National Review

Happy 23rd of Messidor


Dear Weekend Jolter,

If the Gregorian calendar still holds, the French national holiday falls this coming week, and while Francophiles may celebrate with baguettes and ratatouille and a bottle of Bordeaux with a Cointreau chaser, it’s worth remembering that the original Bastille Day triggered events and enormous bloodshed — never mind the crazed changes of calendars (today is the tridi of the third décade of “Messidor,” just a few jours away from “Thermidor”) and clocks (decimal time!) — and a revolution, quite unlike the American one. No surprise then that it inspired Marxism and other wicked ideologies that place murder and mayhem atop Page One of the S.O.P. manual.

The Terror’s echo has been heard throughout the centuries, and here and now in the Land of the Free, whose destruction is the stuff of Antifa dreams. And practices. Since our last missive, it seems President Trump may have found some footing and launched a counterattack to the madness: His Mount Rushmore speech has been judged a triumph by Our Esteemed Editor. Mr. Lowry’s column had this to say in part:

It would be difficult to get a more textbook expression of the American civic religion than the speech at Rushmore. It would be difficult to get a more wide-ranging appreciation of the warriors, inventors, adventurers, reformers, entertainers, and athletes who have made the country what it is. It’d be difficult to get a more affirming account of the greatness of America and its meaning to the world.

And, yet, the speech was tested and found wanting.

Trump’s attacks on what he called “a new far-left fascism” and a cultural revolution “designed to overthrow the American Revolution” were indeed hard-edged, but who can doubt the basic truth of the claims?

There’s a fear afoot in the land, as a merciless authoritarian spirit informs a spate of firings and cancellations. The day before Trump’s speech, a Boeing executive resigned over something he had written . . . in 1987.

To be found below: more on America’s current troubles and their French influences. And praise for Editor Phil, who leaves us this week. And before we engorge ourselves on the smorgasbord of wisdom awaiting, let us note that our colleague Ramesh Ponnuru realized this Thursday past that it was the 25th anniversary of his joining the NR staff. Here’s betting he will register another 25. Kudos comrade.

Now . . . on with the WJ!


1. A Hosanna for Independence Day. From the editorial:

Today, Adams’s augury is in jeopardy — but not from pedants and quibblers obsessed with dates, but from unreconstructed Jacobins who have taken square aim at the Founding itself. Abraham Lincoln believed that alongside its contingent grievances the Declaration of Independence contained an “abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times,” and served as “a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression.” America’s 21st-century skeptics contend, on the other hand, that the American Revolution was, at best, superfluous, and, at worst, a malicious lie. In this telling, Jefferson’s magisterial words are little more than a dazzling awning that obfuscates and distracts from the rotten ground below. July 2nd, 1776? July 4th, 1776? Who cares? For them, the crucial moment came a century and a half earlier, when the first slave ship arrived. If we are to reflect upon any date “Time forward forever more,” they insist that it should be from then.

We firmly reject this view, which is built upon falsehood, elision, and misunderstanding, and which represents the very opposite of a healthy historical review. Despite the most ardent hopes of Thomas Paine, the American Revolution did not “begin the world over again” and return man to Eden. But it did represent an extraordinary step forward — a step that crystallized into a handful of crisp sentences the unalienable rights of man; a step that prompted a reevaluation of the sin of slavery, which had marred man’s virtue since he first stepped out of the caves; a step that led to the crafting of the most ingenious Constitution yet devised; a step that inspired George Washington, the man who could have been king, to relinquish his power not once but twice and, thereby, to set a world-changing example of the primacy of law over ambition. Unlike their counterparts in France, whose project descended swiftly into terror, dictatorship, and then various flavors of monarchy, the American Founders understood that they could not reset the clock to zero, but do as much as was open to them and leave the rest to the future.

That future would, of course, be bitterly contested. But, ultimately, the spirit that animated the Founding would prevail. Faced by a movement that sought openly to reject the Revolution and the Constitution, Abraham Lincoln concluded in 1859 that “it is now no child’s play to save the principles of Jefferson from total overthrow in this nation.” Child’s play it most certainly was not, but the principles were saved, just as, a century later, they were vindicated again by a man who held them aloft as the “promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.” The “bank of justice,” Martin Luther King insisted, was not “bankrupt” and should not be assumed to be.

2. Sometimes having principles means you have to do things such as . . . defend contemptuous blowhards like Matt Ygelsias. From the editorial:

We can think of a dozen reasons to criticize Yglesias, but the Vox writer currently is under fire for signing a letter critical of “cancel culture.” For criticizing cancel culture, Yglesias might very well end up being canceled.

It begins, as these things do, with a tiny little voice squeaking about being made unsafe by the expression of contrary opinions. Emily (formerly Todd) VanDerWerff, a critic at Vox, is incensed that Yglesias would sign his name alongside that of such great monsters of our time as Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling and other “prominent anti-trans voices,” a letter that allegedly contains “many dog whistles towards anti-trans positions.” Such an outrage, VanDerWerff wrote, “makes me feel less safe at Vox.” What else? “I don’t want Matt to be reprimanded or fired” — Mr. Chekhov gently lays down his revolver — but “I do want to make clear that those beliefs cost him nothing.”

This is, of course, dishonest drivel. VanDerWerff no more felt threatened by Yglesias’s name on a letter than Amy Cooper felt threatened by that Ivy League bird-watcher in Central Park. This is simply the weaponization of victim status by vindictive, sophomoric busybodies who cannot bear the fact that someone else sees the world in a different way.

“Our cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial,” the letter begins. “Powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts. But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity.” It is very difficult to credit the honesty of someone who claims to be threatened by such sentiments.

Final Call for Applications for NR Institute Regional Fellows in Dallas, San Francisco, and Chicago

Procrastinators have been warned: National Review Institute has announced the last call for applications for its Fall 2020 Regional Fellowship Programs in Dallas, San Francisco, and Chicago. We urge you to apply.

“You?” Who is this you who should apply? Glad you asked: The ideal applicant for the program — which helps participants develop a deeper understanding of the foundations of conservative thought — will be a mid-career professional (ages 35-50ish), with an interest, but not professional experience, in policy or journalism. Past fellows have represented diverse industries and professions ranging from oil and gas, finance, real estate, medicine, sporting industries, law enforcement, education, nonprofits, and the arts.

The program takes place over eight moderated dinner discussions. The 2020 class will run from September to November. Moderators include popular NR writers and leading academics at local universities. The rewards of participating are plentiful and will last a lifetime. The deadline to apply is July 15 — which is coming at us like a freight train — so we encourage interested conservatives, libertarians, and the curious to apply right now. Because yes, in a few days, it will indeed be too late.

You’ll find more information about the Program here. What if you don’t live in one of the three program cities, but know folks who do and who might be NRI fellow material? Go ahead and please share with them this link. Many thanks.

Nearly a Score of Exceptional Articles that Storm the Bastille of Leftism to Free the Captives of Ideology

1. Victor Davis Hanson reminds us that cultural revolutions, like the French version of 1793, seem to alter time and history, yearning for a Year Zero. From the essay:

In the exhilaration of exercising power ruthlessly and unchecked, the cultural revolutionists soon turn on their own: poor Trump-hating Dan Abrams losing his cop reality show, the two liberal trial lawyers armed on their mansion lawn in St. Louis terrified of the mob entering their gated estate community, bewildered CHOP activists wondering where the police were once mayhem and death were among them, the inner city of Chicago or New York in the age of police drawbacks wondering how high the daily murder rate will climb once shooters fathom that there are no police, and inner-city communities furious that the ER is too crowded with shooting victims to properly treat COVID-19 arrivals.

Do we now really expect that the Wilson Center in Washington will be cancelled, the Washington Monument cut down to size, and Princeton, Yale, and Stanford renamed?

The logic of the revolution says yes, but the liberal appeasers of it are growing uneasy. They are realizing that their own elite status and referents are now in the crosshairs. And so they are on the verge of becoming Thermidors.

And what will the new icons be under our new revolutionary premises?

Will we say the old statues were bad because they were not perfect, but the new replacements are perfect despite being a tad bad in places? Will we dedicate more memorials to Martin Luther King Jr., the great advocate of the civil-rights movement, or do we focus instead on his plagiarism, his often poor treatment of women, and his reckless promiscuity? Gandhi is gone, but who replaces him, Subhas Chandra Bose? Will Princeton rename their school of diplomacy in honor of the martyred Malcom X, slain by the black nationalist Nation of Islam? Malcom may now become ubiquitous, but he said things about white people that would have made what Wilson said about black people look tame.

2. Red China’s loan-shark diplomacy in the South Pacific needs to be countered by the US, writes Therese Shaheen. From the analysis:

President Xi’s Jingping’s regime uses debt and related pressure to trap a range of low-income countries into doing its bidding. The main vehicle for this tactic is Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative, a trillion-dollar program meant to project Chinese influence through a string of investments abroad. The basic idea is to invest loads of Chinese cash in countries that can’t afford to turn it down, and then leverage the resulting debt to secure control of strategically important infrastructure in those countries. It has worked swimmingly in Sri Lanka, where China now controls a major strategic port, and in Djibouti, where it now controls a port and a military installation.

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is currently attempting to repeat the same pattern in the South Pacific. Take Tonga, a Polynesian nation of 106,000 that spans an archipelago of nearly 170 islands in the South Pacific, only one in five of which is populated. In 2018, the country’s GDP was about $450 million, or roughly what Texas A&M spent to renovate its football stadium a few years ago. It is a tiny, impoverished nation. It is also one of several countries caught in the PRC’s diplomatic debt trap: It owes China about $125 million, a little over a quarter of that GDP total.

Tonga’s plight is instructive. In 2006, anti-government, pro-democracy riots nearly destroyed the capital, Nuku‘alofa. The riots capped years of internal frustration with the Tongan royal family and its crony-capitalist government. After the unrest died down, Beijing stepped in to “help.” Between refinancing and interest, an initial $65 million loan had nearly doubled in cost by 2018, when Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva organized several other South Pacific nations to seek debt relief from Beijing. By then, eight South Pacific nations had accumulated more than a billion dollars in debt to China over the prior decade.

At the time, Pohiva expressed concerns that debt forgiveness would come at the cost of strategic assets, as it had in Sri Lanka and elsewhere. Yet he had no choice: Tonga ended up joining the Belt and Road Initiative in exchange for a five-year deferment of the debt. China has its hooks in his country, and there’s no telling what concessions it could extract in the future.

3. Red China’s refusal to engage with the U.S. in arms talks raises concerns, writes Rebeccah Heinrichs, that Beijing might be planning to supersize its nuclear arsenal. From the analysis:

We know that China maintains the most diverse missile force on the planet. And we know that China has a nuclear-weapons program that it claims is purely for defensive purposes. We also now know that the Chinese are growing their nuclear stockpile.

At the Hudson Institute in May 2019, Lieutenant General Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said publicly what had until that point been highly classified. He stated: “Over the next decade, China will likely at least double the size of its nuclear stockpile in the course of implementing the most rapid expansion and diversification of its nuclear arsenal in China’s history.”

Of course the DIA director was unable to explain how he knew that, lest he reveal his sources and methods. But his inability to say more frustrated and downright angered some people determined to keep their heads firmly fixed in the sand. It is less taxing and more pleasant, after all, to choose to believe that the nation with the second largest economy on the planet has no intention to threaten the United States with the worst kind of weapon man has invented.

Some analysts and commentators insist that even if it’s true that China might one day grow its arsenal, its supposedly relatively small number of nuclear weapons and delivery systems that can carry them to the U.S. mainland are not menacing. The insistence is not an argument, nor is it compelling on its face.

The size of the Chinese economic engine and its nuclear program’s opacity should cause us to conclude that if the CCP decides to dramatically expand its nuclear forces, it certainly could without warning. Indeed, in May of this year the Global Times, a propagandist megaphone for the CCP, stridently said: “China needs to expand the number of its nuclear warheads to 1,000 in a relatively short time. It needs to have at least 100 Dongfeng-41 strategic missiles.” That isn’t exactly undermining General Ashley’s public assessment about the direction of the CCP’s program.

4. More ChiCommie Stuff: Joseph Sullivan charts the staggering amount of Peking’s intellectual-property theft. From the piece:

But how much, really, does Chinese theft of American intellectual property amount to? The question matters. If the actual number is relatively small, the U.S. should not be willing to incur too many costs in an attempt to sort this matter out.  If, on the other hand, the costs of the larcenous status quo are large, the U.S. should be willing to go to considerable expense to remedy the problem.

One answer, based on information from a 2017 report by the U.S. Intellectual Property Commission, is between 0.87 and 2.61 percent of annual U.S. GDP. The commission estimates that IP theft worldwide costs the U.S. between 1 and 3 percent of its annual GDP. The report, citing data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, also indicates that 87 percent of the counterfeit goods seized by customs officials come from China (including Hong Kong). If you then assume that China’s share of seized counterfeit products (87 percent) corresponds to its share of the economic cost to the U.S. from IP theft, this range provides upper and lower bounds for China’s share of these costs.

This assumption leads, if anything, to an understatement of China’s share of the cost. As Director Wray laid out, China’s “diverse and multi-layered approach” to IP theft utilizes a plethora of tactics, from “outright physical theft” to cyberhacking. China’s true share of the damages is therefore likely to be, if anything, higher than its footprint in the market specifically for brick-and-mortar counterfeit goods.

5. The media is waging a war on words. David Harsanyi is calling out the bull doodles. From the article:

The recent assaults on the English language have consisted largely of euphemisms and pseudoscientific gibberish meant to obscure objective truths — “cisgender,” “heteronormativity,” and so on. Now we’re at the stage of the revolution where completely inoffensive and serviceable words are branded problematic.

CNN recently pulled together its own list of words and phrases with racist connotations that have helped bolster systemic racism in America. Unsuspecting citizens, the piece explains, may not even be aware they are engaging in this linguistic bigotry, because most words are “so entrenched that Americans don’t think twice about using them. But some of these terms are directly rooted in the nation’s history with chattel slavery. Others now evoke racist notions about Black people.” Or, in other words, the meaning of these phrases and words are so obscured by history that the average person wouldn’t even know to be offended if it weren’t for CNN.

The term “peanut gallery” — as in “please, no comment from the peanut gallery” — is racist because it harkens back to the days when poor and black Americans were relegated to back sections of theaters. Now, I hate to be pedantic, but “peanut gallery” isn’t “directly rooted” in the nation’s history of “chattel slavery.” As CNN’s own double-bylined story points out, the cliché wasn’t used until after the Civil War. For that matter, few of the words and phrases that CNN alleges are problematic are rooted, even in the most tenuous sense, in the transatlantic slave trade.

6. What can a president do to quell violence permitted by reckless local officials? Andy McCarthy looks at the options. From the piece:

That kind of enforcement approach can make a difference. And to give the president’s point its due, while the feds do not need to be invited in, things work a lot better for the public when there is cooperation between the Justice Department and the locals.

With non-drug street crimes, it is not as easy for the feds to make an impact. The FBI investigates lots of murders and violent crimes attributable to organized crime groups (which commonly traffic in illegal drugs, too). But what federalizes these groups is their tendency to be interstate “enterprises” (to borrow the salient term in racketeering law). Mafia “families,” to take the best example, operate throughout the country. It is rarely much of a challenge for prosecutors to show an effect on interstate or even foreign commerce, the jurisdictional hook that justifies federal prosecution.

But local street gangs are a challenge for the feds. The so-called Hobbs Act makes it a federal crime to commit an extortion or robbery; but there must be proof beyond a reasonable doubt of a real effect on interstate commerce. This can be difficult to establish if the violent-crime victim is not a thriving business (whether legal or illegal). For example, it is not enough for prosecutors to show that stolen money had to have been minted in another state. The courts have made it clear that the Commerce Clause is not so elastic that every push-in robbery becomes a federal crime.

Congress has found federal interests in firearms, particularly their interstate trafficking and possession by prohibited persons (e.g., felons). Their use or possession in connection with violent crimes is criminalized . . . but only if the violent crime is one over which there is already federal jurisdiction (e.g., drug or racketeering crimes). A similar jurisdictional problem has hampered Congress’s effort to criminalize street gangs. Unless prosecutors can establish an effect on interstate commerce and the commission of federal crimes (that’s essentially redundant), there is no federal case.

7. Robert Doar explains why denying progress in the areas of civil rights and poverty reduction is central to the Left. From the essay:

Too often, the new voices taking over our national discussion decline to acknowledge how much America has changed since 1960. The work of the anti-racist progressives is full of false comparisons of America’s present with its past. “The popular narrative that emphasizes the death of slavery,” writes Michelle Alexander in The New Jim Crow, “is dangerously misguided.” In his 2015 memoir, Ta-Nehisi Coates describes “police forces transformed into armies,” and “the long war against the black body.” Robin DiAngelo even suggests that “racism’s [modern] adaptations over time are more sinister than concrete rules such as Jim Crow.”

The radical culture’s rejection of the facts about change in our country is most pervasive in two important aspects of American life: civil rights and the fight to reduce poverty. In rejecting the current state of America, radical leaders don’t recognize the progress we have made in securing voting rights, improving educational opportunities, and promoting economic advancement for black and minority Americans. They likewise deny that the enactment and implementation of a long series of large and costly federal and state programs, combined with the employment offered by a thriving free-market economy, have led to a dramatic decline in poverty.

Given how our schools teach American history and what is contained in our mainstream media and culture, it is not surprising that young people buy into this rejection of history. The story of America’s racist past is just so simplified, so compelling in its portrayal of good vs. evil, that it has been adopted as the story of America’s racist present.

That is why the awful actions of individual police officers are so compelling for the Left. Regardless of their infrequency in the context of policing, these terrible incidents are a perfect fit for the misperceptions and political ambitions of activists. The story becomes not about police abuse in liberal Minneapolis (how did that happen?) but racism in conservative America.

8. George Weigel excoriates the U.S. Navy for banning personnel from attending religious services, and then hiding from the calls of a Catholic bishop. From the article:

Word of this has not, it seems, reached the high echelons of the United States Navy, for many naval commands recently issued orders prohibiting the participation of Navy personnel in religious services off base. Both enlisted personnel and officers are required to sign affidavits that they have received those orders and that they know they will be held accountable for disobeying them. Checks have been instituted to ensure compliance, and Big Brother is watching: One Catholic naval aviator who attended an off-base Mass was asked if he had done so, answered honestly, and was immediately quarantined, his naval future in jeopardy.

Weirdly, these orders were also extended to “civilian personnel, including families,” who were “discouraged from” attending indoor church services. As Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, pointed out in an Independence Day weekend statement, this was simply bizarre: “Of course, the Navy cannot legally prohibit family members from frequenting religious services off base. Those family members return home where the military member lives. What is the protective effect of the prohibition for the Navy personnel? Zero.”

The prohibition on naval personnel attending religious services off base, which seems to rest on an assumption of probable irresponsibility by men and women who are otherwise assumed to be responsible in handling nuclear-powered ships, high-performance aircraft, and all manner of lethal weapons, strikes at every believer in the Navy. It has, however, a particularly harsh effect on Catholics. Navy parsimony has pared religious-affairs budgets to the bone. Three on-base Catholic chapels at West Coast naval installations are closing, which will intensify an already serious problem: For many Navy Catholics, on-base Masses are simply not available, and the only recourse is to attend Mass off base. Now these patriots, sworn to protect the Constitution with their lives if necessary, are being forbidden to exercise their constitutional right to the free exercise of religion, on pain of disciplinary action or an end to their service careers.

9. Fred Bauer explains why e pluribus unum is fingernails on the chalkboard of the Wokeatariat. From the article:

Yet men and women are not merely blank tokens in some war of ideas — that was one of the great delusions of the mass ideological movements that transfixed the 20th century (most notably Communism). Politics involves not only intellectual debates but also the cultivation of character and attention to the lived circumstances of everyday life. Faced with grave constitutional challenges, the Founders of the American republic did not rest content with an affirmation of principles but instead worked to create a certain structure of government that would help promote the institutions and practices of a more perfect union. They undertook certain measures to promote certain ends for the public welfare — from infrastructure policies to trade efforts to building a military to securing the federal debt. The success of the American republic would depend on the building of certain institutional capital. Again, the Civil War is instructive here. The ideals of the Union played an important role in securing victory and ending slavery, but railways, cannon, and the smoke-streaming factories of the North gave a crude force to those animating principles.

American policymakers long recognized the importance that these lived resources had for liberty. However, whirl of globalization obscured that understanding. The free movement of people, goods, and capital across the globe seemed an eschaton close to immanentization. The tensions and displacements of globalization then grew increasingly obvious. A string of debacles — in foreign affairs, in the economy, and so forth — and successive waves of populist backlash were testament to an increasingly strained paradigm. Yet more than a few policymakers hoped that a sufficient eloquence on behalf of certain ideas of the “open society” and in condemning various deplorable ideologies (whether populism or nationalism or some other horrible) could overcome the lived disruptions. Rhetorical ornamentation alone could create the conditions for a robust democratic regime.

10. Mark Mills finds that “green” energy suffers from a serious case of overseas dependence. And a lot of it is pretty creepy. From the analysis:

But now House Democrats propose that green-energy subsidies must be a key feature in any infrastructure stimulus — and they’ve recently been seriously considering a $1.5 trillion version of such a bill. That legislation seems unlikely to pass the Senate, or a presidential veto, but we can be sure the idea won’t go away. Ironically, this comes on the heels of the coronavirus crisis exposing supply-chain vulnerabilities that have triggered a push to on-shore many industries, not just medical manufacturing.

America imports some 80 percent of the electrical components (i.e., the key stuff other than the concrete, steel, and fiberglass) used in wind turbines. About 90 percent of our solar panels are imported. And even if solar cells were fabricated here, the U.S. produces only 10 percent of the world’s essential underlying silicon material. China produces half.

But the bigger story is in the staggering quantities of materials needed to fabricate green hardware, many of them “critical minerals,” from cobalt and lithium, to neodymium and dysprosium. Replacing machines fueled by hydrocarbons with green machines entails, on average, using ten times more primary materials for the same energy output.

For a sense of what this implies in material dependencies, consider that wind and solar, which supply less than 4 percent of America’s energy, will have to expand exponentially to replace the hydrocarbons that supply 80 percent. And while essentially all hydrocarbons we use are produced domestically, nearly all of the green “energy materials” are produced overseas. And many of those critical minerals are sourced from problematic or troubled places such as Russia, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines. Chile, recently rocked by citizen uprisings, has the world’s greatest lithium resources.

11. David Seminara is worried about the decline of American patriotism From the article:

We tend to take our beautiful country for granted, focusing on its problems rather than its blessings, but millions of aspiring migrants around the world understand what a comparatively excellent place to live America is. In 2018, more than 23 million foreign nationals applied to take part in our green-card lottery. Every country has its problems, and we certainly have our fair share. Freedom of speech is under attack here like never before. Discrimination is still a problem. But these are issues that are by no means unique to us.

Mark Twain once defined patriotism as “supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it.” Americans have historically come together during times of crisis, but this isn’t happening now, in part because many on the left don’t subscribe to Twain’s maxim. Some are still so outraged that 62 million Americans voted for Donald Trump that they now view our country as an irredeemably tarnished place.

Those folks would do well to recognize that America is a lot bigger than the presidency. Elections matter, but presidents come and go; our country endures. As the 19th century House speaker and secretary of state James Blaine once said, “There is no ‘Republican,’ no ‘Democrat,’ on the Fourth of July — all are Americans. All feel that their country is greater than party.”

I never appreciated our country more than when I was serving it as a diplomat overseas. When you visit other countries, they’re novel and appealing in some ways. But the more time you spend, particularly in dysfunctional global hot spots, of which there are unfortunately many, the more you realize that our problems are comparatively quite manageable.

12. Bernice Lerner tells the maddening and powerful story of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen death camp, and its survivors’ plight. From the piece:

Upon entering Bergen-Belsen, Glyn Hughes found himself responsible for an unprecedented situation: Nothing had been done to accommodate hordes of inmates, most of whom had long suffered terror and depredations. With no habitable housing, no sanitary facilities, no food and no water, the camp was, in the words of a survivor, the “worst of the worst.” In his vast experience of war, Hughes had seen “nothing to touch it.”

One year earlier, Hughes, as DDMS of Britain’s 8 Corps, was preparing for the evacuation and treatment of battle casualties. From Operation Overlord (D- Day) to the fighting in Normandy, to ensuing battles in the Netherlands and finally, in Germany, he oversaw the work of medical units, commandeered hospitals, coordinated with military leaders, and tackled problems — including “exhaustion,” the World War II version of shell shock. Facing Germany’s Waffen-SS divisions — fighters who would go to the limits of endurance for the Volk, Führer, and Fatherland — inexperienced British soldiers met booby traps, surprise attacks, and the enemy’s powerful, dreaded weapons.

Beyond the battlefield, Hughes encountered horrific scenes — asylums in Venraij, Holland, where hundreds had been kept in bunkers without any provisions for hygiene; stalag (POW) and oflag (officer) camps in Germany. But nothing would compare to the concentration camp that Heinrich Himmler would — defying Hitler’s orders — formally turn over to the approaching Allied forces, ridding the Germans of a situation that threatened the local population (diseased inmates might escape), that had gotten out of control.

On the afternoon of April 15, Hughes conducted a reconnaissance of Bergen-Belsen. He estimated that of the sick and dying, he and his men would be unable to save 14,000. Wondering how to begin the rescue operation, he despaired. Second Army divisions were still engaged in battle; he had few available medical units to call upon. Feeding the starved, disinfecting and evacuating dying patients to a yet-to-be-readied hospital, and burying thousands of dead posed enormous logistical challenges.

13. Greg Weiner considers great men, flawed men, to-be-cancelled men. From the piece:

Which brings us to the nearly surreal, yet pending, cancelation of Abraham Lincoln. After the toppling of General Grant in Golden Gate Park, I predicted in this space that Lincoln’s turn in the dock would come. That was rhetorical. But if any one trend characterizes our era, it is the convergence of satire and reality. So Lincoln’s time is upon us.

The Freedmen’s Memorial, financed by formerly enslaved people and dedicated by Frederick Douglass, shows Lincoln in too physically superior a position. Lincoln signed off on the hangings of 38 Dakota warriors convicted of atrocities, including two convicted of rape. One doubts that those warriors were tried fairly, but the cancelers are not much on due process anyway: Accusation suffices for conviction. Lincoln gave clemency to more than 250 other Dakota who had been sentenced to death, a nuance that inhibits fixation on the alleged sin.

And then there are the Lincoln–Douglas debates, in which Lincoln said he did not favor full social equality for African Americans. And his famous letter to Horace Greeley stating that his priority was winning the war, not freeing the slaves.

Accused, ergo convicted: Lincoln was a racist. There is no record, to my knowledge, of him ever having treated any African-American with whom he came into contact with anything less than total dignity. He first met Frederick Douglass when the former slave showed up unannounced at the White House to upbraid Lincoln for, among other things, the Union’s inaction on retaliatory Confederate executions of African-American soldiers. Douglass left with some but not all of what he sought and pronounced himself “not entirely satisfied with [Lincoln’s] views” but “well satisfied with the man.” Receiving Douglass at the White House after his second inauguration, Lincoln told him that “there is no man in the country whose opinion I value more than yours.”

But for the new moralists, there is no man to be taken all in all, much less one upon whose like we shall not look again. Nor is there context: If Lincoln had not equivocated on equality, he would have had no political future. If he had not won the presidency and preserved the union, slavery would have persisted, perhaps for decades longer, in an independent Confederacy. His first meeting with Douglass took place amid a constant battle to placate border states including Missouri and Kentucky as well as northern Copperheads who would, in a moment, have cut the Confederacy loose and doomed millions to indefinite servitude.

14. Carlo J.V. Caro contends that the U.S. needs a small force in Central Asia as a check on Russian expansion. From the piece:

From 1917 onward, Moscow’s aim has been to offer the nations of the world an alternative to Western-style liberal democracy. Political and economic power are the main currency on the international stage. Moscow has always had a weak economy, so it’s been forced to pursue that aim militarily. Under Vladimir Putin, aggressive expansionism has been central to Russian foreign policy.

Afghanistan is an instructive example. For Moscow, the Central Asian republics are of vital strategic importance. Initially, the dissolution of the Soviet Union was not received with much enthusiasm by Central Asian elites, who owed their political status to the Soviet system. Suddenly faced with the possibility of their own obsolescence, these elites adopted nationalist rhetoric to stay in power. Because the Central Asian republics remained under the control of Moscow’s former clients, their relationship with Russia continued after the fall of the U.S.S.R., but the Kremlin had still taken a big hit: It no longer had claim over the republics’ vast reserves of important natural resources. One big aim of Russian foreign policy ever since has been to conserve a monopoly on the export and transportation of hydrocarbons within the post-Soviet sphere.

The independence of the Central Asian republics had another consequence: It gave the United States an opening to assert its influence in Moscow’s backyard. The republics took advantage of the new political boundaries in the region, seeking to decrease their dependency on Moscow while remaining on good terms with both sides of the geopolitical conflict. Western oil companies wanted to take advantage of the regional market and Turkmenistan wanted a pipeline built through Afghanistan to Pakistan. Washington pressured Turkmenistan to give U.S. multinational Unocal the responsibility of building the pipeline. It then took the appropriate measures to begin negotiations with Afghanistan and Pakistan. The geopolitical stakes of the gambit were high: If it succeeded, Washington would shore up its relations with Pakistan, an old ally, and maybe even gain a new, unlikely friend in Afghanistan, which had never been part of its sphere of influence. The exploitation of gas fields in Turkmenistan by an American business giant also favored the establishment of a harmonious relationship between the United States and the Central Asian republics of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

15. Amidst the chaos, Dmitri Solzhenitsyn keeps an eye on global religious persecution, and finds that the oppressed are not an afterthought for the Trump administration. From the article:

The constitutions of moderate Muslim nations hopefully suggest that there is no inherent incompatibility between strong Islamic values and respect for religious minorities. Yet clearly the religious persecution of Jews and Christians in Muslim-majority nations is a persistent evil that must be addressed. The United States Commission on Religious Freedom finds that 18 of the top 28 religiously oppressive countries are Muslim-majority, another five are Communist (these are perhaps the most impenetrable bastions of persecution, afflicting Muslims as well as Christians and those of other religions), and only three are Christian-majority (of which Eritrea and the Central African Republic nevertheless have Christians as the most widely persecuted group). The eighteen Muslim-majority culprit nations, in some cases, use the death penalty on those who convert to Christianity or Judaism. They also create structural barriers to free worship, economic opportunity, and political standing for their religious minorities. Moreover, a recent U.K.-commissioned report finds that “millions of Christians in [the Middle East] have been uprooted from their homes, and many have been killed, kidnapped, imprisoned and discriminated against” and that “the overwhelming majority (80 percent) of persecuted religious believers [in the Middle East] are Christians.”

The Trump administration understands that it would be misguided to assume that fundamentalist regimes will change their ways in the absence of external pressures, or to hope that this issue can be resolved in a vacuum. Trump has been unequivocal in his demand that “all nations . . . join [the United States] in this urgent moral duty [of curbing religious persecution].” This directive has been taken up quite seriously by the members of the Trump administration and has even extended to many international summits and global initiatives. Indeed, historian William Inboden remarks that President Trump “may be the most visible and active on [the issue of religious persecution] of any president since Ronald Reagan.” This is supported by recent events. Just last month, Trump issued an executive order directing top diplomatic officials to home in on religious freedom and earmarking $50 million in foreign assistance for organizations working on the cause.

16. Tom Hanks is a necessity. Kyle Smith said so. From the reflection and review:

Why do we still like this guy who tries so hard to be likeable? I think Hanks serves a role akin to America’s town clergyman: We want him to be good. We need him to be good. It’s been decades since actors really were role models, but Hanks actually wants to be one, and his striving is admirable.

I think he takes these parts out of a kind of patriotic duty, a need to give us someone in whom we can invest our ideals about how an American man should be: kind, wise, brave, resourceful but humble. He doesn’t quite have the holy glow of Henry Fonda or the folksy magnetism of Jimmy Stewart but he carries on with their mission to personify American goodness. If WWII had happened while he was young, I think he would have answered the call of duty, as Stewart and Fonda did.

Greyhound finds our Tom having yet another rough day at the office. Putting on a captain’s hat for the fifth time, he helms the titular destroyer in a protective convoy guarding merchant ships crossing the Atlantic in 1942. Hanks’s Captain Krause is in command for the very first time, and the German U-boat commanders, who call themselves the Wolfpack, are licking their chops.

Greyhound, which Hanks also wrote from C. S. Forester’s novel The Good Shepherd, is a $75 million picture that is being released on the Apple TV+ streaming service, because COVID zapped a planned theatrical release. It’s a serviceable but unspectacular 90-minute exercise in chasing, running, and gunning that, despite its fairly generous budget, mostly has the feel of a TV movie. The director Aaron Schneider, whose only previous credit is the 2009 indie Get Low, relies heavily on an overbearing but hollow musical score, loaded with timpani, that suggests a Steven Segal–saves-the-world picture.

17. Alexandra DeSanctis defends saints and statues. From the piece:

Consider the recent case of Father Junipero Serra, a Roman Catholic saint and a Franciscan friar who, as a missionary, founded the first nine Spanish missions in 18th-century California, teaching local tribes about Christianity and helping them to farm using modernized forms of agriculture.

Last month, during a riot in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, several hundred people knocked over a statue of Serra, along with monuments to Ulysses S. Grant and Francis Scott Key, before moving on to deface a bust of author Miguel Cervantes. On the same day, rioters in Los Angeles destroyed another statue of the saint.

On the Fourth of July, rioters in Sacramento attacked a third statue of Serra, burning its face before ripping down the monument and striking it with a sledgehammer while chanting “Rise up, my people, rise up” and dancing atop it.

These acts of pointless vandalism were later justified as having been carried out in the name of justice for the genocide of indigenous peoples — a genocide in which, thus far, no one has been able to implicate Father Serra.

But that hasn’t stopped leaders from hastily acquiescing to public pressure, getting the job done in places where the long arm of the mob had not yet reached. In Ventura, Calif., the city council is mulling formally removing a statue of Serra near city hall that had been deemed “toxic” by progressive brigades. The other three devastated statues of the saint have yet to be restored to their rightful places, and it seems rather unlikely that we’ll see them standing again anytime soon.

18. Armond White takes the new Catherine Deneuve flick, La Verite, and applies it to the trans-hounded and -capitulated Halle Berry (“applies” as in with a two-by-four). From the review:

Catherine Deneuve’s varied film career from sweet ingénue (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Young Girls of Rochefort) to tormented bourgeoise (Repulsion, Belle de Jour, Tristana), femme fatale (Mississippi Mermaid) to refined lady (her American sojourn in The April Fools, Hustle, her Oscar nomination for Indochine), and then, in her richest stage, a figurehead of contemporary moral crisis (especially those extraordinary André Téchiné films Hotel d’Amérique, Scene of the Crime, My Favorite Season, and Les Voleurs) is all prelude to her commanding presence in the new French import The Truth (La Vérité). Deneuve plays legendary actress Fabienne Dangeville, who, as the privilege of beauty and age, lords her mystique over everyone. The payoff comes when she makes this casually devastating declaration:

When actresses start getting lost in charity and politics, they lose vis-à-vis the profession. They’ve lost the battle on screen, so they dive into reality. They pretend to fight against reality, it’s not the contrary. I’ve always won that battle. That’s why I can withstand solitude.

We’re unlikely to witness such brutal honesty about the clash of art and politics in any other movie this year. Bette Davis’s lovelorn French Provincial furniture speech in All About Eve (“without that, you’re not a ‘woman’”) wasn’t nearly so tough. Fabienne/Deneuve (who boasts “I’ve never apologized to a man”) swans her way through the pretenses and shallow principles displayed by today’s crusading actresses.

That “lost the battle” speech particularly applies to the circumstances of Halle Berry’s caving in to the social-justice mobs this week with her obsequious apology for being “a cisgender female.” She prostrated herself for merely considering the role of a trans woman for an unmade film project. Critic Gregory Solman quipped, “Berry apologized for being an actress but not for her acting.” Berry’s career shift from bimbo to serious thespian happened with her degrading characterization in Monsters Ball. I recall an early 2002 screening of that film and the stunned consensus among black media folk: “What was she thinking?” (After winning a congratulatory Oscar for debasing herself, everyone suddenly decided that the movie and performance were just dandy.)

19. Brian Allen shares his Independence Day thoughts on a tour of the paintings in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. From the reflection:

The Capitol Rotunda paintings in Washington are famous for their giant — 12 by 18 feet — scenes of the Surrender of General Burgoyne, the Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, the Declaration of Independence, and General George Washington Resigning His Commission, all by John Trumbull (1756–1843), the dean of American history painting.

Less known but also in the Rotunda are John Chapman’s Baptism of Pocahontas (1839), Robert Weir’s Embarkation of the Pilgrims (1843), John Vanderlyn’s Landing of Columbus (1847), and William Powell’s Discovery of the Mississippi by De Soto (1853).

At some point, probably around Columbus Day, I’ll write about Vanderlyn’s picture, since Christopher Columbus is about as big a scalp for left-wingers as Robert E. Lee. Columbus is, among the early explorers, in a class by himself. Suffice to say we commemorate him as a symbol of risk-taking, adventure, and discovery, against all odds and certainly against settled science and bloated, entitled elites. He’s anathema to those who want us all to shelter in place in perpetuity, masked, supine, and quiescent.

No one gives much thought to the other three paintings. They’re good and were prize commissions. Congress wanted the work of American, not European artists, as a point of national pride, decorating the Rotunda. Trumbull had finished his Revolutionary-era scenes by 1824, when the Rotunda was finished, but they filled only half the space. Old and half blind, he wasn’t up to finishing the job.

This Truth Is Self-Evident: The New Issue of National Review is a Spectacular Defense of America

It is now off the presses, printed and on its postal way to those who love ink and paper, and electronically accessible right this very moment on the National Review website, in toto to those who are NRPLUS members, not so for those who are not such. We speak now of the July 27, 2020, issue of National Review, designated by Editor Lowry as a special issue, which indeed it is — a 17-article collection that makes a broad and wise defense of this More Perfect Union. Here is the Lowry introduction:

The last couple of months have been profoundly dispiriting. We’ve gone from the George Floyd case and a discussion of some potentially worthwhile police reforms to, in many influential precincts of our culture and in the streets, a wholesale rejection of the police and a poisonous critique of America at its roots. We’ve gone from a debate about the status of Confederate statues to the toppling, defacing, and removal of statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt. We’ve gone from the 1619 Project’s appearing in an issue of The New York Times Magazine to its becoming the dominant narrative of America in many quarters. In recent weeks, demands that would have been considered preposterous a short time ago – the band the Dixie Chicks must change its name, the Florida Gators must abandon their chant – instantly became reality. It is in this context that we’ve devoted our current issue to a defense of America. The pieces range from history to data about racism to culture, and all are devoted to the idea that, despite out current tribulations, we still live in the last best hope of earth.

As is the custom here, we suggest four articles, which is a shame, as all 17 are brilliant.

1. Richard Brookhiser extols the brilliance of what Jefferson & Co. drafted to found and then improve upon this Great Experiment. From the piece:

This half paragraph affirms American liberties in the most sweeping manner. Self-rule gets mentioned (“Governments . . . deriv[e]their just powers from the consent of the governed”), as do “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Perhaps its most startling word is “among” (“among these [rights] are . . .”). The Declaration is not a bill of rights, because it won’t presume to make an exhaustive list.

The source of American liberty is the “Creator” (“endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”). Jefferson’s language can be as elusive as it is ringing. Though he esteemed Jesus as a moralist, he was personally no more religious than Ricky Gervais. But while he and Congress were perhaps fudging a theological point, settling on a formula that would embrace both him and a Calvinist nurtured in the Great Awakening such as Sam Adams, they were making a vital political point: The rights Americans enjoy come from outside history, and outside mankind. Thomas Jefferson did not confer them; neither did Congress. As no one made them, so no one can efface them. Rulers can trample them, of course (as Congress believed George III was then doing). But they are as much a part of us as arteries or imagination.

The great half paragraph begins with a clause, the first of its self-evident truths, that is as practical as it is philosophical: “all men are created equal.” This is the Declaration’s balance wheel, the limit that it places on everyone’s liberty. No man’s power may justly annihilate another’s, because no man belongs to a different, superior order of being than any other. The one-man–one-vote practice of the Jamestown General Assembly is rewritten in gold.

The new Constitution, written eleven years later to replace the Articles of Confederation, confirmed the point. Like the Declaration, it had a skillful draftsman—Gouverneur Morris, the peg-legged ladies’ man from the Bronx. (No prole he—Morris was a wealthy elitist, and proud of it.) But the Constitution was a collective document, argued into shape by 55 men over four months and then debated nationwide for a year. Four provisions and one silence established equality in America’s fundamental law.

2. Myron Magnet takes the passed baton and offers a sterling defense of Jefferson. From the reflection:

Jefferson trusted to the advance of Enlightenment to end an institution that had existed in America for more than a century before the Revolution and that the Founding Fathers couldn’t abolish at a stroke if they wanted their new nation to comprise all 13 colonies. But they blocked its spread with the Northwest Ordinance; they set a date to end the slave trade; and they foresaw that tobacco’s exhaustion of the soil would make slave plantations uneconomical and slavery unviable. But then came the cotton gin and the 1820 Missouri Compromise, extending slavery westward and giving it renewed life. “Like a fire bell in the night,” Jefferson wrote, the compromise “filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union.” It would have to be exterminating thunder, after all. In the midst of the Civil War’s bloodshed, it was to Jefferson’s immortal words that Lincoln turned to proclaim America’s new birth of freedom.

Finally: “Rapist.” The sans-culotte with the spray paint doubtless meant Jefferson’s slave Sally Hemings, the half-sister of his beloved wife, who left him a widower when he was 39. Begotten by Jefferson’s father-in-law upon a slave woman whose own father was an English sea captain, Sally was threequarters white and, according to one contemporary, “decidedly good-looking.” A teenager in Jefferson’s household when he was the American minister in Paris, she was pregnant when he was to return to the United States and, because she was free under revolutionary France’s law, would agree to come back with him only on his promise to free her baby and any others she might have when they turned 21, a promise he kept, as her son, Madison, recounted the whole story in 1873. Of other women in the normally hot-blooded Jefferson’s life after this we hear nothing. What DNA evidence exists is inconclusive. Historians have spun fantasies—that she looked like her half-sister, that he felt, . . . that she felt . . . But more we do not know.

Freedom of thought and speech; all men equal in rights, including the right to the pursuit of their own happiness in their own way; a meritocratic society: We need Jefferson’s seminal ideas, the ideas that formed the core of our American identity, now more than ever.

3. Dan McLaughlin reminds us of the history-confounding precedent America set. From the article:

America at its founding was republican, in the sense of having no king; democratic, in the sense of grounding all political power ultimately in the consent of the people; liberal, in the sense of protecting the individual, natural-law rights of the people; and constitutional, in the sense that political powers and rights were set down in a written instrument binding on the state. None of these were entirely new ideas in 1776 or 1787, but all of them had failed more often than not in the past. Trying them meant explaining why they would work this time, a question very much in doubt— then, and for a century thereafter. What was true in George Washington’s time was still largely true in Abraham Lincoln’s: Nobody had ever tried republicanism, democracy, liberalism, and constitutionalism at the same time.

Not only was this experiment novel; it was tried on an unprecedented scale. France was then the dominant power on the European continent; the original 13 states, spanning the Eastern Seaboard, covered an area a third larger than France. The Northwest Territory, ceded by Britain in 1783, expanded the new nation by a third; the 1803 Louisiana Purchase then doubled it. After Florida was acquired from Spain in 1819, the Mexican War and the settlement of the Oregon Territory between 1846 and 1848 expanded the country by a third yet again. Seventy-two years after independence, the United States was still the world’s only republican, democratic, liberal, and constitutional state, and it spanned the width of a continent. There was nothing like it on earth.

The young United States was, as Alexis de Tocqueville observed, unlike the Old World in that the building of its civilization could still be observed, rather than recalled from ancient texts and stones. Much of the nation’s westward expansion took place over land that had never been settled in the European sense, either because the Native American population was sparse in places or because the tribes eschewed European-style permanent agricultural settlements and cities. When the Spanish arrived in the San Francisco Bay area in 1769, for example, it was home to 17,000 people grouped in communities of 50 to 400, where over 7 million people live today. By the time of the American conquest 80 years later, the population of California had dropped in half again. And the non-Native populations of the territories acquired from France and Mexico were far smaller than the Native populations.

The Founding generation was painfully aware of the historical weight against it. The brief effort to remake England into a republic in the mid-17th century had been a bloody, illiberal fiasco. France’s revolution would soon provide its own grisly example. The Federalist Papers are shot through with explanations of how the new Constitution was designed to avoid the pitfalls that had felled past republics and democracies. Madison devoted three consecutive essays to discussing ancient Greek confederacies, the election of Holy Roman emperors, the Polish republic (which was then in the process of being dismantled by its neighbors), the Swiss cantons, and the Dutch republics. The corruption of the Roman republic into an empire weighed heavily on the Founders. Washington and other key Founders were devoted to Joseph Addison’s tragedy Cato, about the republican hero Cato the Younger’s failed opposition to Julius Caesar’s dictatorship.

4. Armond White finds the US of A to be the only place a Motown could have existed. From the beginning of the piece:

America’s best defense is its best export, whether material or ideological, and even a pop-culture critic specializing in film might have to admit that the foremost representative of America’s exports is its popular music—particularly the variety that issued from Detroit, beginning in 1959 and into the 1980s, by way of the Motown Record Corporation.

Beloved by and ingrained in listeners throughout the world, Motown music (the term derived from Detroit’s renown as the Motor City, the automobile-production capital of the world) still transmits American thought, language, and identity. Motown, with its distinctive rhythms and variety of local voices, uniquely personifies America by virtue of its powerfully ingratiating aesthetic substance as well as its history. The record company’s founder, Berry Gordy Jr., a descendant of slaves, came to Detroit when his parents relocated from Georgia as part of the Great Migration of job- and freedom-seeking blacks. Motown continued the course of black achievements, from Emancipation to the blues to urban sophistication, that always pointed upward.

Gordy’s advance from boxer, Korean War veteran, factory worker, and songwriter to eventual business tycoon exemplified personal initiative and entrepreneurship. And artistry. One of Gordy’s first songwriting credits was for Detroit R&B crooner Jackie Wilson, the ballad “To Be Loved,” which was much more thana romantic entreaty. (Gordy also used that title for his 1994 autobiography.) It combined a gospel appeal with a declaration of intent that defined the moral ambition of a people who struggled and overcame the hardships of Jim Crow segregation: “Someone to care, / Someone to share / Lonely hours / And moments of despair.”

That passion, welling up in Wilson’s vibrato, conveys a spiritual belief as well as a social faith, expressing the full humanity that mid-20th-century black Americans usually articulated through defiance—and the new energy of rock and roll. Gordy chose the openly dreamy elegance of pop-music vernacular, and that was his route to all-American—universal—triumph.


1. On The McCarthy Report, Rich and Andy discuss this week’s Supreme Court decisions. Listen here.

2. On The Editors (Episode 235), Rich, Charlie, and Big Jim G discuss Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech and the ensuing media outrage. Listen here.

3. And then on The Editors (Episode 236), Rich, Charlie, and Michael discuss the outrage surrounding the Harper’s letter and what America is doing about reopening schools this fall. Listen here.

4. On Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Kevin and Charlie discuss the Court’s 7–2 ruling in favor of the long-suffering Little Sisters of the Poor and talk about proper punctuation. Listen here.

5. On Radio Free California, Will and David talk about CA Democrats demanding a name change for Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, SCOTUS defending LA’s Catholic schools, Governor Gavin Newsom rewarding failing schools, and so much more. Listen here.

6. On The Victor Davis Hanson Podcast, VDH discusses how Joe Biden has fared now that he’s emerged from his basement, President Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech and his executive orders on monuments, universities hell-bent for obsolescence, and the Cultural Revolution’s Year Zero. Listen here.

7. On The Great Books, John J. Miller is joined by Jack Lynch of Rutgers University to discuss James Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson. Listen here.

8. Then on The Bookmonger, JJM is joined by Robert R. Reilly to discuss Reilly’s book, America on Trial. Listen here.

The Six

Let’s take the unusual step of introducing this section, done to draw attention to this fact: That the always informative and educative website, The Imaginative Conservative, marks its tenth anniversary. Its founder, the happy warrior and Hillsdale professor Bradley “Double B” Birzer, offered swell birthday wishes. Read them here. And do avail yourself, without our occasional prodding, to visit TIC. Here is the home page.

1. At University Bookman, Francis Sempa shares thoughts on the great James Burnham’s views on mid-century Pacific politics. From the analysis:

Burnham understood that communism was a global phenomenon, and he wrote frequently about the Far East—what we now call the Asia-Pacific. Those writings have historical value—they were an important part of the discussions and debates, especially on the conservative side of the political spectrum, during the Cold War. But Burnham’s writings transcend the Cold War era because some of the factors he analyzed—communism, geopolitics, and the way leaders use political power—are still very much relevant to current international politics, including the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific.

Burnham first discussed Asian geopolitics in 1941 in The Managerial Revolution, where he envisioned a post–World War II world dominated by three “power centers” or “super-states,” including “the Asiatic Center.” He described the Asiatic Center as East and southwest Asia and the islands along the Pacific rim of East Asia. Those regions contained sufficient population and advanced industry to support power of global reach. The postwar world, he predicted, will see a “struggle among these strategic centers for world control.”

He described communism as a “managerial ideology” designed to enable a tiny vanguard or elite to rule over the masses and control them. Communism (and fascism) created a ruling class that monopolized privilege and power—a nomenklatura. This description perfectly describes the current leadership of China’s Communist Party.

Two years later, Burnham wrote what many of his admirers believe was his most important book, The Machiavellians, wherein he formulated a “science of power” to analyze political leaders and the exercise of political power. All Burnham’s subsequent writings manifested the “science of power” that he first explained in The Machiavellians.

In his first postwar book, The Struggle for the World (part of which was a declassified version of his 1944 OSS paper), Burnham wrote that the Cold War (which he called the “Third World War”) began in the waning months of the Second World War. In the Far East, China’s communist leaders supported by the Soviet Union renewed their struggle with the U.S.-supported Nationalist government under Chiang Kai-shek. “The armed skirmishes of a new war,” explained Burnham, “have started before the old war is finished.”

2. At Quillette, Michael Shellenberger apologizes for climate-scientists’ scare-mongering. From the beginning of the essay:

On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologize for the climate scare we created over the last 30 years. Climate change is happening. It’s just not the end of the world. It’s not even our most serious environmental problem. I may seem like a strange person to be saying all of this. I have been a climate activist for 20 years and an environmentalist for 30.

But as an energy expert asked by Congress to provide objective expert testimony, and invited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to serve as expert reviewer of its next assessment report, I feel an obligation to apologize for how badly we environmentalists have misled the public.

Here are some facts few people know:

  • Humans are not causing a “sixth mass extinction”
  • The Amazon is not “the lungs of the world”
  • Climate change is not making natural disasters worse
  • Fires have declined 25 percent around the world since 2003
  • The amount of land we use for meat—humankind’s biggest use of land—has declined by an area nearly as large as Alaska
  • The build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change, explain why there are more, and more dangerous, fires in Australia and California
  • Carbon emissions are declining in most rich nations and have been declining in Britain, Germany, and France since the mid-1970s
  • The Netherlands became rich, not poor while adapting to life below sea level
  • We produce 25 percent more food than we need and food surpluses will continue to rise as the world gets hotter
  • Habitat loss and the direct killing of wild animals are bigger threats to species than climate change
  • Wood fuel is far worse for people and wildlife than fossil fuels
  • Preventing future pandemics requires more not less “industrial” agriculture.

I know that the above facts will sound like “climate denialism” to many people. But that just shows the power of climate alarmism.

In reality, the above facts come from the best-available scientific studies, including those conducted by or accepted by the IPCC, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other leading scientific bodies.

3. If the Left had the cojones to attack slavery, they’d be sharing Giulio Meotti’s Gatestone Institute piece. From the article:

The United States abolished slavery 150 years ago, and has affirmative action for minorities. It is the country that elected a Black president, Barack Obama — twice! Yet, a new movement is toppling one historic monument after another one, as if the US is still enslaving African-Americans. Activists in Washington DC even targeted an Emancipation Memorial, depicting President Abraham Lincoln, who paid with his life for freeing slaves.

Today slavery still exists in many parts of Africa and Middle East, but the self-flagellating Western public is obsessively focused only on the Western past of African slavery rather than on real, ongoing slavery, which is alive and well — and ignored. For today’s slaves, there are no demonstrations in the streets, no international political pressure, and virtually no articles in the media.

“We must not forget that Arab-Muslims have been champions in this field,” Kamel Bencheikh, a Muslim poet, wrote in Le Matin d’Algerie.

“Emirs and sultans bought entire convoys of young black ephebes to make into eunuchs to guard their harems. And this continued with Ottoman emperors…. Even today, Mauritania and Saudi Arabia are still housing their own Ku Klux Klan. Slavery is still the order of the day in Nouakchott [Mauritania]. As for Riad, all you have to do is find out about young Asian girls that the potentates hire as maidservants”.

An investigation by BBC Arabic found that domestic workers in Saudi Arabia are even being sold online in a slave market that is booming.

