Dear WJ Aficionado,
Lots of folks, colleagues included, are commenting on the language being used to describe the ongoing impeachment circus (see – there’s one!). God bless them all. Now, admitting that the opinion of this Dimwitted Epistolarian shouldn’t matter to you a wit or what, Your Humble Servant shares that he is cool with “coup.” This being a harsh political process — sure, one that is constitutional, but that doesn’t make it sacred, or the First Amendment’s co-equal — it can tolerate the lingo that comes with politics. That lingo can be savage, influencing, bold, distracting, etc. If that induces the vapors, well, sorry. Maybe you should consider relocating to Utopia.
On this coup topic, my friend, Professor Hanson, has a thing or 10 to say. See below.
Now, this Tuesday, November 19, 2019, marks the 64th birthday of National Review, and if the gods and my ukulele cooperate, I may have a ditty — to the tune of Mr. McCartney’s appropriate and famous song — to share (hold not thy breath).
And now this to share, from National Review’s premier issue: From on page 8, in its own special box, attending the first rendition of “The Liberal Line,” a column by the great Willmoore Kendall, one of our founding editors (pictured here with WFB and from the left, Priscilla Buckley, Suzanne La Follette, and James Burnham; also with a donkey named “Arthur”). Although written in the first Eisenhower administration, you may find this statement timeless and applicable to the current bald-faced practices of what another friend, Mr. Limbaugh, refers to as the “drive-by media:”
The Editors of National Review Believe:
1. That there is a Liberal point of view on national and world affairs, for which the word “Liberal” has been appropriated;
2 That the point of view consists, on the one hand, of a distinctly Liberal way of looking at and grasping political reality, and on the other hand of a distinctly Liberal set of values and goals;
3. That the nation’s leading opinion-makers for the most part share the Liberal point of view, try indefatigably to inculcate it in their readers’ minds, and to that end employee the techniques of propaganda;
4. That we may properly speak of them as a huge propaganda machine, engaged in a major, sustained assault upon the sanity, and upon the prudence and the morality of the American people — its sanity, because the political reality of which they speak is a dream world that nowhere exists, its prudence and morality because their values and goals are in the sharpest conflict with the goals and values appropriate to the American tradition;
5. That National Review must keep a watchful eye on the day-to-day operations of the Liberal propaganda machine: the theses it puts forward the arguments (if any) it advances in their support, and the (implicit or explicit) policy recommendations it urges on us — in a word on the Liberal Line.
Good enough for Bill Buckley is good enough for me. You too? For those who need to, go ahead and untwist your knickers, sniff the smelling salts, unclutch the pearls, and arise from the fainting couch. Let us now get to the Weekend Jolt!
But first: SCOTUS has deferred again on deciding to grant or deny the cert petition for National Review v. Mann. Maybe a verdict next week? We will keep you posted.
Now . . . the Jolt!
1. SCOTUS considers DACA. We opine. From the beginning of the editorial:
When President Obama unilaterally changed immigration policy after repeatedly and correctly insisting that he lacked the constitutional power to do it, he said that congressional inaction had forced his hand. In the case of his first major unilateral move — “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” which gave quasi-legal status to illegal immigrants who came or were brought here as minors — the truth is closer to the reverse. Obama acted to head off the possibility of a bipartisan solution to the issue; he wanted to sharpen the distinction between the parties on this issue in the run-up to the 2012 election. The gambit succeeded. Even Republicans who approved of granting legal status to this group balked at the president’s effective rewriting of law to achieve it, and so it was possible to cast them as the callous enemies of nonwhite children.
That was more or less the same play being followed Tuesday as the Supreme Court considered whether the Trump administration may rescind the Obama policy. As sympathetic as most of the beneficiaries of the Obama policy are, the Court should not hesitate to allow the change. If Obama was abusing his discretion over law enforcement to subvert the laws, as we believe, then Trump is merely bringing executive practice back into conformity with them, which has to be within his power. But the case for allowing Trump to make this change holds even if we are wrong and the Obama policy is constitutionally permissible. In that case, the executive branch can exercise its broad discretion over enforcement to make this group of illegal immigrants effectively exempt from deportation, and thus has to be able to use that discretion to make them subject to it. Enforcement priorities aren’t for the courts to second-guess.
Anatomy of a Leftist Egghead Smear
The subhead of Sumantra Maitra’s article in The Federalist puts its squarely:
The editor of National Review wrote a book praising a benevolent, liberal, unifying form of nationalism. The vitriolic reaction was eye-opening.
And so the freakout has been with and over Rich Lowry’s The Case for Nationalism: How It Made Us Powerful, United, and Free. Imagine a disingenuous lefty reviewer, which describes Georgetown University prof Charles King, who penned an attack-review in in Foreign Affairs. Yummy . . . Tripe!
The Left’s flying monkeys have shared and reshared the hit piece over social media. Our Esteemed Leader, not one to shy from a fight, swiftly and ably counterattacked. From the Lowry rebuttal:
Next, let’s turn to his distortions, which are numerous and shockingly blatant, in fact, dripping with self-discrediting malice.
King says that, in my view, “even slavery was not so much a foundational sin as a regrettable example of anti-nationalism: the slaveholding South, with its emphasis on states’ rights, had to be defeated to allow ‘national institutions and the enhancement of national authority’ to flourish.”
This is flatly wrong. As I write in a passage about the end of the Civil War that King must have read, there was “an effort to extend rights to blacks, whose racist repression was the country’s great original sin” (emphasis added).
By the way, the power and ambit of national authority was indeed an enormously important issue in the run-up to the Civil War (and its aftermath) because the South feared a stronger national government would move against slavery.
According to King, my book has an invidious anti-woman bias: “Women are almost entirely absent from Lowry’s national past and present. By my count, fewer than a dozen or so women merit a mention in his book: Queen Elizabeth I and Joan of Arc are among them, along with a bevy of current-day intellectuals such as Amy Gutmann and Martha Nussbaum, who are there to be argued against.”
This is ridiculous. It’s not my fault that the leaders and generals of the past were largely men, or that U.S. presidents have all been male. Nonetheless, I don’t just “mention” Joan of Arc and Queen Elizabeth I, I devote extensive and admiring passages of the book to them. As for attacking female intellectuals, I plead guilty to citing and disagreeing with female writers I disagree with. If we are going to play this stupid bean-counting game, King should have noted that I cite Liah Greenfeld of Boston University repeatedly and always favorably.
