Advertisements

[VIDEO] Reality Check: Health Care is Not a Fundamental Right 

The ‘Right’ to Health Care.

There isn’t one.

Kevin D. Williamson writes: With the American Health Care Act dominating the week’s news, one conversation has been unavoidable: Someone — someone who pays attention to public policy — will suggest that we pursue policy x, y, or z, and someone else — someone who pays a little less careful attention, who probably watches a lot of cable-television entertainment masquerading as news — responds: “The first thing we have to do is acknowledge that health care is a human right!” What follows is a moment during which the second speaker visibly luxuriates in his display of empathy and virtue, which is, of course, the point of the exercise.

REUTERS/Jason Reed

It’s kind of gross, but that’s where we are, politically, as a country.

Here is a thought experiment: You have four children and three apples. You would like for everyone to have his own apple. You go to Congress, and you successfully persuade the House and the Senate to endorse a joint resolution declaring that everyone has a right to an apple of his own. A ticker-tape parade is held in your honor, and you share your story with Oprah, after which you are invited to address the United Nations, which passes the International Convention on the Rights of These Four Kids in Particular to an Individual Apple Each. You are visited by the souls of Mohandas Gandhi and Mother Teresa, who beam down approvingly from a joint Hindu-Catholic cloud in Heaven.

Question: How many apples do you have?

You have three apples, dummy. Three. You have four children. Each of those children has a congressionally endorsed, U.N.-approved, saint-ratified right to an apple of his own. But here’s the thing: You have three apples and four children. Nothing has changed.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

Declaring a right in a scarce good is meaningless. It is a rhetorical gesture without any application to the events and conundrums of the real world. If the Dalai Lama were to lead 10,000 bodhisattvas in meditation, and the subject of that meditation was the human right to health care, it would do less good for the cause of actually providing people with health care than the lowliest temp at Merck does before his second cup of coffee on any given Tuesday morning. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Obama Worship: Clap-Out Recalls Stalin’s Grim Loyalists 

obama-tv-screens-2

kevin-williamsonKevin D. Williamson writes: Applause was a serious business in the Soviet Union, as it is in Cuba, as it is in Venezuela, as it is in all unfree societies and at our own State of the Union address, which is modeled on the ex cathedra speeches of unfree societies. The less free you are, the more you are obliged to applaud. Joseph Stalin’s pronouncements were greeted with perfervid applause, which would continue, rapturously — no one dared stop — until Stalin himself would order its cessation.

“The desire to rule is complexly mixed up with the desire to be ruled, just as the most masterful among us bow the lowest and grovel the most enthusiastically when presented with a strongman-savior.”

But what to do when Stalin was not there? The mere mention of his name, even in his absence, would trigger fanatical applause, and nobody wanted to be the first to stop. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn related one famous story:

aleksandr-solzhenitsyn

The director of the local paper factory, an independent and strong-minded man, stood with the presidium. Aware of all the falsity and all the impossibility of the situation, he still kept on applauding! Nine minutes! Ten! In anguish he watched the secretary of the District Party Committee, but the latter dared not stop. Insanity! To the last man! With make-believe enthusiasm on their faces, looking at each other with faint hope, the district leaders were just going to go on and on applauding till they fell where they stood, till they were carried out of the hall onend-is-near stretchers! And even then those who were left would not falter.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

[Kevin D. Williamson’s book  “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome”  is available at Amazon]

Then, after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a businesslike expression and sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved! The squirrel had been smart enough to jump off his revolving wheel.

That, however, was how they discovered who the independent people were. And that was how they went about eliminating them.

That same night the factory director was arrested.

Stalin is long gone, and the Soviet Union, too, having been deposited, as Ronald Reagan predicted, onto the “ash heap of history.” But the craven instinct on display in the scene Solzhenitsyn described remains.

cheneytribe

The desire to rule is complexly mixed up with the desire to be ruled, just as the most masterful among us bow the lowest and grovel the most enthusiastically when presented with a strongman-savior. There is something atavistic in us that is older than the human part — the inner chimp — that makes those who listen to its voice keenly aware of their places in the social hierarchy. Even a predator instinctively recognizes a predator higher up the food chain.

chimp4

“The language there is interesting: She did not write that Price ‘did not applaud,’ ‘refrained from applauding’, or even ‘failed to applaud,” but that he refused to applaud, a formulation that converts passivity into a positive act, one from which we are to derive something of significance about his fitness for the role of secretary of health and human services.”

Which is not to say that National Public Radio’s Marilyn Geewax is a Stalinist, but rather that they were what she is, representatives of the same species.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

Geewax, who is a senior business editor for NPR, is very interested in applause. This week, she expressed some concern that Representative Tom Price has been nominated to serve as the next secretary of health and human services. Read the rest of this entry »


A Tale of Two Covers

trump-person-of-year-timenr-liberal-freakout


Trump Disses DC

snubs

Downgrading Washington’s importance is one of the few good ideas Trump has had.

kevin-williamsonKevin D. Williamson writes: I do not agree with Donald Trump about much of anything. Early in the primary season, I wrote a little book titled “The Case against Trump.” I believe him to be morally unfit and intellectually unprepared for the office to which he has been elected. Which is why one of the most annoying of my tasks for the next four (one assumes!) years is going to be pointing out that while Trump may not be right about very much, his critics often are wrong.

“Politics should not be the central activity in our lives, or even in our shared public life, and consequently the political capital should be subordinate to the financial and cultural capitals.”

Example A: Trump apparently does not want to live in Washington, and this has inspired a chorus of cxv6ldkuuaa89se-jpg-smalldiscord and dissonance to rival the oeuvre of Yoko Ono.

[Read Kevin D. Williamson’s articlhere, at National Review]

There is no particular reason for Trump to live full-time in Washington. Washington is a dump, one of the least attractive and least inspiring American cities. Trump Tower is a dump, too, a big vertical void in the middle of one of the least interesting parts of Manhattan, but Trump apparently likes it, and he has gone to the trouble of gold-plating his toilets, which you do not do unless you 51jnsxuodgl-_sl250_are really planning to plant yourself in place.

[ALSO SEE – The Case Against Trump at Amazon.com]

Trump’s hesitation to set up housekeeping in our nation’s hideous capital is not causing klaxons of alarum because people are concerned about good government.

[Splendid Washington: Our Nation’s Capital Is Too Rich]

A nation genuinely concerned about good government would not have entrusted its chief administrative post to Donald J. Trump, a frequently bankrupt casino operator and game-show host. Read the rest of this entry »


#KevinIsSoWhite

j-edgar-hoover-Kevin-is-White

Salon/Daily Kos writer thinks National Review’s @KevinNR is black; Inspires #KevinIsSoWhite joke fest


[VIDEO] William F. Buckley Jr. Interviews Hugh Hefner on Firing Line (1966) Parts 2-6






[VIDEO] William F. Buckley Jr. Interviews Hugh Hefner on Firing Line (1966) Part 1 

WashMonument-BuckleyJr

h/t Jacob Appelbaum,  Twitter

 


Kevin D. Williamson: ‘How To Lose Followers And Influence People!’

williamson-Trump

We expect to lose 27% of our followers for this: ‘s new Broadside is coming in Nov.

