The EU’s Cultural Protectionism

by Andrew Stuttaford

Business Insider:

The European Union has announced proposals that will force video-on-demand providers like Netflix, Amazon, and Apple iTunes to meet quotas for European movies and TV shows. Under the proposals, streaming services and traditional broadcasters will have to show at least 20% European content. Speaking in Brussels, Günther Oettinger, member of the European Commission in charge of digital economy and society, said: “We want new service providers to meet these rules so for young people there is some European culture on offer for them.

“It’s a way of promoting the film industry but also promoting European identity….”

“For young people”.

Of course it is. 

This, by the way, is the same Oettinger (an unelected bureaucrat, I should say, but you knew that already), who I have blogged about in the past. I noted here that he was part of the EU’s ‘get Google’ gang and he pops up in another post here, suggesting that consumers should not be allowed to switch ISPs too often, as it discouraged investment in networks.

Oettinger, a member of Angela Merkel’s CDU, is, like Merkel, no friend of free markets.  As such, he fits in very well with the dominant culture in Brussels, a culture very friendly to soft authoritarianism of the type that the plans for this new quota reflects. Just think for a moment about the Big Brothering implications of the idea that a private company should be forced to offer content.  

Think too, about what it says that the Brussels elite appear to believe that ‘European identity’ (a bogus idea that De Gaulle reduced to ruin in the enjoyable press conference that you can see here) is so feeble that it needs protecting.  

Protect from whom?

I think we all know.

And yet Obama, and much of the US foreign policy establishment, persists in claiming that the EU is America’s friend. It never has been.  And, as Oettinger’s plans remind us yet again, it never will be.  

One Tiny Victory over the Regulatory State: Prairie Chicken Edition

by Veronique de Rugy

In times like these I wonder how anyone can continue to trust government officials and most politicians. Only in the last few days we have had: the White House’s deception on the Iran nuclear deal, new evidence that Hillary Clinton did indeed break a bunch of rules with her secret e-mail server (I predict without much consequences for her), the revelation that the additional $10 billion meant to fix the VA only produced longer waiting time for veterans to see their doctors, and data showing the abuse of civil-asset forfeiture by federal law-enforcement agencies.

Add to that how deceptive big-government-loving media figures can be, and the fact that the dislike for both the Republican and the Democratic presidential nominees is record breaking, and you might as well take cover, never read the news or get on Twitter, and wait for better days.

That’s why I figured I would give everyone a little break to report one tiny example of Americans winning over big-government power-grabbing bureaucrats. It involves the lesser prairie chicken, green activists, and the Endangered Species Act.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Victories against the Obama regulatory juggernaut are rare, and thus all the more worthy of note. Congratulations, then, to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Republicans in Congress over the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision on May 10 to drop its quest to list the lesser prairie chicken as an endangered species.

Fish and Wildlife’s decision in 2014 to list was never about helping that particular range bird. It was part of an attempted federal land grab by green activists. Using a strategy called “sue and settle,” these groups propose species for protected status under the Endangered Species Act, then sue the Obama Administration to follow through. The agency then settles the suits on terms that the greens want.

Their goal in the case of the prairie chicken was to impose development restrictions on private landowners in five western states. Because the prairie chicken’s range is so wide, the greens hoped to shut down oil and gas drilling in much of the West, especially and around the fossil-fuel rich Permian Basin.

Good news. The whole thing is here.

Who Are the Sanders Voters?

by Ramesh Ponnuru

A fascinating article from political scientists Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels:

[C]ommentators who have been ready and willing to attribute Donald Trump’s success to angerauthoritarianism, or racism rather than policy issues have taken little note of the extent to which Mr. Sanders’s support is concentrated not among liberal ideologues but among disaffected white men.

More detailed evidence casts further doubt on the notion that support for Mr. Sanders reflects a shift to the left in the policy preferences of Democrats. . . .

[Sanders supporters] were less likely than Mrs. Clinton’s supporters to favor concrete policies that Mr. Sanders has offered as remedies for these ills, including a higher minimum wage, increasing government spending on health care and an expansion of government services financed by higher taxes. It is quite a stretch to view these people as the vanguard of a new, social-democratic-trending Democratic Party. . . .

