Culture

Lauren Duca’s Crazy Harassment Habit

Lauren Duca (Women in the World/via YouTube)

Lauren Duca is the feminist writer you probably first encountered during her on-air spat with Tucker Carlson, which concluded with host advising guest, a sometime fashion writer, to stick to [writing about] the thigh-high boots. Duca turns out to be . . . not always such a supportive person when it comes to colleagues, some of them women. Or so claims Jezebel, the high-dudgeon feminist site.

As with many items on Jezebel, the piece on Duca is lengthy, chatty, digressive, somewhat overwrought, and written with overtones of envy. It is not particularly important or illuminating. When the piece (eventually) comes to the point, it reports that Duca left the then-Huffington Post (now HuffPost) in 2015 after being accused of sending cruel and harassing anonymous emails to coworkers. The piece says an internal investigation found reason to believe that she’d sent several inappropriate emails to and about her coworkers — and herself — from what was meant to be an anonymous account, many said to be in the space of one disastrous night in October. Following a drunken tiff at a company Halloween party in October 2015, during which Duca reportedly approached a coworker demanding to know why the other person had unfollowed her on Twitter, Duca apparently went online to call herself a feminazi to throw inquirers off her trail while referring to colleagues as bald freak,” stupid and “overweight fake blonde.” One person at the company saw the one about her, was hurt by it,” we are told, and the hurt lingers. This isn’t exactly the Jayson Blair scandal. But after leaving the Huffington Post, Duca is suspected by some of having made a few more rude comments about those same now-former colleagues, in 2016 and 2017.

Duca is, you will be unsurprised to learn, one of those women journalists who is forever decrying the online harassment of female journalists. She called the practice “a career hazard” and “disgusting.” The Jezebel story goes on for thousands of words, but a hypocrisy charge is the crux of it. Now you know why fellow journos are a bit miffed with Duca on Twitter. At 28, Duca is teaching a course at NYU this summer so the next generation can be the beneficiaries of her sagacity.

Culture

Ten Things that Caught My Eye Today (March 21, 2019)

1. WSJ: China Razes Territory, Dismantling a Culture, Authorities take down once-bustling Uighur neighborhoods

In this old Silk Road city in western China, a state security campaign involving the detention of vast numbers of people has moved to its next stage: demolishing their neighborhoods and purging their culture.

Two years after authorities began rounding up Urumqi’s mostly Muslim ethnic Uighur residents, many of the anchors of Uighur life and identity are being uprooted. Empty mosques remain, while the shantytown homes that surrounded them have been replaced by glass towers and retail strips like many found across China.


China’s Communist Party has waged an aggressive campaign in Xinjiang to counter what it says are violent, extremist tendencies among the region’s 14 million Turkic Muslims, most of them Uighurs.

To realize its “deradicalization” goals, authorities have detained what United Nations experts say have been as many as a million Muslims in a network of internment camps—and subjected the rest to mass digital surveillance.

2. People seem to be more aware of anti-Christian persecution in the world today than they were a few years ago.

3. Our ‘Inclusive’ Society Wants to Erase Down Syndrome Kids Like My Son

4.

5. How the New Feminist Resistance Leaves Out American Women 

6. Nancy Pelosi’s ‘Equality Act’ Would Be Disastrous. Here Are 5 Likely Victim Groups.

7. Archbishop Charles Chaput:

American life today is troubled by three great questions:  What is love?  What is truth?  And who is Jesus Christ?  The secular world has answers to each of those great questions.  And they’re false.

8. A homeless 8-year-old refugee won N.Y.’s state chess title. Now, his family is moving into an apartment.

9. Happy 50th birthday, Jonah Goldberg! I feel like this website should have fireworks or something for its founding editor. (The brainchild of Rich Lowry, with the full support of WFB.)

10. We knew her way back when she was a young election and Hill reporter at National Review: Congrats to the new editor-in-chief of The Daily Signal.

National Review

Coming Soon — the Ben Shapiro NRPlus Call

Ben Shapiro (Gage Skidmore)

This coming Tuesday, I’ll be chatting with our friend, the great Ben Shapiro on our latest NRPlus conference call. If you’re not an NRPlus member yet but you’d like to join us, you can sign up for NRPlus here. One of the benefits of membership is these calls — the prior two guests were Devin Nunes and Karl Rove — but you also get total access to all of our content, an almost entirely ad-free experience, the ability to comment on the website, and much more.

