The Weekend Jolt

National Review

No There There

Dear Weekend Jolter,

“Young man, you are being selfish!” Your Rebuked Scribbler can still hear the admonition of Mrs. K — (Kindergarten, 1966, P.S. 19, Katonah Avenue, The Bronx) ringing more than half a century later. Had Little Boy Correspondent asked one time too many for her to play Funny Frankie Fireman? Probably. And she may have been on to something, because Portly Old Correspondent still demands attention. So be it: We abuse the privilege of the outset of this number to ask you to listen to the Victor Davis Hanson Podcast and if you like what you hear, which we assume you will, to then subscribe to it, and if your choose to rate it on iTunes, to consider a 5-star rating, as Victor’s perma-brilliance negates any dull-wittedness of his babbling cohost. Here is the podcast’s home page.

Elsewhere, see below, on The Flynn Affair, Andy McCarthy (in print and in podcast) lets loose with analyses of crimes having been committed, likely, but by politicized G Men.

Elsewhere Elsewhere: This is being typed with fingers wet from tears. Kat Timpf leaves us to go full-time Fox. From her final NR piece:

I will forever be thankful for National Review — not only because I know that I personally wouldn’t be where I am without it, but also because of what it adds to our country’s discourse as a whole. After all, the character and integrity that I witnessed on a personal level as an employee is also reflected externally in the publication’s content.

National Review is a “conservative” magazine, sure — but the varying viewpoints that it publishes prove that it’s committed to principles over partisanship. National Review is a place where writers value truth over politics. They use logic to come to their honestly sought conclusions, rather than twisting it to fit a cookie-cutter preconceived narrative. I’m honored to have been a part of it, and I promise to approach all of my future work in the same way.

Speaking of my future, I am beyond thrilled for the new opportunities in this next chapter of my career. I hope that all of you who have enjoyed reading me here (thank you!) will continue to read my columns at (If you didn’t enjoy reading me here, but still sometimes felt compelled to do so just to tell me how much you hated it, feel free to keep that going, too.)

Thanks again, so much, NR. Thank you for taking a chance on me, for supporting me, for letting me use my desk area at the old office as some kind of bizarre storage unit — for everything.

Good-bye you sweet thing. Now wipe them tears Fatso and let these wonderful people enjoy the copiousity of the WJ!

But First . . .

. . . if you’ve yet to become an NRPLUS member, how about you fix that, right now? Sign up here.


1. The #MeToo-propagating / Kavanaugh-detesting MSM’s deliberate ignorance of Tara Reade’s charges against Joe Biden get called out. From the editorial:

Given that the evidence is stronger in this case than it was in Kavanaugh’s — we know, at least, that the accuser and accused have met — we must ask why the same rules are not being applied in this instance. Joe Biden is hoping to be president of the United States. Might not a “cloud” follow him around, too? Biden has not only denied the charges categorically, but he has demanded that the press “diligently review” and “rigorously vet” them. What, when compared to his “I believe you” mantra, should this tell us about his character? Is a presidential election not a “job interview,” too? And if, as was the case in 2018, the venue of the alleged assault tells us a great deal about the likelihood of its veracity, might we expect to read a slate of pieces outlining what it was like to be a female intern in the Senate in the early 1990s?

We are of the same view today as we were in 2018, and as we were before that. We believe that sexual assault is a hideous crime and that we should punish only people who are guilty of it. It is monstrous when the perpetrators of evil get away with their acts. But it is also monstrous when the innocent lose their good names. Our preference for due process derives from a desire to avoid either outcome.

More practically, we believe that our political system itself benefits strongly from the presumption of innocence. If the mere introduction of an accusation is sufficient to prompt a candidate’s withdrawal, the incentives for false charges will grow legion. Joe Biden is a hypocrite and an opportunist, but that is no reason to treat him any differently than we would treat anybody else. If he has truly changed his mind on this most important of questions, we welcome him into the fold. As Biden now argues, Tara Reade’s accusations should be “respectfully heard” and “rigorously vetted.” And, if the evidence does not rise to the level, the man at whom they are aimed should be assumed not guilty. But we will not get to that point with one side throwing a blanket over the story and muttering, “well, this time he’s one of ours.”

