Friday, June 28, 2019

Democrats Offering a Great Deal to People Who Aren't Americans

Hat-tip, John Sexton, at Hot Air, "Andrew Sullivan: 2020 Dems Are Offering A Great Deal…To People Who Aren’t Americans."

And read the whole, outstanding thing, from Andrew Sullivan:

Peter Caddick-Adams, Snow and Steel


This guy is a phenomenal historian.

At Amazon, Peter Caddick-Adams, Snow and Steel: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944-45.

Victoria Justice

At the Fappening, "Victoria Justice Nude (39 Leaked Photos)."


Intimate Raine Michaels

At Sports Illustrated Swimsuit:

Democrats Move Left --- Frankly, It's Just All Out in the Open Now

It's not like the Dems haven't been a far-left extremist party. It's now that they're not afraid to come out as the crypto-Marxists they truly are.

At LAT, "This is not your father’s Democratic Party: Debate shows how leftward it has moved":

The Democratic Party opened its 2020 presidential debates with a remarkably policy-focused exchange that illustrated how consistently to the left they have moved. For the night, at least, this was Elizabeth Warren’s party.

The Democratic senator from Massachusetts, who entered the debate with momentum behind her campaign, set the tone and dominated the early part of the debate, which focused on economic policy.

“When you've got a government, when you've got an economy that does great for those with money and isn't doing great for everyone else, that is corruption, pure and simple,” she said. “We need to make structural change in our government, in our economy and in our country.”

Even those of her rivals who don’t fully share that assessment declined chances to put themselves at odds with Warren. Instead, they sang from the same hymnal of left-wing economic populism declaring the need for broad reforms of the political and economic system.

“It is time we have an economy that works for everybody,” said Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, after minimizing his differences with Warren’s plan to break up big tech companies.

The shift in the party goes beyond economics. As the debate made clear, it includes gun control, abortion, climate change and immigration, among other issues. On each of those, candidates took positions to the left of those embraced by either of the last two Democratic presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who was barely mentioned by any of the candidates.

Rather than Clinton’s call for abortion to be “safe, legal and rare,” for example, the debate featured candidates stressing that the universal healthcare plans they backed would include public funds to pay for abortions for poor women.

On healthcare, only two candidates — Warren and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio — raised their hands when asked who would favor fully abolishing private health insurance plans in favor of instituting “Medicare for all.” But even those who favored a more moderate approach, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, for example, said they preferred a new government health insurance option for all — an idea that was considered too radical to pass when Congress enacted the Affordable Care Act less than a decade ago.

On immigration, former Obama Cabinet official Julián Castro pressed for decriminalizing illegal border crossings, making that a civil rather than a criminal offense. While Castro was correct in saying that the Trump administration had used the criminal law in a far more aggressive way than its predecessors, the law that makes unauthorized border crossings a criminal offense has been on the books for decades. Eliminating it is a move popular with some activists.

At least three of the candidates — Warren, Booker and Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio — share Castro’s view. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke disagreed, and the clash between the two Texans over decriminalizing the border made for one of the night’s most intense moments, but it was notable that the disagreement came on a proposal that went far beyond anything that the Obama administration, in which Castro served, ever talked about.

And there was broad party consensus on gun control, an issue that Democrats for years shied from. Booker’s proposal to require gun licensing goes significantly further than what gun-safety advocates have dreamed of proposing.

The leftward tilt of the party did give some candidates pause.

“We have a perception problem with the Democratic Party that we are not connecting to the working class,” said Ryan, who represents the Youngstown, Ohio, area. “We have to change the center of gravity from being coastal elites and Ivy League.”

Klobuchar took a veiled swipe at Warren’s promises to enact broad changes in the political and economic system.

“I don’t make all the promises others up here make,” Klobuchar said. “I’m going to govern.”

But others argued for going further left, notably De Blasio, struggling for a breakout moment and calling the primary a “battle for the heart and soul of our party.”

“This Democratic Party has to be strong and bold and progressive,” he said.

Joe Biden 'Dated Himself', 'Underperformed' — and 'Was Eaten Alive'

It was really terrible. Following-up, "Joe Biden Damage Control (VIDEO)."

At Politico, "Biden ‘Dated Himself,’ ‘Underperformed’—and ‘Was Eaten Alive’."

And, "Joe Biden's rivals pummel him after shaky debate performance: The Democratic contenders question whether the former vice president is ‘up to this challenge'":
Joe Biden’s Democratic rivals delivered blow after blow on Friday morning, seeking to further diminish the presidential front-runner’s prospects after he delivered a shaky performance on Thursday night’s debate stage.

“I think that we have to have a nominee that’s up to this challenge, and I think that we’re going to see whether or not Joe Biden is,” Cory Booker warned Friday morning in an interview on CNN’s “New Day.”

“And I don't think you can fault folks like me for calling him out if he fails to live up to the standard our next nominee should have and speak to the real pain and real hurt that I think Kamala spoke to last night,” the New Jersey senator said.

In the most vivid scene from Thursday’s forum of 10 Democratic presidential candidates, Kamala Harris launched a raw onslaught against Biden, the primary field’s leader, for his opposition to federally mandated school busing in the 1970s.

The California senator revealed during the confrontation that she was bused during her childhood as part of the second class to integrate public schools in Berkeley, Calif., and also described as “hurtful” comments Biden made earlier this month about working with segregationist Mississippi Sen. James Eastland during his time in the Senate.

Asked Friday whether the comments and Biden’s busing record disqualify him as a candidate, Harris said that was “a decision for the voters to make.” She also brushed off accusations that raising those controversies Thursday amounted to a “low blow” against Biden.

“It was about just speaking truth,” Harris said on “CBS This Morning.”

“As I’ve said many times, I have a great deal of respect for Joe Biden. He has served our country over many years in a very noble way, but he and I disagree on that,” she said. “And it is a debate, this is a campaign where we should be discussing issues, and there will be contrast. And on this issue … there is a contrast of opinion on the significance of people who have served in the United States Senate and what they have done in terms of their policies.”

