Monday, August 31, 2020

John Yoo, Defender in Chief

At Amazon, John Yoo, Defender in Chief: Donald Trump's Fight for Presidential Power.



Blue Exodus: California Is a Failed State

It's Jon "Ex-Jon" Gabriel, at the Arizona Republic, "California is a failed state. How do we know? They're moving to Arizona in droves":
Driving across Arizona, it’s hard not to notice a surge in California license plates. The reason for this is becoming more apparent every day. California is a failed state.

After nearly a decade of one-party rule, the once-Golden State is tarnished, possibly beyond repair. Listing all the problems facing our neighbors across the Colorado River would require several books, so I’ll only highlight a few.

The fifth-largest economy in the world and home to many of the greatest technology companies on Earth can’t keep the lights on. The state’s three largest utilities turned off power to more than 410,000 homes and businesses on Friday, Aug. 21, then again to half as many Saturday, Aug. 22.

Gov. Gavin Newsom sprung to action on Monday by announcing more blackouts. "We failed to predict and plan these shortages,” the governor said. “And that's simply unacceptable."

But accept it he did, noting that the state’s near-religious promotion of solar and wind power left a gap in the reliability of its power grid. You don’t say.

Wildly unpredictable events, like August being hot, never occurred to Newsom last October when he signed six more bills to kill off his state’s fossil fuel industry. Shutting down one of California’s two nuclear plants certainly didn’t help. Perhaps their plan to close the second one in 2024 will have different results.

So have those to stop homelessness

Documentary filmmaker Christopher Rufo’s latest work reveals the tragic failure of the city’s homeless policies. In “Chaos by the Bay,” he shows the results of well-meaning progressive efforts, from decriminalizing homelessness to plying addicts with free drug paraphernalia, alcohol and cannabis. For the most part, rampant mental illness has been left untreated...
Still more.

Jennifer Delacruz's Returning Heatwave Forecast

The lovely Ms. Jennifer continues to use her home as a broadcast station.

For ABC News 10 San Diego:



Sunday, August 30, 2020

Francesca Cipriani

At Taxi Driver, "Francesca Cipriani Sunbathing."

Working-Class Voters' Seismic Shift Toward Republicans

It's Salena Zito, who I don't see on Twitter anymore, probably because leftists got her suspended, at the Washtington Examiner, "Ohio county tells story of the seismic shift of working-class voters toward GOP."



Trump Supporter Killed by Violent Democrats in Portland (VIDEO)

At the New York Times, via Memeorandum, "One Person Dead in Portland After Clashes Between Trump Supporters and Protesters."

And Gateway Pundit, "4Chan Users Appear to Have Identified Portland Rioter Who Shot and Killed Trump Supporter."



Bear Spray

Watching the street-fighting videos this last couple of days, I noticed that the Trump supporters always have bear spray. The canister's are high-powered projectile devices. If you're hit in the face you're probably needing medical attention, dang!


Leah Pezzetti's Cooler Weather Forecast

Ms. Leah's the new weather hottie at ABC News 10 San Diego.

I haven't seen Ms. Jennifer Delacruz lately, but she's still with the station.



Saturday, August 29, 2020

Personal Selfie: Monterey Bay 2018

From my 2018 family vacation to Monterey Bay. I'm going through old photos and wanted to post it here just to have it on file lol.


Trump Bets on Law-and-Order Message to Sway Swing Voters

Hell, I'd take that bet!

At WSJ:

President Trump and his supporters have seen an opening in the presidential race in recent weeks as a fresh wave of protests against racial injustice have at times turned volatile, with images of violent clashes playing out in the news.

Mr. Trump emphasized law and order in his speech Thursday accepting the Republican nomination, saying that if Democratic nominee Joe Biden won the White House, “No one will be safe.” Vice President Mike Pence used almost the same words in his speech a day earlier, and one of the campaign’s most-aired recent ads employs similar language.

With Mr. Trump trailing the former vice president in national polls, and by a smaller margin in many battleground states, his team is banking that the chaotic images from places such as Kenosha, Wis., and Portland, Ore., won’t just rally their base, but sway undecided voters and suburban voters who had been moving away from Mr. Trump. “The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order,” Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway told Fox News this week.

Mr. Biden’s team rejects that notion, saying most of those voters support what have been largely peaceful protests against police shootings of Black people, and noting that the unrest is taking place under Mr. Trump’s watch. “This happens to be Donald Trump’s America,” Mr. Biden said on Thursday. He added: “I condemn violence in any form, whether it’s looting or whatever it is.”

Democrats spent much of their convention focusing on the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 180,000 lives in the U.S., the most of any country in the world. They think Mr. Trump’s handling of the pandemic is the issue that will define the 2020 election.

But the unrest that has emerged since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on May 25 has become a wild card in the last months leading up to the election. It regained national attention this past week after the police shooting Sunday of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, in Kenosha stirred protests there. Some anti-Trump strategists have expressed concern that violence stemming from the protests is a vulnerability for Democrats.

Sarah Longwell, strategy director for Republican Voters Against Trump, which produces ads opposing the president’s re-election, said she had conducted recent focus groups with women who voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 but are reconsidering their support. “Six or seven weeks ago, as I was listening to these voters, they were very clearly upset by the way President Trump had handled the racial crisis, even more so than the pandemic,” Ms. Longwell said.

More recently, however, she said, “Everybody jumps to the violence and the looting. There was still a lot of criticism of Trump, but they were immediately focused on what was happening to businesses, violence in the streets.”

It remains unknown who is responsible for damage to businesses and other buildings in Kenosha, though authorities have suggested that outside agitators with no connection to the peaceful daytime protests were responsible for some of the violence after nightfall. A 17-year-old resident of Antioch, Ill., was arrested and charged in connection with the shooting of protesters near midnight Tuesday that left two people dead and one injured.