4. At The American Conservative, Helen Andrews sees statue-toppling and debasement as a sign that society has lost an understanding of the sense of duty. From the beginning of the essay:

There once was a general who fought a war to protect slavery. That’s not how he would have described it. He would have said he was fighting to protect his way of life from a foreign invader. Whatever construction he put on it, his so-called way of life rested on the sweat wrung from forced labor on plantations and gold earned from buying and selling black flesh.

That general was Samori Touré. The West African chieftain is honored today by black nationalists for resisting French imperialism in the Mandingo Wars of the late nineteenth century, but thousands of Africans were enslaved by Samori’s raiders in the course of building up his empire. After his final defeat in 1898, for more than a decade, columns of refugees tramped into French Guinea to return to their home villages as they escaped or were liberated from Banamba or Bamako or wherever Samori’s men had sold them.

Ta-Nehisi Coates named his son Samori, after the great resister. That means that Between the World and Me, the best-selling anti-racist tract of the current century, which takes the form of letters from Coates to his son, is addressed to someone named after a prolific enslaver of black Africans.

History is complicated, isn’t it?

America is currently in the middle of one of its periodic orgies of tearing down memorials to the past. The iconoclasts always have an advantage in these fights, because their opponents have different breaking points. Some Americans were happy to conciliate the protestors until a mob in Portland defaced a statue of George Washington. Others reserved their indignation for when a mob in Golden Gate Park toppled Junípero Serra, Francis Scott Key, and (of all people) Ulysses S. Grant in one night. In New York, the city council is proposing to trash the city’s statue of Thomas Jefferson, which will at least be accomplished by an orderly vote rather than a howling crowd. Some people have persuaded themselves that that makes it all right.

5. More from The American Conservative: Peter Van Buren cautions — remember the Red Guard. From the piece:

The Cultural Revolution destroyed China’s economy and traditional culture, leaving behind a possible death toll ranging from one to 20 million. Nobody really knows. It was a war on the way people think. And it failed. One immediate consequence of the Revolution’s failure was the rise in power of the military after regular people decided they’d had enough and wanted order restored. China then became even more of a capitalist society than it had ever imagined in pre-Revolution days. Oh well.

I spoke with an elderly Chinese academic who had been forced from her classroom and made to sleep outside with the animals during the Revolution. She recalled forced self-criticism sessions that required her to guess at her crimes, as she’d done nothing more than teach literature, a kind of systematic revisionism in that it espoused beliefs her tormentors thought contributed to the rotten society. She also had to write out long apologies for being who she was. She was personally held responsible for 4,000 years of oppression of the masses. Our meeting was last year, before white guilt became a whole category on Netflix, but I wonder if she’d see now how similar it all is.

That’s probably a longer version of events than a column like this would usually feature. A tragedy on the scale of the Holocaust in terms of human lives, an attempt to destroy culture on a level that would embarrass the Taliban—this topic is not widely taught in American colleges, never mind in China.

It should be taught, because history rhymes. Chinese students are again outing teachers, sometimes via cellphone videos, for “improper speech,” teaching hurtful things from the past using the wrong vocabulary. Other Chinese intellectuals are harassed online for holding outlier positions, or lose their jobs for teaching novels with the wrong values. Once abhorred as anti-free speech, most UC Berkeley students would likely now agree that such steps are proper. In Minnesota, To Kill A Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn are banned because fictional characters use a racial slur.

6. At National Affairs, Ilya Shapiro contends that the War on Drugs has proven to be a War on the Constitution. From the beginning of the essay:

Can something be legal and illegal at the same time? That may sound impossible, but it has increasingly become reality for cannabis in the United States. As more and more states legalize marijuana while Congress stands pat and the executive branch works out enforcement complexities, people across the country are asking themselves: What is this magical Schrödinger’s weed?

The answer lies not in the nature of marijuana itself, but in America’s system of dual sovereignty, which divides powers between the federal and state governments. When two overlapping sovereigns have policymaking authority, their laws and enforcement policies are bound to clash at times. Indeed, marijuana regulation is not the only policy area where state and federal laws have come into conflict, either historically or in recent years. States today are increasingly reasserting sovereignty in areas as diverse as health care, gun control, and immigration. Given the near inevitability of separate sovereigns’ adopting contradictory laws, the real question is not whether conflicts will occur, but which law takes precedent when they do.

The Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which states that federal law trumps any state law to the contrary, appears to resolve the matter in favor of the federal government. Yet the answer is not so simple. The Supreme Court recognizes two limits on federal supremacy. First, the federal policy in question must have a valid constitutional basis, because the national government’s powers are enumerated and thus limited. And second, even in areas where Congress can properly enact law, the Tenth Amendment prevents the federal government from using the states as instruments of governance.

The Supreme Court reiterated this latter limit — known as the “anti-commandeering” principle — as recently as the 2018 case of Murphy v. NCAA, a challenge to New Jersey’s legalization of sports betting in the face of federal law that purported to stop states from taking such legislative action. Put simply, the doctrine asserts that Congress cannot compel the states to carry out federal law. In the marijuana context, a federal ban can only be implemented, practically speaking, through the greater law-enforcement resources of the states, as the federal government is responsible for just 1% of the 800,000 annual marijuana arrests. Meanwhile, an appropriations rider prevents the Justice Department from using federal funds to prosecute those who use medical marijuana in the 33 states (and the District of Columbia) where this activity is lawful. In any case, even in the shadow of the federal ban, state-level marijuana legalization has flourished, indicating that federal supremacy has its limits.

BONUS: At Religion Unplugged, Clement Lisi scopes out the possibility that the Catholic vote in four states might swing the elections this November. From the piece:

Ohio remains key. Over the last 20 years, the state has made a difference in who is elected president — with counties where predominantly Catholic voters live making the difference. In 2000, George W. Bush captured Ohio by just 166,000 votes. Four years later, Bush beat John Kerry, a non-practicing Catholic, by just 118,000 votes to clinch a second term.

In both 2008 and 2012, Obama lost the national Catholic vote, but fared well in the top 15 mostly-Catholic counties in Ohio, capturing six of them. Obama won despite lower turnout in both those elections, meaning that many Catholics decided to stay away from the polls.

Will they do the same come November? If so, Biden could very well win a plurality in those counties, riding that to the presidency. At the start of the year, Trump’s strategy was to court these voters. His campaign launched “Catholics for Trump” and Trump addressed participants at the annual March for Life, the largest gathering of anti-abortion advocates. Trump also recently visited the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C. to promote religious freedom and did a TV interview with EWTN.

The Trump campaign — in its zeal to defend “American values” and capitalize on the desecration of monuments across the country — also hopes to highlight traditional values to motivate devout Catholics to pull the lever for him again. Trump did just that on July 3 during a speech at Mount Rushmore to coincide with Independence Day.

While Biden has surged in several national polls in recent weeks, a February poll by EWTN News and RealClear Opinion Research showed Trump leading among Catholics who describe themselves as more active in their faith. That was before the events of the last few months and these Supreme Court decisions that left conservatives let down.

A Dios

The author of this Saturday Missive first walked through the doors of NR’s venerable / storied / ancient headquarters at 150 East 35th Street in 1983. He has seen many a soul come and go. It’s not fun when they go; not for most anyway (truth be told, some departed in response to a clean-out-your-desk order from This Once-Empowered Has Been). Especially not in the case of Editor Phil DeVoe, who has fed and burped this weekly communication for a quite long time. The Inevitable Day comes next week — he leaves to get married and then to attend Georgetown Law School. From there, surely, SCOTUS. Oremus.

In the nearly four decades of National Reviewing, it would be difficult to find someone for whom Your Correspondent has fonder feelings, or will miss more deeply. Phil is as decent and honest as the day is long. His parents are surely proud to claim him as their son, and the fact is, anyone would be if they had the likes of this Phil in their brood.

No one ever truly leaves NR, where conservative Cosa Nostra rules apply. Those are the mildly comical thoughts we entertain as we attempt to minimize the tears at parting. So as Phil moves on, we pray that God goes with him (and to-be Mrs. Phil), and that our colleague takes with him our deep thanks.

With Prayerful Petitions of Redemptive Grace for Those Who Denigrate Our Country,

Jack Fowler, who will abide your insults, even if hurled en français, if emailed to

National Review

Supremely Disappointed


Dear Weekend Jolter,

Point of Personal Privilege: It’s the Correspondent’s Mother’s star-spangled birthday — which by coincidence happens this same day every year — so to her, a happy birthday. The same to all others who share such with this Glorious Republic, marking its 244th year of holding and protecting and championing self-evident truths.

Will there be a 245th?

Self-evident things — like rotten legal precedent — are seemingly not so self-evident to the chief justice of the Supreme Court. Unless . . . they are. Maybe the real point of wearing the black robe — the need to declare the truth true — has proven of less importance to Mr. Roberts in his Big Kahuna capacity.

The 1955 movie was funny. The 2020 SCOTUS chief executive officer ain’t. Allowing for cinematic metaphoring, he has turned the High Court into the judicial version of the movie’s aptly named USS Reluctant. The DACA and abortion cases, the stare decisis excuse-mongering — on all this, Roberts comes into just lambasting from wise NR colleagues who find the chief justice now makes no bones about prioritizing politics over interpreting the Constitution. And then there is this takeaway by the Left, courtesy of Ed Whelan in his Bench Memos analysis: “One lesson that folks on the Left are drawing from this and other recent votes by Roberts is that bullying him pays big dividends.”

Were that happier, Old Glorying things could be noted this July 4th. Well, they will be next week, whence appears a special issue of NR that you will surely mistake for a songbook of praise to what Honest Abe rightly called the Earth’s last best hope. Meanwhile, America’s leftist chattering classes and privileged Ivy-grad street punks are sure to mark this special day by contriving new ways to spread chaos and instigate crime sprees — the ones whose hail of bullets are murdering many Black Lives that never seemed to have enough status to Matter after all.

After all: This madness is not about Justice, is it? It is about destabilizing the Republic and preparing for a leftist regime that will snuff out this historic experiment. There is a word for that: Revolution. And there is a choice for all to make between an America that is the 2020 Project or the 1776 Project. Take it away, Mr. Payne:

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.

Choose wisely.

(N.B.: This missive was filed on Thursday to allow Editor Phil, who never gets a three-day-weekend break, to get a break, sorely needed and richly deserved. That’s the story we’re going with, anyway.)


1. Our disappointment in John Roberts over his repeated forays into jurisprudential monkey business cannot be deep enough. From the editorial:

The Constitution does not prohibit Louisiana from requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges in hospitals near where they operate. We know this fact from reading it; from the debates over the ratification of its provisions, none of which suggest that anyone believed that it could be used in such a fashion; and from the fact that for many decades states prohibited abortion altogether without anyone’s even alleging that they were violating the Constitution. Now five justices of the Supreme Court have conceded this obvious point.

The Court will not allow Louisiana this regulation anyway. Chief Justice John Roberts is one of the five justices who do not believe the law conflicts with the Constitution, rightly interpreted. He voted in 2016 that an identical Texas law should be upheld, and his opinion in the Louisiana case says that he still agrees with his reasoning then. Nevertheless, he claims to believe that the Louisiana law is too similar to the law that his colleagues in 2016 struck down over his dissent. The force of precedent, he maintains, requires the law to be nullified. Otherwise, Americans would lack confidence in the rule of law. It is, on the other hand, wonderfully inspiring to that confidence for a justice to strike down a law that he concedes the state had the constitutional authority to enact.

It is impossible to credit Roberts’s claim that respect for precedent dictated his decision. He has been perfectly willing to overrule precedents in the past. Some of them were of much longer standing. Janus v. AFSCME (2018), on public-sector unions, overruled Abood v. Detroit (1977). Some of them involved cases that presented nearly identical fact patterns. Gonzales v. Carhart (2007) upheld a ban on partial-birth abortion of a type that had been struck down in Stenberg v. Carhart (2000).

2. And so the ChiCom crackdown of Hong Kong begins. Somewhere through the flames Mao is smiling. From the editorial:

The new national-security act is a grave violation of the terms of the 1997 Sino–British Joint Declaration, which guarantees Hong Kong’s judicial and political semi-independence from Beijing until 2047, and made the one nation–two systems settlement part of Hong Kong Basic Law.

The new national-security act sets itself against “terrorism” by which the Chinese Communist Party means Hong Kong’s democracy movement. This protest movement in Hong Kong has re-emerged to confront every challenge to Hong Kong’s Basic Law since 2003. It has proved an astonishingly disciplined and calm movement that has been able to draw nearly one third of Hong Kong’s residents into the streets for its largest demonstrations. Despite violent provocations from anti-riot police that have been subordinated by the Chinese Communist Party and Beijing-backed criminal gangs, the movement has been conspicuously peaceful; leaders of the movement issued apologies when tensions ran hot enough that a few protesters engaged in direct hand-to-hand fighting with police.

That peacefulness was deliberate and reveals Beijing’s “anti-terror” justification for the brazen lie that it is. The law is deliberately and maddeningly vague on what constitutes a terrorist organization, though it specifies the destruction of a vehicle as one terrorist act. It would punish “terrorists” of this sort with a minimum sentence of ten years and a maximum of life imprisonment. The law prohibits “collusion” with foreign governments or institutions, a measure which will be used to put international freedom organizations in the bind of not knowing whether their actions help or harm their peers in Hong Kong. The law applies to everyone — not just Hong Kongers. In the first hours after its passage, a man was arrested under the law for waving an independence flag.

3. Bigots weep as the Blaine Amendment is put to rest — a century and a half late. From the editorial:

Kendra Espinoza, a Montana single mother working three jobs, had a scholarship to send her daughters to a private school of her choice; she chose Stillwater Christian School. The scholarship was partly funded by tax credits from the state that were available for parents to choose any private school, religious or not. Then, the Montana supreme court stepped in, ruling that because the program included religious schools, the whole thing had to be shut down for everyone.

The reason was Montana’s Blaine amendment. A relic of open anti-Catholic prejudice in the late 1800s, more than three dozen states have such amendments to their constitutions banning any state funds from going to any sectarian school or institution. “Sectarian” was code for “Catholic.” In practice, these amendments often mean that state school-choice vouchers and other state programs discriminatorily exclude religious schools and institutions. The Court today called that what it is: religious discrimination. The Court did not need to get into the toxic history of these amendments — which Justice Alito recounted in graphic detail — to conclude that they discriminate on their face against believers.

Chief Justice John Roberts’s opinion carefully focused on discrimination against “religious status and not religious use,” but Justice Neil Gorsuch reminded him that the First Amendment’s protections are broader than that: The Free Exercise Clause “protects not just the right to be a religious person, holding beliefs inwardly and secretly; it also protects the right to act on those beliefs outwardly and publicly. . . . Our cases have long recognized the importance of protecting religious actions, not just religious status. . . . What point is it to tell a person that he is free to be a Muslim but he may be subject to discrimination for doing what his religion commands” even if “deep faith . . . requires [him] to do things passing legislative majorities might find unseemly or uncouth”? For Gorsuch, who only recently expanded federal anti-discrimination protections for gay or transgender Americans, this is a shot across the bow of those who themselves would use those protections as weapons of discrimination against believers.

4. The COVID “reopenings” have not been a failure, despite the rantings of a biased MSM. From the editorial:

The reality is that Greg Abbott, Ron DeSantis, and Doug Ducey are reasonable, public-spirited men who never said they would insist on full reopening regardless of the consequences. Abbott has closed bars back down and further restricted the capacity of restaurants. He’s also stopped elective surgeries again in hard-hit areas and will allow counties to mandate wearing masks in public. DeSantis, too, has shuttered bars, while Florida localities are tightening up again on some restrictions. Ducey is hitting the brakes on the state’s reopening process.

All of this seems prudent. They are following the evidence and adjusting to new data. We like the local watering hole as much as the next guy, but if bars are contributing to the surge of cases, it only makes sense to close them again. Bars and restaurants also should not be allowed to flout state and local guidelines. And masks, which more Florida localities are mandating, are a mild mitigation measure compared with shutting business and telling people to stay at home.

The good news is that in none of these places have we yet seen a spike in deaths commensurate with the spike in cases. This may simply reflect the fact that deaths are a lagging indicator. But the evidence suggests that we are seeing a younger cohort of people getting the virus. In Florida, the median age of the positive cases has drastically declined, from 65 years old in March to 35 years old now. It looks as though older, more vulnerable people have continued to be cautious about the virus, while younger, less vulnerable people are being less careful. Although not ideal, this is better than the alternative. The virus is unpredictable, but younger people are less likely to get seriously ill and die.

5. You won’t find the address for Equality Under the Law located in California. From the editorial:

California had a long struggle with race-based admissions practices in its public universities, most famously with the Bakke case, in which the Supreme Court upheld race-based policies. The 1996 amendment was an attempt to sort that out in the most straightforward fashion, by insisting that the state take no notice of race at all in its policies. That was, for some generations, the great aspiration of most good-hearted Americans, who took it to be the dream of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech.

But the Democratic Party, whether in California or in Mississippi, is not interested in high-minded liberal principle. It is interested in spoils and patronage. And in an education-driven society such as ours, there are few more attractive forms of patronage than controlling admissions to universities, handing them out on a constituency-by-constituency basis the way old-fashioned ward-heelers still hand out turkeys at Thanksgiving.

Predictably, the 1996 amendment’s largely conservative supporters were smeared as covert racists looking to keep California’s universities white. That is one of the unlovely quirks of racial politics: The people who want to encode racial preferences into law and practice are the ones who insist they are anti-racists, and the people who want to encode racial neutrality into law and practice are taken as the latest incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan.

A Yankee Doodle Dandy Compilation of 15 Star-Spangled Examples of Conservative Rockets Whose Red Glare Will Light the Night Sky of Your Intellect

1. It’s hasta la vista, suburbs, if Joe Biden becomes POTUS. Stanley Kurtz has the troubling analysis. From the piece:

Well, there’s another “abolish” the president can add to his list, and it just might be enough to tip the scales this November. Joe Biden and the Democrats want to abolish America’s suburbs. Biden and his party have embraced yet another dream of the radical Left: a federal takeover, transformation, and de facto urbanization of America’s suburbs. What’s more, Biden just might be able to pull off this “fundamental transformation.”

The suburbs are the swing constituency in our national elections. If suburban voters knew what the Democrats had in store for them, they’d run screaming in the other direction. Unfortunately, Republicans have been too clueless or timid to make an issue of the Democrats’ anti-suburban plans. It’s time to tell voters the truth.

I’ve been studying Joe Biden’s housing plans, and what I’ve seen is both surprising and frightening. I expected that a President Biden would enforce the Obama administration’s radical AFFH (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing) regulation to the hilt. That is exactly what Biden promises to do. By itself, that would be more than enough to end America’s suburbs as we’ve known them, as I’ve explained repeatedly here at NRO.

What surprises me is that Biden has actually promised to go much further than AFFH. Biden has embraced Cory Booker’s strategy for ending single-family zoning in the suburbs and creating what you might call “little downtowns” in the suburbs. Combine the Obama-Biden administration’s radical AFFH regulation with Booker’s new strategy, and I don’t see how the suburbs can retain their ability to govern themselves. It will mean the end of local control, the end of a style of living that many people prefer to the city, and therefore the end of meaningful choice in how Americans can live. Shouldn’t voters know that this is what’s at stake in the election?

2. Abortion-on-Demand’s new BFF: Andy McCarthy explains how John Roberts went out of his way to uphold the abortion-right legal monstrosity. From the analysis:

Roberts also elides mention of the inconvenience that none of those who first answered “the questions of yesterday” would have thought it possible that the Constitution guaranteed a right to terminate the unborn. And while, last year, he was telling us the takings precedent had to go, even though people had been inured to it for 34 years, today he said the four-year-old abortion precedent had to be preserved — even though there hasn’t been time for societal arrangements to become ingrained, and the question arose precisely because the Court’s abortion jurisprudence is so slipshod.

Note that Roberts had an out here. He could easily have decided that the plaintiffs did not have standing. As Justice Clarence Thomas explains in a withering dissent, the parties objecting to Louisiana’s law were not women whose purported right to abortion was being burdened; they were abortion providers who sought to raise the claim on the women’s behalf. A court does not have jurisdiction unless the parties before it have standing — i.e., unless they are asserting a denial of their own rights. Roberts, moreover, is typically a stickler on this point — the New York Times has described him as “the Supreme Court’s leading proponent of the standing doctrine.”

So he didn’t just protect abortion. He went out of his way to protect it.

3. More Roberts: Dan McLaughlin explains how the chief justice’s remarkable lack of courage is harming SCOTUS. From the analysis:

In the second case, Selia Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the chief justice wrote the Court’s opinion declaring that Congress in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act had violated the separation of powers by placing the CFPB’s head beyond the reach of presidents to remove at will. This is an important milestone in a longstanding fight by legal conservatives, most prominently Justice Scalia, to restore presidential control and accountability over the executive branch and constrain the growth of a “deep state” that answers to no voter. It is also an epic embarrassment for Elizabeth Warren, who designed the CFPB, and President Obama, who signed Dodd-Frank and has yet again been found by the Court to have done violence to the structure of our Constitution.

As Justice Scalia was fond of observing, separation of powers is, itself, the first of all constitutional rules: So long as we have a government of limited and divided powers, it is possible to enforce particular guarantees of individual rights, which appear in the constitutions of many nations that fail to enforce them.

But Roberts pulled up short of actually concluding that an agency created in violation of the Constitution lacked the power to compel the citizenry. That is what Justices Thomas and Gorsuch would have done here. Normally, if Congress passes an unconstitutional statute, it should be struck down as a whole unless Congress has written instructions on how to sever parts that are unlawful. Here, Congress did just that — for other specific parts of the 1,100-page Dodd-Frank Act, but not one particular to the CFPB. Relying on Dodd-Frank’s general severability clause, Roberts (joined this time by Alito and Kavanaugh) took the narrowest possible “scalpel rather than a bulldozer” to make the CFPB director removable, disregarding the question of whether Congress would really have granted such broad powers to the agency if it had been placed under direct political control.

4. And More Roberts: Ed Whelan in Bench Memos says the capricious chief justice’s thickly sliced stare decisis baloney stinks. From Part 1 of the commentary:

Roberts’s assertion that stare decisis requires his vote against the Louisiana law is difficult to take seriously.

As Justice Alito spells out in his dissent, the majority’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health was intensely fact-dependent. Indeed, it was on the basis of “changed circumstances” that the majority held that the post-enforcement challenge that it addressed did not involve the same claim as the pre-enforcement facial challenge that plaintiffs had first pursued and lost (and was therefore not barred under principles of res judicata). In June Medical, the plaintiffs were making a pre-enforcement challenge to Louisiana’s law. The district court’s factual findings were therefore little more than predictions about what the effects of the law would be, and, as Alito emphasizes, one of its key findings “was based on a fundamentally flawed test” regarding the “good faith” of abortion-clinic doctors in seeking admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. (See Alito dissent at 12-14; see also pp. 15-24 (evidence in record doesn’t show that doctors made serious efforts to obtain privileges.)

Further, even as Justice Breyer in his plurality opinion repeats the balancing test that he set forth in his majority opinion in Whole Woman’s Health, Roberts devotes pages to arguing that Breyer doesn’t really mean what he says in either case and that Breyer’s opinions therefore aren’t really a departure from the undue-burden standard set forth in Casey. (Roberts opinion at 5-11.) Roberts won’t take Breyer at his word because the precedential force of Whole Woman’s Health would be much weaker if Whole Woman’s Health itself departed from Casey.

More broadly, Roberts had never before applied such a wooden view of stare decisis. Indeed, as Ilya Shapiro discusses here, Roberts’s previous decisions to overturn precedents that were “much older and more entrenched” make his “capricious application of stare decisis [in June Medical] startling.”

RELATED: Find Part 2 of Ed’s analysis here.

5. And Even More Roberts: John McCormack thinks butcher-abortionist Kermit Gosnell must be wondering how close he came to being protected by the chief justice. From the piece:

In his Hellerstedt dissent, Justice Samuel Alito took care to explain why Texas had enacted the law in the first place: to protect women from the likes of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

In 2013, Gosnell was convicted for the murders of three infants born alive as well as the manslaughter of Karnamaya Mongar, a woman seeking an abortion. “Gosnell had not been actively supervised by state or local authorities or by his peers, and the Philadelphia grand jury that investigated the case recommended that the Commonwealth adopt a law requiring abortion clinics to comply with the same regulations as [ambulatory surgical centers]. If Pennsylvania had had such a requirement in force, the Gosnell facility may have been shut down before his crimes,” Alito wrote.

Indeed, the Gosnell grand jury found that the “abhorrent conditions and practices inside Gosnell’s clinic [were] directly attributable to the Pennsylvania Health Department’s refusal to treat abortion clinics as ambulatory surgical facilities.”

According to the report, the Gosnell clinic’s narrow hallways hampered efforts to help women injured there: “Ambulances were summoned to pick up the waiting patients, but (just as on the night Mrs. Mongar died three months earlier), no one, not even Gosnell, knew where the keys were to open the emergency exit. Emergency personnel had to use bolt cutters to remove the lock. They discovered they could not maneuver stretchers through the building’s narrow hallways to reach the patients (just as emergency personnel had been obstructed from reaching Mrs. Mongar).”

Justice Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts joined Alito’s Hellerstedt dissent in 2016. But on Monday, Roberts handed a victory to would-be Kermit Gosnells in voting to strike down a 2014 Louisiana law almost identical to the Texas law at stake in Hellerstedt.

6. Despite the judicial wet-blanketing, David Harsanyi finds that “But Gorsuch” may indeed remain the best case for providing Donald Trump a second term. From the piece:

“But Gorsuch” also had immediate implications. Without Gorsuch there is no Janus v. AFSCME, and unions would still be forcing workers to pay dues to organizations that participate in political causes they do not support. Without Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — who, say what you will about Trump, was unlikely to have sustained the support of any other Republican president through such a malicious confirmation battle — states such as Colorado would still openly be destroying the lives of Americans over thought crimes.

A Supreme Court with two Hillary appointees would be whittling away the free-speech protections of Citizens United. It would be hammering the Second Amendment protections that were reaffirmed by Heller and McDonald. Roberts may view himself as a Solomonic strategist and stickler for precedent, but his liberal colleagues have little problem dispensing with it whenever convenient.

It’s understandable that conservatives feel frustrated. When Republicans take Congress, Barack Obama simply circumvents the legislative branch and create laws by fiat. When Republicans win back the presidency, Democrats refuse to accept the legitimacy of the election, and spend the entire term trying to overturn the results, while convincing their constituents that the constitutionally prescribed election process is illegitimate. And when Republican presidents attempt to overturn the previous president’s diktats, using the very same mechanisms, the Court stops them.

7. Victor Davis Hanson finds that it’s quiet in the Delaware basement, surely by intention. From the essay:

But by avoiding the campaign trail, Biden is only postponing the inevitable. He is compressing the campaign into an ever-shorter late-summer and autumn cycle. If he really agrees to three debates (he may not agree to any at all), and if he performs as he usually now acts and speaks, then he may end up reminding the American people in the eleventh hour of the campaign that they have a choice between a controversial president and a presidential candidate who simply cannot fulfill the office of presidency. And if Biden is a no-show, Trump will probably debate an empty, Clint Eastwood–prop mute chair.

Why, then, is Biden the nominee at all — other than that he leads in the delegate count and surged after Democrat back-roomers panicked when Bloomberg imploded and Bernie surged? As a result, politicos forced or enticed all the other primary candidates to vacate and unite around someone nominally not a socialist.

Is one consolation that Biden’s dementia offers a credible defense that he has “no recollection” that he was in on Obama’s efforts to surveil an oppositional campaign and abort a presidential transition?

While all Democrats know that the cat must be belled, no one wishes to step forward to do it and remove Biden — and indeed no one knows how to steal a nomination from an enfeebled winner and hand it off to an undeserving but cogent alternative. Take out Biden in August, and who knows what sort of candidate stampede might follow in today’s insane landscape?

8. David Harsanyi declares the Left’s Coronavirus narrative to be absurd. From the beginning of the piece:

To this point, 71 percent more Americans have died in New York nursing homes than have died in the entire state of Florida, which not only has a larger population but a population that skews older. To this point, New York’s death rate has been ten times larger than Florida’s. So, naturally, liberals are busy concocting a narrative that holds that the failures of the American response to coronavirus have been the fault of Trumpian nihilists in the Red States.

The “toxic imbecility” of Republicans is getting people killed, writes Max Boot. “Trumpism, not polarization, drives America’s disastrous coronavirus politics” says Ezra Klein. Some pundits who push this myth, Paul Krugman in particular, had even had the temerity to suggest that the country look to New York State for advice.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but today it’s clear that NYC has been the key spreader of the infection nationally, and clear, too, that NYC was unable to flatten the curve.

9. At 90, Thomas Sowell is in the fight and taking no prisoners: Steve Hanke and Richard Ebeling take a look at the author of the important new book Charter Schools and Their Enemies. From the piece:

When analyzing race and discrimination, Sowell relishes going after one of his favorite targets: the intellectual elites, or as he refers to them, “the anointed.” The heart of his message is that men are not born with equal abilities. Contrary to the assertions of the anointed, Sowell argues that “empirically observable skills have always been grossly unequal.” Sowell also argues that not all cultures are equal contributors to world civilization. Indeed, he observes that “differences among racial, national and other groups range from the momentous to the mundane, whether in the United States or in other countries around the world and down through the centuries.” Sowell concludes that the world is culturally complex and filled with variety. We still have little understanding of the causes and consequences of that complexity. But markets tend to harmonize the interests of, or at least minimize the friction between, various peoples and cultures, while politics creates conflict, with advantages for some at the expense of others.

Much of what Sowell has to say about race is contained in his undeniably controversial Black Rednecks and White Liberals, a collection of essays. In the course of a lengthy examination of identity, culture, and its socioeconomic effects, he looks, among other issues, at what he refers to as “black ghetto culture” (something, he stresses more than once, of which “most black Americans” are not a part) and its particular language, customs, behavioral characteristics, and attitudes toward work and leisure. Sowell argues that it has been heavily influenced by earlier white southern “redneck” culture, although, as he is careful to note, this is not a matter of “simple linear extrapolation.” And indeed it is not.

Sowell traces this culture to several generations of Americans mostly descended from immigrants from “the northern borderlands of England . . . as well as from the Scottish highlands and Ulster” who arrived in the southern American colonies in the 18th century. The outstanding features of this redneck or “cracker” culture — as it was called in Great Britain before and during the emigration years — included, Sowell writes, “an aversion to work, proneness to violence, neglect of education, sexual promiscuity, improvidence, drunkenness, lack of entrepreneurship, reckless searches for excitement, lively music and dance, and a style of religious oratory marked by rhetoric, unbridled emotions, and flamboyant imagery.” It also included “touchy pride, vanity, and boastful self-dramatization.” The point to be drawn, he writes, “is that cultural differences led to striking socioeconomic differences among blacks, as they did among whites. In both races, those who lived within the redneck culture lagged far behind those who did not.”

10. More McCarthy: Andy ties together the racism narrative with the call for “police reform.” (And throws in a good look at Republican gutlessness.) From the piece:

I admire Senator Tim Scott. His life story, recently told in moving detail by the WSJs Tunku Varadarajan, is an inspiration. Yet his police-reform legislation was far from inspirational. Sure, it should have been debated. Democrats are cynical — surprise! — to block its consideration, the better to keep riding the racism wave they expect to make an anti-Trump tsunami by November (and, as usual, getting no small amount of help from the president). But the best you can say for Scott’s proposal was that it would do no real harm.

Republicans had no intention of pushing back against the slander of institutional racism. They have no stomach for trumpeting the 30-year revolution in policing that, by dramatically driving down homicide and violent crime, has saved thousands of black lives. They would not rouse themselves to a defense of police forces that, reflective of their communities, boast high percentages of African-American officers and, in many major cities, of African-American leadership. No case was made that those black lives matter, too.

Instead, Republicans accept the premise that the nation’s police forces are infected with racism and in desperate need of reform. The GOP won’t dictate to the states, as a bill passed by House Democrats’ would. But Republicans would use federal funding as the prod for state data-gathering on police uses of force. Given that policing is a state responsibility, and that the use of force is a necessary component of it, the only rational purpose of this federal scrutiny is the conceit that police violence is triggered by racism, not by the imperative of countering aggressive criminal behavior.

You might think Congress would want to test that proposition before hamstringing police in a way that will inevitably endanger American communities. Nope.

11. It’s this simple, says Robert VerBruggen: Walls work. From the beginning of the analysis:

We have a problem with people crossing the southern border on foot without authorization. But who could have guessed that putting a wall in their way would stop them?

Well, pretty much every immigration restrictionist. But a new study from American Economic Journal: Applied Economics finds that, indeed, border fencing reduces illegal immigration.

The effects are not small. “Construction in a [Mexican] municipality reduces migration by 27 percent for municipality residents and 15 percent for residents of adjacent municipalities”; it also reduces migration from municipalities that are farther away but historically have relied on the fenced area as a crossing point. Border-wall construction disproportionately deters lower-skilled workers, though it does cause some to cross the border elsewhere instead.

To reach these conclusions, the economist Benjamin Feigenberg had to assemble an impressive amount of data from numerous sources. Congress authorized the construction of nearly 700 miles of pedestrian fencing in 2006, but incredibly, there is no centralized database of where and when fencing was actually built. Pulling together the details meant searching news stories, government documents, and contracts, as well as interviewing Sierra Club staff who are tracking the fence’s progress for environmental reasons.

12. MEDIC! Wow does Matthew Scully ever knock the sanctimonious stuffing out of Republican ex-patriot Stuart Stevens. From the piece:

No matter how we regard the influence of President Donald Trump — as prime source of things gone wrong in politics or as deeply resented corrective — November 6, 2012, holds as good a claim as any date to being remembered as a turn of history and point of departure in the remaking of the Republican Party. Without Romney’s defeat, no Trump takeover. And no Republican other than Utah’s freshman senator himself had more to do with the fateful outcome on that Election Day than Mitt Romney’s sole campaign strategist in 2012, principal advertising consultant, and convention speechwriter, Stuart Stevens. Strange, then, to pick up Stevens’s new book, It Was All a Lie, to find him accusing Republican voters of all manner of sins, failures of judgment, and squandered opportunities, as if they were due the harsh accounting and he was the one left disappointed.

The book is billed as a “lacerating mea culpa,” a painful outpouring of regret by “the most successful political operative of his generation,” though in practice what the penitent mostly confesses is having for too long overlooked the faults of others, and having kept the wrong company when he should have known better. Presenting himself as the battle-weary veteran of many a campaign, with “the best win-loss record of anyone in my business,” Stevens shares his sadness and remorse at having labored so long as a Republican consultant, in service to people he now realizes are mostly frauds and to ideas he now regards as “lies” unworthy of his talents.

“If I look back on my years in politics,” he reflects, “the long-standing hypocrisy of the Republican Party should have been obvious.” But it wasn’t, and now in atonement he is prepared to testify that Donald Trump’s arrival merely revealed “the essence” of a selfish, backward, hateful, hopelessly racist “white grievance party” — defined by “the kooks and weirdos and social misfits of a conservative ideology” — our lofty Republican ideals all along just for show. As he tells us in his Prologue, “This is a book I never thought I’d write, that I didn’t want to write. But it’s the book I now must write. It’s a truth to which I can bear witness.”

Replace “book” with “review” in that bit of melodrama and it captures something of my own state of mind while reading as the author, a colleague in both the Bush campaign of 2000 and the Romney enterprise in 2012, airs his thoroughgoing contempt for the political party whose fortunes were entrusted to him just eight years ago. Nor does it quite ring true that all of this came to him as a sudden revelation during the Trump era. Though Stuart has some admirable traits and gifts, with It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump we have not the timely manifesto for 2020 that he intended but instead a valuable contribution to the historical record. The book helps to explain his own influence in the Romney campaign, which was ruinous. And it perfectly illustrates why so many Republican voters in 2012 sensed a lack of respect from the party establishment, leaving them receptive to something so dramatically different the next time around.

13. Get Your Geek On: Is there a right to . . . repair? NR intern Luther Abel conducts a most interesting interview with its advocate, Louis Rossman. From the transcript:

ABEL: You touched on this already, but I’ll ask it very deliberately: Does Right to Repair mean that every electronic item must be repairable, rather than replaceable. For instance, I had an old ASUS laptop I bought for 200 bucks. Everything was soldered in, meaning upgrading was impossible. Now it’s completely useless to me, but I paid $200. So what’s the big deal?

ROSSMAN: Right to Repair is not the concept that everything needs to be specifically designed in a manner where it’s easier for me [to fix]. So, for instance, if you’re going to solder the drive to the board, I’m not saying, “Don’t do that.” Feel free to make those decisions as a company, to make your products slimmer in any way that you see fit. But if you’re going to say, “We’re going to specifically pair this SSD to this computer, so that even if you’re able to locate the chips, they’re not going to work when you put them in,” that’s the area where Right to Repair would come in and say, ”Let’s do less of that.” So if you want to design them in a manner where you solder the charge chip in, rather than, I don’t know, having it in a socket, let’s say — this is a really silly example cause we’re going back like 30 or 40 years — if you’re going to solder the chip instead of socket it in, I don’t mind that. You do you. But, if you’re going to make it so that nobody can get the chip, that’s where Right to Repair would come in and say that that’s what we’re against.

So one example of what Right to Repair is not: The European Union, I believe, was looking to mandate that Apple use USB-C instead of Lightning, because USB-C is a standard and Lightning is not a standard. I don’t want people to think that has anything to do with Right to Repair because it doesn’t; that’s completely separate. I’m not looking to tell Apple, “You need to use this type of charge port. I want you to use micro USB. I want you to use USB-C. I want you to use this.” No, what we’re saying is, regardless of what you use to charge your phone — you could use a banana to charge it — just give us access to be able to purchase that charge port so that if the charge port in the phone breaks, we can fix it for customers rather than tell them, “Your phone is now a brick.” So I think that is a good example of what Right to Repair is not: We’re not looking to say, “You need to use this port. You need to do this.” Just don’t intentionally lock people out of the ability to fix it once you’ve chosen how to design it.

14. Is there a home-grown Anti-European Fusionism taking place on the other side of the pond? NR intern Mathis Bitton, reporting from over there, has the story. From the piece:

In fact, far from posing a threat to France’s political order, Front Populaire represents the culmination of a strange alliance that started with the birth of the fifth French Republic. In the aftermath of World War II, Charles de Gaulle united conservative and Communist members of the Résistance to form a government that would uphold national sovereignty, limit foreign interference, and celebrate French culture after four years of German occupation. A similar coalition resurrected itself in 1992 with the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty, the treaty many view as having marked the beginning of European federalism. Then, a surreal partnership between convinced socialists such as Jean-Pierre Chevènement and conservative leaders such as Philippe Séguin emerged. Despite their colossal ideological differences, the two men shared the stage to fight against what they perceived to be the end of France as a nation-state.

But the most important date in the history of this peculiar alliance is May 29, 2005. On that day, and against all odds, the French people voted against the ratification of the Treaty of Rome, which extended the powers that Maastricht had already delegated to transnational European institutions. For the first time, the cause of national sovereignty had united a majority of voters, ranging from disillusioned Communists to committed nationalists. Naturally, the French government did not respect the popular vote; two years later, a repackaged version of the Treaty of Rome was signed by the French president without any form of public consultation. This betrayal of democratic norms has ever since fuelled the determination of anti-EU parties; but never have sovereignist political forces been able to unite beyond occasional referenda.

The reason for this is a simple one: Apart from their rejection of the EU, French conservatives have had very little in common with socialists, Communists, and even reactionaries. At least, until now. Onfray claims that the common enemy that is the EU is sufficient to launch a real political movement. American observers may find this development familiar. When future president Ronald Reagan and Republican fusionists built an anti-Soviet coalition in the 1960s, they brought together a panoply of libertarians and traditionalists who did not share much philosophically. What did unite them, however, was a threat so immense as to dwarf their differences. Naturally, Onfray by no means implies that the EU is somehow analogous to the U.S.S.R. But he does argue that the circumstances may be similar enough for a new kind of fusionism to arise.

15. Cameron Hilditch considers the consecration of a new Russian cathedral and what it bespeaks about the way certain powers regard themselves. From the essay:

The nation-state, properly defined, is a territory in which a single sovereign government wields the geographic monopoly on violence. Western nations have taken this idea to be fundamental and projected it psychologically, geopolitically, and militarily on parts of the world where it is a purely contingent and incidental way of manifesting and safeguarding modes of political unity that far antedate it. None of the English-speaking peoples have known any sense of political unity and solidarity apart from the development of a national consciousness. This might be because England herself developed this self-consciousness exceptionally early, during the reign of Alfred the Great in the ninth century.

Yet the nation-state is not the fundamental unit of political identity in either China or Russia. It is the topsoil over much deeper foundations. Both the history and the ambitions of these two countries put them in a category of polities that Jacques calls “civilization-states.” Whereas Westerners think of their countries as nations, men such as Putin and Xi think of their own as civilizations. The idea of the civilization-state allows a polity to extend the story of its own history back to a time before its current constitutional settlement. It allows for the possibility that different national arrangements may have prevailed at different points in the country’s history, yet without diminishing the continuity of identity that holds true through all the different constitutional permutations over the centuries. Consequently, for the Chinese, “China” as a recognizable entity of which they feel themselves to be a part is 5,000 years old. The historian Wang Gungwu asks, “Of what other country in the world can it be said that writings on its foreign relations of two thousand, or even one thousand, years ago seem so compellingly alive today?”

The role of the government in a civilization-state is therefore different from its role in a nation-state. In the former, the purpose of government is to maintain the unity of the civilization across time and space and prevent its dilution, rather than secure the individual rights of its citizens. This purpose is informed and undergirded by the people’s sense of intimacy with their own history and traditions and by the emotional power of an identity shared across millennia. The general acquiescence of the Han Chinese and the Russian peoples to their illiberal regimes makes sense when these countries are assessed according to the principles of a civilization-state.

Lights. Camera. Action! And Paintings!

1. Armond White finds Quentin Dupieux’s horror-comedy import, Deerskin, compelling. From the review:

In a French countryside town that looks recognizably vacant and free of social standards — the opening sequence features several impressionable young people following an unlikely group ritual — a stranger arrives from the city. Georges (Jean Dujardin) seeks to purchase a vintage suede hunting jacket complete with hanging fringe. The seller, an old hermit, throws in a video recorder as an ominous Brothers Grimm–style talisman. Georges tapes himself — and his jacket — like a self-taught introvert.

When Georges shoots the local scenery, Dupieux lets the footage suggest alienation. This is a place without history, where conscious social memory has mostly been erased, replaced by a madman’s attempt at expressing his own wacky and irate egotism. Dupieux observes things in Georges’s own solipsistic terms until he meets a bartender, Denise (Adèle Haenel), who coincidentally shares his lunacy. “I edit,” she tells him. “I put Pulp Fiction in order.”

That’s when Deerskin’s bizarre conceit falls into place. Combining old and new fetish objects, traditional and modern obsessions, Dupieux assesses the moral retreat that has occurred ever since Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction opened Pandora’s Box.

This slyly paranoid art film proposes what cannot be put back in order — or, as an amateur filmmaker might think, rectified by pressing a rewind button. It defies back-to-roots, back-to-nature aspirations (our roots being torn down and vandalized now) and so goes forward into murderous madness.

2. Kyle Smith believes that Lawrence of Arabia has well withstood the sands of time. From the commentary:

A strikingly modern trait of Lawrence is that it explores Thomas Edward Lawrence’s flaws and complicating aspects to a degree that was unusual for a Hollywood hero story then and for many years thereafter; even two decades later, its Columbia Pictures successor Gandhi was a strict hagiography that allowed no blemishes in its portrait (and suffers for it). Lawrence repeatedly casts its title character as vainglorious, dancing around admiring himself when he gets his splendid white sherif’s robes and twice comparing himself to Moses before he grants himself a promotion: “My friends, who will walk on water with me?” He’s not even 30 yet. Typical of a modern liberal intellectual, he is an internationalist, disdainful of his own country: He dubs England “fat country. Fat people,” anticipating how generations of Western students would talk as they roamed the earth looking for exotic folks to save, often begging to be accepted as one of them. “I’m different,” he says, and so he is. He’s a man with “a funny sense of fun,” we are told. That’s a genteel Edwardian reference to what we will observe is Lawrence’s sadomasochism.

Lawrence thinks it would be fun to lead the Arabs to seize the port of Aqaba from the Turks not for honor, adventure, or country, as in previous war epics, but as an act of allyship for people of color. His motive is to win the Arabs their independence in a pan-Arab postcolonial state. Underlying that is a semi-erotic fixation on pain, both receiving it and administering it. Prince Faisal (Alec Guinness) has his number: He’s seen misery tourists before. “No Arab loves the desert,” Faisal reminds him. Arabs aren’t stupid. They like water and green things, not deprivation. Lawrence is irritated by comfort. When he is captured and whipped by the Turks, he barely reacts, though immediately after that scene he expresses dismay about his skin color, which strikes him as hopelessly limiting rather than, like other British soldiers of the Empire, a mark of superiority.

3. Brian Allen proposes that the moneybags who fund museums stop giving to those which continue to keep their doors closed. From the commentary:

Texas is saying “enough already” to public-health bureaucrats with no credibility, a news media with no scruples, and politicians with no cojones. Alas, COVID-19 is a new virus, the barn door’s flung open, and the country can’t tolerate millions of workers unemployed and millions of children unschooled. We need to end this most unexcellent, reckless, hubristic, and ruinous adventure. We’ll need to integrate COVID-19 into our lives for the foreseeable future.

Museums need to do their part. Many can’t reopen because their state and local masters won’t allow them, but many others can and won’t. They’re “preparing” and studying statistics and convening special committees, we’re told, but the truth is their shelter-in-place directors and senior staff have grown accustomed to collecting fat paychecks for the once-in-a-while Zoom meeting.

Today I read a long list of California museums that won’t open to serve the public until September. “Surf’s up,” I imagine, since I doubt more than a few among their staffs can productively “work from home” for what will be six months, with no collection, no public, no library, no shows, and no files.

Millions of unemployed, millions of mostly low-income workers who drive trucks, stock our supermarkets, and grow food, and millions working in factories and hospitals aren’t such lucky duckies. In a world of “haves” and “have nots,” right now big chunks of the museum class have it made. “Just keep scouring the papers for spikes, anywhere,” cry the lucky duckies. I suspect many want to keep the Endless Summer going. Aren’t the directors embarrassed?

4. It’s Summer! John Loftus finds Jaws middle-aged but still terrific. From the piece:

Prior to Jaws, studios dumped their B-list fare into the summer junkyard, saving the fall and winter for the big-budget, star-studded prestige releases. But Jaws was unique, deliberately crafted and marketed for a season, and thus Spielberg and Universal Studios established the summer “blockbuster.” Jaws was purposefully released nationwide in half the number of theaters usually allotted for a studio film. In cities, Americans waited hours on lines circling around whole blocks. The hype — and fear — ballooned. TV advertising, as opposed to print reviews, continually touted the film with “saturation booking.” Jaws also marks the point at which studios sought “high-concept” ideas — easy to pitch, easy to market — that prompted a string of ’80s box-office hits. Legend has it, screenwriter Dan O’Bannon pitched Alien as “Jaws in space.”

There’s the artistry and pluck, too. Unlike most summer blockbusters made today (Christopher Nolan’s movies are the exception, not the rule) Jaws is every bit as dramatic and compelling as the best Oscar-bait. Brody, Quint, and Hopper — all three idiosyncratic to the core — share a rich dynamic. Filming on boats with a mechanical shark was an unprecedented technical crucible. The cinematography, editing, John Williams score, and Spielberg’s direction built tension and suspense much like a Hitchcockian thriller. Not to mention, the script is chock full of classic lines such as “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”; “Smile, you son of a b****”; and “This shark, swallow you whole.”

5. More Kyle: He praises Mr. Jones. From the review:

Mr. Jones, it turns out, is also the name of an Orwell acquaintance who might have been an inspiration in his writing: Jones is a Welsh reporter, first name Gareth, who is our vantage point for the Stalin-engineered Ukraine famine of the 1930s that amounted to the state-ordered murder of more than three million people by seizing the region’s grain. At the outset of the film Mr. Jones (which is just out via VOD services) is seen pleading to a team of politicos led by David Lloyd George, a former British prime minister in 1933. Jones (played with a combination of determination and disbelief by James Norton) advises the Brits that Herr Hitler, whom he has recently interviewed, has already started a war on western civilization and that a similar threat is building in the Soviet Union. Guffaws greet everything Jones says, and he gets the sack from Lloyd George. “It is me you need, I’m the only one who tells you the truth,” Jones tells the grand old man, but the ex-premier isn’t interested. So Jones goes to Moscow anyway, pretending he has Lloyd George’s blessing.

The genius move of this scathing and suspenseful film by Poland’s Agnieszka Holland (who was once arrested by the Soviets, during the Prague Spring) is in whom it selects to be the menacing, dead-eyed apparatchik with a cold determination to search out and destroy any threats to the regime: He is none other than Walter Duranty, the New York Times’s man in Moscow, or rather Moscow’s man at the New York Times. Duranty is portrayed by one of the screen’s true masters of all things snaky and slimy, Peter Sarsgaard. Sarsgaard, Holland, and screenwriter Andrea Chalupa perform such a vicious act of celluloid vivisection on Duranty that Mr. Jones may restore your faith in movies.

Duranty, the one-legged Anglo-American granddaddy of fake news, was, as the film makes vividly clear, not a lazy hack who stuck with a comfy narrative because it was the easiest thing to do (like most journos) or a cynic who thinks all sides stand equal in their sins (like many other journos). He wasn’t even a useful idiot. He was, rather, an active and fervent defender of an evil regime and consequently a deeply evil man himself. Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1931 reports defending Stalin under such headlines as “Stalinism Solving Minorities Problem” and “Red Army is Held No Menace to Peace.” After he said reports of a famine were “an exaggeration or malignant propaganda,” FDR granted recognition to the USSR. This was back in the days when Pulitzers were being handed out not for advancing public knowledge but for setting fire to the facts in order to light a torch for far-left propaganda. Thank heavens that never happens anymore.


1. On The Editors, Rich, Charlie, and Jim discuss Trump’s recent polling problems and the Supreme Court decisions handed down this week. Listen here.

2. On The Victor Davis Hanson Podcast, VDH discusses the cognitive challenges of Joe Biden; the former Veep’s basement strategy — and how Trump needs to get Biden up through the BILCO doors; how November will be about the Angry Voter; Blue State leaders’ “neo-confederate” approach to mayhem; John Roberts, the intimidated jurist; a Trump Second-Term agenda; recalling California governor Gavin Newsom; and reflections on the Fall of France on its 80th anniversary. Listen here.

3. On The McCarthy Report, Andy and Rich discuss why people should be cautious of the Taliban/Russia narrative, and condemn China’s takeover of Hong Kong. Listen here.

4. On The Great Books, John J. Miller and Spencer Klavan discuss Aeschylus’s The Persians. Listen here.

5. Then on The Bookmonger, JJM is joined by Abigail Shrier to discuss her book on trans lunacy, Irreversible Damage. Listen here.

6. On Radio Free California, Will talks with historian Robert M. Senkewicz about Junípero Serra, founder of the California missions; object of veneration, admiration, and hate. In other news, Steve Greenhut talks about police reform, Dr. Jeff Barke about how K–12 schools should open sans masks and social distancing, and California Policy Center’s Ed Ring about one city’s revolutionary approach to the problem of fire-fighting. Listen here.

7. On Political Beats, Scot and Ed are joined by legal guru Randy Barnett to discuss The Zombies and Agent. Listen here.

8. On Constitutionally Speaking, Jay and Luke continue their discussion of one-term presidents, following up the previous episode with more on Martin Van Buren, and then on to John Tyler (skipping the skippable William Henry Harrison). Listen here.

The Six

1. At Real Clear Politics, Daniel J. Mahoney diagnoses the severe threat to this More Perfect Union and calls for a rejection of the Left’s Culture of Hate. From the essay:

True democracy presupposes mutual accountability and mutual respect. Our greatest and most noble president, Abraham Lincoln, “loathed slavery,” as Frederick Douglass, the greatest black American of the 19th century, rightly said. “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master,” Lincoln wrote in a note to himself in August 1858. This, he said, “expresses my idea of democracy.” And in his Gettysburg Address of November 1863, he called for a “new birth of freedom” that would bring black Americans fully into the American civic community. Lincoln knew that proud black men had spilled their blood for the Union and liberty and that Americans owed them honor and due respect for their sacrifices on behalf of the republic. As Douglass said in his dedication to the Freedmen’s Monument in Washington, D.C., in April 1876 — a statue dedicated by former slaves in memory of Lincoln — one must show gratitude and appreciation to those “loyal, brave, and patriotic” black soldiers who “fell in defense of the Union and liberty.” Both they and Lincoln died at the service of a republic worthy of free men and women, one where citizens shared in rule and were neither masters nor slaves. We should be proud of that shared civic legacy, that mutual struggle for liberty and human dignity.

But now even the Freedmen’s Monument is threatened by a mob of angry thugs. These “Bourgeois Bolsheviks,” as The American Conservative recently described them, despise the mutual accountability and respect for law that undergirds true liberty and equality. They mock the greatness of Lincoln and Douglass. They are defined by ignorance, ingratitude, and envy. Their ignoble “passion for equality,” as Tocqueville called it, is a grotesque perversion of the noble moral and civic equality that underlies the American proposition. This desire to tear down, to destroy and repudiate the patrimony of our fathers, is incompatible with civilized existence.