We are delighted to have Ben, who is an enormous star on campus and social media (as well, we are happy to say, a weekly columnist for us). We’ll talk about the hot topics in politics and culture, and his bestselling new book, The Right Side of History, out just this week. We’ll also take questions from NRPlus members.

If you’re already a member, you can register for the call via the link you’ve already gotten in your email or on Facebook. If you’re not, please sign up for NRPlus and join us.

White House

The Waning Appetite for Impeachment

Former FBI director James Comey speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Dec. 7, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/REUTERS)

Former FBI director James Comey writes in the New York Times today:

I hope that Mr. Trump is not impeached and removed from office before the end of his term. I don’t mean that Congress shouldn’t move ahead with the process of impeachment governed by our Constitution, if Congress thinks the provable facts are there. I just hope it doesn’t. Because if Mr. Trump were removed from office by Congress, a significant portion of this country would see this as a coup, and it would drive those people farther from the common center of American life, more deeply fracturing our country.

Polling finds support for impeachment dropping; earlier this month Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi irked some Democrats by declaring that she doesn’t support impeachment, calling it “so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.”

No one outside of special counsel Robert Mueller and his team knows when they will turn in their report; every now and then someone in Washington claims the probe is “wrapping up.” But we’ve heard variations of that claim and claims in May that it would be wrapped up “by September,” “soon after the November elections,” in December . . .  This is the Brexit of investigations, a probe with more delayed endings than George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series.

A lot of Democrats probably thought they would have the Mueller report by now. The closer we get to Election Day, the sillier it seems to impeach a president who’s about to be evaluated by the country at the ballot box within a matter of years/months.

Looking back at the effort to impeach Bill Clinton in 1998 and 1999, five months passed between Kenneth Starr releasing his report to Congress and the final Senate vote. Impeachment is a multi-step process, which involves the final report, judiciary-committee votes to proceed with impeachment, testimony from the relevant figures (including the special counsel), and then a committee vote, days of deliberation, then a full House vote. If a majority votes to impeach, the country moves on to the Senate trial, which takes several weeks.

Assume Mueller releases his report at the end of this month. If the timeline was similar to the one in the effort to impeach Clinton, the Senate would vote on impeachment in early September. It’s also worth remembering that not much else gets done in Washington during impeachment proceedings.

As many have observed, barring some ironclad evidence of lawbreaking that spurs Republican senators to abandon the president, the most likely outcome of the Senate trial is a vote mostly along party lines, well short of the two-thirds majority needed to remove Trump from office.

In other words, Congressional Democrats would spend much of 2019 arguing that Trump should be removed from office through impeachment, fall short, and then immediately move on to a presidential campaign arguing that Trump should be removed from office through the ballot box. It’s easy to picture a majority of voters growing exhausted with efforts to end the Trump presidency.

Education

Cambridge Rescinds Its Offer to Jordan Peterson

A flag flies at half mast over Gonville and Caius College at the University of Cambridge in England, March 14, 2018. (Chris Radburn/REUTERS)

Cambridge has rescinded the offer of a visiting professorship to Jordan Peterson. The language of the announcement exemplifies the by-now familiar Orwellian mode: Cambridge, they say, is an “inclusive environment,” which is why those who are different and unpopular must be excluded: “There is no place here” for such disagreement, the university’s statement said. “Inclusive” and “there is no place here” are funny companions.  

 The university also insisted that Peterson’s “work and views are not representative of the student body.” Peterson is not running for office, and he is not obliged to act as anybody’s representative. The job of a professor is not to represent students, but to educate themeducate, to lead them out, by presenting them with knowledge, ideas, and views with which they are not already familiar. An education that is representative of the student body is a recipe for perfect — and eternal — ignorance.  

This is shameful, but not unexpected. Our institutions have been entrusted to petulant careerists who are too terrified of criticism — from spoiled little girls and boys — to defend the intellectual integrity of the organizations they purport to lead and to serve. And they wonder where their institutional prestige has gone.  

Strange that people so indifferent to religion have, in the end, only managed to reinvent the Inquisition.   

