it looks very self-destructive to us. But in that parallel universe (here and here) that the columnist inhabits, he’s just trying to save us from the anti-semitic godzilla monster who’s destroying the entire planet. Ah, it all makes sense now!

Everything you need to know, all in one place

Friday, December 13th, 2019

Here, Beautiful: “I found it alarming to hear Barr comment on an ongoing investigation, led by John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, into the origins of the Russia probe. And as someone who spent six years in the office Barr now occupies, it was infuriating to watch him publicly undermine an independent inspector general report”

This is heading straight to the top, and they only have blah-blah nonsense as a weapon.

Time to double down

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

Ted Cruz got it right with his Beavis and Butthead remark. Time to double down on comedy. We first suggested that the daily Media Spokesman wear a mask and speak like the cartoon character he looked like. But now he needs a partner to impersonate and mock the haughty-saintly D’s at the hearings on TV. “Impeachment is too good for the man. I saw him waving his arms like wings and quacking like a duck in the Oval Office! Lock him up now” – and so forth.

Gotta be better than taking this nonsense seriously.

FISA and Watergate

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

Codevilla: “the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) was a bad idea all along, an irresistible temptation to cover abusive surveillance with the cloak of pretend-legality. Had FISA existed in 1972, Nixon’s “plumbers” would easily have gotten a warrant to get everything they wanted out of the DNC secretly. Their application need only have cited the McGovern campaign’s plentiful links to North Vietnam and the Communist world.”

Hmmm, he would have been right.

Update: “I still have many questions about the FBI investigation that ruined my life. How can Americans have faith in the FISA process after an FBI lawyer was found to have falsified evidence in a warrant application?”

A modest suggestion

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

This fellow Barr is far too kind in calling the Russia etc probe a travesty. (And of course the WaPo swiftly countered that Barr is the travesty.)

Travesty doesn’t come close to what this nonsense is, and so we offer a modest suggestion. Every day a different senator, congressman, or administration executive should be that day’s Designated Spokesman to the media, fielding all manner of serious questions regarding the evil Orange Man.

Every day the Designated Spokesman is outfitted with a different look, showing how seriously so many of us take these profound issues of good and evil. To the best of his or her ability, the Designated Spokesmen should try to convey their thoughts in appropriate language – example: ruh-roh, or one of these.

Much better and clearer than Barr’s approach of speaking gravely and using subordinate clauses and so forth.


Monday, December 9th, 2019

We’re not getting into the nonsense of the day except to note that twitter, which we’ve never used, has banned a reporter for simply letting a horrible criminal use his own words.

We finally understand

Sunday, December 8th, 2019

So as we go for the morning jog and listen to Pacifica, we’ll no longer be shocked when the Harvard profs and Yale shrinks say that the difference between Satan and Orange Man is that the latter actually exists. For a long time now they have believed that their Progressive worldview is universally accepted in the halls of power, not just on campus. After all, heaps of hate and scorn could be dumped on the likes of Romney and Ryan and would be met with reverential silence.

Along comes a guy from Queens with a big mouth. But not just a big mouth. He’s got the common post WWII view of America and its place in the world: America Great, America First, America Here to Help! The cognoscenti thought they killed that, and they had pretty much done so in their halls of power. So who the hell does this SOB out of Gunsmoke and Car 54 think he is? (In a way, this also explains the particular rage among some of the actors in those old mafia movies.) Anyway, we now understand that Orange Man represents a worldview that the elite thought they had defeated, killed, and was dead and buried, but now he’s back, and telling millions they need be Quiet No More. Hence the outrage.

Quiet no more

Saturday, December 7th, 2019

We weren’t kidding. It was all about being quiet. In 1984-think, it’s much easier to control the quiet, and the Central Committee (whoever they are) has pretty much gotten away with it. They’ve ruined K-PhD, not to mention the Ivy League, etc. If you don’t believe XX and XY are interchangeable, you’re a hater, banned like Martina Navratilova. If you don’t believe in catastrophic global warming, you’re an enemy of science (and please shut up about Obama spending $12MM to be on the shore of soon-to-be-flooded Martha’s Vineyard).

Things were moving along swimmingly, as it were, until something happened. That something is Orange Man. It’s not so much that he screwed up The Narrative of the Central Committee, though he did. What drives them insane is that he screwed up their effortless control of The Narrative (which has been moving along quite nicely as you can see). The tweets and talk of Orange Man are a role model in not shutting up when the Central Committee tells you to, and hence he must be destroyed.


Friday, December 6th, 2019

Impeachment, climate “emergency” of existential proportions, XX’s pretending to be XY’s to win sports contests – they’re all the same thing in that they rely on your being really, really Quiet in the face of many outrages.


Thursday, December 5th, 2019

History quiz. And Zimmerman, wow.