Read the entire piece. And for the sake of your intellect, or just to spite King, purchase The Case for Nationalism here.
All that Lip-Smacking Was Appropriate, Given the Tasty, 19-Course Feast of NR Brilliance that Awaits
1. As promised, Victor Davis Hanson finds 10 reasons why the Democrats’ impeachment crusade — an “ongoing coup attempt” in his apt words — is illegitimate. Here are two reasons from the piece:
Impeachment without High Crimes or Misdemeanors. There is no proof of any actual Trump crime.
No longer is Nancy Pelosi describing the whistleblower as central to the impeachment inquiry. Asking a corrupt foreign head of state to look into past corruption is pro forma. That Joe Biden is now a candidate for president and Trump’s potential rival does not ensure him exemption from his possible wrongdoing in the past as vice president when his son used the Biden name for lucrative advantage in leveraging Ukrainian money for assumed preferential Obama-administration treatment.
In other words, it is certainly not a crime for a president to adopt his own foreign policy to fit particular countries nor to request of a foreign government seeking U.S. aid, with a long history of corruption, that it ensure it has not in the past colluded with prior U.S. officials in suspicious activity. A president can appoint or fire any ambassador he chooses, all the more so when one has a known record of partisanship. It is not a crime to disagree with House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff when he says that White House officials must testify when he so summons them.
The irony is that while the House politicizes impeachment, the IG of the Justice Department, Michael Horowitz, and lifelong civil servant and federal attorney John Durham are likely to show concrete evidence that the now-exempt Obama administration used the powers of the FBI, CIA, and DOJ, unethically if not illegally, to attempt to destroy the candidacy, transition, and presidency of Donald Trump — still the current object of yet another political coup.
Thought Crimes? Even if there were ever a quid, there is no quo: Unlike the case of the Obama administration, the Trump administration did supply arms to Ukraine, and the Ukrainians apparently did not reinvestigate the Bidens. As a matter of general policy, Trump has been far harder on Russia and far more concretely supportive of Ukraine than was the Obama administration. That stubborn fact is ipso facto evidence that if there was any quid pro quo, it was more likely a matter of Biden rather than Trump pressuring the Ukrainians, given the actual quite different results: Again, the Trump administration armed the Ukrainians; Obama and his administration did not. Thought crimes are still not impeachable offenses.
2. Andy McCarthy explains where he and America’s haughty policy community part over impeachment. From the beginning of his analysis:
When it comes to Russia, I am with what Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman calls the American “policy community.”
Vindman, of course, is one of the House Democrats’ star impeachment witnesses. His haughtiness in proclaiming the policy community and his membership in it grates, throughout his 340-page House deposition transcript. I couldn’t agree more, though, with our experts’ apparent consensus that Moscow is bad, should be challenged on various fronts, and would best be seen as the incorrigible rival it is, not the potential strategic partner some wish it to be — the “some” here known to include the president. Ukraine, for all its deep flaws, is valuable to us as a check on Russia’s aggression, another conclusion about which the president is skeptical.
That is, on the critical matter of America’s interests in the Russia/Ukraine dynamic, I think the policy community is right, and President Trump is wrong. If I were president, while I would resist gratuitous provocations, I would not publicly associate myself with the delusion that stable friendship is possible (or, frankly, desirable) with Putin’s anti-American dictatorship, which runs its country like a Mafia family and is acting on its revanchist ambitions.
But you see, much like the policy community, I am not president. Donald Trump is.
And that’s where the policy community and I part company. It is the president, not the bureaucracy, who was elected by the American people. That puts him — not the National Security Council, the State Department, the intelligence community, the military, and their assorted subject-matter experts — in charge of making policy. If we’re to remain a constitutional republic, that’s how it has to stay.
3. Kyle Smith . . . yawn . . . elaborates on America’zzzzzzz boredom with impeachment politics. Ask any Tom, Dick, or Alfie what’s it all about and expect a shoulder shrug. Good! From the piece:
Politico, whose relationship to impeachment might be expected to resemble a German Shepherd’s to a pound of raw sirloin, picked listlessly at its meal: “One surprising thing we heard a few times from people of both parties,” read the Politico Playbook, is “that the American public simply believes politics and government are dirty, and is not surprised that the president held up military aid to force an investigation into a political rival. In fact, there’s a theory that this is seen as business as usual.” So an outlet whose brand is being fantastically plugged in to the Washington scene is surprised that the American people are not surprised that politics is dirty? I doubt Politico is actually that naïve. What it is, is disappointed. The Democrats’ “blockbuster” turned out about as well as Terminator: Dark Fate.
Schiff’s trolling game isn’t working, but even so, two sides can join the fun. When (if) this thing lumbers over to the Senate for a trial, the president’s backers will stage their own trolling show. They could call Hunter Biden as a witness. Hell, why not call Joe Biden as a witness? The GOP is already thinking about how to pull a “We’re not locked in here with you — you’re locked in here with us!” moment. Republican senator Richard Burr of North Carolina let slip this prophecy the other day: “The day the [Senate] takes it up, we go into session six days a week from 12:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.,” with the trial to last six to eight weeks, which would certainly disrupt Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren’s winter plans to lock up their party’s presidential nomination even as their Senate colleagues are hammering away at all things Biden. “These witnesses that they’re calling are politically motivated,” groused Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) of the GOP. “Republicans are turning this into a partisan issue.” Ya think? AOC may be new in town, but even so, she learns remarkably slowly.
The apology contains all the usual buzzwords that mark out your average capitulation to the insane and the brittle: “harm”; “retraumatizing”; “safety”; “invasion”; “marginalized”; along with the customary promise that everyone implicated will visit the nearest re-education camp tout suite. It’s dreck from start to finish, and everyone involved with it should be severely ashamed.
Are they? Presumably not, given that they’re still making their case.
It is beyond my comprehension that anyone who participated was able keep a straight face while writing it, let alone that they consented to have their name glued to the thing for eternity. Just look at it. “One area of our reporting that harmed many students was our photo coverage of the event.” What? “Some protesters found photos posted to reporters’ Twitter accounts retraumatizing and invasive.” How? “We feel that covering traumatic events requires a different response than many other stories.” It was a milquetoast speech, not D-Day. “Some students also voiced concern about the methods that Daily staffers used to reach out to them.” They used the bloody phone book. ” We understand that this will not be easy, but we are ready to undertake the reform and reflection necessary to become a better paper.” Impossible. The only way to improve the paper is to fire everyone involved and bomb the building from the upper atmosphere.