2. At The Imaginative Conservative, Bradley Birzer compares the patriots of 1776 to the Mayhemocrats of 2020. From the piece:

Finally, the protestors of 2020 have shown almost no interest in discussion. They believe their conclusions are unassailable, and, thus, they see debate as nothing more than delay toward their inevitable future. Yet, when we look back at 1776, we see an entire population that engaged in ideas at every level. Here, though extremely violent, is a typical statement from the American Revolution, a broadside that threatened bodily harm while also expressing serious ideas about the nature of God, the nature of the human person, and the dangers of a standing army:

Fellow Countrymen

be not intimidated at the Sight of Soldiers, mercenary Soldiers, who for a penny a day addition to their Wages, would serve Mustaphay 3rd as soon as George ye 3rd. You know their Number: 1000 Slaves are not to give Laws to a brave and free people. They have already began to shew their Insolence. There is now no appeal but go God. Extirpate them Root and Branch, be sure their Chiefs are the first Victims, rise my Countrymen. Throw off the first Fetter of Slavery, a Standing Army—remember your brave Forefathers, men of whom, the world was not worthy. They purchas’d this Land with much Treasure and Seas of their Blood, let them not in this day rise up and see their posterity less brave, less resolute, and less virtuous. My Countrymen we either must unsheath our Swords or be Slaves. Your understandings would be affronted were the Last to be put to you. The day is come. Strike these Invaders of your Liberty, these Enemies of your God and not let them any longer pollute this Insulam Sacram, ye that have got no swords, sell your Garments and buy one. You fear not Death, only Slavery. The Anniversary of our last Stroke to their underhand plots was the 14th August. Let our last and effectual stroke to their open Hostilities be the same. My Countrymen, be Freemen or Slaves, or die, or die.

The revolutionaries of 1776 could be just as violent as those of 2020, but they were truly a lot more intelligent and interesting.

3. At Unherd, Mike McCulloch tells the tale of how some Twitter “likes” nearly cost him his teaching position. From the beginning of the piece:

University was once a place that prided itself on freedom of thought, academic inquiry and a free exchange of ideas, but in recent years it has turned into something different. As a university lecturer in geomatics, I can attest to this: earlier this month, I received a polite email from my Head of School stating that an anonymous person had sent a list of tweets that I had ‘liked’ over a 24-hour period to the University’s Equalities Team. My supposed ‘crime’ was that I had liked posts saying ‘All lives matter’, ‘Gender has a scientific basis’ and ones opposed to mass immigration.

The complainant extrapolated from that to say that I was black-hating, woman-hating, immigrant-hating…etc, which is not true. In the complaint, this person also targeted my work by claiming that my physics papers had been blacklisted by journals, which again, is not true.

Last week, I was then told of another complaint received by the University and that there would be an investigation. A senior colleague was appointed investigator and a Zoom meeting was organised for the 1st July to decide whether a disciplinary hearing should be held that could lead to my dismissal.

4. At The Pipeline, John O’Sullivan wonders about the problematic veracity of the Green movement’s “97 per cent” claim. From the piece:

That said, it’s oddly interesting (i.e., counter-intuitive) that political partisanship seems to operate on global warming as strongly among scientists as among the rest of us. A Pew Research survey for this year’s Earth Day showed that while Democrats with a high degree of scientific knowledge were likely to have a strong belief in the human contribution to climate change, Republicans with the same level of information were much more skeptical.

These are intriguing, even embarrassing, results. The researchers plainly thought so, because they added this somewhat nervous comment on them:

A similar pattern was found regarding people’s beliefs about energy issues. These findings illustrate that the relationship between people’s level of science knowledge and their attitudes can be complex.

And maybe they illustrate something else, too. For these results seem to conflict with perhaps the single best known statistic about science and global warming, namely that 97 per cent of scientists believe in global warming. To unpack that claim, they believe that global warming is happening, it’s man-made, and it’s dangerous. That’s President Obama speaking. Former Secretary of State John Kerry added the word “urgent.” And that’s pretty much the internationally respectable orthodoxy of officialdom and the media. Anyone who dissents from it is labelled a “climate denier” and, as Herbert Spencer said of such judgments a century and a half ago, “nothing he says thereafter need be listened to again.”

But that raises a doubt. If ninety-seven per cent of the scientists you meet believe in global warming, how come that many Republicans knowledgeable about science don’t believe them?

5. At Gatestone Institute, Judith Bergman finds slavery rampant, and wokeness silent. From the article:

In the UK itself, there is a shocking range of modern slavery, something that the local wokesters are happy to ignore as they bravely attack statues of stone and metal. According to the UK government’s 2019 Annual Report on Modern Slavery, there are at least 13,000 potential victims of slavery in the UK, although as that number dates back to 2014, it is questionable. According to the 2018 Global Slavery Index, there are an estimated 136,000 people living in modern slavery just in Britain.

Slavery in the UK takes the form of forced labor, and domestic and sexual exploitation. Albanians and Vietnamese are among the groups that constitute the majority of slaves. British news outlets have run several stories about the estimated thousands of Vietnamese, half under the age of 18, who are kidnapped and trafficked to the UK where they are forced to work as slaves on cannabis farms. There, they form a small part of the “vast criminal machine that supplies Britain’s £2.6bn cannabis black market”. Those who are not forced to work in the cannabis industry are enslaved in “nail bars, brothels and restaurants, or kept in domestic servitude behind the doors of private residences”. In January, BBC news ran a story about a Vietnamese boy named Ba, who was kidnapped by a Chinese gang and trafficked to the UK, where his Chinese boss starved him and beat him whenever one of the cannabis plants failed.

BLM may not care much about Vietnamese lives in the UK — after all, they are all about black lives, so how about black slaves in Africa? There are currently an estimated 9.2 million men, women and children living in modern slavery in Africa, according to the Global Slavery Index, which includes forced labor, forced sexual exploitation and forced marriage.

6. At The College Fix, Christian Schneider reports on how the incredibly hypocritical Stanford University is addicted to ChiCom cash. From the piece:

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Stanford has accepted more funds from China since 2013 than all but three other schools in the U.S. (Harvard University, the University of Southern California and the University of Pennsylvania top the list.)

During this six-year period, Stanford reported $58.1 million in China-based gifts and contracts, according to an analysis by Bloomberg.

Yet Stanford’s tightening relationship with China occurred as the U.S. government was warning colleges and universities of the growing influence of China on American campuses.

In 2018, the FBI issued a report indicating some foreign scholars on American campuses “seek to illicitly or illegitimately acquire U.S. academic research and information to advance their scientific, economic, and military development goals.”

The report noted the Chinese government “has historically sponsored economic espionage, and China is the world’s principal infringer of intellectual property.”

Specifically, law enforcement was worried about Confucius Institutes, which allow Chinese nationals access to American students and intellectual property. The institutes are largely funded by Hanban, an organization directly under the purview of the Ministry of Education in Beijing, but which also has ties to the External Propaganda Leading Group of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee.

BONUS: At The Imaginative Conservative, Joseph Pearce explains how those Mean Old Hungarians — led by Victor Orbán — have resisted the Marxist madness within the country’s borders. From the analysis:

To these liberal globalist elites, Mr. Orbán’s national conservative government is anathema, pursuing policies which undermine the globalist agenda. His government has refused to accept the large “quota” of mostly Moslem immigrants that the European Union has sought to impose upon the people of Hungary, and he has outraged the elites still further with his resolute refusal to bend the knee before the Pride movement and its war on the traditional family. While the war on the family continues to wreak havoc in the United States and the countries of western Europe, Hungary has pursued a pro-family agenda which is reaping a bountiful harvest. The country has seen an astonishing 5.5 percent increase in birth-rate in the first four months of this year, a direct consequence of the pro-family legislation passed in 2019, as well as a 50 percent increase in the number of marriages. This resurrection of the traditional family has been helped by the government’s proactive pro-family policies, such as a grant of around $35,000, for married couples who have at least three children.

Mr. Orbán believes that these pro-family policies, aimed at increasing Hungary’s birthrate, is a much more socially and culturally healthy way of coping with Europe’s demographic implosion than the socially and culturally destructive alternative of mass immigration, which has been the path adopted by those countries which have conformed to the globalist elite’s agenda. “Demographic crisis must be solved by powerful state efforts, we must have a demography-focused policy-making,” Mr. Orbán declared last year. He added, in words which would infuriate the anti-family Pride advocates, that “when we talk about family and family subsidies, we support traditional families.” The alternative is national suicide and cultural meltdown, as a spokesman for the Hungarian government told Breitbart London last year: “Europe is at a crossroads. Western Europe seeks to address the problem of demography with simple solutions which only offer short-term success, but convey catastrophic consequences in the long run. What we need is not numbers, but Hungarian children: we’re not seeking to sustain an economic system, but Hungary, the Hungarian nation and Hungarian history; we want to encourage the continuation of our families.”

The “catastrophic consequences” of the short-term or quick fix solution of mass immigration were seen in the riots last week between rival Chechen and Algerian immigrant gangs in Dijon in France, the news coverage of which was largely suppressed in western Europe and the United States but was reported widely in central and eastern Europe. This follows a wave of riots across France in recent months centered on immigrant areas that have become largely no-go areas for the police. Alluding to the “gang wars being fought in the streets of the beautiful small towns of Western European countries,” Mr. Orbán remarked that the globalist elite’s “multiculturalist” ideology was not for his country. “I take a look at the countries which keep sending us messages about how to live our lives correctly, and how to govern and to operate a democracy well, and I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry.”


As the Designated Hitter comes to the National League, completing the pervertage of the art and beauty of the National Pastime (we need to educate David Harsanyi about his dreadful beliefs in this area) it is worth considering — who was the last pitcher to get a hit back in the Good Old Days, before the DH came to the Junior Circuit?

To recount: The DH abomination appeared in 1973 — the Yankees’ Ron Blomberg having the distinction of being the first man to ever bat so designated. It came against the Red Sox at Fenway Park on the afternoon of April 6, 1973, in the top of the First: Blomberg, batting sixth, walked with the bases loaded (driving in the great Matty Alou).

In the stuffy offices of this Meandering Missive, we traipsed through box scores of the last days of the 1972 season to see what pitcher — batting regularly, as was the rule for more than a century — got the final hit of the Unmolested Era.

It was the quite young future Hall-of-Famer Bert Blyleven, who proved to be the only AL pitcher who hit safely on the 1972 season’s final day — October 4. Playing at home against the Chicago White Sox, before a scant crowd of 3,193, Blyleven led the Minnesota Twins to a 14–2 victory. It gave the Minnesota righthander a 17–17 record for the season, while White Sox rookie Goose Gossage, in one of the few starts in his Hall-of-Fame career, took the loss, giving up 13 hits and 9 runs in three innings.

No, he didn’t serve up Blyleven’s hit — that came at the expense of White Sox reliever Dan Neumeier — a two-run double in the bottom of the Fourth, padding the Twins’ beatdown to a 10–0 lead. Never heard of Neumeier? No surprise: this was the last of his three MLB career appearances, in which he compiled a 0–0 record, a 9.00 ERA. There’s not much to say besides that, except that he earned an awkward place in baseball history (a place possibly unrecognized until this sad moment).

A Dios

The power of prayer is f’real. Weeks back Your Humble Correspondent sought them for a young father whose body was rife with late-stage cancers. His mother writes that the last tests show significant reductions in tumors, and once-pessimistic doctors now genuinely optimistic. This is not a tale of Mission Accomplished. Praise to those who did pray — there is a general belief by family and the medical gurus that something above and beyond is happening with the patient — but we beseech once again this weekend that you might repeat petitions to the Almighty for this particular cause.

Of course, to occur in between your petitions that The Divine smite those who aim to defile and destroy this special place He created, unlike any other seen since Eden.

That the Ancient of Days Will Afford You and Yours Graces Abundant and Mercies Tender,

Jack Fowler, who would thrill to images of your Grand Old Flag displays sent safely to

National Review

Grant. One Wish.


Dear Weekend Jolters,

If the Genie presented himself to Your Proud Jingoist Correspondent with an offer to grant one wish, the response would be: Make the flannelmouths and dimwits admit that Marxists and other America–hating ideologues are engaged in a culture war intent on destroying this grand and great thing we have been bequeathed, a thing bought and paid in blood — this land of the free, home of the brave and e pluribus unum, of sacred unalienable rights, of Old Glory waving o’er the ramparts and purpled mountain majesties and fruited plains, this house I live in where, as Frank Sinatra crooned, one has the right to speak your mind out.

Mobs send messages, not in the way Old Blue Eyes was defending but more like Ignatz communicating with Krazy Kat. The mob aspires to chaos and anarchy, it intends the destruction of beliefs and of our civilization. It calculates that the abyss is the opportunity to claim power and wield it, to death do we swiftly part. The mob seeks no honest discussion — your abject supplication and subjugation will do just fine. The mob’s motto echoes the demented hiss of Ahab: From hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.

About honest discussions: Indeed, we need one. Let’s keep it short. Not one about how to contain it, nor how to diminish it, but one about calling out this mob and rabble for what it is — a revolutionary enterprise, a Marxist undertaking. And let us end the discussion by confirming our obligation to the More Perfect Union to which we are indebted: It now needs our courage and direct action.

Would that we fix bayonets and charge at the orders of a General Grant. The bronze one has been toppled — but the memory of the real one has been polished nicely by Dan McLaughlin. You really need to read his piece, In Defense of Ulysses S. Grant. Here’s a slice:

Grant was a great man, if a flawed one. He was, moreover, a humble man who needed great events to uncover his strengths. Understanding both his flaws and the context of his life underlines the greatness of his accomplishments. Reading history requires empathy. People in the past believed different things than we do, sometimes for very good reasons. Things that appalled them as immoral then do not scandalize us now, and things that appall us as immoral now did not scandalize them then. Ideas and tactics that would succeed today would fail miserably then.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize–winning 1619 Project author, waved away efforts to put Grant in context in a since-deleted Tweet: “Hitler was a man of his time, Osama bin Laden was a man of his time.” This is an obscene parallel: Hitler was not the norm among veterans of the First World War, and bin Laden was not the norm even among Saudis born in the 1950s. It is also not how history works. To say that figures of the past were men of their time is not to exonerate them from all judgment but to recognize that judgment requires perspective as to what things were hard, what things were possible, and what things required courage.

Grant always believed that slavery was wrong, though, as with many Americans of his day, it took time for him to be convinced to act on it. He was from the free state of Ohio, and his father was a vocal abolitionist. (Grant’s father was too vocal about a lot of things for the tastes of the soft-spoken, reserved Grant). Yet Grant fell in love with a Southern woman, whose wealthy family owned slaves. His father-in-law remained an unreconstructed Confederate even while living in Grant’s White House literally in the middle of Reconstruction. Was Grant wrong to marry her? Was he wrong, as his critics imply, not to impose sterner patriarchal discipline over his wife and her “property,” and a more unforgiving posture toward his father-in-law? Perhaps he was. But their marriage was long and happy, and Julia Grant was essential to keeping him sober when he needed her help. Dealing with the intransigence of his ultra-Yankee father and ultra-Rebel father-in-law gave Grant a unique appreciation for the nation’s divisions and the careful work needed to accommodate and overcome them.

Grant knew a real rebellion when he saw it. And he defeated it. Inspiring, no? Now, onto the Jolt!


1. The President’s decision to cut U.S. troops in Germany is ill-advised. From the editorial:

If it is being undertaken to punish Germany for its trade policies and defense spending, as Trump has said, it’s unlikely to bring results. Trump was right to call Germany “delinquent” for consistently failing to spend at least 2 percent of its GDP on defense, the NATO target. Germany’s disregard for its commitments to the transatlantic alliance is disgraceful, but unfortunately, unlikely to fundamentally change, notwithstanding a minor increase in defense spending last year. Germany has also pressed ahead with Nord Stream 2, a natural-gas pipeline that will run between Russia, and Germany and render our allies beholden to the Kremlin for their energy needs.

Regardless, the reason to keep our forces in Germany isn’t as a favor to Berlin, but because it serves our interest in a stable Europe. And there are better ways, including economic measures, to thwart EU–Russia collaboration.

If it is being undertaken as a slap at Chancellor Angela Merkel for saying that she would not attend a G-7 meeting Trump had wanted to host in Washington this month, it constitutes a substitution of personal pique for military strategy. (Administration officials have claimed that the withdrawal announcement had been in the works for months.)

If it is being undertaken to save money, as some have suggested, it’s not going to work because it will also cost money to house the troops removed from Germany in, say, Texas.

2. We condemn the rabble’s statue-toppling. From the editorial:

Alas, too many of our institutions seem to believe that the answer is “Easier.” The Pulitzer prize-winning lead essayist of the New York Times’s “1619 Project” has suggested that it would be “an honor” if all this vandalism were called “the 1619 riots,” and, separately, has expressed indifference toward the destruction of statues of Ulysses S. Grant. Given that the central premise of the 1619 Project is that the Founding was predicated upon a lie and that white supremacy has always been the nation’s animating value, this makes a perverted sort of sense, and yet we cannot help but notice how absurd it is that, by flattening American history into a single unexceptional lump, the supposedly “anti-racist” position is rendered indistinguishable from the position that was held by the Confederacy. As ever, the death of context leads inexorably to the death of understanding.

And, if left unchecked, it leads to the death of history itself. Every great figure from America’s past has been flawed in one way or another; the salient question is whether those flaws were incidental, or whether they were central, to their celebration. Thomas Jefferson is remembered primarily for setting into aspic what Abraham Lincoln described as an “abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times” and what Martin Luther King described as a “promissory note.” George Washington is remembered for his role throwing off the colonial yoke and then setting an unprecedented example of republican leadership as the nation’s first president. Lincoln saved the Union and helped to bring an end to slavery; Churchill identified the Nazis as having created “a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime,” and helped rally the world to their destruction; Gandhi pioneered and practiced a form of non-violent protest that has been exported worldwide and used to remarkable effect. A full understanding of each man requires the imposition of a “but . . . ”. It does not require the wholesale destruction of his memory.

3. We applaud the President’s executive order with broad immigration restrictions. From the editorial:

We wish Congress would not delegate its powers so extensively. But it has, and therefore it falls under the president’s purview to decide whether the pandemic has temporarily changed America’s immigration needs. Seeing the jobless rate elevated throughout the economy, he has decided, correctly, that yes, it has.

The new rules apply to a broad swath of legal immigration. They extend a previous order restricting new green cards. They also cut back on the H-1B visa, a favorite of tech companies both because it allows them to bring in rare talent from abroad and because it allows them to replace American workers with lower-paid foreigners acquired through outsourcing firms. Also affected are visas for temporary low-skill workers, au pairs, exchange students, and employees whom companies wish to transfer from foreign offices to American ones.

More notable, however, is what the order does not affect. It exempts everyone who is already in the country — so it will not disrupt the lives of people who have come here, only stop additional immigrants from arriving while the economy is struggling. It also exempts workers crucial to the nation’s food supply, those treating or researching COVID-19, and several other categories, including a catch-all of immigrants whose entry, in the administration’s judgment, “would be in the national interest.” And visa processing abroad has already slowed to a halt thanks to the pandemic, further limiting the proclamation’s impact.

4. We unabashedly reject the idea of D.C. statehood. From the editorial:

Friday’s D.C. statehood vote in the House is also entirely symbolic. Only a constitutional amendment can convert the seat of the federal government into a state. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gave Congress plenary local lawmaking power to “exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District” — the broadest power Congress exercises anywhere. The 23rd Amendment, passed by Congress at the urging of Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy in 1960, gave D.C. the votes in presidential elections that it would have as a state. But it defines D.C. as a permanent constitutional entity of its own, outside of statehood. The Justice Department has repeatedly concluded, under administrations of both parties, that D.C. statehood requires amending the Constitution. That isn’t going to happen. The last time an amendment was tried, in the 1970s, only 16 states signed on.

On the merits of the proposal, it is difficult to see how the people of D.C. are oppressed, easy to see how their influence is already disproportionate, and easier than ever to see why the federal government would be imperiled by subjecting its physical security to District authorities. True, the Founding Fathers did not anticipate a time when the federal district would have more residents than Vermont. But early Americans also never conceived a time when the federal government would spend 4.5 trillion dollars a year and employ more people in D.C. alone than the entire populations of Syracuse or Dayton.

A Goodly 20 Examples of the Conservative Brilliance Served Up This Week Past by Your Favorite Conservative Website

1. When chaos ensues. . . advantage: Country Mouse. Victor Davis Hanson profiles the upside of bumpkinhood and the downside of city slickerage. From the essay:

For many liberal urban dwellers, all the violence, filth, dependency, plague, incompetence, and sermonizing were no longer worth the salaries earned from globalized high-tech and finances. Even the city’s retro, gentrified neighborhoods, its internationalism and sophistication in food, drink, and entertainment, its cultural diversity, and its easy accessibility to millions of similarly enlightened liberals with superior tastes and tolerance began to wear. When stores go up in flames, or the 58th floor comes down with the coronavirus, or Mayor de Blasio plays “Imagine” to illustrate why there are no police on the streets, then who cares about the intellectual stimulation that supposedly comes by osmosis from the nation’s tony universities anchored in cities or their nearby suburbs?

Increasingly over the past four months, millions of city folk have discovered that the police are as essential as water, food, sewage, and gasoline. Without them, life reverts not to a summer of love but more often to the Lord of the Flies and Deadwood. The urban hipster and marketing executive discovered that a spark somewhere 2,000 miles away can ignite their own neighborhood, and all the kneeling, foot-washing, and social-media virtue-signaling won’t bring safety or food.

For the boutique owner, whose store was looted, defaced, and burned, the existential crisis was not just that capital and income were lost, and a lifetime investment wiped out, after the earlier one-two-three punch of plague/quarantine/depression.

Instead, the rub was that the urban store owner and his customer grasped that all that mayhem could easily happen again and on a moment’s notice — and the ensuing losses would once again be written off as the regrettable collateral damage that is sometimes necessary to “effect social change.” When the mayor and police look the other way as the mob carries off Louis Vuitton bags, and CNN reporters assure us of peaceful protests while flames engulf our television screens, why rebuild or restore what the authorities and the influential deem expendable? Why live in Detroit in 1970 when a constant 1967 repeat was supposed to be a tolerable cost of doing business there?

2. In reality, says Conrad Black, the attack on statues is an effort to topple Western Civilization. From the piece:

There is only a weak argument for removing the statues of great generals such as Lee and Stonewall Jackson. There is no argument whatever for removing from the front of the Museum of Natural History in New York the splendid statue of Theodore Roosevelt, which is being done preemptively, according to the director, because statues now attract controversy. (That one is accompanied by a Native American and an African American beside a mounted TR — he was a supporter of both communities). They should retain TR’s statue and get rid of the director. She represents precisely the sort of cowardice that feeds and is exploited by the extremism that quickly gets to the head of these apparently well intended movements. There is no earthly excuse for taking down the statue of General (and President) U. S. Grant in San Francisco, or for defacing the statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square in London. Compare Confederate leader Jefferson Davis’s views of black people to those of Farrakhan’s hero and Churchill’s arch-foe, Hitler, on the same subject. The first person who advocates the removal of General Sherman’s statue in New York’s Grand Army Plaza by St. Gaudens, should be pitilessly mocked and chastised.

The Democratic Party has left the back door open to these anti-democratic extremists and has been infiltrated. It has morally atrophied and is ambiguous between mob rule and sensible law enforcement. The Democrats have a phantom presidential candidate who is clearly unequal to the office which he seeks and have left their campaign to the biased and unprofessional national political media, since the candidate can’t make the race. The Democrats are trying to avoid the issues, profit from the coronavirus, and hope for a referendum on Trump stacked by the Trump-hating media. Jefferson, Madison, FDR, Truman, and LBJ were Democratic presidents who importantly strengthened the foundations of American liberty. Those who would remove a statue of Robert E. Lee because he led the Army of Virginia, no more realize that they are facilitating the work of those who would tear down statues of Lincoln and Churchill than those who peacefully protested the criminal death of George Floyd realized their efforts would be hijacked by those who burned and pillaged the businesses of thousands of decent Americans.

3. On the idiocy of threatening the Emancipation Memorial, Jack Butler says hands off. From the commentary:

Lincoln Park’s typical quiet was broken on Tuesday by an increasingly familiar sight: a crowd seeking a statue to tear down. The more such groups deviate further from anything resembling legitimate protest against the unjust death of George Floyd, the more one questions their historical literacy. Indeed, it seems clear at this point that any old-looking statue will do: Figures of everyone from the Union general and racially progressive president Ulysses S. Grant to the abolitionist Hans Christian Heg have gotten the treatment. But if the protesters knew anything about the history and a character of the Emancipation Memorial, they would abandon their stated promise to tear the statue down.

It’s worth starting with an aspect of the statue that those who recently flocked to it in the hopes of consigning it to oblivion have the least excuse for not knowing. The man who appears to be leading these efforts on the ground proclaimed on Tuesday that he sees them as part of a campaign of consciousness-raising. “We are going to show up and wake these rich white people up,” he said while standing in front of the statue. If he had turned around, he might have noticed a plaque at the statue’s base that reads as follows:

In grateful memory of Abraham Lincoln, this monument was erected by the Western Sanitary Commission of Saint Louis MO: With funds contributed solely by emancipated citizens of the United States, declared free by his proclamation, January 1st A.D. 1863. The first contribution of five dollars was made by Charlotte Scott, a freed woman of Virginia, being her first earnings in freedom and consecrated by her succession and request on the day she heard of President Lincoln’s death to build a monument to his memory.

So, just to make it absolutely clear: The statue in question here owes its existence not to “rich white people,” but to newly freed slaves, the first of whom contributed to it her first-ever earnings as a free citizen of the United States. To tear it down would be a grave insult to the memory of those who created it.

4. Statuary Jacobinism: The topplings of bronzed Francis Scott Key, Father Junipero Serra, and Confederacy defeater Ulysses S. Grant in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park draw the ire of Greg Weiner. From the commentary:

That brings us to Grant. In the spirit of charity that those who destroyed a bust of him lack, set aside the patent absurdity of celebrating Juneteenth by deplatforming the general whose victorious troops read the Emancipation Proclamation and the president who subdued the first incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan. Grant’s unforgivable and all-defining sin was having owned a slave, William Jones.

That is true. So is the fact that Grant was raised in an abolitionist family and went to court in 1859 — in St. Louis, hardly an oasis of political calm or racial enlightenment — to free Jones, whom he could instead have sold to relieve his serious financial troubles. The least generous and nuanced interpretation that can be imposed on Grant’s life is that he was a slave owner who saw the error of his ways and proceeded to destroy slavery. Even that much requires caricature, but as caricatures go, it is an admirable one. Still, it requires a time-elapse photograph rather than a snapshot. It also requires that such an image be placed in context and understood in subtle terms.

In the Golden Gate strain of protest, the rejection of memory and complexity in favor of a bastardized version of Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence — that is, live in and for the now alone — has overtaken an initial and noble opposition to racism and police brutality. It will not turn out well for its adherents.

There are conservatives who dispense “Jacobinism” as a casual epithet, but here it genuinely applies. Edmund Burke defined the essence of Jacobinism as “the destruction of all prejudices.” In today’s climate, it is necessary to specify that, by “prejudice,” he referred not to racial animosity but rather to moral habit. The new Jacobins compress past, present, and future into the almighty now.

5. More Statuary Madness: Rich Lowry hails Teddy Roosevelt, kaputed from the entrance to the American Museum of National History. From the article:

As president, he enhanced the country’s role on the world stage. He sent the Great White Fleet (surely, another count against him) on its 43,000-mile trip, with 20 globe-spanning ports of call. The voyage is regarded, as an account by naval historians relates, as “one of the greatest peacetime achievements of the U.S. Navy.”

He brokered the peace in the Russo-Japanese War, becoming the first U.S. president to win a Nobel prize.

He negotiated a settlement of a dispute between France and Germany over control of Morocco.

He extended the 1823 Monroe Doctrine from its original formulation that warned against European intervention, adding a corollary that made the United States the “policeman” of the Western Hemisphere and asserting the right to intervene in the affairs of Latin American countries so misgoverned that they might invite European meddling.

In 1906, he became the first president to travel out of the country, to visit Panama at the time of the construction of the canal that he had done so much to promote, taking the controls of a steam shovel for a jaunty photograph. The largest building project in U.S. history, the canal linked the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, boosting commerce and easing American naval operations by cutting the trip from San Francisco to New York by 8,000 miles. It was yet another sign of the arrival of the United States as a world power.

Roosevelt clearly understood the role of America in the 20th century. “Whether we wish it or not,” he said in his “big stick” speech, “we cannot avoid hereafter having duties to do in the face of other nations. All that we can do is to settle whether we shall perform these duties well or ill.”

6. Davis Harsanyi checks out an example of progressivism’s fact-challenged efforts to rewrite history. From the piece:

In the progressive retelling of history, the role of both victim and oppressor is predestined according to the hue of a person’s skin. Everyone involved is stripped of agency. And every injustice is retroactively framed in the light of contemporary racial grievances.

This week, a bunch of people decided that it was time to portray Jesus, an ancient Jew living in Roman Palestine, as a man subjugated over his skin color. The activist Shaun King says “white Jesus” was a symbol of white supremacy. Jesus, he argued, fled to Hellenistic Egypt rather than “Denmark” so he could blend in with the African population. No amount of evidence will dissuade him, I’m sure.

“Wasn’t Jesus a person of color brutalized by an oppressive colonial regime? Jesus is a symbol of victims of violence, not of authoritarians who erect statues,” explained New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof to his two million Twitter followers.

If Jesus was “a person of color,” then so were the crowds that pleaded with Pilate to “crucify him.” So were the members of the Sanhedrin who convicted him of apostasy. As, most likely, were the Roman soldiers — pulled from all over the Empire — who drove the nails into his hands and feet.

When confronted with these facts, Kristof pivoted to moral truth, noting that “one of the points of Christianity is to apply a basic lesson of Scripture” and “Jesus spoke up for the poor and marginalized.”

Well, yes. But the initial point, of course, was to depict Jesus as a man crucified over the color of his skin; just another victim to fall to the perpetual evil of racism. There is no historical basis for this claim. Though I’m not a theologian, I’m relatively certain that the “point” of Jesus is that he is the Son of God and died for the sins of all mankind, and not that he is a prop for your preferred public-policy initiatives.

7. John Yoo condemns the Supreme Court’s DACA ruling. From the analysis:

Suppose President Donald Trump decided to create a nationwide right to carry guns openly. He could declare that he would not enforce federal firearms laws, and that a new “Trump permit” would free any holder of state and local gun-control restrictions.

Even if Trump knew that his scheme lacked legal authority, he could get away with it for the length of his presidency. And, moreover, even if courts declared the permit illegal, his successor would have to keep enforcing the program for another year or two.

That incredible outcome is essentially what happened with the Supreme Court decision last week in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California (the latter being my employer, I might add). Regents blocked President Trump’s repeal of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which halted the deportation of aliens brought to the U.S. illegally as children, and a parallel 2014 program that suspended the removal of their parents (DAPA). Until the Trump administration goes through the laborious result of enacting a new regulation to undo DACA and DAPA, approximately 6 million aliens can remain in the U.S. in defiance of federal immigration statutes.

While supporters of broader, more humane immigration policies (among whom I count myself) may have welcomed the result, they may well regret the Court’s disruption of executive power. President Barack Obama could issue his extralegal visa programs for children and their parents aliens by simple executive fiat, according to Chief Justice John Roberts and four liberal Justices (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan), but President Trump had to pretend the order was legal and use the slow Administrative Procedure Act to reverse them. “Even if it is illegal for DHS to extend work authorization and other benefits to DACA recipients,” Roberts found, DACA “could not be rescinded in full without any consideration whatsoever of a” non-deportation policy other than on the ground of its illegality.

According to Chief Justice Roberts, the Constitution makes it easy for presidents to violate the law, but reversing such violations difficult — especially for their successors.

8. More Gorsuch comeuppance, this time from Josh Blackman and Randy Barnett. From the analysis:

Through the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Congress took momentous steps to eradicate prejudice and bias in the workplace. Title VII of that landmark law made it unlawful for employers to “discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Despite how some critics characterized Bostock, all nine Justices agreed — at least for purposes of this case — that “sex” referred to the “biological distinctions between male and female.” The meaning of the word “sex” did not evolve, and the majority did not “update” or “rewrite” the statute. What fractured the Court was the relationship between two critical terms: “discriminate against” and “because of.”

Let’s start with the first term. How was the phrase “discriminate against” understood in 1964? Justice Gorsuch cites the definition of “discriminate” from Webster’s 1954 New International Dictionary: “To make a difference in treatment or favor (of one as compared with others).” But that’s not the entire phrase used in the statute. Title VII refers to “discriminate against.” And the additional word “against” modifies the meaning.

To define “discriminate against,” Justice Gorsuch relied on a 2006 decision by Justice Breyer, which stated “no one doubts that the term ‘discriminate against’ refers to distinctions or differences in treatment that injure protected individuals.” However, Justice Breyer was interpreting a different provision of Title VII that governed retaliation. Moreover, Justice Breyer made no effort to understand how “discriminate against” was understood in 1964. Instead, he relied on a 1989 decision by Justice William Brennan. But this decision did not turn on the meaning of “discriminate against.” Rather, Justice Brennan considered the phrase “because of.” Justice Gorsuch’s research trail slammed into a brick wall. Yet despite this incomplete analysis, Justice Gorsuch concluded that the phrase “to ‘discriminate against’ a person, then, would seem to mean treating that individual worse than others who are similarly situated.”

9. David Bahnsen warns that prolonged low-interest rates are some day going to bite. From the analysis:

The cost of capital is an important component of macroeconomic reality. When the cost of capital exceeds the return on invested capital, recessions result, businesses retreat, and jobs are lost. Ideally, given that there will be recessions from time to time, I would rather see volatility in the ROIC (which is market driven) than in the cost of capital. That said, interest rates (the price of money) are subject to market forces, too, like any other price. Unlike many other prices, the price of money is what enables price discovery of everything else. But the cost of capital is not determined by market conditions alone. In a society with a central bank it is hugely influenced (although not fully controlled) by the interventions of that bank. Different central banks have taken on different levels of intervention throughout history, but their ability to change the cost of money is not up for debate.

The problems with distorting the cost of capital above and beyond those periods of emergency intervention are many. They begin with the way that emergency interventions never seem to stay “emergency interventions.” Temporary government programs become long-term government solutions, as Milton Friedman taught us, and central banks have not been immune to this in Japan, the U.K., the European Union, or the United States, at least in the last quarter century or so. During “normal” periods, emergency provisions are at best not accelerated further — only very rarely are emergency provisions actually removed or reversed.

And it’s all the more dangerous when the emergency provision is one that strikes many as benign: low interest rates. Who wouldn’t want a lower cost of funds to finance both consumption and production? It is one thing if we are talking about Fed facilities to buy corporate bonds — surely, we all see that as an outlier of aggressive accommodation; but low interest rates? Who could possibly find fault with such a thing?

10. Jimmy Quinn exposes an effort by bought-and-paid ChiCom errand boys to prevent the publication of a book about Beijing’s western influence. From the beginning of the piece:

The release of a forthcoming book on the Chinese Communist Party’s influence in Western democracies was put on hold in Canada last week following a British trade association’s threat to sue for what it says are defamatory allegations.

The book in question, Hidden Hand, is a comprehensive account of the CCP’s “global program of subversion, and the threat it poses to democracy,” according to the London-based Oneworld Publications, which owns the book’s English-language rights in the Northern Hemisphere.

Last week, Oneworld received a notice from lawyers representing the 48 Group Club, a British trade association, and its chairman, Stephen Perry. In the book, authors Clive Hamilton, an Australian academic, and Mareike Ohlberg, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund’s Asia Program, characterize the 48 Group Club as a conduit of CCP influence in elite British circles. Perry and his organization take issue with several sentences, which they say are incorrect or defamatory. Druces Law, the firm representing Perry, did not return National Review’s request for comment.

Oneworld tells National Review that it disagrees with Perry’s defamation claims. It is currently taking legal advice, but the publisher’s plans to launch the book in the U.S. and U.K. on September 8 will “go ahead as planned,” said Novin Doostdar, publisher of Oneworld. The book was released in Australia last week and was previously released digitally in Germany.

11. More Quinn: The ChiComs are furious over an Aussie think tank’s report. From the piece:

This month, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute — a Canberra-based think tank focusing on defense issues — published groundbreaking reports on Chinese genomic surveillance, disinformation on Twitter, and united-front influence operations in Western democracies. Just in June, ASPI’s work has boosted public understanding of the mechanisms by which the Chinese Communist Party clings to power at home and seeks influence abroad.

Impactful as these studies may already seem, they’re actually far more important than you’d expect. Why? Well, the Chinese government is bringing its weight to bear on discrediting ASPI’s work — the research center has struck a nerve in Beijing.

Take this piece published by Xinhua News Agency yesterday. Citing a pro-Beijing former Australian foreign minister, the director of an institute with which that former foreign minister is associated, a Chinese foreign-ministry spokeswoman, and others, the state-owned media outlet paints the picture of a hopelessly pro-American puppet organization manipulated by the defense contractors that fund it.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said earlier this month that with such strong ideological bias, the institute is actually spearheading anti-China forces and its academic credibility has been seriously questioned . . . 

The institute has fabricated reports on policies in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which the Chinese government has repeatedly refuted.


12. Kyle Smith says that the usually honest Dave Chappelle is punking out on the truth. From the rebuttal:

‘Trayvon Martin,” says Dave Chappelle, “was murdered by George Zimmerman.” No, he wasn’t.

Taking exception to the points made by a standup comic can be obtuse: “Relax, I’m only joking” usually ends the discussion. Comics use hyperbole, anecdote, and cherry-picked facts to drive laughs, sometimes hiding behind a naive or moronic alter ego.

None of that applies to 8:46, Chappelle’s 30-minute YouTube special inspired by the death of George Floyd, whose title evokes the time Floyd’s neck spent under a police officer’s knee before he died. Chappelle’s latest isn’t a comedy routine at all; he makes no attempt to shape his outrage about police brutality into comic bits. Nor does he hide behind a character. 8:46 is a 30-minute monologue on current events frankly delivered by Chappelle in his own voice — an address, not an act. For the duration of this special, Chappelle isn’t a comic but a political commentator. He therefore opens himself up to the same kind of scrutiny as any political columnist, who can and should be criticized for conceptual errors and misstatements of fact.

Moreover, since Chappelle commands a much larger audience than virtually any political commentator (the new special, which is streaming on YouTube, has racked up 25 million views since it dropped June 12) his errors are more, not less, worrying than Tucker Carlson’s or Rachel Maddow’s. If you are concerned about “fake news” or “misinformation campaigns” in which, say, five million Americans get nudged to believe things that didn’t happen — and you should be — how concerned should you be about the false assertions of a man whose views engage tens of millions of viewers?

13. Cameron Hilditch castigates Amazon’s footsie-playing with the despicable Southern Poverty Law Center. From the report:

The next time you buy something from Amazon (I say “the next time” because there’s really no point using the conditional tense anymore when it comes to our collective patronage of this company as a species), you’ll be asked if you want to make a donation to a charity under the auspices of their “Amazon Smile” program. This donation won’t cost you a thing. Amazon themselves donate 0.5 percent of the cost all eligible products to the charity of your choice if you opt into “Smile,” and over $160 million has been raised so far through this program for various charities across the world. The only shortcoming of this otherwise laudable venture is that Amazon have outsourced the decision-making process for which nonprofits are eligible for Smile to the extremely dubious Southern Poverty Law Center.

For those who do not know, the SPLC is a legal-advocacy organization that tries to police the Overton Window of acceptable discourse in the United States. They are notorious for their famous list of “hate groups,” which names nonprofits like the Alliance Defending Freedom and the American College of Pediatricians alongside groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the Nation of Islam. The SPLC’s promiscuous proclivity for damning any group or individual to the right of Samantha Bee on social issues now restricts the ability of Amazon’s customers to donate to nonprofit organizations of their choice. It’s somewhat baffling that Amazon would choose to place their flagship charitable enterprise under the yoke of the SPLC given that its reputation has been in free-fall for some time, and not only in the eyes of those on the right. The nonprofit watchdog CharityWatch gives the SPLC an F, its lowest grade, on account of the fact that it has over six and a half years worth of available assets in reserve.

14. More Dan McLaughlin, this time giving a New York Times claptrapper an education in American history. From the piece:

According to New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie, “Neither Abraham Lincoln nor the Republican Party freed the slaves.” Instead, “the slaves freed the slaves.” Emancipation “was something they took for themselves.” The most that can be said of Lincoln and the nation’s political leadership is that they “helped set freedom in motion and eventually codified it into law with the 13th Amendment” (emphasis added). Of the Union Army, Bouie allows only that it “delivered the news of the Emancipation Proclamation.”

It should not be necessary to defend the proposition that Lincoln, the Republicans, and the Union Army played a major role in ending slavery, but here we are. The very act of casting their role aside so blithely is a species of gaslighting. As is the case with most deliberately distorted history, there are elements of uncontroversial truth to Bouie’s narrative, yet its most sweeping claims are false — and the true parts are merely tools for advancing the falsehood.

Bouie is right that black Americans played a significant role in contributing to the abolitionist movement, the escalating sectional tensions that led to secession, the transformation of the Civil War in the North from a war for the Union to a war of liberation, and the Union’s victory. He is wrong to claim that those contributions in and of themselves were enough to bring about the end of slavery, and that Lincoln, the Republicans, the Union Army, and the majority of the American population were merely passive conduits, bobbing like a cork on the unstoppable streams of history.

Bouie skips the crucial step. All the abolitionist agitation in the world only mattered because the people with real political, military, cultural, and economic power in America — the federal government, Northern state governments, the military, the churches, the leaders of the economy, and ultimately, the voting public — eventually chose to side with the abolitionist movement.  It was not a given that they would; in the 1820s and 1830s, they had chosen not to.

15. Tobias Hoonhout is all over the New York Times’ new brand of doxx-your-enemies journalism. From the report:

The popular pseudonymous blogger behind Slate Star Codex claims that he’s been forced to delete the blog after a New York Times reporter threatened to reveal his identity. It is the latest example of the paper’s willingness to grant anonymity according to inconsistent, ideologically self-serving criteria.

In the only post remaining on the site, Slate Star Codex founder “Scott Alexander,” who claims to write under his real first and middle names while withholding his last name, reveals that he recently spoke to a Times technology reporter who expressed interest in writing a “mostly positive” article about his blog.

Danielle Rhoades Ha, vice president of communications for the Times, told National Review in a statement that “we do not comment on what we may or may not publish in the future. But when we report on newsworthy or influential figures, our goal is always to give readers all the accurate and relevant information we can.”

Slate Star Codex is a popular blog in the “rationalist” subculture with an active community of readers. It began in 2013 and became famous for technical deep-dives into a wide range of subjects, including philosophy, medicine, psychology, politics, and social science. Among other topics, Alexander has questioned “progressive” conventions around the mutability of intelligence in his writing. He also noted the threat posed by coronavirus well before many mainstream publications began devoting extensive coverage to it.

Perhaps the Times intended to cover this blog and the broader subculture it inhabits. But Alexander, who did not return a request for comment, writes that the supposedly flattering article would come with a catch — the Times had “discovered” Alexander’s full name and planned to reveal it in the story. When Alexander pushed back, the reporter told him “it was New York Times policy to include real names, and he couldn’t change that.”

16. Armond White has issues with Miss Juneteenth, but then he also sees things he likes about the new flick. From the review:

Except for one scene that tours a modest, amateurish museum in Fort Worth devoted to the history of the Juneteenth celebration, the movie Miss Juneteenth focuses on the personal, emotional life of a black Texas woman, Turquoise Jones (Nichole Beharie), and her efforts to win an ethnic-beauty-pageant crown for her 14-year-old daughter. Miss Juneteenth is not about trendy politics — despite its novelty title — so it may seem out of joint. But debut director Channing Godfrey Peoples and producer David Lowery deserve credit for avoiding the opportunistic occasion.

Miss Juneteenth refuses the political correctness that suddenly overtook the nation last week, exemplified by New York governor Andrew Cuomo officially declaring Juneteenth (a local Texas event) a state holiday and the media forcing the public into commemoration mode in order to promote Black Lives Matter dissent. Instead, Miss Juneteenth was made by Texans Godfrey Peoples and Lowery, and made without guile, showing how Turquoise passes her history — and her values — on to her daughter Kai (Alexis Chikaeze), who boasts a teen’s very relaxed ideals.

Blackness and womanhood mean different things to this Gen Y mother and Millennial daughter. Neither Turquoise nor Kai is particularly political, and in this way, Miss Juneteenth gently reproves the current enthusiasm that all black generations experience the same social conditions — a notion that’s imposed on blacks by activists, media, and pandering politicians. The pageant scholarship means less to Turquoise than her own memory of winning. That experience “made me feel like I had a chance,” she says — while holding a straightening comb, Godfrey Peoples’s perfect image of a certain black female’s ego and striving.

17. Dmitri Solzhenitsyn makes the case for human exceptionalism in the age of artificial intelligence. From the piece:

In 1980, philosopher John Searle crafted a thought experiment in his essay Minds, Brains, and Programs that aimed to disprove the hypothesis that machines could truly have understanding. Searle imagines himself in a locked room, with men standing outside the door and feeding him a story in Chinese characters through a slot. The men receive Searle’s “questions” about their story (also in Chinese) through the same slot and conclude that he must understand the Chinese language. However, unbeknownst to the men, Searle has a large sheet in front of him on which instructions are printed for receiving certain combinations of characters and returning others in response. Searle is mindlessly receiving sequences of characters, following his sheet’s instructions, and returning other sequences of characters. He need not understand the story, or even know that the characters are Chinese, to feign comprehension. In representing a computer through his parable, Searle shows that a program-running machine does not really understand — it only shuffles symbols mechanically.

In the same way, AI lacks the understanding of what it means for sound to be emotive. There is no concise value that can be assigned to the passionate ardor one feels at the opening of Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 1, nor to the tristesse one undergoes in the Funeral March of Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2. And even if we could train AI to produce motifs that sound pleasant and authentic — as we have started to — the stretch from short phrases to a long work imbued with an underlying artistic message is vast. There seems to be something unquantifiable and ineffable about the artistic license displayed by the greatest composers, something we can understand only by virtue of having a mind that feels emotion and grasps sound beyond the mechanical plane.

Yet we have been wrong about AI before. It is not unimaginable that, through the brute force of its computing power, machine intelligence will find a way to surpass humans someday even in creativity. Still, our fierce pride would be left with some consolation.

18. The Sino-Indian border strife is something that should concern us all, write Helen Raleigh. From the analysis:

In 2013, Xi rolled out a major foreign-policy initiative called “One Belt and One Road” (OBOR). The initiative consists of building infrastructure projects across continents and expanding China’s economic and geopolitical influence. Xi deemed the OBOR initiative “the project of the century.” At least 157 nations and international organizations have signed up to be part of it.

India has a good reason to feel threatened by some of the OBOR initiatives. One is an oil and natural-gas pipeline from Kunming, a city in southern China, to Myanmar’s Arakan coast in the Bay of Bengal. The pipeline would not only give China easier access to cheap oil, but would also enable China’s ships, commercial as well as military, to establish a presence close to the Indian Ocean, right in India’s backyard.

Another OBOR initiative troubling to India is the China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor, a signature OBOR project, which passes through Kashmir, a disputed territory between India and Pakistan. India views this project as China’s taking a stand on Pakistan’s claim to Kashmir. Some in India, such as Chintamani Mahapatra, a professor at the School of international studies at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, have even called this OBOR initiative “a new kind of colonization.” Consequently, India refused to send a high-level delegation to China’s OBOR summit in May 2017. At the time, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar, said, “No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Then, in June 2017, India and China arrived at their first serious border dispute in more than five decades, when Indian soldiers stopped a Chinese-army construction crew from building a road in a pocket of land in the Doklam region. Since this land lies between Bhutan, China, and the Indian state of Sikkim, all three countries had claimed ownership of it. China treats the region as part of Chinese-controlled Tibet. India claimed it was intervening on behalf of both India and Bhutan, because both have historical claims to the disputed land, and Bhutan is a tiny country that relies on India for security protection. The standoff between the two nations lasted about ten weeks before both sides agreed to deescalate. Although Beijing did not continue its road construction, it has kept Chinese forces in Doklam since then.

19. Leslie Ford commends the president for his executive order on foster-care reform. From the piece:

This week, President Trump signed an executive order to help kids like Anthony and David. The order, which will decrease the time that children spend in foster care and help them find loving families, is desperately needed to give some of America’s most vulnerable kids a better shot at a better life.

The foster-care system is full of despair. Of the more than 437,300 children currently in care, over 125,000 are waiting for their forever family. More than 50 percent have been in foster care for two years — or more. The kids left behind are usually those who need love the most: children over the age of nine, siblings who want to stay together, and kids with disabilities.

Worse, every year, around 20,000 young people age out of foster care without any legal connection to a family. The results for these young adults are terrifying: Researchers who have conducted longitudinal studies find that four in ten will experience homelessness; more than 25 percent will end up incarcerated; and 71 percent of the young women will be pregnant by age 21.

20. Madeleine Kearns high fives the 2019 film Mr. Jones, about the Soviet’s mass starvation of Ukrainians and the American journalist — the New York Times’ Walter Duranty — who covered for Stalin’s depravities. From the review:

Duranty, meanwhile, supped with Franklin Roosevelt (then governor of New York) and wrote of Stalin’s experiment in the New York Times (“all the news that’s fit to print”) that “to put it brutally — you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.” Sally J. Taylor’s 1990 biography of Duranty, Stalin’s Apologist, details how in addition to his inaccurate reporting, the correspondent participated in Satanic orgies as well as heavy drug and alcohol abuse. Taylor documents “the bitter, ironic story of a man who had the rare opportunity to bring to light the suffering of the millions of Stalin’s victims, but remained a prisoner of vanity, self-indulgence and success.”

While Mr. Jones accurately characterizes Duranty, Gareth Jones’s family complains that the same is not true of him. Jones’s niece, Margaret Siriol Colley, published her uncle’s notebooks in the 1990s, which are now exhibited at his old Cambridge college next to memorabilia belonging to fellow alumnus Isaac Newton. Jones’s family complained of the “multiple fictions” in the Mr. Jones screenplay. His great-nephew told the Sunday Times that Jones “didn’t witness any dead bodies or cannibalism, let alone take part in any.” Nevertheless, Andrea Chalupa’s thoughtful screenplay is more about the truth Jones exposed. And in that regard, the script is in alignment with scholarship. Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands recounts how in desperation people would eat the dead, including family members. Anne Applebaum candidly discusses cannibalism within families in her book Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine. As for the scene in Mr. Jones in which a crying baby is tossed with its mother’s corpse onto a cart of dead bodies, that is taken from a survivor of the Holodomor, Chalupa’s own grandfather, whose memoir she interweaves in her book Orwell and the Refugees: The Untold Story of Animal Farm.

In Mr. Jones, Jones briefly meets Malcolm Muggeridge, a correspondent for the Manchester Guardian, who also managed to smuggle stories about the famine out of the USSR, publishing them anonymously. Back in England, Jones also meets George Orwell, a socialist writer, whose mind he seems to change about Stalin’s experiment. It is not clear that, in reality, the two ever met. But there is a symbolic truth here, too.

The Six

1. At Law & Liberty, Daniel J. Mahoney reflects on the 80th anniversary of the Fall of France. Expect the usual brilliance. From the essay:

What were the principal sources, or causes, of the French calamity? In the English historian Julian Jackson’s thoughtful, informative, and competent account in The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940, a serious effort is made to put the death throes of the French Third Republic in some perspective. Jackson argues, for example, that the English political elite was deeply corrupt in its own ways, and had supported appeasement of the Nazi regime, partly out of cowardice, and partly because the appeasers preferred to deal with an anti-Bolshevik Nazi Germany rather than attempt a defensive alliance with a Soviet Union they (rightly) abhorred. Because of this, the majority in Churchill’s own party still distrusted him for months after he became Prime Minister of Great Britain on May 10, 1940.

Jackson also argues that France had made serious progress in rearming by the time the Second World War broke out in September 1939. In some sense, Jackson argues, France was “ready for war,” at least in terms of the requisite number of tanks and guns. Jackson acknowledges the eloquence and forcefulness of Charles de Gaulle’s critique (in his 1934 book Vers l’armée de métier, published in English in 1941 as Army of the Future) of an outmoded approach to national defense that left all initiative to the enemy, hid behind the series of defensive fortifications known as the Maginot Line, and that gave France little or no ability to strike the enemy if and when war broke out. France massively, and unwisely, over-relied on short-term conscripts and reservists. The French had better tanks than the Germans but could only conceive them as supports of infantry. But despite de Gaulle’s discernment, Jackson faults him for combining a “prescient” technical argument for the use of tank formations in a dynamic and offensive manner, with “the politically sensitive issue of the professional army.”

But de Gaulle’s argument was never an essentially “technical” one. In Vers l’armée de métier the French military intellectual was calling for nothing less than a renewal of France and her army. The old republican and revolutionary dogmas, the ideological reliance on civilian armed forces at all costs, were inadequate to confronting the needs of the time or the immense danger posed by Berlin after Hitler’s ascendance to power in January 1933. This was indeed a moment “that changed everything,” as we are too keen to say today. Jackson faults de Gaulle for having written a book “suffused with a romantic and almost mystical celebration of the military vocation and the role it could play in national regeneration.” “This,” he adds, “was not the best way to win converts.”

