Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Peter S. Goodman, Davos Man

At Amazon, Peter S. Goodman, Davos Man: How the Billionaires Devoured the World.

Kali Fontanilla: 'The Schools Have Changed' (VIDEO)

A lovely and very patriotic lady. We need more like her.

At Prager University:

Cracks Show in Western Front Against Russia's War in Ukraine

Yeah, I'll bet. 

Problem is Ukraine won't make it without Western help, so if "the West" wants to preserve Ukrainian independence and sovereignty, it'll be the United States that makes it happen. 

Congress just approved $40 billion, against the wishes of just about everyone on Twitter, if that matters. I can't disagree with them. We have so many needs at home, and here we are sending tens of billions of dollars across the pond. For what? How U.S. national security is tied to Western Europe's is not very well defined these days, and I can't for the life of me see how the country will support more "endless wars" via the national checkbook when we just bailed out of Afghanistan most disgracefully and at great risk not only to those we left behind --- Americans and our Afghani allies --- but to international security on the whole. 

Biden's doing extremely poorly, not just in the polls, but among people in his own party and administration. And to think, we've still got to bear two and a half more years of him. *Grunts.*

At the Wall Street Journal, "Allies are increasingly divided on further heavy-weapons shipments to Kyiv":

Cracks are appearing in the Western front against Moscow, with America’s European allies increasingly split over whether to keep shipping more powerful weapons to Ukraine, which some of them fear could prolong the conflict and increase its economic fallout.

At the center of the disagreement—which is splitting a group of Western European powers from the U.S., U.K. and a group of mostly central and northern European nations—are diverging perceptions of the long-term threat posed by Russia and whether Ukraine can actually prevail on the battlefield.

The first bloc, led by France and Germany, is growing reluctant to provide Ukraine the kinds of offensive, long-range weapons it would need to reclaim ground lost to Russia’s armies in the country’s south and east. They doubt Russia would directly threaten the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

On the other side, Washington, London and a group of mainly central and northern European nations, some of them former Soviet bloc members, see the Russian offensive as a harbinger of further expansion by Moscow, making Ukraine the front line in a broader war pitching Russia against the West.

The differences between the two groups—which European officials said have been building in recent weeks, as Ukraine lost ground in its Donbas area—are getting aired more loudly in public this week, as the European Union’s heads of government hold a summit on Ukraine.

Collectively, European governments have been able to agree on measures to isolate Russia’s economy that once would have been unthinkable, including an embargo on most of the crude oil Russia sells to Europe. But opinion is sharply divided on the stakes of the war and Ukraine’s chances.

Public statements by the leaders of France and Germany and comments by those countries’ officials suggest they are skeptical Kyiv can expel the invaders and they have called for a negotiated cease-fire, triggering complaints from Ukraine that it is being pushed to make territorial concessions.

Leaders in the Baltic States, Poland and elsewhere argue instead that supplying Ukraine with increasingly sophisticated heavy weapons is critical to not just hold the line, but reverse Russian advances and deal Moscow the kind of blow that would deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from any further military action in the future.

“This is an unprecedented attack on Ukraine,” said Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks. “Our understanding, which is based on a long history of interactions with Russia, is that we cannot rely on Russian mercy and we see the Russian attack on Ukraine as simply the prelude for further Russian imperial expansionism.” Some Western European nations are losing appetite for sustaining a war they think is unwinnable and has reached a bloody stalemate that is draining European resources and exacerbating a looming recession. By contrast, Poland and the Baltic countries, who once lived under the Kremlin’s boot, see themselves as next in line for Russian imperialist expansion.

The flow of millions of Ukrainian refugees into those countries has brought the war much closer to citizens’ ordinary lives, while for Germany, Austria and Italy, the conflict is primarily felt through higher energy costs.

“Every phone call, ministers from the north of Europe and central Europe are getting more and more angry,” said a senior Czech official. “This is destroying the unity. It’s precisely what Putin wants and what the French and Germans are giving him.”

Unlike the leaders of Britain, Poland, the Baltic nations and several central European countries, French and German leaders have yet to visit Kyiv. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has repeatedly warned that the conflict could lead to a third World War and nuclear annihilation. The goal of Western engagement, Mr. Scholz has said, was to keep Russia from winning.

Germany hasn’t sent tanks to Ukraine and agreed to ship seven pieces of heavy artillery. So far, Europe’s largest economy, with a population exceeding 83 million, has sent military aid worth about €200 million, according to government estimates—less than Estonia, with a population of just over one million. France has sent 12 howitzer-type cannons to Kyiv and no tanks or aerial defenses.

Poland has delivered more than 240 Soviet-designed T72 tanks to Ukraine, alongside drones, rocket launchers, dozens of infantry fighting vehicles and truckloads of ammunition. The Czech Republic has shipped helicopter gunships, tanks, and parts needed to keep Ukraine’s air force flying. Ordinary citizens in Lithuania and the Czech Republic have donated tens of millions of euros to crowdsourcing campaigns to buy Turkish drones and Soviet-era weapons for Ukraine.

“We’re sending whatever we can, whatever we have, and whenever we’re able to,” said Polish President Andrzej Duda, who has visited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky twice and speaks to him most days. “Why? Because we believe that this is a war on civilization. This is about a war for the defense of Europe.”

Germany also has yet to replace the Polish and Czech tanks that had been sent to Ukraine with German-made hardware, as it agreed to do as part of a swap. A spokesman for the German government said this was due to lengthy procedures including maintenance, while some Defense Ministry officials decried a lack of political will to act with greater expedience.

“It is very disappointing that neither the federal government nor the Chancellor personally have the courage to speak about a victory for Ukraine and act accordingly in supporting Ukraine with modern, heavy weapons,” said Andrij Melnyk, Ukraine’s ambassador to Berlin...



On Twitter.

And Pokket.

Plus, Kayla Erin.

Bill Maher: 'We Will All Be Gay in 2054' (VIDEO)

Bill Maher at his finest. 

Donna Brazile, one of Friday's guests, was not pleased. Nor was Glaad, for that matter. 


Focusing on Cultural Pathologies That Lead to Mass Shootings Reveals Difficult Truths…So Instead, We Talk About Guns

From Grace Stephens, at The Truth About Guns (via Instapundit):

[G]un control policies, even if they could be effective, would be little more than a Band-Aid solution. People don’t shoot each other just because there are guns around. The Uvalde shooter wanted to shoot up a classroom full of children — that’s the real problem.

This, ultimately, is the heart of the debate. Why are so many young men being driven to commit such heinous acts of violence? Why do they always seem to have no one in their lives paying attention to the signs of mental instability and aggression? What is wrong with our systems that they keep failing to identify and help people who are desperately in need of an intervention?

Gun policies are just one part of the debate, and they usually only scratch the surface. But it’s easier to focus on firearms than it is to talk about the other cultural factors at play, which we tend to avoid because they reveal difficult truths about our society and the ways in which it has failed.

Why is it, for example, that 75% of the most recent school shooters, including the 18-year-old in Uvalde, were raised in broken homes without fathers? Indeed, this background is so common among perpetrators that criminologists Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi concluded after the Sandy Hook school shooting that the absence of fathers is one of the “most powerful predictors of crimes.”…
RELATED: "We overlook a significant factor in mass shootings: fatherlessness."

What Happens on Campus Doesn't Stay on Campus

From Bari Weiss, "Graduation Week With Common Sense:"

There is no more reliable cliché in the news business than “if it bleeds it leads.” But the rule of thumb that was just as dependable, if not quite as catchy, in the years I spent at legacy newspapers is this one: campus craziness sells. It sold to readers of The Wall Street Journal just as reliably as it did to readers of The New York Times. If conservatives and progressives can unite over anything it’s that neither can resist hate-reading a story about Oberlin kids protesting the cultural appropriation of dining hall banh mi.