Speaking Friday at the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition convention in Chicago, Biden asserted that he “never, ever opposed voluntary busing” and instead supported “federal action to address root causes of segregation in our schools and our communities” — insisting that he has “always been in favor of using federal authority to overcome state initiated segregation.”

Joe Biden Damage Control (VIDEO)

It went badly for Biden last night. Very badly, and now he's doing damage control. He spoke today in Chicago at a Rainbow Push gathering. I can's see how that helps him with the hardcore radical base of the party.

 Watch the full thing, at Bloomberg Tic Toc, "Biden Defends Civil Rights Record In First Remarks Since Harris Debate Attack."

And on Twitter:

Kamala Harris Breaks Out (VIDEO)

Following-up, "Joe Biden Hammered at Second Democrat Party Debate (VIDEO)."

At LAT, "Kamala Harris, known for caution, finds a risky move pays off against Joe Biden":

For weeks, supporters of Sen. Kamala Harris had pointed to the first Democratic debate as the opportunity to break out of her campaign doldrums.

What no one said — and few would have predicted — was that she would do so by taking on the candidate at center stage, former Vice President Joe Biden, upbraiding him for his opposition to busing for school integration and his nostalgic reminiscences about his relationships with segregationist senators early in his career.

“I do not believe you are a racist,” Harris began, turning to face Biden. But, she added, “it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.

“And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing. And, you know, there was a little girl in California who was a part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.”

Biden, sputtering in response, declared Harris’ accusation “a mischaracterization of my position across the board.” He rattled off civil rights measures he had supported in his long career as a senator and tried to defend his opposition to busing during the 1970s and 1980s.

“I did not oppose busing in America. What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education,” he said, reprising the states’-rights position that he, as a senator from a border state with a history of segregation, had taken decades earlier.

Harris shot back: “That’s where the federal government must step in, that’s why we have the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act … because there are moments in history where states fail to preserve the civil rights of all people.”

The ambush seemed carefully planned. Harris’ campaign aides were armed with photos of the candidate as a little girl, which they tweeted out moments after the clash. It was a surprising risk for Harris, a candidate often described as cautious to a fault...
Risky or not, it worked.

Ms. Harris got her breakout moment. Let's see if it lasts.

Joe Biden Hammered at Second Democrat Party Debate (VIDEO)

I gotta admit it really was something else, man.

She had that attack all cued up and ready for firing. And she blasted Biden, and he struggled and stammered, and he's in damage control now.

She won the debate, but damn, what a nightmare if she were to secure the Democrat nomination. Terrible.

At LAT, "Democratic debate: Joe Biden pushed on the defensive by Kamala Harris and others":

Joe Biden, after months of trying to stay above the campaign fray, joined his 2020 rivals in debate Thursday and immediately faced challenges on issues of race, his relationship with Republicans, his support for the Iraq war and the need for generational change in the party.

The former vice president, who has been the front-runner in early polls, was thrown on the defensive by California Sen. Kamala Harris over recent remarks in which he sounded nostalgic about an era in the Senate when he could work civilly with segregationists.

In an intense flash of anger, Biden defended his record on civil rights, including his opposition in the 1970s to federally ordered school busing for desegregation — one of several occasions when he hunkered down to defend his record over 40 years in Washington and the reputation of the Obama administration.

“If you want to have this campaign litigated on who supports civil rights … I am ready to do that,” he said.

It was a dramatic, personal challenge that overshadowed the expected clash between Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the democratic socialist who is his ideological foil and is running second among Democratic primary voters in most polls.

It was the second of two evenings of debates on MSNBC, under rules set by the Democratic National Committee, marking the beginning of a new phase of the 2020 campaign that reached beyond the party’s most politically active members to a broader electorate.

The debate also exposed divisions among the 10 candidates onstage Thursday — over healthcare, immigration and what it will take to beat President Trump in 2020. It was something of a free-for-all of cross-talk and interruptions, as candidates — especially the lesser-known ones — struggled to be heard.

At one point, Harris interjected, “America does not want to witness a food fight. They want to know how we are going to put food on their table.”

The raucous debate may unsettle some of the dynamics of the race.

Harris’ confrontation with Biden was a signal moment for the senator, whose campaign had been stalled below the top tier in polling. She took the high-profile opportunity to stake out ground as a fresh and compelling voice on race — an issue Democrats continue to struggle with, at a time when African American voters will be crucial to the party’s success. And Harris, unafraid to confront Biden directly on this uncomfortable issue, was the only rival who truly knocked him off his game.

Sanders, by contrast, staked out no new ground, even as his chief rival for voters on the left wing of the party, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, dominated the Wednesday debate.

Sanders offered his trademark call for dramatic change, including the expansion of Medicare for all Americans and free public college.

Eight takeaways from Night 1 of the Democratic debate »
“We have a new vision for America,” said Sanders. “We think it is time for change. Real change.”

He acknowledged he would impose higher taxes on the middle class but said that would be offset by the dramatically lower costs of healthcare. It was a statement that Republicans immediately seized on as ammunition.

“Bernie Sanders boasted that middle class Americans are going to have to pay more in taxes if his socialist policies are enacted,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said on Twitter. “The contrast could not be clearer - @realDonaldTrump cut taxes for the middle class, and Democrats want to tax middle class Americans into oblivion.”

Sanders made no apologies for his agenda, saying it would not doom the party’s chances to beat Trump...

Ashley James


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Brent Bozell on the Left's 'Big Brother' Political Censorship (VIDEO)

Following-up, "Tucker Carlson Slams the Establishment Left's 'Tech Tyranny' (VIDEO)."

At Prager U:

Tucker Carlson Slams the Establishment Left's 'Tech Tyranny' (VIDEO)


Joe Biden Vulnerable on His Support for the 1994 Crime Bill

The 1994 legislation imposed tough sentencing which has been attacked as "racist" in recent years, by the left's "racial reparations" and "restorative justice" crowd. *Eye roll here.*

At LAT, "As Democrats debate, Biden’s crime bill likely to provoke attacks":

Twenty-five years ago, after passing the most sweeping anti-crime bill in history, Democrats were ecstatic, convinced they’d not only addressed a top concern of voters but finally shed the party’s soft-on-crime label.