In July, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that voters in growing numbers believed that Black and Hispanic Americans are discriminated against and that support was rising for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Polls vary on where voters rank crime as an issue. A Journal/NBC News survey this month found crime to be well behind the economy, coronavirus and other matters as a top concern for voters. A recent Pew Research Center survey that asked likely voters about issues of importance in the election found that “violent crime” ranked fifth overall, narrowly behind coronavirus and well behind the economy and health care. But for Republicans, it was the second-most important issue after the economy...
That Biden "peaceful protests" line is so much bull.

Jonathan A. Rodden, Why Cities Lose

Jonathan A. Rodden, Why Cities Lose: The Deep Roots of the Urban-Rural Political Divide.



Taking Attendance Online

My classes start Monday, American, comparative, and international politics.

It's going to be lit, lol.

At LAT, "LAUSD’s liberal student attendance policy raises eyebrows."

They don't really take attendance, you know. They're just warehousing students smdh. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯:
In a policy that has raised flags among some teachers and principals, but appears to be permitted by state law, students in the nation’s second-largest school district have several relatively easy ways to be counted as present for a day of school:
* If a student does nothing more than send an email, text or talk to a teacher on the phone at any point in the day, the student will be counted as present. This communication does not have to be with the student — it can also take place between a parent or guardian and the teacher.
* If a student appears in a live session with a teacher or classmates on Zoom, however briefly, the student is counted as present for the day.
* If students skip these live sessions, but turn in work, they are also credited for attendance.
* If a student simply logs in to an online school account but does nothing further, it’s likely that the student also will be counted as present.
* “I have a problem with that,” said a teacher in reference to the log-in policy during a training session that The Times witnessed via Zoom.
Making sure that students attend class and keeping a record of that attendance are important and required tasks, state officials say.

“Ensuring that we are reaching and engaging every student is more critical than ever to ensure students already at greater risk of falling behind can stay connected to their learning,” said Daniel Thigpen, director of communications for the California Department of Education.

The key component of being marked as present is that daily engagement — in whatever form — must take place during the same school day before midnight. If at 12:01 a.m. a student has been silent in all ways, the student will be definitively absent.

The new practices, although not demanding of students, represent a return to formal attendance-taking. When schools closed in mid-March during the onset of the coronavirus emergency, state officials did away with requiring teachers to take attendance.

But both anecdotal reports and episodic tracking indicated that student engagement sagged — and also that some teachers provided limited learning opportunities.

Los Angeles Unified reported that 78% of middle school students logged in three times or more per week several weeks after schools closed. And an internal report showed disparities in engagement along lines of race, ethnicity and family income — with students from low-income families and Black and Latino students participating in fewer learning activities than peers from higher-income families and white and Asian students.

With most California campuses closed for the start of the new school year, the state established rules that mandate daily live lessons, restored requirements for minimum instructional minutes and reinstated taking roll.

One principal complained in an interview with The Times that a superior told her that if a student logged in for one minute, that student was present for the day.

“Would that be fraud?” the principal wanted to know.

Another principal advised her teachers that she wanted them to consider the content of an email contact before accepting it for attendance. She expected the student or parent to explain why the student could not attend class — and the explanation or the excuses should not be considered evergreen. Teachers can’t allow students to be marked as present simply because they send an email every day claiming that they were unable to log in, she said.

The names of principals interviewed have been withheld because they were concerned about talking freely without permission from the school district. The principals do not have tenure protection in their assignments and they said they feared retaliation.

District officials were unwilling to discuss the topic — even though the L.A. County Office of Education, an oversight agency, could not identify any improper practices based on an explanation of the policies provided by The Times.

Given a week to confirm information about attendance-taking practices, which The Times gleaned from interviews and documents, the district refused to make anyone available to explain the content of the teacher trainings or the attendance policy and would not review information submitted for verification.

Instead, the school system supplied a brief statement. “Los Angeles Unified’s attendance practices are in compliance with SB98 and CDE guidelines” — referring to Senate Bill 98, which established teaching guidelines for the fall, and the state Department of Education.

The district reported that first-day-of-school attendance rates last week were 86% this year compared with 90% last year. Officials refused to provide attendance numbers for any additional days...

Ben Buchanan, The Hacker and the State

At Amazon, Ben Buchanan, The Hacker and the State: Cyber Attacks and the New Normal of Geopolitics.



Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, Cynical Theories

At Amazon, Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity―and Why This Harms Everybody.



Make America Civil Again

It's Karlyn Borysenko, for Prager University.

She's on Twitter as well.



Milana Vayntrub Speaks Out

I guess she was slut-shamed for exposing her massive honkers in a super low-cut cocktail dress (cleavage!) a few years back.

Trolls online are hurting her feelings. Photos at the link:


Craig L. Symonds, World War II at Sea

At Amazon, Craig L. Symonds, World War II at Sea: A Global History.



Monday, August 24, 2020

Panic! at the Disco

Their rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" is like wow.

Just phenomenal --- I'm impressed.

Their Wiki page is here.



Saturday, August 22, 2020

Golden State Killer Sentenced to 26 Life Terms

At LAT, "Golden State Killer given life in prison for rapes, murders that terrorized a generation":

The crimes began as window peeping in DeAngelo’s hometown of Rancho Cordova. They progressed to bedroom burglaries and panty thefts in Visalia, and then the murder of Claude Snelling, a college instructor who caught the intruder attempting to abduct his 16-year-old daughter from her bedroom in 1975.

The rapes that ensued became more violent as DeAngelo began to attack couples together and, later, to kill them.