RELATED: Kat Timpf weighs in on the Daily Northwestern’s “insane editorial.”
5. Rubio One: The senator makes the case for “Common-Good Capitalism.” From the essay:
We must start by rejecting the false choice our politics has offered us for almost three decades. First, our financialized economy is the result of policy choices lawmakers have made in the past. And restoring a balance between the obligations and rights of the private sector and working Americans will require the attention of lawmakers today.
What we need to do is restore common-good capitalism: a system of free enterprise wherein workers fulfill their obligation to work and enjoy the resultant benefits, and businesses enjoy their right to make a profit and reinvest enough to create high-productivity jobs, which is what I mean by dignified work for Americans.
Common-good capitalism also means recognizing that what the market determines is most efficient may not be best for America. For example, we’ve allowed ourselves to become almost completely dependent on China for rare-earth minerals and done nothing to further our ability to provide them for ourselves. That’s why I have filed legislation to support investment in this critical sector.
It is also possible to reform the Small Business Administration to reinvigorate the legacy of business innovation that delivered Americans to the Moon 50 years ago.
Common-good capitalism also means recognizing fundamental shifts in our culture.
The market may not account for the benefits our country receives from parental engagement. But common-good capitalism does. That is why I’ve worked to expand the federal per-child tax credit, as well as proposed creating an option for paid parental leave.
6. Rubio Two: Nope, says David Harsanyi. Marco’s common-good stuff is . . . bizarre. From the response:
Rubio begins his lament by quoting Pope Leo XIII, a late-19th-century critic of socialism and laissez-faire economics, intimating that both systems are comparably problematic. Leo argued that the ultimate goal of society should be to “make men better” by providing opportunity to attain the “dignity” that comes from work, ownership, and raising a family.
Neither the market nor the state, I’m afraid, can make you a better man. Still, Pope Leo might have been quite happy with the results of the Industrial Revolution, by far the greatest poverty-destroying, dignity-creating turning point in human history.
In 1907, the year Leo died, around 60 percent of the American work force toiled in factories and farms, with few options. Today that number is under 10 percent. There’s certainly nothing undignified about factory or agricultural work — today those jobs can be quite high-tech, in fact — but for most of our existence it meant menial, monotonous, and dangerous work for little pay.
7. Saint Greta, pray for us (and for the Ice Shelf): John Hirschauer finds the ’Frisco icon of the Swedish climate carper hearkens to a new faithful. (Personally, I wonder if the paint was made with toxic materials.) From the piece:
Mass literacy is a very modern miracle.
Clerics in the medieval Church did not have the luxury of literate pew-sitters. They, rather creatively, used the architecture, sculpture, and paintings in cathedrals to convey the biblical narrative to the unlettered faithful. Gothic architecture so arrests the modern eye not only for its structural and formalistic brilliance but also because the ornature itself narrates the story of salvation.
The climate clerics have erected their own Biblia pauperum for the unwashed masses in San Francisco. One Atmosphere, an area non-profit, dedicated a mammoth mural yesterday of the teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. The Putinesque mural, painted on the street-facing side of an urban mid-rise, took an estimated 700 cans of aerosol spray paint to complete. Hypocrisy? No, says the non-profit: syncretism. “The finishing details can only be done with spray paint, but we are using spray cans without CFCs,” the organization said in a statement. “We are using low pressure cans with a minimal footprint.”
The mural’s financiers seem intent on pushing a sort of potted theology with the display. The executive director of the non-profit, Paul Scott, said that Greta Thunberg “is a bright light in a dark time and we hope people will follow her lead and make some changes.” Not only is Scott a voice crying out in the wilderness, heralding the virtues of the Thunbergian project, but he is an outright evangelist for the faith: “We’re hoping to have other building owners who like this idea and support our objectives and want to have something similar on their buildings.” Scott hopes the mural will “open up their hearts and minds to the unbridled conviction of Greta’s message.”
8. The Constitution State is a place of departure: Kevin Williamson recounts the rich and famous and not so famous fleeing the tax insanity that is Connecticut. From his piece:
My colleague Charles C. W. Cooke, who made the move from Fairfield County to Florida a few years ago, tells a familiar story: “I can afford a house that fits my growing family and a swimming pool,” he says. “I don’t pay any income or personal property taxes. The weather is better. And I’m not at the mercy of the Metro North or of the roads that make it necessary.” Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough is another Connecticut refugee in Florida. “I wish I could still be in New Canaan,” he says, but life is simply too much more difficult there. “Traffic going to kids’ birthday parties a few miles up the Merritt could take 45 minutes.” And in Florida? “It’s easier, cheaper, and the state government (with no income taxes) is far more efficient. Everything from getting a driver’s license to getting to your kid’s baseball game is so much easier.”
The allure of Fairfield County used to be that it is close to Manhattan. But it is not as close to Manhattan as Manhattan is. So, what else ya got? The tax advantages of being in Connecticut vs. being in Westchester County, N.Y., or in New York City have narrowed. So have the quality-of-life advantages.
Low taxes, safe streets, and good governance? Connecticut has moved the wrong way on some of those metrics, and New York City has moved the right way on one important one with the dramatic decrease in crime from the Giuliani years onward. With the general decline in the quality of the Metro North railroad (and the parallel decline in New York City subway service) getting to and from the suburbs to offices in the Financial District has become a much bigger chore, while living in the Financial District itself (as I did for some years) has become a much more attractive option. Living in the city makes more sense for more people than it once did.
Economists and social critics used to talk about competitiveness almost exclusively in terms of the business environment. (Paul Krugman, back when he was a first-rate economist instead of a third-rate rage-monkey, wrote insightful criticism of the excesses of that orientation.) But experience has led social observers to a wider view of the question. When Amazon goes looking for a place to park a bunch of highly paid and intellectually sophisticated Amazonians, low taxes and a gentle regulatory environment aren’t going to be enough to put Muleshoe, Texas on the list of potentials. There is more to value than price alone. New York City is probably the most attractive place in the United States for people who desire urban lives of a certain character. Other places have charms of other kinds: Philbin is not relocating to some low-tax farm state but to California, which is terribly governed and has high taxes (mostly on income rather than on property, which may be attractive to him as a rich retired man) but remains an awfully nice place to live, especially for show-business types who enjoy being around their peers.