That was then.

A quarter century after Joe Biden helped shepherd it into law, the legislation has become a point of fierce contention among Democrats and emerged as a likely flash point in the series of presidential debates that begin Wednesday night in Miami.

Some consider the law too tough and many, including President Trump, blame it for a wave of mass incarceration that has filled prisons with a flood of black and brown inmates.

“It destroyed entire neighborhoods, destroyed entire communities and we’re still paying the price and suffering from it,” said Patrisse Cullors, a Los Angeles activist who co-founded the Black Lives Matter movement. “What people need to say is, we made a mistake. A very big one.”

Majority Whip James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, a veteran of the civil rights movement and the highest-ranking black member of Congress, is among the strongest defenders.

“The fact of the matter is we on the Democratic side did a yeoman’s job in putting in the kind of prevention programs, the preventive funding in the bill,” Clyburn, the No. 3 leader in the House, said on CNN.

The passions surrounding the bill and its legacy reflect a dramatic shift in the public mood — due in no small part to a significant drop in crime — as well as changes in a Democratic Party that has moved dramatically leftward as young people and minorities gain political strength.

It also underscores the generation gap between the 76-year-old Biden and younger rivals focused on the racial and social injustices that grew from the push for stiffer punishment.

“Awful,” New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker told the Huffington Post.

“A huge mistake,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Trump, eliding his history of racially inflammatory words and deeds, has echoed the attacks. “Anyone associated with the 1994 Crime Bill will not have a chance of being elected,” he taunted Biden on Twitter. “In particular, African Americans will not be able to vote for you.”

Biden, who led the Senate Judiciary Committee and has referred to the law as the “1994 Biden crime bill,” says there were parts he opposed in the all-or-nothing package, including mandatory sentencing under a “three strikes, you’re out” provision for repeat offenders.

(The Democratic front-runner will take the stage Thursday night, in the second of two debates)

Overall, Biden insists the good far outweighed the bad.

“It’s the one that had the assault weapons ban,” he told voters in New Hampshire. “It limited the number of bullets in a clip. It made sure that cop-killer bullets, Teflon bullets, weren’t available any longer. It opened up the whole effort to make sure there is background checks for the first time in American history.”

The legislative package also included the Violence Against Women Act, landmark legislation that capped years of efforts to toughen laws against rape, stalking and domestic abuse.

“Anyone who says it was a terrible bill doesn’t know what else was in the bill,” said former California Sen. Barbara Boxer, a liberal who joined all her fellow Democrats, save one, in support. (Seven Republican senators also backed the legislation, which passed 61-38.)

The legislation came at a time when crime, fueled by street gangs and the crack cocaine epidemic, was seen as spiraling out of control — including in Washington, D.C., under the very noses of congressional lawmakers.

Democrats were acutely sensitive to the issue. Bill Clinton ended the party’s exile from the White House by running in 1992 as a “different kind of Democrat,” with a tougher approach to law enforcement — the Arkansas governor even briefly dropped off the campaign trail to preside over the execution of a cop-killer with severely diminished mental capacity.

When the bill finally passed, after several close calls, Democrats exulted...
Still more.

Daisy Ridley Photos



NRATV Shuts Down

I don't follow the ins and outs of NRA's internal politics and organization, but things aren't going well, apparently.

At the New York Times, via Memeorandum, "N.R.A. Shuts Down Production of NRATV."

Leftists are cheering, at HuffPo, "Twitter Users Celebrate NRATV’s Demise With ‘Thoughts And Prayers’ For Dana Loesch."

It's all political warfare. Dana gets their goat and she can take the flak.

Danielle Gersh's Wednesday Weather Forecast

It was overcast all day yesterday, which was weird. Mild, but weird.

Here's the lovely Ms. Danielle, for CBS News 2 Los Angeles:

Rhian Sugden in White Bikini

Well, at least she's not blimping up like Kelly Brook.

Look at those knockers!

New Britney Spears Bikini Photos

I thought she was in rehab? Well, wtf, she looks great either way.


And at London's Daily Mail and People Magazine:

A 'Grim' Border Drowning is Perfect for Leftists Demonizing the President as Hitler

My first thought was, "Is that even a real photo"? Could have been some Pallywood-type fake news media manipulation to demonize conservatives who want border enforcement. Either way, though, it's no one's fault except the family themselves, and the terrible immigrant-sending nations who put migrants in harm's way.

Stop this madness, I say. Build the freakin' wall already.

At AP, "A grim border drowning underlines peril facing many migrants."

And the reaction, at Twitchy:

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Red Decade

At City Journal, "The Red Decade, Redux":

It may be that the best book that will ever be written about today’s progressive mind-set was published in 1941. That in The Red Decade author Eugene Lyons was, in fact, describing the Communist-dominated American Left of the Depression-wracked 1930s and 1940s makes his observations even more meaningful, for it is sobering to be confronted with how little has been gained by hard experience. The celebration of feelings over reason? The certainty of moral virtue? The disdain for tradition and the revising of history for ideological ends? The embrace of the latest definition of correct thought? Lyons was one of the most gifted reporters of his time, and among the bravest, and his story of the spell cast by Stalinist-tinged social-justice activism over that day’s purported best and brightest—literary titans, Hollywood celebrities, leading academics, religious leaders, media heavies—would be jaw-dropping if it weren’t so eerily familiar... 

Honkin' Kelly Brook

She's a plus-size model now, dang.

Herman Wouk, The Winds of War

Following-up, "Herman Wouk's True Subject Was Moral Weakness."

At Amazon, Herman Wouk, The Winds of War.

E. Jean Carroll: Rape is 'Sexy' (VIDEO)

The Other McCain posted the other day, "The Worst #MeToo Smear Yet."

