Saturday, March 31, 2018

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The First Circle

This book is great.

Solzhenitsyn is an often hilarious novelist, all the more interesting given the gravity of the subject matter.

At Amazon, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The First Circle. (Linked is the translation by Harry Willets.)

Penny Red

"Penny Red" is the online handle of Laurie Penny, a self-proclaimed radical feminist and "genderqueer" activist.

She's a strange one, lol.

Robert Stacy McCain's got a new post on the woman. See, "What Must It Be Like..."

I noticed her buzz cut on Twitter a couple of days ago and mentioned it to Stacy. She's definitely one wild piece of work.

'Roseanne' Renewed for Second Season

Leftists have lost it over the "Roseanne" reboot.

NYT's Roxanne Gay can't stand the show's success, and especially the show's "normalization" of President Trump.

So hilarious. Also discussed at Fox & Friends below:

Friday, March 30, 2018

Jews Are Being Murdered in Paris

From Bari Weiss, at NYT:

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

'Trumpism' and the GOP

Not sure exactly what "Trumpism" is, but if WaPo's Ashley Parker means populist nationalism, then she's on to something.

An interesting piece, "How Trumpism has come to define the Republican":

Over just a few days last week, the essence of Trumpism was on global display: The president ignored his advisers by congratulating Vladi­mir Putin, took the first steps toward imposing tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese goods and signed a huge $1.3 trillion spending bill that will balloon the federal deficit.

In each case, President Trump cast aside years of Republican orthodoxy — and most of the party followed right along. The raw, undefined brand of populism that Trump rode into office is now hardening into a clearer set of policies in his second year, remaking the Republican Party and the country on issues ranging from trade and immigration to spending and entitlement programs.

Even amid persistent unpopularity and the chaotic din of his White House, Trump has used a mix of legislation and unilateral actions to successfully push ahead with key parts of his vision — tariffs that have rocked global markets; harsh crackdowns on illegal immigrants; a nationalistic foreign policy that spurns allies while embracing foes and costly policies with little concern for the growing national debt.

The spending legislation — which puts the deficit on track to pass $1 trillion in 2019 — faced little meaningful opposition from Republican lawmakers despite years of GOP complaints that federal expenditures were out of control. Trump called the bill “ridiculous,” but focused on issues other than the amount of spending.

It was another example of how Trump seems to have overtaken his party’s previously understood values, from a willingness to flout free-trade principles and fiscal austerity to a seeming abdication of America’s role as a global voice for democratic values.

“While the president’s vision of pro-American immigration, trade and national security policies may not have had widespread support in Washington, they are widely supported by the American people,” said Raj Shah, a White House spokesman. “This is President Trump’s Republican Party.”

A tweet Friday, in which Trump threatened to veto the spending bill, also underscored another tenet of Trumpism — a state of continuous uncertainty about where he will land on key policies. In the tweet, Trump said he was frustrated with the legislation both because it “totally abandoned” young undocumented immigrants known as “dreamers” (long a Democratic priority) and because it failed to “fully” fund his controversial border wall (now a Republican priority).

“There has certainly been a wholesale repudiation of many core principles that have guided the Republican Party’s thinking over the years,” said Eswar Prasad, a professor of trade policy at Cornell University. “Their willingness to accept certain victories on their agenda in return for the acceptance of Trumpism more broadly — that seems to be the guiding principle of Republican Party leaders.”

Trump allies and advisers say that while he has in some ways reshaped the Republican Party, he rose to power by understanding where the party’s base already was and channeling those existing worries and desires.

“I would argue that Trump is more a reflection of where the voters are today,” said Barry Bennett, a former Trump campaign adviser. “I don’t think he persuaded them into these stances. That’s where they were. He’s merely being a mirror to them. . . . He heard what the voters were talking about, what they feared, the pain that they had, and he immediately championed it.”

White House officials also stressed that Trump’s professed “America First” theme serves as a kind of connective ideology, whether in prioritizing American workers over foreign workers on immigration or calling for NATO members to spend more on a shared defense. They said that on many regulatory and economic issues, such as last year’s tax cuts, the president and Republican lawmakers remain naturally aligned.

For many pro-Trump voters, one senior White House official said, the actual policies are less important than the principle — and the principal, Trump himself, promising to stand up and fight for them...
Keep reading.

Lindsey Pelas Black Low-Cut Evening Gown

At Drunken Stepfather, "Lindsey Pelas Got Them Titties On of the Day."

Fresh Gold Box and Lightning Deals

Thanks for your support.

At Amazon, Today's Deals.

And especially, LUCID 3-inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper - Queen.

Plus, Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon Quadcopter Drone RTF w/CGO3 Camera, ST10+ & Steady Grip (Certified Refurbished).

More, Spring Assisted Knife - Pocket Folding Knife - Military Style - Boy Scouts Knife - Tactical Knife - Good for Camping, Indoor and Outdoor Activities (Medium, Black).

Also, REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack Large 3 Day Assault Pack Army Molle Bug Out Bag Backpacks.

Plus, DASANI, 16.9 fl oz, 24 Pack.

BONUS: Glenn Reynolds, The Judiciary's Class War.

Belgian Model Marisa Papen Walks Her Dog in Brooklyn

At the Nip Slip, "Marisa Papen Walks Her Dog in Brooklyn!"

California to Sue Trump Administration Over Citizenship Question on U.S. Census (VIDEO)

This is at Memeorandum, from USA Today, "Don't Mess With the Census."

Also, at LAT, "California will sue over decision to add citizenship question to U.S. census, Becerra says."

And watch, Michelle Malkin on with Maria Bartiromo, at Fox Business Channel:

Orange County to Join Lawsuit Against California to Stop Sanctuary State Legislation

This is like a throwback to the conservative Orange County of old. Right on.

Walmart Pulls 'Cosmopolitan' from Checkout Lines

I thought this was pretty interesting when I first saw it.

On Twitter:

So, Second Amendment Repeal is the New Ragin' Big Thing

It's not going to happen. I doubt it will ever happen. But that's not stopping some idiots from speaking out in favor of repeal.

Not least among these is former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, John Paul Stevens. And also, Jonathan Turley below. I think such folks should just GTFO.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Rep. Steve King's Campaign Ties Parkland Gun Control Activist Emma González to 'Communist' Cuba

Well, she sure dresses the part. I tweeted Saturday, "She’s looks like a militant communist lesbian lol."

And at the Washington Post, "Rep. Steve King's campaign ties Parkland's Emma Gonzalez to 'communist' Cuba."