Health Care

Prescription for Pain

Limits on prescription opioids don’t seem to be driving down opioid-related deaths, they’re based on an outdated picture of the opioid crisis, and they seem to be causing great suffering among some patients. Yet many policymakers want even tighter limits. At Bloomberg Opinion, I review the evidence that they’re making a mistake.

Culture

The Joy of the Upset

The NCAA Tournament is upon us. I follow it pretty obsessively, rooting for upsets, buzzer-beaters, and comebacks. The more drama, the better. Every year, there a couple of teams you’ve never heard of and may never hear of again, with a slightly off uniforms and odd mascots, that do the improbable in thrilling fashion. The bitter irony of my life as a fan of  is that I’m not sure there’s anyone in the country who has futilely watched more 1 vs. 16 games, pulling for the ultimate upset that never came. The usual pattern is a 16 might hang in there, trailing by 10 or so into the second half, and suddenly slip a little and lose by 25. Except last year. Expect for UMBC playing my alma mater UVA. This is the one time I wasn’t rooting for an upset and, sure enough, it came in shocking, historic  fashion. But I’m not letting that deter me. I’ll still be pulling for the heavy underdogs the next couple of days, including the 16 seeds, except, that is, for Gardner-Webb.

Health Care

Surprise, It’s a Huge Medical Bill!

Hospital bills sometimes include large “surprise” charges from out-of-network medical providers. (My family got hit with one last year, when my son was born.) Benedic Ippolito, a colleague of mine at the American Enterprise Institute, and David Hyman, an adjunct fellow at the Cato Institute and a law professor at Georgetown University, have a short paper recommending some steps to make this maddening phenomenon less common. For example, they would require that patients give consent to paying extra for out-of-network care from radiologists, anesthesiologists, and so on 48 hours before elective medical care.

It may be that in a better-designed health-insurance market, the problem would be significantly smaller. Given the one we have now, these reforms seem worthwhile.

Elections

Biden Shouldn’t Pick a VP Early

It’s never a good sign when you think your campaign has to be bolstered by a gimmick at the outset. But Joe Biden is reportedly considering picking Stacey Abrams as his running mate out of the gate. I believe this would be a mistake. It really wouldn’t get Biden anything, because if he can’t appeal to the base of the party and African-Americans on his own, Abrams isn’t going to do it for him. If he’s worried about seeming too old and out-of-touch, Abrams will hang a lantern on those problems. Finally, you learn a lot during a primary campaign and candidates are going to run better or worse than anticipated. If Biden’s the nominee, he should want to make his pick with that key, additional information at hand.

Besides, the natural Democratic ticket, as we discussed on The Editors this week, is O’Rourke-Abrams—to balance, of course, the relatively moderate loser of a 2018 election with a left-wing loser of a 2018 election and a candidate who conceded his loss with one who didn’t.

World

Is a No-Deal Brexit Still on the Table?

Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement with the EU has now been defeated twice in parliament, and by embarrassingly large majorities. The prime minister hopes to have a third vote on the same deal. However, the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, has cited a law dating back to 1604 to warn the government that it cannot bring back the deal for another vote unless material changes have been made to it. The trouble is that the EU has said that it’s set in stone.

Why doesn’t the U.K. just leave without a deal? You may be wondering. In short, because Parliament doesn’t want that. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it has the power to stop it.

The day after Parliament rejected May’s deal for the second time, it voted on whether “no deal” should remain the legal default (as Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29). Parliament decided that it should not. Next, it voted on whether to ask the EU for an extension to the exit date.

Today, the prime minister is in Brussels, asking the EU to allow a delay to Brexit, which is currently scheduled for March 29. What next? The British journalist Robert Peston shared a fascinating theory earlier this month:

Although MPs will vote against an imminent no-deal Brexit [this is indeed what happened], they cannot cancel the risk of leaving without a deal completely – because that decision is actually the EU’s, not ours, unless as a nation we choose to revoke for all time our choice to leave the European Union.

So, to bore on again, my central projection remains a no-deal Brexit at the end of May or in June – largely because EU governments are sick to the back teeth of not knowing what kind of Brexit or no-Brexit the UK actually wants.

Yesterday, Theresa May gave a speech in which she blamed the possibility of a delay on members of Parliament and assured the British public: “I’m on your side.” However, she also hinted to MPs that she might resign if there is still no Brexit by the end of June.

If it comes to it, could a new prime minister have the gumption to plow on ahead without a deal?