And at Althouse, "'Dean Baquet, [the NYT] executive editor, says 'we were overly cautious' in our handling of [E. Jean Carroll’s] allegations against the president'."

Plus, at the Washington Examiner, "Anderson Cooper cuts to commercial after Trump accuser E. Jean Carroll calls rape 'sexy'."

And the cringe-worthy interview on CNN:

Too Many Freakin' Democrats in the Race

It's up to 25 candidates, which is a laugh-riot lol.

At Hot Air, "Democrats Now Say They Have Too Many Democrats Running."

And at LAT, "What time is the Democratic presidential debate? Who gets to be on stage?"

And, "Democrats’ presidential hopefuls jockey to outdo one another with pre-debate promises":

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders burnished his socialist bona fides – and sought to one-up progressive rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — with a $1.6-trillion plan to pay off all the country’s college debt, an idea that could be more of a boon to the rich than the poor. Joe Biden, the former vice president and leader in current polls, rolled out an immigration plan.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee built out his framework for a future free of fossil fuels. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke set out a multipart plan to improve services, including healthcare, job training and mental health support, for veterans, financed with savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And several candidates took fresh aim at the criminal justice system.

The collective policy plans of the 2020 presidential hopefuls were already so voluminous, aggressive and, in many cases, expensive that it’s been tough for some candidates in this crowded field to muscle their vision into the spotlight.

But in these days leading up to the first Democratic debates in Miami, they’re trying extra hard.

They’re following the pattern set by Warren, who has distinguished herself with her policy prowess and has been rewarded in recent weeks by a notable rise in polls. Warren has so many detailed plans for so many issues that the logo emblazoned on her campaign merch is “Warren Has a Plan for That.” As those plans gained traction with voters, pundits stopped mocking her professorial obsession with policy details, and other candidates began trying to emulate it.

The media have been put on notice that Warren will unveil yet another new plan on Tuesday.

In some cases — forgiving college debt being the clearest example — the flurry of policy proposals has taken on the feel of an arms race.

Warren offered the race’s first detailed proposal on college debt, saying she would forgive as much as $50,000 for up to 42 million Americans. Sanders loyalists were eager to remind voters that it was the Vermonter who first carried college affordability from a fringe issue to a central focus of American politics, when he began promoting the topic as a presidential candidate in 2016.

On Monday, Sanders promised to go beyond Warren’s plan by canceling all $1.6 trillion in outstanding college debt held by Americans, regardless of income. He acknowledged the plan could benefit some people who do not need the help but said he and the lawmakers who co-sponsored the plan with him believed in “universality” — that higher education should be a guaranteed entitlement for all Americans, along with Social Security and Medicare.

“Our response to making sure this does not benefit the wealthy is in other areas,” Sanders said, “where we are going to demand the wealthy and large corporations start paying their fair share of taxes.”

The debt forgiveness would be bankrolled by a transaction tax on Wall Street, under his proposal. That tax aims to discourage speculation by traders, and Sanders notes it has been endorsed by scores of economists, although some of them have proposed using the money for other purposes.

Many liberal economists had already critiqued Warren’s version of debt forgiveness on the grounds that it would make income inequality worse. Sanders’ plan, which would give even more of a benefit to upper-income families, would rank even more poorly on that scale.

Families with incomes under $68,000 would receive only a third of the subsidy under the Warren plan — despite the plan’s provisions that exclude people with top incomes — according to an analysis by Brookings Institution economist Adam Looney.

The Sanders plan would benefit the economically better-off even more, as it has no income caps. A 2015 study by the progressive think tank Demos and the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University concluded such an approach would widen the racial wealth gap by 9% because so much of the gain would go to wealthy white Americans.

Sanders’ proposal nonetheless drew applause from many on the party’s left. And the criticism that moderates in the party have directed his way — on college debt and other issues — has been good fodder for firing up Sanders’ supporters.

Being called an “existential threat” to Democrats by the leaders of Third Way, the center-left think tank — which has no such harsh words for Warren — has proved a potent talking point for Sanders. And also a fundraising pitch...

Camila Cabello

At the Other McCain, "Rule 5 Monday: Camila Cabello."

Everyone’s dirty minds are on the Camila Cabello nude photos and for good reason. The Cuban-American singer departed from her girl group Fifth Harmony in December of 2016 and ever since then she has been in the spotlight. Yes, she’s got sexy vocals, but it’s her EVEN SEXIER body that has put this girl on the map.

Project Veritas: Insider Blows Whistle on Google's Far-Left Political Bias (VIDEO) -- UPDATED!

At Memeorandum, "Insider Blows Whistle & Exec Reveals Google Plan to Prevent “Trump situation” in 2020 on Hidden Cam."

Google-owned YouTube took down the Project Veritas video. I tweeted:

Monday, June 24, 2019

Herman Wouk's True Subject Was Moral Weakness

An excellent essay, at the New York Times Book Review, "Herman Wouk Wrote Historical Novels But His True Subject Was Moral Weakness":

At the beginning of Herman Wouk’s novel “The Winds of War” (1971), the book’s hero, Victor “Pug” Henry, is offered a post as the United States Navy’s attaché in Berlin. The year is 1939.

Pug discusses the job with a fellow naval officer, a man named Tollever who previously held the position. “Hitler’s a damned remarkable man,” Tollever says over drinks in Pug’s elegant Washington, D.C., living room. “The Germans do things in politics that we wouldn’t — like this stuff with the Jews — but that’s just a passing phase, and anyway, it’s not your business.”

Tollever tells Pug that the worst of it was Kristallnacht, “when Nazi toughs had smashed department store windows and set fire to some synagogues.” But, he says, “even that the Jews had brought on themselves, by murdering a German embassy official in Paris.” Besides, the whole thing was exaggerated by the press; as far as Tollever knew, “not one” Jew “had really been physically harmed.” In sum, Tollever had enjoyed the post immensely: “I haven’t drunk a decent glass of Moselle since I left Berlin.”