2. And so the initial, sporadic, minimal lockdown exits have begun. Bueno, we say, in addition to other things. From the editorial:

On the other side of the ledger, the lockdowns have been too geographically sweeping. Not only are the states of our union vastly different, so are areas within states. There is no reason for rural areas of New York and Michigan, where many counties have a couple of dozen cases or fewer, to be subject to the same restrictions as New York City and Detroit. Likewise, statewide prohibitions on elective surgeries have, perversely, emptied hospital beds and idled medical workers in places that have had no COVID-19 surge. (The iconic Mayo Clinic has furloughed 30,000 staff members.) These procedures, often for serious illnesses such as cancer, need to resume.

Overall, it’s impossible to exaggerate the economic cost of the lockdowns, which have brought on a steep recession that we will probably spend years digging out of. This is why impatience to reopen is an entirely understandable sentiment, even if it is treated by much of the media as heretical. A balance obviously has to be struck. Much economic activity disappeared when people decided, on their own, to change their habits in response to the epidemic. Consumers won’t come back in full force until they believe the pathogen is under control. But we can’t stay locked down until the virus is entirely vanquished, or we will have destroyed the country to save it.

3. Own it, de Blasio! From the editorial:

Ignoring the advice and recommendations of the relevant experts in order to tend to his political concerns, Mayor de Blasio effectively became a member of that class of villain most hated by his progressive allies: a denier. His refusal to concede the facts and his desire to subordinate good policy to political expediency were compounded by his general executive incompetence, for instance in leaving city agencies without necessary guidance for implementing work-from-home policies. He insisted that the city’s hospitals were well prepared for the crisis; the actual situation in the city’s public hospitals was shortly thereafter described as “apocalyptic” by one physician.

De Blasio did manage to name his wife as head of a coronavirus-recovery panel. He always has time for that sort of thing. Mrs. de Blasio is fresh off of watching $1 billion walk out the door while overseeing a fruitless mental-health initiative. She has time on her hands and is rumored to be considering a run for elected office herself.

De Blasio moved with much less dispatch than did colleagues in California and Ohio, among other places. And then, after dawdling for so long, de Blasio flipped. We always are happy to see a politician amend his views to accommodate new facts, but Slowpoke de Blasio’s subsequent overcompensation, and the sanctimony and viciousness he brings to the effort, is something else.

De Blasio launched a broadside against “the Jewish community” after a large crowd turned out for a rabbi’s funeral in Williamsburg as though the event corporately implicated the more than 1 million Jews living in New York City, drawing criticism from the city’s ADL and other local Jewish leaders.

High-Calorie and Nutritious National Review Intellectual Goodness Awaits, But Remember to Chew Each Piece 32 Times

1. Andy McCarthy laid it out in his smashing book, Ball of Collusion: General Michael Flynn was set up. From the beginning of the excerpt:

Could anything have made the Obama administration giddier than the prospect of making a criminal case on Michael Flynn?

Flynn is a retired Army lieutenant general, who made his mark on modern insurgent warfare by helping revolutionize the rapid dissemination of battlefield intelligence. He was promoted by President Obama to lead the Defense Intelligence Agency. He is also a headstrong man who got himself on Obama’s bad side by questioning counterterrorism strategy, particularly the administration’s weakness on Iran. He was detested by Obama political and national-security officials for calling them out on politicizing intelligence. The FBI was not a fan, least of all Deputy Director Andy McCabe, because Flynn had supported an agent who claimed the Bureau had subjected her to sex discrimination.