2. More Law & Liberty: The eminent George Nash looks at the work of master historian Bernard Bailyin. From the piece:

Bailyn was also fascinated by—and repelled by—a Hegelian philosophy professor at Williams whose lectures were dazzling but whose “aphoristic, metaphysical talk” seemed to be “beyond criticism and beyond validation.” Reacting against this and against the “philosophical chatter” of some of this professor’s student acolytes, Bailyn was drawn to a “tough-minded” professor of history at Williams whose skepticism and “devotion to the facts” Bailyn found “entirely congenial.” The doorway to his becoming a historian had begun to open.

After just two and a half years at Williams College, Bailyn was drawn into the U.S. Army in 1943, in the midst of World War II. During his service in uniform, he was eventually placed in a German language-and-culture immersion program as preparation for possible duty in Occupied Germany after the war. He learned German and became “extremely interested” in German history. Bailyn never returned to Williams, which awarded him his BA in 1945 while he was still in the Army. After his discharge in 1946, he entered Harvard University as a graduate student in history.

During the chaotic opening weeks of the Fall 1946 semester, on a campus overflowing with war veterans and other students, Bailyn struggled to find his bearings. Which specific subjects and problems did he wish to study? He did not yet know. But he did have an idea of the “general principles” and “connections” that interested him, and one day he wrote these down on a page detached from a calendar. First, he would like to study “the early modern period of Western history” and “the connections between a distant past and an emerging modernity.” Second, he wished to examine the “connections” between ideas and “reality.” Third, he wanted to investigate “the connections between America and Europe, in whatever sphere.” He could not know it, but he had just sketched the contours of his entire career. “In retrospect,” he now writes, “everything I have done in history can be seen as following the principles of my main interests as I had defined them in 1946.”

3. At Gatestone Institute, Soeren Kern provides an essential look at the breadth and depth and history of Antifa. From the piece:

The ideological origins of Antifa can be traced back to the Soviet Union roughly a century ago. In 1921 and 1922, the Communist International (Comintern) developed the so-called united front tactic to “unify the working masses through agitation and organization” … “at the international level and in each individual country” against “capitalism” and “fascism” — two terms that often were used interchangeably.

The world’s first anti-fascist group, Arditi del Popolo (People’s Courageous Militia), was founded in Italy in June 1921 to resist the rise of Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party, which itself was established to prevent the possibility of a Bolshevik revolution on the Italian Peninsula. Many of the group’s 20,000 members, consisting of communists and anarchists, later joined the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39).

In Germany, the Communist Party of Germany established the paramilitary group Roter Frontkämpferbund (Red Front Fighters League) in July 1924. The group was banned due to its extreme violence. Many of its 130,000 members continued their activities underground or in local successor organizations such as the Kampfbund gegen den Faschismus (Fighting-Alliance Against Fascism).

In Slovenia, the militant anti-fascist movement TIGR was established in 1927 to oppose the Italianization of Slovene ethnic areas after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The group, which was disbanded in 1941, specialized in assassinating Italian police and military personnel.

In Spain, the Communist Party established the Milicias Antifascistas Obreras y Campesinas (Antifascist Worker and Peasant Militias), which were active in the 1930s.

The modern Antifa movement derives its name from a group called Antifaschistische Aktion, founded in May 1932 by Stalinist leaders of the Communist Party of Germany. The group was established to fight fascists, a term the party used to describe all of the other pro-capitalist political parties in Germany. The primary objective of Antifaschistische Aktion was to abolish capitalism, according to a detailed history of the group. The group, which had more than 1,500 founding members, went underground after Nazis seized power in 1933.

4. More Gatestone: Kern provides a second part of his Antifa history, this focusing on its US operations. From the report:

American media outlets sympathetic to Antifa have jumped to its defense. They argue that the group cannot be classified as a terrorist organization because, they claim, it is a vaguely-defined protest movement that lacks a centralized structure.

As the following report shows, Antifa is, in fact, highly networked, well-funded and has a clear ideological agenda: to subvert, often with extreme violence, the American political system, with the ultimate aim of replacing capitalism with communism. In the United States, Antifa’s immediate aim is to remove President Trump from office.

Gatestone Institute has identified Antifa groups in all 50 U.S. states, with the possible exception of West Virginia. Some states, including California, Texas and Washington, appear to have dozens of sub-regional Antifa organizations.

It is difficult precisely to determine the size of the Antifa movement in the United States. The so-called “Anti-Fascists of Reddit,” the “premier anti-fascist community” on the social media platform Reddit, has approximately 60,000 members. The oldest Antifa group in America, the Portland, Oregon-based “Rose City Antifa,” has more than 30,000 Twitter followers and 20,000 Facebook followers, not all of whom are necessarily supporters. “It’s Going Down,” a media platform for anarchists, anti-fascists and autonomous anti-capitalists, has 85,000 Twitter followers and 30,000 Facebook followers.

Germany, which has roughly one-quarter of the population of the United States, is home to 33,000 extreme leftists, of whom 9,000 are believed to be extremely dangerous, according to the domestic intelligence agency (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, BfV). Violent left-wing agitators are predominantly male, between 21 and 24 years of age, usually unemployed, and, according to BfV, 92% still live with their parents. Anecdotal evidence suggests that most Antifa members in the United States have a similar socio-economic profile.

In America, national Antifa groups, including “Torch Antifa Network,” “Refuse Fascism” and “World Can’t Wait” are being financed — often generously, as shown below — by individual donors as well as by large philanthropic organizations, including the Open Society Foundations founded by George Soros.

5. Because . . . Conservative. At Commentary, Steve Hayward recounts his cancel-culture experience with the SJW harpies and cowering administrators at Berkeley. From the reflection:

If mainstream liberal academics find today’s campus climate tricky, imagine what it’s like for the increasingly rare conservative academic. The story of my time at the University of California at Berkeley offers some guidance.

When I was appointed a visiting (and non-tenured!) faculty member at Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies in the fall of 2016, friends and observers wondered how such an unlikely thing came to be—and how long it would be before I was “canceled” and run off campus. How I ended up at Berkeley is a circuitous story, but the relevant fact is that even many liberals at Berkeley knew that the campus was ideologically unbalanced, and I was warmly welcomed and encouraged to teach classes in political science and at the law school.

I never used to declare my ideological leanings to a class, and then as now, I teach the subject matter in a deliberately neutral fashion that in the past has sometimes prompted students to ask mid-semester whether I am a liberal or a conservative. But over time I have come to embrace being a conspicuous conservative and telling students of this fact on Day One. This ironically may provide me a greater degree of safety than would be the case for someone who concealed his opinions and was then “outed” as a conservative. Berkeley’s student newspaper, the Daily Cal, ran a news story and an editorial when I first arrived in 2016 about what a horrible human being I am, but the adverse publicity had the predictable effect: I had a long waiting list for my first course, which included a lot of liberal and even far-left progressive students telling me they were interested in hearing something different. (They were terrific, by the way, as have been the smart Berkeley progressive students in all of my subsequent classes.)

It was perhaps naive to think this constructive circumstance could last indefinitely, even at an institution as large as Berkeley. I wondered whimsically at times what I was doing wrong. Maybe I wasn’t testing the limits, or I was being too timid.

I wonder no more.

6. Idiocy on the March: The College Fix’s Greg Piper reports on how the word “Freedom” has the knickers twisted of dimwit SJWs at Robert Morris University. From the report:

A private university named after a founding father has changed the name of student identification cards following a petition that said their nomenclature was harmful to minority students.

A spokesperson for Robert Morris University disputes, however, that the two-week-old petition was the impetus for the change from “Freedom Card” to “RMU ID Card.”

Student Melanie Hall created the petition, which claims racial minorities are 24 percent of the student population at the Pittsburgh school. Like many names on campus, the Freedom Card refers to the American Revolution.

“This poorly named form of identification has made minority students (black students in particular) feel like we are being dehumanized,” the petition reads: “Gifting us with IDs that grant us our ‘freedom’ is of extremely poor taste.”

It drew just 130 signatures before Hall, a rising senior, posted an update Tuesday morning that said Dean of Students John Michalenko told her both the card name and design would be changed.

BONUS: At Spectator USA, Chadwick Moore looks into the Marxist occupation of gay rights. From the article:

Everything you know about gay history is a lie. The history of homosexuality is constantly in flux, rewritten by whoever is in power at the time. There’s no guarantee the stories we tell ourselves today will still be true in five years. Naturally, transgender women of color hurled the first bricks at Stonewall, the uprising outside of a gay bar in 1969 that sparked the modern gay rights movement. Except they didn’t. This little bit of historical revisionism appeared about 10 years ago and has been completely digested as fact by the entirety of the LGBT Industrial Complex, for one simple reason: LGBTQAI+ is no longer interested in gay individuals, or equality, but has been transformed into yet another vehicle of social Marxism, their specific target being to confuse and chip away at norms surrounding gender, sexuality, and relationships.

To drive their new, fake narrative home, Big Gay deified two non-white, self-identified ‘cross-dressers’ who were regular fixtures around the gay scene at the time, Silvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. I didn’t need to unearth the video interview with Silvia Rivera where he admits he wasn’t at Stonewall when it started. And I didn’t need to look at all the historical accounts that show Marsha Johnson was passed out on heroin, 30 blocks north in Bryant Park, when it happened and arrived at the scene two hours later. My friend Willson Henderson told me all that.

‘Silvia Rivera stunk so bad, we used to call her Skunk Rivera,’ Willson says to me over martinis at a restaurant just up the street from the Stonewall where, on the weekend of June 28, 1969, he was among the 22 people arrested during the uprising. ‘Last year when the mayor’s wife said something about “whitewashing” Stonewall, I’ve never in 50 years heard of such a thing. Stonewall was a white, gay club. Next they’re going to say the Founding Fathers were black trannies in white face,’ he says.

BONUS BONUS: At City Journal, Thom Nickles regards the lefty tag-team of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and district attorney Larry Krasner may bring the City of Brotherly Love to its knees. From the piece:

South Philadelphia no longer registers as a safe space for public monuments. Shortly after the Rizzo statue’s removal, leftists across the U.S. began beheading and removing Christopher Columbus statues, which, during the twentieth century, were erected in communities to celebrate Italian heritage and the immigrant experience. In South Philadelphia, word spread that Kenney, to placate leftists, wanted to remove Columbus from the neighborhood’s Marconi Plaza. In response, residents—many living in multigenerational brick rowhomes built by Italian ancestors—formed an armed militia to guard the monument.

Kenney, a South Philadelphia native and a product of its political machine, jumped into the fray. Noting “groups of armed individuals ‘protecting’ the Columbus statue,” Kenney tweeted, “All vigilantism is inappropriate, and these individuals only bring more danger to themselves and the city.” District Attorney Krasner added: “Prosecutors and police will uphold the law in Philly, consistent with their oaths, against criminal bullies. So save your bats for a ball game. And save your hatchets for chopping wood. We remain the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.”

This so-called affection, however, was nowhere to be found during days of looting, worsened by what the Philadelphia Inquirer called the police department’s “critical mistakes.” In fact, last week, despite the need for police as Philadelphia’s crime rate spiked, the city council voted to cut the department’s 2021 funding by $14 million. And while the local press vilified the Columbus statue’s protectors, it withheld criticism of vandalism elsewhere—including the defacing of a statue of Matthias Baldwin, founder of the city’s famed Baldwin Locomotive Works and an abolitionist who funded the education of black children. The Baldwin statue’s defacers—historically illiterate—only saw a white man on a pedestal.

Before You Grill That Steak, Apply to Be an NR Institute Regional Fellow in Dallas, San Francisco, or Chicago

Granted, you don’t want to be thinking about the fall, the newly minted summer providing barbecue opportunities and other plentiful welcome distractions, but folks, you have to face facts like this: now is the time to consider, and apply for, National Review Institute’s terrific “Regional Fellows” program.

Let’s restate that in officialese: National Review Institute is seeking applicants for its Fall 2020 Regional Fellowship Programs in Dallas, San Francisco, and Chicago, and we urge you to apply.

“You?” Who is this you who should apply? Glad you asked: The ideal applicant for the program — which helps participants develop a deeper understanding of the foundations of conservative thought — will be a mid-career professional (ages 35-50ish), with an interest, but not professional experience, in policy or journalism. Past fellows have represented diverse industries and professions ranging from oil and gas, finance, real estate, medicine, sporting industries, law enforcement, education, nonprofits, and the arts.

The program takes place over eight moderated dinner discussions. The 2020 class will run from September to November. Moderators include popular NR writers and leading academics at local universities. The rewards of participating are plentiful and will last a lifetime. The deadline to apply is July 15, but we encourage interested conservatives, libertarians, and the curious to apply as soon as possible.

Do that pronto. You’ll find more information about the program here. What if you don’t live in one of the three program cities, but know folks who do and who might be NRI fellow material: Go ahead and please share with them this link. Good. Now I’d like mine well done! And where’s the bug spray?


1. On The Editors, Rich, Charlie, and Michael discuss the current monument-defacement frenzy and the ridiculous media circus around Trump’s Tulsa rally. Catch it here.

2. On The Victor Davis Hanson Podcast, Victor discusses statue-toppling; the self-cannibalizing appetite of cultural revolutions; Juneteenth; President Trump’s new immigration order; chaos; John Bolton’s book; favorable winds that Donald Trump needs to harness to prevail in November; and an attack of his criticism of retired generals. Listen here.

3. On Radio Free California, Will and David discuss state lawmakers ordering the century-old statue of Cristoforo Colombo removed from the capitol, the FBI’s cracking of widespread corruption in LA City Hall, the real John Sutter, what causes homelessness (a brief survey), how Oakland’s mayor sees lynching where others see sports equipment, Vallejo’s real-time experiment in “defunding” police, and the Cal State faculty union’s dumb teaching of American history. Listen here.

4. On The Great Books, John J. Miller is joined by Haley Stewart to discuss Lucy Maude Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. Listen here.

5. And then on The Bookmonger, JJM is joined by J. Todd Scott to discuss his book, Lost River. Listen here.

6. On Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Kevin and Charlie discuss the reworking of Splash Mountain, muse over Tina Fey’s takedown of her own shows, and consider Europe’s ban on U.S. travelers thanks to our COVID response. Listen here.


Could it happen? Did it happen? Did a team with 100 or more losses ever beat a team with 100 or more victories? Sure you’ve been wondering that, and so has Your Humble Correspondent, whose curiosity prompted a search of the National Pastime’s records (admittedly limited — we prefer to keep our affairs here pre-expansion and/or pre-division; i.e., up through 1968). The answer: Yes, it has happened, but with the rarity of the hen’s tooth.

The rarity makes sense: There are not all that many teams registering 100-plus seasons for either wins or losses, a threshold that can only be achieved very late in the season. Layer onto that the long, long odds that a team with 100 wins is by coincidence scheduled to play a basement dweller in the season’s final days. Stars must align.

And they have. Thrice!

Yankee Haters will be pleased to learn that the Bronx Bombers were on the losing end of this trio on each occasion. The first time this happened was in 1932, when the Yankees, already achieving 108 wins under their pinstripes, and destined for a brutal four-game World Series beatdown of the Chicago Cubs, found themselves on the last day of the regular season at Fenway Park, where they had just taken two games from the dead-last Red Sox, who were experiencing the franchise’s worst-ever season. They stood at 42–111 as righthander Gordon Rhodes, who had started the season in The Bronx, took the mound for Boston, hoping to keep the Yankee bats quiet. He did, sorta — Rhodes held a 2–1 lead into the top of the fifth, when he was replaced by Ivy Andrews — who had also been traded to the Red Sox earlier in the season from the Yankees. He had his stuff that day and held Babe and Lou and the boys to just 2 runs over the next 5 innings. Andrews took the victory as the Sox put 8 runs up on the scoreboard (thanks in part to five Yankee errors). There would be no 112th Red Sox loss.

And then lightning struck twice at the end of 1954, as the second-place Yankees — having a terrific year, but not as terrific as the AL champ Cleveland Indians (with 111 victories) — were sporting a 102–49 record while awaiting a season-ending three-game series against the visiting 49–102 Athletics. Of note: These would prove to be the final Big League games for the As while calling the City of Brotherly Love home — in the offseason they were sold and relocated to Kansas City, where the Athletics would play for the next 13 seasons before rebooting in Oakland.

Back to 1954: In the first game, played on Friday, September 24, before a measly Yankee Stadium crowd of 2,032, the As’ rookie righthander Arnie Portocarrero held the Yankees to 5 hits as Philadelphia prevailed 5–1. The As would pick up their 103rd loss the next night, courtesy of a 10–2 drubbing, but on the season’s final day — and the last time the Philadelphia Athletics would ever play a game — the 103-loss visitors defeated the 103-win home team by an 8–6 margin. Former Yankee Bill Renna was the last man to bat for the Athletics (flying out in the top of the ninth), rookie pitcher Art Ditmar started, went seven innings, and earned his first career victory, and righthander Marion Fricano threw the As’ last pitch and took the save.

A Dios

A man named Moses once said “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Amen to that.

God Grant Courage to All and Especially to Those Called to Confront the Wicked,

Jack Fowler, whose snare can never capture you but who can be tempted via missives sent to

National Review

Seattle Slewerage


Dear Joltarians,

It’s a jolly film, Passport To Pimlico, one of those Ealing Studios comedies so well done it might melt an IRA stooge’s hardness toward Things English. The plot (the synopsis is here) concerns the London neighborhood’s locals, who are attempting to set themselves up as rations-dodging citizens of the foreign soil of the ancient Duchy of Burgundy (a take-a-few-years-to-explode Nazi bomb revealed some subterranean chamber containing Ye Olde Burgundian historic documents establishing etc. etc.). Hilarity ensues.

Hilarity ain’t ensuing in the Emerald City. Your Humble Correspondent finds Seattle’s Kingdom of CHAZ/CHOP to be the Mad Max version of the 1949 comedy. Let’s admit that the CHAZ/CHOP citizen-beasts did have a head start: Last year Yours Truly wrote about the documentary Seattle Is Dying, an account of the city’s Fathers/Mothers/Others providing the handbasket for the journey to Hell — rampant vagrancy, streets running with whiz and its cousin, thieves assured that they will not be prosecuted. In other words, lawlessness.

In other words, CHAZ/CHOP. Its glories, and the many other such glories of this city under siege, aided and abetted by the nasty Leftists who run the show, are best seen on the Facebook page dubbed Seattle Looks Like Sh**.

In other other words, Jason Rantz reported from the madness. From the article:

Inside, it’s an overwhelmingly white crowd, but organizers and speakers are represented by people of color. In the daytime, it’s become a tourist attraction. Locals lounge on the artificial turf of the nearby field eating or playing frisbee. Behind the park, a loosely organized group has set up a camp of tents and several small gardens. A mobile medical unit is parked near the community square where activists deliver speeches, and a No Cop Co-op hands out free snacks to anyone who wants them (except, of course, the cops).

On the other hand, CHAZ is also a spot where self-proclaimed Antifa members and anarchists hang out, and clashes are all too common. This past Saturday, a white man started a fight on stage as black women were set to speak about their experiences. The man, who later claimed his cell phone was stolen, was immediately taken to the ground by organizers and CHAZ security. One of the organizers grabbed the mic to ask for “white people who have experience in security” to help because “it really isn’t the job of the black people to handle this situation.” Cops would have made an arrest. Without them, the man was released, only to start a fight five minutes later with a new set of activists.

Once the sun goes down, CHAZ sees more frivolity (e.g. dodge-ball games), but also more skirmishes. Last week, one man was falsely accused of stealing and almost beaten by what appeared to be a CHAZ security member with a bat. And over the weekend, there were tense fights over disagreements on changing the name from CHAZ to the Capitol Hill Organized (or Occupied) Protest (CHOP). (Indeed, protesters still haven’t decided what the “O” stands for in CHOP, or who made the decision to push for the name change.)

When fights break out, nearby activists caution you not to record them for posting online, as it may bring the wrong kind of attention to the commune they’re portraying as peaceful. When I recorded the Saturday afternoon fight, one of the CHAZ security members repeatedly bumped into me to try and prevent me from doing so. He used the same strategy to stop a colleague from another outlet trying to film the fight. And on Twitter, self-proclaimed Antifa groups and other CHAZ activists post the photos and names of people in the crowd so they can be targeted for possible harassment or watched in case they cause trouble.

Folks, as The Thing might say, it’s clobberin’ time. Almost. Right now, it’s time for the Jolt. Enjoy!


1. Gorsuch leads the SCOTUS Left to redefine sex in Bostock. We castigate. From the editorial:

To begin with, this is an unhealthy way to make law in a democracy. The law is now read to mean something different in 2020 from what even the most liberal Justices would have said in 1964. Congress for years has been debating bills to amend the statute to cover these topics; the Court just did its work for it, and without any of the compromises or conscience protections that legislators typically debate. We understand what the Court’s liberal justices were up to, but a decent respect for democratic lawmaking should have cautioned Justice Gorsuch and Chief Justice Roberts against going down this path.

The decision steals a number of bases without admitting what it is doing. Men must get the same treatment as women, says the Court, but who is a man and who is a woman? In the transgender case, that is itself effectively the question, one better resolved by the people’s representatives if the law must decide it. The Court says that a man cannot be fired for marrying a man if a woman would not be fired for marrying a man — but this is not discrimination on the basis of sex at all, it is discrimination on the basis of behavior. The Court says that it is not (yet) abolishing bathrooms and dress codes that distinguish by sex, but it is difficult to see how its rigid, ahistorical logic of “all must be the same” does not lead that way.

We think Justice Alito had the better of the argument: The law has long understood that sexual orientation and identity are distinct concepts from sex. When the military banned gays and lesbians alike from serving, or the immigration laws banned homosexuals from entering the country, the response was to change the law, not to pretend that the question was one of gender discrimination.

2. And then in its DACA ruling, SCOTUS comes to the aid of illegal immigration and the violation of the law. From the beginning of the editorial:

For the second time in a week, the Supreme Court has allowed liberals to enact one of their longstanding legislative priorities without the consent of Congress or the president. Conservatives could be forgiven for wondering why liberals need win only one election — or none — to have their choices made permanent, while President Trump’s voters could not even accomplish the modest goal of seeing the executive branch stop acting illegally to protect people who broke the law.

At issue this time was President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which let illegal-immigrant “Dreamers” stay in the country and receive federal benefits if they had been brought here as children by their parents. The DREAM Act was introduced in 2001, extensively debated during the 2006 and 2013 immigration fights on Capitol Hill, and voted on in 2007 and 2010. While reasonable minds may differ on the merits of that proposal, nobody disputes that this is an important public-policy question on which Congress has the power to legislate. When Congress did not deliver the answer Obama liked, he used his “pen and phone” to make DACA the law of the land by executive fiat. The Court’s decision rejected Obama’s legal arguments for having that power, yet it told the Trump administration that it needed better reasons to repeal DACA than the fact that it breaks the law.

Justice Thomas got it right in his dissent: In a nation of laws, no federal agency should ever need more reason to pull an unlawful regulation up by the roots. The Court’s flimsy rationales — that the Department of Homeland Security should have addressed whether people relied on DACA and whether there were alternatives to complete repeal of DACA — might be a fair critique on a job evaluation of DHS staffers, but they are no basis for ordering the president to enforce a policy that exceeds the president’s legal power. Meanwhile, thanks to a nationwide injunction, the “resistance” has managed to run out the clock for nearly four years.

3. Google, aided by NBC, bites the First Amendment via The Federalist’s ankles, then says it didn’t. We stand up for free speech. From the editorial:

On Tuesday, NBC News published a story claiming that Google had “banned” the Federalist, a right-wing news and commentary site, from its advertising platform. The Federalist, according to NBC News, was being “demonetized.” Google shortly thereafter asserted that no such thing had happened with the Federalist; Google took issue with some of the content in the Federalist’s comments section and worked with the publication to resolve the issue.

This was all generally related to criticism of the recent protests originating in Minneapolis and Black Lives Matter, an organization of which the Left intends to permit no criticism.

NBC News did what looks like some bad reporting. But NBC News also was at the heart of the story: A complaint from NBC News is what started off Google’s review process to begin with, at least according to a report from NBC News, which, apparently, is not to be trusted here.

The Federalist may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but NBC’s campaign against the publication looks like the new rabid normal in journalism. Adele-Momoko Fraser, the NBC journalist at the center of the story, festooned her tweeting gloating about the Federalist’s fictional demonetization with the Black Lives Matter activist hashtag and described her work as “collaboration” with left-wing activists.

Collaboration, yes. Journalism? No.

4. John Bolton’s White House memoir proves a dispiriting thing. From the editorial:

That said, Bolton is facing legitimate questions about the propriety of taking a sensitive, high-level job in an administration and then immediately turning his experience into a best-selling book when back out of office. He’s also getting dinged for having information that he believed would have made the case for impeaching the president more compelling, yet not sharing it while impeachment proceedings were ongoing (although there would have been complications — including disputes over what material was classified or privileged — and nothing he said would have changed minds in the Senate).

The White House has done everything in its power to delay the release of the book, and the Department of Justice has filed an injunction against its scheduled publication early next week on grounds that it contains classified information and violates various non-disclosure agreements.

The government’s motive is clearly pretextual. The president hates Bolton and the book is damaging, so Trump wants it buried. Squashing the publication on this basis would be a flagrant violation of the First Amendment. Besides, the book has already been reviewed by and reported on by major publications, excerpted in the Wall Street Journal, and sent to bookstores. The cat is out of the bag.

20 Pieces of Sanity to Provide a Life Raft During this Spate of Amok Leftism

1. Zach Evans and John Loftus continue to update the chock-full “Cancel Counter.” You’ll find Numbers 42 and 43 right here:

42. A Catholic chaplain at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was made to resign after sending an email to the school’s catholic community on June 7 noting that George Floyd had “not lived a virtuous life.”

“While Fr. Moloney’s comments should not reflect on the entirety of his priestly ministry, they nonetheless were wrong and by his resignation he accepts the hurt they have caused,” archdiocese officials said.

Moloney agreed to step down just two days after sending the email, which noted that Floyd’s killing was unjustified, but questioned whether it was motivated by racism, the Boston Globe reported.

“In the wake of George Floyd’s death, most people in the country have framed this as an act of racism,” Moloney’s email read. “I don’t think we know that. Many people have claimed that racism is a major problem in police forces. I don’t think we know that.”

Suzy Nelson, dean of student life at MIT, characterized Moloney’s comments as “deeply disturbing” in an email to the student body.

“By devaluing and disparaging George Floyd’s character, Father Moloney’s message failed to acknowledge the dignity of each human being and the devastating impact of systemic racism,” Nelson wrote.

Moloney said he felt his email was misunderstood in a statement to the Globe.

“I regret what happened, I regret it was misunderstood, I regret that [it] became difficult for me to be a voice for Christ on campus,” Moloney said. “The whole thing went down in a way that I wish were otherwise.”

43. San Diego Gas & Electric fired an employee after a stranger accused him of making a “white power” symbol.

Emmanuel Cafferty was photographed driving his SDG&E truck with his hand hanging out the window in what appears to be an “OK” symbol made with the first finger and thumb, a symbol that has been used by white supremacists but does not carry that connotation for most Americans. The stranger who photographed Cafferty uploaded the picture to Twitter, and while the post has since been deleted, SDG&E has fired Cafferty.

“When my supervisor said that I was being accused of doing a white supremacist gesture, that was baffling,” Cafferty told the San Diego NBC affiliate. “I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to get over this, but to lose your dream job for playing with your fingers, that’s a hard pill to swallow.”

2. Kevin Williamson checks out the class war, and the squalor it creates, and the hypocrisy it screams. From the essay:

There is no revolution in these United States by the poor and the excluded against the rich and the powerful. Instead, there is a civil war among certain members of the broad affluent class against the adjacent affluent cohorts. There is no hatred in this world quite like the hatred of a $100,000-a-year man for a $200,000-a-year man, except maybe the hatred of a $200,000-a-year man for a $200,002-a-year man.

The class war in our country is business class vs. first class; in automotive terms, it’s E-Class vs. S-Class. Everybody’s comfortable. And that produces some odd outcomes: Nobody’s going to do one goddamned thing about how they conduct business in Philadelphia or Chicago or any other corrupt, Democrat-dominated city, but there are going to be some “new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility,” and we are going to be treated to — joy of joys! — a deep national discussion on whether some Broadway stars don’t have it quite as good as other Broadway stars. The bloody-snouted hyenas have looked up from the kill just long enough to announce the creation of the Goldman Sachs Fund for Racial Equity.

It’s always the same thing: Our newspapers are full of intense interest in Harvard’s admissions standards but have very little to say about New York City’s dropout rate. People can’t help being fascinated with themselves and their peers. If you want to know what is on the minds of the leaders of the American ruling class, it’s no secret. They’ll tell you, if you ask — and if you don’t.

George Floyd is still dead. Jacob Frey is still mayor of Minneapolis. Medaria Arradondo is still the chief of police. More than a third of black students will drop out of high school in Milwaukee. But Forbes has announced a change in its in-house stylebook and will henceforth honor the woke convention of uppercase Black vs. lowercase white. And George Floyd is still dead. Jacob Frey is still mayor of Minneapolis. Medaria Arradondo is still the chief of police.

3. Victor Davis Hanson considers the fate of cultural revolutions, the current one in particular. From the piece:

Mao cracked down on supposed Western decadence such as the wearing of eyeglasses, and he made peasants forge pot iron and intellectuals wear dunce caps.

Moammar Qaddafi’s Green Book cult wiped out violins and forced Libyans to raise chickens in their apartments.

The current Black Lives Matter revolution has “canceled” certain movies, television shows, and cartoons, toppled statues, tried to create new autonomous urban zones, and renamed streets and plazas. Some fanatics shave their heads. Others have shamed authorities into washing the feet of their fellow revolutionaries.

But inevitably cultural revolutions die out when they turn cannibalistic. Once the Red Guard started killing party hacks too close to Mao, it began to wane.

4. More VDH: Why the military-intelligence complex assembling to confront Donald Trump proves troubling to the body politic. From the essay:

The point, then, is that we either ignore these technical regulations that apply to high-ranking military officers, or we do not. But we do not pick and choose, for political purposes, when to apply them — in the manner that the Obama Justice Department began its harassment of incoming national-security adviser Michael Flynn on grounds that he had violated the ossified and never successfully prosecuted Logan Act.

After all, it was not as if Trump without precedent had ordered thousands of troops into the streets to quell violent protestors, the way President George H. W. Bush did, following long-accepted precedents, in 1992. In that year, Bush characterized the racially sensitive riots in Los Angeles, over the beating of Rodney King, as mob-like: “What we saw last night and the night before in Los Angeles is not about civil rights. . . . It’s not a message of protest. It’s been the brutality of a mob, pure and simple.”

5. The Trump administration did not have a COVID-19 testing strategy, right? Wrong. Rich Lowry shares the facts the MSM won’t. From the article:

The Trump administration’s general approach was to catalyze and support the private sector while working with the states to identify the testing capacity available to them and to secure the necessary supplies to meet their goals. The FDA worked to approve new tests and technologies as rapidly as possible, which was enormously important to nearly every aspect of testing. The Defense Production Act was used, but sparingly, and as way to buttress companies rather than take them over.

The emphasis was on improvisation and innovation. “It was very clear that the normal institutions of government under any administration wasn’t going to solve this and could not solve it, particularly in a country as vast as America,” says Giroir.

In early March, the White House called leaders of the diagnostic manufacturers and the commercial labs to talk about scaling up. Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus-response coordinator, describes it as “really a call to action by the president and vice president to say very clearly, ‘We need enhanced and greater diagnostic laboratory capacity. You are the private sector that have the technical ability to do this.’”

It coincided, weeks later, with the first big bump in testing.

Scott Whitaker, the CEO of the medical-technology association AdvaMed, explains the progression, from the first lift in numbers in March to the plateau in April to the recent sharp increase: “You get a handful of companies that were quick to the gate, and you started running all those tests on the machines that they had available with the labs. The next round comes in and scales up even more dramatically on the high-throughput machines,” machines capable of running a lot of tests quickly.

6. Sam Ashworth-Hayes says the pandemic has made the case for deregulation. From the piece:

In normal times, regulations dissuade innovation, hold back production, and raise prices. The coronavirus pandemic handed the U.S. a stark reminder that these costs are not merely financial.

And yet these costs are often invisible to us. They’re things that don’t happen rather than things that do, and an absence of change is hard to notice. If we could witness the destruction of wealth, then we would have a far sharper sense of the burden of red tape. As it is, the counterfactual of cheaper food or better testing is generally something of which only insiders are aware.

A silver lining of the coronavirus outbreak is that it is stress-testing government systems across the board. The need for industries to rapidly adapt to changing circumstances highlights the difficulties added by red tape. And with the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow estimate showing an annualized drop in GDP of 48.4 percent (or about 15 percent for those of us who use sensible numbers), any competent regulator would be looking to cushion the blow to businesses and workers.

The best way of doing that is to scrap the regulations.

7. Andy McCarthy predicts that Lindsey Graham’s Judiciary Committee hearings will produce little more than collusion theater. From the analysis:

Given that Graham has no power to send any good candidates to jail, and the real investigative work either has already been done by the Justice Department’s inspector general, or is in the process of being done by prosecutor John Durham, one can’t help but ask: What is the objective of this scattershot production?

This is a pressing question now that Graham, on a party-line vote of his committee, has been authorized to carpet-bomb Obama-world with subpoenas. Dozens of them: the Trump–Russia Who’s Who, to be hauled in for what we’re supposed to believe will be hours of grueling testimony. Sure, it may take Senate Republicans a year or four to get around to historic Democratic abuses of the government’s awesome law-enforcement and foreign-intelligence apparatus for political purposes, but man oh man, do they mean business now . . . even though, um, there are only 50 business days left in the Senate’s calendar before Election Day, the Senate has lots of other pending business, and the pendency of Durham’s probe renders the notion of significant congressional testimony a pipe dream.

Welcome to Senate Collusion Theater — Season II: “The Investigation of the Investigators.”

8. More Andy: In Atlanta, he finds prosecutorial cave-in to the mob. From the analysis:

No one, including the police on the scene that night, wished death on Brooks. In fact, bodycam footage shows Rolfe performing CPR on the wounded Brooks, saying, “Mr. Brooks, keep breathing, keep breathing for me.”

But Brooks is very far from the Black Lives Matter media’s depiction of a devoted husband and friendly father of four who was murdered by racist cops after he had just a tad too much to drink.

Brooks was passed out drunk in the car he had been driving while at a Wendy’s drive-thru. This was a violation of his probation conditions. Yeah, he was on probation. As recounted by Britain’s Daily Mail (it is hard to get such information from American media sources), Brooks had been convicted in 2014 for felonies committed against his family: multiple battery charges, false imprisonment, and cruelty to children. He was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment. But, as often happens in the criminal-justice system you’re supposed to see as institutionally racist and just spoiling to let black men rot in cages, the seven-year sentence wasn’t really a seven-year sentence. He served just one year and was released on probation.

As frequently happens with probationers, Brooks repeatedly violated the terms of his release. You’re supposed to look the other way on that, too. We’re supposed to prefer alternatives to prison for violent criminals; then, when the criminals habitually flout the conditions under which they are spared incarceration, we’re supposed to ignore that, too, since … well, we’d otherwise have to admit that criminals belong in prison — and that’s such Cro-Magnon thinking.

Brooks actually was sent back to prison after his first probation violation, but not for the remainder of the seven-year term. Again, the system is geared to minimize, not maximize, the incarceration of convicts. So Brooks was out in just twelve months. He then violated probation yet again, last year. This time, the system deemed the infraction minor (leaving the state without alerting his probation officer), so the violation was simply dismissed as if it never happened.

9. Dan McLaughlin lays into the Bostock ruling. From the commentary:

The Supreme Court’s Bostock v. Clayton County decision today held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it “unlawful . . . to discriminate against any individual . . . because of such individual’s . . . sex,” applies to discrimination based not only on sex but also on sexual orientation and transgender status. The logic of Justice Gorsuch’s opinion, however, breaks down completely in the transgender case, in a way that is likely to lead to unanticipated consequences. The Court should have had the decency to admit what it was doing.

Justice Gorsuch’s reasoning goes back, over and over, to the same logical syllogism: If a man and a woman do the same thing and only one of them would get fired for it, that’s discrimination on the basis of sex. So, for example, if a woman and a man both bring a male spouse to the office Christmas party, and only the man gets fired, that’s sex discrimination.

10. Those rushing to reform cops should, say John Yoo and Horace Cooper, maybe first consider reforming America’s cities. From the essay:

None of these reforms truly addresses the Floyd killing, and many of the proposals circulated are repackaged and stale ideas from well before. Progressives reveal their actual agenda with their proposals to beef up spending on existing social programs. “Biden supports the urgent need for reform — including funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing — so that officers can focus on the job of policing,” a campaign spokesman said.

This spend-first, assess-later approach will only repeat the mistakes in social policy from the time of the Great Society. According to some estimates, the federal government has poured anywhere from $15 trillion to $22 trillion into these welfare programs. Meanwhile, problems in the cities have not improved or have even gotten worse. Our urban K–12 public schools are a disgrace, homelessness runs rampant, and a permanent underclass has developed that cannot escape the inner cities. Academic studies show that while the Great Society programs have transferred trillions of dollars of income to alleviate poverty, they may have also actually harmed communities by creating incentives against family formation, work, and personal responsibility.

Liberals at the state and local levels are pursuing changes that will do even worse than those of the Great Society. Minneapolis, home to the Floyd killing and some of the worst riots, has voted to eliminate its own police department. “Defund the Police” has become a rallying cry at protests in many of the nation’s largest cities where, it must be said, liberals have enjoyed political dominance for a half century. Several left-wing mayors and city councils, such as in Los Angeles and San Francisco, have voted to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars from police budgets to social programs.

11. The blithering author of this epistle noted a 2016 study that clarifies BLM as more of Marx and Engels than civil-rights giants. From the post:

Key to BLM’s strategy is suppressing free speech and dissent, by means of force and intimidation if necessary. And so it has come to pass that if you stand on the sidewalk to oppose a protest, you will get a concrete shake bounced off your head, (the assailant will not be charged) and a tweet of repute will result in a pink slip. The Orwellian media — a force multiplier for BLM’s messaging — seems not to notice the suppression of free-speech rights. Heck, they don’t see riots and fires before their cameras. From the report (again, keep in mind it was written in 2016):

The Black Lives Matter movement is wholly against dissent and freedom of speech and their success rests upon the silencing of dissent, but they are savvy enough to accomplish this through other means than solely legal. First, Black Lives Matter has created an atmosphere where forces more emotionally compelling than “truth-seeking” encourage fealty through the threatened stigma of being an outsider, and discourage diversity of opinion. Through our research, we found that both the Activists and the Allies were united by the fear of being ostracized from the left’s cultural community and clung to the community they were provided by publicly supporting Black Lives Matter. 

Black Lives Matter frequently uses shows of force – either by seeking them from university administrators or through aggressive demonstrations – to silence dissent, as well. Activists recounted to us that they found it appropriate to ask administrators to step in and stop perceived “hate speech,” although they considered themselves to be supporters of free speech. Finally, by portraying criticism of their cause as an attempt to stifle their speech, they in effect demand freedom from criticism.

Somewhere through the flames, Saul Alinsky is smiling.

12. David Harsanyi covers how the Left is fully supportive of science — as long as it is ideologically correct. From the piece:

Then came the marches. Science-based absolutism was quickly shelved. Today, liberals are mobilizing to preemptively dismiss the notion that Black Lives Matters protests could possibly trigger a spike in cases. New York mayor Bill De Blasio, who’s ineptly presided over the epicenter of the disease, is instructing city contact tracers not to ask infected New Yorkers if they attended marches or rallies.

How long have we been assured that testing and contact tracing were the keys to controlling the spread of the virus? New York City tracers will reportedly ask citizens about “close contacts” — which is defined as standing within six feet of another person for at least ten minutes — but not if a person attended a Black Lives Matters protest where, need it be said, tens of thousands of our most vulnerable citizens were marching shoulder to shoulder, chanting for more than ten minutes — and often without any mask.

13. Jim Geraghty gives John Bolton what-fer. From the piece:

Bolton was approaching 70 years old when he took the job as Trump’s national-security adviser. Bolton didn’t need to stay on good terms with anyone for future career prospects.

Four things can be simultaneously true:

One: The anecdotes from Bolton, describing Trump as erratic, uninterested in details, easily flattered by foreign leaders, and far too credulous when listening to their pledges and explanations, are disturbing. Of course, the Trump that Bolton describes is not all that different from what we have seen and heard from him in public. The president has colossal confidence in his own persuasiveness and ability to make a deal, and once negotiations start, Trump always wants to believe that any agreement reached represents a grand step in the right direction.

Two: Bolton’s steadfast refusal or reluctance to testify during the impeachment hearing does not reflect well on him. Bolton apparently believes that what the president says behind closed doors, when the cameras aren’t watching, in negotiations with foreign leaders is vital and shocking information of utmost importance to the future of the country that the American people need to know . . . after they’ve paid $32.50 hardcover.

Three: Bolton’s refusal to testify probably had little or no impact on the outcome of the trial in the Senate. People who believe his testimony would have convinced 19 Republican senators to remove Donald Trump from the presidency are fooling themselves.

Four: A White House national-security adviser writing a denunciatory tell-all book and releasing it the summer before a presidential election, as payback for policy and personal disagreements, sets a terrible precedent for future presidents. Whether or not you think Donald Trump deserves loyalty from his staff, the President of the United States deserves to have his conversations within the White House about policy and decisions — and his conversations and negotiations with foreign leaders! — not blasted out for the whole world to evaluate.

14. Armond White dethrones The King of Staten Island. From the review:

Judd Apatow’s The King of Staten Island, a semi-biopic starring Saturday Night Live comedian and celebrity screw-up Pete Davidson, never gets its act together. As in all Apatow products, from TV’s Freaks and Geeks to the movies Knocked Up and Trainwreck, the main character’s underlying social and psychological issues are avoided. Apatow’s Gen X-, Y-, and Z-indulgent comedy specializes in a particular kind of identity politics — trash narcissism.

Pale, skinny, pop-eyed Davidson, flaunting his real-life Illustrated Man body tattoos, meanders through the arrested-adolescent frustrations of his alter-ego Scott Carlin, a 24-year-old from Staten Island’s working-class enclave who still lives with his widowed mother (Marisa Tomei). He pouts, “I need that safety net!” but talks about opening a tattoo parlor/restaurant — an idea that recalls Adam Sandler’s zaniness minus the whimsy. He mostly smokes pot with his ne’er-do-well friends who play video games and idly plan to rob a pharmacy. Scott/Davidson’s lifestyle, scoffing at other people’s ambition, resenting his sister’s college choice and his mother’s attempt at middle-aged dating, which causes Oedipal angst, isn’t a new form of rebellion but a new form of privilege.

15. Yuck Yucky: Aaron Zubia catches Hannah Gadsby’s comedy and finds that woke doesn’t invoke knee-slapping. From the review:

Portraying comedy as a tool of the oppressor, Gadsby turned the tables on comedy itself, or rather, her audience. In Nanette, which was supposed to be her parting shot before retiring from comedy, she exacted vengeance on her audience by lecturing them on how they, by laughing, have participated in the systemic injustice of a comedy-club-industrial-complex designed to crush the self-esteem of historically marginalized groups. Isn’t that funny?

Perhaps not. But laughter is not the point of Gadsby’s performance. Her whole schtick, rather, is highly theoretical. And that is the problem. Gadsby often incorporates art into her routine, and an art analogy might be the best way to describe her approach to comedy.

16. Michael Auslin whips out the crystal ball and sees a terrible thing: the 2025 Sino-American War. From the piece:

The Littoral War began with a series of accidental encounters in the skies and waters near Scarborough Shoal, in the South China Sea. Beijing had effectively taken control of the shoal, long a point of contention between China and the Philippines, in 2012. After Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, who had steadily moved Manila toward China during the late 2010s, was impeached and removed from office, the Philippines’ new president steadily moved to reassert Manila’s claim to the shoal, and by the summer of 2025 sent coastal-patrol boats into waters near the contested territory. When armed People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia (PAFMM) vessels pushed out the Philippine forces in early July, Manila appealed to Washington under its security treaty for assistance.

Prior Philippine requests for U.S. help in dealing with China had been largely shunted aside by Washington, even during the Trump administration. However, new U.S. president Gavin Newsom, who had been dogged during the 2024 campaign by allegations that Chinese cyber operations had benefited his candidacy, saw the Philippine request as an opportunity to show his willingness to take a hard line against Beijing. Newsom increased U.S. Air Force flights over the contested territory, using air bases made available by Manila, and sent the carrier USS Gerald Ford, along with escort vessels, on a short transit. On two occasions in late July, U.S. and Chinese ships came close to running into each other due to aggressive maneuvering by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), and a U.S. Navy FA-18 operating from the Gerald Ford was forced to take emergency evasive action to avoid colliding with a PLANAF J-15. Despite the increasing tensions, the U.S. Navy ships returned to Japan at the beginning of August, yet no diplomatic attempts were made to alter the trajectory of events. The fact that both sides knew some type of armed encounter was increasingly possible, if not probable, yet seemed to ignore the risk, led pundits to call the events surrounding the clash an example of a “gray rhino,” unlike the complete surprise represented by a “black swan” occurrence. Ironically, CCP general secretary Xi Jinping himself had warned about the dangers of “gray rhinos” back in 2018 and 2019.

17. More China Martial: Daniel Tenreiro analyzes the deadly flare-up on the Sino-Indian border. From the piece:

On May 5, Chinese and Indian troops engaged in fisticuffs and stone-throwing on the banks of Pangong Lake, and on May 12 a similar clash broke out in the Naku La region near Tibet. In the subsequent days, the PLA mobilized at least 5,000 troops to the region. According to Ajai Shukla, a former Indian colonel, the PLA also deployed artillery guns in six locations in Ladakh.

The mobilization of artillery violates protocols that effectively demilitarized the border in 1993. Two subsequent agreements that solidified those protocols have helped limit casualties in the long-simmering conflict. While the last death in the region occurred in 1975, confrontations have periodically flared up since Xi Jinping rose to power in China eight years ago. Most recently, in 2017, China’s construction of a road through Doklam, near Bhutan, set off two months of brinkmanship, ending with a Chinese retreat and heightened caution on both sides. Before that, the Chinese twice encroached on Indian territory in Ladakh, in 2013 and 2014.

Monday night’s fatalities mark a turning point in the conflict, calling into question the ability of military protocols to prevent hostilities. While the skirmish did not include the use of weapons, the recent military buildup has positioned both sides to escalate the situation rapidly. Jaishankar says that Chinese and Indian leaders frequently point out that they have “found a way to be responsible and make this a peaceful, if unsettled, border.” But that uneasy status quo may no longer be sustainable.

18. Home Depot founder Ken Langone says free enterprise was not a victim of Covid-19. From the article:

When it came time to attack the virus itself, businesses around the country showed the same decency and ingenuity, quickly repurposing to meet demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gowns for frontline medical workers. Apparel company Brooks Brothers and MLB uniform tailor Fanatics switched their stitch to make masks. So did hockey company Bauer and retail stores David’s Bridal and Jo-Ann Stores. A NASCAR team, North Carolina-based Stewart-Haas Racing, helped its neighbors by putting idle racing transports back on track, delivering 2 million medical masks to Novant Health facilities in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Whiskey and vodka distilleries, especially small, locally owned ones, switched to making bottles of alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Cutting-edge manufacturers used 3-D printers to make PPE. Charlottesville-based women’s shoemaker OESH made a mask that had soft edges, making its seal as strong if not better than what would be provided by N95-rated masks. There wasn’t time for FDA approval (which is a question we should take up later), but the skillful engineering made the mask a success.

One Delaware company, ILC Dover, worked with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to shorten the regulatory review process from one month to a week. That way the company could make its new Powered Air Purifying Respirator hood, which provides 100 times the protection of an N95 mask, available to health-care workers attending to patients with COVID-19.

National big-box stores, corner-store pharmacy chains, and delivery services really stepped up in hiring temporary workers. Wal-Mart, Walgreens, CVS, Costco, 7-Eleven, Ace Hardware, Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Instacart, FedEx, UPS, and grocery chains around the country all upped their hiring to meet demand and provide opportunities to the recently unemployed.

19. Dmitri Solzhenitsyn says police reformers could learn a thing or two from Russell Kirk. From the piece:

Radical reform, whether through the abolition of police departments or through their dramatic attenuation, may be said to be the “devil we don’t know.” How, after all, are we even to imagine a society in which no one may be there to answer the call when a theft, rape, or murder is occurring? We would be right to prefer our current devil to this unknown one. But take even the case of budget cuts, which are somewhat less radical: Assuming that the funds drawn away from police departments and given to minority communities result in long-term crime reductions, we are still left with an interim period of many years during which the police will be less able to do their job. Certainly, this will be the case whenever we speak of fully dissolved crime units or nine-figure budget cuts. This is another unknown devil: an unstable period of power vacuums that might well lead to unforeseen social disorders.

Rather, those changes for which we should strive are the prudent, measured ones: The restriction of the power of bad-apple-shielding police unions, the rigorous teaching of deescalation techniques, and the administration of thorough psychology tests to all aspiring officers, for example. Dallas, Seattle, Baltimore, New York, and Las Vegas, for instance, have pioneered deescalation training and have subsequently enjoyed fewer civilian complaints. There is no contradiction between the desire for such reforms and the adherence to conservatism, as Kirk teaches. “By proper attention to prudent reform,” he writes, “we may preserve and improve [our] tolerable order.” Nevertheless, Kirk exhorts us not to abandon the greater principles: “If the old institutional and moral safeguards of a nation are forgotten, then the anarchic impulses in man break loose: ‘the ceremony of innocence is drowned.’” It is all well and good to reform policing. But to abandon the institution of policing, to suppose that relying on a man or woman to answer the call when danger lurks is permanently outdated — or that, through proper social engineering, it will become outdated — is to embrace anarchy.

20. Jimmy Quinn reports that the UN Human Rights Council is a thugs’ club pushing America hate. From the piece:

In the wake of Floyd’s death and the upheaval that has followed, an “urgent debate” was requested last week in a letter to the council written by Burkina Faso’s U.N. delegation on behalf of 54 African countries. Their intention was to examine “racially inspired human rights violations, police brutality against people of African descent and the violence against the peaceful protests that call for these injustices to stop.” The request for a debate was also backed by more than 600 non-governmental organizations and Floyd’s family. And so, it began yesterday and ended Thursday morning. The council will vote on a resolution Friday or Monday.

The United States was notably absent, having quit the council in 2018. The Trump administration withdrew after an unfruitful attempt to reform the body’s handling of Israel and its conciliatory stance toward a number of human rights–violating countries. Some opponents of that move claimed vindication this week, arguing that the vacuum left by the withdrawal has enabled authoritarian regimes, leaving America with less sway on the international human-rights body. “This situation is the end result of a series of catastrophic miscalculations of the Trump administration in its relations with the U.N.,” Marc Limon, a former diplomat, told the New York Times.

He and other experts might say that the way this week’s debate unfolded supports their view. The act of convening an urgent debate on the United States’ human-rights record makes it only the third such country at the center of one — a session on Israel’s raid on a Gaza flotilla in 2010 and three concerning the Syrian civil war round out the list. Perhaps this could have been avoided with American membership on the council. On the contrary, though, this week reprises significant questions about the council’s ability to effectively and fairly promote universal human rights.

The July 6 Issue of Your Favorite Magazine Is Flapping on the Flagpole, Awaiting Your Salutage

As is our quaint custom, here are four recommendations of excellence, chosen from the cover-to-cover excellence that greets you in the new issue of National Review.

1. Jerry Hendrix finds U.S. military systems and carriers are in great need of a strategic overhaul. From the essay:

According to the most recent National Defense Strategy, the U.S. military exists to “provide combat-credible military forces needed to deter war and protect the security of our nation. Should deterrence fail, the Joint Force is prepared to win.” To implement this strategy, the Joint Force needs to be able to strike quickly at specific enemy military, economic, and even political centers of gravity in increasingly contested environments. Today’s military, using air-based and space-based surveillance assets, has ever-increasing abilities to identify targets, but dwindling capacities to strike them. To remedy this situation, the Navy should invest in new air wings—much as it did in the years immediately following World War II, when it effectively replaced its entire naval-aviation inventory—that can operate effectively from outside the range of a prospective adversary’s “anti-access/area denial” networks to credibly put key targets at risk.

Such an air wing would necessarily retain some legacy components. It would make sense, for example, for each wing to have combat-search-and-rescue (CSAR) helicopters; a squadron of four E-2D Hawkeyes to provide airborne surveillance and command-and-control in carrier-controlled airspace; and a squadron of six EA-18G Growlers to provide jamming and spectrum control around the carrier and its strike group. The new air wing might also have one squadron of ten F-35Cs to perform combat air-patrol missions as well as airborne-coordination roles. Only one squadron should be necessary, since the carrier would be positioned far out to sea, beyond the immediate range of enemy short-range fighters and escorted by cruisers and destroyers capable of providing air and missile defense. Shifting the carrier’s area of operations farther from the enemy’s “anti-access/area denial” forces would make it possible to reverse the modern naval bias towards defensive “anti” missions within the carrier strike group (anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine) and move back towards offensive operations, including power-projection ashore.