When I read this, I wanted to throw the book at the wall.

That an American, a person of some authority, could be so cavalier about the Nazis in a story set after the Nuremberg Laws stripped Jews of equal rights, not to mention after Hitler had imprisoned his political opposition and eliminated the free press — was both mind-boggling and infuriating.

Of course, this was the point. A canny novelist, Wouk — who died on Friday, just shy of his 104th birthday — had the good sense to let his characters hang themselves with their own words.

Wouk’s best books have aged surprisingly little. Among these are his impeccably researched World War II novels, “The Winds of War” and its sequel, “War and Remembrance” (1978). Even decades after they were published, these novels continue to have something to teach us.

Wouk is often grouped with middlebrow writers of popular historical fiction — James Michener and Leon Uris, say — but his novels are better understood as pointillistic character studies in historical settings. The World War II books follow the Henry family — Pug, his wife, Rhoda, and their three grown children — through the war years, providing a framework in which the era’s most prominent figures, from F.D.R. and Churchill to Stalin and Hitler, plausibly make cameos. Although sweeping, the novels aren’t melodramas. They are the kinds of books in which an attractive young woman in a doomed love affair comes down with a cold — and doesn’t die. She doesn’t even become seriously ill. She takes some aspirin and goes to bed early.

These are also novels in which you can’t immediately tell whether a character will turn out to be mostly admirable or mostly not. With Wouk, it takes hundreds of pages of seeing the character in action before you can decide — and even then, your verdict is liable to remain uncertain and subject to change. Even in literary fiction, this kind of authorial restraint and fidelity to human complexity is surprising.

But the main reason the novels still feel urgent has to do with the nature of Wouk’s ambition. He didn’t set out merely to write a family saga or to smuggle a history lesson into a story. Wouk wanted to know how so many people in Europe and America allowed the Holocaust to happen. He uses the tools of the novel to anatomize the various psychological mechanisms and sociopolitical rationalizations that enabled intelligent, generally well-meaning and well-informed individuals to justify or ignore what was right in front of them.

As a novelist, Wouk could do things a historian couldn’t: enter not only the living rooms but the minds of a diverse range of characters. Take Rhoda, for instance. She is a little frivolous, easily distracted, occupied more by her private life than by politics. In other words, she is a lot like many of us. When she and Pug arrive in Berlin, she at first refuses to walk in the Tiergarten: “It was far more clean, pretty and charming than any American public park, she admitted, but the signs on the benches, juden verboten, were nauseating.” But with time, her resistance wears down: “Day by day, she reacted less to such things, seeing how commonplace they were in Berlin, and how much taken for granted. … It seemed silly to protest … she insisted that anti-Semitism was a blot on an otherwise exciting, lovely land.” As such, her resistance primarily took the form of playfully chastising high-ranking Nazis at booze-filled dinner parties.

This feels sadly right to me, the way someone with good intentions, someone not consciously monstrous, becomes nonetheless inured to cruelty and injustice in a context in which these evils are normalized. This is also the way we tend to feed our self-esteem but accomplish nothing, by railing against an injustice from a position of personal safety...
Keep reading.

Mikayla Demaiter, World's Sexiest Hockey Goalie (PHOTOS)

She's nice.

Talented, ahem.

At the Sun U.K., "WHAT THE PUCK? Meet world’s sexiest hockey goalie Mikayla Demaiter who has sent pulses racing on the ice and stunned Instagram with skimpy selfies."


Feminist Extremist Sophie Lewis Defends Murdering Unborn Children (VIDEO)

Actually, while she appears extreme, she's just outwardly stating what any pro-abort Democrat believes and advocates: the wanton murder of the unborn.

At the Illinois Family Institute, "Torturing Language to Kill Humans."

Also at Life Site, "Feminist author: Abortion ‘is a form of killing that we need to be able to defend’."

Nice Lady

Portrait of a Trumped Deranged Leftist Democrat, via Nick Searcy:

Jennifer Delacruz's Monday Forecast

It's still overcast, but quite pleasant.

The fabulous Ms. Jennifer, for ABC News 10 San Diego:

Statement: United States Holocaust Museum Rejects AOC's 'Concentration Camps' Analogy

There's little that makes me loathe leftists more than their constant attacks on political opponents as Nazis. Any rational, knowledgeable person knows that what's going on at the Southern border bears little resemblance to the Hitler's exterminationist programs against the Jews. But leftists aren't rational; they're ideological, and attacking your opponents as genocidal murderers, apparently, is the main way hateful progs can fire up the base and maintain political support.

It's all despicable.

At the U.S. Holocaust Museum's page, "Statement Regarding the Museum's Position on Holocaust Analogies" (via Memeorandum).

And linked at the center's page, "Why Holocaust Analogies Are Dangerous."

Video here, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Calls Out U.S. ‘Concentration Camps’."

And her pathetic defense after coming under vociferous criticism:

Emma Watson Selfies

At Celeb Jihad, "Emma Watson Takes Naked Selfies Again."

Democrat Debates Shaping Up as Epic Clown Show

It's not really a debate --- it's a far-left cattle-call.

At the Los Angeles Times, "The stakes are high as Democratic presidential hopefuls prepare to debate":

With so many candidates onstage, the Democratic presidential debates risk becoming a stilted, parallel-play affair, with candidates trying to squeeze scripted messages into tiny scraps of airtime.

But the prospects of an unruly political feeding frenzy, particularly on the second night of the two-day extravaganza, have soared as former Vice President Joe Biden has thrown chum in the water: His provocative comments about race will tempt candidates to abandon restraint and go on the attack.

The back-to-back debates on Wednesday and Thursday nights could be a pivot point in the Democrats’ primary campaign, which for months has seen candidates refraining from criticizing one another — or doing so only in veiled terms.

It will be a high-stakes test for the biggest primary campaign field ever, which includes three black candidates, one Latino, six women, two Asian Americans and an openly gay man.