[Y]oung Democrats were less likely than older Democrats to support increased government funding of health care, substantially less likely to favor a higher minimum wage and less likely to support expanding government services. Their distinctive liberalism is mostly a matter of adopting campaign labels, not policy preferences.

Texas, Tennessee, and Nine Other States Challenge the Obama Administration’s Transgender Edict

by David French

The legal counterattack against the Obama administration’s latest round of lawlessness is now under way. Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, and eight other states filed suit today in Texas to block enforcement not just of the administration’s latest “Dear Colleague” directing publicly-funded colleges and schools to treat “gender identity” as a protected class under Title IX, but of multiple unilateral actions that have dramatically expanded the scope of both Title IX and Title VII. 

The Complaint itself outlines much of what my colleagues and I have reported in National Review. Congress has never expanded Title IX or Title VII to include sexual orientation or gender identity as additional protected classes. Indeed, it has explicitly declined to do so. Moreover, the drafters of Title IX specifically and unequivocally indicated that it was not intended to prohibit schools and colleges from maintaining sex-segregated bathrooms and living facilities. 

Rather than persuading Congress and the American people that legal change was necessary, the administration attempted to circumvent constitutional process by executive fiat — without even bothering to go through the formality of a public notice-and-comment process. It just declared the change, and now seeks to enforce the change.

As the case winds its way through the courts, it’s far from clear that the administration will have unanimous support from the legal Left. As I note in my post below, already brave liberal voices from elite law schools have raised questions about the Obama administration’s tactics. And those with foresight know that executive power, once expanded, is difficult to contain. A President Trump could issue his own edicts, and then the Left would suddenly rediscover it’s love for the separation of powers and the rule of law.

In the meantime, Texas and its allied states are once again on a collision course with the Obama administration, and this case — like its challenge to executive amnesty — looks destined for the Supreme Court. Congress has failed to adequately protect its prerogatives, but when Congress fails to lead at least we know we can count on the Lone Star State. Thankfully, America’s checks and balances extend far beyond Washington D.C. 

A True Beauty

by Jay Nordlinger

Anastasia Lin is an extraordinary beauty queen. She is also an actress. And a human-rights advocate.

Last year, she was crowned Miss World Canada. But the international competition was held in China — and the dictatorship blocked her from coming. They declared her “persona non grata.”

She earned that designation from these monsters: She has spoken out against their crimes — their persecution, their killing, their organ-harvesting — and has acted in films depicting those crimes.

After she was crowned Miss World Canada, her father, who still lives in China, was subjected to terrible pressure. Evil is the regime that breaks up families, or tries to. Evil is the regime that holds a population in the grip of lies, and tries to smash any truth-teller.

At the Oslo Freedom Forum, I recorded a Q&A with Anastasia Lin. For that podcast, go here. She has profound things to say about, among other subjects, the West’s constant appeasement of the Chinese Communist Party.

Do we have to be complicit in the CCP’s crimes? No. It’s that we choose to.

Finally — Some Refreshing Sanity from the Left on Transgender Rights and Title IX

by David French

I’ve been waiting for smart, reasonable thinkers on the Left to uncover both the contradictions and the lawlessness at the heart of the Department of Justice’s new interpretations of Title IX. Thanks to Harvard Law School’s Jeannie Suk, the wait is over. Writing in the New Yorker, she exposes both the contradictions inherent in the administration’s new Title IX crusade and its legal flaws. 

First, the lawlessness. Speaking of parents’ concerns about the DOJ’s “Dear Colleague” letter providing “guidance” that effectively requires public schools to expand Title IX to encompass “gender identity,” Suk says this:

Quite apart from a possible legal right, it is reasonable to think that the appropriate bathrooms for transgender people to use are ones fitting their gender identities. But the parents’ rhetoric of federal overreach on Title IX is not off base. It is of course unexceptional for the federal government to enforce federal law. But, unlike the Education Department’s many regulations, the Dear Colleague letter is not law, because it wasn’t enacted through legal procedures, involving public input, that federal agencies must follow when making law. The Education Department’s rule that schools must provide prompt and equitable grievance procedures to hear complaints of Title IX sex discrimination results from that required process and is legally binding. But the agency chose not to have such a process for its missive on transgender students.