After Obama fired him from the DIA post, Flynn became an important Trump-campaign surrogate, which gave him a national media platform from which to rip Obama’s foreign policy. When Trump won the election, Obama counseled him against tapping Flynn for a top administration job. Trump ignored the advice, naming Flynn his national-security advisor. Flynn worked on the Trump transition and incensed Obama officials by lobbying against a U.N. resolution against Israel that the Obama administration, in its profiles-in-courage style, orchestrated and then abstained from voting on. The collusion narrative notwithstanding, Russia rebuffed Trump’s entreaties on the Israel resolution.

2. More Andy: He analyses the explosive revelations in the government’s shoddy case against General Flynn. From the analysis:

This goes to the point I’ve been pressing for years. There was no good-faith basis for an investigation of General Flynn. Under federal law, a false statement made to investigators is not actionable unless it is material. That means it must be pertinent to a matter that is properly under investigation. If the FBI did not have a legitimate investigative basis to interview Flynn, then that fact should have been disclosed as exculpatory information. It would have enabled his counsel to argue that any inaccurate statements he made were immaterial.

And that is far from the end of the matter.

As I’ve noted several times over the years, it has long been speculated that Flynn — though he did not believe he was guilty (and though the agents who interviewed him also did not believe he had intentionally misled them) — nevertheless pled guilty to false-statements charges because prosecutors from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s staff threatened him. Specifically, Flynn is said to have been warned that, if he refused to plead guilty, prosecutors would charge his son with a felony for failing to register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent. Such a so-called FARA violation (Foreign Agent Registration Act) is a crime that the DOJ almost never charged before the Mueller investigation, and it had dubious application to Flynn’s son (who worked for Flynn’s private-intelligence firm).

3. Even More Andy: It was a political perjury trap, and Flynn needed to be caught in it, if its perpetrators were to snag the big Prize, POTUS. From the beginning of the piece:

Michael Flynn was not the objective. He was the obstacle.

Once you grasp that fundamental fact, it becomes easier to understand the latest disclosures the Justice Department made in the Flynn case on Thursday. They are the most important revelations to date about the FBI’s Trump–Russia investigation, code-named Crossfire Hurricane.

The new disclosures, in conjunction with all we have learned in the last week, answer the all-important why question: Why was Flynn set up?

The answer to the what question has been clear for a long time: The FBI set a perjury trap for Flynn, hoping to lure him into misstatements that the bureau could portray as lies. In the frenzied political climate of the time, that would have been enough to get him removed from his new position as national security adviser (NSA), perhaps even to prosecute him. On that score, the new disclosures, startling as they are to read, just elucidate what was already obvious.

But why did they do it? That has been the baffling question. Oh, there have been plenty of indications that the Obama administration could not abide Flynn. The White House and the intelligence agencies had their reasons, mostly vindictive. But while that may explain their gleefulness over his fall from grace, it has never been a satisfying explanation for the extraordinary measures the FBI took to orchestrate that fall.

4. Therese Shaheen recounts the ugly realities of Chicom chauvinism and its perspective on the rest of the world’s peoples. From the analysis:

That said, there is a quality to the pattern of behavior in the PRC that transcends ethnicity. Chinese racial discrimination is horrifying in its own right, of course. But it also suggests a farther-reaching chauvinism that is emerging as the defining characteristic of the Xi era.

Han Chinese make up the same percentage of the population in Hong Kong as on the mainland, and are 97 percent of the population in Taiwan. Neither Hong Kongers nor Taiwanese have suffered any less at Xi’s hands for that. Nor, for that matter, have the 400 million mostly Han Chinese living on less than $5 a day in the country outside China’s megacities, who face vicious discrimination from urban elites.

In some ways, the gulf between the rich in China’s cities and the poor in its rural areas has been institutionalized through the longstanding “hukou” system of internal registration, which hampers movement between regions and creates what amounts to an economic caste system. While Xi has made hukou reform a priority in order to create greater opportunity for urban migration and prosperity, the system continues to reinforce the divide between urban haves and rural have-nots. As the former become wealthier and more global in their perspective, the disdain they frequently show for those who are different — whether from Africa or rural China — is becoming more pronounced.