While DeAngelo typically dragged women out of bed and away from their husbands to rape them in other rooms, crime scene evidence shows the couples he murdered died in bed beside each other.

“It wasn’t enough for him to rape or beat or shoot his victims,” said Santa Barbara County Dist. Atty. Joyce Dudley. “He wanted to take inflicting human pain to the highest level possible. Therefore, he often ensured that their loved ones saw or heard their loved ones being killed. That’s who Joe DeAngelo is.”

The investigations were often botched by law enforcement agencies refusing to cooperate, but the crimes also instigated major advances in criminal justice laws and tools. They were cited by women’s rights advocates to successfully increase the penalties for rape. A political crusade launched and funded by the family of murder victim Keith Harrington fueled a California law requiring felons to add their DNA to a databank used to hunt criminals.

Harrington’s older brother, Ron, used his victim statement in court this week to make the case for overriding privacy concerns and preserving police access to consumer genealogy sites, like the one detectives used to identify DeAngelo.

As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, DeAngelo admitted to carrying out 53 attacks on 87 victims in 11 counties, starting in 1975 and ending with the rape and murder of a teenage girl in Orange County in 1986. Authorities believe he is also responsible for two more sexual assaults and a shooting for which he was not charged.

In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed to spare him the death penalty. He was sentenced to 11 life terms without the possibility of parole, to be served consecutively, plus 15 life terms and eight years...
More.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Cooling Off

It's a freakin' heat wave, but it's also only summer (for all of those climate alarmists out there).

Time to cool off:

And don't forget the sunscreen for these huge tatas.

Holy Smokes!

What a lady, on Twitter:


Napping With Angie

In your dreams:


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Blonde

Amazing, whatever this is.

On Twitter:



Antony Dapiran, City on Fire

At Amazon, Antony Dapiran, City on Fire: The Fight for Hong Kong.



Padres' Fernando Tatis Hits Grand Slam on 3-0 Count, Breaks 'Unwritten Rule' in Baseball (VIDEO)

I've never heard of this rule. Major League Baseball must've kept it a secret --- even Tatis said he'd never heard of it.

Great story.

At ESPN, "Rangers' Ian Gibaut, Chris Woodward suspended for actions following Fernando Tatis Jr.'s grand slam":
Texas Rangers pitcher Ian Gibaut, who threw a pitch at Manny Machado after Fernando Tatis Jr.'s grand slam in Monday night's game, has been suspended for three games.

Rangers manager Chris Woodward also received a one-game suspension "as a result of Gibaut's actions," MLB said in a statement Tuesday.

Woodward served his suspension Tuesday when the Rangers faced the Padres. Gibaut has elected to appeal and was active for the game. They were both fined an undisclosed amount.

Padres' Tatis angers Rangers with late grand slam...

Fernando Tatis Jr. and Juan Soto are breaking baseball's unwritten rules. Isn't it great?
Tatis missed a take sign and swung on a 3-0 pitch with the bases loaded and the Padres sporting a seven-run lead in the eighth inning. Woodward immediately displayed his displeasure with what he perceived as a violation of an unwritten rule of baseball. After the game, the skipper said the pitch got away from Gibaut.

"I'm not pounding my fist on the table saying this was absolutely horrendous," Woodward said of Tatis' swing before the suspension was announced. "I just thought it went just past the line."

Padres manager Jayce Tingler said after the game that Tatis missed the take sign from third-base coach Glenn Hoffman. Tatis said after the game he wasn't aware of such a practice and promised to learn from the experience...

Sleepwalking into Secession

At the American Mind:


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Isabel Wilkerson, Caste

Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.



Online Learning Cheats Poor Students

I don't know if it "cheats" them, but it's certainly not working out.

At LAT, "A generation left behind? Online learning cheats poor students, Times survey finds":

Maria Viego and Cooper Glynn were thriving at their elementary schools. Maria, 10, adored the special certificates she earned volunteering to read to second-graders. Cooper, 9, loved being with his friends and how his teacher incorporated the video game Minecraft into lessons.

But when their campuses shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic, their experiences diverged dramatically.

Maria is a student in the Coachella Valley Unified School District, where 90% of the children are from low-income families. She didn’t have a computer, so she and her mother tried using a cellphone to access her online class, but the connection kept dropping, and they gave up after a week. She did worksheets until June, when she at last received a computer, but struggled to understand the work. Now, as school starts again online, she has told her mother she’s frustrated and worried.

“She says she feels like she’s going to stay behind,” said her mother, Felicia Gonzalez, who has been battling COVID-19.

Cooper, who attends school in the Las Virgenes Unified School District, where just 12% of students are from low-income families, had a district-issued computer and good internet access at home. His school shut down on a Friday, and by the following Wednesday it was up and running virtually. There were agendas and assignments online and Google hangouts with teachers, said his mother, Megan Glynn. While Cooper would prefer to be back on campus, Glynn believes that he and his siblings will be fine academically even with school continuing online.

“I feel fully confident in the education they’ll receive,” she said.

The contrasting realities of these two students reflect the educational inequities that children have experienced since schools closed — and that many will continue to face in the fall as distance learning resumes for 97% of the state’s public school students.

A Los Angeles Times survey of 45 Southern California school districts found profound differences in distance learning among children attending school districts in high-poverty communities, like Maria’s in Coachella Valley, and those in more affluent ones, like Cooper’s in Las Virgenes, which serves Calabasas and nearby areas.

These inequities threaten to exacerbate wide and persistent disparities in public education that shortchange students of color and those from low-income families, resulting in potentially lasting harm to a generation of children.

“The longer this goes on, the longer the pendulum swings to where this could be a generation that’s really left behind,” said Beth Tarasawa, who studies educational equity issues at the not-for-profit educational research group NWEA...