In one of the most publicized moments at Saturday's March for Our Lives, 18-year-old Emma González stood on the stage in complete silence, weeping. She marked the six minutes and 20 seconds that claimed the lives of 17 people at her high school in Parkland, Florida. And on her olive-green jacket, she wore several sewn-on patches, including a Cuban flag.

That flag, representing González's Cuban heritage, became the subject of attacks from some conservatives online over the weekend. And on Sunday afternoon, one of those critical messages appeared on the Facebook page for the campaign of a U.S. congressman — Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.

"This is how you look when you claim Cuban heritage yet don't speak Spanish and ignore the fact that your ancestors fled the island when the dictatorship turned Cuba into a prison camp, after removing all weapons from its citizens; hence their right to self defense," said the post, which also included a photo of González at the podium Saturday.

The meme, which was posted by King's campaign team, prompted hundreds of comments, many of them criticizing the congressman and defending González.

"Are you SERIOUSLY mocking a school shooting survivor for her ethnic identity?!" wrote Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. "When it was my community, where were you? When it was Sandy Hook? Columbine? Were you on the sideline mocking those communities too? Did you question someone identifying as a mother? Did you question whether people like me were crisis actors?

"Emma stood for 6 mins and 20 seconds to honor the lives of 17 gone too soon," Wolf added. "The least you could do is shut your privileged, ineffective trap for 6 seconds to hear someone else's perspective."

King's campaign team promptly and defiantly fired back at individual comments, creating a heated exchange on the Facebook post.

"Pointing out the irony of someone wearing the flag of a communist country while simultaneously calling for gun control isn't 'picking' on anyone," the campaign team responded to Wolf's comment. "It's calling attention to the truth, but we understand that lefties find that offensive."

Reached for comment early Monday by The Washington Post, a spokesman for King's campaign said that the King for Congress Facebook page is managed by the campaign team, not the congressman himself.

"And the meme in question obviously isn't an attack on her 'heritage' in any way," the spokesman wrote in an email. "It merely points out the irony of someone pushing gun control while wearing the flag of a country that was oppressed by a communist, anti-gun regime. Pretty simple, really."

González has become a prominent face of the student-led movement against gun violence since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. And she has not been shy about explaining her various identities.

"My Name is Emma González. I'm 18 years old, Cuban and bisexual," she wrote in an essay in Harper's Bazaar last month. "But none of this matters anymore. What matters is that the majority of American people have become complacent in a senseless injustice that occurs all around them."

Her father immigrated to New York from Cuba in 1968, Univision has reported. Emma was born in the United States. As Univision wrote, González does not speak Spanish, "but her voice reveals the heritage of the communicative passion of mixed Hispanics with oratory skills perfected at school."

Other images attacking the teenager's Cuban heritage circulated in conservative circles online...

She's vile.

Gayana Bagdasaryan Stretching in Thong (VIDEO)


Kate Upton Bends Like a Pretzel

At Sports Illustrated Swimsuit:

Shop Today's Deals

At Amazon, New deals. Every day. Shop our Deal of the Day, Lightning Deals and more daily deals and limited-time sales.

And see, especially, COSORI 6 Qt Premium 8-in-1 Programmable Multi-Cooker (Pressure Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Warmer, Etc.), 1000W, Includes Glass Lid, Sealing Ring and Recipe Book.

Also, Apple MMM62LL/A 13.3" MacBook Air (Early 2015) Laptop, Intel Core i7-5650U Dual-Core 2.2GHz, 512GB PCIe Solid State Drive, 8GB DDR3, 802.11ac, Bluetooth, MacOS 10.11 El Capitan.

More, Samsung Electronics UN75MU6300 75-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2017 Model).

Here, Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B 9in Stainless Steel Fixed Blade Knife with 4.7in Dagger Point Blade and TPE Handle for Outdoor Tactical Survival and Everyday Carry.

And, CLIF BAR - Energy Bar - Blueberry Crisp - (2.4 Ounce Protein Bar, 12 Count).

Plus, Koffee Kult Thunder Bolt Whole Bean Coffee, with French Roast Colombia Coffee Beans - 32 ounce bag.

BONUS: Robert Bork, Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline.

Roseanne on Jimmy Kimmel's (VIDEO)

Roseanne blocked me years ago on Twitter. She's a leftist, actually. But she's not that far-left, so she says, and she drops the f-bomb at Jimmy Kimmel multiple times on air, heh.

My wife was up and caught this segment, thought it was hilarious, told about it, so here you go:

President Trump Expels 60 Russian Diplomats (VIDEO)

At NYT and CNN, with Paul Joseph Watson snarking at bottom, heh.

Stormy Daniels's 60 Minutes Interview (VIDEO)

Actually, it's not posted to the "60 Minutes" YouTube page, but here's CBS This Morning.

(Also, at Memeorandum, "Stormy Daniels describes her alleged affair with Donald Trump.")

Ann Coulter Speaks Out After President Trump Signs $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill (VIDEO)

I can't find his tweet, but Carmine Zozzora was raggin' on Ann Coulter yesterday, saying how she lost him a while ago. I gotta say I'm surprised how often she rags on Trump, but that's her shtick.

At Fox News:

Dana Loesch Discusses 'March for Our Lives' (VIDEO)

On Fox News yesterday:

Barbara Palvin in BTS Photo Set

At Taxi Driver, "Barbara Palvin Topless in BTS Photo Set."

And bonus, at Sports Illustrated, "Barbara Palvin Gives You A 'Cheeky' Face In Curaçao," and "Barbara Palvin Gets Wet, Takes It Off For You In Turks & Caicos."

Why China Will Lose a Trade War With Trump

Gordon Chang's a really nice guy, and super smart. I met him at the David Horowitz "Restoration Weekend" back in the day (2011).

I argued the same thing on Twitter in a quick throwaway rant, but it's true: China can't thrive without access to the U.S. market. We're that country's bread and butter.

At the Daily Beast:

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Georgia Gibbs' Secret Aruba Hideaway (VIDEO)

At Sports Illustrated Swimsuit:

Fran Parman in Open Jacket

At Taxi Driver, "Fran Parman Nipple Slip on Open Jacket."

Fresh Gold Box and Lightning Deals

At Amazon, Today's Deals. New deals. Every day. Shop our Deal of the Day, Lightning Deals and more daily deals and limited-time sales.

And especially, Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera With Fujifilm Instax Mini Instant Film Twin Pack (20 Sheets), Compact Bag Case, Batteries and Battery Charger (White).