(Get this broadside!)

via  


National Review Cover: Uber and Goliath

NR-cover

In the August issue, Kevin D. Williamson writes:

“…Uber’s ability and willingness to serve underserved communities and to provide a technology end-around for some of New York City’s most charged social problems — unlike the situation when you’re hailing a cab at 96th and Lexington, on the Internet nobody knows you’re black — have made it more difficult for the so-called progressives to dress up their cartel-servicing as consumer protection. Even the nation’s oldest consumer-advocacy organization thinks Uber et al. serve the public better than the highly regulated cartels. ‘Government has a really important role in protecting consumers,’ says Joe Colangelo of Consumers’ Research, ‘and that applies to Uber. But it applies to protecting the public’s safety and well-being, not to preventing new technology from entering the market. The landscape that these regulations were crafted for no longer exists.’ New York, he points out, developed its taxi regulations in the inter-war era, and they were designed to address inconsistencies in service and costs. Uber solves those problems in a trans-regulatory way: Fares are advertised in advance, before the pick-up is even scheduled, and customer ratings mean that inspections effectively happen during every trip rather than once a year.

[Kevin D. Williamson’s book  “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome”  is available at Amazon.com]

That’s not lost on the young people who are accustomed to having services such as Uber, Seamless, and Open Table acting as their own personal 24-hour concierge.”

Read more at: National Review 

UPDATE: On newstands today:

NR-aug10


Williamson in Wonderland: ‘The Supreme Court Has Firmly Established That It Does Not Matter What The Law Says Or Does Not Say’

Illustration: Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Alice in Wonderland original vintage engraving. Tea party with the Mad Hatter, Dormouse and the White Rabbit. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Illustration from John Tenniel, published in 1865. TEXT: Kevin D. Williamson, National Review http://www.nationalreview.com/article/420406/john-roberts-decision-kevin-d-williamson

Opening paragraph of “Ayatollah Roberts and His Sharia Council” by Kevin D. Williamson
Read Kevin D. Williamson‘s article about the SCOTUS rulings here, at National Review 

 


National Review Cover: Kevin D. Williamson on ‘The Colorado Pot Experiment’

NR-cover-July-2015

[Read it here at National Review Online]

 


‘Everything is Amazing’: The Physical Results of Capitalism and The Paradise of the Real

The Paradise of the Real

Kevin D. Williamson writes:

“We treat the physical results of capitalism as though they were an inevitability. In 1955, no captain of industry, prince, or potentate could buy a car as good as a Toyota Camry, to say nothing of a 2014 Mustang, the quintessential American Everyman’s car. But who notices the marvel that is a Toyota Camry? In the 1980s, no chairman of the board, president, or prime minister could buy a computer as good as the cheapest one for sale today at Best Buy. In the 1950s, American millionaires did not have access to the quality and variety of food consumed by Americans of relatively modest means today, and the average middle-class household spent a much larger share of its income buying far inferior groceries. Between 1973 and 2008, the average size of an American house increased by more than 50 percent, even as the average number of people living in it declined. Things like swimming pools and air conditioning went from being extravagances for tycoons and movie stars to being common or near-universal. In his heyday, Howard Hughes didn’t have as good a television as you do, and the children of millionaires for generations died from diseases that for your children are at most an inconvenience. As the first 199,746 or so years of human history show, there is no force of nature ensuring that radical material progress happens as it has for the past 250 years. Technological progress does not drive capitalism; capitalism drives technological progress — and most other kinds of progress, too…”

Read the full text here…

Dana has good taste. (And a great laugh) In a comment to Dana, Kevin D. Williamson notes: “It’s actually an old piece that’s been making the rounds…” Fooled me, too. I also thought it was new column. Good to see it circulation again.

National Review


Kevin D. Williamson: The GOP Should Turn its Attention to Prosecutorial Misconduct

prison

Kevin D. Williamson writes:

“…The Democrats have long been acculturated to the climate of corruption that attends government agencies that are largely free of ordinary accountability, where a carefully cultivated lack of transparency shields operatives from scrutiny and normal oversight. Republicans can rouse themselves to action, if only barely, when this involves the federal Internal Revenue Service or Environmental Protection Agency. But deference to police agencies and prosecutors is so habitual among the members of the law-and-order party that they instinctively look for excuses when presented with obvious examples of police misconduct, and twiddle their thumbs in the 99 percent of cases of prosecutorial misconduct that do not involve a Republican elected official.…”

[Read the full article at NRO]

National Review Online


EXCLUSIVE: Leaked List of Osama Bin Ladin’s Top-Secret Conservative Book Collection

bin-laden-books

Bin Laden’s Right-Wing Reading List Goes Viral

editor-commen-deskThe list includes an archive of radical right wing books, history books, humor texts, and conservative philosophy belonging to the former al-Qaeda chief, some of which are still being withheld by the U.S. government, but leaked online this afternoon.

Among the volumes of books on law and military strategy that were publicly released this week, are a not-yet-declassified list of books by popular conservative authors such as Ann Coulter, Jonah Goldberg, and Andrew Breitbart, as well as scholarly texts by Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman, and Friedrich von Hayek. The collection includes:

The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome by Kevin D. Williamson

Ideas Have Consequences by Richard M. Weaver

Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change by Jonah Goldberg

Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama by Ann Coulter

The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich von Hayek

Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman

God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of ‘Academic Freedom by William F. Buckley, Jr.

Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World! by Andrew Breitbart

On Liberty by John Stuart Mill

Human Action, The Scholar’s Edition by Ludwig von Mises

The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 by George Nash

Witness by Whittaker Chambers

The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot by Russell Kirk

Ethnic America: A History by Thomas Sowell

Natural Right and History by Leo Strauss

The leak comes shortly after the fourth anniversary of Bin Laden’s death at the hands of US special forces…

developing…


Kevin D. Williamson: ‘Texas is where ISIS Wannabes Get Outgunned at An Art Gallery’

3-17-Texas

BANG-woman-gun

 

 

 


Baltimore Protests Turn Violent


Kevin D. Williamson: ‘Today’s discussion suggests that some people have forgotten how government works. Here’s a quick explanation’

how-government-works

Kevin Williamson via Twitter


Kevin D. Williamson: The War on the Private Mind

Dr. Bill van Bise, electrical engineer, conducting a demonstration of Soviet scientific data and schematics for beaming a magnetic field into the brain to cause visual hallucinations. Source: CNN Source: Supplied

Dr. Bill van Bise, electrical engineer, conducting a demonstration of Soviet scientific data and schematics for beaming a magnetic field into the brain to cause visual hallucinations. Source: CNN

In Indiana, in Arkansas, and in the boardroom

Kevin D. Williamsonkevin-williamson writes: There are two easy ways to get a Republican to roll over and put his paws up in the air: The first is to write him a check, which is the political version of scratching his belly, and the second is to call him a bigot. In both cases, it helps if you have a great deal of money behind you.

Tim Cook, who in his role as chief executive of the world’s most valuable company personifies precisely the sort of oppression to which gay people in America are subjected, led the hunting party when Indiana’s governor Mike Pence signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, while Walmart, a company that cannot present its hindquarters enthusiastically enough to the progressives who hate it and everything for which it stands, dispatched its CEO, C. Douglas McMillon, to head off a similar effort in Arkansas, where Governor Asa Hutchison rolled over immediately….(read more)

millen-anguish

“Adlai Stevenson famously offered this definition: ‘A free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.’ We do not live in that society.”

…There are three problems with rewarding those who use accusations of bigotry as a political cudgel. First, those who seek to protect religious liberties are not bigots, and going along with false accusations that they are makes one a party to a lie.

[Read the full text here, at National Review]

Second, it is an excellent way to lose political contests, since there is almost nothing — up to and including requiring algebra classes — that the Left will not denounce as bigotry. Third, and related, it rewards and encourages those who cynically deploy end-is-nearaccusations of bigotry for their own political ends.