Moreover, Suk notes that this tactic is old hat for administration lawyers:

This is a familiar but controversial O.C.R. strategy. Its last Dear Colleague letter about Title IX, in 2011, said that sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment and is therefore sex discrimination. It detailed how colleges and universities must discipline perpetrators and prevent such incidents. It too came with a threat to cut off federal funds, and O.C.R. proceeded to investigate hundreds of schools for noncompliance. (O.C.R. found Harvard Law School, where I teach, in violation of certain terms of the Dear Colleague letter. I have been critical of the federal pressure on schools to adopt policies and procedures that deny fairness to accused students in the name of Title IX compliance.) Several lawsuits claiming that O.C.R. unlawfully promulgated and enforced the contents of its Dear Colleague letter on sexual violence are currently pending in the federal courts.

And because the administration is literally making up the law, it’s unsurprising that contradictions are emerging. Again, here’s Suk:

But there is also a growing sense that some females will not feel safe sharing bathrooms, shower rooms, or locker rooms with males. And if a female student claimed that a bathroom or locker room that her school had her share with male students caused her to feel sexually vulnerable and created a hostile environment, the complaint would be difficult to dismiss, particularly since the federal government has interpreted Title IX broadly and said that schools must try to prevent a hostile environment. This is not wholly hypothetical. Brandeis University found a male student responsible for sexual misconduct for looking at his boyfriend’s genitals while both were using a communal school shower. The disciplined student then sued the school for denying him basic fairness in its disciplinary process, and a federal court recently refused to dismiss the suit.

The administration is speaking out of both sides of its mouth. On the one hand, it tells schools and colleges that men are such voracious sexual predators that they must take drastic steps to protect women and girls — including by denying free speech rights and limiting rights of due process. On the other hand, it’s telling those same schools and colleges that men are so trustworthy that they must be allowed in bathrooms, showers, and bedrooms — no questions asked. What’s a school to do?

Schools can and should sue to set aside both of the administration’s lawless edicts. Title IX cannot be read so broadly as to diminish the constitutional rights of (mostly) male students, nor can it be expanded without Congress’s consent to include “gender identity” as a new protected class. In the meantime, it’s past time for Congress to step in and protect its lawmaking prerogatives. But that requires braving the wrath of the social justice warriors — something not all GOP legislators are prepared to do.

Finally, in a campus culture where the slightest dissent from activist demands can lead to calls for termination and retaliation, Professor Suk and her colleagues should be applauded for standing up for reason, due process, and the rule of law. They are doing heroic work.

‘Income Inequality’ — Missing the Point

by Iain Murray

President Obama, Paul Krugman tells us, has declared war on income inequality. In fact, income inequality is at the root of just about everything wrong with the economy, according to the Left. If we could somehow shrink that ratio, everyone would be happier, except for a few bloated plutocrats. Krugman’s first example for a great policy is the new overtime regulations. The trouble is, as my colleague Trey Kovacs points out, the overtime regulations aren’t designed to give people the “pay raise” that its cheerleaders celebrate. They’re designed to stop employers’ asking people to work more than 40 hours a week. That will put a big crimp in aspiration. Even the US Public Interest Research Group knows that it will badly affect their operations (this may be a first for me, saying US PIRG is right!).

The overtime rule will do little to reduce inequality. More important, it will do very little to improve the status of the poor and middle class. In fact, the whole concentration on that ratio between rich and poor misses the point. Income inequality could worsen even as everyone gets better off. Suppose that the incomes of the poor and middle class tripled overnight. If on the same night the incomes of the rich just doubled, then income inequality would have worsened and Elizabeth Warren would be demanding heads on spikes.

This is why my Competitive Enterprise Institute co-author Ryan Young and I have together released two new studies today that call for an end to this meaningless concentration on ratios and instead a look at three fundamental questions:

  • How are the poor actually doing?
  • Is their economic situation improving over time?
  • What policies can make the global poor better off over time?