Professors Fear COVID-19 as College Campuses Reopen

I'm going to be 59 next month, and while I'm not afraid to teach in person, I'd prefer not to have to with classrooms full of sniffling mask-wearing students supposedly "socially-distanced" in neat, wide-spaced rows and columns.

And I've read of all the safety precautions, hand-washing stations inside the classroom, temperature checks, extra-aggressive cleaning and disinfecting of spaces and surfaces, etc. The truth is, the virus is not contained socially, around the country, and it's going to see a resurgence coming out of the school reopenings. Just look the photos from the Georgia high school, and now the outbreak there, and you can see what's likely to happen.

In any case, at LAT, "‘I can’t teach when I’m dead.’ Professors fear COVID-19 as college campuses open":
When masked students walk back into his Northern Arizona University lab room at the end of the month, Tad Theimer will face them from behind a Plexiglas face shield while holding an infrared thermometer to their foreheads. As they examine bat skulls under microscopes, the biology professor will open windows and doors, hoping to drive out exhaled aerosols that could spread coronavirus.

But as one of hundreds of professors who will be back on campus along with 20,000 students in one of the states hit worst by the pandemic, Theimer is also torn on whether to enter his classroom at all.

“I want to teach and it’s best done in person,” said Theimer, 62, who has been a professor on the Flagstaff campus for two decades. “I want businesses, which need our students, to survive in town. But if I see people not following health protocols at the university, I’m going remote and I’m not seeking any permission. They can fire me if they don’t like it.”

Campuses are taking on a patchwork of safety measures and shifting reopening plans this month as millions of students return to colleges and universities. Some, like Northern Arizona University, have already opened for a trial run of online classes before students show up in person. Others, like Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and Princeton University in New Jersey, have at the last minute nixed plans for reopening to opt for fully online fall semesters. Many California colleges and universities will be online only, with largely empty lecture halls, while the majority of schools in the nation plan to offer a hybrid of the options.

Absent federal guidance, many of the decisions result from growing pressure from professors like Theimer, who recently went public with a letter to his university president demanding that students be disinvited from campus. At several universities, including large public schools in Texas, Florida and North Carolina, teachers have resisted administrations that push to pack the classrooms and dorms that produce tuition and housing revenues. Many have resisted through unions or faculty associations.

Students have joined, too, like the dozens in Atlanta at the University of Georgia who joined faculty to stage a “die-in” in front of the president’s office this week with signs that said “R.I.P. campus safety” and “I can’t teach when I’m dead.” The campus requires first-year students to live in dorms for its Aug. 20 kickoff to the fall semester, which will take place partially on-campus.

It was a similar story at the City Colleges of Chicago, where faculty followed last week’s reopening by threatening to strike if they don’t see safety improvements.

“The whole situation is unprecedented,” said Irene Mulvey, a math professor at Fairfield University in Connecticut and president of the American Assn. of University Professors, a teachers’ union with hundreds of college chapters. “Professors know best what’s happening on the ground and they are in many cases pushing to have a say. And in the case of some university administrations, there seems to be a kind of magical thinking that people will behave perfectly in following every health measure and precaution during openings.”

Colleges have tried to reassure professors and students by staggering dorm move-in dates, painting arrows and social distancing dots in hallways, limiting classroom sizes, enforcing mask mandates and installing hand sanitizing stations across campuses. They’ve designated quarantine housing and some, like UC Berkeley, have the limited number of students living on campus take a coronavirus test within a day of arrival in addition to regularly scheduled tests teach month.

But with the average American campus having more than 6,000 undergraduates, many professors have said the safety precautions will be too hard to enforce, especially at schools where most students live in dorms and off-campus apartments...
More.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Claudia Romani

See, "Claudia Romani Nipple Pops Out While Lying on the Sand."


Tactical Military Belt for Concealed Carry

At Amazon, GRIP6 WorkBelt- Tactical Belt Military Belt for EDC Concealed Carry Utility Belt.

And, GRIP6 Canvas Belts for Men & Women- Ultralight Series Nylon Belt.

BONUS: U.S. Army Hand-to-Hand Combat (U.S. Army Survival).

Sunday, August 9, 2020

California's Grim Coronavirus Milestone

My wife was ectastic with Gov. Newsom's early response to the pandemic, especially his decision to lock down the state, the first such policy across the U.S.

Now he's not looking so spectacular.

On Twitter:


Interview with Adam Tooze

I love this guy's work, but I had no idea he was truly a fanatical leftist, especially about this "climate change" stuff, but it's a compelling discussion.

At New York Mag, "A Historian of Economic Crisis on the World After COVID-19":

While we’re on the subject of the great powers’ mutual delirium: In a recent essay on the U.S.-China relationship, you suggest that the present tensions with China are fueled less by “social and economic interests” than by a long-standing ideological rivalry and its attendant national-security implications – and that, in fact, the rise of Communist China indicates that the Cold War never actually ended. But it seems to me that the ideological and national-security stakes of the U.S.-China conflict are much lower than those of the conflict between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. There aren’t many radicals launching insurgencies in South America in the name of Xi Jinping Thought or sympathizers of the CCP in the upper ranks of America’s labor unions. The Chinese regime is not calling for an international workers’ revolution; to the contrary, it wages vicious campaigns of suppression against domestic labor unions in order to maintain a grossly inequitable income distribution. So, I don’t see China posing a plausible threat to the American homeland or America’s capitalist regime. But it does threaten our share of global GDP and privileged position in international value chains.