More, Genesis Bows: Genesis Original Archery Kit.

Also, Smith & Wesson Tactical Pocket Knife.


More, Kirkland Signature Trail Mix 4 Pounds Each (Pack of 2).

And, CLIF Nut Butter Filled - Organic Energy Bar - Blueberry Almond Butter - (1.76 Ounce Protein Snack Bar, 12 Count).

BONUS: How to Survive Anything: From Animal Attacks to the End of the World (and everything in between) (Outdoor Life).

March for Our Lives

I'm not going to be too hard on them. They're young. Perhaps they haven't had good parenting. No traditional patriotic role models to teach them common sense about what it means to be an American. Gun rights are American. None of the signs I've seen on social media are attacking the "Broward Cowards" of the sheriff's department. Who's got a sign attacking the nameless bureaucrats from the schools and social welfare offices for failing their charges? Deputies visited Nicholas Cruz's house dozens of times. School officials even recommended involuntary psychiatric hospitalization.

None of these things will be fixed with more gun control. It's sad.


At LAT, "Sensing their moment, Florida students balance school and activism planning the March for Our Lives":

A self-confessed "secret huge nerd," Jaclyn Corin admits she is freaking out on the inside as she tries to balance political activism with schoolwork.

The 17-year-old junior class president has six essays to write for her advanced-placement language and composition class. But after a gunman rampaged through her high school, killing 14 students and three staff members, she is mostly focused on Saturday's March for Our Lives.

"It's very hard to juggle," Jaclyn said one evening last week as she slipped into a booth at Panera with fellow activists David Hogg and Sarah Chadwick and sipped a strawberry banana smoothie.

"We're teenagers and we're leading a national movement," said David, also 17, a wiry, intense senior who has put on the back burner memorizing his 50 psychology vocab words and his environmental science project on mammals. "That's a lot of stress."

The goal of the student-led march in Washington is simple: to demand that Congress pass a comprehensive bill to address gun violence.

While the House last week passed the STOP School Violence Act, which authorizes $50 million a year to bolster school security, students say it does nothing to restrict gun access. It does not even mention the word "gun."

"We need a mass mobilization of the American public on a huge scale," said David, a budding filmmaker who became a key voice of the movement after recording video of his classmates huddling in a small dark closet during the Feb. 14 shooting.

About 1,000 students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland — and hundreds of thousands of supporters from across the country — plan to march on the nation's Capitol. More than 800 marches are planned worldwide — in Los Angeles and Paris; Buenos Aires and Tokyo; Sydney, Australia, and Mumbai, India.

"In the period of one month, we have shaken up the world," said Jaclyn, a small blonde with a chirpy, singsong voice. "But I feel like the adults keep pressing the snooze button. At some point they're going to have to wake up."

Trying to persuade politicians to enact gun legislation, David said, is about as frustrating as instructing adults how to use smartphones.

"You know, when they're like, 'I can't figure out how to take a selfie…,'" he said dryly. "And then five minutes later, you finally take the phone and you just press the button… You just need to go into the settings!"

"That's perfect," Jaclyn said, giggling.

"That's what we're doing with our government," David continued. "'Goddammit, just give it to me!'"

Already, the students have raised more than $3.3 million via GoFundMe to stage the event, bringing in major donations from celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and George and Amal Clooney. A string of pop stars — Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson and Demi Lovato — agreed to perform at their rally.

For the organizers, the march is a way to channel their grief and anger as well as send a strong message to President Trump and Congress.

"We know this is what's going to help us heal," said Delaney Tarr, a 17-year-old senior. "But it's also bigger than us.… I think everybody, they want to make the world a different place, and that's what we're working on right now — we have an opportunity to do something."

The students feel a sense of urgency in getting their message out, a fear that the public will lose interest...

Friday, March 23, 2018

Fifteen Years After the Iraq War: A Veteran Reflects

Not a neoconservative manifesto, but well-stated nevertheless --- and interesting.

From Andrew Exum, at the Atlantic, "One Morning in Baghdad."

Leftists Freak Out at the Appointment of 'Über Hawk' John Bolton as National Security Adviser

I of course am delighted with Bolton's appointment, not the least because of how it freaks out the retarded leftist progs, lol.

At Foreign Policy, via Memeorandum, "John Bolton Is a National Security Threat":

Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster is out as Trump’s national security adviser and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (and current Fox News contributor) John Bolton is in. This is no mere rotation of on-screen personalities in the latest episode of “The Trump Show.” It is a move with potentially profound implications for the direction of U.S. foreign policy. Indeed, Bolton’s ascendance increases the risk of not one, but two wars — with North Korea and Iran.

McMaster was no dove. But Bolton falls into an entirely different category of dangerous uber-hawk. Fifteen years ago, Bolton championed the Iraq war and, to this day, he continues to believe the most disastrous foreign policy decision in a generation was a good idea. Bolton’s position on Iraq was no anomaly. Shortly before the 2003 invasion, he reportedly told Israeli officials that once Saddam Hussein was deposed, it would be necessary to deal with Syria, Iran, and North Korea. He has essentially maintained this position ever since. Put plainly: for Bolton, there are few international problems where war is not the answer...

At at NYT, lol:

Trump Administration Announces $60 Billion in Tariffs on Chinese Imports

This is big.

And with a long list of exemptions for European and other allies, it's looking to be a focused trade war with China.

At the New York Times:

Paris-Based Fashion Model Clara Botte by Olivier Hamelin

At Editorials Fashion Trends, "Clara Botte by Olivier Hamelin."

San Pedro Ports O’ Call Bulldozed for 'Modernization'

I remember going there as a kid with my mom. Quaint kind of wonderful village, if I recall correctly.

At the Daily Breeze, "As bulldozers flatten Ports O’ Call, a new waterfront for San Pedro moves forward."

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, A Kind of Freedom


At Amazon, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, A Kind of Freedom: A Novel.

Sara Jean Underwood

At Drunken Stepfather, "SARA JEAN UNDERWOOD OF THE DAY."

And on Twitter:

Conservative Amnesia

Center-right parties in Europe have forgotten how to be conservative, argues Jan-Werner Mueller, at Foreign Policy, "Europe Forgot What ‘Conservative’ Means":

Conventional wisdom has it that Europe’s social democrats are in terminal decline. In recent elections in Italy, Germany, and France, once proud left-wing mass parties have been reduced to at best getting a fifth of the vote. The obvious flip side of the mainstream left’s decline seems to be that populists but also the center-right are faring well. In fact, this picture is highly misleading. Center-right parties — European Christian democrats above all — face a real crisis. It is increasingly unclear what they stand for, and, unlike social democrats, they are in real danger of being replaced by the populist right.