9. In the first part of a “valedictory” essay on modern literature, the great, retiring, scholar M. D. Aeschliman reflects on literature as a form of praise, resistance, and consolation. You will want to hunker down with this. From the essay:
Chesterton knew through experience the fin-de-siècle pessimism of the aesthetes, the braggart jingoism of the imperialists, the cynicism of the capitalists (think of Andrew Undershaft in the play Major Barbara (1905), by Chesterton’s longtime friend George Bernard Shaw), the collectivism of the Marxists. Yet some intuitive genius turned him against these “heresies” (the title of one of his early books is Heretics (1908)), without succumbing to the “peter pan-theism” of the nostalgic longing for childhood, nature, and the past — or to the “Whig interpretation of history,” which envisioned the future as a gradual or rapid arrival in utopia. Long before 1914 he realized that the 20th century was more likely to be catastrophe than utopia. The philosopher Sidney Hook was to say that 1914 commenced “the Second Fall of Man,” due its spectacular disappointment of Whig-liberal and Marxist hopes. We still live in the shadow of that Fall.
Chesterton’s early career has been carefully considered and charted in a fine scholarly book by William Oddie, Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy: The Making of GKC, 1874–1908 (Oxford, 2008). What Chesterton recovered on his own was a philosophy of life that resisted both pessimistic and optimistic simplifications, literary subjectivism and scientific materialism, desperate or arrogant Nietzschean immoralism and fanatical Marxist moral inversion. He felt that the modernist “heretics” evaded certain basic facts of life — first of all, perhaps, that being itself was good — the being of the world, the beings of others, and the being of the self. Initially he probably identified this insight most with Charles Dickens, on whom he wrote two great books (1906, 1911) at a time when Dickens’s literary reputation (though not his popularity) was at a low ebb. Gradually Chesterton was to credit this profound metaphysical intuition to earlier classic English writers — Chaucer and Shakespeare — and to William Blake and Robert Browning, but his intuitive philosophical wisdom ultimately saw it in those great medieval Italian, pan-European figures St. Francis and St. Thomas Aquinas, on each of whom he wrote a brilliant, classic book (1923, 1933), as he did on Chaucer, Blake, and Browning. “Bonus et ens convertuntur” — Goodness and being are convertible, as St. Thomas put it. Being itself is real and good.
10. Marvin Olasky wants to reform journalism. In fact, he’s written a book, Reforming Journalism, and Russell Pulliam has read it. From the review:
Olasky shows how Sam Adams offered a faith-based journalism as an influential commentator before the War for Independence. Again, the traditional journalism-history textbooks seldom note that Adams freely quoted from the scriptures to make his case for freedom.
Some key numbers help Olasky set the context for this era. The number of newspapers in circulation went from 359 in 1810 to 1,265 in 1834 — similar to the explosion of news websites in our time.
With alertness to worldview and broader philosophical commitments, Olasky identifies a turning point in American journalism history, a shift away from a general conservative Christian consensus in many newspapers, such as the Boston Recorder. Editor Nathaniel Willis loved the spirit of the French Revolution until he heard the Christian gospel and committed his life to Christ. He went on to edit the Recorder with a scriptural emphasis, showing sowing and reaping in some stories and gospel opportunity in others. George Wisner of the New York Sun offered similar culturally conservative commentary when the Sun had the largest circulation in the nation in the early 1830s. William Leggett of the New York Evening Post (now owned by Rupert Murdoch) argued for limited government in this era, on grounds that problems were bound to arise whenever “government assumes the functions which belong alone to an overruling Providence, and affects to become the universal dispenser of good and evil.”
The turning point was gradual, occurring around the mid 1800s, as influential editors moved toward an Enlightenment idea that people could figure out their own ways to live without considering the Bible.
Horace Greeley was the most famous figure in this shift. He’s remembered for saying, “Go West, young man.” He stayed east as editor of the New York Tribune, eventually running for president in 1872. In story presentation and vision for news, Greeley was brilliant. Unfortunately he had an almost utopian view of mankind. One of the most interesting parts of Olasky’s story is the theological debate between Greeley and Henry Raymond of the New York Courier and Enquirer. Raymond argued for a more traditional Christian view of the sinfulness of people, and Greeley contended for a more optimistic set of assumptions.
11. Conrad Black asks, quo vadis, NATO? From the beginning of the column:
It is a bit rich to hear French president Emmanuel Macron announce that NATO is suffering “a brain death” because of “a lack of American commitment.” France has allowed her armed forces to dwindle down to an aircraft carrier,six nuclear submarines with nuclear-tipped missiles, a modest but well-armed air force, and an army of about 100,000, a fifth of Turkey’s. This is the army that in other times was the greatest in Europe prior to the unification of Germany in 1871, was the silent force in French political history, and produced that nation’s greatest leaders, particularly Napoleon and Charles de Gaulle. This was the army that, with the Royal (British) Navy, was the shield defending Western Europe and North America from the dangers of Central and Eastern Europe between the founding of the Alliance Cordiale, ending eight centuries of Anglo–French animosity, in 1904, to the fall of France under the hob-nailed jackboot of Nazi Germany in 1940.
The United States, the country in NATO least likely to be attacked by any other country (except possibly for Canada), or by any terrorist outrage directly traceable to another country, has brought its military capabilities up to their highest point since the end of the Cold War nearly 30 years ago. Of course, the United States is the only country with legitimate strategic interests around the world and it is the only country that can correctly determine the level of force that is necessary to protect those interests adequately and provide the level of deterrence that meets the counsel of Publius Fabius Vegetius Renatus in the late fourth century: “If you wish peace, prepare for war.” Rome had practiced that for seven centuries when Vegetius wrote it, but had reached a state of such political and moral dissolution that it was about to be overthrown in the west and comprehensively defeated and subjugated by barbarians. Though commentators who don’t know better (they are numerous) frequently claim that the United States is in sight of such a fate, it is very far from it.
