The Weekend Jolt

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Fasten Your Seatbelts. It’s Going to Be a Bumpy Confirmation.

Dear Jolters,

For your amusement, the quintessential American political dog days are barking at us: Hazy, hot, humid, and nominated. Much more on the last one below.

Speaking of heat (although the global-warming mantra somehow became “climate change” so we could . . . account for blizzards?), tomorrow (Sunday, July 15) marks six years since the Steyn Corner post that launched Michael Mann’s suit against your favorite conservative publication. NR court-watchers will note since this 2017 Washington Post “update” which reported nothing is happening that . . . nothing is still happening. The response of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals to our January 2017 petition for rehearing has been sorta like this.

As for seatbelt-fastening: Here is Betty Davis’ original iteration. Or is it utter-ation? Regardless: As most know (strangely, some do not), it was but one of many memorable lines uttered (not ittered) in the brilliant All About Eve. If you’re interested in a documentary on the film, well, voila!

Speaking of movies, Zulu clearly presaged the overwrought Democrat response to the Kavanaugh appointment. And now, let us get down to bidnis.

Editorials

1. We say Brett Kavanaugh for SCOTUS was “a worthy pick.” From the editorial:

It would be utterly implausible, indeed laughable, for Senate Democrats to try to portray Kavanaugh as unqualified. They will instead try to present him as a right-wing monster. They will try to make him pledge to keep the Supreme Court rather than legislatures in charge of abortion policy, even though the Constitution requires no such thing; then they will condemn him for refusing to take the pledge. They will portray his concern for the structural limits on government power as a blanket hostility to government, which it is not. And they will cherry-pick decisions in which he ruled against a sympathetic cause or litigant, as is sometimes a judge’s duty.

Podcastapalooza

1. The Editors turns 100, and celebrates the centennial episode with a discussion of SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the merits (if any) of soccer. There’s even a little yapping about Arthur Avenue and rollercoasters. Rich, MBD, and Charlie do the heavy lifting, which is light on the ears, hearable here.

2. Wondering how excited conservatives should be about the Kavanaugh pick? Then you need to listen to Rich and Andy discuss the matter on the new episode of The McCarthy ReportCatch it here.

3. It’s a humdinger of a new The Great Books podcast, with John J. Miller discussing Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War with Macalester College’s Andrew Latham. Listen and learn here.

4. Samuel Goldman discuss his new book, God’s Country: Christian Zionism in America, with JJM on the new episode of The Bookmonger. Strap on the headphones here.

5. If you want to hear Charlie Cooke get full-throttle opinionating about . . . The Beatles! . . . then you need to check out the new episode of Political Beats, hosted by Shagadelic Scot and El Jeff-e. Pass Strawberry Fields, turn right on Penny Lane, and you’ll find Part One here.

6. They’re baaaack. . . Ross Douthat and Kyle Smith return to Projections, and someone gets gooey about Oceans 8, plus there’s more summer-blockbuster silver-screen two-centsing. Lights, cameras, podcast!

7. On the new episode of Ordered Liberty, David and Alexandra discuss the ugly anti-Catholic bigotry surrounding the Supreme Court nominee fight. Get your order of liberty served here.

8. On the new episode of Jaywalking, Brother Nordlinger parades through a variety of topics, from Neville Chamberlain to Riccardo Drigo (gone, but thanks to Jay, not forgotten). Put on your comfortable shoes, and comfortable ear buds, and listen here.

9. On the new episode of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg, Jay Cost joins our intrepid host for a very nerdy discussion of republicanism, the Founding, and the state of our government. Get your geek on here.