5. Scooter Libby sizes up the threat of Red China and its Mao-fascinated leader, Xi Jinping. From the essay:

Such openness and grace have not been Xi’s way. As he built up islets in the South China Sea, he promised never to militarize them, then dishonored his promise, disregarded international rulings, and dispatched ships in packs to intimidate neighboring states and expand Beijing’s writ. Pledging to protect intellectual property, he enabled ongoing theft and coercion, ineluctably undermining industries of the advanced democracies, and then pressed forward on China’s newly gained advantages. His BRI professes to aid, then exploits poor countries’ weaknesses. Citing the betterment of all in the cause of greater China, he has imprisoned Uighurs, undermined Tibetan culture, and threatened the peaceful regional order that had enabled China’s rise. He violates treaty commitments to curb Hong Kong’s freedoms. Behind an anti-corruption façade, his prosecutors ruined scores of his rivals, as he consolidated and extended his personal powers. These wrongs he continues still. Xi’s are not the ways of grace and remorse.

An angry narrative drives this man. Under his hand, the CCP highlights Chinese suffering and humiliation roughly a century ago under Western and Japanese imperialists, while eliding the democratic world’s helping hand and Japan’s benign democracy over four generations since. He slides past the Chinese millions massacred in the intervening decades by the CCP and Mao — China’s legendary leader who spread cruelty and death as he judged useful. In imitation of Mao, Xi has issued his own “little red book” of wisdom. Mao’s iconic image looms over Tiananmen still. Coveting Mao’s autocratic power, Xi strove and won it; now he dare not let it go.

The bitter recall of ancient Chinese glories; resentment of past humiliations; insecurity bred by corruption and illegitimacy; disdain, even hatred of America’s easy ways — these are the pathogens coursing through Xi’s circle. A fever for Chinese primacy burns among them. For a time, they might pander to a Western-inspired, rules-based order, a liberal conceit; but this is not their dream. A historic economic rise, technological mastery, a rapidly expanding navy, all causes to be proud of, have freed them to be brazen. Xi now bares the teeth Deng Xiaoping’s smile hid. From South China Sea islets to the New Silk Road’s arid ends, the CCP, ruthless and defiant, pounds the stakes it holds to advance its aims. For Xi’s CCP, it is the fate of small states to bend to the strong.

6. David Harsanyi scores the hypocrisy in #MeToo Biden. From the analysis:

In 2011, the Obama DOJ’s “Dear Colleague” letter directed institutions of higher learning to adjudicate sexual-assault and misconduct cases under Title IX not by a “clear and convincing evidence” standard, but by a “preponderance of evidence.” The letter also “strongly” discouraged cross-examination of alleged victims — one of the fundamental methods of determining truth — because it “may be traumatic or intimidating” to the alleged victim. After Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos proposed new rules to reinstate some semblance of impartiality in the process, Biden, and a number of other Democrats, engaged in a smear campaign against her.

The former vice president never actually spelled out his specific criticisms of DeVos’s proposal. In a sycophantic 2017 Teen Vogue interview, in which Biden offered a number of rambling platitudes regarding sexual assault, he argued that DeVos is incentivizing assaults by proposing that colleges live by the traditional criteria of fairness. “Let me tell you,” he said, “it bothers me most if Secretary DeVos is going to really dumb down Title IX enforcement. The real message, the real frightening message you’re going to send out is, our culture says it’s OK.”

Arguing that unprejudiced hearings (and I’m still not sure why these cases aren’t adjudicated in civil and criminal court) are a tacit approval of rape is repulsive. Even worse: We now know Biden believes that allegations against him should be evaluated using the precise principles that he would deny others.