The answers to these questions point us in a very different direction from Krugman and the president. The first study, People, Not Ratios, looks at the first two questions and finds that people are doing much better than headline figures suggest (something backed up by a new study from the Federal Reserve of San Francisco). The second study, The Rising Tide, looks at policies touted by Krugman & Co. as good for reducing inequality, such as the minimum wage and collective bargaining, and finds that they merely benefit some while hurting many more, resulting in net welfare losses. Instead we propose a series of institutional reforms that have been shown to benefit the poor in particular. They include:

  • An honest price system, promoted by a monetary-policy rule and, if possible, competing currencies
  • Ensuring access to capital by removing artificial restrictions on lending
  • Ensuring access to affordable energy by concentrating on what delivers most benefit to people
  • A new set of “rules about rules” that reduce the barriers to people earning a living

You can read more about the papers here.

In general, it would be nice if people talking about the plight of the poor and middle class actually treated them as ends rather than the means to political ends. Our set of policies is designed to do just that. It’s time for real questions (and answers) to the poverty and inequality debate.

EPIX Should Be Ashamed of Itself, Too

by Charles C. W. Cooke

Per the Free Beacon, EPIX doesn’t seem to care much about Katie Couric’s mendacity:

Nora Ryan, the chief of staff for EPIX, the cable channel that is airing the documentary, told the Free Beacon in an email, “Under the Gun is a critically-acclaimed documentary that looks at the polarizing and politicized issue of gun violence, a subject that elicits strong reactions from people on both sides. EPIX stands behind Katie Couric, director Stephanie Soechtig, and their creative and editorial judgment. We encourage people to watch the film and decide for themselves.”

Or, put another way: We don’t like the people we screwed over, so we’re going to call our dishonesty “editorial judgment.”

One wonders how exactly viewers are supposed to “watch the film and decide for themselves” when what they are watching is a lie?

More on State Dept IG Report on Clinton Violations and Refusal to Answer Investigators’ Questions

by Andrew C. McCarthy

The Hill has additional details about the State Department inspector general report discussed in my previous post. The report makes clear that, even if we ignore the approximately 32,000 emails Mrs. Clinton declined to turn over to the State Department and attempted to delete, the 30,000 emails she provided to State – which she represented to be all the emails related to government business – was incomplete. Plus, the vast majority of current and former Clinton aides refused to answer the IG’s questions:

In late 2014, Clinton gave the State Department roughly 30,000 emails from her personal machine. Another batch containing roughly the same number of emails, which she said were purely personal, was deleted.

Critics of Clinton have questioned that move, and the chief litigant in the open records lawsuits has said he hopes to obtain all the deleted messages.

The stack of approximately 55,000 pages of emails Clinton gave to the federal government “was incomplete,” the inspector general noted in its report, pointing to multiple emails inspectors found through other means.

Only five of the 26 current and former Clinton aides responded to questionnaires sent by the watchdog office. Clinton herself turned down a request to be interviewed.

In addition to Clinton, four close staffers conducted “extensive use of personal email accounts,” the inspector general said, adding up to nearly 72,000 pages worth of messages. In doing so, they also violated the  State Department’s record-keeping policies.

The Obama Era Gave Credibility to Paranoid Conspiracy Theorists

by Jim Geraghty

The New York Times, NPR, and CNN slam Donald Trump for trafficking in conspiracy theories.

Trump has this coming; there’s no evidence that vaccines lead to autism, that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was smothered to death with a pillow, or that Ted Cruz’s father helped Lee Harvey Oswald kill JFK.

But let’s also observe that it’s been a really good stretch of years for conspiracy theories proving true. It turns out the National Security Agency was collecting Americans’ metadata. It turns out the IRS actually is targeting Americans based upon their political views. It turns out that Obama advisor Ben Rhodes and the Washington press corps are working together, “actively misleading” the American people about the reality of the Iran deal.

Think about all of the once wildly-implausible ideas that turned out to be true under this administration.

“The Obama administration is sending guns to drug cartels in Mexico!” Actually, that one turned out to be true.

“The Obama administration would trade five Taliban guys for a deserter!” Actually, that one turned out to be true.