Until very recently, though, neither group took those kinds of stories very seriously. Neither did most of the editors who commissioned them. They were not unlike the crossword puzzle: a fun distraction. A nice mix for the reader dutifully getting through serious, important coverage about foreign policy and the economy and politics.

Sure, sure, the kids were doing crazy things. And yes, some of it was a little excessive—even most of the progressives could agree on that. But this was college! Remember Berkeley and Columbia and Cornell in the 1960s? Campus was always a radical place. Everyone assumed that the kids would grow out of it. That the politics of the quad would inevitably fade as these young Americans made their way in the world, onto marriage and kids, onto mortgages and life insurance policies, and onto jobs at places like JP Morgan and Bain, Amazon and Random House.

This isn’t at all what happened. Rather than those institutions shaping young people in their image, it’s the young people who are fundamentally reshaping those institutions in their own. As Andrew Sullivan put it: We all live on campus now. It turns out those campus stories were serious in ways many couldn’t—and still refuse to—imagine.

But you already know that. If you’re a Common Sense reader you’ve long noticed that one of our main areas of focus from the start has been education. Our reasoning is simple: We believe that if you want to understand what’s coming for the country and the culture you better pay very close attention to what’s happening on college campuses. Also: our high schools. And increasingly, our elementary schools. Even our kindergartens.

That’s why we’ve done deeply reported stories about the transformation of America’s elite high schools and the radicalization of our medical schools and our law schools.

It’s why we have been ahead of the curve in our reporting on the terrible consequences of Covid lockdowns.

It’s why we’ve run whistleblowing essays, like Paul Rossi’s first-person account of his refusal to indoctrinate his students and Gordon Klein’s essay about suing UCLA.

It’s why we’ve reported on the smearing of parent activists and free-thinking professors—and introduced you to courageous figures like Kathleen Stock, the University of Chicago’s Dorian Abbot, and Peter Boghossian, who resigned his post as a philosophy professor at Portland State University last year with these words: “For ten years, I have taught my students the importance of living by your principles. One of mine is to defend our system of liberal education from those who seek to destroy it. Who would I be if I didn’t?”

For every professor who refuses to cave, though, there are so many more who don’t. Indeed, the major theme that has emerged in our reporting is institutional retreat—schools that have abandoned their founding mission, leaders that have decided to follow, and professors paid to think for themselves who seem very scared of doing so. Exhibit A: Suzy Weiss’s story last week on the destruction of David Sabatini, the world-renowned molecular biologist who, until recently, was a star at MIT’s Whitehead Institute. Now he’s unemployed. Sabatini is a symbol of a system and culture that has eaten its own.

But it’s not all bad news—not by a long shot. Just as we have exposed what’s gone so wrong, we have been moved as we watch people, often ordinary Americans, try to make things right.

Those builders include the parents behind the homeschooling boom—which appears to be even bigger than we understood when we reported on it back in September; the fascinating group that has convened around Synthesis; and those who have planted a flag in Texas with the University of Austin, or UATX. Since Pano Kanelos, the university’s inaugural president and former head of St. John’s College, broke the news of the new university in Common Sense half a year ago, UATX reports that they have raised over $100 million in donations, pledges, and land from more than 1,000 donors. Perhaps most amazingly, the school has received some 5,000 inquiries from prospective faculty. This summer, they are offering their first summer school program in Dallas. I’ll be there, along with teachers like Niall Ferguson, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Rob Henderson, Thomas Chatterton-Williams, Nadine Strossen and Arthur Brooks.

None of these projects lack naysayers. But I’m bullish on the builders...

Keep reading, especially for all the links she's posted.  

Kevin McCarthy's Jan. 6th Coverup is Underway

From Amanda Carpenter, at the Bulwark, "The man who wants to be speaker of the House refuses to cooperate with the Jan. 6th investigation":

Conditioned to accept the idea that most Republican officials are zombified “ultra MAGA” automatons for former President Trump, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy seems to be getting a pass for stonewalling the January 6th Committee.

He shouldn’t. Politically convenient subservience to Trump isn’t enough of an excuse for McCarthy anymore.

More than 1,000 people have cooperated with the Jan. 6th Committee. Yet, McCarthy, one of the few people who spoke with Trump as the attack was underway, refuses to be one of them. Why is this seen as acceptable?

The GOP House leader made his position plain on Friday, when he signaled his intention to defy a subpoena from the committee. In doing so, he has transformed from a powerful party loyalist who could claim he was merely doing the former president’s bidding into an active participant in the coverup.

Recall that in the waning days of Trump’s presidency, McCarthy said that Trump “bears responsibility” for the attack. Shortly after making that statement, McCarthy changed his mind.

Within days he traveled to Mar-a-Lago to talk with Trump about winning the House majority in 2022. McCarthy issued a statement saying, “President Trump’s popularity has never been stronger than it is today, and his endorsement means more than perhaps any endorsement at any time.”

What’s more, McCarthy said he had no regrets about tanking an independent, 9/11-style, bipartisan commission of the attack. After Speaker Nancy Pelosi then moved to create the House Jan. 6th Committee, McCarthy withdrew his all picks when Pelosi rejected his selections of Reps. Jim Jordan and Jim Banks to serve as two of the five GOP members. (Note: Jordan has been subpoenaed by the committee as well. Choosing someone to serve on the committee who was also a target of the committee was an understandable non-starter for any worthy investigation. Additionally, Banks has since engaged in questionable behavior which proves why Pelosi was wise to nix him, too.) McCarthy has, nevertheless, blasted Pelosi for structuring the committee to “satisfy her political objectives.”

McCarthy’s opposition to the committee led to the entire Republican caucus voting against establishing it, with the exceptions of Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Kinzinger’s Illinois district was eliminated by Democrats. McCarthy then targeted Cheney, endorsing her primary opponent after he greenlit her removal from GOP leadership and then installed Trump apologist Elise Stefanik in her place.

So why the change of heart? The Jan. 6th Committee wants to know; McCarthy won’t tell.

On January 12, 2022, the committee sent McCarthy a letter asking for his voluntary cooperation regarding his communications with Trump before, during, and after the attack. It said:

Despite the many substantial concerns you voiced about President Trump’s responsibility for the January 6th attack, you nevertheless visited President Trump in Mar-a-Lago on January 28th (the impeachment trial began on February 9, 2021). While there, you reportedly discussed campaign planning and fundraising to retake the House majority in 2022. The Select Committee has no intention of asking you about electoral politics or campaign-related issues, but does wish to discuss any communications you had with President Trump at that time regarding your account of what actually happened on January 6th. Your public statements regarding January 6th have changed markedly since you met with Trump. At that meeting, or at any other time, did President Trump or his representatives discuss or suggest what you should say publicly, during the impeachment trial (if called as a witness), or in any later investigation about your conversations with him on January 6th?

McCarthy declined a voluntary interview. The committee sent McCarthy and four other Republican members of Congress subpoenas on May 12. In response, McCarthy’s lawyer sent the committee an 11-page letter on Friday, questioning the committee’s legality and constitutionality and making other arguments previously rejected by the courts.

Although the committee has stated many times that “our investigation will inform our specific legislative recommendations, and ensure that we can take action to prevent another January 6th from ever happening again,” McCarthy’s lawyer, Elliot S. Berke, rejected the idea the committee had any legislative purpose. “Its only objective appears to be to attempt to score political points or damage its political opponents—acting like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee one day and the Department of Justice the next,” Berke wrote.