7. Alexandra DeSanctis outs CBS correspondent Kate Smith as a de facto ambassador from Planned Parenthood. From the article:

But if you believe that’s what CBS is doing in employing Smith, you’d be wrong. Kate Smith is not a reporter at all. She is an advocate for abortion rights who exploits her perch at CBS to disguise as fact the opinions of the country’s most radical abortion-rights activists. She is Planned Parenthood’s ambassador to CBS, posing as a reporter and constructing articles that more closely resemble press releases for the nation’s most powerful abortion-rights advocacy groups. She has traded her objectivity for access to these organizations, offering them the kid-glove treatment so they will permit her to be the first to publicize their PR campaigns, interview their leaders, and scoop their briefs in court cases.

Let’s review Smith’s most recent work, starting with her verbal virtuosity. She tends to hide her liberal beliefs about abortion in devious language, referring to herself, for instance, as a reporter covering “abortion access” — a euphemism wielded exclusively by the most vigorous activists for unlimited legal abortion.

Earlier this month, she was the first to report that a “coalition of abortion rights groups” had responded to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in favor of Texas’s COVID-19 abortion restrictions. Her article noted that Texas was restricting “abortion access” and exclusively quoted pro-abortion activists, one from the Center for Reproductive Rights and one from NARAL Pro-Choice Texas.

8. More MSM Bias: Jack Butler examines CNN’s footsy act with Red China. From the piece:

The most brazen such efforts belong to the Chinese Communist Party, which is now reinterpreting recent events to exploit the outbreak that its own actions and inactions caused. One would think that, CNN — a news organization that declares itself fond of speaking truth to power, that likes to declare that an apple is an apple — would block the CCP’s attempts to rewrite recent history.

But one would be mistaken. In a CNN “analysis,” James Griffiths admits that China’s leaders “have not been blind to the opportunity” that coronavirus presents to flaunt the supposed superiority of their own political model. Yet Griffiths then proceeds to toe the Beijing line on China’s handling of the coronavirus, America’s efforts, and the global implications of both. It’s propaganda thinly disguised as reporting.

Griffith’s most egregious propagandizing concerns the Chinese government itself, which deserves most of the blame for the spread of COVID-19. Griffiths seems eager to whitewash that government’s conduct and undercut its critics’ valid concerns. It is “debatable how communist modern China actually is,” Griffiths offers. That may technically be true — China is no longer taking Great Leaps Forward, to be sure. But its political apparatus remains oppressive enough to send hundreds of thousands of Muslim Uighurs, a disfavored minority, to concentration camps. And, directly bearing on the crisis at hand, China engaged in typical totalitarian behavior by suppressing early knowledge of the infection’s spread. By imprisoning whistleblowers, it delayed public awareness of the virus’s spread by several weeks (something it had done before, in the 2003 SARS outbreak).

9. Consequence Envy: Poor Max Boot, haunted by the ghost of Phyllis Schlafly, his new bête noire. John Hirschauer has the back of the late conservative who bested the ERA. From the piece:

That Boot roundly mocks Schlafly for making such “incendiary” claims leads one to wonder where she got these “far-fetched” ideas about the ERA. Did Schlafly — whom Boot taunted for her “lack of legal knowledge” — misunderstand future Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 1977 report Sex Bias in the U.S. Code, in which Ginsburg claimed that the Equal Rights Amendment would require that all special alimony provisions for women and wives be “eliminated” from the federal code, and argued that “all alimony and support provisions should be recast in sex-neutral language”? What does Boot — with his apparently superior “legal knowledge” — think that Ginsburg meant by this remark?

Similarly, where could Schlafly have gotten her “incendiary” and “far-fetched” notion that women might be conscripted into the military with the passage of ERA? Did she misapprehend feminist Betty Freidan when she told Schlafly in a debate that “there isn’t any reason women should be exempt on the basis of sex” from the draft? If so, what does Boot think Freidan meant by this remark?

RELATED: Boot pulled out the Nerf gun and unloaded at John on Twitter. John returned fire, here.

10. Stanley Kurtz documents the failure that is Common Core and asks — now what? From the piece:

With six years of data subsequent to full implementation now available, the failure of Common Core can at last be decisively documented. That is precisely what Boston’s Pioneer Institute has done, in a just-released white paper by influential educator and Common Core critic, Theodor Rebarber. The title of Pioneer’s report says it all: “The Common Core Debacle.”