In 2011, Media Matters scoffed at Glenn Beck’s “conspiracy theory” that uprising in Egypt was leading to a coming “Muslim caliphate” that would “control the Mideast and parts of Europe.” Of course, that was before anyone had heard of the Islamic State. 

Why are so many Americans so credulous when it comes to claims of sinister wrongdoing by authority figures? Maybe it’s because they keep learning that reality is a little too close to those seemingly-outlandish conspiracy theories.

Katie Couric Should Be Ashamed of Herself

by Charles C. W. Cooke

Katie Couric should be thoroughly ashamed of herself. Per the Free Beacon:

The makers of a new Katie Couric documentary on gun violence deceptively edited an interview between Couric and a group of gun rights activists in an apparent attempt to embarrass the activists, an audio recording of the full interview shows.

At the 21:48 mark of Under the Gun a scene of Katie Couric interviewing members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun rights organization, is shown.

Couric can be heard in the interview asking activists from the Virginia Citizens Defense League, “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”

The documentary then shows the activists sitting silently for nine awkward seconds, unable to provide an answer. It then cuts to the next scene.

In reality, though, the activists had immediately chimed in with a series of answers, and there had followed a debate for a good four minutes:

However, raw audio of the interview between Katie Couric and the activists provided to the Washington Free Beacon shows the scene was deceptively edited. Instead of silence, Couric’s question is met immediately with answers from the activists. A back and forth between a number of the league’s members and Couric over the issue of background checks proceeds for more than four minutes after the original question is asked.

Both the video and the audio are available here.

Let’s be clear, here: This is lying. It is dishonesty. It is, in a disfavored word, propaganda.

It is also typical. I am frequently struck by how quickly opponents of the Second Amendment resort to mendacity, conflation, and hyperbole, and this incident serves as no exception. This, I suppose, should not surprise, for such behavior is the product of intellectual and moral weakness, and the gun control movement is nothing if not intellectually and morally weak. Those who are comfortable in their arguments do not need to dissemble. Those who have the facts on their side do not need to play games. Those who are capable of debating cogently do not need to silence their opponents, nor to use trickery to make their critics look stupid. Katie Couric is not comfortable, factual, or capable.

You will note, I hope, that the answers Couric’s guests gave were not removed as a result of time constraints — had that been the case, the question would have been cut, too — but because Couric and her team wanted to give the impression that there is no answer to her question. Put bluntly, this was a setup; a game; a ploy that was intended to convey that those who oppose stricter gun control are dull and can be stumped by the simplest of inquiries.

Well, they cant. And that Couric and co. had to contrive such a moment for the cameras tells us far more about them than about those they hoped to malign.

State Dept IG Finds Hillary Clinton Violated Government Records Act and Refused to Speak to Investigators

by Andrew C. McCarthy

Politico reports that the State Department inspector general has concluded that Hillary Clinton violated State’s recordkeeping protocols. The finding is contained in a much anticipated report provided to Congress today.

Significantly, the report also reveals that Clinton and her top aides at State — Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, Huma Abedin, and possibly others — refused to cooperate with the IG’s investigation despite the IG’s requests that they submit to interviews.

The report is devastating, although it transparently strains to soften the blow. For example, it concludes that State’s “longstanding systemic weaknesses” in recordkeeping “go well beyond the tenure of any one Secretary of State.” Yet, it cannot avoid finding that Clinton’s misconduct is singular in that she, unlike her predecessors, systematically used private e-mail for the purpose of evading recordkeeping requirements.

“Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary,” the report states. By failing to do so, and compounding that dereliction with a failure to “surrender[] all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service,” Clinton, the IG finds, “did not comply with the Department’s policies.”

This articulation of Mrs. Clinton’s offense is also sugar-coated. By saying Clinton violated “policies,” the IG avoids concluding that she violated the law. But the IG adds enough that we can connect the dots ourselves. The “policies,” he elaborates, “were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.” To violate the policies — as Shannen Coffin has explained here at National Review — is to violate the law.

The IG report elucidates that Clinton and her aides knew this to be the case. Politico notes:

The report states that its findings are based on interviews with current Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessors — Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, but that Clinton and her deputies declined the IG’s requests for interviews.

Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, and Huma Abedin are among those who did not cooperate with the investigation.

The importance of this goes unstated but we can connect the dots. When a government official or former government official refuses to answer questions in a formal government investigation into potential wrongdoing, this in effect is the assertion of a legal privilege not to speak — otherwise, there is no valid reason not to cooperate.

So what conceivable legal privilege do Clinton, Mills, Sullivan, and Abedin have that would allow them to refuse to answer investigators’ questions? Only one: the Fifth Amendment privilege — i.e., the refusal to answer on the grounds that truthful responses might be incriminating.

I foreshadowed this a few days back in a column, surmising that Ms. Mills must have gotten some form of immunity in exchange for agreeing to be interviewed by the FBI and federal prosecutors:

Earlier this year, a State Department inspector general (IG) issued a report regarding the department’s appalling record of non-compliance with FOIA during Clinton’s tenure. It noted that Mills was well aware that Clinton’s e-mails circumvented State’s filing system and therefore were not searched in order to determine whether some were responsive to FOIA requests. This was a violation of federal law, which requires each government agency to undertake a search that is “reasonably calculated to uncover all relevant documents.” (See Report at p. 8 & n.29 and pp. 14-15.) Mills not only failed to ensure that such a search was done; she knowingly allowed the State Department to represent — falsely, it turned out — that it possessed no responsive documents.

We now know that, when IG investigators attempted to question Mills to ascertain why she did that, she told them, through her lawyer, that she refused to speak with them. (See January 27, 2016, letter of Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley (R., Iowa) to Secretary of State John F. Kerry.) She had good reason to take that position: Obstructing an agency’s lawful compliance with a FOIA request could constitute a felony. For present purposes, though, the point is that Mills’s refusal to cooperate with the State Department IG suggests she has concerns about potential criminal jeopardy. It thus seems highly unlikely that she consented to an interview by FBI agents conducting a criminal investigation unless she was given some form of immunity. . . .

So was Mills given at least qualified immunity in exchange for answering the FBI’s questions?

The media was abuzz a few months back when it emerged that Brian Pagliano, the old Clinton hand who was placed on the State Department payroll to service Hillary’s homebrew server, had been given immunity for prosecution in exchange for cooperating with the FBI. Why was it such a big story? Because the conferral of immunity implied that Pagliano believed he’d be incriminating himself if he cooperated with investigators.

Well . . . what are we to make of the refusal by Clinton, Mills, Sullivan, and Abedin to cooperate with the Obama State Department IG?

What are we to make of Mrs. Clinton’s public posturing that of course she is prepared to cooperate — and encourages her subordinates to cooperate — with government investigators?

And how is a former high government official who systematically evaded federal records requirements and then refused to cooperate with a government investigation into that evasion conceivably fit to be president of the United States?

Ryan: ‘Republicans Lose Personality Contests . . . We Always Do.’

by Jim Geraghty

The office of House speaker Paul Ryan just unveiled this video. Does this sound like a man on the verge of endorsing Donald Trump?

I have not seen the kind of bitterness in our discourse, our politics, like we have today, and I gotta say I think it’s both sides — I’d love to say it’s just Democrats, but it’s not, it’s both. And it doesn’t have to be this way. America can do better.

This anxiety has got to be channeled, and dealt with with solutions instead of just amplified and accelerated and exacerbating it. How do you fix that? I think leaders fix this. We haven’t had that kind of leadership lately. Leaders need to say, “Here’s my principle, here’s my solution and let’s try and do it in a way that is inclusive, that’s optimistic, that aspirational and that’s focusing on solutions.” And so that’s the choice you’ll have, far more than personality. Republicans lose personality contests anyway. We always do. But we win ideas contests. We owe you that choice.

When Do Violent Anti-Trump Protesters Become the Big Story?

by Jim Geraghty

From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

When Do Violent Anti-Trump Protesters Turn Into a Major Story?

No, really, media, you have to start asking questions about the atmosphere of violence and fascism that is cultivated by . . . anti-Trump protesters.