So I would happily concede that the Chinese Communist Party, in its current form, is not the same as, say, the Khrushchev-era Soviet Union. But I think I would insist on three things. First, the leadership of that party emphatically interprets, presents, and thinks about (as far as we’re able to tell from the outside) its situation, problems, and strategies in terms of the continuous elaboration of the Marxist cannon. The historian Stephen Kotkin makes this argument about Stalin — that, while he was no one’s idea of a good Marxist, you really can’t understand him unless you understand the twisted, weird, stunted version of Marxism that made the guy tick. And I think that’s true about the current Chinese leadership, too.

It isn’t a global revolutionary movement anymore. But they are self-consciously the descendants of that project. And as such, their worldview is fundamentally alien to — and distinct from — that of Europe or the United States or anyone else participating in the liberal project. There is indeed a huge gap in our understanding of what the state is for, what the rule of law does — how it does and does not constrain things. And that is a difference that matters.

And then the third thing I would say is that, though it is true they are not a revolutionary project in the sense of Cuba in the 1970s — or China itself in the 1960s — the contemporary Chinese Communist Party is de facto more transformative of the circumstances of the global political economy than those revolutionary projects, and transformative in ways that America is quite right to perceive as threats to its hegemony.

Relatedly, while I recognize the force of the recasting you’ve just offered, I think you have to reckon with the autonomous significance of the American security state, which is separate from the general American interest in global GDP share or something like that.

There was a moment — and it didn’t happen under Trump; it happened when Hillary Clinton was secretary of State — when that part of the American government machine that thinks in terms of F-35s and atomic weapons and nuclear fleets shifted its focus toward China. And that constitutes a source of conflict that is not reducible to economics. It draws on the conception of the economy as a national resource base, and is of course entangled with particular companies in the military-industrial complex, but it is distinct nevertheless.

There are competing factions within the American state apparatus. And who gets to call the shots in a domain of policy at a given point of time can shift. And I would insist there’s been a decisive lurch toward the dominance of national security on China policy.

I think it’s quite reasonable to say that, coming out of World War II, American business was essentially integrated into the American government. It’s not fatuous to imagine that much of the Marshall Plan was directly organized around securing markets for certain sorts of American businesses, which were basically running the government at the time. But that’s an effect of a particular type of articulation, which comes and goes with time. With regard to China right now, there is a remarkable discrepancy between the corporate planning of the companies that dominate the S&P 500 and the American security Establishment...
More.

Saving TikTok

At Celeb Jihad, "TIKTOK THOTS UNITE FOR AN EPIC COLLABORATION TO SAVE THE APP."


Anne de Paula

At the Smoke Room, "ANNE DE PAULA GOES TOPLESS IN SHOCKING SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT VIDEO."


California to Empty Prisons, Dump Convicted Murderers on the Streets

Of course the Times picks the most appealing, sympathetic convict they could find to profile.

This will not turn out well.

See, "California is releasing some murderers due to COVID-19. Some say it should free more":

Terebea Williams was 22 when she shot her boyfriend, drove 750 miles with him bleeding in the trunk of his own car and then dragged him into a Northern California motel, tied him to a chair and left him to die.

Convicted of murder, carjacking and kidnapping, Williams went on to earn a college degree during her 19 years in prison, where she also mentored younger inmates and was lauded by administrators for her “exceptional conduct” while incarcerated.

The contrasting portraits of Williams as stone-cold killer and rehabilitated model prisoner highlight the difficulties in a plan to release thousands of California inmates to curb the spread of COVID-19, which has killed at least 52 of those incarcerated and sickened more than 8,700 others.

This spring, the state expedited the release of 3,500 inmates because of the coronavirus, and in July it freed 2,345 others early. Thousands more are eligible for release, including at least 6,500 deemed to be at high risk because of medical conditions that make them especially vulnerable to COVID-19.

Although Gov. Gavin Newsom and corrections officials have focused on freeing nonviolent offenders, they also are letting out people who, like Williams, have committed violent crimes but have serious medical conditions.

Williams, 44, walked out of a women’s prison in Chowchilla, Calif., on July 29, lopping decades off her 84-years-to-life sentence for killing Kevin “John” Ruska Jr., who died of infection from a gunshot wound to the gut.

Some prisoners’ rights advocates say Williams exemplifies the type of inmate who should be released — one who has already served a lengthy sentence, poses a low risk of reoffending and is particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. Some are also pushing to expand the criteria for early releases to include similar types of inmates now serving life without parole for murder.

But in Williams’ case and others, officials have drawn the ire of prosecutors, victims’ rights advocates and family members amid questions about which and how many inmates are being released — and whether it is being done with enough transparency to protect the public.

“The governor of California, Terebea’s public defender and the politicians of California have used COVID to allow this cold, calculated, lying, unremorseful murderer out of jail 65 years early, without giving the victim, Johnny, a voice,” said Ruska’s cousin, Karri Phillips...
Keep reading.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Quick Change Artist

On Twitter:


Yesterday Was the 75 Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

I didn't blog yesterday --- I was binge watching "Game of Thrones" --- but in what news I did follow yesterday I didn't see anything about the August 6, 1945. Last week I watched a History Channel segment on the aftermath of Hiroshima on Nagasaki. The U.S. sent American scientists to study the effects of radiation on the two leveled cities. I think young people today have no idea of the kind of human destruction possible with the invention of the atom bomb. When you get pulled back into that history and historical debate over justifications and "never again," it's just extremely fascinating.

In any case, here's a cool thread from Foreign Affairs:


Pelosi Lashes Out at Judy Woodruff During PBS Interview

At Weasel Zippers, "Pelosi Lashes Out at PBS’ Judy Woodruff During Interview, Suggests Anchor Is a GOP ‘Advocate’."


We Deserve Better Than Trump Versus Biden

Everybody should be concerned about this, if they're concerned at all, and it takes the radical Jacobin to stress it.


Monday, August 3, 2020

The Szaber Bowl: Warsaw, Poland (VIDEO)

This is excellent.