[Kevin D. Williamson’s book  “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome”  is available at Amazon]

An excellent illustration of this dynamic is on display in the recent pronouncements of columnist and gay-rights activist Dan Savage, who, in what seems to be an effort to resurrect every lame stereotype about the shrill, hysterical, theatrical gay man, declaimed that the efforts of those who do not wish to see butchers and bakers and wedding-bouquet makers forced by their government at gunpoint to violate their religious scruples is — you probably have guessed already — nothing less than the consecration of Jim Crow Junior. “Anti-black bigots, racist bigots, during Jim Crow and segregation made the exact same arguments that you’re hearing people make now,” Savage said. Given the dramatic difference in the social and political position of blacks in the time of Bull Connor and gays in the time of Ellen DeGeneres, this is strictly Hitler-was-a-vegetarian stuff, the elevation of trivial formal similarities over dramatic substantial differences. The choices for explaining this are a.) moral illiteracy; b.) intellectual dishonesty; c.) both a and b…(read more)

National Review


REWIND: Kevin D. Williamson on Harry Reid

NR-Reid

Good piece : In honor of ‘s retirement, ‘s cover piece from June

Via 


The End of Rational Public Discourse


The Average African-American Family is Poorer than the Average Family in India

‘So Far, the LBJ Plan Seems to be Working Perfectly’

Everywhere it has been tried, the Democrats’ dependency agenda has been a social and economic catastrophe for black Americans — and a full-employment program for Democratic apparatchiks.

LBJBO

This is not a conspiracy — it’s right out there in the open, every time a Democratic politician knows that he can count on 90 percent of the black vote without lifting a finger, winning the opportunity to add four more years to the 50 years of broken promises Democrats have made to black Americans, who lag their fellow countrymen on practically every social indicator. 

“Black Americans’ median net worth is less than 5 percent that of white Americans.”

Kevin D. Williamson writes: The phrase “waving the bloody shirt” grew popular in the South as a description of BloodyShirt-Dem-Ragtime-BandRepublicans’ alleged exaggeration of the crimes of the Ku Klux Klan, the paramilitary division of the Democratic party.

“Black Americans are worse off relative to their white countrymen than black South Africans under apartheid were to theirs.”

It is an irony of history that waving the bloody shirt has in the Age of Obama become the Democrats’ primary mode of discourse. Oppose the Affordable Care Act? Racism. Like the Second Amendment? Racism. Black Barbie is on sale for half off, but white Barbie is full price? Racism. Black holes sucking the energy out of your quadrant? Why single out the black ones? Racism!

[Kevin D. Williamson’s broadside What Doomed Detroit is available at Amazon]

FILE - This Oct. 24, 2012 file photo shows a graffiti-marked abandoned home north of downtown Detroit, in background.(AP Photo)

A graffiti-marked abandoned home north of downtown Detroit, in background.  (AP Photo)

Waving the bloody shirt is not only about making an emotional appeal — it’s a strategy for distraction…. (read more) …But a distraction from what?

From $4,955

Fifty years into the Democrats’ declaration of a war on poverty and President Kennedy’s first executive order for affirmative action, while spending $300 million a year on worthless diversity workshops and singing endless verses of “We Shall Overcome,” after enduring endless posturing from Barack Obama and the moral preening of his admirers, that is what black American families have to show for themselves: an average household net worth of $4,955. The average white household in these United States has a net worth of $110,729. Black Americans’ median net worth is less than 5 percent that of white Americans.

Read the rest of this entry »


‘Toy Journalist’: Politifact Hack’s Not-So-Extensive Effort to Contact National Review Writer Mercilessly Mocked


Kevin D. Williamson: Rudy is Right

Barack Obama

Barack Obama Doesn’t Even Like America

Kevin D. Williamsonkevin-williamson writes: Rudy Giuliani is in the stocks for saying that he does not believe that President Barack Obama “loves America.” He said this at a small, private dinner for Scott Walker, who probably will not be inviting Giuliani to very many events in the near future.

Giuliani went on to say that he wasn’t questioning the president’s patriotism — angels and ministers of grace defend us! — only noting that the president’s rhetoric is decidedly low-cal on the American exceptionalism but full-fat when it comes to criticism.rev-wright-obama

“For the progressive, there is very little to love about the United States…”

It may be the case that the president is a practitioner of the Smokey Robinson school of patriotism: “I don’t like you, but I love you.” Something’s really got a hold on this guy, and it is not an excessive fervor for the American order.

“…Washington, Jefferson, Madison? A bunch of rotten slaveholders, hypocrites, and cowards even when their hearts were in the right places. The Declaration of Independence? A manifesto for the propertied classes. The Constitution? An artifact of sexism and white supremacy…”

[Read the full text here, at National Review Online]

Questions about patriotism and love of country are, according to our self-appointed referees, out of bounds, déclassé, boob bait for bubbas, etc. Those are questions that we are not allowed to ask in polite society. Why? holden_caulfield__finished_by_westwolf270Because polite society does not want to hear the answers.

“There is a personality type common among the Left’s partisans, and it has a name: Holden Caulfield. He is adolescent, perpetually disappointed, and ever on the lookout for phoniness and hypocrisy.”

Does Barack Obama like America? The people around him certainly seem to have their reservations. Michelle Obama said — twice, at separate campaign a-kornacki-rudyevents — that her husband’s ascending to the presidency meant that “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.” She was in her mid 40s at the time, her “adult lifetime” having spanned decades during which she could not be “really proud” of her country. Barack Obama spent years in the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s church as the churchman fulminated: “God Damn America!” The Reverend Wright’s infamous “God Damn America!” sermon charges the country with a litany of abuses: slavery, mistreatment of the Indians, “treating citizens as less than human,” etc. A less raving version of the same indictment can be found in the president’s own speeches and books. His social circle includes such figures as Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn, who expressed their love of country by participating in a murderous terrorist campaign against it.

[Also see – Lunatic,’ ‘Repugnant’ Rudy Giuliani says Obama doesn’t ‘love America’; Media hits the ‘fainting couches’ – punditfromanotherplanet.com]

Does Barack Obama love his country? Call me a rube for saying so, but it’s a fair question. Read the rest of this entry »


Sean Davis: Language Policing Doesn’t Pervert Liberalism, It Is Liberalism

chait-nymag

Modern liberalism depends on the language police, and Jonathan Chait himself is Exhibit A.

 writes: In a widely praised piece for New York Magazine, liberal writer Jonathan Chait says the leftist language police are perverting liberalism. Chait is wrong. The politically correct language police don’t pervert modern liberalism; they embody it. And amateur leftist thought cop Jonathan Chait himself is proof.

“Speech codes are a widely used tool taken right out of the fascist toolbox. If they can’t control how you act, then they’ll control how you speak. If they can’t control how you speak, then they’ll control how you think.”

In his piece, Chait catalogued numerous discussions within a large Facebook group called “Binders Full of Women Writers” to show the toxic effect that language and thought crime policing can have on basic political discourse.

hammer-censored

“Jonathan Chait’s recent critique of political correctness insists that the phenomenon has undergone a resurgence. It hasn’t; contrary to Chait’s characterization, it never went away. The difference is that it is now being used as a cudgel against white liberals such as Jonathan Chait, who had previously enjoyed a measure of immunity.”