The lineup includes Oprah Winfrey’s spiritual advisor and a congressman who meditates; the mayor of the nation’s largest city and the mayor of South Bend, Ind. The oldest candidate was born before Pearl Harbor; the youngest when Ronald Reagan was president.

Some are well-known figures; more are obscure and thirsty for national attention.

They will all come together for the first time in a scramble to make an impression, avoid gaffes, draw contrasts and send a message. All in seven minutes or less, the estimated amount of airtime each candidate will get in the two-hour sessions. The debates will be televised on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo starting at 6 p.m. PDT each night.

Only half the field will have a direct shot at Biden: With so many running for the nomination, the Democratic National Committee capped debate participants at 20 — three others didn’t meet the fundraising and polling criteria to make the stage — and split them between the two nights, with 10 for each session.

As the clear front-runner in early polls, Biden already had a target on his back. That bull’s-eye got bigger on Tuesday after he spoke nostalgically of his “civil” relationships with segregationists in the 1970s Senate and made a joke about not being called “boy” by one of them.

So far, Biden has pursued a strategy of trying to stay above the fray, looking past his primary rivals to focus on President Trump. The Thursday night debate, in which he’ll be at center stage, flanked by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, will test that approach.

Sanders, who is running second in many polls behind Biden but has appeared to lose some support in recent weeks, is preparing to draw a strong contrast between his democratic socialist vision and what he calls Biden’s “middle ground” approach on issues like healthcare and trade.

“Biden wants to skate on the suggestion that we are all shades of the same gray,” said Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ campaign manager. “Bernie wants to make clear that you have fundamentally different choices to make between governing vision, philosophy and how we are going to shape the agenda. That choice has to be drawn out.”

Biden backers think blunt attacks on him will backfire.

“The front-runner position always puts you as a target,” said Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.). “People don’t want the personal attacks. We’ve seen enough with our current president.”

When almost all the candidates appeared at South Carolina Democratic party events last weekend, none of them brought up the segregationists controversy.

Sanders has also been studying up on other rivals, where they stand on key issues like Medicare for all, and what they have said about him. He will be sharing a stage with former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, for example, who has criticized Sanders’ brand of democratic socialism...

Blacks Unload on Mayor Pete Buttigieg (VIDEO)

Well, there goes that presidential campaign magic. The dude's not doing too well with the black folks back home.

At the Los Angeles Times, "Black residents of South Bend unload on Mayor Pete Buttigieg":

A town hall featuring Mayor Pete Buttigieg broke into near chaos Sunday afternoon as the Democratic presidential candidate tried to respond to community anger over a white police officer’s killing of a black man.

Buttigieg was solemn, somber and circumspect as he tried to explain how officials will investigate the shooting. He said he would ask the Justice Department to review the case and for an independent prosecutor to decide whether to prosecute.

“We’ve taken a lot of steps, but they clearly haven’t been enough,” said Buttigieg, who is in his second term as mayor of South Bend, Ind.

The largely black audience of hundreds was having little of it, frequently interrupting and shouting over the mayor. “We don’t trust you!” a woman hollered at Buttigieg.

The tragedy unfolded in Buttigieg’s hometown on June 16, and it would be difficult to imagine a domestic crisis more nightmarish for a mayor and a presidential candidate who has enjoyed a largely carefree rise to the top tier of Democratic contestants.

Buttigieg’s lack of popularity among black voters nationally — a crucial demographic for winning the Democratic primary – was already one of his biggest weaknesses in a contest in which racial injustice is a key issue. Buttigieg had recently been laying the groundwork to win over some of those skeptical voters in states such as South Carolina.

But now the shooting has highlighted the racial tension right on Buttigieg’s home turf, revealing for a national audience the pain and resentment that have long festered among South Bend’s black residents.

Buttigieg’s introduction drew a mix of applause and vigorous boos. Michael Patton, NAACP South Bend Chapter president, was onstage with Buttigieg and lobbed gentle questions at the mayor, which drew loud complaints from the crowd. But audience members sometimes scolded one another for being disrespectful to Buttigieg and the other speakers.

When a pastor representing Al Sharpton Jr. was the first from the audience to take the mic during the town hall’s question-and-answer portion Sunday, the crowd jeered at the outsider. John Winston Jr., a community activist, walked up to the front of the stage to confront the pastor as Buttigieg watched, taking the microphone to air his own grievances about the city’s relationship with its black residents.

“They keep begging us to reach out and bridge this gap and whatever else,” Winston, who is biracial, told the audience, recounting the time he tried to host a cookout for police officers a few years ago. “And we reached out, and they said no.”

Then, with a defiant flourish, Winston dropped the mic onto the floor...

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Why President Trump Will Be Reelected

Excellent analysis, from Nick Gillespie, at Reason:

The New Class Warfare

Another outstanding op-ed from Glenn Reynolds, at USA Today:

Today's Shopping

At Amazon, Today's Deals Save on our top deals every day.

And especially, Briggs & Stratton 020685 3100 PSI 2.5GPM Pressure Washer, Red/Gray/Titanium.

Also, Pro Bike Tool 1/4 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench Set – 2 to 20 Nm – Bicycle Maintenance Kit for Road & Mountain Bikes, Motorcycle Multitool - Includes Allen & Torx Sockets, Extension Bar & Storage Box.

Plus, Carhartt Men's Quilted Flannel Lined Duck Active Jacket.

And, Buck Knives The 55 Folding Pocket Knife.

More, Outdoor Products Mountain Duffle Bag.

Still more, CLIF BAR - Energy Bar - Chocolate Chip - (2.4 Ounce Protein Bar, 12 Count).

Here, Samsung 75NU7100 75" NU7100 Smart 4K UHD TV 2018 with Wall Mount + Cleaning Kit (UN75NU7100).

BONUS: Herman Wouk, The Winds of War.

The Golden Age of Muscle

I love it!

At Instapundit, "WE LIVE IN A GOLDEN AGE OF MUSCLE, BUT THIS IS STILL RIDICULOUS: Hellcat-Powered Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 6×6 Pickup Exists Because It Can."