In brief, some funny, some not

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

(1) Iran inflation 30% or more – read the piece. (2) Horrible Thanksgivings, with Charles Blow or others from the NYT (re Conan), or the unintentionally hilarious fellow Quentin James. (3) Hilarity: the UN uses “troops” to enforce climate stuff. Yeah, that’ll work. Go UN! (4) Kids reading, today vs. yesterday, ugh! (5) Remnant, Minotaur, Zelensky call, yawn. (6) Today, Macron-Trudeau whispers, tomorrow your phone will be able to read their thoughts directly and speak them, yikes!

Wheat, chaff

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

“I would like to start, perhaps incongruously, with a statement of three irrelevant facts. First, I am not a supporter of President Trump. I voted against him in 2016 and I have previously voted for Presidents Clinton and Obama. Second, I have been highly critical of President Trump, his policies, and his rhetoric, in dozens of columns. Third, I have repeatedly criticized his raising of the investigation of the Hunter Biden matter with the Ukrainian president.

These points are not meant to curry favor or approval. Rather they are meant to drive home a simple point: one can oppose President Trump’s policies or actions but still conclude that the current legal case for impeachment is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects, dangerous, as the basis for the impeachment of an American president.

To put it simply, I hold no brief for President Trump. My personal and political views of President Trump, however, are irrelevant to my impeachment testimony, as they should be to your impeachment vote.

Today, my only concern is the integrity and coherence of the constitutional standard and process of impeachment. President Trump will not be our last president and what we leave in the wake of this scandal will shape our democracy for generations to come. I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger. If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president. That does not bode well for future presidents”

This fellow’s name is Turley, doing the Dershowitz thing. There were 3 on the other side of the argument. All have great CV’s. Feel free to decide which are wheat and which are chaff in your view.

Let’s start with the bio

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

Arthur Waldron has been the Lauder Professor of International Relations in the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania, since 1997. He works mostly on the history of Asia, China in particular; the problem of nationalism, and the study of war and violence in history. Educated at Harvard (A.B. ’71 summa cum laude Valedictorian, PhD ’81) and in Asia where he lived for four years before returning to Harvard.

He previously taught at Princeton University, the U.S. Naval War College (Newport, RI) and Brown University. His publications include The Great Wall of China: From History to Myth (1989) also in Chinese and Italian; The Modernization of Inner Asia (1991); How the Peace Was Lost: The 1935 Memorandum “Developments Affecting American Policy in the Far East” Prepared for the State Department by John Van Antwerp MacMurray (1992) also in Japanese; From War to Nationalism: China’s Turning Point, 1924-1925 (1995) also in Chinese, and (with Daniel Moran) The People in Arms: Military Myth and National Mobilization since the French Revolution (2003).

His latest book, The Chinese should appear in 2015. In addition he has fourteen articles in peer reviewed journals, ten chapters in books, and two edited volumes in Chinese, as well numerous scholarly and popular reviews and journalistic essays. In government, he served as one of twelve members of the highly-classified Tilelli Commission (2000-2001), which evaluated the China operations of the Central Intelligence Agency. He was also an original member of the Congressionally-mandated U.S-China Economic and Security Review Commission (2001-2003).

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and former Director of Asian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.. A regular traveler, he has visited some fifty countries, in Asia and beyond. He has lectured all over the worlds, including Europe, Russia (in Russian), Japan, and Australia. Born in Boston in1948 Professor Waldron married the former Xiaowei Yü (Born Beijing) in 1988. With their two sons they live in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania.”

Your usual commie prof? Not quite. He says: “China is the most evil regime the world has seen since the Third Reich, setting aside the Soviet Union.” From a very interesting piece at AT.

The most boring criminals ever, except for the media’s cover up

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

The crooks’ screenplay, as predicted here so many times: Barr is POLITICAL, political! Oops, sorry, we meant that Barr is POLITICAL, political! There was an OBVIOUS EXCELLENT REASON to investigate Orange Man in, ummmmm, 2016 (except for it’s being “the greatest scandal in American political history“). So attention CNN, MSDNC: LIGHTS, CAMERA, Resist!!!

If the media were only a little bit honest we might lock up Comey, Brennan, Clapper, etc., (and maybe their boss) expeditiously. But hey, the other side has a great point: being a successful RE entrepreneur in awful NYC and a TV star can only mean one thing: mental illness – just ask the Yale professor in lovely New Haven. Hey, maybe Orange Man should have done some real estate there. We took a class with Richard Lee so we know a little about how tough things were or are.

Brief gross unrelated update: the D candidates continue to be insane.

1619 commentary

Monday, December 2nd, 2019


The weird case of Gallagher

Monday, December 2nd, 2019

For the record. Very odd.

Imagine that

Monday, December 2nd, 2019

We think we saw 101 Dalmations at the Newport Drive-In in 1961, and somehow didn’t realize until today what Cruella was going to do to the little tykes. Imagine that.


Monday, December 2nd, 2019

Ewwwww and weird, all at once. Actually not that weird. Our supposition is that the lady spilled the beans, to the best of her ability, on several people, to investigators, and then used this asinine approach to demonstrate that she is fervently anti-Orange. By comparison, this guy is creepy to the nth power.

4,500,000,000 versus 12

Monday, December 2nd, 2019

Stossel. As we were just saying: doomed, DOOMED!