Berke closed his letter with a request: that the committee give McCarthy a list of all topics and subjects it would like to discuss, as well as copies of “all documents” the committee would like to ask about, along with the “constitutional and legal rationale” for each of those requests.

Which is lots of lawyer-speak for people who bill by fractions of the hour.

What this request really meant was that McCarthy has absolutely no intention of acting as a cooperative witness. He wants information from the committee; he doesn’t want to give them any...

Keep reading.

Let the Pre-Criminations Begin: NBC 'News' Interviews White House Staffers and Discovers That Joe Biden Is a Very Cranky Old Man Who's Blaming His Staff For His Disastrous First (and Only) Term

 At AoSHQ, "Before getting to that -- and it's worth getting to -- I'll note that Biden's approval rating has fallen to 34% in the latest Civiqs poll, and, interestingly, he's underwater in 47 of the 50 states (57 according to the Greatest Intellect On Earth)."

Biden's Foreign Policy is Driven by Impulse, Not Reason

From Caroline Glick:

Almost every day, questions arise about President Joe Biden‘s ability to make presidential-level decisions. The questions stem mainly from Biden’s repeated rhetorical gaffes.

In a recent column in the Boston Herald, Howie Carr assembled a sampling of dozens of Biden’s misstatements since the start of May. Among the highlights, Biden told guests at the White House, “I thank all of you for being here, and I want you to enjoy the rest of the recession.”

In a speech before an audience of policemen, Biden asked, “How many police officers have multiple time and put a lion and had to do things that they’d have to think they’d have to do?”

Whereas Biden’s domestic policy malapropisms are generally subjects of amusement (or derision) with few consequences, the same cannot be said of his parallel misstatements when it comes to foreign policy.

Consider the war in Ukraine. In late January, as Russian troops were situated on the border with Ukraine awaiting Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s marching orders, Biden gave a press conference in which he exposed NATO‘s disagreements by noting that the alliance would be divided over how to respond to a “minor incursion” by Russian forces.

Confusion, and worse, impulsiveness, have been the hallmarks of Biden’s decisions no less than his pronouncements. The helter-skelter withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan last August remains the paramount example of the impulsive nature of Biden’s foreign policy. Biden ordered U.S. forces to withdraw, ending a 20-year war in humiliation and defeat without first coordinating the move with U.S. allies.

Biden gave the order without first making arrangements for U.S. citizens to depart the country, and apparently without regard to an inspector general report that warned the Afghan military would not be able to maintain control of any part of the country without supporting U.S. air control and contractors.

Biden acted in callous disregard for the safety of the U.S.’s Afghan partners, and without first making arrangements to secure the $90 billion in U.S. weapons that the withdrawing U.S. forces left behind.

Obviously, much of the failure can be laid at the feet of the Pentagon, the CIA and the State Department. But it was obvious that in the case of the Afghan withdrawal, it was Biden calling the shots from the top.

The Afghan withdrawal devastated the credibility of the U.S. as both an ally and an enemy. Its direct and indirect consequences will haunt the U.S. and its allies for years to come.

Biden’s actions against Russia since it invaded Ukraine are similarly seen by allies and enemies alike as the product of impulsive decisions, made without sufficient consideration of easily foreseeable consequences. Three decisions stand out, in particular.

The first was Biden’s decision to freeze $300 billion in Russian dollar reserves. The decision was unprecedented. And although it harmed Russia economically, it devastated the credibility of the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency. In response to the move, China and Russia abandoned the dollar in their bilateral trade. Other key countries, including Saudi Arabia and India, have also agreed to sell and purchase oil and gas in local currencies, undermining the petrodollar.

In response to the U.S. move and to Washington’s decision to block Russia from the international banking system, Russia began insisting that foreign purchasers of Russian oil and gas open ruble and foreign currency accounts with Gazprombank. Germany, Italy and more than a dozen other EU member states have thus far complied.

The ruble is as strong as it was before the February invasion. Simultaneously, the U.S. dollar is weak and its role as the world’s reserve currency is being questioned around the world. Time will tell if this is the beginning of the end of the dollar-based international economy. But what is already apparent is that the U.S. move on Russia’s dollar reserves was a net loss for the U.S. A more carefully crafted sanctions package might have had less deleterious consequences.

Then there are the leaks from Washington regarding the direct role the U.S. is apparently playing in Ukrainian military operations against Russia. The sources of the leaks are unclear. Biden is reportedly angry about them. All the same, administration officials have informed reporters that the U.S. provided Ukraine with the intelligence that enabled Ukrainian forces to sink the Moskva, Russia’s flagship in its Black Sea fleet, as well as intelligence that has enabled the Ukrainians to kill Russian generals.

In other words, Biden administration officials are telling the media that the U.S. is not merely supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia; rather, the U.S. is an active participant in that war. Whether it is Biden’s wish to go to war against Russia, or whether he is being led by his advisors, is unclear. But what is clear enough is that the escalatory consequences of these leaks are dangerous. Moreover, the U.S. interest in such escalation is unclear—at best.

The same can be said regarding the sudden decision to add Sweden and Finland to NATO. Is the U.S. really willing to send forces, if need be, to defend these nations? If so, where is that reflected in U.S. military budgets, training, hardware and doctrine?

Finally, there is the issue of the sanctions’ impact on the U.S. economy and on the global food supply. For months ahead of Russia’s invasion, as Putin’s troops deployed along the border grew, the Biden administration signaled that the U.S.’s primary tool for defeating Russia would be economic sanctions. Under the circumstances, Biden and his team could have been expected to calculate the sanctions for their effects on Russia and their blowback for the U.S. and its allies, as well as to consider the implications of Russian counter-sanctions on the U.S. and the global economy. But from the looks of things, it appears that the administration considered neither of these things.

Take the embargo on Russian oil and gas. Due to Biden’s decision to drastically cut U.S. energy production well before Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.S. had moved from being a net energy exporter to a net importer. Fuel prices in the U.S. had already risen precipitously. Those price rises aggravated skyrocketing inflation rates caused by a rapidly expanding U.S. money supply unmatched by a corresponding rise in domestic production.

Biden’s embargo on Russian oil and gas, therefore, took a bad situation and made it much worse.

Then there are the banking sanctions on Russian nationals. Russia is the main global exporter of fertilizer. While fertilizer exports weren’t banned, the financial sanctions on Russian nationals have impeded the ability of Russian exporters to do business with foreign purchasers, driving up the cost of fertilizers—and through them, of all foodstuff.

This brings us to the issue of Ukrainian food exports. Ukraine is a major supplier of wheat and corn to global markets. Ukrainian production and exports dropped by roughly 50% following the Russian invasion. And now Russia is blockading Ukraine’s Black Sea ports in order to prevent any exports of what remains of the besieged country’s crop yield. Expectations of a global food shortage are already causing panic worldwide, particularly among poor, unstable nations that are dependent on wheat imports to feed their people.

Russia will bear primary responsibility for global famine. But a better conceived U.S. sanctions strategy might have provoked a less devastating Russian counter-response. Now, with the real prospect of global food shortages, the danger of a naval confrontation between U.S. and NATO forces and Russian forces in the Black Sea rises every day.

Russia’s conventional forces have performed far below expectations. But Russia’s nuclear arsenal is both larger and more advanced than its U.S. counterpart. And unlike the U.S., Russia has built extensive and credible defensive systems to protect its cities and military bases from nuclear attack. Putin and his top advisors are openly threatening to use nuclear weapons if they feel it is necessary. Under the circumstances, any military exchange between the U.S. and Russia has the potential of becoming a nuclear war.