With trenchant analysis, buttressed by powerful, easy-to-read graphics, Rebarber shows that since the advent of Common Core, slow but steady yearly gains in math and reading have been turned into sustained national declines in student achievement. In other words, whereas America’s reading and math scores had once been headed up, Common Core has brought them down. What’s worse, declines in test scores have been sharpest for the bottom half of the student population. The whole point of Common Core was to strengthen the performance of low-achieving students relative to the top-of-the-pack. So Common Core has actually hurt the students it was most intended to help.

While Rebarber is focused on national-level results, he also homes in on some particularly revealing data from the states. Kentucky fully implemented Common Core three years ahead of most other states, yet it continues to register declines in reading and math. That means prospects for a turnaround in other states in the coming years are dim.

11. Victor Davis Hanson looks at existential efforts in American history and compares them to “Our Corona Project.” From the essay:

NASA’s various space programs probably have cost far more than the often cited $1 trillion price. But going to the moon likely more than paid for itself in a variety of ways — in spin-off industries, new technologies, invaluable scientific data, and the emergence of a new sense of increased national prestige.

Critics of the F-35 joint-strike fighter claim that it will cost in toto over $1.5 trillion in all related costs during its lifespan. We have no idea how they can come up with that number, only that the plane is far more expensive than what was initially promised. The interstate highway system’s first phases probably cost around $500 billion in today’s money — and saved hundreds of thousands of lives in its first few years.

World War II, aside from well over 400,00 American dead and the resulting generations of disability and mental-health issues, cost the U.S. in modern currency over $4 trillion, despite turning a lingering Depression-era economy into a global juggernaut. No doubt the actual related expense was trillions of dollars higher.

Few have accurate figures on recent optional wars. But general estimates put the 19-year-long Afghanistan war at $2 trillion, and the 2003-08 active war in Iraq at another $2 trillion — with more than 7,000 American deaths in action or related to both wars.

12. Kevorkian Redux. Another Harsanyi beaut — here he bemoans Joe Biden’s health-care guru, the unsettling Ezekiel Emanuel. From the analysis:

I suspect that if one of Trump’s advisers on coronavirus had once taken to the august pages of The Atlantic to reason that men who reach the age of 75 are useless to society, the press would be vigorously exploring and amplifying his position. Reporters have rarely bothered to bring it up with Emanuel, who is constantly on TV — or with Biden, who is now “sheltered in place” and trying to prolong his life.

It’s quite simple: Does Emanuel believe that Biden, aged 78 on Inauguration Day, is faltering or declining, or in a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived? Does Emanuel consider Biden to have been robbed of his ability to contribute to work, society, and the world? Does he believe that Biden will now be remembered as feeble, ineffectual, and even pathetic? Is Biden’s creativity, originality, and productivity pretty much gone? Surely a younger person, according to Emanuel’s own societal prescription, would be better prepared for the job.

While some of us believe age is catching up to Biden — time waits for no one, etc. — we still believe his life is more than political aspirations. Does Emanuel?

In his essay, Biden’s high-achieving adviser, one of the architects of Obamacare, judges the value of a life by the number of books a person can write or the number of technocratic laws they can help pass or the number of times they can climb Kilimanjaro. Did you know that the average age that Nobel Prize–winning physicists make their great discoveries is 48? Really, after that our feeble minds are “constricting of our ambitions and expectations.”