Nineteen Cool, Frosty, and Refreshing NRO Pieces That Are Just What You Need as the Temperature Spikes

1. For the umpty-umpth time, Jerry Hendrix shows how and why Europe needs to pay it fair share for NATO and to upgrade its militaries. From the piece:

Americans understand that NATO has been a force for good in the world, and they appreciate the fact that the alliance showed solidarity with the U.S. after 9/11, but there is also a slowly opening chasm of understanding with regard to security between Europe and the United States that threatens to fracture the foundation of the alliance. Europe has failed to make the investments necessary to uphold its side of the bargain, and this problem goes far beyond the 2 percent–of-GDP defense-spending issue. Its air forces are largely incapable of operating in advanced anti-access/area-denial environments, which means that in wartime it will be up to the Americans to attack advanced missile sites. European allies have failed to make significant investments in air and missile defense, giving Russia a free pass in these critical technology areas. Legal documents such as the Ottawa Treaty, which limit anti-personnel and other types of mines, are a disadvantage and unrealistic when only one side of a competition plans to adhere to them. Europe has also failed to keep its navies right-sized to wage an anti-submarine campaign in the Atlantic, which means that in wartime Americans will have to fight their way across the Atlantic before they can even land troops on European soil. So far as highly mobile armored units go, most European armies’ tanks are either too few or too antiquated (if they’re not simply non-existent) to fight in a modern land war.

2. Piling on: Rich Lowry’s column decries Angela Merkel and Germany’s failure to spend . . . on defense. From the beatdown:

Trump shouldn’t openly mock Merkel or suggest that Germany has failed to pay its annual dues to NATO. Trump tends to view foreign countries like contractors trying to scam him in a development deal. This scants history, geo-strategy, and the national pride of other countries — as usual, Trump would benefit from at least a gesture toward statesmanship.

Yet Germany’s defense spending, or lack thereof, is a disgrace. One would think the country would have been embarrassed into following a different trajectory after German troops — Panzergrenadierbataillon 371, to be exact — had to use broomsticks instead of guns in a NATO exercise in 2014. But Germany evidently doesn’t embarrass easily.

3. Jibran Kahn looks into the petty but corrosive social impact of neighborhood “Permit Pattys” who thrill to rat out permit violators. This is a great piece, and here’s a piece of it:

Over 100 entry-level jobs require licenses that can take nearly a year of training, hundreds of dollars in fees, and examinations. They can place the poor in the difficult place of either spending time and money that they don’t have in the hopes of getting a job that they are already qualified to do, or working off the books and risking hefty penalties. A stark example of this is the regulatory regime surrounding African hair braiding. The practice, which is safe and does not involve dyes, dangerous chemicals, or even hair-cutting, is a skill that can be learned and monetized by someone seeking work without a costly education and irrespective of background. This is, to borrow from 1066 and All That, “A Good Thing.” Eleven states, however, chop the rungs off of this economic ladder, then sell them to the job-seekers. Those states require thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in cosmetology training (the curriculum for an altogether different job) before someone can legally braid hair. In effect, this means that someone seeking to take on an entry-level job must stop working for a considerable amount of time in the hopes of applying.

4. Ambassador Nikki Haley takes to NRO to decry some squirt of a UN bureaucrat who filed a distorted report on poverty in America. From her piece:

The report also distorts and misrepresents the facts about poverty in America in ways that a biased political opponent might. For example, it states that 18.5 million Americans live in “extreme poverty” and 5.3 million live in “Third World conditions of absolute poverty.” In fact, these numbers fail to incorporate the vast majority of welfare assistance provided to low-income households, such as food stamps, Medicaid, and refundable tax credits. The report also exaggerates poverty by excluding pension and Social Security assets from its calculations. The truth is that America’s median household income has hit record highs. Wages have risen faster under President Trump for low- and middle- income earners than for high earners. And for the first time on record America now has more job openings than unemployed workers.

5. Very Related: Big Bad Bobby VerBruggen sounds the news about a new report showing that “extreme poverty” in the U.S. is indeed extremely rare. From his piece:

Their raw estimate, based only on cash income reported in the survey, is that 3 percent of all households (and nearly 10 percent of single-parent households) live in extreme poverty. Add in self-reported non-cash benefits and it’s down to 2.1 percent. Account for the fact that a small share of respondents claim to have little or no income despite working many hours at a paying job — clearly a mistake — and we’re at 1.3 percent. Reclassify low-income households that actually have substantial assets (such as $5,000 in cash or $25,000 in real-estate equity), and it’s 0.9 percent. And when you consult the administrative data to account for the underreporting of income and benefits, it falls more than two-thirds, reaching the final estimate of 0.24 percent. Incredibly, many of the individuals who move out of “extreme poverty” when these adjustments are made appear not to even be poor, much less extremely poor.