12. Brian Allen reports on how American art is being taught in Red China. From the piece:
The ISAAC program operates in Pearl Buck’s old house on the campus of Nanjing University, where Buck lived when the school was a Presbyterian college run by missionaries. Buck (1892–1973) isn’t a name we hear often, though she was, in her day, as famous and revered as a living writer could be. She wrote The Good Earth in 1931, among many other things, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1938. She and her parents were missionaries, but Buck wasn’t cloistered as a child — she spoke Chinese and went to school with Chinese children. Her parents were hell-bent on Christianizing the Chinese but never considered them inferior. During the Boxer Rebellion and in the turbulent years afterwards, they stayed in China.
Buck is now considered old-fashioned and out-of-date. She was both unique and turbulent, but what great artist is a sweetie-pie? She hated Chinese Communism, but her opinions on everything were hard to predict. She can’t be boxed, and, unfortunately, in English departments these days and among many critics, if a writer can’t fit in a nice, tidy box, they can’t be bothered. And, worse still, if they can’t wrap the box in PC cant with a flouncy “Happy Victim Day” ribbon, the writer tends to disappear. So, in the 1960s, where did she live? Of course, in Vermont, the Land of Cows, Fall Color, and Vinegary Personas. She lived in Danby, not far from me. The old-timers there adored her. They still remember her male companion, 50 years on, as a sulky, irascible scourge.
I reread The Good Earth last week. It’s a fine novel. It’s old-fashioned in its vastness — it’s the first book of a trilogy. Together, the three books are long and rambling, but that’s the nature of the project. In tone, theme, and characters, it reminds me of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. Walker must know it well.
Set in rural China, The Good Earth crafts the lives of a farmer, Wang Lung, his wife, O-Lan, and an extended family, concubines included, in the glass hive of village life. Many current issues — sexism, inequality, fundamentalism, poverty, exploitation, disability . . . okay, no one changes gender — are there, but it’s certainly not contemporary. Victimhood, blame, and even individual agency aren’t factors. Interiority isn’t as much of a driver as it is in fiction today. Characters bob on a sea of habits and templates made over generations, mostly driven by family worship and fixed expectations for men and women.
13. Son of a . . . Armond White goes all Armond White on Motherless Brooklyn. There are few if any survivors. From the review:
Edward Norton’s Motherless Brooklyn is an embarrassment to white liberalism. Yet the film’s shameless conceit is also a monument to white liberal narcissism. As director and star, Norton adapts the 1999 novel by Jonathan Lethem and vies with the book’s preening cleverness. Lethem’s detective-novel pastiche, about a white gumshoe with Tourette’s syndrome, flaunted contemporary social and race consciousness when the sleuth exposes a municipal plot to disenfranchise black New Yorkers through urban planning and infrastructure redistricting: Think Humphrey Bogart in Jane Jacobs drag.
Norton outdoes Lethem’s show-offy progressivism by making the story retro. The film’s 1950s setting syncs fashionably with the New York Times’ 1619 Project, evoking America’s racist past (when blacks were called Negroes) to encourage Millennial self-righteousness — a white liberal ploy that presses black victimization. And, oh yeah, the neurologically afflicted protagonist Lionel Essrog (played by Norton) proves irresistible to the beautiful, endlessly grateful biracial heroine Laura Rose (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). “Funny how things turn out,” she says, falling into his arms.
It’s hard to recall another detective movie with so little tension. The good-versus-evil, power-versus-powerless dynamics are too blatant to raise dramatic tension; its film-noir cynicism is a version of the anti-American ethic taught in “enlightened” school curricula — a fancy, over-obvious lecture on equality that shifts between Fort Greene, in Brooklyn, and Harlem, in Manhattan. Norton then compounds Lethem’s literary conceit with his own cinematic arrogance through narrative and character developments that copy Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (and some of Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress). Adding the cliché of Edward Hopper desolate romanticism as a visual style doesn’t help. Norton bastardizes movies that are better than he himself can make.
14. Kyle Smith turns to Amazon and catches the streaming documentary One Child Nation. He finds the massive slaughter to be a holocaust. From the review:
When the adoption market started to boom in the 1990s, the calculus changed. Enterprising folks who were motivated by profit but were also heroes on a scale that dwarfs the 1,200 lives saved by Oskar Schindler began visiting the known baby-dumping areas and scooping up living infants. One man from Shenzhen estimates he collected 10,000 babies this way, building a network of tipsters such as trash collectors and taxi drivers whose jobs involved lots of roaming around the city. Orphanages were paying $200 for babies, no questions asked. Many Americans are parents of these adoptees today, and for those who have questions, a Utah company called Research China has been gathering data about the Chinese backgrounds of such children. The man interviewed in the film who saved so many lives in Shenzhen was charged with being a “human trafficker” and spent years in prison for the crime of not letting babies perish.
Chinese authorities decided to get in on the act. Why abort babies and throw them in the trash when you can wait till they’re born, then kidnap them? Propaganda promised citizens rewards for informing authorities of families that had more than one child. Orphanages were pleased to take the abducted babies, too. (An expert walks us through how orphanage officials would simply make up a fictitious backstory for each otherwise unexplained child and present the lies to eager prospective parents.) In 2015, China switched to a two-child policy, and the crisis ended. Or did it? Chinese parents have been conditioned to have only one child since 1980, and the number of births fell 5 million short of projections last year. An editorial in the Communist Party paper People’s Daily scolded couples with these words: “Not wanting to have kids is just a lifestyle of passively giving in to society’s pressures.” What’s Mandarin for chutzpah?
15. More Kyle: He’s liking Ford v. Ferrari. From the review:
There used to be a lot of overlap between what we think of as a Hollywood studio picture (designed to earn money) and an awards movie (designed to fill the trophy case, usually with an accompanying loss of money). Ford v Ferrari is a glorious throwback to the era when big stars did quality movies about actual people with real-life problems, but the scripts nevertheless adhered to basic Hollywood formulae such as “Have an exciting climax.” Today, the “awards-season” pictures tend to be allergic to entertainment, and they often trickle out rather than conclude. They seem more interested in making us feel guilty than inspiring us. Ford v Ferrari, though, is delightful old-school entertainment.
Christian Bale may be the leading actor of his generation. Not only is he a master of the technical stuff — the shapeshifting, the mimicry — but he also radiates the great intangible of star magnetism. In Ford v Ferrari, as in so many other parts, Bale simply owns the screen, this time as a skinny, snarly English mechanic named Ken Miles who drives in California car races on the side. It turns out Bale can even do a British accent. The man is a wonder.