13. David Bahnsen kicks the idiotic AOC/Warren idea to ban mergers and acquisitions right in the choppers. From the analysis:

It is worth remembering that acquisitions cannot be closed without two signatures — that of the buyer, and that of the seller. To the extent that a would-be seller does not believe it is in his or her best interests to sell, a “predatory” buyer will not be able to close the deal. The principle of free exchange is still at play, as it was before COVID and will be after COVID. Now, of course, Warren and AOC may very well argue that some beleaguered companies are so bruised from the economic turndown that they lack the ability to act on what is in their best interests, particularly over the longer term. Nevertheless, the arrogance implicit in the assumption that a representative and a senator are more qualified to assess risk and reward than the principals of a business whose net worth and income are actually at stake is staggering. In fact, the cut-off from opportunistic capital for companies experiencing cash flow or strategic challenges may very well be their death warrant. The law that is supposedly designed to protect them may ensure their destruction — a destruction that trickles down to their employees, vendors, counter-parties, creditors, and shareholders.

What happens if an opportunistic buyer is legally banned from taking an equity position in a distressed company? They will move up the capital structure to an infusion of debt. Is that the result Warren and AOC are seeking — the piling on of more (and presumably expensive) debt on companies that are already struggling? Why would that be a better result for the “little guy” than a voluntary strategic equity transaction?

The unintended consequences of this bill would either be (a) more business failures, meaning more debt defaults, unemployment, and contagion effects throughout that company’s vendor network, or (b) the additional leveraging of companies that are already in distress with an almost inevitably negative effect on their future growth, and with that their ability to increase wages and hire more workers.

14. Matthew Henderson argues that the U.K. should walk away from the Huawei / 5G deal. From the piece:

Britain is the only Five Eyes partner to permit a role for Huawei in its 5G system. The others regard Huawei involvement as a serious threat to national security. The British government’s decision, taken in January, to admit Huawei came after years of intense debate at home and abroad. Britain’s allies now look on in alarm as a pillar of NATO and the rules-based international order takes a course that will likely undermine the security of its data — and of data shared by others.

The British public’s concern is shared by growing numbers of U.K. politicians. In early March, backbench MPs from the ruling Conservative Party staged a rebellion over Huawei, against their own government. More MPs have since rallied to the cause. Earlier this month, a new parliamentary group was established to review U.K.–China relations. It is led by Tom Tugendhat, an MP known for trenchant criticism of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Despite all of this, however, there is still no sign that the prime minister will change his mind on Huawei. On April 21, the top-ranking official in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that “the government has made a firm decision to allow Huawei to have a role” and that, as far as he knew, the decision was “not being reopened.” If the official is right, unwelcome repercussions are inevitable. The American government has made its concerns plain; Australia, likewise. Kidnap diplomacy” practiced against Canada shows how aggressively the CCP guards Huawei, a key strategic asset. (Beijing has accused two Canadian officials of espionage and detained them as hostages in China, in retaliation for Ottawa’s support for the extradition, from Canada to the U.S., of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who was arraigned for the company’s violation of sanctions against Iran.) Britain’s capacity to resist revisionist challenges to the rules-based international order would be constrained.

15. James Robbins revisits the Iran Deal and suggests an end to it all. From the beginning of the analysis:

Is the United States still a participant in the Iran nuclear deal? Well, yes and no.

The U.S. is seeking to maintain an international conventional-arms embargo on Iran that’s set to expire in October. The embargo was included in the enabling resolutions that the United Nations Security Council passed as part of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal. Its restrictions on small-arms sales to Iran expire this year, with its ban on the sale of missile parts and other weapons extending another three years.

The State Department is promoting a new Security Council resolution that would extend the embargo indefinitely, which is certain to face opposition from Russia or China, both of whom have veto power. It would be smarter to simply activate the “snapback” mechanism in the JCPOA, restoring the entire pre-agreement U.N. sanctions regime and killing the deal for good.

Critics might object that President Trump withdrew the United States from the JCPOA two years ago, so Washington has no standing to engage its snapback provision. But it’s not that simple.

16. Brian Allen has a thing or three to say about how the National Endowment of the Arts is spending its $75 million in Coronavirus relief. From the piece:

The elegant Dr. Birx and the new geriatric pop star Dr. Fauci admit that quarantining an entire country and crashing a world economy to fight a virus have never been tried before. That in itself is a big red flag. NEA’s $50,000-a-pop plan doesn’t begin to address the uncharted territory museums face.