Police in riot gear and mounted patrol units faced off against a violent crowd of protesters outside a Donald Trump campaign event in Albuquerque Tuesday night.

Hours after Trump and some 4,000 of his supporters left the Albuquerque Convention Center, approximately 100 demonstrators remained in downtown.

Smoke grenades were used in an effort to disperse the crowd, while protesters threw rocks, plastic bottles, burning T-shirts and other items at officers.

Albuquerque police said on Twitter late Tuesday that “several” officers were being treated for injuries as a result of being hit by rocks. At least one person was arrested.

Inside the Trump rally, demonstrators shouted, held up banners and resisted removal by security officers. The banners included the messages “Trump is Fascist” and “We’ve heard enough.”

Trump responded with his usual bluster, mocking the protesters by telling them to “Go home to mommy.” . . . 

Albuquerque attorney Doug Antoon said rocks were flying through the convention center windows as he was leaving Tuesday night. Glass was breaking and landing near his feet.

“This was not a protest, this was a riot. These are hate groups,” he said of the demonstrators.

Here’s a photo of a protester with a hand-drawn “F*** Trump, Free El Chapo” sign. He’s wearing a “Straight Outta Sinaloa” t-shirt; Sinaloa is one of Mexico’s states on the West Coast. This is about as good an image as the Trump campaign could possibly hope for; I suspect we’ll see the image in future Trump ads. Well done, son of Sinaloa. You’ve completely confirmed Trump fans’ worst suspicions and undermined all of his critics.

We saw this at Occupy Wall Street; we saw this in Black Lives Matter. Heck, you can go back to the anti-war protests and the WTO protests in Seattle. There seems to be this sense in some newsrooms that left-wing protests are somehow inherently less violent, and if there is violence, it’s somehow justified or understandable as a reaction to provocation from the Right.

Wednesday links

by debbywitt

For fans of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: don’t panic - today is Towel Day!

From 32 starlings in the 1890s to 200 million now: The Shakespeare Fanatic Who Introduced the Bard’s Birds to America.

Not The Onion: NYC Mayor Proposes $2 Million Deer Vasectomy Campaign.

The Science of Laziness: Is There a Couch-Potato Gene?

Color Palettes From Famous Movie Scenes.

Separate evolution – Romanian cave sealed for 5.5 million years is full of strange creatures.

ICYMIMonday’s links are here, and include advice from c. 1450 on soothing a teething baby, the last tribe of headhunters, how to become a mutant, and survival tips from 100 years ago. Also, an answer to an age old question: could you get drunk from drinking a drunk person’s blood?

Trump vs. Trump: Second Amendment Edition

by NRO Staff

Donald Trump may have just won an endorsement from the NRA — but don’t be too sure about where he stands on guns today: 

A Different Omar Sharif

by Jay Nordlinger

Omar Sharif Jr. is the grandson of the late actor. Like his grandfather, he is an actor. And a model. And a gay-rights activist. In 2012, he came out as (1) gay and (2) half-Jewish. This is no light thing for an Egyptian like Mr. Sharif to do, and the consequences were rough.

Here at the Oslo Freedom Forum, I’ve recorded a podcast with him. We talk about Omar Sharif — the original one — and Arab societies and other things. A most interesting man, Omar Jr., and a wonderful interviewee. For the podcast — the Q&A — go here.

Jesus Was Transgender? I Thought He Was Gay

by David French

Well, this was inevitable. From the Huffington Post – Eve was a transgender woman, and Jesus was a transgender man:

Now Eve is a fascinating creature for many reasons. The Bible tells us she is the first example of human cloning, which I touched on in this post. But the fun doesn’t stop there. If we take the Genesis account in it’s literal meaning, as conservative Christians demand that we do, she is also the first case of a transgender woman. God reached into Adam, pulled out a bit of rib bone, and grew Eve from that XY DNA into Adam’s companion. She was created genetically male, and yet trans-formed into woman.

Then along comes Jesus and the whole pattern is both repeated and reversed. The first couple’s refusal to cooperate is turned around by Mary’s yes, and the second act of cloning occurs. The Holy Spirit comes upon the second Eve, and the child takes flesh from her and is born. Born of her flesh. Born with XX chromosome pairing. Born genetically female, and yet trans-formed into man.