Social democrats have been struggling because the “Third Way” pursued by leaders such as Tony Blair and Gerhard Schröder during the late 1990s left them with an enormous credibility problem. They had not just tolerated but actively furthered finance capitalism; deregulation and increasing inequality happened under the watch of nominally left-wing governments, which today are perceived as having betrayed socialist ideals. But, importantly, it is not really in doubt what these ideals are. As the surprise success of Jeremy Corbyn in last year’s British general elections demonstrated, the left can still do remarkably well, under two conditions: Social democrats have to restore their credibility and reorient public attention away from the one issue that is most likely to split its core constituency — immigration. Whether one likes Corbyn’s ideas or not, it is remarkable that a grassroots movement, Momentum, largely captured the Labour Party and effectively erased its toxic association with the widely discredited Blairism.

In somewhat similar fashion, Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) has been trying to assert an agenda offering better protection for workers and more accessible health care. While this month’s decision to re-enter a grand coalition with the Christian Democrats has temporarily obscured this reorientation, the SPD will likely continue to sharpen its profile as a distinctively left-wing party in government.

If one asks, by contrast, what exactly Europe’s center-right stands for today, most citizens will be unable to articulate an answer. This has partly to do with historical amnesia — including forgetfulness on the part of center-right leaders themselves. After World War II, Christian democrats dominated politics in Germany, Italy, and, to a lesser extent, France. The circumstances were uniquely favorable for such moderate center-right parties, which claimed a religious, though nonsectarian, inspiration. Fascism had discredited the nationalist right; the horrors of the midcentury made many Europeans look for moral certainty in religion; and in the context of the Cold War, Christian democrats presented themselves as quintessentially anti-communist actors. Not least, they suggested that there was an affinity between the materialism of classical liberalism on the one hand and communism on the other — and that they were the only parties that clearly rejected both in favor of communitarian values. It is virtually forgotten today that Christian democratic parties had strong progressive elements — even if one occasionally gets a glimpse of that past: Matteo Renzi, who resigned as leader of Italy’s major left-wing party this month, had actually started his political life as a Christian Democrat.

Above all, Christian democrats were the original architects of European integration. They deeply distrusted the nation-state; the fact that, in the 19th century, both the newly unified Italy and the Germany united by Otto von Bismarck had waged prolonged culture wars against Catholics was seared in their collective memory. European integration also chimed with a distinct Christian democratic approach to politics in general: the imperative to mediate among distinct identities and interests. Ultimately, this quest for compromise among different groups (and, in Europe, states) went back to Pope Leo XIII’s idea — directed against rising socialist parties — that capital and labor could work together for the benefit of all in a harmonious society. Christian democracy had been a creation to avoid both culture war and class conflict.

Little is left of these legacies today. Christian democrats and other center-right parties continue to be pragmatists, but it is often unclear what, other than the imperative to preserve power, animates them in the first place. The European Union’s three main presidents — of the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the European Council — are all Christian democrats. Yet none of them has advanced a bold vision for the union as a whole. All seem to take it for granted that citizens are wary of further integration. To be sure, this is the narrative right-wing populists push, but evidence from surveys is far more ambiguous.

Whether or not to adapt to right-wing populism constitutes the major strategic dilemma for Europe’s center-right today...
Actually, Christian Democrats today --- think Angela Merkel --- are basically leftists. Yeah, they better learn how to be conservative again, or be relegated to the dustbin of history. They need to conserve their own societies, for one thing. Sheesh.

But keep reading.

Gold Box and Lightning Deals

At Amazon, Today's Deals: New deals. Every day. Shop our Deal of the Day, Lightning Deals and more daily deals and limited-time sales.

And especially, Dell Latitude 5480 14" Notebook, Full-HD Touchscreen, Intel Core i5-6300U Dual-Core, 16GB DDR4, 256GB Solid State Drive, 802.11ac, Backlit Keyboard, Bluetooth, Win10Pro (Certified Refurbished).

More, Kanu Surf Men's Barracuda Swim Trunk.

And, Military Outdoor Clothing Never Issued U.S. Military Canteen.

Plus, TAC FORCE Spring Assisted Opening BLACK Tactical Rescue Folding Pocket Knife NEW.

Here, Mpow TV Headphones, 059 Bluetooth Headphones with Bluetooth Transmitter & Carrying Case SET, Plug & Play, Foldable, Light Weight & Protable, Hi-Fi Stereo Wireless Headset for TV/ Cell Phones/ PC.

Still more, Tide Mountain Spring HE Turbo Powder Laundry Detergent, 68 Loads 95 Ounce.

BONUS: Saul Bellow, Humbolt's Gift.

Ralph Peters Quits Fox News

At BuzzFeed, pretty sensational, "An 'Ashamed' Fox News Commentator Just Quit the 'Propaganda Machine'."

On March 1st, I informed Fox that I would not renew my contract. The purpose of this message to all of you is twofold:

First, I must thank each of you for the cooperation and support you've shown me over the years. Those working off-camera, the bookers and producers, don't often get the recognition you deserve, but I want you to know that I have always appreciated the challenges you face and the skill with which you master them.

Second, I feel compelled to explain why I have to leave. Four decades ago, I took an oath as a newly commissioned officer. I swore to "support and defend the Constitution," and that oath did not expire when I took off my uniform. Today, I feel that Fox News is assaulting our constitutional order and the rule of law, while fostering corrosive and unjustified paranoia among viewers. Over my decade with Fox, I long was proud of the association. Now I am ashamed.

In my view, Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration. When prime-time hosts--who have never served our country in any capacity--dismiss facts and empirical reality to launch profoundly dishonest assaults on the FBI, the Justice Department, the courts, the intelligence community (in which I served) and, not least, a model public servant and genuine war hero such as Robert Mueller--all the while scaremongering with lurid warnings of "deep-state" machinations-- I cannot be part of the same organization, even at a remove. To me, Fox News is now wittingly harming our system of government for profit.

As a Russia analyst for many years, it also has appalled me that hosts who made their reputations as super-patriots and who, justifiably, savaged President Obama for his duplicitous folly with Putin, now advance Putin's agenda by making light of Russian penetration of our elections and the Trump campaign. Despite increasingly pathetic denials, it turns out that the "nothing-burger" has been covered with Russian dressing all along. And by the way: As an intelligence professional, I can tell you that the Steele dossier rings true--that's how the Russians do things.. The result is that we have an American president who is terrified of his counterpart in Moscow.