(That new report is by AEI scholars Robert Doar and Bruce Meyer.)

6. The Left’s foul concept of “White Privilege,” as explained by Professor V.D. Hanson. From his analysis:

Those purportedly without white-based privilege included everyone from African Americans and Latinos to recent immigrants from Asia, Africa, and South America. A graduate student could be a descendent of a white Italian immigrant to Argentina, but have come to the U.S. as a “minority” because of his Latinate name and Spanish-speaking ability. The diversity assumption was that the minute a wealthy grandee from Buenos Aires applied for a teaching job in the U.S., he “counted” as a minority, although he could often be more affluent and whiter than those born with “white privilege” in the U.S.

“Diversity,” unlike prior affirmative action for blacks, rested on a number of other assumptions that soon proved even more incoherent.

What exactly did “white privilege” mean in an ethnically diverse society?

7. Economist Larry Lindsay crunches the numbers and yeah, people are returning to the workforce.

8. John Fund has a thing or two to say about the legal arrogance of a single federal judge making his opinion law for the entire country.

9. Kavanaugh Debate One: David French pined for the President to appoint Amy Coney Barrett, who he called “the better choice.” From his Corner post:

And to those saying, “Relax, it will be her next time,” we should remember all the passed-over judges who never, ever saw that “next time.” There’s zero guarantee that Trump will get another SCOTUS pick. We don’t know of any justices pondering retirement, and nobody should be ghoulish enough to predict any justice’s demise. Don’t for a moment think Ruth Bader Ginsburg will step down under President Trump. So, until proven otherwise, I stand by my assessment.

10. Kavanaugh Debate Two: Shannen Coffin offers a detailed response, in part saying of the nomination . . .

It is the grand slam that David hoped for in the nomination process: A bases-loaded, two-outs, down-three, bottom-of-the-ninth round-tripper for conservatives.

11. More Kavanaugh: Chart addict Dan McLaughlin gives a detailed history of Supreme Court vacancies and concludes that the nominee merits a vote before the mid-terms.

12. Even More Kavanaugh: To those (Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick) claiming the nomination is a political gift to Democrats, Ramesh Ponnuru says, nope. From his Corner post:

In her very next paragraph, Lithwick complains that Kavanaugh wants courts to defer less to executive-branch agencies — which does not seem to square with her earlier insistence that he has made a fetish of executive power. Not pausing over this seeming problem, she strides on to the next sentence: “In short, to the extent that the president looks like he went on a shopping spree for the justice who’s inclined to put his legal imprimatur on the proposition that Trump gets what Trump wants, he seems to have found what he needed.”

The article leaves me unpersuaded that the Kavanaugh nomination is in any significant way a political problem for Republicans — and more persuaded than I was before that it has tied his opponents in knots.

13. And Yes, Even Even More: At “Bench Memos,” Carrie Severino provides the resume particulars about Mr. Kavanaugh.

14. Marvin K. Mooney on Line Two: Kyle Smith says it’s time for British PM Theresa May to please go now, because she is the wrong person to lead the U.K. through Brexit. From his piece:

Since the dramatic resignation of David Cameron two years ago, May’s term has been defined by a total inability to live up to her two best-known turns of phrase — “Brexit means Brexit” and “No deal is better than a bad deal.” She is the anti-Thatcher, a lady made for turning. Her breathtaking incompetence makes the gelatinous Cameron look like Henry V by comparison. When her autobiography is written, it should be published as a loose sheaf of unbound pages — no spine. That would make it inconvenient to read, but who would want to do so in the first place? Students of mediocrity?

Mrs. May’s contemptible “Chequers agreement,” hashed out Friday night at her country house, would give E.U. regulators the power to cover all British goods, with disputes to be settled in the European Court of Justice. As the notably vertebrate Tory backbencher Rees-Mogg writes in the Telegraph, “being outside the ECJ’s jurisdiction is therefore a phantasm, a set of words that means one thing but does another.” The idea of Britain’s being so regulated by an outside authority in which it would have no say is a travesty. And this is May’s opening bid! It beggars belief that the prime minister is even trying to sell such a nonstarter.