2. Kyle Smith is in North Carolina and sees an amazing display of white guilt. From the article:

Amidst nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, a black man and woman are seated on a park bench while a white woman wearing a sweatshirt that reads “LOVE” takes to her megaphone. “We repent on behalf of, uh, Caucasian people,” she says. A small crowd of white people comes to kneel before the two seated black folks, who are co-pastors of a local church. Some of the kneelers wash the feet of the black people. A white man with an English accent solemnly intones, “It’s our honor to stand here on behalf of all white people, . . . repenting, Lord, for our aggression, Lord, repenting for our pride, for thinking that we are better, that we are above.” Police officers join the ritual. Several people start audibly weeping, or keening, as the speaker continues. Roughly a dozen people join in the gesture and kneel before the black couple. “We have put our necks, put our hands, our knees, upon the necks of our African-American brothers and sisters, people of color, indigenous people,” says the English man. “Lord, where we as a church, a white church, have used you as a persecution towards black people, Lord, as we’ve burnt crosses, as we’ve burnt churches, . . . we’ve used it as a weapon against people of color.”

It’s been coming for some time, this transmutation of white guilt into a cult, a religion that borrows from and intersects with Christianity but substitutes its own liturgy. In the Nineties, liberal white Hollywood filmmakers began to nourish a fantasy that black people were imbued with magical powers, and they built stories around angelic or Christlike black redeemers who stood apart from and above this fallen race we call humanity. Will Smith in The Legend of Bagger Vance, Cuba Gooding What Dreams May Come, and Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile served as spiritual and/or actual caddies to troubled white men, guiding them toward salvation.

Today those “magical negro” films, as Spike Lee dubbed them, get ridiculed by the critical intelligentsia, but the same impulse is visible in different form. White people continue to have difficulty perceiving blacks as individual human beings, instead conferring on blackness a holy quality. Fallen white people can get closer to the divine by showing due deference in any way they can. Books that promise to assist white people with the project of metaphorically scourging themselves—White Fragility, How to Be an Antiracist—bounded up the best-seller lists. Black Americans report, with more annoyance than appreciation, that white friends are calling them nervously, seeking absolution.

3. Ramesh Ponnuru and Michael Strain find the China tariffs have been an economic flop. From the essay:

The emerging consensus holds that opening U.S. markets to China was part of a naïve policy of engagement. Elites in both parties, on this view, held the utopian expectation that liberalized trade with China would enrich us and them while also making them more responsible, peaceful, and democratic. But the Chinese government refused to follow the script. It continued to act as a predatory and mercantilist power, notably by refusing to protect American intellectual property and by practically requiring American firms to transfer their technology to Chinese ones to do business in the country. It acted aggressively in the South China Sea, launched a genocidal campaign against Uighurs, curtailed the liberty of Hong Kong, and threatened Taiwan’s de facto independence. Instead of exporting our values to them, we started importing their values: The National Basketball Association responded to protests in Hong Kong by closing ranks against the protesters.

What we got from trade with China—again, on the view of the regnant school of critics of that trade—was, at best, short-term efficiency gains that came at the expense of our society’s cohesion and resilience. A much-discussed recent essay goes further than that: “For the benefit of a few billionaires, Western societies have immiserated their voter base, dramatically weakened themselves, and helped shorten the lives of hundreds of thousands of their own people.” Learning during the pandemic that we are now dependent on China for everything from medicines to masks has added humiliation to our losses.

It follows that we should be much more willing to use tariffs and government subsidies to bring the manufacture of critical goods home. Beyond that suggestion, though, the new consensus gets fuzzier about what practical steps should be taken. Additional tariffs to “make China pay” for the coronavirus have been mentioned. And President Trump’s preference for bilateral negotiations over global trade deals is seen in some quarters as a template for the future of trade policy. Senator Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, has urged a U.S. withdrawal from the World Trade Organization to pursue this new path. Peter Navarro, one of Trump’s advisers on trade, told CNBC viewers in May, “If we don’t learn from this crisis that the only way this great country is going to prosper is by making the stuff we need as much as possible, then we will have learned nothing and we will sink into the abyss.” The president himself has mooted another option: “We could cut off the whole relationship” and thus eliminate our $500 billion trade deficit with China.

4. Graham Hillard checks out the deluge of corporate anti-racist pronunciamentos and finds that they’re truly about . . . profits. From the article:

In fact, corporate race missives are no more harbingers of conservative defeat than corporate ethics codes are heralds of a forthcoming moral paradise. To read them is to observe not the fruit of leftist persuasion but the cold-eyed realism required of actors in a market economy. To the extent that such statements mean anything at all, they merely affirm a truth that conservatives needn’t fear and ought rightly to celebrate. In a free society—in a nation that is capitalist not only in its laws but down to its marrow—profit-seeking organizations will do whatever is necessary to maximize their profit.

For most of the firms attempting to weather recent storms, whatever is necessary has been modest indeed, a state of affairs that should surprise no one given how dependent the Left has become on support from the cultural heights. At corporations such as Salesforce and Twilio, for example, assuaging the revolution has thus far required nothing more than an anodyne tweet featuring the message “We stand with the Black community.” (Actual meaning: “Please leave us out of your news cycle.”) At YouTube and Disney, rhetorical support has been accompanied by social-justice donations, but the sums in question have amounted to less than an hour’s revenue. (The companies have pledged $1 million and $5 million, respectively.) While Netflix’s tweeted assertion that “to be silent is to be complicit” is close to the despicable rallying cry du jour, even the corporate home of the Obamas can’t bring itself to declare that “silence is violence.” And these are the signifiers that American businesses are securely in the pocket of the activist Left?

The Mahoney Special

Why? Because the trenchant Daniel J. Mahoney always offers conservative brilliance, that’s why, and that’s what you’re looking for in these here parts, right? Right! Now at Law & Liberty’s “Law Talk” podcast, host Richard Reinsch chats with Dan about the sober liberalism you can believe in during a time of widespread unrest, anger, and sadness. Do listen here.


1. On the new episode of The Editors, Rich, Charlie, and Michael discuss the Supreme Court’s Bostock ruling, and what’s going on as states begin to reopen. Hear here.

2. And then, on a special episode of The Editors, Rich interviews the president of Americans for Prosperity, Tim Phillips. Listen right here.

3. On the new episode of The Victor Davis Hanson Podcast, VDH discusses the emerging, partisan Military-Intelligence Complex; statue-toppling and base-renaming; the ironies and paradoxes of revolutions; Senator Graham’s planned Judiciary hearings on Flynn and collusion; BLM being a Marxist front; media madness; and the Seattle CHAZ scene. Hear ye here, ye.

4. On the new episode of The Great Books, John J. Miller is joined by Paul Rahe of Hillsdale College to discuss Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron. Wizen up right here.

5. Then JJM takes to The Bookmonger, where he is joined by Daniel Halper to discuss his and Alana Goodman’s book, A Convenient Death. Strap on the ear buds and listen here.

6. I Would Like to Buy a Vowel: On Political Beats, radio guru and Townhall columnist Mark Davis talks Lynyrd Skynyrd with Big Bad Scot Betram and The One and Only Jeff Blehar. Get in the grove here.

7. On the new episode of Radio Free California, David and Will find that California Democrats are suddenly BFFs of states’ rights, and then discuss politicized police reform and Golden State pension-investing madness. Listen, learn, and prosper, right here.

8. On the new episode of Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Kevin and Charlie discuss the Downton Abbey movie and propose that National Review take on a society columnist. Listen here.

9. On The McCarthy Report, Andy and Rich discuss the attempts to stop the publication of John Bolton’s book, what’s going on in Atlanta, and two recent Supreme Court cases. Hear here.

The Six

1. At Law & Liberty, Theodore Dalrymple expounds on moral thuggery. From the essay:

In London, there have been large demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s death, mostly but not entirely peaceful. These were allegedly to protest against racism, but in reality, they reinforced and propagated an obsessive interpretation of the world through the lens of race and racial discrimination. As a strange illustration of one of the three supposed laws of dialectical materialism—the interpenetration of opposites—racists and modern anti-racists are united by the importance they ascribe to race, though they are divided by their explanation of why race should be so important. The racists believe that it’s because of biology and the anti-racists believe it’s because of socially-sanctioned racism.

They are united too in their totalitarian (or at least bullying) tendencies, though in this respect the modern anti-racists are now more dangerous, not because they are worse people than the racists, but because racism as a doctrine is mostly, if not entirely, discredited. Racism is truly opposed not by anti-racists, but by non-racists, that is, people who do not judge or behave towards others according to their race.

2. At The Pipeline, John O’Sullivan investigates when science kisses the can of politics. From the piece:

And in the last seven days, this argument—that Black Lives Matter protests are uniquely aimed at improving public health, damaged as it is by racism—has spread to Britain where large crowds turned out for BLM rallies accommodated by the police who were otherwise fining people for meeting in “crowds” of more than six—and to partisan politics in the U.S. where public health professionals were critical of the GOP for pushing ahead with plans for a Republican Convention while tamely hoping that BLM protesters will wear marks.

The public reaction to these medical self-contradictions has been stronger in Britain than in America, partly because the lockdown regulations have been more stringent and more toughly enforced (with police handing out thousands of fines) than in the U.S. Allowing some people to protest and (not incidentally) to indulge in violent rioting in a self-righteous frame of mind, but fining others for attending a parent’s funeral has created a lot of free-floating anger. And one side-effect is a rise in skepticism towards other claims of both medical scientists and their brethren in other disciplines.

Take the Covid-19 claims first.

Britain’s media and opposition have been strongly critical of the handling of the Covid-19 crisis by the Boris Johnson government, suggesting that Ministers had ignored the advice of its SAGE committee of scientists and demanding that the minutes of SAGE now be published. Well, the minutes have now been published, and they show that Ministers followed the advice of SAGE more or less to the letter. If mistakes were made, they were scientists’ mistakes more than ministerial ones (though Ministers have to take responsibility for them on the proper constitutional grounds that “advisors advise, ministers decide.”) Well and good.

3. At Gatestone Institute, Daniel Pipes whips out the enigma machine in order to decipher the utterances of Joe Biden. From the article:

There is a brand-new game: decipher the rhetoric of Joe Biden, former vice president and presumptive Democratic nominee for president.

American politics has never had a top politician who (apparently suffering from dementia) makes such wandering, incoherent, garbled comments. The game he has inspired has two simple rules: (1) prune the gibberish and (2) add what is needed to make sense.

Here is an example on an important topic, taken from a long interview with New York Times editors on December 16, 2019. Speaking about Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Biden said:

“He has to pay a price for whether or not we’re going to continue to sell certain weapons to him. In fact, if he has the air defense system that they’re flying F-15s through to see how they can try to figure out how to do it.”

Come again? Sure, read a second and even a third time. I’ll wait. A bit murky, no? But with the magic of the above two rules, it does make sense. I dropped the fluff and added the implicit bits (in square brackets), resulting in an intelligible new version:

He has to pay a price for [acquiring Russia’s S-400 missile system and we must decide] whether or not we’re going to continue to sell certain weapons[, in particular, our most advanced F-35 aircraft,] to him. In fact, if he has the [S-400] air defense system that [the Turks are] flying F-15s to [test how well it works, we must not sell F-35s to Turkey].

Condensed: Erdoğan purchased the S-400, so we must not sell him F-35s.

4. Down Under, at Quadrant, Peter Smith calls out the fear of institutions to challenge the Left. From the commentary.

Those calling the shots in Black Lives Matter (BLM), in Antifa, in GetUp! in MoveOn and in other Marxist organisations, and also numbers of academics, commentators and journalists sympathetic to their cause, are far from silent or dumb. They know the facts and are not morons. But like their authoritarian Islamist cousins they practice taqiyya. Lying is their second nature and they are not shy about it because they are not called out.

No ordinary person of any decency or sense would buy their bill of goods so they hide its horror behind mindless slogans. And that seems to work among many of those who should be leading the counter charge. It is easy to find so-called conservatives, like Soames, going along with the fiction that protecting black lives is a laudable part of the BLM agenda. In truth, BLM doesn’t give a fig about black lives or anybody’s lives. They are interested in power.

5. At The College Fix, Troy Sargent reports on Harvard professor Roland Fryers’ study, which finds that defunding the police will result in many black violent-crime deaths. From the article:

“Pattern-or-Practice” investigations are used by federal and state governments to mitigate unconstitutional police activity including, but not limited to, excessive force and racial bias.

According to the Harvard scholars’ working paper on the impact of these investigations into police activity on homicide and crime rates, published in early June, the investigations resulted in “almost 900 excess homicides and almost 34,000 excess felonies.”

This spike in the crime rate occurred over the course of two years in the five cities where those deaths and viral incidents occurred: Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Laquan McDonald in Chicago, Timothy Thomas in Cincinnati, Tyisha Miller in Riverside, California, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

While the underlying cause of this dramatic spike is unknown, Fryer and Devi hypothesize that it is caused by a substantial decrease in proactive police activity.

6. At City Journal, Paul Starobin says that America must save the marketplace of ideas. From the essay:

More voices in the working press—voices outside the tenured precincts of academia, voices without bestselling books to their names, especially younger voices—need to join this resistance. It is the younger ones who have been reared on the notion that the marketplace of ideas is a “myth,” a “confused argument that promises the triumph of good ideas while delivering ordinary and unproductive provocation,” as suggested by Aaron Hanlon, an assistant professor of English at Colby College, in a 2017 article for The New Republic.

Sharp questioning might lead to strained relations in the workplace. A challenge to a claim like the one put forward by some Times staffers—that publishing Cotton’s op-ed put black staff “in danger”—would require a thick skin on the part of the dissident. Nevertheless, any claim merits scrutiny. Of course, news organizations must take seriously workplace-safety concerns posed by journalists responsible for gathering the news in dangerous situations, whether on the streets of Minneapolis or in the mountains of Afghanistan. But should such concerns guide what appears on opinion pages? To say yes is to jeopardize the autonomy of the opinion section—to collapse the wall that separates newsrooms from opinion departments.

BONUS: At The Imaginative Conservative, Andrew Garnett makes the case for being right to be wrong. From the essay:

I began teaching in the spring semester of 2017. It was a strange time and I expected our campus climate to be increasingly divided as a result of the election in 2016. What I found in my philosophy courses was not so much division as something else. I would throw questions that were deliberately controversial to the class in order to spur debate, dialogue, and through them the activity of the mind: the use of reason. My questions would at best elicit a hand from a student or two and some a talking-point based answer or other. When challenged as to why they held such a position, more often than not, the reasoning or support would evaporate. It was feelings that were often cited. No student ever took a risk or offered anything out of the ordinary.

Having not been out of school for very long, I could not lie down and simply accept that this was the way college students acted: the “new normal,” if you will. I knew that something had changed. Something was broken. I have spent some time reflecting on what has caused this change and on the effects that the silence that it produces has had on our young people. The most obvious is that our culture has stifled these students’ spirit, their drive for scholarship, for excellence, for responding to the deep questions. It has coaxed their minds into a quiet coma: It has made them ready repeaters of the popular opinions of the masses. What is true, they believe, is what I am told and what is convenient. What is false is what challenges what I am told: that which may cause me to change or grow. The students are made into utilitarians. They reject change and growth. They are usually painful.

What we need to reclaim is our students’ drive, their spirit, their thirst for knowledge—real knowledge—and to give them the tools with which to engage their awesome gift of reason.

BONUS BONUS: At Reason, Robby Soave says 1619 holds nothing when compared to 1793, because the need for “safety” has the requirement of terror. From the essay:

Recent events at The New York Times are an almost perfect demonstration of how this is playing out. Staffers angry about an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R–Ark.) claimed that its publication threatened their very lives. They specifically chose “running this puts black Times staff in danger” as their mantra because it invokes workplace safety. When the authority figure—the boss, the principal, the government—is responsible for ensuring safety, and safety is broadly defined as not merely protection from literal physical violence but also the fostering of emotional comfort, norms of classical liberalism will suffer. (One activist told me that for him, safety requires other people to affirm him.) The Times conflict ended with opinion page chief James Bennet out of his job.

He’s not the only one. UCLA recently suspended a lecturer, Gordon Klein, after he declined a demand that he make a final exam “no-harm”—that is, it could only boost grades—for students of color traumatized by the events in Minneapolis. Klein refused, in accordance with guidance from UCLA’s administration not to give students much leeway on exams. In response, the activists launched a petition to get Klein fired, and the school suspended him. His irritated reply to the activists—that he would not give preferential exam treatment to students because of their skin color—has prompted UCLA to investigate him for racial discrimination.

University of Chicago economist Harald Uhlig, who had the temerity to criticize some of the more radical demands the protesters have made, is now being pressured to resign as editor of the school’s Journal of Political Economy. In this case, it’s not random students doing the pressuring, but some of the biggest names in economics: New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, University of Michigan professor Justin Wolfers, and even former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen, who told the Times that “it would be appropriate for the University of Chicago, which is the publisher of the Journal of Political Economy, to review Uhlig’s performance and suitability to continue as editor.”

The Times article is a master class in guilt-by-insinuation. The authors could not find a single fact to support the notion that Uhlig is a racist or that he has used his position to thwart black scholars. But he holds some views that would be in conflict with the more progressive Black Lives Matter protesters—he doesn’t approve of rioting, and he criticized NFL players for kneeling—and that apparently is suspicious enough.


Its fortunes over the decades — through 1960 — in the team’s original incarnation in the nation’s capital proved bleak. Yes, there was that one World Series championship (The great Walter Johnson winning the 12-inning Game Seven against the New York Giants in 1924), but in toto the Senators were a hapless franchise (pre-Twins), with a .465 win-loss percentage in a smidge over 9,000 games. The worst of many worses happened early on in the Senators’ history — the last-place 1904 squad had a 38–113 record. Few teams ever fared more poorly.

And few ever had as many pitchers who lost 20 or more games: The Senators had three such hurlers on their anemic-hitting (.227 team batting average) staff. Southpaw Casey Patten, who lost 22 games the year before, and who would lose 21 in 1905, was the Senators’ ace at 14–23. It was slim pickings after that: Righthander Happy Townsend posted a somewhat sad 5–26 record (for his six-year career he was 34–82), which was little better than that of rookie Beany Johnson, who posted a 5–23 record.

Could there have possibly been another team with as many, if not more, 20-plus losers? If you thought “yes,” you’d be right — the 1905 Boston Beaneaters (precursor to the Doves, Rustlers, Braves, Bees, and once again Braves) had four hurlers with an aching amount of losses. And so did the 1906 Boston team, doing so with an almost entirely new starting rotation.

The seventh-place (51–103) 1905ers were led by southpaw Irv Young, mis-nicknamed “Cy the Second.” He topped the staff with a 20–21 record (he’d also lose 25 for the Beaneaters in 1906, and another 23 in 1907, on his way to a career record of 63–95). Young was followed by Chick Fraser, who went 14–24. Fraser had lost 24 the previous year for the Phillies, and after the 1905 season, when the Beaneaters traded him to Cincinnati, he would lose 20 for the Reds. Quite the multi-franchise feat. The man he was traded for, Gus Dorner, would drop 25 games for Boston in 1906. And then there was Kaiser Wilhelm. He had lost 20 games for Boston in 1904. In 1905, he would put up a horrific 3–23 record. And baseball wasn’t done with him: Sold to the minors, Wilhelm next popped up in the big leagues in 1908, when he would go 16–22 for the Brooklyn Superbas.

But the 1905 cake-taker was surely future Hall of Famer Vic Willis: He set an MLB record for single-season losses, going 12–29 for Boston (worse than his 1904 performance of 18–25). Life would improve though: Traded after the season to Pittsburgh, Willis would win more than 20 games each season for the Pirates between 1906 and 1909.

As for the 1906 Boston team, it finished in last place with a 49–102 record: In addition to the aforementioned Young and Dorner, the Beaneaters starting staff also included Big Jeff Pfeffer, who went 13–22, and rookie Vive Lindaman, who went 12–23.

Of interest: This was not the era of relief pitching. In 1905, the four Beaneater starters pitched 125 complete games, and the 1906 quartet tossed 131.

A Dios

The unjustly accused deserve our prayers, and in the faith of Your Sinful Yet Humble Correspondent, in which is held as a matter of faith a thing called “the communion of saints,” we address five such holy souls — English Jesuits John Fenwick, John Gavan, William Harcourt, Thomas Whitebread, and Anthony Turner — who may serve to hear your supplications and act on them, given their spiritual proximity to the Almighty.

It was on this very day some 341 years ago when, falsely accused of treason against the Crown, part of the infamous Popish Plot, these priests were hung to death. King Charles knew of their innocence but, having the courage which so many today seem to have, which is none, refused clemency. Although, quite sporting of him, he allowed that they not be drawn and quartered, the usual ghastly English way of creating martyrs. May the quintet do their Heavenly service as intermediaries, as force multipliers, for your petitions, and gain those of us here below a modicum of sanity as the fevered brains of the Left (including many a 21st-century Jesuit, ignorant of the hundreds of members of their order who died for their faith) prowl about the world and social-media platforms, seeking the ruin of careers. And souls.

God’s Empowering Graces Be upon You and All Those You Love and Protect,

Jack Fowler, who is ready to receive theological lectures from modern Reformationists at

National Review

The Big Red Machine


Dear Weekend Jolter,

Friends, acquaintances, readers, be not delusional: There’s no hiding. Oh, you may try it, but you’ll soon be in a to-no-avail world of not-good-enoughery / calling-out / grovel-demanding / mantra-dictating / abasement-expecting / spousal-under-the-bus-throwing by the morally superior Jacobins brandishing their superior moralities. These Red Guards 2.0 — those sensitive, wealthy, brick-throwing, Ivy-pedigreed brats who were so scared on campus that they needed Play Dough and bubbles and puppies to safe-space their started-a-non-profit-when-I-was-12 tuchuses from being triggered by a calmly expressed differing opinion — will rummage through their cell-phone contacts and Facebook “friends” and find you and text you and commence demanding of you a statement of affirmation, a retweet of a hashtag, a signature of a petition, and a videotaped mortification about your sorry racist self.

All that while, the re-educators, echoing their ChiCom cadres from Cultural Revolutions past, prepare your dunce cap. Well, that’s the SOP right now, anyway. Groupthink demands membership. Do read Alexandra DeSanctis’ piece, “Your Silence Is Not Enough.”

From it:

But the Left’s view of speech is growing more insidious even than that. As the current social unrest has unfolded, vast numbers of Americans have taken to the streets to peacefully protest the unjust killing of George Floyd — a laudable choice, if a bit surprising in light of the global pandemic — or to engage in vandalism, looting, and arson. Many more have taken to social media to promote Black Lives Matter and fundraise for bail funds to release rioters from jail. Almost uniformly, these culture warriors have begun parroting the troubling notion that “silence is complicity,” demanding that we all vocally sign on to their agenda.

According to this view, if you fail to use your platform to speak out about the progressive issue du jour, you are guilty of perpetrating injustice against the oppressed. It is our civic responsibility and obligation to “educate ourselves” — by which they mean accepting and memorizing the prevailing progressive dogma — and then to repeat what we’ve learned, faithful comrades in their holy war.

On one hand, then, progressives work to ensure that contrary beliefs are disallowed in polite discourse. On the other, they insist that we are compelled by the demands of justice to speak publicly about every social-justice issue. If we articulate a view that challenges the progressive creed, they will drum us out of polite company. If we do not speak at all, we are guilty of sinning by omission.

Friends, acquaintances, readers, we can cower and fret that this is what they mean by “the new normal.” Or we can fight this like the dickens.

Let’s opt for the dickens!


1. We blast the hysterical debate over the use of federal troops to quell riots. From the editorial:

Tom Cotton led the charge for the “Send In the Troops” position in a much-debated op-ed for the New York Times. Cotton is right that federal law gives the president the authority to use military force against domestic disorder. That authority is explicitly laid out in the Constitution, has been invoked and incorporated in federal legislation dating all the way back to George Washington’s presidency, and is currently governed by the Insurrection Act passed in 1807 and signed into law by Thomas Jefferson. Abraham Lincoln used the army to restore order in New York’s draft riots in 1863, dispatching combat veterans directly from the battlefield in Gettysburg. In modern times, the Insurrection Act has been invoked by Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson against resistance to racial integration, and by George H. W. Bush to restore order in the Los Angeles riots in 1992, whose origins were similar to today’s crisis.

There is nothing un-American or “fascist” about such a longstanding backstop against chaos. Our constitution itself was written in response to a rebellion in Massachusetts that had to be suppressed solely by state authorities because the federal government was too weak to help. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were not fascists for using military force when it was necessary to end rebellions and riots.

Reaching for the Army, however, should be a last resort. Prudence counsels against Cotton’s proposal, for now. Where police are unable to handle riots, states can call up the National Guard. Minneapolis, the center of the storm, has done this, with some success. Bill de Blasio has refused to do so, and New York City has paid the price. Only where the Guard proves inadequate to the task should the regular military be called in.

2. The Cancel Culture Red Guards need to be stopped. From the editorial:

There are a few different things at play here. One is the free-floating desire to punish, the glee that certain awful people get from simply taking the opportunity to hurt someone, even an obscure and basically inoffensive someone. (Remember “Has Justine Landed?”) Some of this is cynical young staffers at prestigious institutions such as the New York Times who believe that they can clear room for their own advancement by chasing unhip elders out of the corner offices. Some of this is programmatic and political: There is no aspect of culture that is not to be commandeered by the rioting black-masked socialists — they have attempted to commandeer the protests against police brutality for their own ends, and they will commandeer Paw Patrol, too, if they can. They are vicious totalitarians who will use any means at their disposal, from ruining the lives of obscure fast-food managers to engaging in organized political violence.

It is particularly depressing that institutions ranging from the New York Times to the universities to Franklin Templeton have refused to stand up for themselves, for their employees, and, in the case of the Times and other media, for the principles of free expression and open dialogue that they purport to serve. They believe that they can pacify the mob by throwing it a sacrificial lamb or two. In that, they are mistaken. We hope that Corporate America is neither too stupid to understand that nor too cowardly to act accordingly, but, at the moment, we see little cause for encouragement. We are recreating East Germany’s culture of informers without even having a Soviet-backed dictatorship to blame it on.

The Cancel Counter

NR reporter Zach Evans and NR summer intern John Loftus are honchoing a “Cancel Counter” — you know, toppled statuary and deep-sixed shows (so long Cops) — to keep on top of the Left’s culture bloodletting. Here’s Number 9 from the growing list:

Christene Barberich, editor and co-founder of women’s lifestyle magazine Refinery29, resigned after current and former staffers alleged that they faced discrimination in the workplace.

“I worked at Refinery29 for less than nine months due to a toxic company culture where white women’s egos ruled the near nonexistent editorial processes,” writer Ashley Ford wrote on Twitter. “One of the founders consistently confused myself and one our full-time front desk associates & pay disparity was atrocious.”

“I will be stepping aside in my role at R29 to help diversify our leadership in editorial and ensure this brand and the people it touches can spark a new defining chapter,” Ms. Barberich wrote in a post on Instagram.

Nancy Dubuc, head of Vice Media, which acquired Refinery29 in October, said Barberich’s exit was “an acceleration of a conversation Christene and I have been having since Vice’s acquisition of R29 and she asked that we make the change immediately over the past few days.”

Filling the Void in a World of Intellectual Scarcity, Here Are a Score of NRO Scores

1. When did law and order become a sign of fascism? Rich Lowry attacks the attack. From the column:

Law and order, a favorite Trump theme, is not fascism.

Consider Cotton’s op-ed. The senator called for federal troops to assist in subduing rioters and stipulated that “a majority who seek to protest peacefully shouldn’t be confused with bands of miscreants.” If this is fascism, any effort to stop people burning down buildings now has to be considered dangerous.

Trump’s Rose Garden speech calling for an end to the disorder and for using federal troops if necessary got a similar reaction.

“The fascist speech Donald Trump just delivered verged on a declaration of war against American citizens,” Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon said.

The New Republic warned of “an authoritarian gangster state.”

Masha Gessen of The New Yorker wrote of Trump’s subsequent photo-op with a Bible in front of St. John’s Church: “Perhaps he had seen a picture of Hitler in a similar pose” (a photo of Hitler in a similar pose that circulated on social media afterward was a fake).

Trump, like Cotton, distinguished between peaceful protesters and rioters, and surely one purpose of his tough talk on federal troops was to prod governors and mayors to get a better handle on the situation on their own.

2. Dan McLaughlin makes the case for conservative law-enforcement reform. From the analysis:

Small government has never meant “no government.” Conservatives have long argued that governments that try to do too many things end up doing more of them badly. That should apply to policing as well. The core of criminal law is predatory behavior: murder, rape, robbery, fraud, arson, vandalism. The further we get from those things, the less we should involve the cops. Historically, the laws that have been most easily abused in racially disparate ways are vague, low-level crimes: loitering, jaywalking, disturbance of the peace. On the other hand, a great deal of disturbance of public order comes from the homeless population, many of whom are mentally ill and should be locked up not as criminals but for their own protection. Reducing criminalization of some of these offenses is more workable if cities are not teeming with disturbed street-dwellers.

Policing should also focus on protection, not raising revenue for the government. The broad use of civil-asset forfeitures that were meant to be confined to major criminal cases, busting people for selling single cigarettes, and other forms of “revenue policing” would all have been recognized by the Founding Fathers as excessive uses of government power.

Then there’s drugs. Rolling back the laws on hard drugs would be a mistake, but it’s reasonable to rethink the amount of money, time, and manpower that police departments devote to low-level drug crime. And at a minimum, Congress should give states more leeway to experiment with decriminalizing marijuana, given the thorny conflicts that have developed between state and federal laws on the issue.

Proposals to “demilitarize” the police should be on the table, but they should be carefully designed: There is a big difference between police departments’ having military vehicles and cops wearing riot helmets. Riot gear is, after all, designed to discourage police officers from seeing their guns as the only line of defense against death or severe injury from thrown bricks and bottles.

3. David Harsanyi considers how pick-a-knee rings hollow. From the piece:

‘Pick a knee,” says CNN’s S. E. Cupp, “The one that knelt on a neck or the one that knelt to try to prevent it.” This kind of ugly false choice — either you adopt my favored form of political protest or you support murder! — is meant to bully you into participating in groupthink. Worse, it’s meant to shame the target of Cupp’s exhortation into taking ownership of racism, an evil that may have nothing to do with him.

I find the abuse of black civilians — or, though this is apparently a provocation, any civilians — by the police abhorrent. More than any other group in American life, cops, empowered by the state to use force, have special responsibility to protect life and adhere to the law. But I am no more liable for the actions of Derek Chauvin than is S. E. Cupp or Al Sharpton. I have nothing to confess. The color of my skin is not an indictment of my morality, nor does it strip me of my agency.

If senators want to kneel for nine minutes as an act of contrition, that’s their choice. It is my choice to be embarrassed for them. There is a yawning difference between having a desire to fix the wrongs of the past and taking responsibility for them. Kneeling in front of your fellow citizens in cult-like displays of self-flagellation, the kind we saw in Bethesda and North Carolina, where white people begged for absolution while washing the feet of their black neighbors, is antithetical to the egalitarian ideals we should be striving to achieve.

4. Andy McCarthy makes note of the obvious: Washington can’t handle its own law-enforcement responsibilities but is prepped to tell the rest of American just how to reform the Thin Blue Line. From the analysis:

The FISA court recently found federal intelligence agencies guilty of an “institutional lack of candor” in dealing with the tribunal. That conclusion has only been bolstered by Justice Department reports outlining stunning abuses of power by the FBI, serial lying and leaking by top officials, fabrication of evidence, and investigations launched on a dearth of predication and furthered by entrapment tactics and perjury traps. We never did get to the bottom of the Justice Department’s “Fast and Furious” scandal, in which the ATF allowed illegal firearms transfers into Mexico — evidently hoping to fuel a political narrative against the Second Amendment but succeeding only in fueling violent Mexican gang crime that claimed the life of a border-patrol agent. A federal appeals court echoed a district judge in New Orleans, who was appalled when Obama Justice Department lawyers anonymously led a race-baiting press campaign to undermine the trial rights of indicted police officers and then misled and stonewalled investigators who tried to find out what happened. And speaking of misleading and stonewalling, they explain why we never got accountability for the bare-knuckles tactics the IRS used to harass conservative groups.

That’s just a thumbnail sketch. We could go on. I’d rather not go on, because these incidents sully the reputations of thousands of agents who go about their work honorably, day in and day out. But these incidents represent management failures, misfeasance and malfeasance at the high echelons of federal law enforcement. It is thus doubly important to highlight them because, in the wake of the George Floyd killing and the uproar that followed, the federal government is now presuming to dictate how state and local police forces must do their jobs.

5. Drew Brees’ seven-act apology for offending the woke by citing patriotism was tough to watch. Kyle Smith looks at the groveling that empowered his detractors. From the commentary:

Much of this has been nearly as senseless, emotion-driven, and inane as the actual burning, looting, and destroying of urban neighborhoods. Attacking Drew Brees for expressing widely held patriotic beliefs was about as rational as setting fire to a gas station. Brees should have realized this, taken a deep breath, and reacted in the following way: by doing nothing. Brees should have let his original statement stand. “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America,” was what he said, adding that thinking about the flag and the national anthem “brings me to tears thinking about all that’s been sacrificed. Not just those in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the ’60s and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point.” Brees said paying respect to the flag “shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better, and that we are all part of the solution.”

Stirring words, and nothing inflammatory about them. Tony Dungy chimed in, “Drew Brees can’t be afraid to say that and we can’t be afraid to say ‘Okay, I don’t agree with you but let’s talk about this.’ We can’t just say anytime something happens we don’t agree with, ‘Hey I’m done with that and this person.’ That doesn’t make sense.”

Brees made his situation worse by apologizing for these remarks, which only turned up the outrage. The quarterback’s ritual groveling simply made his detractors more powerful. They demanded further groveling, and he complied. Now he has stamped himself forever as an antagonist to both sides of the culture war. The radical Left will never forgive him for his original statement for daring to question woke wisdom, while the majority who love this country and its symbols can never unsee his pathetic, craven cringing in the face of the mob.

6. Victor Davis Hanson calls out the POTUS attacks by retired and politicized generals. From the essay:

So the issue of proper military conduct versus First Amendment rights for retired generals remains nebulous. Perhaps in such a void, a confused public could at least expect four rules of general decorum and common courtesy when our top retired military leaders go on the attack against a sitting president.

One, a retired general need not under any circumstances stoop to invoke Nazi Germany, Hitler, or Fascism to criticize the current commander in chief.

Two, any disparagement should not hint at any active resistance to, much less the removal of, an elected president other than through constitutionally mandated elections.

Three, the condemnation should rest on clear factual evidence, not emotive anger or partisan disagreement.

Four, there should be no semblance of coordination among retired military officers. They should avoid even the inadvertent appearance of a sudden chorus of like-minded retired military officers acting in concert to attack the policies of their current president with whom they disagree, and whom they disparage in personal terms.

Indeed, to do otherwise, whether by intent or inference, would suggest a harmonized effort to nullify the authority of an elected president — a dangerous escalation to extra-legal efforts that would be a first in American history.

Unfortunately, in this age of dissension, a number of our most esteemed retired generals and admirals, many of them heroic combat veterans, in their fury at President Trump, have not met these modest ethical expectations. However well-meaning, they seem to have little inkling of how their advocacy and speech have only further polarized a divided country whose streets are currently in chaos.

7. Mackubin Owens seconds the VDH motion on the expectations of military leaders.

Concerns about the politicization of the military require some unpacking. High-ranking military positions are inherently “political.” Military officers are expected to offer their advice on matters of strategy and policy. That advice may be accepted or rejected. But the military has no right to “demand” that its advice be accepted. Accordingly, it is inevitable that military leaders will be linked to the policies that they advocated and/or executed, whether they agreed with them or not. General William Westmoreland will be forever linked to Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam policy. General David Petraeus will always be inextricably bound to George Bush’s Iraq policy.

The act of resignation by a senior military officer, furthermore, is itself a political act. The idea that officers should resign when their advice is not accepted is based on a misreading of H. R. McMaster’s Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam, a misreading that is common in the military, reinforcing the belief that officers should advocate particular policies rather than simply serve in their traditional advisory roles.

According to this misreading, the Joint Chiefs of Staff should have more openly voiced their opposition to the Johnson administration’s strategy of gradualism in Vietnam and then resigned rather than carry out the policy. But the book argues no such thing. Instead, it contends that the Joint Chiefs should have: (1) spoken up forcefully in private to their superiors and candidly in testimony to Congress when asked specifically for their personal views; and (2) they should have corrected misrepresentations of those views in private meetings with members of Congress. He neither says nor implies that the chiefs should have obstructed President Johnson’s orders and policies by leaks, public statements, or by resignation.

8. Robert VerBruggen checks out the studies and finds that when the police stop policing, the body count skyrockets. From the Corner post:

In a piece last week, I mentioned a forthcoming study by Tanaya Devi and Roland Fryer about what happens when cops stop doing their jobs, specifically in the wake of viral incidents such as the one in Ferguson, Mo., a few years back. That study is now available in its entirety.

Basically, it looks at what happens when federal or state authorities investigate police departments accused of having a “pattern or practice” of violating civilians’ rights. The good news is that these investigations usually lead to a measurable decrease in crime, including homicides.

The bad news is that, after five of the 27 investigations Devi and Fryer looked at closely, crime went up instead. And it turns out that those five investigations were the ones “preceded by ‘viral’ incidents of deadly force,” specifically “the deaths of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, MD, Laquan McDonald in Chicago, IL, Timothy Thomas in Cincinnati, OH, Tyisha Miller in Riverside, CA, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.”  The authors “estimate that these investigations caused almost 900 excess homicides and almost 34,000 excess felonies.” For comparison, American cops kill about 1,000 civilians — in total, throughout the country — each year.

9. Madeleine Kearns profiles author J.K. Rowling’s refusal to genuflect to the Trans Gods (Or Goddesses? Or Godx?). From the piece:

It’s amazing what passes for news these days. J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, suggested that only women menstruate and then, when prompted, clarified that she wasn’t fully on board the trans train. “I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them,” she tweeted. “I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans.” But apostatizing sex? No can do — no apologies.

If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.

As she no doubt fully expected, Twitter talking heads soon descended in faux outrage as progressive outlets competed for the most question-begging headline. Vanity Fair: “J. K. Rowling Faces Backlash After Transphobic Tweets.” The New York Times: “J. K. Rowling Tweets Seen as Anti-Transgender Prompt Backlash.” NBC News: “J. K. Rowling accused of transphobia after mocking ‘people who menstruate’ headline.” But “backlash” from, “seen” by, and “accused” by whom?

Certainly, the answer is not the general public, who tend not to have such a strong reaction to an assertion of material reality. But activists are different. Consider, for instance, Ben O’Keefe, a senior creative producer for the Elizabeth Warren campaign — whom you’ve probably never heard of — who wrote of Rowling:

This woman is complete scum. Shut the f*** up you transphobic f***. You don’t know or love any trans people if you won’t even acknowledge their existence. Thanks for ruining the books of my childhood. Just stop talking. We know you’re a TERF. You don’t need to keep doing this.

BONUS: Maddy doubles down and back and collects some examples of support for Rowling. From the piece:

Since the mainstream media is intent on reporting only one side of the reaction to Rowling’s essay, I have collected testimonies from those who have similar concerns and who are grateful to her for taking a stand.

First, trans people. Debbie Hayton, a trans woman, told me of the “need to listen” to Rowling. “Trans activism has overreached with endless demands, always taking and never giving,” Hayton said. “The time has come for us to stop and start thinking about others as well as ourselves.” Scott Newgent, a trans man, told me of his agreement as well. “Medical transition creates an illusion of the opposite sex and some find comfort in that. What it does not do is change biology. We cannot get to a place in our society where feelings trump facts, and that is currently what is happening within the transgender debate,” Newgent said.

Second, women and feminists. In her essay, J. K. Rowling reiterated her support for Maya Forstater, a tax expert, fired for tweeting her belief in biological sex. Forstater told me, “I am immensely grateful to J. K. Rowling for her courage and her voice. . . . It is lonely and scary to stand up on your own.” In her essay, Rowling mentions Magdalen Burns, a lesbian feminist based in Scotland who sadly died last year, and who co-founded the grassroots movement For Women Scotland, which fights to hold the Scottish government accountable for relentlessly attempting to erode women’s sex-based rights and protections. A spokesperson for the organization told me their work is often “exhausting and demoralizing” and cited the draft Hate Crimes bill” introduced in April which “could see women imprisoned for speaking biological truths if someone claims to find it offensive.” (Yes, you read that correctly.) The women at For Women Scotland were “so grateful” and “a little tearful” reading her contribution as well as “incredibly touched that she mentioned [Magdalen] in such a personal essay.”

10. Dmitri Solzhenitsyn reports on spousal consequences in the Cancel Culture. From the Corner post:

If things weren’t already chaotic enough, Serbian soccer player Aleksandar Katai was released from the Los Angeles Galaxy last Friday following a day of indignant protests by fans outside Dignity Health Sports Park. What was Katai’s great offense? Being married to Tea Katai, who made Instagram posts comparing police-brutality protestors to cattle, called for violent action against them (“shoot the s***s”), and captioned an image of a supposed looter carrying off a pair of sneakers with “Black Nikes Matter.” Days before releasing Katai, the LA Galaxy had requested the removal of his wife’s posts and had made a statement condemning “racism of any kind, including that which suggests violence or seeks to demean the efforts of those in pursuit of social equity.” Mrs. Katai subsequently took down the posts, and Mr. Katai issued a personal apology in which he rebuked his wife’s insensitivity. But these actions were not enough; Katai was still booted for his wife’s transgression.

To be sure, Tea Katai is a grown woman, and she should have thought twice before engaging in a national controversy in such a bloodthirsty and insensitive manner. And one may certainly argue that irresponsible actions should be met with harsh social consequences. But since when do we punish people so dismissively — LA Galaxy president Chris Klein stated: “the decision … was not a difficult one” — due to actions which are not their own? It would come as a great surprise if an athlete were released because his wife committed assault, or even murder. But being married to someone who has offensive opinions? Woke culture has decreed: “Pack your bags, bud.”

11. Sally Satel straightjackets the public-health professionals et al who declared riots and protests trumped COVID-19 fears. From the piece:

Overnight, the risk calculus changed. Instead of expert advice on the danger of exposure to coronavirus when, say, riding a subway, sending your kid to camp, or dining out, now the social value of the undertaking became part of the public-health equation. The risk of thousands of marchers wedged together (many masked but many not) spreading the virus by singing and chanting was suddenly acceptable in the eyes of outspoken members of the public-health establishment.

Flashback to April, when public-health experts were quick to criticize Governors Ron DeSantis of Florida and Brian Kemp of Georgia for easing lockdowns. Apparently, the two politicians’ values of salvaging the economy and relieving social isolation, both causes of significant emotional distress, failed to “greatly exceed the harms of the virus.” Compared with marching for social justice, they weren’t deemed as worthy.

But the problem goes deeper than a double standard. It belies a pernicious mission creep whereby public-health experts project their own social values onto risk assessment. The origins of the mission, however, are less confused. They recall the spirit of the 19th-century German pathologist, physician, and statesman Rudolf Virchow. He called physicians the “natural attorneys of the poor.” But it was the effects that social conditions such as poverty and squalor had on fitness and health that concerned him as a pathologist and doctor.

12. The great Eric Grover sings the praises of the e-buck. From the commentary:

Rather than seeing digital dollars as a threat, economic policymakers should embrace them as a means of expanding access to the greenback globally. With 2.6 billion users, Facebook is well-positioned to encourage the use of Libra dollars on and off its platform. Visa, the world’s largest retail-payment network, could support electronic dollars issued by banks and facilitate use worldwide. These coins would work in tandem with rather than against the dollar.

Since the 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement, the dollar has been the world’s preeminent currency. It dominates foreign-exchange reserves, foreign-currency-denominated debt, foreign-exchange turnover, and cross-border interbank payments.

The dollar accounted for 61 percent of the world’s foreign-exchange currency reserves as of the fourth quarter of last year, far surpassing the euro’s 21 percent share and the Chinese renminbi’s paltry 2 percent. A whopping 74 percent of the $16 trillion in foreign-currency debt is denominated in dollars, and most international trade, including oil, is invoiced in dollars.

13. Public-school czars are demanding federal billions because of Coronavirus, but Frederick M. Hess and Matthew Rice hear the boys crying wolf. From the analysis:

And yet, given how familiar these complaints are, it’s difficult to take at face value the catalogue of demands — or the threats of dire consequences. More than a year before the coronavirus crisis, United Teachers Los Angeles president Alex Caputo-Pearl was urging his teachers to strike in order “to get the basics for [Los Angeles] students.” Of course, Caputo-Pearl neglected to mention that the Los Angeles Unified School District was spending $18,788 per student, average teacher pay in Los Angeles was $78,962, and many of the district’s frustrations were due to UTLA’s unwillingness to adjust employee benefits, which had grown an astounding 138 percent between 2001 and 2016.

In 2019, the American Federation of Teachers launched their “Fund Our Future” campaign, promising to take on “years of disinvestment [that] have hurt our students and faculty and led to overcrowded classrooms . . . and unhealthy, unsafe environments.” Taxpayers might have been surprised to learn that a 27 percent increase in real (after-inflation) per-pupil spending between 2000 and 2016 constituted “years of disinvestment.” (While 2016 is the last year for which national data are available, a robust economy and historically low unemployment during 2017-2019 meant that those were good years for state budgets.)  Meanwhile, the U.S. today boasts a teacher for every 15 students, and a school staff member for every eight — none of which suggests classrooms are “overcrowded” (unless it’s because staff keep bumping into one another).

In May, New York City schools chancellor Richard Carranza decried the state of New York City’s education budget, telling city-council members, “We are cutting the bone. There is no fat to cut, no meat to cut.” Carranza failed to mention that New York City is one of the highest-spending school systems in the country — spending an extraordinary $28,900 per student in 2019, according to the city’s Independent Budget Office. Shortly after Carranza’s histrionics, it was reported that the administration had added 340 positions to the central bureaucracy and borough offices in 2019.

14. Jimmy Quinn — covering the release of a massive report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Alex Joske — clues us in on Red China’s concerted effort at infiltrating democracies. From the piece:

United Front groups also exert influence in higher education through Confucius Institutes and Chinese student groups. Chinese Students and Scholars associations, writes Joske, “are the primary platform for United Front work on overseas students. Most CSSAs operate under the guidance of Chinese embassies and consulates.”

Illegal technology transfers are facilitated by the United Front’s Thousand Talents Program and professional associations overseas. And United Front–linked civil-society groups report back to UFWD with the names of public figures, students, and scientists abroad.

The challenge to Western democracies is twofold. As the report shows, the United Front network enjoys a reach that spans foreign countries, including every Five Eyes member. Tracking down and containing these groups is a difficult task. At the same time, attempts to curb CCP influence must respect the rights to which people in these countries are entitled.

Joske recommends that policymakers take care to distinguish between the CCP, Chinese citizens, and members of ethnic Chinese communities as they work to cast a light on United Front groups. He urges governments protect students and ethnic Chinese individuals from surveillance and harassment by United Front groups, not alienate them. Still, measures targeting Chinese students and researchers remain a topic of fierce debate and often elicit accusations of racism.

RELATED: Here’s the ASPI report.

15. Therese Shaheen tells the story of Canada’s diminishing attitude toward Red China. From the piece:

Aside from mishandling COVID-19, Canadians also are fed up with China over another specific matter. In a high-profile case that has seized the nation, two Canadian expatriates are being held in prisons in China as hostages of the government, in reaction to the arrest on December 1, 2018, at Vancouver’s airport of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom behemoth Huawei.

The United States government had indicted Ms. Meng for fraud and other charges connected with Huawei’s alleged dealings with Iran to contravene U.S. sanctions. The U.S. seeks her extradition from Canada to face those charges, which are just one element in Washington’s global campaign against Huawei on national-security, intellectual-property, and other concerns. In addition to being a senior Huawei executive, Ms. Meng is a daughter of Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei.

Ten days after Ms. Meng’s arrest, Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat who had been posted to Hong Kong and Beijing and who now works for the International Crisis Group, was detained in Beijing. On the same day, the Chinese government detained Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur who has lived and worked in North Korea and now runs a tourism and cultural exchange service at the China–North Korea border.

“The two Michaels” as they have come to be known across Canada, have captured the public’s attention. The men have been charged with espionage, they are being held incommunicado, and they have not been able to receive visitors or spend any meaningful time with their families. Media organizations are keeping hostage watch calendars in the same way U.S. media did during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979–1980.

16. Insanity at the Poetry Foundation, you say? We do. Kyle Smith explains. From the piece:

On June 3 the Poetry Foundation announced on its website that it and its periodical Poetry magazine “stand in solidarity with the Black community, and denounce injustice and systemic racism.” Allowing that poets have not yet succeeded in eradicating “institutional racism,” it added, “We acknowledge that real change takes time and dedication, and we are committed to making this a priority.” It concluded on a helpful note: “We believe in the strength and power of poetry to uplift in times of despair, and to empower and amplify the voices of this time, this moment.”

If you’re thinking that no one could possibly disagree with any of that, you’re underestimating just how disagreeable people are right now. Capillary-exploding fury greeted the statement above, via an open letter dated June 6 and signed by 1,800 people you’ve never heard of. Scores of them are remarkably ungrateful previous or current recipients of the foundation’s largesse. This virtual mob of versifiers, subscribers to Poetry magazine, and assorted random worked-up individuals inveighed against the foundation’s brief note for being wholly inadequate to the task of ending racism, calling it “an insult to the lives and families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless other victims of the racist institution of police and white supremacy” as well as “an insult to the lives of your neighbors who have been targeted, brutalized, terrorized, and detained by the Chicago Police.” Further, the letter proclaimed that “the watery vagaries of this statement are, ultimately, a violence.” Threatening to withhold its submissions from Poetry magazine, the mob of signatories issued a list of five demands, not counting its call for the immediate resignation of President Henry Bienen and board of trustees chair Willard Bunn III.

In the course of denouncing the Poetry Foundation for not “creating a world that is just and affirming for people of color, disabled people, trans people, queer people, and immigrants,” the authors of the letter offered a hint that the ideal way to placate them would be to turn over all of its money to them: “Ultimately, we dream of a world in which the massive wealth hoarding that underlies the Foundation’s work would be replaced by the redistribution of every cent to those whose labor amassed those funds,” read the letter. Failing that, the angry poets suggested they might settle for “large contributions to organizations” of which they approved, together with “redistribution of wealth toward efforts fostering social justice.”

17. Fred Fleitz proposes next steps for the Trump administration’s Iran policy. From the beginning of the analysis:

President Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal struck by the Obama administration with Iran appears to be a significant success.

This success is seen in several ways: The withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has isolated Iran and has denied the mullahs the revenue they had been spending on their military, missile development, and the nuclear program. U.S. sanctions reinstated as a result of the withdrawal are also denying the Iranian regime funds to support terrorists and proxies, and may be forcing Tehran to pull its troops from Syria. Further, U.S. withdrawal has given the administration leverage to negotiate a new agreement that addresses the full range of threats Iran poses to the Middle East and the world. While Iran is currently refusing to discuss a new agreement, mounting evidence of Iranian cheating on the JCPOA plus a surge in regime-sponsored violent provocations against U.S. forces in the region have driven once-panicky European states closer to Trump’s approach.

Contrary to the evidence, the president’s critics insist his JCPOA withdrawal has been a failure. They do so on the grounds that there has been no movement on negotiating a better deal and that Iran’s belligerent behavior worsened after the U.S pulled out of the agreement. Many critics, already apologists for the mullahs, have become more open about it, claiming that the regime was in compliance with the nuclear deal and blaming Trump for provoking the ayatollahs to ramp up their nuclear program after the U.S. withdrawal.

Claims that Iran has complied with the JCPOA are inaccurate and false. Moreover, the regime’s reactions were expected consequences of Trump’s decision and do not discredit the withdrawal.

18. As statues of Lincoln and Churchill are defaced and those of Southern generals toppled, Cameron Hilditch deciphers the theology of the “New Iconoclasts.” From the essay:

The public controversy concerning the statues is, essentially, a theological problem. In the Church of Grievance-Driven Collective Identity, there is original sin, but no mechanism for atonement. Nothing separates this new religion from the old more clearly than the words attributed to Christ on the cross in John 19:30: “It is finished.” According to the canons of the new faith, there is no point at which the sinner is released from the claims of the victim. For after all has been conceded to the aggrieved party, we will be told, as surely as the night follows the day, that we “still have a long way to go.” That is to say, unless and until the oppressed decide of their own volition that their oppressors have been obedient enough to receive absolution, they should enjoy a monopoly on speech and violence. As to what qualifies a person for absolution in any final sense, this is never made clear. There is no limiting principle on the wrath of the afflicted, no criterion for forgiveness to circumscribe the boundaries of destruction.

This is why statues are problematic to such people. Building a statue is an act of forgiveness. When we build a statue, we cannot help but bring the whole life of the subject into the public square for examination. We ask our compatriots to remember the person long after their death and to think upon their deeds long after most of our own have faded into the mists of time. But clearly not every deed is pleasant to remember. Who, after all, would choose to have all his actions and his likeness carved into stone for posterity to inspect and interrogate? The praise of any person who lived under the microscope of history necessitates a passing over of their sins. A line must be drawn to limit the claims of public outrage, as bright and red as the blood on the doorposts of the Hebrews in Egypt. Some acts and undertakings, we decide, are so great that they mark a definite point at which mocking and scorn must give way to simple gratitude. This idea is anathema to the iconoclasts. There is no cross they could nail their opponents to that would ever cleanse the guilty of their impurity; nothing in the lives of the Last Lion or the Great Emancipator that make up for the fact that, like countless others, they once ate of the tree of the knowledge of black and white. Fall once and damnation is unavoidable. Dante placed a sign above the entrance to Hell bearing the words “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here.” The new iconoclasts, not content with family-run businesses and grocery stores, have seemingly looted the underworld as well, stealing his sign and placing it over Earth. If you can rid the world of the Nazis or the Confederacy and still be denounced as a moral failure, abandoning hope might be your best option.