Stop Apologizing to the Mob

From Ed Driscoll, at Instapundit, "BOYCOTTS, ‘CANCEL CULTURE’ LOSE THEIR APPEAL FOR MANY AMERICANS."

And this part, especially:
The article goes on to mention Trader Joe’s also pushing back against cancel culture. At Ricochet, Bethany Mandel writes, “How to Handle to Mob: Stop Apologizing:”
Ellen [DeGeneres] and her producers need to take the Trader Joe’s tactic: responding to a petition that some of their labels were racist, the supermarket chain pushed back and defended themselves, saying they are not racist and they’re not going anywhere. After the first statement about justifiably troubling workplace behavior, this is what those involved in the show should have done with repeated reports of workplace malcontent. “We are sorry that these individuals speaking to you off-the-record are not happy working on one of the most successful shows in daytime history. They know how to contact HR with a resignation letter and are invited to do so at their earliest convenience.”

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She's lovely.


Riots and Demonstrations from Portland to Jerusalem

From Caroline Glick:

Over the past several years, public discourse in the United States has seen a lot of new lows. It saw another one this month when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to federal officers in Portland, Oregon as “stormtroopers,” that is, Nazi Brownshirts.

In a tweet on July 18 and in subsequent remarks, Pelosi accused the federal forces deployed to Portland of “kidnapping protesters and causing severe injuries in response to graffiti.”

Pelosi’s allegations would cause a political earthquake – if they were true. But they aren’t true. And the fact that she slandered federal officers as Nazis is a deeply disturbing testament to where the Democratic Party – of which she is the senior elected official – stands today and what its intentions are.

For the past two months, the progressive city of Portland in the progressive State of Oregon, has been the scene of chaos and rioting. The liberal media have misleadingly characterized the riots as “peaceful demonstrations.”

Night after night, hundreds of “peaceful demonstrators” have vandalized and destroyed stores and other businesses, transforming downtown Portland into a war zone. Over the past five weeks, the focal point of the violence has been the federal courthouse.

“Peaceful protesters” from Antifa and other radical groups have been attacking the federal courthouse in Portland with incendiary devices including pipe bombs and commercial grade fireworks. Federal officers charged with guarding the courthouse have been blinded with lasers and attacked with stones, metal balls shot from slingshots, bricks and two-by-fours, among other things.

The rioters are backed in their efforts by city and state officials as well as national Democrats who have castigated federal forces protecting the courthouse as “occupiers,” the “Gestapo” and of course “stormtroopers.”

As for the alleged “kidnapping” of peaceful protesters, local journalist Andy Ngo explained this week that Pelosi’s statement channeled Antifa propaganda.

Ngo told Fox News, “That’s an Antifa talking point that is being repeated by sympathetic media.”

He explained that federal officers charged with protecting federal property are using plainclothes agents in unmarked vehicles to peacefully apprehend leaders of the violence. This is a routine, entirely legal tactic which Ngo explained is only being castigated now is because “it is quite effective.”

On the face of it, as Democratic politicians, Pelosi and her colleagues in Congress and Oregon should support the federal forces trying to end the riots. After all, like New York, Chicago, Minneapolis and Los Angeles, Portland is a Democratic city. The businesses being destroyed are owned by their voters.

So why are Pelosi and her partisan colleagues and their media adjuncts instead depicting the rioters rendering downtown Portland a war zone as “peaceful protesters” and slandering the law enforcement officers defending federal property as Nazis?

The obvious answer is politics. The Democrats support the rioters because as they see things, the longer chaos reigns in the streets of America’s cities, the better their chances of defeating President Donald Trump in November.

The Democrats have a number of resources that the Republicans lack and the riots bring them all to bear. They have fanatical progressive activists angry that Bernie Sanders isn’t the nominee but willing to burn America.

They have wall to wall support from the media from NBC to the New York Times to Facebook and Twitter.

The Democrats have limitless funds to maintain the violence and mayhem indefinitely. This week, Alexander Soros, George Soros’ son announced that the family foundation has earmarked another quarter billion dollars to Black Lives Matter. And the Soroses are not alone.

As the past four years of Trump-Russia mythology and legally baseless, politicized prosecutions and investigations have shown, the Democrats control much of the so-called Deep State which controls the levers of the permanent bureaucracy.

The Trump-Russia collusion narrative largely disintegrated under the weight of evidence and the absurd impeachment process over the past several months. And with its decline the Democrats began casting about for a new cause.

They found it with the coronavirus pandemic. In one fell swoop, the virus from China swept away Trump’s fast-growing economy with record low unemployment across all ethnic and racial groups.

With schools abruptly closed and jobs abruptly lost the optimistic America of 2019 became the destabilized, poor, frustrated and insecure America of 2020.

Yet, despite the best efforts of the commentators, support for Trump was not falling apart, at least not enough to ensure an electoral victory for Joe Biden. And Americans were beginning to figure out a way through, as the rising stock market indexes indicated.

But then came the riots. The proximate cause of the riots and protests was the police killing of George Floyd. But their context was the pandemic and the elections in November. The riots gave the Democrats a way to galvanize their radical progressive base (on the streets, in Congress and in the media) around their favorite issues – race and identity politics.

For the Democrats, the best part of the riots is that unlike the pandemic, for demonstrators and their media flacks, it is easy to make the case that Trump is to blame.

Trump’s in charge and America is burning. Trump’s to blame. Trump’s in charge and there is racism in America. Trump’s to blame.