I do not apply the above criticisms in full to Fox Business, where numerous hosts retain a respect for facts and maintain a measure of integrity (nor is every host at Fox News a propaganda mouthpiece--some have shown courage). I have enjoyed and valued my relationship with Fox Business, and I will miss a number of hosts and staff members. You're the grown-ups.

Also, I deeply respect the hard-news reporters at Fox, who continue to do their best as talented professionals in a poisoned environment. These are some of the best men and women in the business..

So, to all of you: Thanks, and, as our president's favorite world leader would say, "Das vidanya."

O.C. Resident Say NIMBY to the Homeless

Of course.

At LAT, "Some OC residents: We want to help the homeless — just don't put them in our neighborhoods."

Austin Bombing Suspect Identified as Mark A. Conditt (VIDEO)

He's dead. Blew himself up in a standoff with SWAT, apparently.

At the Austin-American Statesman, "Authorities: Bombing suspect was Pflugerville resident Mark A. Conditt."

Also, "Bombing suspect sought other addresses in Austin area before death, source says." (Via Memeorandum.)

And at CBS This Morning:

Three Women Take Legal Action Against President Trump (VIDEO)

The more legal threats against President Trump, the more I'm convinced all the #MeToo activism was about battlespace preparation for taking down this presidency.

At ABC News:'

Perky Lottie Moss in Sheer Crop Top in Hollywood

At the Sun U.K., "HOTTIE MOSS: Lottie Moss pictured looking perky in sheer crop top while out for a stroll in Hollywood - Lottie's showing the world that she's not a fan of covering up."

BONUS: "Lottie Moss looks incredible as she soaks up the sun in a white bikini on the beach in Miami: LOTTIE Moss looks sensational as she hits the beach in Miami wearing a white bikini, showcasing her amazing figure and prominent tattoos."

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Dara Kristen Hayes Bikini Photos


Garry Kasparov, Winter Is Coming

I really need to read this.

It's out in paperback.

At Amazon, from Garry Kasparov, Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped.

Garry Kasparov photo WinterIsComing.jpg-1-sm_zpsa1jrnq2u.jpg

Facebook's Existential Crisis

Following-up from yesterday, "Facebook Breach Ignites Uproar."

I'm actually getting a kick out of this.

At CNN, "Facebook is facing an existential crisis."

And from January, at Vanity Fair, a great piece, "'This Is Serious': Facebook Begins Its Downward Spiral":
Facebook was always famous for the sign that hung in its offices, written in big red type on a white background, that said “Move Fast and Break Things.” Every time I think about the company, I realize it has done just that — to itself.

Years ago, long before Mark Zuckerberg became Mark Zuckerberg, the young founder reached out to a friend of mine who had also started a company, albeit a considerably smaller one, in the social-media space, and suggested they get together. As Facebook has grown into a global colossus that connects about a third of the globe, Zuckerberg has subsequently assumed a reputation as an aloof megalomaniac deeply out of touch with the people who use his product. But back then, when he only had 100 million users on his platform, he wasn’t perceived that way. When he reached out to my friend, Zuckerberg was solicitous. He made overtures that suggested a possible acquisition—and once rebuffed, returned with the notion that perhaps Facebook could at least partner with my friend’s company. The chief of the little start-up was excited by the seemingly harmless, even humble, proposition from the growing hegemon. Zuckerberg suggested that the two guys take a walk.

Taking a walk, it should be noted, was Zuckerberg’s thing. He regularly took potential recruits and acquisition targets on long walks in the nearby woods to try to convince them to join his company. After the walk with my friend, Zuckerberg appeared to take the relationship to the next level. He initiated a series of conference calls with his underlings in Facebook’s product group. My friend’s small start-up shared their product road map with Facebook’s business-development team. It all seemed very collegial, and really exciting. And then, after some weeks passed, the C.E.O. of the little start-up saw the news break that Facebook had just launched a new product that competed with his own.

Stories about Facebook’s ruthlessness are legend in Silicon Valley, New York, and Hollywood. The company has behaved as bullies often do when they are vying for global dominance—slurping the lifeblood out of its competitors (as it did most recently with Snap, after C.E.O. Evan Spiegel also rebuffed Zuckerberg’s acquisition attempt), blatantly copying key features (as it did with Snapchat’s Stories), taking ideas (remember those Winklevoss twins?), and poaching senior executives (Facebook is crawling with former Twitter, Google, and Apple personnel). Zuckerberg may look aloof, but there are stories of him giving rousing Braveheart-esque speeches to employees, sometimes in Latin. Twitter, Snap, and Foursquare have all been marooned, at various points, because of Facebook’s implacable desire to grow. Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus VR, and dozens of others are breathing life because they assented to Facebook’s acquisition desires. Meanwhile, Zuckerberg moved quickly to circumnavigate regulations before governments realized the problems that Facebook created—and certainly before they understood exactly how dangerous a social network can be to their citizens’ privacy, and to a democracy as a whole.

From a business standpoint, Facebook’s barbarism seemed to work out well for the company. The social network is worth over half-a-trillion dollars, and Zuckerberg himself is worth some $76 billion. Facebook has some of the smartest engineers and executives in the entire industry. But the fallout from that success has also become increasingly obvious, especially since the 2016 election, which prompted a year of public relations battles over the company’s most fundamental problems. And now, as we enter 2018, Zuckerberg is finally owning up to it: Facebook is in real trouble.

During the past six months alone, countless executives who once worked for the company are publicly articulating the perils of social media on both their families and democracy. Chamath Palihapitiya, an early executive, said social networks “are destroying how society works”; Sean Parker, its founding president, said “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.” (Just this weekend, Tim Cook, the C.E.O. of Apple, said he won’t let his nephew on social media.) Over the past year, people I have spoken to internally at the company have voiced concerns for what Facebook is doing (or most recently, has done) to society. Many begin the conversation by rattling off a long list of great things that Facebook inarguably does for the world—bring people and communities together, help people organize around like-minded positive events—but, as if in slow motion, those same people recount the negatives. Unable to hide from the reality of what social media has wrought, Facebook has been left with no choice but to engage with people and the media to explore if it is possible to fix these problems. Zuckerberg determined that his 2018 annual challenge would be fixing his own Web site, noting that “the world feels anxious and divided,” and that Facebook might—just maybe—be contributing to that. “My personal challenge for 2018 is to focus on fixing these important issues,” he wrote. Now, the company has said it’s going to change the focus of the site to be less about news and more about human connections.