In response to the Ukrainian grain crisis, India announced last week that it is suspending its wheat exports to secure its domestic food supply. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, India has repeatedly flummoxed the Biden administration with its unwillingness to join the U.S. and NATO in their campaign on behalf of Ukraine. India’s early decision to maintain its oil and gas purchases with Russia while moving the trade from dollars to rupees and rubles was the first clear sign that New Delhi was staying loyal to its Cold War ally and moving away from the U.S.

India’s decision to distance itself from the U.S. poses grave consequences to the U.S. in its rising superpower struggle with China. President Biden, like President Donald Trump before him, rightly views India’s participation in a U.S.-led Pacific alliance as a key component of the U.S.’s strategy for containing China.

This brings us to Biden’s latest foreign policy gaffe with strategic implications. In response to a reporter’s question on Monday during his visit to Tokyo about whether the U.S. would use military force to defend Taiwan from China, Biden said, “Yes, that’s the commitment we made.”

But that isn’t the commitment the U.S. has made. For decades, U.S. policy with respect to the defense of Taiwan has been one of “strategic ambiguity.” The context of Biden’s remark, made from Tokyo at a time of heightened Chinese aggression against Taiwan, was significant. And while Biden’s advisors worked feverishly to present his remark as inconsequential, and U.S. policy as unchanged, the president has now “misspoken” numerous times on Taiwan.

Biden’s many gaffes and whispers of possible dementia have led many to wonder whether he is really the one driving U.S. policy. But to the extent he is, Biden’s foreign policy is a bundle of impulsive actions, whose economic and strategic implications have been disastrous for the U.S. and destabilizing to the world as a whole.


Colin Dueck, Age of Iron

At Amazon, Colin Dueck, Age of Iron: On Conservative Nationalism.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Ashley Alexiss

This lady's wowza, dang.

On Twitter.

Lina anime date.

Darshelle likes the renaissance faire

And Luxure Extase Class & and Sass is here

And Gal Gadot (very NSFW). 

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Serhii Plokhy, Atoms and Ashes

At Amazon, Serhii Plokhy, Atoms and Ashes: A Global History of Nuclear Disasters.

School District Police Captain's 'Wrong Decision' Likely Left More Children Dead (VIDEO)

It's so heartbreaking. 

They stood in the hallway for more than an hour, in a situation where literally every second counts. It's no wonder there're calls for *less* gun control after this heinous attack, as folks are rightly saying you cannot rely on the police to save your life; you have to protect yourself, be armed. 

As CNN reports, "The Uvalde School District police chief is Pedro 'Pete' Arredondo."

And at the Los Angeles Times, "Police delays may have deprived Texas schoolchildren of lifesaving care, experts say":

UVALDE, Texas — As the nation struggles to comprehend the horrors that unfolded Tuesday inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, one of the biggest unanswered questions is whether anyone could have been saved.

Authorities have left the public with more questions than answers about the mass shooting that left 21 dead, and their timeline has shifted multiple times. At least 17 children were hospitalized with injuries, though it’s unclear how many of those survived.

The latest update provided Friday by the Texas Department of Public Safety found that more than an hour elapsed between the time the shooter entered the school at 11:33 a.m. and the time law enforcement officers breached a locked classroom and killed him at 12:50 p.m.

According to the timeline provided by authorities, a person called 911 from inside Room 112, one of the classrooms where the shooting occurred, at 12:16 p.m. and said there were “eight to nine students alive.”

Though it is not yet known whether those students were ultimately among the victims, the injured or the survivors, police and medical experts said that in most instances, the sooner a patient can get some form of medical attention, the better the chances at pulling through.

According to Dr. Demetrios Demetriades, a professor of surgery and director of trauma at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, the mortality rate of a patient increases by about 10% for every 10 minutes of delayed bleeding control.

L.A. County-USC’s chief of trauma, Dr. Kenji Inaba, said similarly that “bleeding remains the No. 1 preventable cause of death after ballistic injury,” though he said he could not comment on the law enforcement tactics used in Uvalde or the medical care provided at the scene.

“After sustaining a ballistic injury, every second counts, and as soon as it is feasible to do so, victims should be triaged, have any obvious bleeding stopped, and then be transported to the nearest trauma center for definitive care,” he said.

Dr. Marc Eckstein, professor of emergency medicine and chief of the EMS Division at USC, said, “The longer it takes to evacuate patients from the hot zone, the worse their outcome is going to be.”

“When you have a place like [Uvalde] where your nearest Level 1 trauma center, San Antonio, is 80 miles away, the responsibility of law enforcement is to simultaneously try to neutralize the shooter and evacuate the workers and the kids and teachers as quickly as possible,” Eckstein said. “That was a lesson learned in Columbine, and a lesson that wasn’t learned in the Pulse nightclub shooting [in Orlando, Fla.], where patients who were potentially viable bled to death.”

Still, Eckstein said, he didn’t want to give grieving families the sense that their loved ones might have survived had authorities responded differently, particularly since so much depends on the location and type of injury.

The AR-15-type of rifle used in the shooting causes “devastating injuries to the body,” Eckstein said, not because of the size of the rounds but because their high velocity generates immense kinetic energy.

“And then on top of that, you have children,” he said. “The fatality rate of a child getting hit by a round like this is going to be much higher than an adult, and it’s going to be higher than a typical round from a handgun.”

The mother of 8-year-old survivor Adam Pennington said Friday she was troubled by the new timeline released by law enforcement.

“When you’re on scene, you should listen to your gut,” said Laura Pennington, 33. “I think everybody was very afraid and confused, and that causes problems. But there should be a set protocol for all of these situations.”

Pennington, who is also a substitute teacher in the district, said her brother-in-law was among those who rushed to the school to help but were kept outside by law enforcement even as officers refused to enter...

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Joanne Samuel Goldblum and Colleen Shaddox, Broke in America

At Amazon, Joanne Samuel Goldblum and Colleen Shaddox, Broke in America: Seeing, Understanding, and Ending US Poverty.

'Dog Days Are Over'

It's Florence + the Machine.

The Real Reason America Doesn't Have Gun Control (VIDEO)

From Ronald Brownstein, at the Atlantic, "The basic rules of American democracy provide a veto over national policy to a minority of the states":

After each of the repeated mass shootings that now provide a tragic backbeat to American life, the same doomed dance of legislation quickly begins. As the outraged demands for action are inevitably derailed in Congress, disappointed gun-control advocates, and perplexed ordinary citizens, point their fingers at the influence of the National Rifle Association or the intransigent opposition of congressional Republicans. Those are both legitimate factors, but the stalemate over gun-control legislation since Bill Clinton’s first presidential term ultimately rests on a much deeper problem: the growing crisis of majority rule in American politics.

Polls are clear that while Americans don’t believe gun control would solve all of the problems associated with gun violence, a commanding majority supports the central priorities of gun-control advocates, including universal background checks and an assault-weapons ban. Yet despite this overwhelming consensus, it’s highly unlikely that the massacre of at least 19 schoolchildren and two adults in Uvalde, Texas, yesterday, or President Joe Biden’s emotional plea for action last night, will result in legislative action.

That’s because gun control is one of many issues in which majority opinion in the nation runs into the brick wall of a Senate rule—the filibuster—that provides a veto over national policy to a minority of the states, most of them small, largely rural, preponderantly white, and dominated by Republicans.

The disproportionate influence of small states has come to shape the competition for national power in America. Democrats have won the popular vote in seven of the past eight presidential elections, something no party had done since the formation of the modern party system in 1828. Yet Republicans have controlled the White House after three of those elections instead of one, twice winning the Electoral College while losing the popular vote. The Senate imbalance has been even more striking. According to calculations by Lee Drutman, a senior fellow in the political-reform program at New America, a center-left think tank, Senate Republicans have represented a majority of the U.S. population for only two years since 1980, if you assign half of each state’s population to each of its senators. But largely because of its commanding hold on smaller states, the GOP has controlled the Senate majority for 22 of those 42 years.