19. Robert Cherry wonders how Black Lives Matters to blacks who depend on neighborhood police presence for safety. From the piece:

Building effective community-police relationships is crucial to lowering homicide rates and reducing the significant racial bias in nonlethal use of force. Despite the current rhetoric, many recent reforms have been quite effective. While police misconduct (and biases) can never be completely eliminated, we can learn from cities where police-community relations are strong.

Criminologist David Kennedy guided Pittsburgh’s launching of a new initiative that better modeled the focused deterrence approach he pioneered and implemented in a number of cities, including Boston. Through community leaders and other neighborhood informants, Pittsburgh’s Group Violence Intervention Unit (GVI) identified more than 500 high-risk offenders. Once a high-risk offencer is identified, an officer will visit the offender as well as his or her parents or grandparents. At the meeting, the visiting officer says, “We know what’s going on. You — or your son or grandson — is a shooter.”

If the offender continues to commit crimes, Pittsburgh deals with him harshly. However, if he wishes to turn his life around, services are provided. The GVI unit works with job-training and placement programs, local faith-based organizations, mental-health experts, and multiple family- and housing-related services to help suspects change their lives — “to leave the life.” GVI volunteer coordinator Cornell Jones noted that tattoo-removal services are also offered if needed, because “it’s hard to get any job if you have ‘thug life’ tattooed on your forehead.”

20. Zach Evans finds the mindset of his alma mater, the uber-lefty Oberlin College, to pervade in America’s principle institutions. From the essay:

All across the country, graduates of elite colleges with monolithic progressive politics — such as the one I attended — have finally grown up. The progressive children of the overclass have found their professional footing and brought their “Oberlin mentality” into the workplace. Unfortunately, that mentality has spread far beyond the Times. The “trigger” was the death of George Floyd, killed by a police officer during his arrest. Floyd deserves to be remembered as a victim, even a symbol, of police brutality. He also deserves better than to be remembered in bouts of virtue-signaling by countless corporations, nonprofit institutions, and ordinary Americans.

Corporations and other institutions seem to be combining such gestures with some actions that could actually do some good. LEGO, for example, is donating millions of dollars to charities and nonprofits that focus on helping disadvantaged African Americans. At the same time, however, LEGO has announced it will stop advertising for LEGO sets that include any figures related to police or the White House, but without taking those sets off store shelves. This insults the intelligence of the children for whom LEGO sets are made, not to mention that of police officers and anti-police activists simultaneously.

Lights. Camera. Pundit!

1. Armond White knocks the attempts to cancel Gone with the Wind. From the piece:

Thirties Hollywood was so much more richly imaginative than today’s that dramas such as Gone with the Wind and Make Way for Tomorrow could also be constructed like screwball comedies. Viewers of mature intelligence and life experience appreciated the distinction. Only fools think Gone with the Wind glorifies the Confederacy. Scarlett, the greatest female character in American movies (unforgettably portrayed by Vivien Leigh), is so apolitical that she’s both likable and identifiable, which makes her an astonishing and instructive figure. When her romantic match Rhett Butler rousts the Ku Klux Klan, she couldn’t care less; she wants money and comfort — whatever it takes, which makes her exercise of liberty quintessentially American. She’s appealing and appalling, a fascinating, recognizable mirror.

In an essay praising GWTW as her favorite movie, Ellen Willis, the singular feminist writer, once wrote, “Fascination with movie heroines was part of female culture when I was growing up. I learned about being a teenager from rock and roll, but I learned about being a woman from the movies.” Millennial culture rarely teaches audiences about being human; media indoctrination is only about being a political functionary. To deny Scarlett is to deny ourselves, our human, national truth. And Mammy (given vivid depth by Hattie McDaniel) always sees right through her — and says so. Mammy’s moral consciousness is a more edifying contribution to American culture than the miseries that Ridley’s 12 Years inflicted upon filmgoers, debasing them while creating a culture of strife and inconsolable anger. (We all should respect McDaniel’s moving Oscar acceptance speech, apparently made under stress but coming from her heart. McDaniel knew more than any BLM poseur.)

2. Kyle Smith catches The King of Staten Island and finds Pete Davison still charmless. And worse. From the review:

Childish and manic on SNL, Davidson plays a sullen depressive in the film, which repeatedly seeks to find comic mileage in scenes built around other characters trying to be nice as he responds with uncalled-for nastiness. He’s meant to be anarchically funny, but instead he’s a typical narcissistic adolescent bore. The King of Staten Island, which is being released via video on demand in lieu of a theatrical rollout, is the worst of the six films directed by Judd Apatow (who, along with Davidson, is one of the three writers of the script). Apatow’s instinct to dig into people’s life stories looking for material is a good one, but this movie is merely the dung in the bildungsroman.

Davidson plays Scott, the aimless 24-year-old son of a New York City firefighter killed in action (and named in honor of the actor’s own father Scott, himself a firefighter who died helping others on 9/11). Scott’s body is covered with tattoos that make him look like a survivor of a paintball attack, and his extremely modest goal in life is to become a tattoo artist himself, although his own efforts at design are so awful that only his dumbest friend will let Scott practice on him. A drab and rubbishy Staten Island is the objective correlative of his misery; we’re told it’s the only place New Jersey looks down on. Has anyone involved with this film heard the way New Jerseyans talk about the South, the Midwest, upper New England, the Southwest, or the Great Plains states? Staten Islanders, being New Yorkers, look down on all those places, too. S.I. and N.J. share a tendency to be cocky and aggrieved at the same time, and it’s not necessarily a winning comic attitude.

Save the Date Buckley Fans

The National Review Institute’s annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner will take place this October 5th in NYC, with James Buckley and Virginia James being honored. To found out more click here.


1. On The McCarthy Report, Andy and Rich discuss the many ideas that have sprung up around police reform, the latest developments in the Flynn case, and more. Listen here.

2. On Radio Free California, David and Will scope out California Democratic leaders scrambling to appease public outrage over the police killing of George Floyd, proposing “solutions” that neatly avoid touching the Left’s unbridled affection for government unions, including police unions. Plus they discuss how Californians are lifting the COVID lockdown without permission. You gotta listen, right here.

3. On a special episode of The Editors, Rich interviews well-known writer and author Heather MacDonald about policing policies and much more. Listen here.

4. On the “regular” weekly episode of The Editors — Number 225 if you are keeping track — Rich, Charlie, and Jim discuss the calls around the country for disbanding police forces, the New York Times revolt, and the eerily religious quality of the recent protests. Get the wisdom here.

5. On Episode 20 of The Victor Davis Hanson Podcast, VDH discusses the media coming out unabashedly Left, the nexus of riots and coronavirus, the generals versus Trump, China — No More Mr. Nice Commie, and much more. Plug in the headphones and listen here.

6. On the new episode of The Bookmonger, John J. Miller is joined by Zena Hitz to discuss her book, Lost in Thought. Catch it here.

7. And then on The Great Books, JJM is joined by Dutton Kearney of Hillsdale College to discuss James Joyce’s Ulysses. Do listen, here.

8. On Episode 268 of Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Kevin and Charlie discuss police slashing tires and Guitar Center’s hypocritical new boycotting stance. Catch the program here.

9. On Radio Free California, David and Will scope out California Democratic leaders scrambling to appease public outrage over the police killing of George Floyd, proposing “solutions’ that neatly avoid touching the Left’s unbridled affection for government unions, including police unions. Plus they discuss how Californians are lifting the COVID lockdown without permission. You gotta listen, right here.

Fight House Comes to Your House

Our pal Tevi Troy’s new book, Fight House: Rivalries in the White House, from Truman to Trump, will be the subject of a virtual discussion on June 17, and if you’d like to catch Double T talking up his opus, Register here.

(Check out Rachel Curries’ review of Fight House in the May 20 issue of NR.)

The Six

1. At Law & Liberty, William Smith considers the essence of Antifa. From the essay:

With Rousseauism, we see a window into the modern progressive revolutionary mindset and Antifa. Like the Jacobins, who were so much influenced by Rousseau, Antifa objects to institutions that, they believe, are repressing the downtrodden. “Institutional racism” must be overcome, they say, by attacking those who protect it, such as the police.  Antifa does not offer a platform of positive change. In the fashion of Robespierre, they seek to overthrow “the privileged” and they assume that this violence and destruction will inflame an uprising that will usher in a pure democracy of equality.

Revolutionaries of this type are persuaded of their own innate virtue, justifying violent antinomian acts because they are tearing down artificial and conspiratorial institutions. Western civilization itself is a gigantic conspiracy against “the people.” In the view of Antifa, traditionally powerful groups, such as white men and capitalists, conspire to suppress the natural nobility of underrepresented citizens.

Where once virtue was bound up with self-control, virtue is now found in humanitarian rioting against traditional institutions.  Therefore, a signature feature of this revolutionary outlook is the worship of rogues. Society is broken down into two groups, one virtuous and one retrograde: criminals willing to attack and destroy are sublime while those who defend tradition or the status quo, such as the police, are wicked. The gangster regalia and black outfits of Antifa signal their virtue, not their vice.

In his time, Rousseau pointed to the monarchy, clergy, and aristocracy as the conspirators against the popular will. But modern progressives view traditional institutions as illegitimate because they view Western history as a tyranny of race, gender, and class. Even non-violent progressives generally accept the revolutionary premise that traditional hierarchies need to be torn down and replaced with rule by “woke” underrepresented groups. California Governor Gavin Newsom was a pitch perfect Rousseauist when he recently said that the violent riots were not caused by individuals; instead he insisted, “Our institutions are responsible.” Many progressives are ambivalent about criticizing the violence of Antifa because they retain this sympathetic worldview. While all on the left are not active in violent revolution, many liberal mayors and governors struggle to condemn it outright. Might that be because of shared sympathy

2. At The Imaginative Conservative, the prolific and wise Bradley Birzer treats us to a lesson of that oddest of entities, the American Whig Party. From the article:

Senator Daniel Webster offered the swiftest and most comprehensive response to Jackson. The president had abused his executive power, as he should only veto legislation that sought innovations; the bank had already existed twice, and it had become a part of the American tradition, not a thing created upon a blank slate. Further, he stressed, Jackson’s self-identification with “the People” was one of the most dangerous assertions yet made in American history. Nothing Webster said, he himself realized, could exaggerate this point enough. If the president truly represented the People, the executive branch would soon overwhelm the other two branches of the federal government, thus destroying two generations of delicate work and balance. Only the House could rightly speak for the People.

The President is as much bound by the law as any private citizen and can no more contest its validity than any private citizen. He may refuse to obey the law, and so may a private citizen; but both do it at their own peril, and neither of them can settle the question of its validity. The President may say a law is unconstitutional, but he is not the judge. Who is to decide that question? The judiciary alone possesses this unquestionable and hitherto unquestioned right.

Webster decided not to address the specifics of Jackson’s arguments against the bank, justified, he thought, by the unworthiness of the arguments. The bank, Webster claimed, served the common good and thus served properly the republic. Finally, he noted with cutting sarcasm, Jackson must see himself as a new Louis XIV: “I AM THE STATE.”

3. At City Journal, Thom Nickels reports on the riots in the City of Brotherly Love. From the article:

According to the Philadelphia Police Department, 378 fires were set in the city and 246 commercial burglaries were committed during the unrest. At first, Mayor Jim Kenney and new police commissioner Danielle Outlaw blamed the fires and looting on a small group of outsiders, but they later had to eat their words. In fact, official arrest data showed that 181 of the arrested were from Philadelphia, while 46 came from outside the city (with 30 having no address). The worst of the rioting and looting occurred over three days, long enough to call into question Kenney’s contention that the agitators and looters were just a small band of troublemakers. Occupying a city and rendering police helpless are feats beyond the capacity of ragtag rejects.

I live on the outskirts of Fishtown, a section of the city touted by the New York Times several years ago as a revitalized urban paradise with chic restaurants, art galleries, grooming shops, and soy vegan cafes. Before its resettlement by migrating millennial Brooklynites and real estate moguls, Fishtown was home to working-class Irish, Italian, German, and Polish families who worked in nearby factories. Today, the factories are converted condos, but the children and grandchildren of those early factory workers still live in the rowhouse neighborhood and mix freely, if not always ecstatically, with their wealthier new neighbors.

On June 1, Fishtown made national headlines when a group of men carrying baseball bats and clubs opted to protect their neighborhood from the looters and anarchists who had trashed Center City. This vigilante group emerged following three days of media reporting that the “protest” was moving into neighborhoods like Germantown, Kensington, and West Philadelphia, along with reports of fires, blown-up ATM machines, blocked traffic, burned buildings, and threats of more violence. For three days, Philadelphians watched scenes of police officers running from rioters as patrol cars were destroyed or set on fire. One report even showed police officers scattering out of the looters’ way, appearing frightened.

4. At The American Conservative, Joanna Williams observers the Thought Police coming to arrest J.K. Rowling. From the commentary:

How did we get here? Let’s begin at the beginning. In March last year, researcher Maya Forstater lost her job at a London-based think tank for having expressed the view that people cannot change their biological sex. When the case came to court in December, the judge upheld her dismissal and described her views on sex and gender as “absolutist” and “incompatible with human dignity and the fundamental rights of others.”

It’s incredible that a woman can lose her livelihood simply for stating biological facts. Yet hardly anyone challenged this unprecedented attack on Forstater’s freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. J.K. Rowling was one of the few to speak out. The author tweeted: “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill.

This one tweet, this one small act of sisterly solidarity with a newly out-of-work woman, sparked a Twitter meltdown. Rowling was labelled a “TERF”—Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist—the go-to insult hurled at women who transgress new social norms established primarily by men. Not that long ago, it was considered grossly offensive to insult women by calling them derogatory names. Now, the hierarchy of victimhood has been transformed, and women—females—can be subjected to no end of abuse if it’s for the greater good of protecting males who, complete with penis, chest hair, and stubble, demand the world acknowledges they are women.

5. At Quillette, Jonathan Kay investigates the media’s social-justice meltdown. From the essay:

There’s a reason why it’s poets, writers, and editors who’ve gone into cancel-culture beast mode over the last week, and not, say, carpenters and plumbers. Unlike a table or a sink, the things we wordsmiths sell—political postures, controversial opinions, artistic styles, insights, purported moral truths—have no set value. Sometimes we publish things that get declared “stunning and brave,” while a colleague’s very similar offerings sink quickly into obscurity. Or vice versa. In the pre-social-media age, readers typically consumed our writings privately, often through longstanding print subscriptions. But that has now changed: The materials we write, read, edit, and publish act as personal brand signifiers whose moral value fluctuates wildly on the daily stock markets known as Twitter and Facebook. Even at the best of times, it’s an unstable system—because a single bad tweet can set off the equivalent of a bank run. So the temptation is always there to hype your own stock, or downgrade someone else’s, as a means to rally followers and punish enemies.

The reason the Times has lost its editorial moorings isn’t that social media is crazy and tribalistic. Social media has always been crazy and tribalistic. What’s changed is that the firewall between social media and real life has now broken down completely thanks to the pandemic lockdown. Since we’re all working from home, and dealing with co-workers only through digital means, the line between colleague and troll has blurred to nothingness.

It was one thing when Times staffers had to co-exist in a world of cubicles, water fountains, lunchrooms, and elevator chit chat. We all say we’re exasperated by office life, but the annoying rituals of communal work help remind us that our colleagues are actual human beings who tell stories about their dogs and put stick-it notes on their Tupperware. Canceling James Bennet, Real Human Being, would have been a lot harder than canceling @James_Bennet, the Slack-channel avatar. Certainly, it’s no coincidence that the Times’ descent into full-blown progressive cancel-culture social panic happened to coincide with the only period in the newspaper’s history when people who once rubbed elbows daily suddenly never saw each other for many months—just as it’s no coincidence that the editor of Bon Appetit magazine now has been forced to resign because of a Halloween photo from 17 years ago—that people already knew about.

6. At Gatestone Institute, Raymond Ibrahim reports on Turkey’s ratcheted-up war against Christians. From the piece:

Threatening and defacing churches is especially common. In early 2019, hate-filled graffiti — including “You Are Finished!” — was found on the Armenian Church of the Holy Mother of God in Istanbul. Commenting on it, an Armenian activist tweeted, “Every year, scores of hate attacks are being carried out against churches and synagogues.”

In late 2019, while shouting abuses and physical threats against Christians gathered at the Church of St. Paul in Antalya, a man said he “would take great pleasure in destroying the Christians, as he viewed them as a type of parasitism on Turkey.”

Most recently, on May 8, 2020, in Istanbul, a man tried to torch a church that had been repeatedly attacked with hate-filled graffiti, among other desecrations.

Rather than threaten or attack churches, Turkish authorities have the power simply to confiscate or close them (here, here, and here, for examples). In one instance, police, similarly to the marauders mentioned above, interrupted a baptismal ceremony while raiding and subsequently shutting down an unauthorized church. “Turkey does not have a pathway for legalization of churches,” the report noted.

When pretexts cannot be found, assailants sometimes resort to other tactics. In an apparent attempt to conceal the online presence of at least one church, for instance, authorities labeled its website “pornographic,” and blocked it. The ban was “horrible,” a church representative responded. “It’s a shame. It really pains us at having this kind of accusation when we have a high moral standard.”


Tomorrow (June 14) being Flag Day, and assuming that it is still legal and not a macroaggression to display and laud the Stars and Stripes, let this space be used to take note of one Robert James Monday, a.k.a. “Rick,” who graced Major League outfields for some 19 seasons, adorned by the uniforms of the Athletics, Cubs, and Dodgers, twice named to All Star teams (he was the NL’s starting centerfielder in 1978) and thrice playing in World Series. He compiled a solid .264 career batting average, with 244 home runs.

Monday made what many consider the greatest play ever made. It came on April 25, 1976, at Dodger Stadium, where Monday’s Cubs were playing a Sunday afternoon game disrupted in the bottom of the fourth inning — you have to love that it’s Vin Scully calling the game . . . “Wait a minute, there’s an animal loose, two of them, all right . . .” — by two dunderheads trying to burn an American Flag in the outfield. But it was not to happen: Before the punks could light a match on the lighter-fluid-soak material, Monday, a former Marine, swooped in from his centerfield position to save Old Glory. Watch the video, which includes Monday’s reflections on the event decades later. Monday had three hits and an RBI that day, but the Dodgers prevailed in 10 innings, 5–4.

A few non sequiturs, because we enjoy frivolity in these precincts: Monday was the last man to ever score a run on the home field for the Kansas City Athletics. That came on September 27, 1967, before a measly 5,325 fans at Municipal Stadium, as the As — bound the next season for Oakland — beat the White Sox 4–0. Monday scored the final run in the bottom of the sixth inning, scampering home on a passed ball by Chicago catcher J.C. Martin. He also scored the first run ever for the Athletics at their new home in Oakland in 1968, a solo homer in a 3–1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

Monday’s greatest hit was likely his top-of-the-Ninth, two-out home run off Expos righthander Steve Rogers in the deciding game of the 1981 NL Championship Series, won by the Dodgers 2–1.

A Dios

Who’d have thunk that a liberal kids’ book author, J.K. Rowling, would emerge as the exemplar of courage in this current cultural meltdown, this orgy of mea culpary? Pray maybe for God’s grace, for strength, so that more will be like her — including maybe the person in the mirror. It may not be a fight or a challenge you asked for, but it might be one you cannot avoid. There are far worse things than taking a social-media punch, than being unfriended.

God’s Blessings for the Preservation of this Nation as One Worthy of Him,

Jack Fowler, who can be told that he is being unfriended, and even unacquaintanced, via missives sent to

National Review

Chaos Cheering, Decision Dithering


Dear Weekend Jolter,

What is there to say that you don’t already know? History has once again been repetitious and doomed.

We know this: The means of containing agitations to prevent their evolving into riots has been well-documented. And this: The preventative methods are proven! Indeed, it was the late Gene Methvin, the influential and renowned Reader’s Digest journalist, who penned a number of important pieces for NR in the early 90s in the aftermath of the Rodney King riots explaining how riots were born, and how they could be aborted. In the June 10, 1991, issue, NR published his remarkable piece, “A Riot Primer.” Its wisdom holds true three decades later. The great Chris McEvoy has made the essay PDF-linkable so we can share it with you. Here’s a slice from the piece:

In a nutshell: Riots begin when some set of social forces temporarily overwhelms or paralyzes the police, who stand by, their highly visible inaction signaling to the small percentage of teenaged embryonic psycho­ paths and hardened young adults that a moral holiday is under way. This criminal minority spearheads the car­ burning, window-smashing, and blood­ letting, mobbing such hate targets as blacks, or white merchants, or lone cops. Then the drawing effect brings out the large crowds of older men, and women and children, to share the Roman carnival of looting. Then the major killing begins: slow runners caught in burning buildings and—as civic forces mobilize—in police and National Guard gunfire.

The books are on the shelf: let the responsible authorities in city hall and police headquarters check them out.

The time to halt a riot is right at the start, by pinching off the criminal spearhead with precise and overwhelming force. The cops will usually be caught flat- footed (no pun intended) by the initial outbreak. But they need to spring into a pre-arranged mobilization that should always be as ready in every major city as the fire-department or hospital disaster-response program.

A year later, the LA riots having caused so much death and destruction — courtesy of police officials ignoring established rules of riot control — Methvin again wrote for NR. The 1992 piece was called “How to Hold a Riot.” From that article, also now a PDF:

Los Angeles was still burying its dead (58 and counting), nursing the 226 critically wounded (including Denny), clearing rubble from 3,700 fires, and trying to help thousands whose jobs were destroyed in the holocaust. As always after such social hurricanes, the debate rages: Why? Whose fault was it? What are the causes—proximate causes and “root causes”? How can we prevent recurrences? The causology of riots is not simple, and like the nine blind Hindus debating the shape of the elephant, people with different vantage points dispute furiously. Most black spokesmen yell “racism.” White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater blamed LBJ’s “Great Society.” I’ll nominate as my prime scapegoat Daryl Gates, and will prove it to you anon. But first, some basics.

Riots are analogous to avalanches in the Alps. A gentle breeze, a cracking limb, or a zestful yodel shakes loose a tiny handful of snow. Within minutes a thunderous avalanche may bury an entire town. What follows bears no relation in magnitude to the tiny triggering event. We could argue that the heavy winter snowfalls months before “caused” the avalanche. Or we could trace the cause back to the earth’s movement around the sun, or whatever force gave our planet a tilted axis, or even to the Big Bang that launched the universe. (And what came before that?)

But the practical Swiss don’t go back that far. They have studied the chain to discover where they can most expediently interrupt the process to minimize damage.

We have such specialists for riots. They are called cops. When family, church, and school fail, they are civilization’s last line of defense. But sometimes they do not do their jobs, and we need to understand why.

They’re very much worth reading. It might prove enraging: All of this madness was preventable. But for . . .? But for the weak, afraid to be portrayed as racist in the twisted moral calculus the Left uses on any and all occasions; but for the fools, too preoccupied with idiocies to see the bricks being stockpiled; and but for the evil, who cheer on the chaos because it serves their purpose. Which is? The destruction of America as we know it.

On to the WJ!


1. The top priority is and will remain restoring order. From the editorial:

Restoring order should be the first priority. The dynamic of riots is always that if the police don’t show up, if they hold back, or worse, if they retreat, the disorder gets more intense and destructive. Violence must be met with overwhelming (and, obviously, lawful) force. Authorities in Minnesota evidently finally figured this out after a couple of nights of letting things spin out of control, and implausibly blaming outside agitators for the mayhem.

It’s certainly true that “Antifa” extremists have taken a hand in the destruction around the country (and sometimes been rebuked by black protesters opposed to their tactics), but there are plenty of others breaking things and looting who clearly are local residents and not members of any ideological splinter groups. Regardless of the argument over who is most responsible for the riots, state and municipal authorities must resolve to bring peace back to their streets, with the assistance of the National Guard as warranted.

As for the matter underlying all the protest and chaos, police work involves violence, and there is no getting around that. Americans have for a long time understood this and made allowances for it, which is why a questionable police shooting is investigated in a way that is different from that of a questionable private act of self-defense. But it is worth exploring the protections bad cops get from union rules, and the level of deference that prosecutors afford the police in questionable cases, among other things. It’s not true that the police are a racist, occupying force in American cities, but we have to be cognizant of the fact that they have lost the confidence of many of the communities they serve.

2. Iowa Republicans have had enough of Congressman Steve King. We shed no tears. From the editorial:

Iowa Republicans began to wonder what King’s peculiar and troubling enthusiasm for an Alt-Right Internationale had to do with their priorities. Given the chance to vote for a viable alternative who is a mainstream conservative, they took it. Soon-to-be-representative Randy Feenstra may not generate as many headlines as his predecessor. But being a more effective, and decent, congressman should be feasible.

3. We have mixed feelings about the president’s call for the use of U.S. troops to quell riots. From the editorial:

Invoking this law would not constitute imposing a dictatorship or waging a war on the American people any more than when George H. W. Bush did it during the Los Angeles riots in 1992, when Lyndon Johnson did it during riots in 1968, or when Dwight Eisenhower did it to enforce federal desegregation law in 1957. There is no justice and no liberty without order and the rule of law.

That said, it’s hard to see how Trump could, as a practical matter, invoke the Insurrection Act over the objections of state and local officials. Having hostile and competing authorities trying to police the same out-of-control streets is not a formula for success. The main utility of talking of the Insurrection Act may be in prodding states to be more forceful in their response.

Minnesota called out the National Guard, and Minneapolis, the first city to get hit by these disturbances, has been relatively calm for three straight nights. New York has avoided calling the Guard, and New York City was a shameful festival of rioting and looting Monday night. Cities need to impose early curfews, vigorously enforce them, and call out the National Guard if they have any doubt that the police can’t do the job on their own.

If Trump’s language about “dominating” the streets is inflammatory, the basic point is correct. But the president has failed to rise to the moment with his incendiary tweets and insulting commentary on the performance of local officials.

Before We Get to the Main Course, Hear Our Appeal and Know that We Count on Your Helping

From time to time, NR especially proves why we are essential, not only to the debate of ideas, but to the fight to protect them. Right now, our principles are under assault. Under literal attack — from thugs, from complacent and cheerleading admiring ideologues who hold public office.

Over the weekend we are seeking to raise $50,000 (an understatement: it’s sorely needed) from good people, such as yourself, to support NR’s editorial efforts on behalf of our principles. Your principles. NR El Jefe, Rich Lowry, hits the bulls-eye with his accounting for NR’s role in this fight:

Over the past two weeks, we’ve witnessed an ongoing battle in the streets, with cops and National Guardsmen working to restore order before more livelihoods and lives are heedlessly destroyed.

All honor to them. And yes, sometimes they will make mistakes and even commit crimes, for which they should be held to account — justice demands no less.

But there is another dimension of the fight for peace and order that falls to us who write and argue for a living.

We must resist the corruption of our moral and intellectual culture from a strain of radicalism not seen since the rise of the New Left in the 1960s, a radicalism that was accommodated by a timorous liberal establishment.

We must insist that words have meaning.

That lawlessness is always wrong.

That order is the foundation of our society, without which there is no liberty or prosperity.

And I’m proud to say, we have been intensely waging this fight since the first brick was thrown in Minneapolis.

Read Rich’s powerful appeal here. Pray you are motivated by it. It’s hard to imagine you couldn’t be. If you are, please donate here. Our flash effort expires on Monday. But come Tuesday, we’ll still be engaged in hand-to-hand combat, in a furious fight for the truth, for our beliefs, for our civilization, refusing to retreat from our enemies’ blows, and drawing from our support to fix bayonets and counterattack – we will continue fighting as long as every writer at NR draws a breath.

Don’t Touch the Safety: This Thing Is Locked and Loaded with 15 Rounds of Conservative Must-Reads

1. Charlie Cooke says that the madness makes the case for why we need guns. From the reflection:

In any case, the idea that the existence of police officers in some way negates the right to bear arms has always been a ridiculous one. Police are an auxiliary force that we hire to do a particular job — there to supplement, not to replace, my rights and responsibilities. Every time we debate gun control in the United States, I am informed that the Sheriff of Whatever County is opposed to liberalization. To which I always think, “So what?” My right to keep and bear arms is merely the practical expression of my underlying right to self-defense. That, as a polity, we have decided to hire certain people to take the first shot at keeping the peace is fine. But it has no bearing on my liberties.

And how could it, given that I do not live in a police station? The old saw that “when seconds count, the police are minutes away” is trotted out as often as it is because it is unquestionably true. Whether the average police department is virtuous or evil is irrelevant here. What matters is that no government has the right — and in America, mercifully, no government has the legal power — to farm out, and then to abolish, my elementary rights. It would not fly if the government hired people to speak for me and then shut down my speech; if would not fly if the government hired people to worship for me and then restricted my right to exercise my religion; and it will not fly for the government to hire a security agency and then to remove, or limit, my access to weaponry. This is a personal question, not an aggregate question: I have one life, and I am entitled to defend it in any way I see fit against those who would do me harm. If there is a single principle that has animated this realm since the time of the Emperor Justinian, it is that.

2. Hard to believe it has to be said, but David Harsanyi says it: Riots are violence. From the piece:

Riots may excite the keyboard revolutionary, but they won’t bring racial equality. The opposite, in fact. Not only are the anarchists who burn and loot stores subjecting many of their neighbors to a dehumanizing experience, they are destroying poor and minority neighborhoods.

Big businesses might be able to afford to fix the smashed windows and ransacked supply room, but family-owned ones are going to struggle. Chain stores have insurance, but the individuals and smaller manufacturers who depend on them for their livelihoods also are threatened. The big stores themselves will be paying higher insurance rates, and some of them may decide to never come back to these poorer neighborhoods.

Because the forest doesn’t always grow back.

3. Hard to disagree with Kyle Smith’s diagnosis that cities are committing suicide. From the Corner post:

Trust in the government to provide basic services was already shaky and will tumble further. People who don’t trust the government to provide for them vote Republican. There will be an increase in homeschoolers. Homeschoolers vote Republican.

The involuntary experiment for telecommuting, particularly among white-collar workers, has proven that workers can be relied upon to work from home. People don’t trust the New York City subway anymore but those who don’t need to come into the office can live anywhere. This is especially true of some of the most successful people — lawyers, people in finance. High-income people will be disproportionately among those leaving.

The balance of cities, already hit by a fiscal hurricane because of the duration of the lockdown, will tip toward heavy consumers of government services and away from high earners. Cities will be forced to raise taxes. The taxes on high earners and corporations will seem punitive. Even more of them will flee as taxes go up. The things successful people like about cities, such as high-end restaurants and culture, will follow them out to the suburbs. Corporate office parks in the suburbs will see a resurgence.

4. Andrew McCarthy takes on the racial canard of white cops killing black men. From the piece:

As Heather Mac Donald relates in an insightful Wall Street Journal op-ed, blacks make up only a quarter of the total number of people killed in police shootings annually, a ratio that has held steady since 2015. The reigning canard, however, is that this 25 percent figure proves racism since African Americans make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population.

Ridiculous as this syllogism is (as we’ll see, it conveniently elides more consequential factors), it still puts the lie to the slanderous narrative that police are hunting down black men. Even if we ignore the fact that an increasing number of police officers — obviously including those involved in encounters with black suspects — are themselves African Americans, the percentage of black deaths from police shootings would be much higher if blacks were being targeted.

Police do not go looking for people to shoot. In shooting situations, police are confronting crime suspects, the majority of whom are armed. But given that George Floyd was unarmed, let’s consider unarmed people killed in such encounters. Such unarmed decedents, too, were twice as likely to be white as black in 2019 — i.e., 19 unarmed whites, nine unarmed blacks. As Ms. Mac Donald observes, this ratio is not stable (and there is some looseness in what the media define as “unarmed”): In 2015, it was 38 unarmed blacks to 32 unarmed whites.

5. Peter Kirsanow tells how the left’s article of faith is not supported by the facts. When it comes to policing and race, false narratives rule for the MSM. From the piece:

The indefensible killing — captured on video — of George Floyd, following closely after the release of video showing the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, triggered the riots, looting, and conflagrations that have engulfed scores of cities across the country. As horrific as these killings were, it’s questionable whether, in isolation, they would’ve prompted riots on the scale and in the numbers that have occurred in the last week. Demonstrations, sure. On a visceral level, the videos almost compel them. But nationwide riots would be unlikely.

Rather, the riots are a result of the narrative that the Floyd and Arbery killings are but the latest of increasing examples of innocent blacks being disproportionately shot by white cops and targeted by racist white civilians. The narrative is played hourly on cable news shows. It’s embellished by major newspapers across the country. Cynical and opportunistic politicians advance it every election cycle. Hollywood perpetuates the narrative in television and theaters. It’s a mantra of high-school teachers and college professors, regardless of academic discipline. Major corporations apologize for their nebulous complicity. The narrative is a staple of diversity and inclusion offices. It’s ubiquitous on social media.

The narrative has been repeated so frequently, so universally, that it’s an unassailable given, a fact not to be challenged. Indeed, it’s an article of faith which, if questioned, exposes the heretic to rage, venom, and ostracization. Some fear losing their jobs. Best therefore, not to even consider questioning the narrative.

The narrative is false. In fact, it’s not just false, it’s upside down. And it’s been false for quite some time. There are racist cops in a nation of 330 million. But 2020 America isn’t 1965 Selma.

6. Rich Lowry takes on the vogue of minimizing violence and destruction. From the piece:

Forced to choose between criticizing the George Floyd protests when they get out of hand and defending the indefensible, activists and writers on the left have been tempted into the latter.

Their inventive, if completely absurd, contention is that the destruction of property doesn’t qualify as violence, and, at the end of the day, isn’t such a bad thing, maybe even a salutary thing.

The Pulitzer Prize–winning architect of the New York Times’ 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah-Jones, argued in an interview: “Violence is when an agent of the state kneels on a man’s neck until all of the life is leached out of his body. Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violence. To use the same language to describe those two things is not moral.”

The editor of The New Yorker, David Remnick, favorably quoted a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Global Network, who explained: “We don’t have time to finger-wag at protesters about property. That can be rebuilt. Target will reopen.”

An article in Current Affairs asserted that applying the word “violence” to the destruction of property risks “making the term conceptually incoherent and — much more important — conflating acts that do very serious physical harm to people with acts that have not physically harmed anyone.”

7. Officer Jack Dunphy tells how the riots went down in The City of Angels, and how they were intensified by the LAPD’s lousy leadership. From the first-hand account:

During my time with the LAPD, efforts were often made to prevent such people from being in charge during crucial incidents. They were relegated to positions from which they could cause little harm or compound confusion. This was not done last weekend, and the LAPD’s performance suffered for it. For example, on Saturday afternoon and evening, as officers struggled to contain looting in the Fairfax district, I monitored radio traffic from the scene in which an officer in a circling helicopter asked for more personnel to supplement the cops on skirmish lines and those chasing looters. No more officers were available, he was told. At that very moment, about 200 officers were waiting for instructions in a staging area miles away. They remained in that staging area for four hours before being dispatched to the trouble zone, by which time the looting had all but ended.

But it hadn’t ended completely, and I spoke to officers who had the maddening experience of waiting for orders at a command post while watching live news programs on their cell phones. A television-news helicopter was filming looters as they ransacked a computer store about a mile away, and the officers, who were among at least 200 at the command post at the time, could look up in the sky and see the helicopter hovering over the scene as it broadcast the images. The spectacle continued for 45 minutes as carload after carload of looters arrived and carried off computers and other merchandise, presumably until there was nothing left to steal. “I don’t know why anybody in the C.P. wasn’t watching the same thing I was,” one of them told me. “My partner and I could have walked there and handled it ourselves, but they didn’t send us. They didn’t send anybody.”

Perhaps some of those in charge were so preoccupied with demonstrating their solidarity with protesters that they simply forgot to do their jobs. Last weekend we were treated to scenes like this one, in which LAPD commander Cory Palka spoke to a group of protesters and promised to take a knee with them if they committed to remaining peaceful. It was a made-for-Twitter moment, and it surely endeared Palka to the group he was addressing, but the gesture was a pointless one, as the group consisted largely of aging hippies and young hipsters, some with young children in tow. An honest assessment of his audience should have told Palka that, even without the pandering showmanship, none of them would have been among the window-smashers and looters who did indeed rampage through the area later that night.

8. NR summer intern Dmitri Solzhenitsyn checks out the left’s violence-excusing rhetoric and warns of unintended justifications. From the commentary:

I do not wish to argue directly against the morality of this stance, nor to make an empirical argument as to the negative economic repercussions of lawless protest. Instead, I’d like to undertake a thought experiment: What if certain members of the Right took these anarchist, morally permissive sentiments to heart? Certainly, this is the last thing that any leftist — or any reasonable conservative — would want.

While the modern Left tends to emphasize the prevalence of oppressive systems, many on the right hold uncompromising beliefs of their own. For instance, conservatives are prone to believe that life is inviolable from the moment of conception, and that abortion therefore constitutes a form of murder. Others insist that the U.S. Constitution is immutable and must be protected at all costs.

Radicalized members of the Right have, in rare instances, already acted on these beliefs in extreme fashion: the 2014 Las Vegas Shootings, the Oklahoma City bombing, and various attacks on Planned Parenthood clinics all come to mind. Significantly, all of these events involved fringe right-wing individuals and groups acting independently — without a mainstream justification for their actions. But how many more Robert Lewis Dears and Timothy McVeighs might we see, were the Left’s stance on violent protest to become widely adopted on the Right?

9. So, what happened to social distancing? John Hirschauer asks and answers. From the piece:

Those who protested the lockdown regime were ridiculed. Governor Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan said that anti-lockdown protests came “at a cost to people’s health.” Michigan nurses stood in front of protesters’ cars with folded arms, leering on in contempt. As hordes of looters and rioters turned to the streets, however, NPR informed us that “dozens of public health and disease experts have signed an open letter in support of the nationwide anti-racism protests.” Nurses in New York stood outside a hospital and cheered as protesters, some of whom were unmasked, packed together like sardines and marched through the streets to protest police brutality. The chair of the New York City Council’s health committee, Mark Levine, says that “if there is a spike in coronavirus cases in the next two weeks,” we ought not to “blame the protesters. Blame racism.”

If we shouldn’t “blame” them, then we ought not “blame” the regular people who break quarantine to mourn their dead. If it’s true, as the experts told us, that the virus does not discriminate, and does not care how trying your personal circumstances are, then the virus certainly does not care about how unjust the Minneapolis police department may be. If no “open letter” of apology from the “medical community” is forthcoming to the bereaved who stared at their casketed relative on an iPad, the least that those officials can do is admit that they never really cared about the lockdowns at all.

10. Yuval Levin scores the evils of mobocracy and lawlessness. From the essay:

In recent days, my mind has turned to Abraham Lincoln—maybe the greatest of the great-souled Americans. I’ve thought of him not only because he thought and acted with such moral clarity regarding the evil of racism and the inhumanity of slavery, but also because he understood that no just society was possible without respect for basic social order. He knew there was an ideal of justice above the law, and he knew that it could only be respected and put into effect through the law, not around it. Early in his life, he raised the alarm about what he called a “mobocratic spirit”—and he laid out its meaning in terms that help us to see its dangers not only in rioting and looting but also in lawless policing and in failures of leadership that undermine our solidarity.

In 1838, when he was 28 years old, Lincoln delivered a speech to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, on “the perpetuation of our political institutions,” in which he expressed alarm about the dangers of mob rule. “Accounts of outrages committed by mobs, form the every-day news of the times,” he said. “They have pervaded the country, from New England to Louisiana.”

We incline to worry about angry mobs out of fear that they will harm the innocent, but Lincoln argued that even when their cause is understandable (even when, as in one of his examples, they are rightly livid at “the perpetration of an outrageous murder”), their lawlessness is a grave danger, because they ultimately liberate “the lawless in spirit…to become lawless in practice,” and then leave good citizens with no choice but to become lawless in their own defense. “Such are the effects of mob law; and such as the scenes, becoming more and more frequent in this land so lately famed for love of law and order,” Lincoln said. And then he reached for his core concern:

By the operation of this mobocractic spirit, which all must admit is now abroad in the land, the strongest bulwark of any Government, and particularly of those constituted like ours, may effectually be broken down and destroyed—I mean the attachment of the People.

11. Hong Kong ain’t dead yet, argue Yang Jianli and Aaron Rhodes. From the analysis:

With China facing its worst economic performance in 50 years, the CCP’s unforced errors have crippled China and the markets upon which it depends. In a corner, like a defensive wild beast, the regime has reacted with irrational aggression, confirming that its leadership exists in a bubble of denial. Xi Jinping thinks China’s post-modern, narrative-bending propaganda can reverse the pandemic’s damage to China’s legitimacy in the minds of both its own people and the world’s. He believes China can silence its critics by threats. And he thinks China’s illegal crackdown will force Hong Kongers into submission, rescuing his legacy.

But it won’t. Hong Kong is not dead, and we need only look back toward Tiananmen to see why. After 1989, heroes such as Liu Xiaobo and many others emerged despite an arbitrarily enforced “National Security Law,” revealing by their courage and sacrifices the immorality and fraudulence of the Chinese Communist regime. The people of Hong Kong are better equipped, spiritually, politically, and materially, as well as internationally, than the 1989 generation of human-rights dissidents (including one of us, Yang Jianli).

Unlike the mainlanders, the people of Hong Kong have lived in freedom, under the rule of law, and in a polity close to a democracy. They have a better understanding of, and treasure more, a life of freedom and dignity. Backing down before Chinese Communist Party pressure would mean the end of their way of life, the end of their unique and cherished identity and community, and indeed, a kind of spiritual death. They are ready to sacrifice their lives to avoid this.

12. Rong Xiaoqing explains why some Tiananmen protestors are supporting Donald Trump. From the commentary:

The deep anger and resentment directed at the CCP is generating Trump support among the Tiananmen protesters. Many support his trade war against China and his attempts to punish Beijing for concealing information about the coronavirus when it first emerged. They also defend his description of COVID-19 as a “Chinese virus,” saying the moniker is reasonable given the provocative claim by Chinese government spokesperson Zhao Lijian that the American military brought the virus to Wuhan.

“Many American politicians are too close to Beijing. Finally, we got Trump, who is vehemently anti-the Communist Party,” said Chen, 62, who voted for Trump in 2016. She had voting for Obama in 2012, soon after becoming an American citizen. “Trump represents my values better.” She said that she’ll vote for him again this year even though she is living on welfare payments as a disabled person and might typically expect to have more protection from a Democratic president.

Wang Juntao — labeled by Beijing as one of the “black hand” masterminds behind the Tiananmen student movement and sentenced to 13 years in prison — has also been gravitating toward Trump, though he is still not a U.S. citizen and therefore cannot vote. “I wouldn’t have voted for him in 2016, but I would now,” said Wang, who was released and came to the U.S. after pressure on Beijing by the Clinton administration in 1994.

Now 62 and armed with a master’s degree from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Columbia, he is still campaigning for democracy in China from his base in New York. He is concerned, though, that some dissidents are relying too much on Trump. “They need a hero to fight against the Communist Party. And they project their hope on Trump. But the American president’s job is not to fight against China,” he said.

13. Victor Davis Hanson lays out the paradoxical Joe Biden’s ten “Jiujutsu Commandments,” From the article, we share two:

I may show cognitive disabilities during the campaign, but therein I am allowed to dish it out without commensurately being dished. If you think it is cruel and insensitive to caricature or even note my mental confusion as I go on offense, then please keep quiet while I continue my attacks.

Overlook my handsy habits, gaffes, biographical lies, and racialist commentaries because I, at the eleventh hour, am the only vehicle left by which progressive ideas can take over the White House.

14. When lefty governors and mayors get around to slowly undoing the lockdown, left out in the cold are churchgoers. Alexandra DeSanctis reports on the nefarious actions happening in Madison, Wis. From the piece:

Religious leaders in Madison, Wis., have written to local officials, calling its reopening policy unconstitutional and a “discriminatory restriction.” The letter asks that the City of Madison and Dane County COVID-19 regulations be revised to apply to houses of worship the same way they apply to other organizations and businesses.

In a letter on behalf of the Catholic Diocese of Madison, several attorneys outline how local authorities are applying reopening rules unequally in the wake of COVID-19 shutdowns, targeting places of worship with stricter policies than those applied to other public activities. This, they argue, “treats religious interests unequally and unfairly.”

The letter notes that the local reopening plan subjects “the routine operations of houses of worship—and of no other category of organization—to a ‘Mass Gathering’ limit of 50 persons.” Meanwhile,

retail stores, shopping malls, restaurants, bars, offices, factories, gyms, salons, tattoo parlors, spas, dog parks, contact sports, trampoline parks, movie theaters, museums, hotels, community centers, car washes—the list goes on—are all permitted to open and conduct “everyday operations” at 25 percent of their certified occupancy but without a generally applicable and blanket numerical cap.

15. Is the Universal Basic Income here? Jerry Bowyer and Charles Bowyer urge conservatives not to fool themselves about what we’ve just done under the name of stimulus. From the piece:

In a few short months, we went from UBI (the idea of giving almost every adult citizen a check) being an idea favored only at the margins to its being the official policy of a Republican administration backed by a Republican-controlled Senate.

The counterargument is clear. These are extreme times. This is not UBI but merely a temporary support measure for working families in exceptional circumstances. It is an argument that might have more force had not conservative political parties in the Western world found it so difficult to rein in an expanding welfare state that can no longer be afforded, something that became all too obvious in the battles over “austerity” after the European debt crisis.

Since America’s current “UBI” was promoted as an essential element in a stimulus program, it seems reasonable to assume that, whatever is being said to the contrary, it will be more difficult to end it until the economy gets strong enough to no longer need stimulus. The list of temporary spending programs instituted during a crisis but later discontinued is distressingly short.

Fearing the electoral consequences of challenging this regime, many conservative parties of the Western world seem to have given up on the task of decreasing the size of government. In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has made protecting the U.K.’s public health-care system one of the cornerstones of his government.

The Trump administration has signed relief plans totaling over $2 trillion, in an environment where were already spending $4.45 trillion a year. The small-government that once defined conservative politics appears to have fallen out of fashion.

The June 22, 2020, Issue of Your Favorite Magazine Has the Red China Threat in the NR Crosshairs

It is off the presses and, as we speak, in the mail (although, we really aren’t speaking are we?), but each and every brilliant word of it is available to you right now if you have an NRPLUS membership. As is our custom, we share four pieces from the June 20, 2020, issue that we’re confident will put more snapper in your whipper. Or is it whipper in your snapper?

1. Oh my. It is a colossal and brilliant analysis — a “Special Report” by Nicholas Eberstadt and Daniel Blumenthal — of the threat Red China poses to the international order, and how America has spent the past four decades empowering this Communist state. From the essay:

As is increasingly understood in the United States and abroad, the Chinese government and its agents bear a terrible and immediate responsibility for conduct that turned a localized contagion into a global pandemic. But the COVID-19 disaster could not have devastated America and the world as it is now doing if China were still an impoverished, isolated Maoist The world is suffering a planetary plague because China today is deeply integrated into the world economy, and into the institutions of global governance as well—even though it is ruled by a dictatorship whose values, priorities, and objectives are fundamentally incompatible with those of the liberal international order.

It was not by accident or happenstance that China became a major player in the world economy and, more broadly, in the liberal international order that the United States was instrumental in fashioning. That outcome, rather, is largely a result of concerted American policy.

For four decades, the United States has pursued a deliberate and explicit strategy, reaffirmed by innumerable public and private decisions under both Democratic and Republican administrations and Congresses, to “engage China” and enmesh that enormous country in “globalization,” the free world’s great webs of commerce, communications, travel, education, research, and culture.

For many long years, this strategy, though not without critics, was widely regarded as a triumph of American statecraft. For a generation and more, the policy of “engaging” China paid handsome and obvious dividends, both financial and geopolitical. Indeed, the engagement policy appeared to be a monumental win-win. Not only did China turn away from the revolutionary hostility that had characterized its international conduct in the Maoist era, but its outward-oriented economic policies and more pragmatic domestic practices unleashed an extraordinary domestic boom. China’s remarkable economic transformation not only dramatically reduced poverty at home. It also generated prosperity for trading partners around the world.

2. Kevin Williamson looks at the history of American riots in the last half century, and sees destruction and sanctimony. From the end of the piece:

If the riots we are seeing now are meant to effect positive change for African Americans in Minneapolis and other cities, they are unlikely to succeed. Governor Brown’s free school lunches are not going to get it done. In Minneapolis, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington, etc., Democrats and progressives have had something very close to an unbroken monopoly on political power for decades. Minneapolis hasn’t had a Republican mayor since the Eisenhower years. There are no Republicans on the Minneapolis city council, and there hasn’t been one in decades. Democrats have unimpeded political power in Minneapolis and many other cities, and it shows. They may have added free breakfasts to the free lunches, but the blood on the streets suggests that progressivism isn’t getting it done.

If the riots are not about poverty and police procedures—if John S. Hampton had it right back in 1967—then they should be understood mainly as expressive. If there is a cure for the “powerlessness which black people feel in an alien white society,” it is not to be found in legislation or in more-generous health-insurance subsidies. How much worse are the rioters willing to make things for—if not themselves, exactly, then the communities they purport to represent? The answer in the 1960s was: a lot worse. Detroit and Newark were more or less ruined and have never really recovered. New York City was essentially bankrupt and literally powerless (the looting of 1977 was occasioned by a blackout) and foundered for years until the administration of Rudolph Giuliani, who used to be known as a successful mayor before he signed on as Donald Trump’s very dull hatchet man. Reducing Minneapolis to a smoking ruin is not going to improve the life of a single black family—but if it makes some college kids feel better . . .

3. Jay Nordlinger rides out the pandemic in the belly of the beast — Manhattan. From the essay:

Trader Joe’s, like other stores, allows only a small number of people in at a time. There are long lines outside Trader Joe’s, made all the longer by social distancing: The standers are six feet apart. I thought of GUM, the old department store in the Soviet Union, outside of which people spent huge chunks of their lives, standing, waiting.

I was in another store—Jubilee Market Place—in the checkout line. I was keeping my distance, I thought. But the elderly woman in front of me turned and said, with a shaky, urgent voice, “You’re too close.” I apologized and backed off (way, way off, so you could hardly tell I was in line). I try to cut people slack. There is a lot of fear in the air. And people, for the most part, have been patient and kind.

“That’s when you have to worry,” said a friend of mine. “When New Yorkers are being patient and kind, there’s serious trouble afoot.”

I have come to love the young cashiers at Rite Aid, Pinkberry, and other places. I see them almost every day. They are behind plastic partitions, working their tails off, scrubbing their hands, putting up with all manner of customer weirdness and nervousness. We have formed something like a bond. I feel quasi-parental toward them.

In the beginning, the only restaurant open, within blocks of me, was a pizzeria. You could not dine in, but you could take out, or have the pizza delivered. The place was operating 24/7. As I watched them, the workers seemed well-nigh heroic. Were they foolhardy? Were we, who patronized them?

Come to think of it, the McDonald’s next door to the pizza place never closed either. At least I don’t think it did. Maybe for a week or two, max. You can sooner take down the Statue of Liberty than you can the Golden Arches.

4. Daniel J. Mahoney reviews the Andrew Bacevich–edited Library of America collection, American Conservatism. He finds an overall good assemblage, but with undeniable issues. From the review:

Fitting selections from William F. Buckley Jr. and Whittaker Chambers are also included in this anthology. Chambers’s “Letter to My Children,” the opening section of his great 1952 memoir Witness, beautifully evokes the existential choice that modern man must make between human self-sovereignty, or self-deification, and deference to the sovereignty of the living God. No conservative or true ex-Communist, and Chambers was both if anyone was, can accept the Communist “vision of man without God.” To reject Communism, to truly reject it, is to recover the truth of the soul. For Chambers, the soul had its own logic, its own needs, its own integrity. The Communist who heard screams emanating from the secret-police torture chambers in Moscow in the 1930s broke with Communism because its logic of history and class consciousness could no longer efface the truth and needs of his soul. Chambers famously remarked that political freedom finally depends on “interior freedom,” on the soul as the defining mark of human dignity. For Chambers, political freedom is in the end “only a political reading of the Bible,” as he tells us near the beginning of Witness. Like the great Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn a generation after him, Chambers rejected a false humanism, an anthropocentric humanism, that warred on man even as it showed contempt for the divine ground of human existence. To reject totalitarian mendacity is to vindicate both God and man.

In his charming 1963 essay “Notes toward an Empirical Definition of Conservatism,” Buckley credits Chambers with driving Ayn Rand and her Objectivist followers out of the conservative movement. Chambers saw a different kind of godlessness at work in Rand and her followers: a “materialism of technocracy” and limitless self-assertion, a contempt for charity and kindness toward the weak and vulnerable. Most strikingly, Buckley speaks of Rand’s “hard, schematic, implacable, unyielding dogmatism that is itself intrinsically objectionable, whether it comes from the mouth of Ehrenburg [a liberal but ultimately loyal Soviet writer], or Savonarola, or Ayn Rand.” Perfectly said. Buckley makes clear that the conservative need not be a religious believer. But active disdain for the religious sensibility, or the intimations of transcendence and the natural moral law available to human beings, are hardly compatible with a conservatism whose tenets certainly include an acute recognition that “man is not God.” Atheistic dogmatism, or what the 19th-century American Catholic man of letters Orestes Brownson called “political atheism,” has no place in conservatism, rightly understood.

Lights. Camera. Links!