Monday, December 2nd, 2019

VDH: “hypocrisy is not the most dangerous paradox of the university. Its entire financial structure is far more hypocritical. And the fix goes something like this: 18-year-olds enter college after being sold a bill of goods that an undergraduate degree is so invaluable that it will more than justify tens of thousands of dollars in aggregate long-term debt. Often “aid packages” brim with showy fellowships, grants, and tuition waivers to disguise the reality that the discounted, rock-bottom, bargain-based, final total cost of a year at college is still exorbitant. Students are reminded that at least a B.A. or B.S. degree will provide status that will aid upward economic and social mobility. Sometimes that is true, but when it is not, the results wreck lives.

Woke majors centering on social justice are lauded and promoted on campus as the spear of resistance culture. Yet years later, such campus veterans don’t impress employers. The now indentured serf graduate is left to fend for himself, far away the previous reverie and energy of progressive protests and inculcation. In other words, the next time you see a chanting crowd of woke students shouting down a speaker with a faculty member cheering them on, imagine such protestors five years from now, solitary without good jobs, but with lots of their own private debt and plenty of bitterness and angst.

Who then pays for the tenured full professor who indoctrinates students for 32 weeks of the year? Who pays for the assistant provost for “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” who teaches no classes but monitors those who do? Who helps to subsidize a costly campus that is increasingly disconnected from learning? Is it not the part-time lecturer driving between campus gigs without job security, retirement or good, if any, benefits? Is it not the student carrying $100,000 in 6 percent loans, majoring in environmental studies?”

This is not a new thing for VDH. Here’s a book written 20 years ago calling out the same things. Our “proof” that things have been bad for this long: 2 of the D candidates and at least 1 of their followers at MSDNC are Rhodes Scholars. (Hey, why is the word Rhodes still allowed to be said?) Finally, we include a review of the book from someone who bought it FYI:

“In WHO KILLED HOMER, Victor Davis Hanson and John Heath address the pressing issue of the rapid demise and death of classical Greek learning in the west. At the time of its publishing (2001), the dire straits that Greek thought and culture found itself in have not improved a whit. If anything, the trend is toward a total obliteration of the very foundation of western civilization. Hanson and Heath have plenty of blame to lay and fingers to point, but the bulk of their ire is surprisingly enough directed at their colleagues, all of whom were charged with keeping the immortal spark of classical learning alive. They are especially angry when their colleagues insist that there is nothing wrong at all with their profession. Such misguided academics most often point to the geometric increase in scholarly articles published and conferences attended. And that, Hanson and Heath insist, is precisely the point.

The scholarly articles are written in the most opaque jargon-ridden prose imaginable with no one reading them. The conferences are attended mostly by senior tenured professors of Greek and Latin who hand over their few teaching duties to underpaid and overworked teaching assistants who can only dream of the day when they too will be able to enter the sheltered life of a tenured academic when they know only too well that with the shrinking pool of college students who choose classics as a major that that scenario is very likely not to occur. And it is not simply laziness or cupidity that has caused today’s teachers of classics to abandon the very barricades that were their responsibilities to maintain. Much of the problem they see as a changing mindset in the very viability and desirability of thinking like the ancient Greeks. Hanson and Heath charge modern modes of thought like post-modernism, cynicism, nihilism, and skepticism as the collective root cause in subverting a two thousand year tradition in the belief of Eternal Truths like beauty, justice, and patriotism into a witches’ brew of deconstructive thought that insists that there is no solid linguistic, cultural, or historical groundfloor under our feet.

All that we used to call Traditional Values are now to be seen as slipping and sliding in ways that suggest that there was nothing special or enduring about the ancient Greeks at all. They note that it is trendy for cultural relativists to insist that all cultures in all ages are equally viable and worthy of emulation. If so, then why study classics in the first place. The answer, Heath and Hanson insist, is that the relativists are wrong. When Homer was writing his ILLIAD, there was nothing like Greek ideals of polis or thought available anywhere else in the world. This, of course, does not sit well with those who decry the United States as the primary source of all the world’s evil. Those who claim that are also the same ones who deny Greece as the initial and irreplaceable source of current western concepts like egalitarianism, property rights, and religious tolerance.

As bad as things are, Hanson and Heath do not think them hopeless. In their concluding chapter, “What We Could Do,” they list alternatives to the dissolution of their profession. Among them:
1) Re-introduce the classics into high school and college curriculums
2) Have senior tenured classics professors attend fewer conferences and teach more undergraduate classes
3) Reduce the time to complete a Phd in classics to five years or less
4) Scrap the traditional doctoral dissertation in favor of several broad papers of Greek culture
5) Give tenure only to those who teach a lot rather than publish a lot
6) Re-acquire the belief that the Greeks were a special people who have a great deal to say that is relevant today.

On the down side, both Hanson and Heath do not believe that any of their suggestions will be implemented anytime soon. As a result, when future Greek classes will be attended only by the doddering senior professors who will preside over a legion of empty seats, then it will be evident even to these soon to be retired professors that their profession has already gone the way of the dodo.”