The practical implications of these imbalances were dramatized by the last full-scale Senate debate over gun control. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, the Senate in 2013 voted on a measure backed by President Barack Obama to impose background checks on all gun sales. Again assigning half of each state’s population to each of its senators, the 54 senators who supported the bill (plus then–Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who opposed it only for procedural reasons) represented 194 million Americans. The remaining senators who opposed the bill represented 118 million people. But because of the Senate’s filibuster rule, which requires the backing of 60 senators to move legislation to a vote, the 118 million prevailed.

That impassable opposition reflects the GOP’s reliance on the places and voters most deeply devoted to gun culture...

More at the link.

And my response to Brownstein here:

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Hands Off My Gun

At Amazon, Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America.

School Mask Mandates Are Coming Back

I dread this, as mentioned previously. If my college imposes a mask mandate again this fall I'll be teaching completely online once again. Arghh! 

At Time, "Mask Mandates Are Returning to Schools as COVID-19 Cases Surge":

On April 11, public schools in Providence, R.I, made face masks optional instead of mandatory for students and teachers—celebrating the move as a “positive milestone” brought about by declining COVID-19 cases among students and community support for a more lenient policy.

Just over a month later, Providence is one of several school districts requiring masks again in response to rising COVID-19 cases, part of a nationwide spike attributed to the highly contagious Omicron subvariants.

The Providence school district tracked about 60 COVID-19 cases per day last week among staff and students—a dramatic increase from a low of about 10 cases per day in March and early April, according to district data.

“The additional mitigation layer of masking will help us manage this new COVID surge and keep more students in the classroom where they learn best,” Javier Montañez, superintendent of Providence schools, said in a statement on Monday.

Philadelphia schools also resumed a mask mandate “to help protect everyone’s health and well-being as COVID-19 case counts continue to rise in the Philadelphia area,” superintendent William Hite said in a statement. And Brookline, Mass. reinstated an indoor mask mandate in all town-owned buildings, including public schools. The decision came after public health officials compared COVID-19 cases in Brookline public schools to cases in other Massachusetts school districts that had maintained mask requirements and concluded that “a temporary reinstatement would be an important mitigation measure to limit disease spread and reduce disruptions due to student and staff absenteeism.”

Boston public schools, for example, have maintained a mask requirement. City health officials said they would recommend lifting the school mask mandate once daily COVID-19 cases in the city fall to 10 new cases per 100,000 residents. The positivity rate currently stands at 54.5 new cases per 100,000 residents.

But overall, a small percentage of schools have reinstated mask requirements thus far...

Good. Let's hope it stays that way.


Less Gun Control Likely in Wake of Uvalde, Texas, School Massacre

Gun owners will tell their communities are safer, with less crime, when everyday people are armed and ready to defend their lives and the lives of others. Taking away the basic right to bear arms only empowers  criminals, who flout whatever regulations are in place or those coming down the pike.

Fortunately, the Supreme Court may make it easier for individuals to carry arms in public spaces, which if it turns out that way, will have a very significant effect on California.

At the Los Angeles Times, "U.S. gun laws are getting looser, not stronger, despite more mass shootings":

In recent weeks, a string of devastating shootings — at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y., a church in Laguna Woods, and now an elementary school in little Uvalde, Texas — has renewed calls for tighter gun restrictions.

Just hours after a teenage gunman killed at least 19 children and two adults at a Texas elementary school Tuesday, an emotional President Biden demanded: “When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?”

Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a series of furious tweets Tuesday, asked, “Who the hell are we if we cannot keep our kids safe. This is preventable. Our inaction is a choice. We need nationwide, comprehensive, commonsense gun safety now.”

Experts, however, say the opposite — the loosening of gun laws — is almost certainly coming instead.

That’s despite the 10 shoppers and grocery workers gunned down in a largely Black neighborhood on May 14. The elderly Taiwanese churchgoers terrorized a day later. The elementary school students shot dead Tuesday at Robb Elementary School.

“If your reaction to these kind of atrocities is, ‘Well, where is the political will to move the needle on regulation?’ the truth is that the space for that kind of regulatory move is becoming narrower and narrower, both as a matter of constitutional law but also as a matter of state law,” said Darrell A.H. Miller, a Duke law professor and expert on the 2nd Amendment and other gun laws.

By this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision undoing a long-standing New York law that forbids individuals from carrying guns in public without first demonstrating a “special need” for self-defense.

Depending on how narrowly the court tailors its decision, the ruling could have sweeping implications for similar concealed carry restrictions all across the country and especially in liberal states like California, Miller and other 2nd Amendment scholars said.

If the court issues a broad decision — such as one that implies regulations on guns that aren’t historically based are unconstitutional — even more gun control legislation could become vulnerable to challenges, the scholars said.

“Any day now the Supreme Court could hand down its decision in the New York concealed carry case and make it much harder for states like California to regulate guns in the name of public safety,” said Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor.

Miller said the “trend line is definitely [toward] ever more expansive gun rights,” not gun restrictions, and that there will almost certainly be “a flurry of litigation” from gun rights advocates targeting additional state gun control measures once the Supreme Court issues its decision in the New York case.

Pro-gun rights groups have been slowly building toward such an outcome for years, scholars said, and feel that the Supreme Court’s conservative majority — bolstered by former President Trump’s three appointees — shares their interests in scaling back gun restrictions nationwide. At the same time, Miller said, many lawmakers in red states feel emboldened to bolster gun rights now — even in the face of tragedies such as what happened in Uvalde, where a teacher, at least one other adult and 19 elementary school children were killed by a gun-wielding 18-year-old who was later shot to death by a Border Patrol agent.

Before the school massacre, the black-clad gunman allegedly shot and wounded his grandmother.

“Even absent action by the Supreme Court of the United States, the demonstrated reaction of red states in particular to atrocities like what just occurred in Texas and what just occurred in Buffalo — what was it, last week? — is not to actually reconsider or even consider any sort of gun regulations, but ever more expansive gun rights,” Miller said.

Miller was one of several law professors who filed what’s known as an amicus brief with the high court in the New York case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. vs. Bruen, in which they argued against a far-reaching decision suggesting that any gun regulation not grounded in early U.S. history is unconstitutional...


Victims in Texas Shooting Were Killed in One Classroom

Following-up, "'We do have background checks --- laws are already in place...' (VIDEO)."

God have mercy.

At the Wall Street Journal, "Texas School Shooting Victims Were Killed in One Classroom":

Officials say shooter barricaded himself in a fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

All the victims killed in the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school Tuesday were in the same classroom, a law-enforcement official said, as details about both the victims and how the massacre unfolded continued to emerge.

According to law-enforcement officials familiar with the investigation, the gunman barricaded himself in a two-room classroom and fired on law enforcement continually through the windows of the classroom.

The details of the attack were continuing to unfold a day after 19 children and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. this year.

All of the victims have been identified, Lt. Christopher Olivarez, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety told CNN Wednesday.

Police have identified the gunman as Salvador Ramos, a resident of Uvalde, where the school is located. Uvalde, pronounced you-VAL-dee, is a city of around 16,000 located about 80 miles west of San Antonio. The school teaches second- to fourth-grade students.

Members of an elite Border Patrol tactical team known as Bortac responded to the shooting but couldn’t get into the classroom because of a steel door and cinder block construction, according to the officials familiar with the investigation. Meanwhile, the gunman shot at them through the door and walls.