15. SJWs aren’t chasing Steve Bannon out of any restaurants (he especially does not violate the “no shirt, no service” rule). The central figure is Washington is not the disappeared populist blowhard but the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell. From Jonathan Tobin’s analysis:

One reason for this is that Bannon quickly became a footnote to history after Moore lost a safe Republican Senate seat in the general election and Breitbart’s leading donors ousted him from the site. Bannon’s brief moment of ascendancy was always an illusion that had little to do with political reality. A more significant factor, however, is that the White House was always going to need McConnell if Trump wanted to accomplish anything during his presidency. Without McConnell, the two main domestic accomplishments of his time in office so far — the tax-cut bill and the swift confirmation of a record number of judicial nominees including Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch — would have been impossible.

Many Never Trump remnants and Democratic opponents of the president have rebuked Republicans such as McConnell for seeming to bow to Trump’s will. These criticisms are valid. House Speaker Paul Ryan, for instance, has swallowed hard and treated Trump as the captain of the GOP team, though his distaste for the president is as visceral as it is obvious. Yet the process that has unfolded in the past year has resulted in a Trump administration that has been conventionally conservative in terms of policies, even if the president’s hyperbolic rhetoric and Twitter account have set a different tone.

16. Karl Salzmann makes the case for public civility and its role in the existence of this particular Republic we call the United States of America. From his piece:

If we forget why we have civility, then in many ways we forget why we have democracy — why we have a political structure at all. The United States was founded on the principle that men and women of good will could differ wildly, even heatedly, about politics — and still recognize that each of us, whatever his political views, deserves to be treated not only respectfully or politely but also civilly. Two hundred and forty-two years after we declared our independence, let us not give in to the tempters who are asking us to give up civility and, in so doing, give up the American Experiment itself.

17. My amigo Red Jahnke is all over the many aspects of the Supreme Court’s recent Janus v. AFSCME ruling, and how it exposes the trickery of public-sector unions. This is a very informative piece, and here’s a slice of it:

The national leadership of the SEIU and AFSCME may come to rue the day that they sought to expand their fiefdoms by claiming that private-sector workers, including business owners (such as many child-care workers), could be considered public employees “for collective bargaining purposes only” — and thereby be subject to public-sector unionization and forced to pay union dues.

Huge refund obligations might chasten union leadership, but maybe not. Indeed, in anticipation of a defeat in the Janus case, unions have already locked in public-sector union members by having them sign cards that commit them to staying in the union and offer narrow options for resigning later. (For regular public-sector unions, as opposed to PPE unions, it is questionable whether an affirmative consent given before Janusis valid: How could informed consent be given before a member could know of his newfound right under Janus?) And last May, New Jersey’s new Democratic governor, Phil Murphy, signed legislation to protect Garden State public-sector unions from a mass exodus. It includes everything in Washington’s law, including the exemption from public-records law, as well as mandatory union orientation sessions for new employees and much more.

18. Alexandra DeSanctis has the skinny on Elizabeth Heng, running for Congress in California and drawing lots of attention to her challenge to incumbent Democrat Jim Costa.

19. But Wait, There’s More: Act now and you’ll get two additional Californias (just pay separate process and handling). Maddy Kearns previews the “Cal3” referendum.

BONUS: Kapow! . . . Jonah Goldberg socks it to Emerald Robinson and . . . Zork! he then smacks Michael Doran upside the head.

Huzzah! The New Issue of National Review Is Out!

Herewith a selection of three articles for your thorough enjoyment and wisdom-building:

1. Douglas Murray pens the cover story on German bosslady Angela Merkel.

2. West Virginia’s state attorney general Patrick Morrisey is challenging incumbent Democrat senator Joe Manchin. John Miller profiles the Republican hopeful. From his article:

“I’m an accidental West Virginian,” says the 50-year-old Morrisey, a Brooklyn native who moved to New Jersey as a kid and attended Rutgers University all the way through law school. In 2000, he ran for Congress in New Jersey but finished a distant fourth in the GOP primary. “That was a tough business,” he says. “It made me more humble.” He migrated down to Washington, D.C., anyway, working on a House committee and then as a lobbyist. In 2006, he moved to Harpers Ferry, W.Va. For capital commuters, that’s a long slog. To beat the traffic, he often left his house before sunrise. Morrisey says he wanted to live there because of the area’s history and natural beauty. “Politics was really the furthest thing from my mind,” he says.