When a fellow racer, the Texan Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon, nowhere near as effective as Bale but at least passable as a Southerner), retires from competition due to nerve damage and gets into car design, the two men join up to try to help Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) build a new model, the GT, designed to win the intense 24-hour race at Le Mans, a contest usually dominated by the designs of Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone). Ford tries to buy Ferrari’s company in 1963 but gets rebuffed as Enzo sells to Fiat instead. Mr. Ford wants revenge and respect for his grandfather’s brand, and he wants it in 90 days.
16. Diane Scharper praises Prof. Nicola Gardini’s new book, in which Gardini makes the case for Latin. Ex articulum:
Calling his book both an ode and an essay, Gardini defends Latin from those who consider the subject superfluous. He is especially drawn to Latin’s poetic qualities and frequently comments on the musicality of the language with its figures of sound as well as its metaphors, which he says have an almost magical effect.
Studying Latin, Gardini says, taught him the importance of discrete sounds and syllables. It showed him “the importance of musical language, the soul of poetry.” Words he used every day began “disassembling in my mind and swirling around like petals in the air,” Gardini writes in a nod to poetry.
Gardini suggests that his book is for a general reader—especially for young students. But it’s hard to imagine many young students from the U.S. responding well to the “critical and aesthetic genius” of a writer like Horace (65 B.C.E.–8 C.E.) or to his Ars Poetica, excerpts of which Gardini translates and discusses. As Gardini observes, “There’s nothing easy about Horace’s Latin, even when it’s dictated to by occasion.” Yet Horace’s advice for poets would resonate in today’s university writing courses: “Poetry is like painting: some things catch you / more if you stand in front of them, other things from a distance.”
The book is somewhat hard to follow because Gardini doesn’t present his material in chronological order. The authors don’t appear as they would in a history of Latin literature. Instead, he shows them in media res, in what he calls, “linguistic instances, . . . as examples of what Latin has gained at a certain moment . . . and handed down to its long—and still living—tradition.” But this is a quibble with an important and informative book.
17. Michael Hendrix recommends house sharing as a partial solution to housing-affordability issues whammying metropolitan areas. From the analysis:
Figuring out how to use America’s existing housing stock more efficiently seems like the next logical step. There are 33.6 million more bedrooms in America than there are people—and since some share a room, there are surely more such “spare” bedrooms. By PadSplit’s accounting, some 54 million bedrooms go unused every night in the United States. Converting a quarter of these rooms into rentals would alone house the 14 million people in America making less than $35,000 a year who are singles or couples that rent. Turning 10 percent of Atlanta’s current stock of five-bedroom homes into multi-family dwellings could yield nearly 9,000 new affordable units over the next decade.
There’s also more space in these rooms — newly built homes in America offer 971 square feet of living space per person, up 90 percent from the 1970s. Even accounting for older homes and apartments, Atlanta still has 590 square feet per person. And while home sizes in America are growing, household size is decreasing. As a report by the Urban Land Institute found, “A 4.1 person household in 1930 would consist of slightly more than 1,000 square feet, while the same home in 2017, consisting of a 2.5 person household, is built to over 2,500 square feet.” All that space in all these spaces.
While PadSplit focuses on renting out entire homes, the potential of simply renting out rooms to grown children, relatives, or even strangers is surely an even larger market for affordable housing. Airbnb’s $35 billion valuation showed this potential for short-term, hotel-like stays. And in the suburban stretches of Los Angeles, the 30-fold increase overnight in permit applications to build accessory dwelling units (also known as “granny flats”) following statewide regulatory reform also shows the potential for housing space in underutilized garages and backyards. Simply looking at empty-nester Boomer households headed by those over the age of 64, Trulia found 3.6 million vacant bedrooms in the 100 largest metro areas, with New York (177,734) and Atlanta (141,462) leading the way.
18. As John Fund explains, the Berlin Wall may be kaput, but its lessons should never be forgotten. From the beginning of the column:
The Berlin Wall stood for 28 years until in 1989 a wave of citizen protest forced the East German Communist government to open its gates. We’ve now gone longer without the Berlin Wall than it existed.
As we marked the anniversary, on November 9, of its demise, I couldn’t help but recall with wonder how astonishingly quickly the ugly scar of the wall along with its guards, dogs, and mines were all swept away in a wave of euphoria.
I visited the Berlin Wall and crossed into East Germany several times during the 1980s while I worked at the Wall Street Journal. I will never forget the brave dissidents I met on the Eastern side who never accepted the wall, or the bureaucrats who ran the state machinery that sustained it.
While it now appears easy to simply divide the East German population into oppressors and the people they oppressed, I learned that the truth was a bit more complicated even for someone like me who grew up with anti-Communism in his bloodstream.
19. No you’re not a man of the people, says Tamara Berens about Jeremy Corbyn, shifty and shifting and deceptive and anti-Semitic leader of Labour. From the piece:
Deceit is a central component of Jeremy Corbyn’s strategy in the upcoming U.K. general election. Corbyn repeats the outlandish claim that Johnson intends to sell out the National Health Service (NHS), Britain’s single-payer health-care system, to the United States. Corbyn says that Johnson has created a “Trump alliance” that will divert £500 million (around $643 million) to American companies per week as part of a trade deal between Britain and the U.S. This has no basis in reality. BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg — by no means a friend to Johnson — hinted at the manipulative intent of Corbyn’s statements. The aim is to paint Johnson as an enemy of British public services such as the NHS, which many Brits view as the pride of their country. In fact, bolstering the NHS has been at the center of Johnson’s campaign: He pledged to build 40 new hospitals and to fund 6,000 more doctors to deliver millions of extra patient appointments.
That Corbyn has received little criticism for his lies — which form a central part of every major campaign speech and of Labour’s social-media advertising — reveals the extent to which he is shielded from scrutiny.