Elizabeth Masucci

At Celeb Jihad, "Elizabeth Masucci Nude Scene from 'Virgin Alexander'."

Jennifer Delacruz's Sunday Forecast

Here she is with the marine layer forecast.


Saturday, June 22, 2019

President Trump to Delay ICE Deportation Operations

I think this is a mistake, and so do a lot of conservatives.

At the New York Times, via Memeorandum, "Trump Says He'll Delay Deportation Operation Aimed at Undocumented Families."

Jem Wolfie


And on Twitter:

Decriminalizing Magic Mushrooms

California is the acid-trip state.

At the Los Angeles Times, "How a trip on magic mushrooms helped decriminalize psychedelic plants in a California city."

Sydney Sweeney


Nice knockers.

Frederick Forsyth, Dogs of War


A great, great novel.

At Amazon, Frederick Forsyth, Dogs of War: A Spy Thriller.

After Fighting Islamic State, Civilian Life Takes Toll

At the Los Angeles Times, "Two buddies survived fighting Islamic State, but for one civilian life was too much":

He was dashing up the mountain into darkness, chasing a friend armed with a shotgun.

Taylor Hudson yelled for his friend to wait, to stop.

They had rushed together toward danger so many times before on the battlefields of Syria. They had protected each other, made it home safe.

Cactus pierced Hudson’s sides as he scrambled up to save his buddy.

Then he heard the gunshots.

Hudson had met Kevin Howard three years earlier in eastern Syria, where they discovered they both had volunteered for the French Foreign Legion.

Hudson, 35, was an idealist raised in Pasadena, a lanky college dropout and ironworker kept out of the Marines because of a wrist tattoo he unsuccessfully tried to burn off with battery acid.

Howard, 27, was his opposite: short, with a blond crew cut and tattoos up to his eyebrows. Adopted at birth, he’d been rejected by his new parents at 12, then raised in a San Francisco orphanage. He left at 17 to join the Marines, trained at Camp Pendleton and served from 2006 to 2010, deploying twice to Iraq as an anti-tank missileman.

The men had both joined the French Foreign Legion for adventure, Howard training as a sniper, Hudson as a medic. They adopted noms de guerre: Howard chose Kane Harlly; Hudson became Paul “Doc” Hetfield. Howard had the title of the legion’s anthem tattooed above his right eyebrow: “Rien n’empeche.” Unstoppable.

But they became disillusioned as superiors confined them to southeastern France and enviously followed news of the war raging in Syria. In 2016, each joined U.S.-allied militias to fight Islamic State.

“The war was like a sanctuary, as crazy as that sounds,” Hudson said as he sat in his spare Tucson ranch house. “It was black and white, good and evil, the most pure fight in modern times. That feels so good to be with people in a righteous cause. When that’s over, what has meaning in civilian life?”

A month after Hudson arrived in eastern Syria, he met Howard. Howard served with a poorly outfitted group of Kurdish fighters, who had stopped to visit Hudson’s unit bivouacked in the cow shed of an abandoned cheese factory. Hudson noticed Howard’s camouflage legionnaire pants and struck up a conversation.

The pair soon began working as a team: Howard as a sniper; Hudson, his lookout.

“I knew we were always going to stick together,” Hudson said.

They shifted to an allied Christian militia, the Syriac Military Council. Before an important battle, their commander left and the unit voted unanimously for Howard to replace him. Hudson became chief medical officer. They were reluctant leaders, Hudson said, but “sometimes you find yourself in situations where you know you have a responsibility.”

In summer 2017, the unit moved to the outskirts of Raqqah, capital of Islamic State’s caliphate, for the start of a siege. They remained holed up in abandoned, bombed-out buildings for months.

That July, during an interview in a crumbling house they had converted into a sniper’s roost, Howard and Hudson appeared weary but committed. They pointed out Islamic State strongholds a few yards away and warned that drones sometimes buzzed nearby, dropping bombs.

They never felt safe. Their fellow fighters had scant training and could be careless with guns. The pair looked out for each other, sleeping in shifts.

Howard recalled his time as a Marine, battling Muslim extremists in Kurdish northern Iraq. He had tried returning to civilian life, but “it just didn’t work out.” Staying home as a war raged felt wrong, he said.

He divided western volunteers in Syria into four groups: politically motivated anarchists and socialists; “starry-eyed” dreamers; those fleeing their past; and the “legitimately crazy.”

Hudson noted that his friend hadn't classified himself, and Howard laughed.

Hudson took breaks from the front lines, staying with a Christian Syrian couple. He fell in love with their daughter, got engaged and started planning a future.

Howard had two words tattooed on his knuckles: “love” and “lost.” He stayed in Raqqah and embraced the Assyrian Christian cause, including a new nom de guerre: Hawro, or “Brother,” Christian.

“They are arguably the most oppressed people in the world right now,” Howard said. “I believe in staying and helping them fight because it’s what I’m good at.”

In time, both men soured on the militia.

Hudson, wounded by shrapnel and a drone bombing, left the front line to get treatment. His fiancee broke off their engagement. Commanders refused to allow him to return to battle, he said, even as they pushed Howard south toward the worsening battle in Dair Alzour.

Each of the men heard the other had been killed. When they were reunited weeks later, they decided it was time to leave the militia — and Syria.

Eventually, Howard and Hudson returned home after harrowing months detained by their own militia. Howard was also held by authorities after crossing the border into Iraq, released only after U.S. officials intervened.

Years would pass before they reunited.


Howard floundered in the U.S., stripped of his gun, his unit and his cause.

He visited friends in California and Idaho; reconnected with his birth mother in Grants Pass, Ore.; worked oilfield jobs in North Dakota and west Texas. For a time, he ran with the Hells Angels in Oakland.

Last year, he became homeless in the Dakotas, unable to claim veteran’s disability benefits because he couldn’t find the necessary paperwork until he asked friends to help.

Hudson had built an extra room in his house for Howard, and urged him to visit. Howard initially demurred. Then one day he texted Hudson a photo of pill bottles, threatening suicide. Hudson wired him plane fare. Howard flew to Arizona the next day.