Bortac members were able to enter the room after getting a master key from the principal, according to the officials. One Bortac agent took rounds to their shield upon entering, a second was wounded by shrapnel. A third killed the suspect.

Inside, authorities found dead children in multiple piles, according to the officials.

Agents from Bortac, among the most highly trained federal agents, typically track smugglers, serve high-risk warrants and raid stash houses.

Before the massacre at Robb Elementary, Ramos shot his grandmother, who he lived with, before going to the elementary school, according to police. Mr. Olivarez said the shooter’s grandmother is still alive, and that police are working to understand the motive behind the massacre.

“Everything is still active,” Mr. Olivarez said. “We’re trying to put all the pieces together.”

A law-enforcement official said Ramos legally purchased two assault-style rifles on the same day, within a week of his 18th birthday, from the same local store. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives requires firearms dealers in border states such as Texas to report the purchase of two or more semiautomatic rifles within five days as part of a program that aims to spot gun trafficking across the Mexican border.

Former and current law-enforcement officials said that buying two rifles on the same day or during the same week wouldn’t necessarily trigger further inquiry. An ATF official declined to say whether Ramos’s purchase was flagged to the agency. Officials said they believe Ramos acted alone and aren’t pursuing other suspects, according to Pete Arredondo, chief of police for the local school district. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has determined that there is no known connection to terrorism, a law-enforcement official familiar with the investigation said.

At the current death toll, Tuesday’s shooting in Texas was the deadliest at a U.S. school since the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012, where 20 children and six staff members died. In 2018, an attack at a high school in Parkland, Fla., left 17 students and staff dead. Historically, elementary schools haven’t been the sites of mass shootings with as much frequency as high schools or middle schools.

Before Tuesday’s shooting the massacre at a Buffalo supermarket on May 14 in which 10 people were killed was this year’s worst mass shooting in the U.S.

President Biden addressed the shooting Tuesday night from the White House not long after returning from a five-day trip to Asia.

“To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away,” he said in a seven-minute speech from the Roosevelt Room.

As he has before, including in Buffalo earlier this month after the mass shooting there, the Democratic president called for gun-control legislation.

“As a nation, we have to ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” he said. “I am sick and tired of it. We have to act. And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage.”

The president ordered the flag at the White House and across federal property to be flown at half-staff until sunset Saturday...


'We do have background checks --- laws are already in place...' (VIDEO)

Following-up, "President Biden Immediately Exploits Uvalde, Texas, School Massacre for Partisan Political Advantage (VIDEO)."

Katie Pavlich with Bill Hemmer this morning:

President Biden Immediately Exploits Uvalde, Texas, School Massacre for Partisan Political Advantage (VIDEO)

Following-up from last night.

Now the death toll is up to 19 children and 2 teachers murdered in Uvalde, Texas.

The Washington Post is reporting the gunman, Salvador Rolando Ramos, was bullied at school. See, via Memeorandum, "Gunman was bullied as a child, grew increasingly violent, friends say."

And Glenn Greenwald on Tucker's last night:

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Nancy Isenberg, White Trash

At Amazon, Nancy Isenberg, White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America.

18 Children and 1 Teacher Killed in Texas Schoohouse Massacre (VIDEO)

I've been watching this unfold this afternoon. The death toll keeps going up. We're in Sandy Hook territory at this point, and it's devastating. 

At the video, Chris Murphy, far-left Senator from Connecticut, goes off, "What are we doing here?!!" 

He always goes off. Then, nothing changes, because the left can't get over its gun control fetish when state authorities need the power to intervene before people get killed, and that means institutionalizing those with a history of mental illness and a documented propensity toward gun violence. Elliot Rodger, who killed 7 in the 2014 U.C. Santa Barbara attacks, should have been hospitalized beforehand. He'd been under long-term treatment and his parents knew he was not right in the head. 

Mass murderer James Holmes had been under the care of a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. He killed 12 and 70 others survived their wounds. I wrote a lot about it at the time. See, "Neuroscience Ph.D. Program Can Be Isolating, Competitive, and Highly Demanding," and the links therein.

At the Wall Street Journal, "Texas Shooter Kills at Least 18 Children and One Teacher in Elementary School":

An 18-year old man opened fire in a Texas elementary school Tuesday, killing at least 18 students and one teacher before he was killed by police, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Police identified the gunman as Salvador Ramos, a resident of Uvalde, where the school is located. Uvalde is about 80 miles west of San Antonio.

Ramos, a former student at Uvalde High School, shot his grandmother before going to Robb Elementary School, police said. He left his vehicle outside the elementary school in Uvalde and carried a handgun inside, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said.

Two police officers who responded to the scene were shot, but are expected to survive, the governor said.

“What happened in Uvalde is a horrific tragedy that cannot be tolerated in the state of Texas,” said Mr. Abbott, a Republican.

At the current death toll, Tuesday’s shooting in Texas was the deadliest at a U.S. school since the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012, where 20 children and six staff members died. In 2018, an attack at a high school in Parkland, Fla., left 17 students and staff dead. Historically, elementary schools haven’t been the sites of mass shootings with as much frequency as high schools or middle schools.

Before Tuesday’s shooting, the massacre at a Buffalo supermarket on May 14 in which 10 people were killed, was this year’s worst mass shooting in the U.S. That record stood for a little more than a week.

The Uvalde school district reported an active shooter at Robb Elementary School just after 11:30 a.m. local time Tuesday. The school, according to the district’s website, teaches second- to fourth-grade students.

All district and campus activities, after-school programs and other events were canceled. The district said parents could pick up students at regular dismissal times at their respective campuses, and officers would be there to escort the students to their parents’ vehicles.

“Parents please be patient as lines will be long,” the school district said in a post on social media.

After the shooting, Uvalde Memorial Hospital said 13 children arrived by ambulance or buses for treatment and two people arrived deceased.

University Health, in San Antonio, said it had received two patients from the shooting, a child and an adult. The hospital said the adult was a 66-year-old woman in critical condition. Hospital authorities didn’t confirm whether the woman was the shooter’s grandmother.

he child, identified as a 10-year-old girl, was also in critical condition.

Late Tuesday, authorities were in the process of notifying victims’ families, said Pete Arredondo, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s chief of police.

Armando Ramos, an uncle of Salvador Ramos, said in an interview that he doesn’t think his nephew intended to target the school, but wound up there after a police chase. Salvador Ramos’s grandmother, whose name he declined to share, is currently in surgery, he said.

President Biden was briefed on the shooting as he flew back to Washington from a trip to Asia and planned to give remarks Tuesday night, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

“His prayers are with the families impacted by this awful event,” she tweeted.

The president ordered the flag at the White House and across federal property to be flown at half-staff until sunset Saturday.

Gov. Abbott said he had instructed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers to work with local law enforcement to investigate the shooting...


Monday, May 23, 2022

László Krasznahorkai, Chasing Homer

At Amazon, László Krasznahorkai, Chasing Homer.

Democrats Mobilize Demonization

Well, er, speaking of the devil. I just wrote about this a minute ago, "Lincoln Project's Attack on Elise Stefanik is Evil":

And now here's Caroline Glick, "Demonization, American Style":

Demonization, the effort to portray a political rival as an inhuman monster, has long been a means to mobilize public support. The ancient Romans did it. The Soviets didn’t know there was another option.

While negative campaigning has long been a tried and true method for winning elections in the free world, actual demonization was fairly rare, particularly in the United States, actual demonization was a fairly rare phenomenon until after the turn of the century. But in recent decades, and with unprecedented intensity and venom since 2016, the Democrats have aped the Soviets and adopted demonization as their main political tool for winning elections. The primary object of their hatred is former President Donald Trump.