It’s an interesting thought.

Culture

Arts with Craft

WFB and Ronald S. Berman on Firing Line, June 3, 1974 (via YouTube)

Today on the homepage, I have a piece called “The Arts: Who Needs ’Em?” The subtitle is “Asking and answering some basic questions.” WFB occasionally referred to this kind of thing as “infield practice” — which was strange for him, as I say in my opening paragraphs. WFB was not much for sports, unless you count sailing.

Can you? I put this question to my brother-in-law, a sailor. He responded, “Simple rule for me: It’s a sport if you know you’ve won when you cross the finish line. Sorry to all the ice-dancers in the world.”

(Irritated ice-dancers among us will direct their mail to my brother-in-law — North Fork, Long Island — rather than to me, thank you very much.)

WFB attended two baseball games in his life, at the insistence of Ira Glasser, who accompanied him. Actually, dragged him. Glasser was the head of the ACLU. He and WFB went to a Mets game in 1994, when WFB was almost 70; several years later, they went to a Yankees game. To the Mets game, they took the subway, because Glasser said it was all part of the experience. WFB had not been on a subway train since 1965, when he ran for mayor. Then, he made a ceremonial appearance.

How did he get home from the Mets game? The usual way: by limo.

As I say in my piece today, I remember one story from the Yankees game. After an inning or two, WFB went to buy a beer. The young woman behind the counter asked for ID. WFB — astonished — replied, “I’m 74 years old.”

He hated officiousness. He hated blind rule-following.

I remember another story from the same period. After 9/11, everyone was hot on security, as why not? But sometimes the measures could be a little silly. A guard at some building said to WFB, “Good morning, Mr. Buckley. May I see your ID?”

Anyway, in this piece of mine, I touch on a number of issues, involving the arts, society, and the individual. See what you think. Here on the Corner, I wanted to mention a Firing Line that WFB did in 1974, at American University in Washington, D.C. The topic was government and the arts and humanities. WFB’s guest was Ronald S. Berman, a professor of English whom Nixon had appointed the head of the NEH. He is brilliant and warm; WFB is brilliant and warm — it is a marvelous discussion. (One could almost weep.)

I’ll tell you something else of interest. This Firing Line aired in June 1974. At the end of the episode, an announcer said that the following week’s guest would be Vice President Gerald R. Ford. He would not be vice president for long!

Politics & Policy

What the Right Is For

Over at First Things today, a diverse group of serious social conservatives has posted a statement about the future of the right that’s worth your while. They differ among themselves about Donald Trump, but they are in agreement that what comes after Trump can’t be a return to what came before him on the right, and that it must involve a commitment to family, faith, work, community, and country.

It’s a promising and heartening statement of principles. And it points to an important fact about the various divisions and distinctions on the right that can easily be obscured by the huge ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question about Trump that now distracts everyone from everything. In the decade and more before 2016, some conservatives had begun expressing dissatisfaction with a Republican Party that had lost itself in tired, libertarian slogans, and that too often offered only rote repetitions of the ends of Ronald Reagan’s sentences without much thought to how or why they started. We thought the party had lost its sense of the essence of American life, and that it offered too little of substance to help working families. It had exhausted its spirit and its agenda, and had not found a way to revitalize.

I think Donald Trump is the culmination of that exhaustion—its living embodiment as an elderly, exploitative narcissist who appeals to voters’ resentments but not their aspirations, who gives the appearance of intense activity while achieving very little, and who is ultimately unfit to govern. Some of my friends think Trump is actually the solution to that exhaustion—that by shattering the old shibboleths he means to force a necessary reckoning and is achieving what others couldn’t. That’s a serious difference of opinion, but it also masks a deeper agreement that the status quo that preceded 2016 was not worthy or sustainable and that (especially given the growing perversity of the left) the right in America needs to recover its commitment to the foundations of the good life—family, community, faith, work, and country—and to protect and reinforce those through a politics rooted in the ends articulated in the Declaration of Independence and the means put forward in the Constitution. Whether Trump advances or retards that cause is an important source of division at this point. But that this should be our cause is a more important source of agreement in the long run.

To be critical of Donald Trump is not to yearn for what preceded him, and to be supportive of him is not to be content with what he offers. There is more to be sought and worked for. And this statement offers an appealing example of what that could involve.