The question, of course, revolves around this underlying motivation. Is Zuckerberg saying this because he really does worry what the world might look like tomorrow if we continue headed in the direction we’re going? Is Facebook eliminating news from its site because it realizes that spotting “fake news” is too difficult to solve—even for Facebook? Or, as some people have posited to me, is Facebook rethinking the divide it has created in order to keep growing? After all, much of Zuckerberg’s remaining growth opportunity centers upon China, and the People’s Republic won’t let any product (digital or otherwise) enter its borders if there’s a chance it could disrupt the government’s control. Why would the Chinese Politburo open its doors to a force that could conspire in its own Trumpification or Brexit or similar populist unrest?

There’s another theory floating around as to why Facebook cares so much about the way it’s impacting the world, and it’s one that I happen to agree with. When Zuckerberg looks into his big-data crystal ball, he can see a troublesome trend occurring. A few years ago, for example, there wasn’t a single person I knew who didn’t have Facebook on their smartphone. These days, it’s the opposite. This is largely anecdotal, but almost everyone I know has deleted at least one social app from their devices. And Facebook is almost always the first to go. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and other sneaky privacy-piercing applications are being removed by people who simply feel icky about what these platforms are doing to them, and to society.

Some people are terrified that these services are listening in to their private conversations. (The company’s anti-privacy tentacles go so far as to track the dust on your phone to see who you might be spending time with.) Others are sick of getting into an argument with a long-lost cousin, or that guy from high school who still works in the same coffee shop, over something that Trump said, or a “news” article that is full of more bias and false facts. And then there’s the main reason I think people are abandoning these platforms: Facebook knows us better than we know ourselves, with its algorithms that can predict if we’re going to cheat on our spouse, start looking for a new job, or buy a new water bottle on Amazon in a few weeks. It knows how to send us the exact right number of pop-ups to get our endorphins going, or not show us how many Likes we really have to set off our insecurities. As a society, we feel like we’re at war with a computer algorithm, and the only winning move is not to play...
Still more.

Nerve Agent Attack in Britain Escalates Tensions with Russia

This is freakin' gnarly!

At Der Spiegel, "From Russia with Death: A Soviet Nerve Agent Triggers a New Cold War":

The poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter earlier this month has significantly worsened already tense relations between Moscow and the West. The crime marks the first chemical weapons attack on Western Europe since the end of World War II.

Vil Mirzayanov's home is located at the edge of a forest near Princeton, New Jersey. There's no buzzer, just a gate and behind it a long driveway leading up to the residence. The trees are still covered with snow. The gate opens and a man with a high forehead and white hair stretches out his hand in greeting. It's Mirzayanov, one of the creators behind the poison.

The 83-year-old wearing professorial eyeglasses walks cautiously. He invites the reporter into his living room and takes a seat in a leather armchair. He is ready, he says, to talk about the poison that he helped develop in the late 1980s and early 1990s for the Soviet government. A poison that was recently used in the first neurotoxin attack seen in Western Europe since the end of World War II. The substance is known as Novichok (Russian for "newcomer") and it is used for an entire group of nerve agents. All of them are deadly. In fact, it is one of the most dangerous toxins ever to have been produced by humans.

"I've led the fight against Novichok for the past 26 years," Mirzayanov says of a substance that has always haunted him for half his life.

He didn't invent the toxin, he says, but freely admits that he was involved in its development. He says he tested the substance on animals at the time -- on dogs and other species, which he then watched die in misery. The attack in Britain, he says, is the first time he knows of his poison being used on human beings.

Novichok is the chemical agent that was used to poison former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, a small, idyllic English city. Both have been fighting for their lives in the hospital ever since.

Tensions Worsen Dramatically

The attack using the nerve agent has triggered a serious diplomatic crisis between Russia, Britain and the entire West, with already tense relations having worsened dramatically. If Russia is unable to provide a better explanation, British Prime Minister Theresa May said earlier this week, then the attack will be seen as "an unlawful use of force by the Russian State against the United Kingdom." She said the nerve agent had been developed in Russia and, assuming that Russia didn't lose control over the toxin, it's "highly likely that Russia was responsible for this reckless and despicable act."

Moscow countered that it had nothing to do with the attack and instead pointed the finger at other possible perpetrators, particularly the West. NATO and the European Union are currently deliberating over a response.

All because of Mirzayanov's poison.

It's a story reminiscent of a spy film. It involves undercover agents and oligarchs, betrayal and revenge. And nerve agents. It seems fitting that Mirzayanov himself is also a former Russian intelligence agent who now lives in exile in the United States.

He seems almost happy that someone has come to listen to him. And yet the whole world now wants to learn more about the kind of research he was doing in Mikhail Gorbachev's secret laboratories.

Mirzayanov began working as a chemist for the State Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology (GosNIIOKhT) in the mid-1960s. Later, he and other researchers were requisitioned to a military laboratory responsible for the production of chemical weapons, a top-secret program that operated under the codename "Foliant." In the mid-1980s, he was chosen to lead the institute's counterespionage department.

Novichok is "extremely dangerous," he says. "You're holding death in your hands. It just takes a moment and then you're gone." He says a person exposed to the kind of dose received by Skripal and his daughter will never be totally healthy again. Mirzayanov saw how another colleague accidentally poisoned himself with Novichok and slowly died, despite immediately being given an antidote. He says it is 10 times as potent as conventional nerve agents and causes an extremely painful death. It can be absorbed by the respiratory tract, orally or through the skin. It blocks communication between nerve cells and muscles and leads to cramps, respiratory paralysis and cardiac arrest.

Mirzayanov says he's certain that the Kremlin was behind the attack on Sergei Skripal. But how certain can one be?
Keep reading.

BONUS: At the Guardian U.K., "Russia threatens retaliation after Britain expels 23 diplomats." And, "Sergei Skripal: Russia expels 23 U.K. diplomats as row deepens."

Still more, at the Observer U.K., "The Observer view on Theresa May’s response to Russia’s campaign against dissidents in Britain."

Monday, March 19, 2018

Ana Braga at the Carwash

At Taxi Driver, "Ana Braga Wet Boobs at the Carwash."

BONUS: At the Daily Star, "Boobs that scream 'look at me': Ana Braga in topless public exposé."