[More – Kevin D. Williamson’s Liberals Seek PC Exemption at NRO]

“Chait is hardly in a position to complain about that, given his own heavy reliance on that mode of discourse. Chait isn’t arguing for taking an argument on its own merits; he’s arguing for a liberals’ exemption to the Left’s general hostility toward any unwelcome idea that comes from a speaker who checks any unapproved demographic boxes…”

— Kevin D. Williamson

At times, members of the overwhelmingly liberal group would demand that certain sentiments not be shared. Sometimes, members declared that certain people weren’t even allowed to have opinions on a subject on account of their color, gender, or sexual orientation. Here’s a small selection from Chait’s piece:

Language-Police-Censorship

On July 10, for instance, one member in Los Angeles started a conversation urging all participants to practice higher levels of racial awareness. “Without calling anyone out specifically, I’m going to note that if you’re discussing a contentious thread, and shooting the breeze … take a look at the faces in the user icons in that discussion,” she wrote. “Binders is pretty diverse, but if you’re not seeing many WOC/non-binary POC in your discussion, it’s quite possible that there are problematic assumptions being stated without being challenged.” (“POC” stands for “people of color.” “WOC” means “women of color.” “Non-binary” describes people who are either transgender or identify as a gender other than traditionally male or female.)

Two members responded lightly, one suggesting that such “call-outs” be addressed in private conversation and another joking that she was a “gluten free Jewish WWC” — or Woman Without Color. Read the rest of this entry »


A Campus Epidemic: Rape Hoax Culture

UVa Fraternity

Rolling Stone deserves all the suffering it can possibly enjoy.

editor-commen-deskFriday, December 5th, 2014, may be recorded as the worst single day for Left Wing Media in more than a decade, as two of its most iconic institutions self-destructed, independently, but simultaneously, on the same day, in the same news cycle. The New Republic, and Rolling Stone Magazine, for very different reasons, suffered major setbacks. The more important of the two — The New Republic — is getting less media attention than it deserves. Which is understandable, of the two, its problems are more complex, less visible, and not as controversial. The majority of The New Republic‘s staff resigned, en masse. If almost no one noticed, it’s perhaps because the New Republic isn’t as relevant as it once was. Unfortunate, because of its long history, NR is a first-rate political journal that’s enjoyed the attention and respect of its admirers and critics alike. But mainly because the epic, high-profile disaster at Rolling Stone was sucking up all the oxygen.

And let’s fact it: Rolling Stone deserves all the suffering it can possibly enjoy.

Providing both the matches, and the gas, Rolling Stone willingly made itself into a bonfire for its opponents and critics. A preexisting record of journalistic mismanagement set the stage for disaster. Years of lurid, sensational, sloppy journalism had already established it as a bad actor in media. Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s bogus, discredited rape reportage — though a spectacular failure in itself — isn’t even the problem. It’s a emblematic of larger problem, not just with Rolling Stone, but with Left-Wing advocacy journalism and progressive-activist media culture in general. One of deception, invention, and opportunism.

As the Rolling Stone scandal unfolds, one question that bothers me — that I haven’t seen explored much yet — is, where were the lawyers and editors, before the story went to press? For purely financial reasons, institutions like Rolling Stone have to weight costs and risks, especially when dealing with controversial material that could expose them not only peer scrutiny, but to litigation. That’s what the suits are for. Think about it, if the writer and editor won’t do due diligence with sources, and investigate more than one side of a story, they can be sure their critics will. Writers and editors might be willing to go out on a limb to advance an activist agenda or pump up sales, but every publication has its legal advisors and bean-counters to protect the publication’s reputation, or at least avoid inviting lawsuits. Where were they? What happened?

In the coming days, answers to this question may be revealed. In the meantime, the following is a sampling of commentary from Jonah and Kevin (both of whom are familiar to our readers, and are promoted so frequently here that I take the liberty of referring to them by their first names) at National Review Online. Stay tuned for more.

Rolling-stone-cover-jpg

Rolling Stone should be held accountable for its false accusations against UVA’s Phi Kappa Psi chapter.

jonah-GFrom Jonah Goldberg‘s The UVA Gang Rape that Wasn’t

“…So I am having a hard time getting my head around something. All week people have been calling me a “rape apologist” and “pro-rape.” I’m being constantly informed that I don’t understand “rape culture.” These often hysterical accusations tend to come from people who seem to understand rape culture the same way some people understand the geopolitics of Westeros or Middle Earth: They’ve studied it, they know every detail about it, they just seem to have forgotten it doesn’t exist.

[Also see – Meltdown: Rolling Stone Backtracks on Explosive UVA Rape Story, Issues Apology]

Now, hold on. I certainly believe rape happens. And I definitely believe we have cultural problems that lead to date rape and other drunken barbarisms and sober atrocities. But the term “rape culture” suggests that there is a large and obvious belief system that condones and enables rape as an end in itself in America. This simply strikes me as an elaborate political lie intended to strengthen the hand of activists. There’s definitely lots that is wrong with our culture, particularly youth culture and specifically campus culture. Sybaritic, crapulent, hedonistic, decadent, bacchanalian: choose your adjectives.

[More – So, How Much Fact-Checking Did Rolling Stone Do?]

What is most remarkable about our problems is that they seem to take people by surprise. For instance, it would be commonsense to our grandmothers that some drunk men will do bad things, particularly in a moral vacuum, and that women should take that into account. I constantly hear that instead of lecturing women about their behavior we should teach men not to rape. I totally, completely, 100 percent agree that we should teach men not to rape. The problem is we do that. A lot. Maybe we should do it more. We also teach people not to murder — another heinous crime. But murders happen too. That’s why we advise our kids to steer clear of certain neighborhoods at certain times and avoid certain behaviors. I’m not “pro-murder” if I tell my kid not to walk through the park at night and flash money around any more than I am pro-rape if I give her similar advice…” (read more here)

141205175643-rolling-stone-uva-rape-on-campus-story-top

The Left believes that lies can serve a greater truth.

Kevin D. Williamsonkevin-williamson‘s Bad Journalism, Even If It Were True

“The Left is committed to the notion that American colleges are hotbeds of sexual violence, racial bigotry, hatred of homosexuals, etc., because they are committed to the notion that the largely white and male upper echelons of American society — mostly products of those colleges — are secretly but unalterably committed to white supremacy, homophobia, and to using the threat of sexual violence to keep women in their place. 

The evidence suggests otherwise: Far from being an epidemic, sexual assault today happens at a rate about one-third that of 20 years ago, and rape seems to happen less often on college campuses than it does elsewhere. That should not be entirely surprising: Rape, like other crimes, tends to disproportionately affect people who are poor and non-white. As expected, the evidence points to sexual assault’s being more common in poor rural areas, Indian reservations, poor urban areas, etc. It is also more common where people tend to be relatively isolated, with Alaska having the nation’s highest rate of sexual assault. Read the rest of this entry »


The Inequality Bed-Wetters are Misleading You

krugman

The Gilded Gelded Age

editor-commen-deskI offer this for two reasons. One, because I’ve never read anything by Kevin D. Williamson that I didn’t like and want everyone to read. And two, because there’s this very disturbing photo of Paul Krugman that I’ve been dying to get off my desk. Now you can have nightmares about Krugman’s face, staring scoldingly into the abyss. And I can go back to my usual nightmares about Obama cutting a nuke deal with Iran in order to speed up the coming global apocalypse. Which reminds me. Do you have Williamson’s book yet? I think everyone should read that, too. See the full text of Williamson’s article here.