Last Sunday, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi showed how it is done in an interview with CNN. The interview focused on the Democrat Party’s concern that the conservative majority in the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade, ending the federal mandate for abortions and letting the separate states decide for themselves whether to place limitations on the procedure. Concerns among Democrats and the party’s progressive base rose exponentially earlier this month when in a shocking break with the past, a source at the Supreme Court leaked a draft judgment on the issue authored by conservative Justice Samuel Alito to Politico.

Sunday, CNN‘s Dana Bash asked Pelosi if the fact that conservatives are now the majority on the Supreme Court means that the Democrats dropped the ball on abortion rights. Pelosi rejected Bash’s assertion and instead blamed Trump.

Brimming with rage Pelosi seethed, “Who would have ever suspected that a creature like Donald Trump would become president of the United States, waving a list of judges that he would appoint, therefore getting the support of the far-right, and appointing those anti-just freedom justices to the court?”

In that one sentence, Pelosi managed to demonize Trump, demonize Trump voters and delegitimize three sitting justices of the Supreme Court. It bears noting that as Pelosi made these remarks, Democrat activists were staging threatening demonstrations outside the homes of conservative justices.

Pelosi’s statement wasn’t an isolated event. It was part of an overall partisan strategy ahead of the Congressional elections in November. President Joe Biden gave voice to it in a speech last Friday where he spoke of “Ultra MAGA Republicans.” Just to make clear what he was talking about, he called Trump “King MAGA.” MAGA, or Make America Great Again, was of course Trump’s election slogan in 2016. Since then, MAGA has become shorthand for Trump supporters.

The obvious purpose of Biden’s coinage of “Ultra MAGA” was to link all Republicans to Trump and to make the 2022 elections a referendum on Trump, the demonic “creature” even though Trump isn’t on the ballot and the Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress.

The administration is so excited by the new term their invented that Biden’s spokeswoman bragged that “Ultra MAGA” was the product of six months of market research.

Wednesday, Politico reported that the progressive fundraising giant Moveon.org is launching a $30 million “Us vs. MAGA” ad campaign ahead of November. Moveon.org executive director Rahna Epting told the progressive online publication that the purpose of the campaign is to tie Republicans to Trump, who all right-thinking people hate because he threatens the very existence of America.

The idea of using demonization as a political tool was most powerfully introduced to radical US politics by political guru Saul Alinsky. Alinsky’s 1971 book Rules for Radicals became the political bible for revolutionary leftists in the Democrat Party. There Alinsky warned his disciples that in light of the unpopularity of their America-hating agenda, the way to win is by distracting the public from their actual agenda and to focus their target audience instead of on their political opponents, whom they would defeat by presenting him as the devil.

One of Alinsky’s star pupils was a young coed at Wellesley College named Hillary Rodham, better known by her married name Hillary Clinton. Alinsky’s methods were adopted and taught in the 1990s by a community organizer in Chicago named Barack Obama.

As the US moves into elections mode, the last thing the Democrats want to talk about is policy. The only issue they may want to run on is abortion, and it’s unclear how popular the issue will be in swing states and districts. The more the US public feels the impacts of the Democrats’ economic, energy, and social policies, the lower the party’s polling numbers drop. Every day another shocking story appears about the fruits of the Democrats’ revolutionary agenda.

This week, for instance, the school board in Kiel, Wisconsin, a small town of some 3,000 people decided to charge three middle school boys with sexual harassment.

Their crime?

They didn’t refer to a girl in their class as “they” or “them” after she said she decided she is no longer willing to be referred to as “her” or “she,” because she no longer considers herself a female.

According to Critical Race Theory expert Christopher Rufo, depending on the questions asked, between 60-80% of Americans oppose revolutionary sexual policies. The more stories appear like the one from Kiel, Wisconsin, or even more distressing ones about children given sexual hormones by school officials without their parents’ knowledge or consent, the more voters abandon the Democrat Party in fear.

The Democrats’ response to the public’s rejection of their agenda isn’t to move toward the public by ending their support for sex-change operations for minors. They remain stridently committed to their agenda. The Democrats’ response to the public’s rejection of their policies is to castigate the Republicans as the evil acolytes of Trump who share his demonic characteristics – first and foremost, “racism.”

Last weekend, an 18-year-old racist antisemite murdered 10 people in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. Biden, Democrat politicians from coast to coast, the progressive media, and Hollywood stars all rushed to blame Trump, Fox News, and the entire Republican Party for the slaughter. Never mind that the same day, a Chinese man motivated by hatred of Taiwanese entered a church attended by Taiwanese immigrants in California and opened fire killing one and wounding four other worshippers. Last December, a black racist mowed down six people, and wounded 77 more, (all white) at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Republicans didn’t blame Biden and the Democrats.

Tuesday, Democrat advertising executive Donny Deutsch explained the Democrats’ post-Buffalo massacre efforts on MSNBC. In Deutsch’s words, the Democrats’ mission post-Buffalo is to, “Brand every Republican,” as the party of “racist, violent replacement theory.”

“Take a branding iron, put it on them so any mainstream Republican has to wear that badge.” Notably, the Democrats’ “Ultra-MAGA campaign hasn’t raised any concern among Republicans. Indeed, immediately after Biden launched it, the Republican National Committee began printing “Ultra MAGA” t-shirts to give away to party donors.

Some 95% of Republicans voted for Trump in 2016 and in 2020. Despite its near-unanimous support, the Democrats’ demonization of the former president did have an impact at the margins of the party and among independent voters. Members of these groups were convinced that Trump and the Republicans are a demonic force that threatens the soul of America.

It wasn’t the likes of Deutsch who convinced them. That job was carried out by a smattering of former Republicans who share the Democrats’ visceral hatred of Trump. In the 2018 Congressional elections, and to an even greater degree in the 2020 presidential race, members of this tiny minority of Republicans appeared nearly around the clock on progressive media organs to castigate Trump and his voters as dangerous, racist and evil. While their overall impact was indiscernible, in all-important swing states where Biden’s margins of victory were miniscule, they appear to have made a difference.

Today the same group of former Republicans is working full throttle at the side of the Democrats to prevent their former party from winning the mid-term elections and taking control of Congress.

Sitting at Deutsch’s side on the MSNBC panel Tuesday was political activist and former Republican Miles Taylor. While serving as a mid-level official in the Department of Homeland Security during the Trump administration, Taylor anonymously published an op-ed in the New York Times and a book where he claimed that many officials inside the administration believed that Trump was a danger to the United States. These officials, he said, were working together to subvert Trump’s policies and save America from its duly elected president. Now Taylor is running a well-funded Super-PAC, where “former Republicans” run campaign ads against Republicans.

Taylor explained that the goal is to shame Republicans into leaving the party.

“I tried and failed to save the party in my own little way,” he said.

“We tried to prevent Trump from rising in 2016. Some of us tried from within to contain his reckless impulses. We thought we beat him in 2020, but we didn’t. Trumpism is alive and it’s well and it’s fueling this so that what conservatives need to do is convince other conservatives to quit the Republican Party.”

It’s hard to know what these former Republican conservatives tell themselves when they see empty shelves in supermarkets, $4.00/ gallon gas, cratering stock markets, and boys being persecuted for being boys in schools across America. It’s hard to know what they tell themselves when they see children indoctrinated to reject their biological sex and hate their parents and their country.

But what is clear enough is that through their efforts to demonize their fellow conservatives, former party and former president, these Trump-hating former Republicans enable the progressive revolution. Under the mask of anti-Trump paranoia, this revolution rejects the foundations of the United States and seeks to transform the country from the land of the free and the home of the brave into the land of the unfree, and home of the bullied, cowed and socially engineered.