1. Armond White reflects on the hits and, mostly, misses and legacy of Spike Lee’s 1989 film, Do the Right Thing. From the end of the piece:

Spike Lee has not yet made a film that comes close to explaining the festering anger that may define individual character. (Black Americans’ different ways of coping and persevering is August Wilson’s contribution to American literature.) Lee’s stump-speech movies merely specialize in the surface of complicated experience, which, as we now see, political opportunists can easily exploit. In light of recalling Do the Right Thing, one Twitter sage added: “Black votes matter to many politicians — more so than black lives. That is why such politicians must try to keep black voters fearful, angry and resentful. Racial harmony would be a political disaster for such politicians.”

Do the Right Thing’s legacy is based on exploiting racial disharmony and political disaster, which befits a misconceived cri de coeur. Today, Lee’s ideological knot puts a knot in one’s stomach. Looking for answers in that film does not help clarify this exasperating moment. For the liberal politicians who boast that they “stand shoulder-to-shoulder with protesters,” the advisory title Do the Right Thing proves to be an impossibility.

2. Jack Butler has made it his mission to defend the honor of LOST. From the piece:

Some of what the creators hoped for in LOST they simply could not do. One reason was its sheer popularity. In its first two seasons, LOST was one of the most-watched shows on television, helping to revive ABC’s reputation. Network brass would try to keep that going for as long as they could, forcing the showrunners to strike a tricky balance between keeping the network happy and satisfying their creative vision. As Lindelof said in a 2006 interview, “If we told them we could only do the show if we ended it after 100 episodes, they never would’ve agreed to it. And who could blame them?” LOST fans — and detractors — can see this tension most clearly during the third season, much of which is aimless in a way that lives down to criticism. But it also comes to reflect the finality the writers eventually procured from the network concerning how long the show would go, drawing to an exciting and propulsive climax. Even so, this forward momentum eventually confronted the television-wide Writers’ Guild strike of 2007–08, an exogenous event that resulted in a shortened fourth season. To the end, external factors inhibited the show. It seems unfair to knock a show excessively for such things.

It is more fair to knock it for what it did make up along the way. But even some of the things that were improvised made the show better. The character of Ben Linus (Michael Emerson) was originally written as a bit role but expanded as Emerson made the role his own, lasting until the show’s very end. Ditto the role of Desmond Hume (Henry Ian Cusick), who became one of the most important characters in the series. Likewise, the famous “Smoke Monster,” a malevolent, literally nebulous force that first appears in the very first episode, was originally planned to be a kind of mechanical creation; instead, it developed into an evil entity at the heart of the island’s significance. That some of these developments occurred over the course of LOST is not in itself a strike against them, as some helped the show become better than it otherwise might have been.


1. On The McCarthy Report, Andy and Rich discuss Keith Ellison’s appointment to the George Floyd case, the new charges brought against the former police officers involved in his death, Tom Cotton’s New York Times op-ed, and much more. Listen here.

2. On The Editors, Rich, Charlie, and Jim discuss the nationwide riots and lootings, the president’s poor performance during these outbreaks, and the hypocrisy surrounding the media’s coverage of the chaos. Listen here.

3. And then on another episode of The Editors, Rich, Charlie, and Michael discuss James Mattis’s denunciation of Trump, the ridiculous outrage provoked by Tom Cotton’s NYT op-ed, and the double standard of health officials when it comes to the recent protests. Catch it here.

4. On The Bookmonger, John J. Miller is joined by Paul Matzko to discuss his new book, The Radio Right. Slap in the ear buds and listen here.

5. Changing costumes, JJM is joined on The Great Books by Jessica Hooten Wilson of John Brown University to discuss Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground. Listen here.

6. Keeping with the one-term theme, on the new episode of Constitutionally Speaking, Luke and Jay consider POTUS 8, the “Red Fox of Kinderhook,” in the first of a two-part look at Martin van Buren. Put the kids to bed and listen here.

7. On Radio Free California, David and Will discuss California’s problem with bad cops (it isn’t that they’re racist, it’s that they’re protected), the push for affirmative action, and the slow coming of justice for an Orange County assemblyman who offered political favors in exchange for sex. Open up that Golden Gate . . . listen here.

8. On Episode 19 of The Victor Davis Hanson Podcast, VDH discusses with his dimwit of a co-host his thoughts on Donald Trump’s announcement of military force to counter riots, the president’s lack of focus, the paradox that is Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo’s latest failures, Tucker Carlson’s clobbering of conservative morality lecturers, America’s standing in the world, and lefty media sanctimony. Find it here.

The Six

1. Heather Mac Donald at City Journal finds the collapse of the rule of law to be terrifying. From the piece:

The attacks on local law enforcement were already happening out of sight of TV cameras before the most photogenic scenes of arson and the stomping of squad cars started showing up on network and cable news. On Tuesday, May 26, and Wednesday, May 27, Chicago residents surrounded and threw bottles at Chicago Police Department officers trying to arrest gun suspects. One suspect was the likely perpetrator of a shooting that had just hit a five-year-old girl and two teenage boys. The other had just thrown his gun under a car; the cop-haters tried to free him from the squad car. No surprise that Saturday night, downtown Chicago was plundered.

This pandemic of civil violence is more widespread than anything seen during the Black Lives Matter movement of the Obama years, and it will likely have an even deadlier toll on law enforcement officers than the targeted assassinations we saw from 2014 onward. It’s worse this time because the country has absorbed another five years of academically inspired racial victimology. From Ta-Nehisi Coates to the New York Times’s 1619 project, the constant narrative about America’s endemic white supremacy and its deliberate destruction of the “black body” has been thoroughly injected into the political bloodstream.

Facts don’t matter to the academic victimology narrative. Far from destroying the black body, whites are the overwhelming target of interracial violence. Between 2012 and 2015, blacks committed 85.5 percent of all black-white interracial violent victimizations (excluding interracial homicide, which is also disproportionately black-on-white). That works out to 540,360 felonious assaults on whites. Whites committed 14.4 percent of all interracial violent victimization, or 91,470 felonious assaults on blacks. Blacks are less than 13 percent of the national population.

2. At The American Conservative, Ryan Girdusky looked into the White House’s weekend of dithering while mayors let their cities burn. From the report:

President Trump and many other Republican leaders condemned the murder of Floyd and demanded action against the police officers involved. In the days that followed, however, the White House felt absent in the national conversation. Protests turned to riots and cities like Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Atlanta turned into war zones, yet the president was nowhere to be found. Outside of Twitter and the few remarks given by Trump during the SpaceX launch, the silence from the White House was deafening.

Sources inside the administration said that throughout the tumultuous weekend, the White House was running on a skeleton crew. Advisors Jared and Ivanka Kushner were celebrating a Jewish holiday, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was at his daughter’s wedding, other key members of the administration were out of state. While Washington burned, Trump was ushered into a bunker with the few aides that were by his side, including Dan Scavino.

On Thursday, Kushner and his allies, Brooke Rollins and Ja’ron Smith told the White House and the campaign that they shouldn’t discuss the riots in overtly negative terms because it could harm the campaign’s efforts at coalition-building with the black community. They insisted the whole thing would eventually blow over.

With no team and no plan, Trump took to Twitter, demanding that mayors and governors take more action. Writers and media personalities from nearly every conservative outlet tweeted, “where is Trump?” Presidential sycophants, many of whom campaigned against the president in the 2016 primary, tried to calm the growing chorus of concerns. Their reasoning ranged from there was nothing he could do, the optics would be bad, and this will help him in November. Yet as the days mounted and the riots spread to every major American city, it became glaringly obvious that the situation was only becoming worse and the president was missing in action. It seemed that the president was just tweeting as America burned.

3. On his blog, Matt Taibbi documents the left’s censorship attack on Michael Moore for his calling–B.S. documentary, Planet of the Humans. From the piece:

Environmentalists denounced the film as riddled with “lies” and “misinformation,” claiming among other things that Moore used old data to discredit green technology. A campaign to remove the film from circulation immediately took shape.

“Within 24 hours of it going out on YouTube, people got to work on trying to take the film down,” explains Moore. He immediately started hearing about emails denouncing the film that were being circulated to what seemed like “everyone on the left.”

An “action letter” composed by environmentalist Josh Fox was circulated, describing the film as “dangerous, misleading, and destructive” and demanding an “immediate retraction.” Films for Action, an online archive of progressive movies, initially bent to Fox’s demands by taking the film out of its library, only to put it back up a half-day later out of a desire to avoid a “messy debate about censorship.”

An intense campaign of editorials followed, and a roughly month later, YouTube actually removed the film. The platform cited a four-second piece of footage shot by filmmaker Toby Smith that supposedly was a copyright infringement. Moore, who says all his films are “heavily lawyered,” insists the footage was legal under Fair Use laws, which allow the use of portions of copyrighted work without the permission of the owner. (In one of many ironies, Fair Use laws have long been celebrated by progressives as an invaluable tool for journalists and artists).

The significance of the Moore incident is that it shows that a long-developing pattern of deletions and removals is expanding. The early purges were mainly of small/fringe voices on either the far right or far left, or infamously fact-challenged personalities like Alex Jones. The removal of a film by Moore – a heavily-credentialed figure long revered by the liberal mainstream – takes place amid a dramatic acceleration of such speech-suppression incidents, many connected to the coronavirus disaster.

4. In Public Discourse, Carson Holloway considers Pierre Manents’ important new book, Natural Law and Human Rights: Toward a Recovery of Practical Reason. From the review:

As Manent observes, the origins of the modern idea of human rights can be traced back to the radical and daring intellectual experiment undertaken by the sixteenth and seventeenth century pioneers of modern political philosophy. This experiment was performed with the greatest clarity, consistency, and ruthlessness by Thomas Hobbes, to whom Manent pays special attention. Human beings, as we ordinarily and perhaps even universally encounter them, live under some system of law. Nevertheless, modern political philosophers, such as Hobbes, finding the then-prevailing system of law confused and inadequate, undertook to tear law down and rebuild it from the ground up, so to speak. They postulated a “state of nature,” a pre-political state in which all human beings are equal and free, and they sought to base their political teaching on that allegedly original and natural human condition. In other words, according to Manent, they tried to strip law entirely away from man and then restore law on a more solid foundation, or on what they thought was a more solid foundation—the desire of each person to be safe from the personal danger that necessarily accompanies the lack of law.

Such a radical undertaking was bound to have momentous and grave consequences. The modern theorists of the state of nature wanted to correct a source of confusion and instability in the law of their time—the conflict between political and religious law. They ultimately succeeded, however, only in introducing a new and perhaps worse form of confusion and instability. Having taught human beings that they are by nature utterly free, that there is no natural law constraining their naturally limitless “rights” to freedom of action, what do you get?

If you teach human beings to assert their rights, but deny any natural standards by which to judge the rightness of their actions, you unleash an endless quest for rights not governed by any intelligible principle—a quest that sows confusion at all levels of society. You get governments that try to advance and regulate the explosion of rights, but with no clear conception of any authoritative common good for their citizens. You get social institutions that can no longer regard their purposes as in any way authoritative and therefore have to succumb to demands for individual rights that are not compatible with the flourishing or even the existence of such institutions. Finally, you get individuals who seem to be free, and who demand ever more freedom, but who have no idea what to do with their freedom and who in fact end up lacking the truest kind of freedom. They are dominated by their passions, because they have no conception of an authoritative practical reason in light of which they can judge some of their passions as more worthy than others. They are free to the extent that the external obstacles to their passions have been removed, but they are not free to act responsibly in light of their reason—which is to say that they lack the freedom to lead an authentically human life.

5. At Gatestone Institute, Soeren Kern explains how the EU places a higher principle on trade with Red China than on the freedom of Hong Kong-ers. From the article:

Germany, which takes over the six-month rotating EU presidency on July 1, has announced that it will prioritize relations with China. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is particularly determined to proceed with a major EU-China summit to be held in the German city of Leipzig in September. She is reportedly under intense pressure from German automobile manufacturers, who are concerned about maintaining their access to the Chinese market.

The continued cowardice of European leaders is a reflection not only of Europe’s geopolitical weakness and economic overdependence on China, but also of a moral vacuum in which they refuse to stand up for Western values.

In April, European officials caved in to pressure from China and watered down an EU report on Chinese efforts to deflect blame for the coronavirus pandemic. A few weeks later, the EU Ambassador to China, Nicolas Chapuis, allowed the Chinese government to edit an op-ed article signed by him and the 27 Ambassadors of EU member states, to mark the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations with China.

The EU authorized the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to remove references to the origins and the spread of the coronavirus from the article, published in China Daily, an English-language daily newspaper owned by the Communist Party of China.

6. At First Things, George Weigel says the Vatican has to make a choice, between (Catholic!) Hong Kong businessman and freedom activist Jimmy Lai or Red China regime boss Xi Jinping. From the piece:

In mid-May, Chinese leader Xi Jinping unveiled a plan to bypass Hong Kong’s legislature and impose draconian new “national security” laws on the former British colony. Putatively intended to defend Hong Kong from “secessionists,” “terrorists,” and “foreign influence,” these new measures are in fact designed to curb the brave men and women of Hong Kong’s vibrant pro-democracy movement, who have been aggravating the Beijing totalitarians for a long time. With the world distracted by the Wuhan virus (which the Chinese government’s clumsiness and prevarication did much to globalize), the ever-more-brutal Xi Jinping regime evidently thinks that this is the moment to crack down even harder on those in Hong Kong who cherish freedom and try to defend it.

This latest display of Beijing’s intent to enforce communist power in Hong Kong coincides with the most recent persecution of my friend, Jimmy Lai.

Jimmy and I have only met once. But I have long felt a kinship with this fellow Catholic, a convert who first put his considerable wealth to work in support of important Catholic activities and who is now risking all in support of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. Arrested in February, and then again in April, Jimmy Lai has been charged with helping organize and lead “unauthorized protests.” That he was in the front ranks of pro-democracy demonstrations is true. The question is, why do the Chinese communists regard peaceful protest in support of freedoms Beijing solemnly promised to protect as treasonous?

BONUS: At The American Spectator, my pal Anne Hendershott bemoans the meaning behind NYPD officers forced to take a knee. It ain’t about solidarity. From the piece:

Taking the knee was always a protest against the police. This is why it is so disturbing for the many good police officers who know that their fellow officers are equally committed to protecting and serving the public. Taking the knee to protest their fellow officers is anathema to good police officers. They understand that the horrific treatment afforded to George Floyd was an aberration and they are disgusted by it. But to take a knee that suggests systemic racism within the NYPD is a bridge too far for many in the rank and file.

Unfortunately, the status degradation ceremonies for police officers continue to escalate throughout the five boroughs of New York City and in other parts of the country. On Sunday in Foley Square, hundreds of protesters chanted “NYPD, take a knee” until the uniformed NYPD police officers gave in to their demands. Those officers unwilling to participate in the new street theater are derided while those who take the knee are cheered.

Much of this recalls Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities — a satirical novel of racial politics in New York City in the 1980s. Often described as that decade’s defining novel, it offered a scathing portrayal of the racial power struggles permeating the city at the time. Wolfe’s brilliant satire skewered the rich, portrayed a corrupt legal system that was up for sale, and presented a cast of pandering politicians and community activists more interested in helping themselves than helping the poor. The police officers in the novel are portrayed primarily as good men just trying to do their job, but their police department was also held captive to craven politicians and prosecutors. One of the main characters in the book, Reverend Bacon, spends most of his time shaking down rich white power brokers and philanthropists — telling them that money going to his organization is an investment in “steam control” of black anger.

BONUS BONUS: At The Spectator, Damian Thompson figures that BLM is a religion for woke whites. Read it here.


Seventy years ago this week, the Boston Red Sox engaged in one the National Pastime’s great expositions of offense, worth remembering because, well, that’s what we do in this here section. 1950 was, of course, a Yankee year — part of the Bronx Bombers’ 1949–1953 arch of pennants and World Championships — but it was a close thing as they battled Boston and Detroit down the stretch for the pennant.

The Red Sox may have finished in third place, four games behind the Yankees, but when it came to run production, Boston ruled the American League: The Bosox scored 1,027 runs, clobbered 161 home runs, and had a team batting average of .302.

Of those runs, a tenth came in that one-week stretch in early June, with the Sox taking two games each from Cleveland, Chicago, and the St. Louis Browns, scoring 104 runs as they took six of seven games.

It all began with a fury on a Friday night game at Fenway Park, with Indians ace Bob Feller facing Ted Williams and his comrades. It did not go well for Rapid Robert: He pitched but 2/3 of an inning and gave up 6 runs and took the loss as the Sox prevailed, 11–5.

The offensive muscle flexing continued, the next day, this time against Cleveland righthander Mike Garcia: Like Feller the day before, he could not get out of the First, and indeed, could not even get an out, as six Red Sox crossed home plate on the way to an 11–9 victory.

Exit Cleveland, enter Chicago: To Fenway came the White Sox, who on a June 4 affair found their Sunday prayers falling on deaf divine ears. Unable to quell the Boston bats, a quartet of White Sox pitchers gave up 21 hits and 9 walks, and Boston enjoyed a 17–7 victory. More home-team double digits followed at a packed Fenway the next night: A crowd of 29,372 saw Mickey McDermott relieve sore-shouldered starter pitcher Ellis Kinder with one out in the top of the First, and hold Chicago to four measly hits and no runs, while another quartet of White Sox pitchers allowed a dozen Red Sox runs — all but one at the expense of starter Billy Pierce.

But the White Sox refused to be swept: On a June 6 afternoon contest at Fenway, White Sox starter Ken Holcombe pitched a complete-game 8–4 victory, behind four Chicago home runs.

Then came the St. Louis Browns, who would take the greatest of whuppings. In fact, two whuppings. It began innocently enough: On Wednesday afternoon, the Browns notched two runs in the top of the first off Sox starter Joe Dobson. In the bottom of the frame, the Red Sox did the Browns one better, and then in the third came the deluge: seven more runs. And another ten after that, thanks to 23 hits, five of them homers, and seven walks. When Dick Kokos flied out to end the beatdown, the final score stood at 20-4. If you didn’t think it could get worse for the Browns, well . . .

The next day — a Thursday afternoon, before an impish crowd of 5,105 Boston fans, in a game that took but 2 hours and 42 minutes to cram in all that would be crammed — the Red Sox lashed 28 hits, took eleven walks, banged seven home runs (two each by the Splendid Splinter and Rookie of the Year Walt Dropo, and three by Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr, who had eight RBIs to Dropo’s seven). The final score was 29–4.

That set an MLB record for most runs in a game by one team. Soon enough it was tied: On April 23, 1955, in Kansas City, the White Sox would pummel the Athletics, 29–6.

Cool facts: Dropo, now playing for Chicago, would hit a homer in that game too, while Sherm Lolllar, who caught for the Browns in the epic 1950 game, went five for six, with two homers and five RBIs, for the White Sox.

Back to 1950, and of double-digiting note: Its capacity for bullying having been spent, the Red Sox lost the ensuing two games after their 29-run performance. Badly. The Browns would take the third game at Fenway by a 12–7 margin, and then the Tigers pulled into Boston for a three-game set, which they swept, with the first victory an 18–8 drubbing.

A Dios

Your Humble Correspondent had asked for prayers recently for a young man, ravaged with cancer – the report on initial treatment is quite good, the doctors saying to family, whatever you are doing, keep doing it. Extending that directive to WJ friends who care enough to read until the end of this eyeball pilgrimage, please, if you can spare such, add another prayer for his cure.

And then a prayer maybe not only for the protection of America, but also for the confounding of its enemies, foreign and domestic, of which there are many, driven by their hatred of our Republic’s principles.

God’s Love and Blessings on You and Yours,

Jack Fowler, who awaits mockery and castigations directed to his inbox, can be reached via

P.S.: The production values are, to say the least, minimal, but Panic in the Year Zero in not a bad way to spend an hour and a half (Ray Milland, Jean Hagen, and Frankie Avalon headline the cast). You can watch it here.

National Review

From a Feint into a Slip, and Kicking from the Hip


Dear Weekend Jolter,

Let us get right to the red meat. As in Red meat. Zach Evans this week penned a marvelous exposé of the former Democratic senator from Montana, Max Baucus, who followed his years of liberal legislating by being Barrack’s Man in Beijing. Oh, the friends Ambassador Baucus made there, and oh, the friends he maintains there: Max is now doing the ChiComs’ dirty work on the Wuhan Virus, telling PRC state television that Donald Trump is akin to . . . wait for it . . . Adolf Hitler. There’s a word for what Baucus is, and it ain’t shill. (Not that, to quote Joe Biden, he ain’t.) From the piece:

The media appearances raise the question of why an American citizen with a long and distinguished career in government has gotten cozy with Chinese propagandists. An answer is hinted at in a 2013 comment by Russ Sullivan, a former Democratic staff director for the Senate Finance Committee that Baucus chaired, who at that time told the Wall Street Journal that the senator held a kind of fascination with the country.

“There were times when I said, Senator, I know you love China, but we need to allocate appropriate time vis-à-vis the time you spend on China and trade issues versus what you spend on [other issues],” Sullivan said, adding that Baucus did not heed his advice. Sullivan said that Baucus’s interest in China was noted in other quarters: “If you were in the multinational business community interested in China, you knew Max Baucus was going over there.”

In the wake of his long political career, Baucus has parlayed his familiarity with China into number of lucrative business roles. According to Baucus’s biography on the website of the University of Montana’s Max Baucus Institute, the former senator sat on the Board of Advisers to Alibaba Group until May 2019. He currently runs a consulting firm, Baucus Group LLC, which advises American and Chinese businesses. (The firm does not appear to have a website or readily available contact information.) The former ambassador also currently sits on the Board of Directors of Ingram Micro, an information technology company based in Irvine, Calif., that in 2016 was acquired by Chinese conglomerate HNA Group. Amid financial woes in 2018, HNA director and founder Chen Feng said the company would “consciously safeguard the Communist Party’s central authority with General Secretary Xi Jinping as the core” and “unswervingly follow the party.” The conglomerate has been completely taken over by the Chinese government during the coronavirus pandemic.

Baucus has managed to keep one foot in government: until July 2019, he served on the External Advisory Board to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Baucus’s sympathy for Beijing surfaced often during his political career. In the mid 1990s, he was among the leading Democratic supporters of increased trade with China, and he advocated delinking the issues of human rights and trade in American policy on China. At the time, the U.S. gave most-favored-nation (MFN) trading status to China, meaning it considered China one of its top trading partners, but Washington annually threatened to revoke the designation because of the Chinese government’s human-rights abuses. Baucus argued that revoking MFN status for China would be counterproductive, because tariffs on Chinese goods would immediately rise and trade with the country would be curtailed.

Now, if you thought this missive’s subject line was from “Kung Fu Fighting,” you’d be right. And yes, the ChiComs are kicking the people of Hong Kong. And worse. They merit our attention and support. More on that, and on much more else, is to be found below.


1. America needs to do whatever it can to help the people of Hong Kong push back against Red China’s brutish and brutal regime. From the editorial:

We obviously also need a strategy to combat Chinese belligerence elsewhere. Control of Hong Kong is only one step in China’s quest to “occupy a central position in the world,” as Chinese president Xi Jinping has put it. The Hong Kong security law coincides with increasingly aggressive naval exercises in the South and East China Seas and a sudden military buildup on the Sino–Indian border. The Chinese have also made clear their intention to annex Taiwan, and show no signs of rolling back their programs of industrial espionage and anti-competitive trade practices. The White House must resist China on all fronts.

The administration should mobilize our allies in the fight. As Pompeo made his announcement, German chancellor Angela Merkel said that the European Union has a “great strategic interest” in cooperating with China. Neither have the British, who designed the transfer of Hong Kong, shown much interest in pushing back on Chinese aggression. European leaders are enticed by the economic benefits of cooperating with Beijing, and it will require a deft diplomatic touch to persuade them to take a more strategically sound posture.

Hong Kong is the last redoubt of freedom and decency in China’s contiguous territory. The White House should do everything reasonably within its power to try to safeguard it.

2. A horrible thing happened in Minneapolis, with more terrible things in response. We decry the destruction — of a life, of property. From the editorial:

There is no sign that the authorities are dragging their feet. The day after Floyd’s death, all four officers were fired, and the FBI launched an investigation. The mayor and the chief of police denounced what happened. If the facts are as bad as they appear in the videos, the officers — or at least the lead officer — would seem to have little defense.

Yet, while the wheels of justice are moving swiftly, that has not prevented opportunists from erupting into riots, looting, and arson. Sacking a Target for televisions and burning down local businesses is no way to get justice for anyone. It is, instead, likely to add to the misery of people living on the margins and already hard-hit by the shutdown of the economy. It is also not recommended social distancing. No excuses should be made, or accepted, for theft and destruction. The police and the National Guard can and should restore order, which is itself a precondition of justice.

3. The President’s conspiracy tweets about Joe Scarborough are grotesque. From the editorial:

Trump is clearly driven by his desire to say the most malicious and painful things he can about Scarborough, to take revenge for the former congressman’s now obsessively anti-Trump morning program. The president maintains he doesn’t watch, although this is plainly untrue. The collateral damage is the family of Lori Klausutis, who had to endure her sudden loss and now watch helplessly as the president pushes a deception about her death for his own petty purposes.

It’s unworthy of a partisan blogger, let alone the president of the United States.

4. If there is a cure for the President’s accusatory tweets (or anything similar from anyone else), it’s not to be found in regulations or in diktats but in an individual’s control of behavior. From the editorial:

Not one of these courses of action is desirable. Twitter is a medium, not a message, and it should decline to inject itself into the middle of America’s political debates. President Trump cannot “close down” social media, and he should not idly threaten to do so. And, pace Senator Hawley, user-driven websites are not being “subsidized” by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects the “provider or user of an interactive computer service” from being treated as the “publisher” of opinions whether or not he has not reviewed them. It is Section 230, by way of example, that prevents Joe Scarborough from being able to sue Twitter when one its members engages in a libel. Section 230 has been maligned lately, but we have yet to see any proposal that would be likely to improve it.

Time was when the obvious response to reprehensible behavior was admonition. The root cause of the mess we are witnessing today is not Twitter’s bias or legislative favoritism, and it is most certainly not that the president lacks the power to suspend the First Amendment. Rather, it is that the president lacks the power to control his own urges. What needs changing is the behavior of the man who sits at the heart of all of our national conversations, both good and ill.

5. The Republican to take Oregon’s senatorial primary is one Jo Ray Perkins, a “Q-Anon” advocate. Yikes. From the editorial:

QAnon originated on an anonymous message board in late 2017 amid the uncertainty surrounding the Mueller investigation. A person calling himself “Q” and claiming to be a high-ranking official in the Trump administration began posting cryptic messages that weaved together numerology, close readings of Trump Twitter posts, and vague talk of a coming “storm.” It was said that Robert Mueller was secretly working with the president to conduct an investigation into a sinister cabal of cannibalistic pedophiles led by Democrats and elite business figures. It was predicted that martial law was imminent, and that Mueller would soon hand down indictments against Hillary Clinton. The theory took on a life of its own and attracted hundreds of thousands of adherents. It eventually crossed that fateful conspiracy-theory threshold past which absence of evidence for a claim becomes proof of a coverup.

QAnon is a story of exploitation, in which some digitally literate person (or group of people) strings along the gullible with a fanciful story, inviting them to work together to decode clues and discuss lore. It is also a story of radicalization, in which skepticism about the Mueller investigation or distrust of political institutions mutates into a fantasy world where the American elite is full of Jeffrey Epsteins. We don’t know whether Perkins is a cynic or a true believer, but whatever the case, she should be shunned and repudiated.

A Score of Essential Reads, So Get Clicking and Get Reading. Oh, We Forgot to Say . . . Please.

1. Bump this guy to the head of the line: Our old colleague Nat Brown shares thoughts on Hong Kong’s ominous future. From the piece:

From the day the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which stipulated the terms of the handover, was signed in 1984, Hong Kong’s fate as a future Chinese territory was already a settled fact, even if July 1, 1997, was over a decade away. When the handover did happen, and the Union Jack was lowered in the territory for the last time, the city knew its SAR status, which guaranteed freedoms of speech, assembly, the press, an independent judiciary, and other rights that didn’t exist for citizens on the mainland, also came with an expiration date — this time in 2047, when Hong Kong’s autonomous status was set to end.

Of course, far fewer than 50 years would elapse before Beijing and its loyalists in control of the local government began attempts to chip away at these rights and the autonomy supposedly protected under Hong Kong’s Basic Law, the portion of Chinese law that functions as the city’s de facto constitution. Although the details of the new national-security law have yet to be revealed, most analysts believe it to be a variation on the national-security bill the Hong Kong government introduced in 2003. That legislation was intended to fulfill the controversial Article 23, the so-called National Security Provision of the Hong Kong Basic Law, which stated that the city would, of its own accord, pass legislation to “prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, [or] subversion against the Central People’s Government.” The bill introduced into Hong Kong’s Legislative Council would have criminalized all the above acts and allowed warrantless police searches of those suspected of them. With fears that the law would be used to punish legitimate political dissent, the proposed legislation triggered massive protests, was quickly withdrawn, and until now, neither the Hong Kong nor mainland government had ever attempted to introduce it again. That Beijing has now done so is the culmination of a troubling acceleration over the past two years of the erosion of Hong Kong’s freedoms and autonomy, to the point where the situation on the ground seems to change day by day.

For Western readers looking to get caught up on the political struggle for Hong Kong’s future, a good place to start is Jeffrey Wasserstrom’s Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink, a short book published in February. In fewer than 100 pages, Wasserstrom, a professor of History at UC Irvine, deftly takes the reader through a concise history of the territory, beginning with the British acquisition of Hong Kong Island in 1841 and continuing with the subsequent additions of surrounding territory to the colony, all the way through to Hong Kong’s post–World War II boom as a center of international finance and its status as a SAR of China today. His focus, however, is on the protests of 2019, and to a lesser extent on the Umbrella Movement protests of 2014. Core to both was the question of the nature of the city’s relationship to Beijing.

2. Michael Brendan Dougherty says that the time has come for America to mount the ramparts on behalf of the freedom-lovers of Hong Kong. From the piece:

From the Belt and Road initiative across Eurasia, to Huawei’s efforts to muscle in on 5G networks across Europe and the world, to China’s privileged position in Apple’s supply chain, Beijing consistently forces some version of this choice between material comfort and political freedom on others. Try to convince yourself that Chairman Xi doesn’t smile knowing that Apple CEO Tim Cook freely criticizes religious-freedom laws in the United States, but remains silent while the Chinese government rotates persecuted and interned Uighur Muslims into the factories of Apple’s subcontractors.

Hong Kongers have fought Beijing’s efforts valiantly. They turned back previous CCP attempts to consolidate power in 2003, in 2014, and last year. So we shouldn’t accept that Beijing’s subversion of Hong Kong is a fait accompli.

Well-intentioned proposals to open our countries to Hong Kongers and inflict brain drain on Hong Kong are premature and perhaps unwise. They would hurt those left behind in the city as much as dramatic trade actions would. Diplomatic efforts, meanwhile, need to focus on detaching European leaders from their long-standing hopes that China could serve as a welcome geopolitical counterweight to the U.S. Prime Minister Boris Johnson should be prodded — even shamed, if necessary — into doing his duty and standing by the terms of the 1997 handover. Angela Merkel and others should be reminded of the costs to native industry and political independence that deals with China carry. Coordinated efforts to stand up and even recapture key industries should be made by Western leaders so that their successors don’t have to make as many economically painful decisions in an effort to protect national sovereignty and political freedom.

3. Department of Sanctimony: David Bahnsen nails CNBC host Andrew Sorkin, virtue monopolist. From the commentary:

Andrew Ross Sorkin’s frustration over having missed so much of the post-COVID realities in markets and economic life boiled over this morning in one of the more outrageous outbursts I have ever witnessed on financial media. Perhaps this outburst was rivaled only by his behavior during the March COVID market swoon, in which he — on a daily basis — worked hard to terrify viewers, making the most outlandish predictions one can imagine — when he wasn’t defending billionaire hedge funders who had gone on the network to say “hell is coming” with a massive short bet on the market.

One of the things that made CNBC so good coming out of the dotcom bust was the unleashing of their on-air personalities to express market and even political viewpoints. Larry Kudlow and others frequently voiced a center-right, pro-markets view, while David Faber and others held a center-left, market-skeptical view. The interactions for years were mostly mature, professional, and well-reasoned, even as they exposed different approaches and economic worldviews.

What Sorkin did on CNBC throughout the COVID pandemic was not merely ideological — it was sensationalism taken to a level I never thought I would see on business media. And it proved to be divorced from reality.

4. Was there ever a cabal so self-righteous, so above the law? Victor David Hanson reflects on the Obama administration, and the former POTUS, reputations a tatter. From the essay:

The Obama-administration appeasement of China is over and in retrospect seen as disastrous. “Reset” with Russia was as mythical as Russian “collusion.” The much-heralded Asian “pivot” is a forgotten divot.

No one defends the Iran Deal much anymore, as Tehran struggles with sanctions, bankruptcy, a hostile Middle East, a suspect Chinese patron, the death of its terrorist master General Soleimani, popular unrest, and a COVID-19 mess. The idea of empowering the Iranian terrorist state and its appendages in Syria as a legitimate balance to Egypt, the moderate Gulf States, and even Israel was always unhinged. It was largely dreamed up by failed novelist Ben Rhodes, the organizer of the resistance foreign-policy shadow government that no one hears much about anymore.

Even the Arab world is relieved that Obama’s estrangement with Israel is over with. Whatever the Obama policy toward North Korea was, it was a prescription for nuclear missiles pointed at the U.S. America met the Paris climate accord more effectively than most signees to the agreement, and through hated natural gas and not beloved wind and solar. The world did not end when the Golan Heights was not going to be given back to Assad’s Syria, or as the American Embassy moved to Jerusalem.

The epidemic put an end to lots of Obama lore. Secure borders are now the unquestioned consensus, not caravans blasting through rusty cyclone fences. Globalization is a synonym for Chinese hegemony. China is no longer a helpful partner in American efforts to address climate change and epidemics, as Obama once waxed. The interior of the country is no longer written off, and jobs will come back without a magic wand, and more so due to fear of current Chinese monopolies of essential U.S. goods. Obama hollowed out the U.S. military and saw it rebuilt by Donald Trump.

5. More MBD: He mocks the Orbán Haters, dead wrong on their charges of a Hungarian dictatorship. From the analysis:

It was on March 30th that the Hungarian Parliament approved a state-of-emergency law to deal with coronavirus that gave power to Viktor Orbán’s government to pass laws by decree, and instituted severe-looking restrictions on the dissemination of fake news. Several European countries had already passed enabling acts of this sort — France has seemed to go in and out of such states of emergency regularly in the last decade. That the emergency powers were a feature of Hungary’s existing constitution, limited by that constitution not to touch fundamental rights and subject to a parliamentary check, troubled none of these analysts.

At the time of this great panic for Hungarian democracy, Hungarian opponents of Orbán spread ludicrous and easily-checkable claims about the legislation, saying that the parliament itself had been suspended and elections cancelled, a claim spread by people as eminent as Anne Applebaum. Other experts told us confidently that these powers were gathered by Orbán for the purpose of suppressing the inevitably disastrous performance of his nation’s health-care institutions. American political strategists predicted extravagant things, such as: “He’s going to wind up putting Gypsies in permanent detention . . . ”

I predicted that Orbán would return the emergency powers back to Parliament roughly around the same time as France. This week, Hungary began the process, and all powers will be restored by June 20th. Currently, France’s emergency powers last until July 10th, but could be extended.

How did the predictions pan out? Hungary has seen just under 500 deaths out of slightly less than 3,500 cases, which, while serious, is nothing like the horrors visited upon Italy or Spain in recent months. Its hospital system, though far behind richer nations, did not break down.

6. Y’all Ain’t Better Not Read This: Kevin Williamson deciphers Joe Biden, pigmentation expert. From the essay:

When it comes to black voters, the best thing the Democratic Party has going for itself is the Republican Party. But coalitions change. It was not that long ago that rural whites were about 102 percent Democratic. It was not that long ago that struggling industrial workers in declining Rust Belt communities were among the most reliable Democratic voters there were. That changed.

There is a difference between working in a political coalition for mutual benefit and subordinating oneself or one’s community to the exigencies of party electioneering. The Democrats may have worked to represent the interests of rural whites as they understood them (that certainly was the view from New Deal, Texas, for a generation) but as the character of the party changed in the postwar years, the Democrats began to discover that the people on whose behalf they presumed to speak were no longer listening to them and no longer interested in having Democrats presume to act as their self-appointed tribunes. Republicans, for their part, watched suburb after suburb after suburb slip away from them as affluent and educated professionals turned their backs on a party that seemed to them too white, too Southern, too rural, too Evangelical, too bumptious. (As a matter of cynical and ironic political calculation, the real problem with the Republicans’ bad reputation on race is not the black votes it has cost them but the white votes it has cost them.) The Republican Party once had a home in the cities and suburbs, and thrived in such places as Southern California, now considered a lost cause for the GOP.

Today’s Democrats believe that it is impossible for them to lose the black vote. Republicans once believed precisely the same thing.

7. Dan McLaughlin has some perceptive observations on George Floyd’s death and the riotous reaction. From the analysis:

Riots, arson, and looting, however, are not, especially when they are just an excuse for heisting a television. As I wrote about the Ferguson riots in 2014, the people who try to excuse them are typically unwilling or unable to say openly what they are advocating. Our country was founded on the idea that there’s a time and a place when armed revolution against the government is justified. But violent protest is legitimate only in that situation. There remains a vigorous debate about whether John Brown was justified in trying to start a revolution over slavery; there are still some extremists in the anti-abortion movement who see nearly a million deaths a year as a high enough bar to justify revolutionary violence. But those are the extreme cases, and I remain skeptical even in those examples that the violent destruction of civil order could be justified. A society ruled by law, with civil order and a democratic process for seeking change, is a valuable and fragile thing, and societies that throw it away often find it cannot be rebuilt.

Moreover, in terms of media coverage, we should insist on a clear distinction between peaceful protest and violence, and we should insist on that distinction no matter what side or faction the violence comes from. When right-wingers engage in violence, the media conflates the two in order to delegitimize protest; when there are race riots, the media conflates the two in order to legitimize rioting. Only when you have left-wing assassination attempts such as the congressional baseball shooting or the Family Research Council shooting, or violence by Islamist radicals, will the media really hermetically seal the two. Let us be consistent. Free speech, even angry, overheated, and misguided speech, is not violence and is not responsible for violence. Speech that calls directly for violence can be responsible, but it is still not violence. Violence is not speech, it is violence.

8. More McLaughlin: Dan delivers another body blow to the 1619 Project. From the beginning of the essay:

I’ve previously covered the factual problems with the New York Times’ 1619 Project’s Pulitzer Prize–winning lead essay. The factual inaccuracies are important, but so is the narrative project that required them. Let’s answer two questions: What narratives are at stake in the 1619 Project, and why do conservatives care so much about the whole thing? The two are intimately connected questions.

There are five major narratives about the founding and development of America and its ideas, particularly as it concerns slavery and the place of African Americans in American history. What follow are, of course, simplified versions of these narratives, but they capture their essential thrust. While all five narratives contain some grain of truth, they are by no means equally accurate.

First, there is the Heroic Narrative. The Heroic Narrative is, basically, “only the good parts.” It’s the story of America’s triumphs and virtues with everything else left out or scrubbed into the margins. There is, however, virtually nobody who argues for teaching the Heroic Narrative above the level of introducing very small children to the highlights of the story first.

Second, we have the Lost Cause Narrative. The Lost Cause Narrative is the child of the Confederacy and its partisans. In academic history, it is most associated with the Dunning school of historians, who were particularly influential between the 1910s and the mid 1950s and left a lingering mark thereafter. It derives originally from the openly pro-slavery history and philosophy of antebellum figures such as John C. Calhoun, Thomas Roderick Dew, Roger Taney, Alexander Stephens, George McDuffie, and George Fitzhugh. In their own time, the Calhounists proclaimed that slavery was a positive good and a necessary component of the American economic and social system. They argued that the Constitution was explicitly intended to promote slavery and white supremacy. They urged that it was legitimate and even necessary to exercise federal power to defend slaveholders’ property rights, expand them into the territories, and acquire new lands for them.

9. Kyle Smith checks out the Central Park / Dog affair and hears the strong echoes of Covington. From the piece:

Possibly it was an overreaction for Ms. Cooper to call the police. Then again, when citizens feel threatened, calling the police and letting them sort it out is what is supposed to happen. What Mr. Cooper said to her was unmistakably a threat. It was reasonable for her to be scared. “I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it”? That’s a menacing thing to say. He then called the dog over while offering it a treat. He meant her to think he was going to poison her dog to motivate her to leash the animal. By his own admission, he said something calculated to frighten her. Apparently, he does this all the time; he carries dog treats while birding “for just such intransigence.” If there were no threat linked to his offering the dog a snack, he would not have prefaced this action by saying, “You’re not going to like it.” He didn’t say, “Look, let’s be reasonable here, I’ll even give your dog a nice snack to show I mean well.” Mr. Cooper intended to scare Ms. Cooper, he succeeded, and in her fear she called the cops.

Ms. Cooper would probably have been wise to leash her pet and walk briskly away, but when a stranger threatens to poison your dog in Central Park, that is bound to cause consternation. It’s not unreasonable for her to have felt herself (as well as the dog) personally threatened by Mr. Cooper’s saying, “I’m going to do what I want, and you’re not going to like it.” She later told CNN, “I didn’t know what that meant. When you’re alone in a wooded area, that’s absolutely terrifying, right?” A question for the mobs denouncing her: Would you abjure the right to call the police if you were alone in a park with a stranger who said to you, “I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it”?

10. Daniel Tenreiro scopes out Red China’s tough-guying of India. From the piece:

Of late, though, the Sino–Indian border has again become a flash point. Before the 2017 Doklam standoff, Chinese forces twice encroached on Indian territory in Ladakh, in 2013 and 2014. Those confrontations, coinciding with visits by Chinese leaders to India, represented attempts by the PRC to establish its superiority to India. A strengthening U.S.–India relationship has made Beijing cautious of its regional rival, increasing the strategic importance of the Sino–Indian border. Indeed, since the 1950s, the PRC has settled all its land-border disputes except for those with India and Bhutan. China has also strengthened ties to Pakistan, in a bid to put pressure on India.

While the recent trend indicates that the confrontation will end without casualties, each round of brinkmanship increases the likelihood of war. “The two sides’ ability to patrol these remote areas has increased significantly, leading to more clashes and run-ins,” Jaishankar says. For now, Indian and Chinese officials are attempting to settle the dispute diplomatically. Both governments have been relatively muted about the standoff, suggesting that neither side plans to escalate the standoff in the near future, but negotiations over the weekend ended without a settlement.

Whatever the outcome, the standoff highlights the challenges to China’s bid for regional hegemony. Ongoing disputes with Taiwan and Hong Kong have escalated just as the diplomatic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic materializes. Japan is now paying its businesses to leave China, a measure also under consideration by the U.S. Reuters reported that an internal memo presented to Chinese national-security officials recommended preparing for war with the U.S., citing a spike in anti-China sentiment to its highest level since the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident. Surrounded on all sides by foes, Xi faces mounting obstacles to his goal of “national rejuvenation.”

11. Jerry Bowyer and Charles Bowyer offer instructions for conservatives to combat “woke” shareholders. From the article:

Special-interest groups buy shares, write proposals, show up at the conference, and slowly remake the corporate world in their image. Much of this is now being institutionalized under the heading of “ESG investing,” a notion that has found wide support among the large proxy ‘advisory services’ companies that vote on shareholders’ behalf on topics that can include divisive social issues, often without much input from the shareholders themselves. For the most part, large blue-state pension funds are also fully on board with ESG, as are some of the largest money managers in the world.

But this new status quo may finally be seeing the first signs of rebellion. With organizations such as the Alliance Defending Freedom and the National Center for Public Policy Research taking the lead, the politicization of the boardroom is being challenged. Amongst all the shareholder proposals designed to advance a particular ideological line, a few stand out from the pack. One, intended to challenge Amazon’s partnership with the largely discredited Southern Poverty Law Center, will be voted on at Amazon’s meeting on the 27th. Amazon still relies on the SPLC’s “hate-list” for their “Smile” program, which allows customers to give small amounts to a charity “of their choice,” but, in practice, that choice is policed by the SPLC. Customers can only actually give to the charities that do not fall foul of the SPLC’s standards. This is a troubling thought, given that the SPLC once labeled moderate Muslim activist Maajid Nawaz an “anti-Muslim extremist” — until legal action compelled it to apologize to Nawaz, and to pay a settlement of over $3 million. The SPLC routinely smears conservative, Christian charities such as the Family Research Council as “hate groups” for promoting the traditional Christian understanding of sexual ethics. To regard it as a neutral mediator standing above the fray of partisanship is absurd.

Amazon, unfortunately, has played along with the SPLC and, to take one example, removed the Family Research Council from its Smile program after the SPLC labeled it as a hate group. This is what a resolution, to be voted on by shareholders at Amazon’s AGM on the 27th, aims to remediate. It calls for Amazon to issue a report “evaluating the range of risks and costs associated with discriminating against different social, political, and religious viewpoints.” As is the case for many shareholder resolutions, the expectation isn’t for it to pass as much as it is to gain traction and attention, showing Amazon’s board that conservative shareholders have a voice, too.

12. The Wuhan Virus is killing more men than women, but as John Hirschauer explains, such facts get hip-checked by a growing genre of journalism determined to find women as bearing the pandemic’s brunt. From the story:

The story of women’s COVID oppression is told half by anecdote and half by data. We are enjoined to pity the women who, confined to their homes by statewide stay-at-home orders, are engaged in more housework than their husbands. NBC News speaks with a think-tank official who presents a five-step plan “to reset the unfair division of labor at home during COVID-19;” NPR goes further than “unfair,” quoting a source who says that the pandemic has laid bare the “grotesque” gender inequalities in America’s division of household labor.

There is an entire genre of articles devoted to the supposedly benighted women of COVID-19, whose disproportionate attendance to childcare during the pandemic could, in Vox’s words, “harm women’s long-term career prospects.” The fact that the unemployment rate among women is about three percentage points higher than among men has been presented as evidence that between housework and economic misfortune, women are “bearing” the proverbial “brunt” of the pandemic — even as men are shown to be far more likely to die from the coronavirus.

These unemployment disparities and unequal divisions of household labor have been a subject of myopia among the nation’s most unpleasant media guild — “gender reporters” and “equity correspondents.” The very existence of their jobs, of course, is premised on there being sexism to fight, rampant discrimination to overturn, and looming forces of reaction eager to reinstall — if it was ever uninstalled — the patriarchy.

13. David Harsanyi finds Donald Trump’s social-media speech-policing to be illiberal. From the piece:

After all, when was the last time government intervention made speech more free or fair? Have conservatives forgotten that Citizens United was a decision sparked by bureaucrats who used existing election laws, passed in effort to ensure more “fairness,” to ban political speech? Have they forgotten that how easily IRS officials tasked as arbiters of that fair speech can abuse their power?

Maybe they’ll remember when Attorney General Kamala Harris is overseeing the White House Office of Digital Strategy and regulating online speech.

14. The Paris Agreement has a big problem, says Jordan McGillis. It’s Communist China. From the article:

In 2018, China added roughly 30 gigawatts of new coal-fired power capacity — about 60 power plants’ worth. In fact, China is in the process of building more coal-fired electricity generation capacity than the United States currently has in operation. By 2030 it is expected to have 1,300 gigawatts of coal power available to its grid. The U.S., by comparison, has 229 gigawatts of coal capacity. Though China’s new plants are of the more efficient supercritical and ultra-supercritical varieties, their cumulative emissions profile is enormous. Even if every Chinese plant were to emit 35 percent less than its American counterpart per unit of energy, as coal backers claim is possible, the total effect would still be staggering.

What’s more, China’s emissions-intensive investments do not stop at its borders. Just as crucially, China is constructing and financing hundreds of infrastructure projects and coal-fired power plants in countries across the developing world as part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Through BRI, China has committed to building more than 200 coal-fired power plants in more than 24 countries, ranging from Bangladesh to Serbia to Zimbabwe. The endeavor is an infrastructure expansion such as the world has never seen, requiring gargantuan volumes of steel and concrete, two industrial products as carbon-intense as any. “While China has imposed a cap on coal consumption at home, its coal and energy companies are on a building spree overseas,” Yale Environment 360’s Isabel Hinton wrote last year.

According a 2019 World Bank Group working paper on BRI, “the potential for indirect effects of land‐use change and deforestation from BRI road and rail construction, as described above, could not only profoundly affect forest cover and ecosystem health but also generate a significant impact on the global climate.” These potential impacts are hidden when policy within China’s borders is evaluated in isolation. As Hinton describes, BRI will ensure that China’s partners develop in the carbon-intensive patterns that China itself has pledged to curb.

15. The EU is gunning for Israel. David Wurmser calls out the hypocrites. From the beginning of the piece:

Sometimes events provide clarifying moments. The European Union’s response to the prospect of Israel’s annexation of parts of the Jordan Valley, in which several almost entirely Jewish settlement blocs are located, is such a moment. By dressing up cynical political calculations as “the rule of law,” Europe in fact risks undermining Jewish rights and violating the very body of international law EU leaders claim to defend.

According to the EU, the lands Israel seized in 1967 are covered by the acquisition-of-force provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and therefore Israel is to be considered an occupying power of the territories with all the legal obligations the convention imposes on such powers. Those include the nontransfer of populations, the prohibition on revision of borders to cede land to the occupier, and a variety of measures to protect the human and cultural rights of the populations, including the provisions not to change the cultural or religious nature of the occupied lands. It also establishes legal rights of the populations, including the prohibition on putting an inhabitant of that territory on trial in the occupier’s territory. As a result, the EU claims that any changes to the 1967 border are Geneva Convention violations. It further claims that Israel commits many more violations with its settlement and other policies. Even bringing an accused terrorist from Jerusalem or Hebron to stand trial in an Israeli court would violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, according to the EU. Annexations of land would constitute yet more violations.

Therefore, to maintain the rule of law and fulfill the EU’s rule-of-law ethos, the EU presidency and many of its members are seeking to punish Israel if it continues to build settlements, continues archaeological projects across the 1967 lines, or seeks to change the 1967 lines — which annexations would effectively do.

16. Ryan Young explains how regulation reform can help the pandemic battle and also help revive the American economy. From the piece:

Politicians do not make medical supplies. Entrepreneurs, businesses, and workers do — when they can get the right permits. Politicians will not lead an economic recovery, either. Washington can best help by getting out of the way — though doing so will take considerable effort.

Waiving regulations can take months or even years, even when they are clearly harmful. Trump’s new executive order is a start. It encourages agencies to use whatever emergency powers they have to speed along the cleanup process. Unfortunately, many drastic regulations are passed during emergencies, from unconstitutional national-security and surveillance policies to bailouts for favored big businesses. But fortunately, regulations can also be removed that way. We have a choice. The famous “ratchet effect” of government’s grabbing power during a crisis and keeping it afterward does not have to be an iron law.

The executive order directs agencies to use discretion in enforcing rules they keep and to “decline enforcement against persons and entities that have attempted in reasonable good faith to comply.” It also directs agencies to issue rulings and clarifications in a timely matter where possible. This would be a welcome change. People have more important things to worry about during a pandemic than filling out forms in triplicate.

17. Conrad Black says that the Obama administration / FBI–Trump–Russia scam requires full exposure at all levels. From the piece:

A criminal investigation into former holders of national office would be a momentous and disturbing development. As one who disputed at every stage (and has continued ever since its sorry completion) the judicial persecution of President Nixon, objected to the Walsh investigation of Iran-Contra and President Reagan and its unjust findings, and opposed the impeachment of President Clinton for the reasons that caused it to end in acquittal, I feel particularly strongly that there should be no criminal investigation and certainly no publicity of such an investigation of President Obama or Vice President Biden if there is any other less disruptive and less potentially abusive method of determining the facts that Barr has many times rightly stated must be ascertained. He wishes to get to the bottom of what seemed to him an unprecedented and unconstitutional assault upon a presidential campaign and a president-elect that continued more than halfway through the first term of the Trump presidency. This will require some examination of what role Obama and Biden played in that skullduggery, without prejudging it.

If Mr. Barr’s comment was tactical, it has been successful, in that the Democratic national political media (about 80 percent of the media) have been offloaded from Barr’s back and have ceased to revile him as a Trump lackey, as that would be unbecoming of the last protector of the threadbare Obama legacy. This cannot have been his purpose, but he may have been addressing only current probabilities. It is inconceivable that there were rogue directors of the FBI, CIA, and NIA, and officials in other senior echelons of government, plotting to frame or mousetrap a three-star general and former intelligence chief and mislead the FISA court with false requests for domestic espionage on a presidential campaign, without anyone consulting or informing President Obama. His role must be investigated, fairly and promptly. If he and Biden were engaged in illegal acts, the country must be enabled to make an informed decision on Election Day. If they were not, the country must know that, and they must not be stigmatized by the almost certain crimes of some of Obama’s appointees.

18. Andrew Foxall charges that the dependence of the U.S. and Western nations on Red China for important goods is dangerous. From the analysis:

Yet the pandemic has highlighted something that Trump’s National Security Strategy identified three years ago. Instead of becoming a “responsible stakeholder” in the international system — a term coined by Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick in 2005 to describe the role that the Bush administration hoped China would play following its 2001 entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) — China has instead “expanded its power at the expense of others.”