For National Review OnlineKevin D. Williamson writes: The inequality police are worried that we are living in a new Gilded Age. We should be so lucky: Between 1880 and 1890, the number of employed Americans increased by more than 13 percent, and wages increased by almost 50 percent.kevin-williamson

“…if your assumption here is that this is about redistribution, then you should want the billionaires’ incomes to go up, not down: The more money they make, the more taxes they pay, and the more money you have to give to the people you want to give money to, e.g., overpaid, lazy, porn-addicted bureaucrats…” 

I am going to go out on a limb and predict that the Barack Obama years will not match that record; the number of employed Americans is lower today than it was when he took office, and household income is down. Grover Cleveland is looking like a genius in comparison.

“…poor people are not poor because rich people are rich, nor vice versa. Very poor people are generally poor because they do not have jobs, and taking away Thurston Howell III’s second yacht is not going to secure work for them…”

The inequality-based critique of the American economy is a fundamentally dishonest one, for a half a dozen or so reasons at least. Claims that the (wicked, wicked) “1 percent” saw their incomes go up by such and such an amount over the past decade or two ignore the fact that different people compose the 1 percent every year, and that 75 percent of the super-rich households in 1995 were in a lower income group by 2005.

“The 3 million highest-paying jobs in America paid a lot more in 2005 than did the 3 million highest-paying jobs in 1995” is a very different and considerably less dramatic claim than “The top 1 percent of earners in 1995 saw their household incomes go up radically by 2005.” But the former claim is end-is-neartrue and the latter is not.

[If you haven’t read Kevin D. Williamson’s  “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome”  then your Global Panic checklist is incomplete. Fear not, it’s available at Amazon]

Paul Krugman, who persists in Dickensian poverty, barely making ends meet between six-figure sinecures, is a particularly energetic scourge of the rich, and he is worried about conspicuous consumption: “For many of the rich, flaunting is what it’s all about. Read the rest of this entry »


Goldberg, Williamson on Ginsberg: ‘We Only Whisper It’, ‘Abort the Poor’

Ruth-Ginsberg

Justice Ginsburg sings another verse of “Kill the Poor.”

Kevin D. Williamsonkevin-williamson writes: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, having decided for some inexplicable reason to do a long interview with a fashion magazine (maybe it is her celebrated collection of lace collars), reaffirmed the most important things we know about her: her partisanship, her elevation of politics over law, and her desire to see as many poor children killed as is feasibly possible.

“This is not her first time weighing in on the question of what by any intellectually honest standard must be described as eugenics.”

Speaking about such modest restrictions on abortion as have been enacted over the past several years, Justice Ginsburg lamented that “the impact of all these restrictions is on poor women.” Then she added: “It makes no sense as a national policy to promote birth only among poor people.”

kill the poor

This is not her first time weighing in on the question of what by any intellectually honest standard must be described as eugenics. In an earlier interview, she described the Roe v. Wade decision as being intended to control population growth, “particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” She was correct in her assessment of Roe; the co-counsel in that case, Ron Weddington, would later advise President Bill Clinton: “You can start dead-kennedys-kill-the-poor-1980immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy, and poor segment of our country,” by making abortifacients cheap and universally available. “It’s what we all know is true, but we only whisper it.”

In 1980, the punk band the Dead Kennedys released a song called “Kill the Poor.” In it, singer Jello Biafra considers the many benefits to be had from the policy he is singing about…(read more)

Ginsburg: Abort the Poor

Jonah Goldbergpage_2014_200_goldberg_square writes: Let me offer three cheers for Kevin’s post on Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Let me also join the pile-on.

First, Ginsburg’s view that we don’t want more poor babies is perfectly consistent with a century-old progressive tradition as I explain at some length here. It is simply a restatement of Margaret Sanger’s “religion of birth control” which would “ease the financial load of caring for with public funds . . . children destined to become a burden to themselves, to their family, and ultimately to the nation.” Read the rest of this entry »


Kevin D. Williamson: The Obama Administration’s Curious Cable Jihad

enemy-state-bill

“Mr. O’Reilly became an enemy of State when he conducted an interview with Fox News reporter James Rosen, who had some mildly unflattering things to say about Ms. Harf’s superior, Jen Psaki, the witless off-brand Pippi Longstocking who is the current media face of the American diplomatic project.”

National Review‘s Kevin D. Williamsonkevin-williamson writes: Marie Harf, whose career has alternated between government jobs and campaign jobs, is the deputy spokesman for the State Department, and if her recent communications are any indication, the face of the most acute foreign-policy crisis facing these United States is Bill O’Reilly’s — an admittedly self-satisfied visage, to be sure, out of which pours a psaki-redacted-oh-crapstream of apparently inexhaustible glibness. But he’s never beheaded anybody, so far as I know.

“Ms. Psaki was something less than convincing in trying to explain what exactly the administration has been up to between that group’s beheading.”

cia-barbieMr. O’Reilly became an enemy of State when he conducted an interview with Fox News reporter James Rosen, who had some mildly unflattering things to say about Ms. Harf’s superior, Jen Psaki, the witless off-brand Pippi Longstocking who is the current media face of the American diplomatic project.

“Instead of a philosophy, the Left has an enemies list”

The Obama administration is, to be charitable, currently unsure of how to go about dealing with the Islamic State, and Ms. Psaki was something less than convincing in trying to explain what exactly the administration has been up to between that group’s beheadings.

Ms. Harf proclaimed (here I’ll translate from the Twitterese): “Jen Psaki explains foreign policy with intelligence and class. Too bad we can’t say the same about Bill O’Reilly.”end-is-near

[If you haven’t read Kevin D. Williamson’s  “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome”  then your Global Panic checklist is incomplete. Fear not, it’s available at Amazon]

This is not a new thing for the Obama administration, for Democrats, and for the Left. White House communications director Anita Dunn denounced Fox News in the early days of the Obama administration, and Megyn Kelly has recently been elevated to the status of sacred hate totem for Democrats.

[Also see – Failed Messenger: State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki’s Smirking Contempt punditfromanotherplanet.com]

Read the rest of this entry »


The Average African-American Family is Poorer than the Average Family in India

‘So Far, the LBJ Plan Seems to be Working Perfectly’

Everywhere it has been tried, the Democrats’ dependency agenda has been a social and economic catastrophe for black Americans — and a full-employment program for Democratic apparatchiks.

LBJBO

This is not a conspiracy — it’s right out there in the open, every time a Democratic politician knows that he can count on 90 percent of the black vote without lifting a finger, winning the opportunity to add four more years to the 50 years of broken promises Democrats have made to black Americans, who lag their fellow countrymen on practically every social indicator. 

“Black Americans’ median net worth is less than 5 percent that of white Americans.”

Kevin D. Williamson writes: The phrase “waving the bloody shirt” grew popular in the South as a description of BloodyShirt-Dem-Ragtime-BandRepublicans’ alleged exaggeration of the crimes of the Ku Klux Klan, the paramilitary division of the Democratic party.

“Black Americans are worse off relative to their white countrymen than black South Africans under apartheid were to theirs.”

It is an irony of history that waving the bloody shirt has in the Age of Obama become the Democrats’ primary mode of discourse. Oppose the Affordable Care Act? Racism. Like the Second Amendment? Racism. Black Barbie is on sale for half off, but white Barbie is full price? Racism. Black holes sucking the energy out of your quadrant? Why single out the black ones? Racism!