National Security & Defense

In Defense of the Iraq War

U.S. soldiers walk past an image of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in Tikrit, Iraq, December 27, 2003. (Zohra Bensemra/Reuters)

Today is the 16th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and Twitter is alive with condemnations of the conflict — countered by precious few defenses. Yet I believed the Iraq War was just and proper in 2003, and I still believe that today. When Donald Trump condemned the war during the 2015 primary campaign and claimed that if Saddam was still in power we “wouldn’t have the problems you have right now,“ I believed he was dead wrong. As I argued then, from the moment Hussein took power until he was deposed in 2003, there were few greater instruments of instability in the world than Saddam Hussein.

Before he was allegedly “contained” by constant, substantial American military deployments, he invaded his neighbors, gassed his people, harbored and supported terrorists, and was responsible for not one but two of the largest conventional military conflicts since World War II — the horrific Iran–Iraq war and Operation Desert Storm. Even after American containment efforts attempted to lock into place and limit his malign reach, he was a prime supporter of a deadly Palestinian suicide-bombing campaign that caused proportionately more Israeli civilian casualties than American civilians lost on 9/11, he tried to assassinate an American president — George H. W. Bush — and he routinely fired on American pilots enforcing lawful no-fly zones. He violated the Gulf War cease-fire accords, interfered with weapons inspections, and hid away chemical weapons by the thousands. No, his WMD program wasn’t nearly as extensive as we thought, but it is fiction to believe his weapons were entirely gone. Americans were injured by Saddam’s chemicals during the war.

Moreover, it’s easy to forget that before Barack Obama’s terrible decision to withdraw in 2011, the Iraq War had been won. Saddam was gone, the follow-on insurgency had been wiped-out — reduced to a few hundred fighters scattered in a vast country — and American and Iraqi forces were masters of the battlefield. Joe Biden asserted that Americans would look at Iraq as “one of the great achievements of this administration.” But Obama withdrew too soon. He squandered American gains, opened the door to unrestrained factionalism, and left the fragile Iraqi nation vulnerable to renewed jihadist assault.

And lest we think that non-intervention can’t also carry a terrible price, we can’t forget the Ba’athist dictator we left alone, Hafez al-Assad. His nation was caught up in the unrest and ferment of the Arab Spring — a movement that began far from the Iraq War. His nation has since become a charnel house, and not only did it spark a refugee crisis that has helped destabilize Europe, but it became the battleground where the remnants of al Qaeda in Iraq were reborn as ISIS, a genocidal force that invaded a weakened Iraq from Syria, ignited yet another phase of the Iraq War, and inspired a renewed wave of terror in the Europe (and deadly attacks in the United States). Non-intervention does not always bring peace, and the consequences can include death on a mass scale.

While I believe the war against Saddam represented the best of a series of bad options, there is no question that our intervention in Iraq was marred by two very costly mistakes. I’ve already mentioned one — Obama’s premature withdrawal. The first mistake belongs to George W. Bush and his commanders. It’s by now quite clear that we invaded with insufficient force to properly secure the country and then compounded that error with early blunders after Saddam was deposed. We not only failed to secure vast quantities of munitions, we disbanded the Iraqi Army and then pursued seriously flawed counterinsurgency tactics before righting the ship during the Surge. Bush’s mistakes made the war more costly. Obama’s mistakes gave room for the ISIS offensive and necessitated renewed American involvement in Iraq. Both men eventually corrected their errors. Bush reinforced American forces as his commanders changed tactics, and Obama put boots back on the ground to help save Iraq from potential collapse.

More than 4,400 Americans died during Operation Iraqi Freedom, including men I served with and loved like brothers. They died in a just cause fighting enemies of this country — a regime and an insurgency that in different ways threatened vital American interests and actively sought to kill Americans and our allies. War is horrible, and the Iraq War is no exception to that rule. Civilian casualties were terrible and often intentionally inflicted by our enemies to destabilize the country and inflame sectarian divisions. But I truly believe the choice our nation faced was to fight Saddam then, on our terms, or later, when he had recovered more of his nation’s strength and lethality. The United States is safer with him gone. It’s just a terrible shame that for a time we chose to throw away a victory bought with the blood of brave men.

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Elections

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Education

Ivy-League Schools Wither

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Elections

In Defense of the Electoral College

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