If Trump quells the riots, he will be guilty of police brutality, (with stormtroopers) – thus proving the point. If he fails to quell the riots, he is an ineffective boob. And so, with a bottomless pit of money, the riots will continue, at least so long as the Democrats feel they benefit from them, and they haven’t figured out something else to do...
Still more.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

A Broad Ideological Project to Dominate Society

From Andrew Michta, at WSJ, "The Captive Mind and America’s Resegregation":


Czesław Miłosz, a future Nobel Prize-winning poet who had just defected from Poland, began work in 1951 on a book called “The Captive Mind.” Even as Stalinist totalitarianism tightened its grip on Eastern Europe, many Western European intellectuals lauded the brave new world of Soviet communism as a model for overcoming “bourgeois forces,” which in their view had caused World War II. Living in Paris, Miłosz wrote his book, which was published in 1953, to warn the West of what happens to the human mind and soul in a totalitarian system.

Miłosz knew from experience, having lived through the Communist takeover, how totalitarianism strips men and women of their liberty, transforming them into “affirmative cogs” in service of the state and obliterating what had taken centuries of Western political development to achieve. Totalitarianism not only enslaved people physically but crippled their spirit. It did so by replacing ordinary human language, in which words signify things in the outside world, with ideologically sanctioned language, in which words signify the dominant party’s ever-changing ideas of what is and is not true.

Since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, nationwide protests, which quickly turned to riots, have been hijacked by the neo-Marxist left, morphing into an all-out assault on American cities and institutions. This assault is underpinned by an audacious attempt to rewrite history that turns specific past events into weapons not only to overpower political opponents but also to recast all of American history as a litany of racial transgressions.

The radicals have turned race into a lens through which to view the country’s history, and not simply because they are obsessed with race. They have done so because it allows them to identify and separate those groups that deserve affirmation, in their view, and those that do not. What is taking place is the resegregation of America, the endpoint of which will be the rejection of everything the civil-rights movement stood for.

What is driving the radical protesters and rioters—who are enabled and manipulated by the “digital intelligentsia” in the press and an expanding segment of the political and business classes—is contempt for the freedom of anyone who fails to comport with their image of a just society. In authoritarian systems those in power seek to proscribe certain forms of political speech and social activity. Totalitarians claim unconditional authority to reach deep into each person’s conscience. They prescribe an interpretation of the world and dictate the language with which citizens are permitted to express that interpretation. Authoritarian regimes leave largely untouched the private civic sphere of human activity; totalitarians destroy traditional value systems and reorder the culture. That is why they are harder to overthrow.

The ill-named progressivism that has inspired shrill demands to dismantle police forces and destroy statues is only a small manifestation of a massive project aimed at the re-education of the American population. The goal of this project is to negate the story of the American republic and replace it with a tale anchored exclusively in race categories and narratives of oppression. The nature of this exercise, with its sledgehammer rhetoric that obliterates complexities in favor of one-dimensional “correct” interpretations, is as close to Marxist agitprop as one can get.

Why do American elites, who might be expected to favor preserving the nation that has elevated them, support the effort to dismantle it? Their thinking seems to be that the radicals destroying monuments and issuing wholesale denunciations of America’s past are wreaking destruction on ordinary Americans and their history, not on the elites and their ideology. Today’s elites as a rule do not believe they have any obligation to serve the public, only to rule it, and so they express little or no disapproval of college students toppling statues on federal land or looters raiding supermarkets. To criticize them would open elites to the charges of “populism” and “racism.”

Why do American elites, who might be expected to favor preserving the nation that has elevated them, support the effort to dismantle it? Their thinking seems to be that the radicals destroying monuments and issuing wholesale denunciations of America’s past are wreaking destruction on ordinary Americans and their history, not on the elites and their ideology. Today’s elites as a rule do not believe they have any obligation to serve the public, only to rule it, and so they express little or no disapproval of college students toppling statues on federal land or looters raiding supermarkets. To criticize them would open elites to the charges of “populism” and “racism.”

Yet the elites are playing a dangerous game. Such “canceling”—of historical and living figures alike—increasingly mirrors what happened under communism in the Soviet bloc, where the accusation of being out of step with the party was enough to end one’s career and nullify one’s reputation.

This is about more than statues and history. Those who control the symbols of political discourse can dominate the culture and control the collective consciousness. If you doubt this, ask yourself why there has been so little backlash from ordinary, nonelite Americans. Our sense of self has been progressively deconstructed. We feel in our bones the wrongness of the violence being visited on the nation but lack the language to speak against it.

The resegregation of American society is fundamentally undemocratic and un-American. It envisions a social hierarchy based on DNA. It is also incompatible with individual freedom and constitutional government. Hence the drive to overhaul the U.S. Constitution, rewrite textbooks, and restructure museums by race and sex quotas.

Democracy cannot survive in a society in which winners and losers are adjudicated arbitrarily according to criteria beyond individual control. Any society built around the principle of skin color will become a caste system in which accident, not merit, will allocate value and benefit. Civil society will be buried once and for all.

The current radical trends carry the seeds of violence unseen in the U.S. since the Civil War. The activists ascendant in American cities insist on the dominance of their ideological precepts, brooking no alternative. Such absolutism forces Americans away from the realm of political compromise into one of unrelenting axiology, with one side claiming a monopoly on virtue and decency while the other is expected to accept its status as perpetually evil, and thus assume a permanent penitent stance for all its real and imagined misdeeds across history.

Only when the state creates a space for an unbiased debate over history can a discussion truly take place unhindered by ideology and dogma. Only then can a society move toward a consensus on a shared understanding of its past and how its collective memory should be shaped. The U.S. is roiled by spasms of violence and intolerance today because government at all levels—public education systems, states that allow universities to promulgate speech codes and “safe spaces,” court decisions that define constitutionally protected speech as, in effect, everything but political speech—has abdicated its duty to protect the public space. Children are rampaging through the cities because the adults have left the room.