[Kevin D. Williamson’s broadside What Doomed Detroit is available at Amazon]

FILE - This Oct. 24, 2012 file photo shows a graffiti-marked abandoned home north of downtown Detroit, in background.(AP Photo)

A graffiti-marked abandoned home north of downtown Detroit, in background.  (AP Photo)

Waving the bloody shirt is not only about making an emotional appeal — it’s a strategy for distraction…. (read more) …But a distraction from what?

From $4,955.

Fifty years into the Democrats’ declaration of a war on poverty and President Kennedy’s first executive order for affirmative action, while spending $300 million a year on worthless diversity workshops and singing endless verses of “We Shall Overcome,” after enduring endless posturing from Barack Obama and the moral preening of his admirers, that is what black American families have to show for themselves: an average household net worth of $4,955. The average white household in these United States has a net worth of $110,729. Black Americans’ median net worth is less than 5 percent that of white Americans.

Read the rest of this entry »


Kevin D. Williamson on Barry’s Good Idea: Police Interactions Should All be on Video

Ferguson-Police-Stop

National Review‘s Kevin D. Williamson writes:  Barack Obama once had a good idea, or at least half of one: As the president himself pointed out in his recent remarks on the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., during his time in the Illinois state legislature he backed a law requiring that police take video of interrogations and confessions. Here’s a better idea: Capture all police interactions on video.end-is-near

[Kevin D. Williamson’s book – “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome” is available at Amazon]

Doing so can make an important difference in how incidents such as the Brown shooting are understood. Consider the case of Erin Forbes, who was shot dead by police in the Philadelphia suburbs in circumstances similar to those of Mr. Brown.

Conflict, Chaos, and Confusion in Ferguson

Conflict, Chaos, and Confusion after dark. Ferguson isn’t a monster, it’s just ahead of the curve. 

Erin Forbes was a young black man who was shot by a police officer while unarmed. (Mostly unarmed — more on that in a bit.) Like Mr. Brown, he had robbed a convenience store not long before the shooting, taking a small amount of money from the cash register. Like Mr. Brown, he did not have a criminal record.

Thought-Police-on-Patrol

 Just what those musket-clinging enlightened founders warned us about: Permanent armies on the streets.

“The deployment of armored vehicles by small-town police departments responding to domestic disturbances is un-republican and ridiculous.”

But there are differences, too. Mr. Forbes was not from a poor, heavily black community where relations with the police were difficult. Mr. Forbes was, in fact, from a solid, upper-middle-class family. His mother was a professor of African-American studies at Temple University, and he himself had been a soldier in the U.S. Army. His family lived in the suburbs, and he sometimes attended the Presbyterian church in Gladwyne, home of the seventh-wealthiest ZIP code in the United States. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Kevin D. Williamson: Ferguson Policing ‘a Demonstration of Failure’

I missed this broadcast. From The Corner a few moments ago. Jonah Goldberg and Kevin D. Williamson are among Pundit Planet‘s favorite book authors and at-large news analysts, but we don’t get to see Mr. Williamson on TV often enough. Mr. end-is-nearWilliamson’s National Review reporting on Ferguson can be found herehere, and here.

[Kevin D. Williamson’s book – The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome” is available at Amazon]

NRO


It’s the Law

obama-signing-law

Like Obamacare, it’s the law.

 

 


Bored Porn-surfing Feds Have More Free Time and Bigger Paychecks Than You Do

EPA-porn

“He stated he is aware it is against government rules and regulations, but he often does not have enough work to do and has free time.”

For the Washington TimesJim McElhatton reports: For one Federal Communications Commission worker, his porn habit at work was easy to explain: Things were slow, he told investigators, so he perused it “out of boredom” — for up to eight hours each week.

Over at NRO, Kevin D. Williamson summarizes the State of the Union this way:

…In other news, the CIA is spying on the Senate, the president is assassinating American citizens, our governors are ungovernable, our cops are criminals, our corruption investigations are corrupt, our anti-crime programs are criminal enterprises, the IRS agents charged with keeping nonprofits from turning into fronts for crass and illegal political campaigns have turned the agency into a front for a crass and illegal political campaign, our Border Patrol agents are engaged in human trafficking . . .

But let’s talk about porn…(read more)

Lack of work has emerged time and again in federal investigations, and it’s not just porn, nor is it confined to the FCC. Across government, employees caught wasting time at work say they simply didn’t have enough work to do, according to investigation records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Read the rest of this entry »


Laws: Maybe We Should Write Them Down

Disdain for the letter of the law is complexly intertwined with the progressive imagination.

Louvre_code_Hammurabi

Kevin D. Williamson — no slouch when it comes to precise language himself — has a must-read in this weekend’s National Review, reminding us that the “ancients understood something that has been neglected in recent centuries: Grammar is the foundation of logic.”

There will always be occasions for discretion and interpretation on legal questions, but it is not the case that such discretion should presumptively empower the IRS to do things that the IRS is not legally entitled to do simply because Barack Obama wishes it to be so. If history teaches us anything, it is that a system of law that presumptively sides with political power soon ceases to be any sort of system of law at all. Rather, it becomes a post facto justification for the will to power, an intellectual window dressing on might-makes-right rule.

Prologue_Hammurabi_Code

The matter addressed in Halbig is hardly the Obama administration’s first attempt to circumvent the law as written — see Hobby Lobby, etc. — nor is it the progressives’ only attempt to impose what they imagine to be enlightened ad-hocracy on the American people. The disdain for the letter of the law is complexly intertwined with the progressive managerial imagination: The law, in their view, is not something that limits the ambitions of princes, but something that empowers them to do what they see fit… (read more)

obama-signing-law

From Halbig and Hammurabi

[Also see: Progressives Learn the Hard Way that the Constitution is Obstructionist]

[Kevin Williamson’s book “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure” is available at Amazon]

National Review Online


‘On the matter of illegal immigration, we are effectively governed by criminals’

Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times Protester Jessica Davis shouts at counter-demonstrators in front of the U.S. Border Patrol office in Murrieta.

Protester Jessica Davis shouts at counter-demonstrators in front of the U.S. Border Patrol office in Murrieta.Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

For National Review OnlineKevin D. Williamson reports:

kevin-williamsonConsidering the sundry enthusiasms upon which government at all level spends our money — Harry Reid’s bovine literary interests, helping out those poor struggling people who own Boeing — it is remarkable that the job of apprehending a known felon, once deported from the United States and illegally present in Texas, fell to volunteers in Brooks County, near the Mexican border.

Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Protests in Murrieta – Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Brooks County, like many other border areas, is overrun with illegal immigrants, and the cost of burying those illegals who die in transit, which can run into the six figures annually, has forced the county to cut back on regular law enforcement. And thus we have the volunteer deputies who brought in the felon, who after he injured his ankle had been been abandoned by the coyotes — professional human traffickers — who had brought him across the border.