Corbyn is afforded this same protection when it comes to his shifting stance on Brexit. In a recent speech in the north of England, Corbyn said he will not be the kind of prime minister who “thinks politics is a game.” Yet on the question of leaving the European Union — the key issue facing Britain this election — Corbyn has played almost every possible move. His brand of socialism puts him in opposition to European integration. Indeed, for most of his career, Corbyn opposed the EU on the grounds that it is too militaristic and repressive of workers’ rights. In 1976 he voted to leave the European Economic Community, the precursor to the EU. He campaigned against the integrationist Lisbon Treaty in 2009, arguing that he did not want to live “in a European empire of the 21st century.” During the 2016 EU referendum in Britain, Corbyn outwardly supported Remain but was accused of lukewarm campaigning. A few weeks before the vote, he rated the EU “seven or seven and a half out of ten.”
A Sincere Thank You
Concerning the recently ended Fall 2019 Webathon, some 2,500 kind readers donated $315,000. Each and every one of you rock.
1. At the California Policy Center, the renowned Edward Ring sees the states’ fires sparked by the state and federal forest mismanagement, and proposes solutions. From the analysis:
In order to rapidly address the challenge of thinning California’s forests, there are several steps that may be taken simultaneously. For starters, many environmental regulations need to be rewritten. The state is already beginning to grant CEQA exemptions to property owners that want to engage in thinning operations. But half of California’s forests are on federal land. At the federal level, the EPA’s “no action” restrictions, usually based on the “single species management“ practice, have led to more than half of California’s national forests being off limits to tree thinning, brush removal, or any other sort of active management.
Another required change is the U.S. Forest Service guidelines which only permit active forest management, even in the areas that are not off limits, for as little as six weeks per year. While restrictions on when and where forests can be thinned may have sound ecological justifications in some ways, they are making it impossible to thin the forests. The ecological cost/benefits need to be reassessed. To be effective, thinning operations need to be allowed to run for several months each year, instead of several weeks each year.
The EPA needs to streamline the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) application process so it is less expensive and time consuming for qualified companies to get permits to extract timber from federal lands. They can also grant waivers to allow thinning projects to bypass NEPA, or at the least, broaden the allowable exemptions.
The federal government can accelerate granting of long term stewardship contracts whereby qualified companies acquire a minimum 20 year right to extract wood products from federal lands. This will guarantee a steady supply of wood products which, in turn, will make new investment viable in logging equipment, mills, and biomass energy facilities.
2. Stalin? Sto Stalin? At The Daily Signal, Jarett Stepman checks out the rise in Soviet Revisionism. From the piece:
This is the latest in a growing genre of Soviet and communist apologia. The New York Times, after all, dedicated a section of its website to a series of articles about the 1917 communist revolution in Russia, including a puff piece about Vladimir Lenin as an environmentalist and another touting women’s sex lives under socialism.
Yet there was no mention of the mass cover-up of Soviet crimes in the 1930s by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Walter Duranty.
The Daily Beast article was penned by Brian T. Brown, author of the new book “Someone Is Out to Get Us: A Not So Brief History of Cold War Paranoia and Madness.”
Brown tries to convince the reader that, despite what you may have heard, the Soviet Union wasn’t really that bad after all, and if it was bad, America is to blame.
An absurd and obnoxious Soviet apologetic might be worth dismissing out of hand. Yet, as a recent poll demonstrated, a growing number of young Americans say they prefer socialism or communism to capitalism.
The poll, conducted by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, found that “15% of millennials think the world would be better off if the Soviet Union still existed.” A staggering 75% were unaware of the Soviet alliance with Nazi Germany at the start of World War II. And “57% of millennials (compared to 94% of the Silent Generation) believe the Declaration of Independence better guarantees freedom and equality over the Communist Manifesto.”
At one time, Americans would have almost universally mocked pro-Soviet propaganda as an embarrassing attempt to whitewash a murderous regime. Not so today.
3. At Gatestone Institute, Uzay Bulut finds the persecution of Christians ramping up in Algeria. From the report:
Although Christians make up a mere one percent of Algeria’s Muslim-majority population, they continue to be persecuted by the government in Algiers. The most recent example is the closure in mid-October of three churches and the forced eviction of their congregants by police.
William Stark, regional manager of International Christian Concern (ICC), told Gatestone that shuttering the churches is just part of a broader campaign that began two years ago to target places of Christian worship.
Stark said his organization’s sources in Algeria report that 12 churches have been closed by Algerian authorities since the beginning of 2019 alone:
“The closing of the latest three churches is most concerning, as it came only days after members of the l’Eglise Protestante d’Algerie (EPA) — an umbrella organization for Protestant churches — staged a peaceful sit-in against earlier church closures, and therefore suggests that it was an act of retaliation by Algerian authorities against those Christians willing to protest.
“One impetus for the protests is a 2006 law stating that any non-Muslim worship be conducted in specific, designated buildings. But since this law came into effect, no Christian places of worship have been designated by the government of Algeria.”
4. At The College Fix, boss editor Jennifer Kabbany gives a primer on one of conservatism’s best on-campus organizations, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and interviews its president Charlie Copeland. From the piece:
What is your take on the snowflake generation?
You are starting to see this play out in the corporate environment, organizations where their employees are literally signing petitions or threatening to go on strike because the company is providing services that they disagree with, and they are unable to balance their own sense of outrage with the fact that different people hold different opinions and we ought to respect those differences. It’s a small percentage of people that carry this forward, but have an outsized influence. Everybody is going to be offended at some point during their life and part of being an adult is to recognize that it’s not that big of a deal.
But universities don’t teach students how to be adults. Do they coddle them?
They absolutely coddle them. When they go through freshman orientation, and they all get to fill out what their personal pronoun is rather than he or she — everybody has the right to avoid being upset over anything, which by the way doesn’t work, because at the end of the day people have always had to deal with things they disagree with. But yes, they are absolutely coddled, which is why you see grade inflation, bias response teams, and the anti-free speech movement, and it’s driven almost exclusively by the left.
5. At The New Atlantis, Robert Zubrin proposes a new vision for NASA, which risks irrelevance minus a reboot. From the essay:
NASA deserves a lot of credit. A space agency funded by 4 percent of the world’s population, it is responsible for launching 100 percent of the rovers that have ever wheeled on Mars; all the probes that have visited Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto; nearly all the major space telescopes; and all the people who have ever walked on the Moon. But while its robotic planetary exploration and space astronomy programs continue to produce epic results, for nearly half a century its human spaceflight effort has been stuck in low Earth orbit.