Democrat Party Following Britain’s Labour Party Down the Anti-Semitic Rat Hole

From Caroline Glick, "Democrats, Labour and the anti-Semitic sewer":

The Democratic Party is following Britain’s Labour party down the antisemitic rabbit hole.

Today, with the British Labour Party firmly under the thumb of its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, Britain is one election away from being led by a man who has spent decades in the company of some of the most prolific and noxious antisemites in the world.

Allegations of anti-Jewish bigotry have hounded Corbyn for decades, and with good reason. It isn’t simply that he has associated with notorious antisemites, and referred to Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists as “my friends.”

It is that Corbyn has whitewashed antisemites in Labour. He has made Labour a warm and welcoming home for them. And at the same time, under his leadership, prominent Jewish pro-Jewish and pro-Israel voices have been marginalized while antisemitic Jews have been organized and empowered as a political weapon to sanitize the antisemitism that permeates the party.

Last week, British researcher David Collier published two reports (here and here), documenting in granular detail the postings at a virulently antisemitic secret Facebook page called “Palestine Live.”

Corbyn was a member of the group until shortly after he was elected leader of the Labour Party in 2015. While anyone can be placed on any Facebook page whether he wants to be there or not, and Corbyn claims that he was “joined” to the group without his knowledge, Corbyn was not a passive member. The leader of Labour was active on the wildly bigoted group.

The muck on the “Palestine Live” page runs the anti-Semitic spectrum from medieval to pogromist, from Nazi to Communist to anti-Zionist.

The group’s 3,200 members routinely post propaganda justifying the Holocaust, denying the Holocaust, and blaming the Jews for the Holocaust. They accused Jews of killing Palestinians to steal their organs and of controlling the global economy, the governments of every country on earth, and the media. They assign Jews responsibility for every major terrorist attack in the world.

As for Israel, group members accuse Israel of every possible crime against humanity. The Palestinians of Gaza are referred to as “Holocaust survivors,” while Israelis are “terrorists” and “Nazis.”

As Collier put it, “Palestine Live is a sewer, full of anti-Semitic ideologies.”

Members of the secret group were well aware of its bigoted nature. Jacqueline Walker, the a former member of Labour’s pro-Corbyn Momentum faction’s steering committee, who was twice suspended from the party over allegations of anti-Jewish bigotry asked Elleanne Green, Palestine Live’s founder and one of its administrators, “How safe is this group?”

Green responded, “Very…no one is allowed in who is not trusted…I am very careful…and it is a Secret Group…so it really is as safe as you will be able to find anywhere.”

As to Corbyn, whereas other prominent British leftists were inactive members, and could reasonably claim they were unaware that they had been added to the hate group, Collier documented multiple instances where Corbyn actively engaged with it.

In September 2014, members of the group asked Corbyn to host a lecture by noted American anti-Israel conspiracy theorist Max Blumenthal. Corbyn was happy to oblige. The event took place in early October 2014.

Green, like the other two group administrators, regularly posted antisemitic conspiracy theories. Anyone who had a glancing familiarity with her and with her posts on the hate group she established had to know that she is a fire breathing Jew hater.

In October 2014, she asked Corbyn on the page if he would invite prominent Israel basher and conspiracy theorist Dr. Mads Gilbert from Norway to speak at the British Parliament. Corbyn responded enthusiastically.

“Have huge respect for my friend Dr. Mads Gilbert and would be delighted to invite him to Westminster,” he wrote.

Gilbert has likened Israel to Nazi Germany. He also hates America and has justified the 9/11 attacks specifically and terrorism against the US generally.

“The oppressed … have a moral right to attack the USA with any weapon they can come up with,” he said.

When Corbyn responded to the Collier’s reports, he said his posts were limited to some replies, including “a suggestion on the vote on recognizing Palestine, which I supported, and inviting a doctor, [that is, Gilbert] to speak at an event.”

Since Collier published his reports, Labour suspended a few of its members who posted on the page. Corbyn denied seeing antisemitic postings and said, “Obviously, any anti-Semitic comment is wrong. Any anti-Semitism in any form is wrong.”

Corbyn’s unqualified rejections of antisemitism are a rarity. He almost always gives himself an escape hatch which is often itself antisemitic. For instance, in 2016 in a statement ostensibly about rejecting anti-Jewish bigotry, Corbyn said, “Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organizations.”

Which brings us to the Democratic Party.

Corbyn’s statement recalled a statement then-Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) made during the 2008 presidential campaign.

“There is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re anti-Israel,” Obama told an audience in Ohio.

Likud is Israel’s ruling party. It won the last three elections. By insinuating that Likud is illegitimate, Obama rejected the legitimacy of Israelis who elect Likud to lead them.

In addition, during the 2008 election and throughout his presidency, Obama diligently obfuscated his associations with antisemites.
Keep reading.

BONUS: At the Other McCain, "Jew-Hating as ‘Intersectionality’? The Women’s March Farrakhan Problem."

Shop Today

At Amazon, New deals. Every day. Shop our Deal of the Day, Lightning Deals and more daily deals and limited-time sales.

Also, the Deal of the Day, Arlo Pro by NETGEAR Security System with Siren (VMS4230) – 2 Rechargeable Wire-Free HD Cameras with Audio, Indoor/Outdoor, Night Vision (Certified Refurbished).

More, Curad Plastic Adhesive Bandages, 1 X 3 Inch, 100 Count (Packaging May vary).

Here, Eternities Unisex Warm Chunky Stretch Cable Thick Knit Slouchy Beanie Hat Skull Cap.

And, Capri Sun Roarin' Waters Flavored Water Beverage, Fruit Punch, 6 Fl oz, 10 Pouches (Pack of 4).

Still more, Clif Bar Energy Bar, Variety Pack, Chocolate Chip, Crunchy Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch, 2.4-Ounce Bars, 24 Count.

BONUS: Tyler Cowen, Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation.

Telling Truth = Race Hate

Some bad things going down in Britain. Evil things.

Theo's Pic Dump

At Theo Spark's, "Pic Dump..."

Paige Spiranac in Emotional Photo Shoot (VIDEO)

At Sports Illustrated:

JoJo Levesque in Tank Top

At Taxi Driver, "JoJo Levesque Braless in Slightly See-Through Tank Top."

Facebook Breach Ignites Uproar

The Facebook breach is all the rage at Memeorandum, and I love this headline, at Bloomberg, "Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Under Pressure Over Data Breach."

Also, at LAT, "Exploiting Facebook data to influence voters? That’s a feature, not a bug, of the social network":

With each comment, like and share, users provide Facebook with a deeply personal window into their lives.