Blog-Davila

The volunteers were in the process of working a 26-hour shift — that’s 26 hours, not a typo. Consider for a moment that the cost of illegals’ breaking the law is so high that enforcing the law has been handed over to unpaid volunteers.

k-q-1

Similar scenes are playing out across the border. Nearby Duval County, Texas, was the scene of a dramatic car chase when a truckload of illegals was spotted by police, who determined that the vehicle was outfitted with a fraudulent license plate.dependency

[The Dependency Agenda – Kevin D. Williamson (Encounter Broadsides)]

Two were killed and a dozen injured in the pursuit. (Many years ago, Duval County enjoyed the services of an elected Democratic sheriff whose grandson is a familiar figure here at National Review.) Nearly 200,000 illegals have crossed into Texas’s Rio Grande Valley this year, and the cartels that oversee the coyote operations have the local landowners terrorized into compliance.

k-q-r

Read the rest of this entry »


Kevin D. Williamson: The Eternal Dictator

Generalissimo Francisco Franco

Generalissimo Francisco Franco

The ruthless exercise of power by strongmen and generalissimos is the natural state of human affairs. 

kevin-williamsonFor National Review OnlineKevin D. Williamson writes: I’m 41 years old, which doesn’t feel that old to me (most days), but history is short. With the exception of those trapped behind the Iron Curtain, the world as I have known it has been remarkably free and prosperous, and it is getting more free and more prosperous. But it is also a fact that, within my lifetime, there have been dictatorships in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Poland, India, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Korea, and half of Germany — and lots of other places, too, to be sure, but you sort of expect them in Cameroon and Russia. If I were only a few years older, I could add France to that list. (You know how you can tell that Charles de Gaulle was a pretty good dictator? He’s almost never described as a “dictator.”) There have been three attempted coups d’état in Spain during my life. Take the span of my father’s life and you’ll find dictatorships and coups and generalissimos rampant in practically every country, even the nice ones, like Norway.

“Rexford Tugwell, a key figure in Roosevelt’s so-called brain trust, was particularly keen on the Italian fascist model, which he described as ‘the cleanest, most efficiently operating piece of social machinery I’ve ever seen.'”

[Kevin Williamson’s book “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure” is available at Amazon]

That democratic self-governance is a historical anomaly is easy to forget for those of us in the Anglosphere — we haven’t really endured a dictator since Oliver Cromwell. The United States came close, first under Woodrow Wilson and then during the very long presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. Both men were surrounded by advisers who admired various aspects of authoritarian models then fashionable in Europe. Read the rest of this entry »


What Kind of President Do We Need in 2016? A Boring One, Please.

WHITE-HOUSE

Kevin D. Williamson and George Will hit the nail on the head with columns questioning the outsized importance of the presidency. I’ve linked them together here because they share this theme, a subject that’s been on my mind. It’s particularly relevant today because of the Supreme Court’s decisive smackdown of presidential overreach.

It’s been observed, by Glenn Reynolds, P.J. O’Rourke, and others, that that life in America was better and freer when the Presidency wasn’t so important.  It almost didn’t matter which gang of crooks ran the White House, because most politics was local, not national, and the limitations on Presidential power insured that not much damage could be done. The Federal government was distant, and wonderfully irrelevant to the daily lives of most Americans. Local government mattered. Presidents could occupy themselves with foreign policy, negotiating trade agreements, responding to national emergencies, and making occasional speeches. Most of the time, the country can run itself pretty much on its own.

obama-and-senators

In the last few generations, presidential importance and power has quietly increased. Then, exploded. Presidential elections are all-consuming, winner-take-all contests that consume enormous resources, and draw undue attention. There’s an unseemly preoccupation with presidential spectacle, the wonder and majesty of it all.

My personal rant: Since when are presidents are expected to set a national agenda, drive the country in important new directions, hatch important new plans? Since when are presidents measured by the success or failure of  their grand vision for the country? (answer: the progressive era) Two phrases that illustrate this increasingly poisonous trend: “signature legislation”, and “historic legacy”. When we see or hear the phrase “signature legislation”, journalists and talking heads are stroking the president’s self-image, and indulging the malignant nationalist “great figure” hero fantasy. “Signature legislation” should be a banned phrase, it’s emblematic of this growing bubble of unrealistic expectations. As if the ego of the President is something we should all participate in helping to protect and preserve, for history. I’m sorry, but I’m not interested. Count me out.

Barack_Obama_and_Dmitry_Medvedev_in_Kremlin-1

That the presidency is increasingly imperial, and disturbingly monarchial, is not even a question. Economically, it’s self-evident. Kings and Queens live and travel more modestly than the president. Mark Steyn pointed out that the cost of presidential maintenance — Air Force One, the White House Staff, all the perks — now exceeds that of all the world’s monarchies combined.

Government service shouldn’t be so attractive, even at the executive level. President Clinton, when showing the Oval office to guests who had never seen it, jokingly referred to it as the “crown jewel of the American penal system”. Though Clinton enjoyed the benefits and survived the hazards of the outsized presidency, that was a rare moment of self-deprecating awareness about the burden of the presidency, and an appreciation for its limits.

I agree with Will, and Williamson. I’ve had my fill of presidential drama, give me a boring president. Please.

–The Butcher

calvin-cool

For National Review Online, Kevin D. Williamson begins:

As I was lunching with a few conservative political types earlier this week, the subject turned, as it does, to the 2016 field. When the name of a highly regarded former governor came up, the judgment was unequivocal: “He’s just so . . . boring.” That was not intended as an endorsement.

It should be.

“What greeted Barack Obama during his ascent was excitement that bled into reverence — it is easy to forget, with the demigod in his now diminished state, that his admirers were literally singing hymns to him. Exciting, in the same way that a head-on collision in a speeding Cadillac is exciting…”

Barack Obama has been anything but boring. “May you live in exciting times” may be a fake Chinese curse, but the wisdom communicated therein is real. Thought experiment: Consider the presidency of Barack Obama from the point of view of the sort of person who is likely to support such men. Having vanquished George W. Bush, he has now given us: a military mess in Iraq complete with the deployment of U.S. troops and a mission that is probably unachievable; the continuing disintegration of Afghanistan and its reversion to a jihadist safe haven; an economy that is shrinking significantly and probably is dipping back into recession; a defense and intelligence apparatus that is abusing its powers and the trust of the American people in ways that are not obviously related to defeating terrorist plots; millions without health insurance; millions out of work; corruption in our public institutions, ranging from the IRS to our universities; a self-aggrandizing political elite that is busy enriching itself through the vulgar exploitation of political connections while incomes for ordinary Americans stagnate or decline; etc. There has been a great deal of excitement, but if you voted for Obama because you were angry about the wars, the surveillance state, and the economy, things aren’t looking any better at all.

[Kevin Williamson’s book “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure” is available at Amazon]

The most boring president of the modern era probably was Dwight Eisenhower, whose administration was marked by relative peace, prosperity, and confidence in the effectiveness and integrity of our institutions. The most boring president ever surely was Calvin Coolidge, who pinched pennies and kept at his plow, more or less leaving the country free to go about its own business, which turned out to be an excellent economic program. Our most exciting recent presidents? John Kennedy, who was privately corrupt and publicly inept; Richard Nixon, who was privately corrupt and publicly corrupt; Bill Clinton, who combined the worst features of Kennedy and Nixon, adding a distasteful dose of sanctimony to the mix…(read more)

Mirroring this sentiment, for The Washington Post, on May 23rd, George F. Will has his own humorous take on the outsized presidency:

“In a radio address to the nation, President Franklin Roosevelt urged Americans to tell him their troubles. Please do not tell me yours. Tell them to your spouse, friends, clergy — not to a politician…”

All modern presidents of both parties have been too much with us. Talking incessantly, they have put politics unhealthily at the center of America’s consciousness. Promising promiscuously, they have exaggerated government’s proper scope and actual competence, making the public perpetually disappointed and surly. Inflating executive power, they have severed it from constitutional constraints. So, sensible voters might embrace someone who announced his 2016 candidacy this way:

“I am ambling — running suggests unseemly ardor — for president. It is axiomatic that anyone who nowadays will do what is necessary in order to become president thereby reveals character traits, including delusions of adequacy and obsessive compulsive disorder, that should disqualify him or her from proximity to powers concentrated in the executive branch. Therefore, my campaign will initially consist of driving around the Obnoxiously Entitled Four — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — trying to interest their 3.8 percent of America’s population in a minimalist president. Read the rest of this entry »


IRS: A Criminal Conspiracy

011414_hn_irs_640

A Series of Unfortunate Events?