There Hudson helped him rent a nearby house, a life goal Howard had written on a list he carried in his pocket.

Howard went to doctor’s appointments at the Department of Veterans Affairs for post-traumatic stress disorder and got a caseworker. He adopted a cat. He met a woman. Three months ago, at an iconic mountain west of downtown known as Sentinel Peak, he proposed. She said yes.

Hudson thought his friend was healing.

But after Howard’s girlfriend moved in, the couple fought. He suspected her of cheating. His caseworker knew he had been drinking too much and tried to get him into rehab.

Howard told friends he missed Syria.

Hudson understood how Howard felt: “That was where we belonged. That was our place and our time in history. We were motivated and focused and knew what we had to do. That’s what’s missing when you get home, that mission-oriented way of thinking.”

Half of their former unit was fighting alongside rebels in Ukraine. But Howard didn’t want to join them.

“It wasn’t really his fight,” Hudson said. “He did love the lifestyle — the camaraderie, the guys. But he wasn’t willing to join a cause he didn’t believe in.”

Howard considered going back to Syria, or joining rebels in Myanmar. Hudson found that odd.

“He didn’t even know what side he was going to fight on,” Hudson said. “It made him seem suicidal, like, ‘I’m just going to roll the dice.’”

Howard admitted he still contemplated suicide. So the two friends made a pact: If one decided to kill himself, he would call the other first...
Excellent piece.

Keep reading.

Penélope Cruz for Tatler

Seen on Twitter:

Donna D'Errico at 51

At Taxi Driver, "Donna D'Errico at 51 Killing It in Tight Dress on the Red Carpet."

And at London's Daily Mail:

Petra Nemcova in London

At Taxi Driver:

Friday, June 21, 2019

She's Gone

Hall & Oates, heard yesterday while out with my wife, in my wife's car, on satellite radio's "70s on 7."

She's Gone:

Paulina Porizkova Rockin' Bikinis After All These Years

She was my first Sports Illustrated crush.

Back in 1984, I think.

Olivia Culpo Tops Maxim's Top 100

She's worth it.

President Trump Approved Strikes on Iran, Then Pulled Back From the Brink (VIDEO)

At the New York Times, "Strikes on Iran Approved by Trump, Then Abruptly Pulled Back."

And at Free Beacon, "U.S. Expected to Strike Back for Iran’s Downing of Drone":
The United States is likely to take military action against Iran in the coming days for Tehran's downing a U.S. drone in international airspace on Wednesday near the Strait of Hormuz.

The Central Command said an RQ-4 Global Hawk drone aircraft was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace around 7:35 p.m. on Wednesday.

President Trump suggested retaliation for the attack is coming. "Iran made a very big mistake," the president tweeted.

Later during an Oval Office meeting with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, Trump was asked about a military strike against Iran and repeated that Iran "made a very big mistake" because the drone was flying over international waters.

"Iran made a big mistake. This drone was in international waters, clearly," he said. "We have it all documented scientifically, not just words. And they made a very bad mistake."

Trump suggested that the drone was mistakenly shot down and noted that "I have a big, big feeling" an Iranian air defense operator erred in attacking the drone, someone "loose and stupid who did it."

Asked what will come next, the president said "You'll find out."

Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, commander of Central Command air forces, said the RQ-4 drone was conducting surveillance over the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz in international airspace near recent IRGC attacks on two tankers. The drone was struck by an IRGC surface-to-air missile fired from a base near Goruk, Iran, he said.

"This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset that had not violated Iranian airspace at any time during its mission," Guastella said in a statement. "This attack is an attempt to disrupt our ability to monitor the area following recent threats to international shipping and free flow of commerce."

The three-star general also said that Iran falsely claimed the aircraft was shot down over Iran. "The aircraft was over the Strait of Hormuz and fell into international waters."

"At the time of the intercept, the RQ-4 was operating at high-altitude approximately 34 kilometers from the nearest point of land on the Iranian coast," he said. "This dangerous and escalatory attack was irresponsible and occurred in the vicinity of established air corridors between Dubai, UAE, and Muscat Oman, possibly endangering innocent civilians."

"Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false," said CENTCOM spokesman Capt. Bill Urban. "This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace."

Tensions have increased with Iran since last week when the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Tehran's shock troops, were caught removing a limpet mine from the hull of a Japanese tanker that had been hit by other mines the United States has concluded came from Iran.

Another tanker also was attacked with the magnetic mines last week.

Several earlier Iran-linked attacks were carried out, including mines on the ships, an attack on a Saudi pipeline, a rocket firing near a U.S. embassy, and an attack on a NATO convoy in Afghanistan.

White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said in an interview last week the United States is set to retaliate for Iranian military provocations.

"The National Security Strategy lists Iran as one of the four top threats and we just need to be sure we've got the capability to deter them from these kinds of activities, threatening American lives and facilities, threatening the international oil market," Bolton said when asked about the Pentagon's plan to dispatch around 1,000 additional troops to the region.

"They would be making a big mistake if they doubted the president's resolve on this," Bolton added, echoing the president's tweet.

The latest confrontation sent crude oil prices higher over concerns of a new Middle East war. Oil prices increased more than $3 to $63 a barrel, Reuters reports.

U.S. national security officials have been debating how to respond to the recent Iranian military attacks carried out through proxies in a bid to avoid a head-on conflict with the United States.

Options are expected to range from covert action against Iranian military targets using special forces commandos to airstrikes against Iranian bases.

The administration is weighing what it regards as proportional responses to recent Iranian actions...

David Horowitz, Uncivil Wars

At Amazon, David Horowitz, Uncivil Wars: The Controversy over Reparations for Slavery by David Horowitz.

Andrew Sullivan on George Will (REVIEW)

Andrew Sullivan is pretty much psycho, but he's a dang good writer.

This review, at NYT, is worth your time.

Will's book is at Amazon, The Conservative Sensibility.