Yet he benefited from good timing, as West Virginia was in the throes of a political transformation. For most of the 20th century, it was one of the country’s most heavily unionized and solidly Democratic states. By 2000, it hadn’t voted for a Republican in an open presidential race since it had favored Herbert Hoover more than 70 years earlier. George W. Bush, however, sensed an opportunity. He thought that the state’s culturally conservative voters, annoyed by regulatory attacks on the coal industry, would turn against Al Gore, the Democratic presidential nominee, who sought to make environmentalism his party’s central organizing principle. Bush courted the state and snatched its five electoral votes. Without them, he would have lost the general election and the Florida recount wouldn’t have mattered. Over the next several election cycles, Republicans became increasingly competitive in West Virginia, taking near-complete control of the state’s politics during the presidency of Barack Obama, another Democrat whose energy policies discouraged coal production.

3. Jerry Hendrix’s essay sinks China’s formidable, flawed effort to turn naval strategy upside down.

The Six

1. An initial and powerful analysis — dubbed “The Chequers Conclusion” — by Martin Howe castigates PM Theresa May’s attempt to forge a united cabinet support for her Brexit gum-up.

2. Why May’s Brexit plan won’t work — at The Spectator, Robert Hancock explains why. From his piece:

As the American Revolutionary War demonstrated, a serious country cannot accept the principle of being legislated for and taxed by a foreign power without representation. The only way the Government can prevent the UK from becoming a vassal state is by convincing the EU it can and will walk away from negotiations. The Government has promised to accelerate no deal preparations, which remain minimal two years after the referendum. This will not be taken seriously while there is no additional physical infrastructure at ports and airports. Without decisive action, the only other restraint on Brussels will be fear that the deal it imposes is so punitive that a future British Government will denounce it. Much therefore remains uncertain, but this Government’s abandonment of the principles underlying the referendum vote is clear.

3. More Brexit from The Spectator: Brendan O’Neill explains how the Remainers are now in charge.

4. Yes, you are reding the headline of this College Fix story correctly: “California university works to reduce the number of white people on campus.”

5. Is this the shame of Britain: Only 20 MPs sign a letter to the Home Secretary urging coordinated and aggressive action against the Islamofascist “grooming gangs” that have brutalized and terrorized women (and girls) for decades (thanks to political correctness!). Gatestone Institute’s Andrew Jones reports this most-discouraging story.

In terms of the UK’s social fabric, the grooming scandal has been for many the rock on which the ill-conceived multiculturalism of modern Britain shattered. Now, intensified by the current fevered atmosphere in the UK, the approach the British authorities have taken in response to this national disaster appears largely based on countering secondary issues — most notably, individuals that protest the grooming, including at one point the arrest of parents attempting to rescue their daughter from her abusers.

There also seems to be a tacit alliance with much of the media to silence public discourse and, when all else fails, outright suppression.

This strategy, if it can be called that, doubtless not only makes a bad situation worse; it also bodes ill, as the sleeping giant of Britain’s white working class begins to wake up.

6. For you game-players, at Law & Liberty James Poulos pens an pens an ode to Dungeons & Dragons.

Eye Candy

1. The Facebook series, The Swamp.

2. John Stossel explains how feminism fails boys.

3. Prager U takes on the meaning of “tolerance.” Dave Rubin explains here.

Baseballery

Bob Oldis played a little baseball over a decade, his heavy-on-the-minors career stretching from 1953 to 1963, closing out as a backup catcher for the Phillies. To him and all other Major Leaguers, 1962 was the year of Maury Wills, shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers, MVP of the National League, and basepath demon — he stole a then-record 104 bases, and was caught stealing a mere 13 times. But . . . that happened twice on the night of June 4th, when the aging journeyman Oldis, springing from his crouch behind the plate, gunned down the speed merchant in the second and seventh innings. Nice bragging point, no?

A Dios

Enjoy your weekend and the sweet sounds of Summer, none so sweet as this.

God’s blessings on You and Yours,

Jack Fowler

Stalkable at jfowler@nationalreview.com.

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