The result of that voluntary behavior? Advertisers looking to finely target their pitches can glean someone's hobbies, what they like to eat and even what makes them happy or sad — propelling Facebook's ad revenue to $40 billion last year.

This trove of rich information is now at the center of a rapidly growing controversy involving one of President Trump's campaign consultants, Cambridge Analytica, which reportedly took the advertising playbook and exploited it in a bid to influence swing voters.

Former employees accuse the firm, owned by the conservative billionaire Robert Mercer and previously headed by Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon, of taking advantage of ill-gotten data belonging to millions of unwitting Facebook users. News of the breach was met with calls over the weekend for stricter scrutiny of the company.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) demanded that Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Maura Healey, attorney general for Massachusetts, said her office was launching an investigation. And the head of a British parliamentary inquiry into fake news called on Facebook to testify before his panel again, this time with Zuckerberg.

The accusations raise tough questions about Facebook's ability to protect user information at a time when it's already embroiled in a scandal over Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential campaign and under pressure to adhere to new European Union privacy rules.

They also highlight the power and breadth of the data Facebook holds over its 2 billion users. Whether used to sway voters or sell more detergent, the information harvested by the world's biggest social network is proving to be both vital and exploitable regardless of who's wielding it.

"The data set assembled on people by Facebook is unrivaled," said Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at New York University Stern School of Business and author of "The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google." "The bad news is, people are discovering this can be used as a weapon. The worse news is that people are learning how to detonate it."

The controversy began late Friday when Facebook's vice president and deputy general counsel, Paul Grewal, announced in a blog post that the social network was suspending Strategic Communication Laboratories and its affiliate, Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook said the companies failed to delete user data they had acquired in 2015 in violation of the platform's rules. The data were supplied by a University of Cambridge psychology professor, Aleksandr Kogan, who built an app that was supposed to collect details on Facebook users for academic research. Kogan was not supposed to pass that information to a third party for commercial purposes under Facebook guidelines.

Facebook said the data collection was contained to 270,000 people who downloaded Kogan's app as well as "limited information" about their friends.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Rita Ora in White Lace

At Taxi Driver, "Rita Ora Panties in White Lace."

BONUS: "Rita Ora for Liu Magazine."

Vita Sidorkina String 'Butterfly' Swimsuit (VIDEO)


Gal Gadot is 'Very Ableist'

The L.A. Times had a fascinating obituary of Stephen Hawking earlier this week, "Stephen Hawking, who redefined the view of the universe for scientists and public alike, dies at 76."

It turns out that Hawking was an anti-Israel BDS advocate.

Which makes this piece at about Gal Gadot interesting, if not ironic. At Althouse, "'Gal Gadot’s Seemingly Innocent Tribute To Stephen Hawking Pissed Off Some People/ Several disability rights advocates called it ableist'."

(PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons.)

Laura Ingraham on Parkland Massacre and Stupid Student Gun Control Walkout (VIDEO)

At Fox News:

The 51st State

The Los Angeles Times has a great piece on rural Northern Californians who voted for Trump after the the 2016 election. See, "This Northwest timber county hadn't voted GOP since Herbert Hoover. But times have changed."

This is the same region that's gaining steam to succeed from the state. Boy, sometimes I'd like to join them.

Here, "In California's rural, conservative north, there are big dreams for cleaving the state":

The two young, blond women in figure-flattering ball gowns hoisted whiskey and shotguns.

An auctioneer rattled off bids. Above the stage in the banquet hall hung a green flag for the 51st state of Jefferson, with its pair of Xs called a “double-cross” representing a sense of rural abandonment.

Hundreds of people packed into the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9650 hall on this chilly Saturday night, ready to crack open wallets to help fund their dream of carving — out of California’s northernmost reaches — a brand new state.

Someone offered $350 for a state of Jefferson belt buckle. Someone else won a lamb, still in its mother’s womb, that should be born in time to be butchered for Easter. Outside, vehicles bore bumper stickers supporting President Trump and the 2nd Amendment.

“We Okies are fun, aren’t we?” one man quipped.

The scene last month in this small Shasta County city seemed like a perfect we’re-not-in-California-anymore-moment. That is, if you only knew California as the diverse, liberal bastion whose elected officials have tried to stymie the Trump administration’s moves on immigration, legalized marijuana, climate change and so on.

But the so-called Northstate is looking less and less like the rest of the Golden State. The vast, sparsely-populated region is whiter, more rural and poorer than the rest of the state — and residents are more conservative. While California has become the center of the resistance to Trump, a number of Northern Californians are waging a resistance of their own: against California itself.

Inside the banquet hall, the man many see as the founder of the modern Jefferson movement told the crowd that their gun rights, property rights, grazing rights and water rights were under siege by politicians who write them off as “country bumpkins.”

“You’re the ones being exterminated by a lack of liberty,” said Mark Baird, a Siskiyou County rancher.

The breakaway state of Jefferson is a decades-old idea, but it has been revived in earnest in recent years by residents who say they are fed up with their voices being drowned out in Sacramento, where outspoken urban Democrats hold a vise grip on the state Legislature.

Supporters say overregulation has hobbled rural industries such as timber, mining and fishing and that the state’s high taxes and cost of living are driving young people away, quickening the decline of small towns. They chafe under California’s strict gun-control policies and are infuriated by its liberal immigration laws.

They cite California’s new gas tax increase of 12 cents per gallon, saying it has an outsize impact on rural people who drive farther for work and basic needs such as hospitals, schools and grocery stores.

How likely is it that a new state will be broken off, like a piece of Kit Kat bar, from California? Not likely at all, experts say.

Eric McGhee, a political scientist at the Public Policy Institute of California, said that while you can “never say never,” there are too many legal obstacles to overcome.

“It’s easy to think that because there’s this large piece of territory, that it’s a large share of California in terms of the population," he said. “That’s just not the case. … It’s an absolutely minuscule portion of the state’s population.”

Supporters of a breakaway state say they are sorely underestimated and point to the number of passionate people who show up to their events. One man put it this way: “We’re not a bunch of dumb rednecks.”

But some Northern Californians have had enough of talk of breaking away from California. After several county boards began considering Jefferson proposals, Kevin Hendrick, a retired municipal employee from Crescent City, in Del Norte County, formed a political action committee in 2015 called Keep It California to oppose the idea.

“You’ve got a handful of residents that are grumpy and pining for the good old days, but that shouldn’t represent all the good people living in rural counties,” he said...

Far-left progressives aren't "good people," but keep reading.