And then of course there’s this, from — yes — a professor of theological ethics at Villanova:

Since Jesus had no human biological father, and since God, his heavenly Father, lacks a body, then Jesus was a man who likely had no Y chromosome. Would this not make Jesus more like a transgender person than a cis-gender one? We could grant Jesus a Y chromosome, but then we would have to assign his virgin mother Mary one as well. Either way, the miracle of sex-less conception suggests that Jesus can qualify as a “real man” only if Mary qualifies as something less than a “real woman.” (And I hope you can tell I that I am using quotation marks in order to signal extreme sarcasm).

I’m confused. When arguments over gay marriage raged, there were theologians who assured us that Jesus was gay. Now he’s transgender? And all this coming from a movement that also seems committed to arguing that a divine Jesus is no more real than the mythical Flying Spaghetti Monster? 

None of this is intellectually or theologically serious, of course. It’s trolling for the sophisticated and deception for the simple. For elitist readers, it’s the kind of “ha ha look what we can do to Christian teachings” piece they love to share amongst themselves as “proof” that you can make any kind of argument from the Bible. For the vulnerable, it’s a quick Google search away from basic assurance that Christ is cool with their transition.

Oh, and it’s also blasphemous. But no big deal – it’s not like the authors were arguing that Mohammed was transgender. That would be disrespectful. Everyone knows that Mohammed was a revered religious figure, and it’s just wrong to hurt or anger his followers.

Against the ‘There’s a Chance’ Argument for Donald Trump

by David French

Response To...

A Response to My Conservative #...

I take a backseat to no one in my admiration for Dennis Prager, and indeed his column today – urging conservatives to vote for Trump – reminds me why this election is so painful. Allies are at odds, with neither side really possessing much stomach for The Donald.

The best, most thoughtful case for voting Trump – the case Dennis makes — is that there is a chance that he’ll do the right thing. We’re certain, by contrast, that Hillary is wrong, and some chance at good policy is better than none at all. At the risk of injecting inappropriate levity into these dark times, I remember seeing this kind of optimism is a movie once:

Often when I see that argument, it’s presented in contexts where there’s absolutely no basis to believe Trump will be any better than Hillary. Dennis, however, smartly confines his defense to those few categories – judges, fracking, corporate taxes, among others – where “there’s a chance” is most viable. And I agree with him. On the issues he identifies, there is indeed a chance that Trump will be better than Hillary.

Unfortunately, however, “there’s a chance” runs both ways. Just as there is some chance that Trump will get a few answers right, there is also a chance that he will get other answers catastrophically wrong. In other words, there’s a chance that he actually meant what he said when he:

1. Threatened to default on federal debt;

2. Threatened trade wars that could plunge the economy into recession;

3. Threatened to order the military to commit war crimes;

4. Threatened to undermine the First Amendment;

5. Threatened to implement government health care;

6. Threatened to blow up NATO; and

7. Threatened to use Exxon to defeat ISIS.

And, sadly, that’s just a partial list of actual policy suggestions from the presumptive GOP nominee. Others include advocacy for touchback amnesty, pledges to bar even Muslim allies from American shores (we’ll block even the Kurds?), and newfound support for tax increases. All of them are dreadful, some of them treasonously so.

Balanced also against these negative chances are a number of terrible certainties. It is certain that he is dishonest, ignorant of foreign and domestic affairs (and often even of basic civics), and deals in the most vicious personal attacks. Add these things together, and he’s not just a ticking time bomb — he’s a walking impeachment risk.

Some people say that Never Trumpers are riding their moral high horse, self-righteously setting themselves up as the arbiters of principle. I don’t think so. We have our principles, yes, but we’re also pragmatists, and when I look at Trump, I see a catastrophe in the making. And for that reason – among many others — I cannot in good conscience vote for the instrument of national crisis. I remain Never Trump.

Poll: Mitt Romney for President?

by NR Staff

Would you support Mitt Romney as a third-party candidate? Take NR’s latest poll and let your voice be heard.