The reason for this is simple: NASA’s space science programs accomplish a lot because they are mission-driven. In contrast, the human spaceflight program has allowed itself to become constituency-driven (or, to put it less charitably, vendor-driven). In consequence, the space science programs spend money in order to do things, while the human spaceflight program does things in order to spend money. Thus, the efforts of the science programs are focused and directed, while those of the human spaceflight program are purposeless and entropic.
This was not always so. During the Apollo period, NASA’s human spaceflight program was strongly mission-driven. We did not go to the Moon because there were three random constituency-backed programs to develop Saturn V boosters, command modules, and lunar excursion vehicles, which luckily happened to fit together, and which needed something to do to justify their funding. Rather, we had a clear goal — sending humans to the Moon within a decade — from which we derived a mission plan, which then dictated vehicle designs, which in turn defined necessary technology developments. That’s why the elements of the flight hardware set all fit together. But in the period since, with no clear mission, things have worked the other way.
Neither the space shuttle nor the International Space Station were designed as parts of any well-conceived plan to send humans to the Moon or Mars. Insistence that they be included as part of such programs only served to make them infeasible. More recently, other constituencies in NASA have made demands that any expedition to the Moon or Mars make use of new hobbyhorses, including variously a space station or asteroid fragment in lunar orbit, or high-powered electric propulsion, none of which are necessary, desirable, or arguably even acceptable for near-term human exploration.
NASA’s current plan for the “Lunar Gateway” space station (formerly known as the Deep Space Gateway, and then until a few months ago as the “Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway,” or LOP-G — I am not making this up) is a case in point. If you want to understand the merit of this project, consider a business proposition where you are offered a chance to rent an office in Saskatoon. Under the terms proposed, you will need to pay to build the office building and agree to a thirty-year lease at $100,000 per month rent, with no exit clause. In addition, you will need to spend one month per year in Saskatoon and travel through Saskatoon on your way to anywhere else for the rest of your life.
6. At National Affairs, Andrews Biggs and Jason Richwine expose the size of America’s worsening teacher pay gap . . . wait: There is no teacher pay gap. From the beginning of the analysis:
One of the most common beliefs about American education is that teaching is an “underpaid” profession. Think tanks purport to calculate the “teacher pay gap.” The media run stories about teachers taking second and third jobs to pay the bills. Politicians call for across-the-board raises. They all see raising teacher pay as a matter of simple fairness, as well as a way to attract better teachers and improve educational outcomes.
They are all misguided. The highly publicized “pay gap” that dominates news headlines is the product of a simplistic methodology that, when universally applied, suggests that nurses, firefighters, and other professionals are dramatically overpaid. Furthermore, predictions generated by the underpaid-teacher hypothesis — such as that teachers must have high quit rates, or that a large percentage of their income flows from second jobs — are not supported by the data. Teachers as a group are generally well compensated, and teacher pay and benefits have risen faster over time than compensation in private-sector jobs. Failure to recognize these facts can lead education reform down a blind alley.
Across-the-board raises, the usual solution to closing the teacher pay gap, come with high price tags. West Virginia’s teacher walkout ended with the state legislature passing an across-the-board 5% salary increase. Arizona’s teacher protests culminated in Governor Doug Ducey agreeing to a 20% salary increase over two years, a policy that will cost the state and schools over $450 million per year, in addition to higher pension costs based on the increased salaries. Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris has proposed to close the “gap” using federal funds, at an estimated 10-year cost of $315 billion. These are not costs that are incidental to government budgets.
Moreover, focusing on across-the-board raises distracts from less costly but more useful reforms, such as differential pay for hard-to-staff subjects, increased teacher mobility through experience credits and portable pensions, loosened tenure protections, and a reduction in non-teaching staff.
Ivanka, Ramesh, KLO, plus . . .
This week the dynamic NRI duo and the First Daughter met to discuss paid family leave and childcare in an event sponsored by National Review Institute. You can watch it here.
By the way, you can watch the video about the then-and-now history of NRI shown at last month’s Buckley Prize gala in Palm Beach here.
Everyone with an iota of interest in Old Baseball knows about Pete Gray, the one-armed outfielder who played for the St. Louis Browns in 1945. Gray had lost his vital appendage as a child in an accident, but was determined to play baseball, and contrived a system — catch ball, roll ball out onto chest, tuck glove under stump, grab ball with bare hand, throw — that allowed him to perform, and he was so darned diligent that kept up with the big boys. Gray became a bit renowned on the semi-pro circuit, and was eventually signed by the Browns, playing for a couple of years in the minors. American League champs in the previous year, the team — desperate for attendance — brought him up to the Big Leagues in 1945, hoping he would prove a draw for curious fans.
And he was a draw. But as a player, well, Gray saw action in just 77 games, all as an outfielder (or pinch hitter/pinch runner). He amassed a weak .218 batting average. Some contend his defensive play, a little slower than most given the ball juggling, cost the third-place Browns several games, and maybe a second pennant. It’s quite debatable.
Gray was introverted, which was accompanied by a sour disposition. His teammates were not fond of him. Especially Mike Kreevich, the aging former White Sox All Star who was the Browns’ centerfielder: He was not thrilled that on several occasions manager Luke Sewell had started Gray in center. Kreevich wanted out, and late in the season the Browns sold him to the Senators. Within days Kreevich found himself playing against his former team. In the first game of an August 12 doubleheader at Sportsman Park in St. Louis, the Senators battered the Browns, 9-5, with Kreevich smashing four hits, the last one a bases-loaded double in the top of the ninth that drove in two runs. He showed them all right!
And Gray showed them, too. It was one of baseball’s little-known acts of karma. With one out, George “Foghorn” Myatt, the Senators’ second baseman, smacked a fly ball to center field, which was caught by Gray, who performed his transfer / glove / stick motion, grabbed the ball, threw it to Browns shortstop Vern Stephens, who stepped on second base and . . . Mike Kreevich was out. Doubled off second. It was the sole defensive double play of Pete Gray’s career. He couldn’t clap – Yours Truly is doing it for him now.
Take no delight in the misery of others. That said, enjoy what remains of this weekend, spent fortunately for most of you in this place that our Creator ordained to be truly special. Warts and all, it is that.
God’s Blessings and Bounty, His Succor and Graces, on You and Yours,
Jack Fowler, who can accept plans for takeover coups of this Weekly Missive at firstname.lastname@example.org.