This is a point emphasized in the Trump administration’s report on “United States Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China,” published last week. The report argues that the Chinese Communist Party has “exploited” the advantages of WTO membership to advance a Marxist–Leninist political and economic system that is fundamentally at odds with the United States’s — and the West’s — free and open society. The wealth it has generated permits a full-spectrum approach to foreign policy that combines economic coercion, military saber-rattling, a mammoth state-sponsored media empire, and cohorts of witting and unwitting accomplices. The CCP has also plowed huge amounts of money into controlling global trade routes and stolen intellectual property on a massive scale.

All of this is undertaken to achieve Xi Jinping’s goal for China: to make it the world’s most powerful country by 2049. And there has already been some progress toward this. China has the world’s second-largest economy, a military-industrial complex and high-technology sector second only to those of the U.S., and the world’s largest population. Despite embracing capitalism to facilitate China’s rise, the CCP believes that it is engaged in an existential ideological–political battle with the West and that Communism will — and must — win out.

19. Jonathan Horn reminds us of POTUS 1, Father of Our Country, Pandemic Leader. From the beginning of the article:

The plan the president proposed for venturing back out so soon after the worst of the epidemic worried his advisers. If he followed such a course, they warned, he would go against the instructions of doctors and, worse, give fellow citizens license to do the same. Nevertheless, into the city the next day rode George Washington.

In search of parallels to the coronavirus, much has been written about the yellow-fever epidemic that chased the fledgling federal government from its then-capital of Philadelphia in the summer and fall of 1793. But the courage and independence that President Washington showed by returning to the city have gone largely overlooked — perhaps because the story does not conform to the mantra that medical expertise should always override political judgment during crises.

With the death toll mounting — eventually about 10 percent of the city’s population would perish — Washington had reluctantly joined the exodus from Philadelphia on September 10. Sensitive to symbolism, he would have delayed his departure, which he knew would demoralize the city. But he realized that his wife would insist on staying for as long as he did. “I could not think of hazarding her . . . any longer by my remaining in the city,” he wrote.

20. Brian Allen calls for museums to open. From the essay:

Most curators would be shocked to hear they have a public-service mission. And there’s management that caters to every fear of every neurotic on the staff. Museums can’t stay closed to accommodate any of these people. It’s irresponsible. The key job of museum director now is to reopen. The key job of every trustee is to ask “why not” when faced with navel-gazers.

People have been needlessly frightened by politicians and public-health bureaucrats who think we’re too dumb to be moved by anything more subtle than fear, and this terrible governance is bad for society, which, I think, has to get back to normal.

Here, again, I’m unorthodox among art critics. I think about jobs, tax revenue to pay for programs, and whether or not our children have a healthy attitude toward risk. I like risk-takers in the arts. We won’t enjoy cultural vibrancy if the public is a bunch of safe-space blobs. States and cities are already cutting grants to the arts. Art lovers are angry but, duh, where do they think the money comes from? Trash the tax base, we trash programs getting tax money. Trash the economy, we give philanthropy a kick in the butt.

After months of Black Death propaganda, and what we’re seeing is a form of atrocity propaganda, people need to be coaxed back to public spaces and communal living. Museums have a responsibility to do their part in advancing the irrefutable fact that Dracula, Freddy Kruger, and Jaws aren’t hiding behind every Giacometti bronze, or every dress rack or hot dog stand, or under every beach blanket, or next to us, in every seat at every concert, play, or lecture.

BONUS: Don’t worry Lana Del Ray, because Madeleine Kearns has your back. From the piece:

This (entirely pointless) controversy began when Del Rey argued for “the need for fragility in the feminist movement.” She pondered in an Instagram post why it was that other artists — women she admires, she later clarified — such as “Doja Cat, Ariana [Grande], Camila, Cardi B, Kehlani and Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé” all achieved praise and success with “songs about being sexy, wearing no clothes, f***ing, cheating, etc, [sic],” and yet her own work “about being embodied, feeling beautiful by being in love even if the relationship is not perfect,” had resulted in her being “crucified” (perhaps a slight exaggeration) and accusations that she was “glamorizing abuse.”

Del Rey’s crime was that she had failed to notice that her list of comparators were all women of color. Teen Vogue’s Danielle Kwateng-Clark deplored “the Caucasity of it all.” Slate columnist Jamilah Lemieux tweeted: “I don’t know who was giving Lana Del Rey a hard time but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Black women. Girl, sing your little cocaine carols and leave us alone.” (Which is funny, at least.) Jezebel writer Ashley Reese wrote: “The optics of Lana, a white woman, complaining about feminism lacking space for her while critiquing the acclaim allotted to several black pop artists is mortifying.” Another writer for BuzzFeed called her “arrogant and ahistorical.”

But wait — who said anything about race? Del Rey is adamant that this was not at all her point. “The fact that they want to turn my advocacy for fragility into a race war is really bad,” she said. I’ll say! Further, she’s adamant that racializing feminism says more about her critics than it does about her. “I’m sorry that a couple of the girls I talked to, that I mentioned in that post, had a different opinion of my insight,” she wrote. Still, an experience such as this “makes you reach into the depth of your own heart and ask, ‘Am I good intentioned?’ and of course for me the answer is always yes.” Always? The saintly celeb then unwittingly continued to stoke progressive rage by making yet another comparator to an artist of color. “When I get on the pole, I get called a whore, but when Twigs gets on the pole, it’s art.”

Lights. Camera. Action!

1. Armond White thinks Young Ahmed is a dud. From the beginning of the review:

Young Ahmed (Le Jeune Ahmed), by Belgium’s Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, presents a perfect lesson in the folly of liberal sentimentality. It takes a clear-eyed look at 13-year-old Muslim Ahmed (Idir Ben Addi) and his self-radicalization without blaming politics or religion. The Dardenne brothers avoid blame entirely through their now-familiar Cannes Film Festival multiple-award-winning approach to sociological drama.

The fear and compassion that convulses contemporary Europe are remote in the story of Ahmed’s giving up video games and pop-culture posters to study under a duplicitous Imam (Othmane Moumen), perform daily ablutions, read the Koran, and say his prayers. Ahmed seems a typical teenager in the way he gives over to a new fad, even if his zealous commitment causes him to insult his mother (Claire Bodson), then plan to kill his math teacher (Myriem Akheddiou), whom the Imam has identified as an infidel.

Ahmed is almost embryonic. Curly-haired, bespectacled, with a baby-fat face impassive with confusion, he is also dyslexic and awkward. The man in him is unformed. When defending the imam, a substitute father figure, Ahmed lies on purpose. Walking like a dork as he contemplates meeting and killing his teacher, he is potentially dangerous. His intelligence is expressed in deviousness, not exactly innocence (although he looks harmlessly innocent, like a young Tony Kushner).

2. Kyle Smith gets into the time machine and reconsiders the 2008 Coen Brothers film, Burn After Reading. From the review:

Twelve years ago Joel and Ethan Coen’s wack comedy Burn After Reading didn’t strike me as anything much, with its random and grotesque plot twists, but today it looks like it so perfectly understood how Washington works that it provided the template for how L’Affaire Mueller would play out. (Spoilers follow; the film is streaming on Starz.)

At the end of the movie, a disbelieving C.I.A. chief played by J. K. Simmons contemplates the 90 minutes of total insanity we’ve just seen, with several lives violently ended and others permanently damaged because of a misunderstanding on the part of a pair of idiotic gym rats, and says, “I’m f***ed if I know what we did.” Somewhere out there in Mueller land some earnest career public servant must be saying the exact same thing. People were interrogated by the FBI, lives were ruined, jail terms were sternly handed down, Michael Flynn was stripped of $5 million and demolished. All of this happened . . . why? Because of a . . . rumor about a pee tape? Disbelief that Donald Trump could have been legitimately elected president without some nefarious foreign interference? Anger about John Podesta’s emails leaking out because he fell for a dopey phishing scheme? Fretting about Russian Facebook memes featuring Jesus arm-wrestling Satan?

Can wise, dedicated, highly trained public servants really have allowed themselves to get torched in this moronic inferno? “You’re part of a league of morons,” says the Princeton-educated career CIA analyst Osbourne, played by John Malkovich, when he thinks he has sorted out all of the fallacies that have led him to train a pistol on a lovelorn gym manager in his basement. But the joke’s on “Ozzy,” as colleagues call him. He’s the biggest moron of all because his miscalculations are what got the whole thing going. If he had accepted a transfer from the CIA to the State Department rather than making his wife furious by quitting his job in a huff, and if he hadn’t taken to writing his memoirs as a self-deluding form of payback against the Agency, he wouldn’t be facing the fate that awaits him, which is getting shot to death in his bathrobe. Personal trainers, Treasury Department security officers, the Ivy League WASP aristocracy at Langley: They’re all part of the Washington League of Morons.

3. Itxu Díaz says that The Duke is the hero we need. From the piece:

Over the years, Wayne developed an extraordinary nose for detecting Communists. On one occasion, during a shoot in the middle of the Cold War, he asked the film director Edward Dmytryk, “Are you a Commie?” Dmytryk answered: “If the masses of the American people want Communism, I think it’d be good for our country.” “Well, to me,” said the Duke, later recalling the exchange, “the word ‘masses’ is not a term generally used in Western countries, and I just knew he was a Commie.”

Wayne’s anti-Communism is no outdated sentiment. The coronavirus crisis is reviving the worst ghosts of Communism’s dehumanizing ideology: an overdose of regulations, massive surveillance, the presumption of guilt, venomous state paternalism, and economic aids that, although sometimes necessary, turn millions into passive citizens clinging helplessly to the public treasury. Don’t forget that in any crisis there is always some enlightened person saying, “Let’s give the whole world a salary and end poverty.” And then there’s always some damned party-pooper-son-of-a-hyena innocently asking, “And who’s going to pay for that?” More often than not, that damned party-pooper-son-of-a-hyena will be yours truly.

Wayne got it right; he drew no distinctions between liberals, socialists, and Communists. What separates Biden from Sanders is little more than a couple of bouts of sniffing a young girl’s hair and the occasional whoop. But the whole Left is marching toward the same precipice. Look at Venezuelan Chavism, Spanish socialism, European social democracy, or Cuban Communism. They are different degrees of the same project to annihilate individuality and strengthen the state. A brilliant P. J. O’Rourke wrote years ago (and it’s still true today), “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”

John Wayne abhorred the masses, even his own following. This set him free to be critical, even of his own people. And there lies the difference between conservatives and progressives: individual thought. The conservative tends to value his own thought. The progressive believes in collective thought, ignoring that, in human nature, such a thing simply does not exist. There are global fevers, such as the gold rush or tulip mania; there’s widespread blindness, like the one afflicting so many Biden-loving reporters; there can also be a feeling that many people share, such as (in my case) an infatuation with tennis player Maria Sharapova. But there is no such thing as collective thinking.


1. On Episode 83 of The McCarthy Report, Andy and Rich discuss the death of George Floyd, the scuffle surrounding Judge Sullivan, and look at the insider-trading case against Senator Burr. Court’s in session, here.

2. On The Victor Davis Hanson Podcast, VDH discusses the emptiness and diminished legacy of the Obama administration, and his gilded-Socialism cashed-in post-presidency; the ACLU’s foray into fighting due process on campus; Stanford colleague Michael Levitt’s told-you-so warnings about pandemic predictions and the deadly impact of lockdowns; India’s standing as a U.S. ally; and Joe Biden’s expectations of Black Americans. Catch the wisdom here.

3. On The Editors, Rich, Charlie, and Jim discuss Trump’s tweets aimed at Joe Scarborough, Biden’s awkward exchange on The Breakfast Club, and how reopening is happening whether the experts think it should or not. Pay heed, here.

4. And on yet another episode of The Editors, Rich, Charlie, and Michael discuss the Minneapolis riots. They also have an extended conversation concerning the president’s uncalled-for tweets about Joe Scarborough and the spotlight this has thrown on Section 230. It’s all happening here.

5. Bully! On the new episode of The Great Books, John J. Miller and Thomas Bruscino of the U.S. Army War College discuss Theodore Roosevelt’s The Rough Riders. Listen loudly and carry a big set of headphones, here.

6. JJM then does his switcheroo and on The Bookmonger talks with Senator Tom Cotton about Cotton’s new book, Sacred Duty. Listen here.

7. On the new episode of Radio Free California, David and Will spend too much time on Trump vs Twitter, and then consider the Ninth Circuit’s decision declaring the Bill of Rights a “suicide pact” to be suspended by judges “with a little practical wisdom.” Catch the wisdom here.

8. On the new Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Kevin and Charlie discuss libel law, the Minneapolis riots, and more. Listen and learn here.

9. On Constitutionally Speaking, Jay and Luke consider the life and career of John Quincy Adams, one-term POTUSes, and the last Jeffersonian. Hear ye, here.

The Six

1. In Commentary, Noah Rothman bemoans the always-inconsistent mandates that made the NYC-area quarantine a despondent affair. From the article:

The contradictions associated with the lockdown were enough to drive you insane. The seamless transition public officials made from advocating extraordinary measures designed to spare the health-care system from catastrophic collapse to the unceasing perpetuation of those measures until the risk of new infections became negligible was just the latest exasperation.

Don’t leave your house unless it is absolutely necessary, we were told. “This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy,” Dr. Deborah Birx advised the public on April 5. But, if it is necessary, you should feel free to stock up on food and medicine. And make sure you support your local businesses as much as possible. They’re hurting.

You should not wear face masks, we were informed. They do not help prevent the spread of this infection and can provide wearers with a false sense of security. But sometimes, they do help. In fact, they’re now mandatory, even though they were long ago sold out and are available only on backorder. Don’t go out without one.

Whatever you do, we were notified, don’t go to a hospital. “If you are sick, don’t walk into a doctor’s office or an ER without calling ahead,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo asserted on March 20. “Only leave your home if directed to after a #telehealth consultation.” All elective and preventive medical services were put on hold for the foreseeable future. That is, unless you’re homeless. In which case, you have the option of either going to a shelter or the hospital, and you should probably choose the latter.

It’s important to get exercise, we were instructed. The last thing you want to do right now is become sedentary and risk the associated health complications. But with the parks closed, you’ll just have to walk down the middle of the street. And we hope you got one of those masks, because you could be criminally liable if you’re seen without one. At the very least, make sure you get a mask ahead of your municipal court appearance.

And, most important, it’s critical that you preserve your sanity. After all, extreme stress is an immunosuppressant.

2. France has adopted a law to ban “hate speech.” At Gatestone Institute, Judith Bergman finds it to be a threat to free speech. From the commentary:

Having acknowledged that online “hatred” is tricky to prosecute under the existing laws because “few complaints are filed and few investigations are successful, few convictions are handed down”, but nevertheless determined that censorship is the panacea to the perceived problems, the French government decided to delegate the task of state censorship to the online platforms themselves. Private companies will now be obliged to act as thought police on behalf of the French state or face heavy fines. As in Germany, such legislation is bound to lead to online platforms exhibiting overzealousness in the removal or blocking of anything that might conceivably be perceived as “hateful” to avoid being fined.

The purpose of the law appears to have been twofold — not only to achieve the actual censorship of speech by the removal or blocking of online posts, but also the (inevitably) chilling effects of censorship on online debate in general. “People will think twice before crossing the red line if they know that there is a high likelihood that they will be held to account,” French Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet said in what sounded ominous for a government representative to say in a country that still claims to be democratic.

From the beginning, when French President Emmanuel Macron first tasked the group led by Laetitia Avia with preparing the law, the proposal was met with criticism from a number of groups and organizations. France’s National Consultative Commission on Human Rights criticized the law proposal for increasing the risk of censorship, and La Quadrature du Net, an organization that works against censorship and surveillance online, warned that, “Short removal times and large fines for non-compliance further incentivize platforms to over-remove content”. The London-based free speech organization Article 19 commented that the law threatened free speech in France.

3. In City Journal, James Copland recounts the real-life costs of bad regulation. From the piece:

With cases and deaths growing exponentially, federal regulatory authorities can be expected to fast-track new approaches. The agencies were much less willing to afford latitude to the private sector just weeks ago, though—and the United States is now much more vulnerable as a result. Chinese authorities uploaded the SARS-CoV-2 genome onto the Internet on January 10. The CDC developed its own testing protocol by January 21; international scientists developed a different test by the same date, which was soon disseminated en masse by the World Health Organization.

The U.S. testing process failed. The day that the CDC announced it had developed its testing protocol, January 21, was the date of the first documented American case of coronavirus. South Korea documented its first case the same day. But by March 17, the United States had administered only 125 tests per 1 million people; South Korea had administered more than 5,000 tests per 1 million over the same time span. By aggressive testing, South Korea was able to trace viral spread and contain it. Without it, the U.S. was left with little choice but the draconian measures that have shut down much of American life.

As has been widely reported, the CDC’s in-house testing design was flawed, thus compromising early testing results. Mistakes happen, but the impact of the test-design flaw was much greater than it should have been—owing to the U.S. bureaucracy’s tightly controlled process. Even had the CDC test worked perfectly, not nearly enough tests would have been available for wide-scale testing on the South Korean model.

4. At Law & Liberty, Titus Techera reflects on Patton, a great movie about a great general. From the review:

Patton was as necessary in the European war as MacArthur was in the Pacific, and was likewise a figure we compare to demigods rather than ordinary officials in government institutions. But he was also needed in 1970, when the movie revived his reputation, and he is needed again 50 years later—because we are constantly in danger of forgetting what kind of men we need to deal with our crises, when the nation seems resigned to paralysis and suffering.

Coppola understood this very well and he therefore concentrated on revealing character—what does it really mean to be a captain in the ancient sense, to rule armies in order to save your country? The movie neglects the technical side of Patton’s career and only hints at his lifelong study of history, but it simply assumes skillfulness to be part of his character.

Only when we see a man of such ability, who commands by excellence, do we really understand an army’s purpose. At least since World War II, we have placed too much faith in technology and institutions, and not enough in the power of individual character or the capacity of great leaders to make order out of chaos.

Character is the hardest thing for us to study and so Coppola insistently presents the mysterious, romantic part of Patton’s character over the more calculating, contemplative side of his character. The film predominately shows us the man who wrote “Through A Glass Darkly,” rather than the one who painstakingly composed tactical manuals and combed history for lessons in command. It is true, though, that he believed in reincarnation and longed to have lived and fought glorious ancient wars. He never wanted to be anything but a soldier—his every interest was aristocratic. Patton belonged to the Romantic side of America—his ancestors fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

5. At The American Conservative, Christopher Shaw makes the right-of-center case for the U.S. Postal Service. From the piece:

For decades, a sizable contingent of congressional Republicans who represent rural states and districts could be depended on to reject postal reforms that threatened their constituents’ mail delivery. Back in 1967, Senator Frank Carlson (R-Kans.) acknowledged the deep affection his constituents felt for the nation’s postal system. “There’s such a feeling of warmth between the local postmaster and the people,” he observed. When Trent Lott (R-Miss.) served in the House in the late 1970s, he stressed that “the Postal Service goes into rural areas and provides a lot of services that the people probably would not [otherwise] receive.”

The noted Chicago School economist Milton Friedman reached the same economic conclusion, stating that “local delivery subsidizes mail for remote areas.” Yet the political backing rural Republican members of Congress have long provided the Postal Service may be weakening. Although the Pew Research Center reports that rural Americans are 12 percent less likely to have broadband internet than those living in cities, Mississippi’s Republican delegation in the House turned its back on the position Lott once insisted upon when they all voted against eliminating the pre-funding requirement this past February.

A precarious Postal Service has national security implications. Although too rarely acknowledged, as a core component of our nation’s infrastructure, the Postal Service plays an important national security role. Its extensive network of processing centers and post offices give its employees the unique ability to rapidly deliver physical items to every address in the country. The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services have developed plans that can harness this capability in the event of a catastrophic biological incident. When a vaccine for COVID-19 becomes available, it may arrive at Americans’ doors via postal letter carriers accompanied by law enforcement or military personnel. Many postal workers themselves have prior military service, with veterans constituting nearly 15 percent of the agency’s workforce.

6. At Quillette, Robert Cherry asks why American women of all racial backgrounds are marrying less. From the piece:

Many commentators have also pointed to the inability of many black women to partner with similarly educated black men. Among black people aged 25 years and older, 42 percent of women and 52 percent of men have no more than a high school degree; and while 33 percent of black women have at least an associate’s degree, the comparable figure for black men is only 25 percent. The mismatch is even greater when you take into account that interracial marriage rates among newlyweds are also substantially higher for black men (24 percent) than for black women (12 percent), with the gap increasing as educational attainment rises. By contrast, Latinas and Asian women are more likely to intermarry than their male counterparts. Thus, disparate educational attainment and out-marriage rates, it is argued, have created further obstacles for unmarried black women.

The discussion concerning the white community is more muted. Between 1995 and 2010, there were significant family formation changes. The share of 12 year-old children born to and still living with married parents declined from 63 to 52 percent, while the share in cohabitating relationships increased from five to 14 percent. However, child stability was still much greater for white than for black children. In 2010, only one-third of black children were living with both biological parents compared to almost three-quarters of white children. At age 12, only one-fifth of black children were born to biological parents who were still married. This may be one reason we haven’t heard as much about the destructive effect of the declining marriage rate among white people as we have about the impact of the opioid crisis.

Looking at the educational attainment of men and women can shed some light on marriage market dynamics. Using composite data for 2008 – 2017, economists Lichter, Price, and Swigert compared the characteristics of currently married men to those of unmarried men aged 25 – 45. They found that the income of married men is 58 percent higher, employment rates are 30 percent higher, and married men are 19 percent more likely to have a four-year college degree than unmarried men. These disparities point to the shortcomings of unmarried men, forcing many women to make compromises if they wish to marry.


Of occasional subjective interest in these parts of the WJ is the connection between two players, old and young, and the span of decades the two have experienced on big-league ball fields. Your Humble Fogey suggests a duet of duos today.

The first involves two men who faced each other on a Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park in 1959, the season’s last game for the two sub-.500 teams, the Washington Senators and the Boston Red Sox. The home team prevailed that day, 6–2. On the mound for the visiting Senators was the tall rookie southpaw, Jim Kaat, in his third career game. From his perspective, it wasn’t a pretty outing: In just 1 1/3 innings, he gave up five hits and six earned runs. Two of those hits (a single and a double, accounting for two RBIs) were had by the 40-year-old Ted Williams, the AL’s reigning batting champ, in the penultimate season of a career that had begun in 1939 (in his first MLB game, against the Yankees in the Bronx on Opening Day, he played against Lou Gehrig, who would call it quits just seven games later).

As for Kaat, he had miles to go: He pitched another 24 seasons, donning the uniforms of the Twins, Yankees, White Sox, Phillies, and Cardinals, for whom he ended his career in 1983, having compiled a 283–237 record and a 3.45 ERA (and 16 Gold Glove awards). The Williams-Kaat span of 44 seasons is a thing of wonder, for those who like to wonder over such things.

Kaat — but for Tommy John and the essentially blackballed Roger Clemens — has the most career wins of a non-Hall-of-Famer.

Speaking of that Tommy John: He began his 26-season career (spent over 27 years, one lost to a famous surgery) in 1963, a fresh-faced 20-year-old southpaw added late-season to the bullpen staff of the second-division Cleveland Indians. Sitting alongside him on the bench was one of the game’s great pitchers, the 43-year-old Early Wynn, who had first pitched in 1939 as a Washington Senator. That first game was a complete-game 6–4 loss to the White Sox, before a measly home field crowd of 500 at Griffin Stadium. Wynn’s last MLB appearance came 24 years later to the day: a brief relief appearance against the Angels.

Wynn, who entered the Hall of Fame in 1972 and won the Cy Young award at the tender age of 39 in 1959, sported a 300–244 career record, with a 3.54 ERA, in 23 seasons (he spent 1940 in the minors, and 1945 in the military). Alas, Wynn and John never pitched in the same game in 1963 — John actually started and lost the game following Wynn’s final appearance — but they were active teammates, if only for a few weeks.

John’s final appearance came in 1989, against the same Angels: He started and took no decision in an 8–6 Yankee win in The Bronx. The two former Indian hurlers’ careers bridged 50 years — it might be the National Pastime’s greatest such combo.

A Dios

Wisdom is there to be had. So is peace. And mercy. And even the defeat of enemies (communists!) hostile to creation and the Creator. If we but ask. Maybe pray for such — for yourself, for leaders, for the scandalized and angry. There is so much for us to pray for this weekend. A humble suggestion: Get on your knees and do it.

May the Ancient of Days Bring Peace to You and Yours and All,

Jack Fowler, who will employ his rosary for your requests, tendered to

National Review

Fear Not that Ye Have Died for Naught . . .


Dear Weekend Jolter,

The silk/paper poppy flowers sold at this time of year, as we approach Memorial Day, always seemed . . . holy. Hallowed in their simplicity, beautiful in their symbolization, conveying the message: We honor, we revere, we do not forget. Moina Belle Michael initiated this tradition soon after World War One, and over the decades the sales of poppy flowers have raised massive amounts to support disabled war veterans and related programs. Michael, a Georgia teacher, was inspired by Canadian field surgeon John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields, which famously begins:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow between the crosses, row on row. . .

Miss Michael was so moved by the words that she wrote a poem in reply, We Shall Keep the Faith, which ends:

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

Let us pray that we do.

Now, as it does every year, Turner Classic Movies will be hosting a Memorial Day Marathon, from May 23 through May 25, showcasing 31 movies. The marathon commences with John Ford’s 1939 flick, Drums Along the Mohawk. Once upon a time, Hollywood paid fitting tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Kudos to TCM for doing this every year.

Well, the Jolt awaits, but before we get cracking, it’s a fact that if you are reading this, you are receiving the daily missive by our Jolt Eminence, Big Jim Geraghty. So you likely have read his May 21 filing titled, “Quarantine for Thee, But Not for Me.” On the off chance you have not, you are encouraged to do so, and will find it here.


1. The ACLU figures that the time has come to turn on due process. Disdain needs to be expressed. And is. From the beginning of the editorial:

That the ACLU is suing the federal government in the hope of altering its due-process standards is not headline news. That the ACLU is suing the federal government in the hope of weakening its due-process standards is headline news for the ages. Once more, the line between parody and reality has been blurred.

The targets of the ACLU’s suit are the Department of Education; its secretary, Betsy DeVos; and its assistant secretary for civil rights, Kenneth Marcus. Their offense? To have made it easier for the accused to defend themselves. As NBC News explains, the changes that Secretary DeVos has spearheaded “effectively bolster the rights of due process for those accused of sexual assault and harassment, allowing for live hearings and cross-examinations” — two elementary provisions that, as NBC notes, were “lacking during the Obama administration to protect all students under Title IX.”

Which, per the ACLU, is a problem. DeVos’s changes, the group claims, will make “it more difficult for victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault to continue their educations and needlessly comes amid a global pandemic.”

Remind us again what the C and the L stand for?

2. That America is fixated on hydrowhatevertheheck is idiotic. From the editorial:

Hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, is a well-established medicine for other purposes, and its potential has been worth exploring. Some promising early results led Democratic governors such as Andrew Cuomo and Gretchen Whitmer to join the White House task force’s cautious optimism. Too many of the president’s critics instead dug themselves into actively rooting for the treatment to fail.

The responsible thing to do with a clinically untested treatment is go where the evidence follows. The president, however, has responded to the barrage of criticism with his trademark relish for a fight. He now has publicly declared that he is taking hydroxychloroquine himself, as if his personal confidence in the drug is all that matters.

This marks a new chapter in a stupid sideshow that no one needs. It will embroil the White House and the Republican Party in defending hydroxychloroquine for the same reason his critics loathe a drug they hadn’t heard of before a few months ago — simply because it is a thing Trump favors. The vice president has already felt it necessary to state that he is not taking it.

3. America needs to stand with the people of Hong Kong. From the editorial:

China’s move against Hong Kong is likely dictated by propitious circumstances. Democracy protesters in Hong Kong may be fatigued. And while the rest of the world deals with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is little appetite to expend the diplomatic energy or engage in the trade actions that could protect Hong Kong.

At the time of the treaty, little Hong Kong accounted for nearly 20 percent of China’s overall economy, and it was a crucial engine of China’s economic growth. Companies that wanted to do business in a liberalizing China headquartered in Hong Kong. Financial markets still prefer it. Why? Because it has inherited a property-rights regime and a judicial system from the Anglo tradition. One could make a case in a Hong Kong court and expect a fair hearing, rather than a political judgment dictated by a party boss.

Abrogating the two-systems settlement is an injustice, and a foreseeable one. Hong Kong now represents less than 3 percent of China’s economy. And so Beijing senses it can strike a new bargain, renege on its treaty obligation, and put to death any notion that Hong Kong’s style of government will ever win out by persuasion.

No Sunscreen Needed: Conservative IQ Summer Fun Awaits!

National Review Institute is pleased to announce that registration is now open for a new virtual “Burke to Buckley” Summer Course! While this program is normally designed for mid-career professionals who live within the six cities where programs are offered, the virtual Summer Course will give all individuals around the nation the opportunity to participate in discussions about the foundations of conservative thought.

Participants will meet via Zoom meeting for a series of six weeknight seminars taking place on Wednesdays between May 27 and July 1 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Eastern. Participants are expected to attend all sessions and complete 25 to 30-page reading assignments, which they will discuss with a leading conservative thinker.

There is a suggested contribution of $250 in order to cover program costs and to support the non-profit Institute. Click here for more information.

As Many Links as There Are Stars on the Star-Spangled Banner

1. Rich Lowry profiles good coronavirus-fight news that nevertheless results in MSM Trump-Hate. From the piece:

Any government response to a once-in-a-generation crisis is going to be subject to legitimate criticism, and there’s no question that almost every major government in the Western world, including ours, should have acted sooner. But to read the press, there is basically nothing good that the Trump administration has done over the last three months.

This is manifestly false. In a briefing for reporters last week on FEMA’s work securing PPE, FEMA administrator Peter Gaynor laid out the raw numbers: FEMA, HHS, and the private sector have shipped or are currently shipping 92.7 million N95 respirators, 133 million surgical masks, 10.5 million face shields, 42.4 million surgical gowns, and 989 million gloves.

According to Admiral John Polowczyk, head of the supply-chain task force at FEMA, we manufactured roughly 30 million N95 respirators domestically a month before the COVID-19 crisis. He says we are on a path now to ramp up to 180 million N95 respirators a month.

None of this happened by accident. At a time of unprecedented stress on the supply chain and a yawning gap between supply and demand in the market, it required considerable clever improvisation and determined hustle. This was not your average bureaucratic response. It was a partnership between the public and private sector to get supplies to the United States on an urgent basis and ship them to the places that needed them most, and then begin to ramp up manufacturing here at home.

A team around White House adviser Jared Kushner and the supply-chain task force under Admiral Polowczyk worked to fly supplies from overseas to the U.S. quickly, to vet leads for additional PPE (the work of volunteers from the business world mustered by Kushner’s team), and to build a cooperative relationship with 3M, the country’s most important manufacturer of N95 respirators.

The story of what they’ve done is a key part of the administration’s response, even if it has been obscured by a press that has an allergy to anything that has worked.

2. More Rich: He wants to know where media-mugged Florida governor Ron DeSantis goes to get back his reputation. From the piece:

An irony of the national coverage of the coronavirus crisis is that at the same time DeSantis was being made into a villain, New York governor Andrew Cuomo was being elevated as a hero, even though the DeSantis approach to nursing homes was obviously superior to that of Cuomo. Florida went out of its way to get COVID-19-positive people out of nursing homes, while New York went out of its way to get them in, a policy now widely acknowledged to have been a debacle.

The media didn’t exactly have their eyes on the ball. “The day that the media had their first big freak-out about Florida was March 15th,” DeSantis recalls, “which was, there were people on Clearwater Beach, and it was this big deal. That same day is when we signed the executive order to, one, ban visitation in the nursing homes, and two, ban the reintroduction of a COVID-positive patient back into a nursing home.”

DeSantis is bemused by the obsession with Florida’s beaches. When they opened in Jacksonville, it was a big national story, usually relayed with a dire tone. “Jacksonville has almost no COVID activity outside of a nursing-home context,” he says. “Their hospitalizations are down, ICU down since the beaches opened a month ago. And yet, nobody talks about it. It’s just like, ‘Okay, we just move on to the next target.’”

Perhaps more understandably, The Villages, the iconic senior community, was a focus of media worries. According to DeSantis, as of last weekend there hadn’t been a single resident of The Villages in the hospital for COVID-19 for about a week. At one point, the infection rate in The Villages was so low that state officials were worried that they were missing something. “So I got the University of Florida to do a study,” he says. “They did 1,200 asymptomatic seniors at The Villages, and not one of them came back positive, which was really incredible.”

So how did DeSantis go about responding to the epidemic? It began with the data, and trying to learn the lessons of other countries.

3. Kyle Smith runs down the laundry list of Andrew Cuomo’s deadly choices. From the commentary:

In New York, the public is today the victim of Cuomo’s longstanding, bizarre, petty, counterproductive hostility toward his fellow Democrat de Blasio. Though de Blasio publicly stated on March 17 that a shelter-in-place order might be necessary, and said so gingerly so as not to poke the bear, Cuomo fired back that it wasn’t necessary and that only he had the authority to give such an order. Privately he derided de Blasio as offering a scenario more befitting a nuclear apocalypse, according to ProPublica. Five days later, as the virus roared across the state, things had become so bad that Cuomo finally shut down the state, as usual without acknowledging that de Blasio had been correct.

The state and the city continued to work at cross purposes behind closed doors. “The state Health Department broke off routine sharing of information and strategy with its city counterpart in February,” ProPublica reported, citing both a city official and a city employee. “Radio silence,” said the city official. Even today, according to the city employee quoted by ProPublica, the city has difficulty getting basic data such as nursing-home staff counts from the state “It’s like they have been ordered not to talk to us,” the person said.

4. More Kyle: Some websites can writers, their industry colleagues bemoan, but our guy weeps no tears and reminds us — journalists ain’t heroes, so put away the hankies. From the piece:

It could happen to any of us, of course, myself very much included. I readily concede that many if not most if not all of the people laid off by Buzzfeed, Vice, Condé Nast, and (certainly!) The Economist are more talented, harder-working, and better at television/podcasting/pontificating at conferences than I am. The profession of journalism hangs by a thread, and capricious Fates are awfully snippy with the scissors.

Yet journalists are fundamentally misstating what’s going on. Let’s be honest: We’re not heroes. We’re not firefighters. We’re not selfless public servants. Don’t mistake us for a cross-breed of self-flagellating monks and fired-up paramedics. We’re in this game because it’s fun, because of what it does for us, not because we’re saints who defend the defenseless and give a voice to the voiceless. Those of us who are taking down bad guys, digging through court records, and exposing the nefarious doings of men in suits are not doing so primarily to benefit others but because it pleases us. It’s delightful to expose wrongdoing. It gives you the greatest feeling in the world — the glow of self-righteousness. — It wins you awards, it wins you fame, it wins you money. If the public winds up slightly better off, well, that’s a nice added benefit. But picture a world in which crusading journalists are required to work in total anonymity — no bylines, no prizes, no television appearances, no campus speaking tours — and you’re picturing a world in which interest in doing investigative journalism plummets very nearly to zero.

And the group of journalists I’ve described are the tiny minority who come closest to being public servants. The rest of us? City reporters are in it because they love to tear around town. Entertainment reporters are in it because they are beguiled by celebrities and everything they do. Science reporters are fascinated by science, sports reporters are fascinated by sports, gender reporters are fascinated by pronouns. Washington reporters know they can generate national news for 12 hours just by saying something bitchy in a presidential briefing, and if all else fails, they know that millions will mistake them for important people if they gravely intone clichés while standing in front of the White House.

5. Ramesh Ponnuru has the backs of the Little Sisters of the Poor, once again attacked by New York Times abortion-ballyhooing writer Linda Greenhouse. From the piece:

Linda Greenhouse, a longtime legal correspondent and current columnist for the New York Times, is back with a new article opposing the legal claims of the Little Sisters of the Poor. It’s not the first time she has written such an article. It’s not even the first time she has used a pointless metaphor about storytelling to make her case. That’s alright: The case has been dragging on for years, and we’re all running out of new things to say. What’s less excusable is that it’s not the first time Greenhouse has made a simple, easily-checked mistake about the case in the course of accusing other people of misrepresentations.

Back in 2014, Greenhouse maintained that all the Obama administration was asking the Little Sisters to do was submit a “one-page form” noting that it had religious objections to covering employees’ contraception. She declared herself “baffled” that the nuns considered this requirement a violation of their conscience and that all nine justices of the Supreme Court had taken their complaint seriously. Maybe if she had read on to the second page of the “one-page form,” she would have solved the mystery: Page two proclaimed the form to be the “instrument” that triggered the requirement that a third-party administrator provide the coverage. The nuns didn’t want to be forced to take any action, including signing a form, that caused such coverage.

None of this information is a state secret. You can look up the form, as it stood when she wrote in 2014, on Wikipedia. I pointed out Greenhouse’s error at the time

6. More MSM BS: David Harsanyi slaps around GQ for its bogus history of the pro-life movement. From the beginning of the piece:

According to a new documentary, Norma McCorvey, a.k.a. “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade, made a deathbed confession that her pro-life conversion and activism was all an act, funded by anti-abortion organizations. I had a few off-the-record conversations with McCorvey over the years, and nothing in those chats felt scripted to me. You can never really know, I suppose. My guess is that McCorvey was a troubled woman, thrown into the middle of one of the most contentious Supreme Court cases in history, who shifted her positions in search of public approval.

Whatever the case, her later stances have no bearing on the debate over abortion. The fact that pro-life groups paid McCorvey to speak is not a big revelation nor a big deal. Nor do her vacillating claims tells us anything valuable about the constitutional validity of Roe v. Wade or the morality of dispensing with human life for convenience.

Yet Laura Basset at GQ would have her readers believe that McCorvey’s deathbed admission tells us everything Americans need to know about the pro-life movement.

Basset’s baffling and ahistorical central claim is that pre-Reagan Republicans were pro-abortion because they were racists and post-Reagan Republicans were pro-life also because they were racists — which is quite convenient.

7. More Ponnuru: He doubles down on the GQ pummeling. From the analysis:

Bassett tries to suggest that the pro-life movement originated because white Evangelical Christians were upset about racial desegregation. But her own story undermines the indictment. Desegregation upset Jerry Falwell Sr., she writes. But then she quotes someone else noting that white Evangelicals could not be mobilized based on that issue, and she says that Paul Weyrich tried a number of other issues to get them involved. Abortion worked. In other words, a lot more Evangelicals were fired up to fight abortion than were fired up to defend segregation. That’s supposed to reflect badly on them?

Bassett claims that Ronald Reagan did not genuinely oppose abortion, since he signed a liberalization law as governor of California. “Then as president, he said he regretted that move and suddenly opposed all abortions except to save the life of the mother.” Her chronology is wrong — Reagan had switched positions in public by at least four years before his presidency, and reportedly expressed private regrets a dozen years before it — and makes no sense given the rest of her narrative (which treats the pro-life stance as key to his becoming president in the first place, rather than a sudden post-election development). She provides no evidence for thinking that Reagan was lying when he said he had changed his mind.

8. Australia is taking on Red China. Therese Shaheen says it is critical that the U.S. stand lockstep with its Down Under ally. From the reflection:

China’s bullying and threats toward Australia go deeper than the trading relationship. Just behind beef, barley, and other commodities that Australia exports to China is education. PRC nationals as a percentage of all foreign nationals in Australian universities have doubled to more than 30 percent in the past 20 years. In the Australian Capital Territory of Canberra and surrounding communities, six in ten foreign students are from the PRC.

This influx has created a microcosm of broader tensions within the region in the Xi era on Australian university campuses. Last year during the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, Australian universities were venues for both Hong Kong–sympathetic demonstrations and counter-protests by pro-Beijing students. Violence requiring police action occurred at several locations, reflecting, as the New York Times put it, the degree to which “Australian universities have come to depend on Chinese donors, students and organizations that are often loyal to Beijing and intolerant of dissent.”

More worrisome is China’s alleged involvement in Australia’s political system. Late last year, the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) — the domestic counter-terror, counter-intelligence agency — acknowledged an investigation into allegations from 2018 by a Melbourne car dealer that a businessman with links to Norinco, a Chinese state-owned defense company, offered him $1 million or more to run for Parliament from the suburban Melbourne community of Chisholm. The car dealer, according to press reports, was heavily in debt and was later found dead in a Melbourne hotel room. The man who made the alleged offer denied it, and the circumstances as well as the details of the investigation remain cloudy. But the pattern is one that Western intelligence agencies, including ASIO, take seriously. Certainly, Beijing attempted to undermine the recent presidential election in Taiwan and remains active in influence operations against the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. A Chinese defector to Australia late last year created a stir with his detailed descriptions of PRC activities in Taiwan and Hong; he had participated in operations in both places.

9. Kevin Williamson believes that the coronavirus lockdown may have infected the cause of socialism. From the essay:

We may not yet have a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, but we are well on our way to extracting from that virus a vaccine against a far deadlier plague: socialism, which in the 20th century alone killed more than three times as many people as HIV did in the same time, which has killed about twice as many people as the Black Death killed in the 14th century, and which continues to afflict victims around the world from Cuba to North Korea to Venezuela.

Every way of organizing community life (and that’s what “the economy” is — one important part of community life) brings with it certain advantages, certain disadvantages, and certain risks, and the disruptions caused by the coronavirus epidemic have exposed some of the weaknesses in our way of doing things. Those weaknesses are, as far as the current evidence will show, pretty modest. The low-inventory “just in time” model of production and distribution that characterizes so much of American business saves businesses and their customers money by reducing such carrying costs as warehousing, but it also means that retailers and distributors typically do not have a great deal of product on hand to see them through an interruption in deliveries.

It was, for a minute there, hard to find toilet paper in some places. Because the epidemic has been especially punishing for workers in meat-processing facilities, there have been some local shortages of meat, accompanied by such Captain Obvious headlines as: “Meat shortage prompts price hike.” A price hike is exactly what you want in a shortage. Before you start whining about “price gouging” (“price gouging” is what happens when the ordinary operation of free markets reflects real-world conditions that politicians wish were other than what they are) consider the alternative: the so-called paradox of gasoline in Venezuela.

Gasoline is very cheap in Venezuela. You could buy all you wanted — if you could buy any at all.

The government sets the price of gasoline at almost $0.00 (on paper, about a penny for 26 gallons) and rigorously controls production and distribution of the stuff — and so, of course, it is virtually impossible for an ordinary Venezuelan to legally purchase gasoline. Instead, Venezuelans buy gasoline, if they can buy it at all, on the black market, where they pay some of the highest prices in the world, well over $10 a gallon in a country in which most people earn less than $10 a month. In local terms, the average monthly salary in Venezuela will not pay for a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of beef. In the United States, a month’s work at the minimum wage would buy about 300 pounds of beef; in the United Kingdom, a month’s work at minimum wage would buy more than 600 pounds of beef, as Max de Haldevang runs the numbers in Quartz.

As for our brief toilet-paper drought — Venezuela’s has been going on for a decade. Similar shortages have hit everything from rice to medicine to soap.

10. Dan McLaughlin does a thorough deep-dive into the known facts about Tara Read. From the piece:

Reade’s account would be more credible if she could place the alleged assault in an identifiable location. This was a point of contention in Christine Blasey Ford’s story: She never identified an address or whose house the alleged assault occurred in, or how she got home. This is not necessarily decisive, however, so much as it is a reminder that memories in general are untrustworthy at a distance of a quarter century or more.

The Capitol and Senate building complexes are full of twists and turns and alcove-like places that can be secluded, even during business hours. Senators have their own little hideaway offices, which the NewsHour piece conspicuously ignores. If Reade took the direct route described by Biden staffers, she would not have encountered the kind of alcove she describes. But if we consider that she may have misremembered where the incident took place in the complex, her account is no longer implausible; it is just wrong on one detail. That detail is important, but by itself, it does not settle anything.

When: Reade is able to narrow down the timeframe only to a two-month window in April or May of 1993. Reade says that she was removed from her duties supervising interns after that, and two (unnamed) interns told the New York Times that she abruptly stopped supervising them in April. They knew the date because spring internships on the Hill typically ended at the end of April, and she was removed from supervisory duties before they left. This is the part of her story that is most directly corroborated by other witnesses, albeit anonymous ones.

The date range and corroboration are more specific than anything Blasey Ford offered. In that case, we had nothing to go on but a range of years in the early 1980s. Nonetheless, it still puts Biden in a position similar to that of Kavanaugh: He can’t really be expected to provide an alibi without a more specific time period.

What she wore: Reade says that it was a warm spring day, and she was wearing no stockings due to the heat, and crotchless panties because she was meeting her boyfriend later. Young finds the latter detail odd, though it seems broadly consistent with Reade’s recollection that she was sometimes “told to dress more conservatively” after “she later complained to others in the office that Biden would put his hands on her shoulder, neck, and hair during meetings in ways that made her uncomfortable.” She told Megyn Kelly that Marianne Baker, Biden’s assistant for three decades, specifically instructed her to wear longer skirts and button up her blouses more, but Reade also insists today that there was nothing unusual or objectionable about her regular attire.

11. When it comes to the corruption and criminality behind the Obama administration’s contrived case against General Flynn, and so much related to that, Victor Davis Hanson is naming names and creating categories. From the analysis:

Samantha Power testified to Congress that she could not remember her own requests to the NSA for the identities of more than 300 redacted American names swept up in government surveillance. In response, Congressman Trey Gowdy described her as “the largest unmasker of U.S. persons in our history” — a curious obsession with espionage and intelligence for a U.N. ambassador. Did Power have sudden memory loss while testifying under oath, or was her office a de facto clearinghouse for dozens of lower-level operatives who sought her pro forma signature to allow them to request unmaskings of such redactions? Or was the Harvard-trained lawyer simply lying under oath? Did she assume that no one of her stature who lies to Congress — compare the exemptions given congressional prevaricators such as James Clapper and John Brennan — is ever held to account? Apparently not in Power’s mind, when in March 2018 she warned Donald Trump about the reach even then of former CIA director John Brennan: “Not a good idea to piss off John Brennan.”

James Comey on 245 occasions could not remember or did not know the answer when asked factual questions by the House Intelligence Committee. Did the FBI stickler for memorializing presidential conversations and taking notes nonstop simply have an unplugged moment like Power, or is he suffering some of the same cognitive issues that now challenge Joe Biden?

Robert Mueller on 198 occasions told House members while under oath that he could not answer their questions because he didn’t know, he couldn’t remember, he couldn’t speculate, or he couldn’t get into such matters. He seemed oblivious to the role that the Steele dossier and Fusion GPS had played in the entire collusion mythography — as Congress was left to speculate whether Mueller was either lying or non compos mentis, or a figurehead who knew nothing about the basic facts and nomenclature of his own 22-month investigation.

12. Related: Peter Kirsanow has 20 questions for Barack Obama about his buck-stops-here role in the FBI Follies. From the piece:

On August 15, 2016, Strzok texted page, “I want to believe the path you threw out there in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

Since the White House was “running this,” and given the recently released House Intelligence transcripts show your administration’s top officials had no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, what, precisely, constituted the “insurance policy?”

On September 2, 2016, Page texted Strzok, “POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing.”

Did you tell Page and/or those directing her you wanted to know everything they were doing?

If so, what were you told?

Did they tell you about the “insurance policy”?

The FISA applications? 

The Steele dossier?

13. Joshua Kleinfeld and Rachel Kleinfeld propose a way to have secure elections in November, even with expanded absentee voting. From the proposal:

First, recognize that we risk a Wisconsin-style election debacle if we don’t act. Last month, Wisconsin insisted on going forward with in-person voting in the middle of the pandemic. The result? Turnout in some counties dropped by over 40 percent relative to 2016. Poll workers, who tend to be elderly, stayed home, forcing Milwaukee to close 175 polling locations (leaving just five) and Green Bay to close 29 (leaving just two). That meant absurdly (and dangerously) long lines at the few polling stations that stayed open. Meanwhile, absentee voting spiked by 70 percent compared with the 2016 primary. Since the state wasn’t prepared for the additional million absentee requests it received, thousands of absentee ballots weren’t mailed in time, weren’t counted, or were simply lost in tubs. (One of the illusions in this debate is the notion that absentee versus in-person voting is completely up to politicians. It’s not. Tens of millions of voters already have the legal right to vote absentee at will. Their states just aren’t ready for the numbers they’ll see in November.) Finally, confusing last-minute litigation marred the sense of certainty that elections are supposed to provide.

In the end, Democrats came out ahead, picking up a key state-supreme-court seat. That fact alone should spur Republicans to reconsider whether insisting on in-person voting is good for the party, at least during an election that has liberals fired up and the elderly inclined to stay home. But the larger story in Wisconsin was an election “almost certain to be tarred as illegitimate.” All Wisconsinites lost that day. All Americans will lose if similar dysfunction happens nationwide in November. Legitimacy questions are bad for the country in the best of times. They can be catastrophic during a medical and economic crisis.

Second, realize that this election is a matter of national pride and international power. American elections matter beyond U.S. borders. China and the United States are competing for influence in the world today. Prior phases of the competition were about economic productivity and military might. The present one is about which political system can deal more effectively with a pandemic. The world is watching, and the results could affect the future prospects of democracy itself.

14. C’zar Bernstein defends Constitutional originalism from its new detractors. From the essay:

Correct interpretation, then, consists in discovering what a text originally meant. If this linguistic rule does not suddenly change when legal texts are the object, then one who wishes to interpret them correctly must be open to the possibility that they will not always endorse views with which one morally agrees.

But principled originalism is not merely a thesis about linguistic meaning. It is in addition the view that those charged with interpreting legal texts, including our Constitution, ought to do so in accord with their original meanings, at least in part because the linguistic thesis is true. These two theses are logically distinct. For example, one can consistently acquiesce in the general linguistic theory but for consequentialist reasons believe that judges ought to interpret legal texts to yield good outcomes. So there is a gap between originalism’s linguistic thesis and its moral command, one that originalists must bridge.

One way in which originalists have sought to bridge that gap is called the Oath Theory. Article VI of the Constitution provides that “all . . . judicial Officers . . . shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution” (emphasis added). According to the Oath Theory, the constitutional oath generates a moral obligation for officeholders to give legal effect to, or abide by, the Constitution’s original meaning. That is of course controversial. What ought not be controversial is that at a minimum, the constitutional oath requires judges to make a faithful attempt to correctly interpret the Constitution and to give correct interpretations legal effect. That is, correct legal interpretation is part of faithfully discharging the duties of the judicial office, and to say that some constitutional provision means what one knows it does not mean is to fail to support this Constitution.

15. Andy McCarthy puts on the hiking boots to lead us through Susan Rice’s famous email, unredacted. From the analysis:

Try not to get dizzy. Rice has gone from claiming to have had no knowledge of Obama administration monitoring of Flynn and other Trump associates, to claiming no knowledge of any unmaskings of Trump associates, to admitting she was complicit in the unmaskings, to — now — a call for the recorded conversation between retired general Michael Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to be released because it would purportedly show that the Obama administration had good reason to be concerned about Flynn (y’know, the guy she said she had no idea they were investigating).

Naturally, we have now learned that Rice was deeply involved in the Obama administration’s Trump–Russia investigation, including its sub-investigation of Flynn, a top Trump campaign surrogate who was slated to replace Rice as national-security advisor when President Trump took office. Last night, I did a column for Fox News, analyzing the newly unredacted paragraph from Rice’s previously reported email memorializing a White House meeting on these subjects.

The meeting took place on January 5, 2017, and involved Rice, Obama, and Vice President Biden, the administration’s top political hierarchy on national-security matters, along with Obama’s top law-enforcement and counterintelligence officials, deputy attorney general Sally Yates (soon formally to take the acting AG role she was already performing), and FBI director James Comey. Prior redactions had already demonstrated that the meeting’s central purpose was to discuss the rationale for withholding intelligence about Russia from the incoming Trump national-security team.

Lights. Camera. Action!

1. Armond White takes on two Obama-pandering displays. From the review:

Booksmart, the critically acclaimed girl-power comedy, featured the most egregious high-school commencement speech ever sponsored by mainstream media until former president Barack Obama’s spiel on last weekend’s all-network broadcast Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020.

Both the film and the telecast are products of media indoctrination, the none-too-subtle political programming that eludes notice — and alarm — by posing as cultural remedies. Graduate Together, a one-hour spectacle, pieced together shelter-in-place videos of teens whose high-school commencement exercises were cancelled because of the COVID-19 restrictions. And the teen flick Booksmart pandered to the same adolescent group-think, using comedy tropes familiar from Animal House, Porky’s, American Pie, and Superbad.

This style of coercion results from new marketing cynicism. Pretending to console students for missing out on what Obama listed as “proms, senior nights, graduation ceremonies, and, let’s face it, a whole bunch of parties,” Graduate Together used the media’s stock methods of flattery and condescension, turning isolated web-cam and video-conference teens into temporary celebrities alongside actual showbiz and sports celebrities, going for that uniquely Millennial feeling of solidarity: instant fame.

Trouble is, that false sense of community (you too can be a Jonas Brother or one of Broadway’s lesser-known Platt brothers) is predicated on thinking alike, sharing the same political perspectives that are relentlessly propagated by movies, TV shows, and media events that push a rote liberal agenda.

Graduate Together made this dread fact unavoidable as its faux celebrations led up to Obama’s climactic smiley appearance as the ultimate commencement celebrity speechifier. Obama was billed as if he was still the actual, functioning president of the United States.

2. More Armond: He is liking Josh Trank’s Capone. From the review:

In his extraordinary 2012 debut Chronicle, Trank played out the dangerous extremes of y