For National Review OnlineKevin D. Williamson writes: You may recall that when the IRS political-persecution scandal first started to become public, the agency’s story was that the trouble was the result of the misguided, overly enthusiastic actions of a few obscure yokels in Cincinnati. That turned out to be a lie, as we all know. But the IRS made a similar case successfully in the matter of its criminal disclosure of the confidential tax records of the National Organization for Marriage, whose donor lists were leaked to left-wing activists in order to use them against the Romney campaign. The IRS admitted that an employee leaked the information, but said it was an accident, that it involved only a single employee making a single error, etc., and the court agreed that NOM could not show that the leak was the result of malice or gross negligence. Read the rest of this entry »


Mamet Cease-and-Desist Letter Closes Gender-Reassigned ‘Oleanna’ After One Performance

Alchemist-Theatre-Oleanna-bw.

Known for crafting scripts for the stage and screen with maximum authorial command, David Mamet is the last guy I’d count on to “go with the flow” in a dispute about content.

For the Journal SentinelChris Foran reports:

Milwaukee’s Alchemist Theatre has canceled its production of the David Mamet drama “Oleanna” after one performance after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the playwright’s representatives over the theater company’s decision to cast a male actor in the play’s lead female role.

Violating an author’s material to add new chapters in the gender debate would be a non-issue if the author were a dead white male. They picked a live one. Who better to tango with than a famous successful macho provocateur like David Mamet?

Oleanna,” introduced to audiences shortly after the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991, centers on the relationship between a professor and a female student who accuses him of harassment and rape.

In Alchemist’s production, which opened Thursday night, Ben Parman was cast in the role of Carol, the student. David Sapiro plays John, the professor.mamet-tall-bw

In a statement issued Friday evening, Erica Case and Aaron Kopec, owners of Alchemist Theatre, said:

“We excitedly brought this story to the stage because even though it was written years ago, the unfortunate story that it tells is still relevant today. We auditioned for this show looking for the best talent, not looking for a gender. When Ben Parman auditioned we saw the reality that this relationship, which is more about power, is not gender-specific but gender-neutral.”

Blogger Ann Althouse posted an item about this, and asks:

Do you think Mamet overreacted? I’d like to hear his point of view. This seems heavy handed toward regional theater, but I assume the license has terms and the terms were violated. Why didn’t the theater seek permission before committing to this path?

I’d like to hear Mamet’s view, too. At this time (the news of the play’s closure was reported in the journal Sentinel less than 24 hours ago) he’s not made any public comments, but I suspect we’ll see something within a few days. I agree with Althouse when she says,

“…It’s specifically all about the male teacher/female student relationship. If it’s about 2 men, it’s a different story. There’s nothing wrong with telling different stories, bouncing off an old text, and any given production can stand on its own merit, but Mamet owns the rights…”

“Oleanna” is ripe for reinterpretation. Gender elasticity is the preoccupation of our time. For talented writers like Kevin D. Williamson, it’s a lively debate topic. (read his Laverne Cox piece if you haven’t yet, exploding with 8736 Comments) For any number of hack journalists, academics, bloggers, and media figures, it’s an echo chamber. Why not theater people, too? It’s easy to see the temptation. Especially with material like “Oleanna“.

But it’s inconceivable that anyone even casually familiar with Mamet’s work could underestimate this author’s seriousness about precision, fidelity, and creative control. Of all the writers to screw with, David Mamet? Really?

Althouse continues…

“…I suspect he’s angry that he wasn’t asked, but I also think he would have said no, it wrecks his story, and isn’t that probably why they didn’t ask?”

I agree, if asked, Mamet would likely have said no, though he might have invited Alchemist to make its case before declining.

But it wasn’t just that Mamet wasn’t asked. The casting choice was concealed until the curtain went up. It was staged for maximum controversy. Read Erica Case and Aaron Kopec’s statement, see if you think it makes sense.

“We auditioned for this show looking for the best talent, not looking for a gender. When Ben Parman auditioned we saw the reality that this relationship, which is more about power, is not gender-specific but gender-neutral.”

Authors and lawyers are inclined to be more specific.

“We stayed true to each of David Mamet’s powerful words and did not change the character of Carol but allowed the reality of gender and relationship fluidity to add to the impact of the story. We are so very proud of the result, of both Ben and David Sapiro’s talent, and Erin Eggers’ direction.”

Writer and director David Mamet speaks about actors Felicity Huffman and her husband William H. Macy at the Hollywood Walk of Fame

The “reality of gender and relationship fluidity”? This is the kind of postmodern academic gibberish that Mamet brilliantly savages in his plays. What they’re essentially saying is, “we reject the author’s reality, and are substituting our reality.” As Williamson says, “facts are not subject to our feelings.”

Not knowing the details of the contractual agreements involved in staging plays, it’s not clear if Erica Case and Aaron Kopec thought they were taking a calculated risk, and expected to succeed? Or expected to fail, intentionally provoking the author, invitng a shut-down, figuring they’d benefit either way? That they went to “unusual lengths” to conceal their casting gambit suggests an attention-seeking stunt.

Violating an author’s material to add new chapters in the gender debate would be a non-issue if the author were a dead white male. They picked a live one. Who better to tango with than a famous successful macho provocateur like David Mamet?

mamet-lower

Welcome to micro-agression theater.

Chris Foran continues…

Dramatists Play Service, which represents Mamet and which gave Alchemist the rights to produce the play, didn’t see it that way. The firm sent the cease-and-desist letter Friday, the day that reviews of the show appeared online and revealed the company’s casting decision — a decision that the company went to unusual lengths to keep hidden before opening curtain.

Read the rest of this entry »


Kevin D. Williamson: The Photoshop Cops

The-Photoshop-Cops2

Cosmopolitan does not cause anorexia

Taking a pause from being NRO‘s most controversial firecracker-thrower in the gender identity wars, currently the most-hated voodoo doll of the radical institutional Left, Kevin D. Williamson writes again about sex and identity. This time, challenging a colossally stupid misguided pro-censorship bill being introduced in Congress. Read the whole thing here.

Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.) and Lois Capps (D., Calif.) have, at the urging of reformed adman Seth Matlins (D., formerly of Creative Artists Agency, Rock the Vote, etc.), offered up a very silly bill to empower the federal government to censor advertising on the theory that the overuse of photo-editing software causes anorexia and other eating disorders.The world being full of stupid people, there is an emotionally incontinent for-the-children petition demanding that the Federal Trade Commission crackpot-femimplement this censorship, on top of Mr. Matlins’s earlier demand that advertising in which images have been altered end-is-near— which is to say, advertising — be labeled to alert beef-witted Americans to the fact of that alteration.

[Kevin D. Williamson’s highly recommended book – The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome” is available at Amazon]

Anorexia nervosa is a terrible condition that is not caused by Cosmopolitanmagazine. The most significant risk factor for anorexia is genetic composition, not photo composition. While the research on the matter is far from settled, anorexia appears to be associated with a malfunction involving the EPHX2 gene, which, among other things, affects the metabolism of cholesterol and is associated with familial hypercholesterolemia. This points to a possible explanation of the counterintuitive fact that anorexics tend to have high cholesterol despite their restricted diets. Read the rest of this entry »