Lincoln Project's Attack on Elise Stefanik is Evil

I don't think I've ever posted on the Lincoln Project. I've basically ignored "Never Trumpers" since President Trump was first elected, and even before. They're nothing to me. I do like Amanda Carpenter, as I've known her on Twitter a long time, though it bothers me she writes at the Bulwark, perhaps the home base of traditional conservative attacks on populist nationalism in the U.S., and especially Trump. 

But I gotta say, this Lincoln Project campaign spot is so over the top attacking Rep. Stefanik as evil, that it's evil. 

Demonizing your political opponents is just a thing in the online world. You'd think folks in elite Washington would take a step back and perhaps practice the teeniest moderation and civility. But no. Dehumanizing your political enemies is the best way to mobilize your base these days. It's off-putting, to say the least. 

A dark turn. 


PREVIOUSLY: "Rep. Elise Stefanik Rejects Allegations of Invoking 'Great Replacement Rhetoric' (VIDEO)."

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Amor Towles, The Lincoln Highway

At Amazon, Amor Towles, The Lincoln Highway: A Novel.

'Stop the Steal' Republicans Now Dominating State Legislators (VIDEO)

Wyoming's state Republican Party chairman isn't a particularly "stop the steal" guy, or at least not from what I read at the story from the other day, "W. Frank Eathorne Shakes Up the Wyoming Republican Party (VIDEO)."

But Eathorne's a Trump man through and through, and that goes for a lot of another state party political leaders as well (regardless of gender).

At the New York Times, "How Trump’s 2020 Election Lies Have Gripped State Legislatures":

LANSING, Mich. — At least 357 sitting Republican legislators in closely contested battleground states have used the power of their office to discredit or try to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, according to a review of legislative votes, records and official statements by The New York Times.

The tally accounts for 44 percent of the Republican legislators in the nine states where the presidential race was most narrowly decided. In each of those states, the election was conducted without any evidence of widespread fraud, leaving election officials from both parties in agreement on the victory of Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The Times’s analysis exposes how deeply rooted lies and misinformation about former President Donald J. Trump’s defeat have become in state legislatures, which play an integral role in U.S. democracy. In some, the false view that the election was stolen — either by fraud or as a result of pandemic-related changes to the process — is now widely accepted as fact among Republican lawmakers, turning statehouses into hotbeds of conspiratorial thinking and specious legal theories.

357 lawmakers took concrete steps to discredit or overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. That amounts to 44 percent of the Republican lawmakers in those states.

23 percent took steps to delay the vote count or overturn the election by supporting lawsuits or by signing letters to Congress or former Vice President Mike Pence.

11 percent supported sending alternate slates of electors to Congress that would override the choices of voters in those states.

7 percent supported a legally dubious theory of “decertification” of the 2020 election, which legal experts say has no basis in U.S. election law.

24 percent of the Republican lawmakers voted for an outside, partisan review of the 2020 election (often referred to as an “audit”). The reviews have been used to justify new voting laws and efforts to decertify the 2020 election.

Legislators in Florida and North Carolina did not face as much pressure to overturn the election because Mr. Trump carried both states. In Nevada, Democrats control the Legislature, and though the state Republican Party pushed for alternate electors, no legislators took action...

Election and democracy experts say they see the rise of anti-democratic impulses in statehouses as a clear, new threat to the health of American democracy. State legislatures hold a unique position in the country’s democratic apparatus, wielding a constitutionally mandated power to set the “times, places and manner of holding elections.” Cheered on by Mr. Trump as he eyes another run for the White House in 2024, many state legislators have shown they see that power as license to exert greater control over the outcome of elections.

In an interview with The Times, Mr. Trump acknowledged that in deciding whom to endorse in state legislative races, he is looking for candidates who want state legislatures to have a say in naming presidential electors — a position that could let politicians short-circuit the democratic process and override the popular vote.

The Times’s review provides only a glimpse of the ways that state legislatures fueled the movement to deny and challenge the 2020 results. The analysis focused on concrete actions and did not include lawmakers’ posts on social media or statements they made in campaign speeches.

Some legislators who were among the most vociferous in their support of subverting the election have tried to use their 2020 efforts as a springboard to higher office, all while still pledging to further remove democratic guardrails...


The Market Is Melting Down and People Are Feeling It. ‘My Stomach Is Churning All Day.’

I don't have to take disbursement from my Roth IRA or my 403(b) until I'm 69, which is still a ways off. Hence my funds, with luck, will recover after the economy emerges out of the coming recession.

But folks who had immediate plans? They're fucked.

At WSJ, "Many are watching investments they meant for down payments, tuition or retirement shrink day after day":

The last time Todd Jones heard this kind of panic in his clients’ voices, it was 2008 and the global financial system was on the brink of collapse.

Mr. Jones, the chief investment officer at investment advisory firm Gratus Capital in Atlanta, now finds himself fielding similar calls. Two clients, both retirees, asked him this month to move their portfolios entirely to cash. Mr. Jones persuaded them to stay the course, saying the best way for investors to achieve their goals is to still be in the market when it eventually rebounds.

“Those people were not in a good place,” said Mr. Jones, 43. “They had a lot of anxiety about goals and dreams and being able to live their lifestyles.”

Stocks, bonds and other assets are getting hammered this year as investors wrestle anew with the possibility that the U.S. is headed toward recession. On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded its eighth straight week of declines, its longest such streak since 1932. The S&P 500 flirted with bear-market territory.

Families are watching the investments they meant for down payments or college tuition or retirement shrink, day after day. They’ve seen big retailers like Walmart and Target record their steepest stock drops in decades this week, after earnings that signaled an end to the pandemic spending boom.

The market turmoil has scared corporate chieftains away from taking their companies public. In Silicon Valley, dreams of multibillion-dollar valuations have been replaced by the reality of layoffs and recoiling investors.

Stock prices have been hurt by forces that appear in nearly every cycle, such as rising interest rates and slowing growth. There are also idiosyncratic ones, including the rapid return of inflation after decades at a low ebb, a wobbling Chinese economy and a war in Ukraine that has shocked commodity markets.

The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates twice this year and plans to keep doing so to curb inflation, but that makes investors worry it will slow the economy too fast or by too much.

To investors it can feel there is no safe place. While the vast majority of individual investors are holding steady, that is in part because customary alternatives don’t offer much relief. Bonds, normally a haven when stocks are falling, have also been pummeled. The cryptocurrency market, pitched as a counterweight to traditional stocks, is sinking.

For Michael Hwang, a 23-year-old auditor in San Francisco, the market’s tumble means he could wind up taking out loans to get an M.B.A. He has been hoping to pay his tuition out of pocket when he eventually goes back to school.

For Arthur McCaffrey, an 80-year-old retired research scientist from Boston, it means wondering if he’ll live to see his investments recover.

Rick Rieder, the head of fixed income at giant asset manager BlackRock Inc., likened the state of financial markets to a Category 5 hurricane. The veteran bond trader has been in the business for three decades and said the rapid price swings are unlike anything he has seen...

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University of Michigan Rad Chick

On Twitter.

Another college babe here.

Also, Angie Griffin.

BONUS: "Scarlett Johansson and Emilia Clarke."

He Was a World-Renowned Cancer Researcher. Now He's Collecting Unemployment.

Utterly mind-boggling.

One of the worst cancelings I've ever read about.

From Suzy Weiss, at Bari Weiss's Substack, "Behind the fall of David Sabatini, 'one of the greatest scientists' of his generation."