America is in the throes of a destructive ideological experiment, subjected to a sweeping and increasingly state-sanctioned reordering of its collective memory, with the increasingly totalitarian left given free rein to dominate public discourse...
Still more.

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Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, China Maneuvers for International Leadership

I suppose it's nearly impossible for a 100 percent decoupling from China, but it's worth a try, sheesh.

See Kurt Campbell and Rush Doshi, at Foreign Affairs, "The Coronavirus Could Reshape Global Order: China Is Maneuvering for International Leadership as the United States Falters":

With hundreds of millions of people now isolating themselves around the world, the novel coronavirus pandemic has become a truly global event. And while its geopolitical implications should be considered secondary to matters of health and safety, those implications may, in the long term, prove just as consequential—especially when it comes to the United States’ global position. Global orders have a tendency to change gradually at first and then all at once. In 1956, a botched intervention in the Suez laid bare the decay in British power and marked the end of the United Kingdom’s reign as a global power. Today, U.S. policymakers should recognize that if the United States does not rise to meet the moment, the coronavirus pandemic could mark another “Suez moment.”

It is now clear to all but the most blinkered partisans that Washington has botched its initial response. Missteps by key institutions, from the White House and the Department of Homeland Security to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have undermined confidence in the capacity and competence of U.S. governance. Public statements by President Donald Trump, whether Oval Office addresses or early-morning tweets, have largely served to sow confusion and spread uncertainty. Both public and private sectors have proved ill-prepared to produce and distribute the tools necessary for testing and response. And internationally, the pandemic has amplified Trump’s instincts to go it alone and exposed just how unprepared Washington is to lead a global response.

The status of the United States as a global leader over the past seven decades has been built not just on wealth and power but also, and just as important, on the legitimacy that flows from the United States’ domestic governance, provision of global public goods, and ability and willingness to muster and coordinate a global response to crises. The coronavirus pandemic is testing all three elements of U.S. leadership. So far, Washington is failing the test.

As Washington falters, Beijing is moving quickly and adeptly to take advantage of the opening created by U.S. mistakes, filling the vacuum to position itself as the global leader in pandemic response. It is working to tout its own system, provide material assistance to other countries, and even organize other governments. The sheer chutzpah of China’s move is hard to overstate. After all, it was Beijing’s own missteps—especially its efforts at first to cover up the severity and spread of the outbreak—that helped create the very crisis now afflicting much of the world. Yet Beijing understands that if it is seen as leading, and Washington is seen as unable or unwilling to do so, this perception could fundamentally alter the United States’ position in global politics and the contest for leadership in the twenty-first century.

MISTAKES WERE MADE

In the immediate aftermath of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease now referred to as COVID-19, the missteps of Chinese leaders cast a pall on their country’s global standing. The virus was first detected in November 2019 in the city of Wuhan, but officials didn’t disclose it for months and even punished the doctors who first reported it, squandering precious time and delaying by at least five weeks measures that would educate the public, halt travel, and enable widespread testing. Even as the full scale of the crisis emerged, Beijing tightly controlled information, shunned assistance from the CDC, limited World Health Organization travel to Wuhan, likely undercounted infections and deaths, and repeatedly altered the criteria for registering new COVID-19 cases—perhaps in a deliberate effort to manipulate the official number of cases.

As the crisis worsened through January and February, some observers speculated that the coronavirus might even undermine the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. It was called China’s “Chernobyl”; Dr. Li Wenliang—the young whistleblower silenced by the government who later succumbed to complications from the COVID-19—was likened to the Tiananmen Square “tank man.”

Yet by early March, China was claiming victory. Mass quarantines, a halt to travel, and a complete shutdown of most daily life nationwide were credited with having stemmed the tide; official statistics, such as they are, reported that daily new cases had fallen into the single digits in mid-March from the hundreds in early February. In a surprise to most observers, Chinese leader Xi Jinping—who had been uncharacteristically quiet in the first weeks—began to put himself squarely at the center of the response. This month, he personally visited Wuhan.

Even though life in China has yet to return to normal (and despite continuing questions over the accuracy of China’s statistics), Beijing is working to turn these early signs of success into a larger narrative to broadcast to the rest of the world—one that makes China the essential player in a coming global recovery while airbrushing away its earlier mismanagement of the crisis.

A critical part of this narrative is Beijing’s supposed success in battling the virus. A steady stream of propaganda articles, tweets, and public messaging, in a wide variety of languages, touts China’s achievements and highlights the effectiveness of its model of domestic governance. “China’s signature strength, efficiency and speed in this fight has been widely acclaimed,” declared Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. China, he added, set “a new standard for the global efforts against the epidemic.” Central authorities have instituted tight informational control and discipline at state organs to snuff out contradictory narratives.

These messages are helped by the implicit contrast with efforts to battle the virus in the West, particularly in the United States—Washington’s failure to produce adequate numbers of testing kits, which means the United States has tested relatively few people per capita, or the Trump administration’s ongoing disassembly of the U.S. government’s pandemic-response infrastructure. Beijing has seized the narrative opportunity provided by American disarray, its state media and diplomats regularly reminding a global audience of the superiority of Chinese efforts and criticizing the “irresponsibility and incompetence” of the “so-called political elite in Washington,” as the state-run Xinhua news agency put it in an editorial.

Chinese officials and state media have even insisted that the coronavirus did not in fact emerge from China—despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary—in order to reduce China’s blame for the global pandemic. This effort has elements of a full-blown Russian-style disinformation campaign, with China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman and over a dozen diplomats sharing poorly sourced articles accusing the U.S. military of spreading the coronavirus in Wuhan. These actions, combined with China’s unprecedented mass expulsion of journalists from three leading American papers, damage China’s pretensions to leadership...
Still more.