I think museums are doing what they can to take care of their people. That said, a museum shouldn’t keep an army of guards or visitor-amenities staff on the payroll if there are no visitors and museums are closed. That’s an abuse of the philanthropy that pays a museum’s bills. The Met was very nice to protect its people for a few weeks on its own dime, but it’s got a big deficit to close. Unemployment insurance exists to help people who are laid off. If they’re upset, their beef isn’t with the museums. It’s with the knuckleheads who closed the economy in the most reckless adventure since we went all guns blazing in search of those weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The Payroll Protection Plan is the oddest program. The leaders of Congress — a big red flag, as Art certainly told me more than once that politicians are sleazy — conceived and passed this $358 billion program in about the same amount of time it takes to make a good osso buco — another big red flag.

Museums are getting PPP money. San Francisco’s MoMA got $6.2 million. That’ll keep its staff on the payroll until June 30. That money is meant for small businesses, and SF MoMa isn’t a small business, but it’s a sloppy law, and the museum is entitled to the money.

17. Kevin Williamson catches Waco. He knows it intimately. From the review.

The Branch Davidian story is shocking, and it has not lost its power to alarm. For those who do not remember the 1990s (which are turning out to be a decade of our history almost as fiercely contested as the 1960s), the events depicted must seem both unlikely and grotesque: an ATF publicity stunt that turned into a bloodbath, a siege, and, finally, a horrifying fire that took the lives of 76 people trapped inside the compound, including 25 children and two pregnant women.

I was present as a young student journalist for some of that drama, although, as was true for most of the media there, what I saw was mostly other media, a fantastical display of lights out in the otherwise dark countryside, a scene having the atmosphere of a kind of grim county fair. A couple of photographers with whom I worked at the University of Texas newspaper were detained by authorities for crossing the police cordon in pursuit of a better shot. (The photographers from my college newspaper staff, a rowdy but gifted bunch, went on to collectively earn four Pulitzer prizes in photography their first few years out of college.) It was a little like an NFL game: You want to be there in person, but you really get a better view on television.

It was, above all, confusing. The confusion is with us, still.

18. Armond White checks out the Jean-Luc Godard interview. From the beginning of the reflection:

In the absence of proper new movie openings, Jean-Luc Godard’s Instagram interview by Swiss filmmaker Lionel Baier, who heads the cinema department at the University of Art and Design in Lausanne, Switzerland, momentarily revives movie culture. This almost-two-hour interview has lit up the Internet.

Godard talks us through film culture’s now-paralyzed state: Owing to social-distancing shutdowns and distributors’ frozen release schedules (not just in the U.S. but across the globe), cinema is no longer a communal art. The unavoidable capitulation to television and digital streaming means we’re drifting further away from movie aesthetics and film history. The all-important spatial dimensions of bringing the world — especially the human face — intimately close are being lost, and so is the idea of larger-than-life discovery.

The Fortnight Has Arrived, Bringing with It the New Edition of America’s Leading Conservative Magazine

As is the custom in these here parts, we share four examples of brilliance from the May 18, 2020, issue of National Review. If you are allergic to thrills, be careful in how you proceed.

1. Hey, when your lead essay is Andrew Roberts on the necessity of teaching Western Civilization, you’ve got a humdinger of an issue. From the essay:

Mention of the Alhambra in Granada prompts the thought that any course in Western civilization worth its name ought also to include the Umayyad Caliphate, of which Córdoba  in modern-day Spain was the capital between 756 and 929. In the wake of the conquest of Spain and the establishment of the Muslim confederacy of Al-Andalus, Córdoba  became a flourishing, polyglot, multicultural environment in which religious tolerance, despite Jews’ and Christians’ being obliged to pay a supplementary tax to the state, produced an atmosphere of intellectual progressiveness that made it one of the most important cities in the world. Discoveries in trigonometry, pharmacology, astronomy, and surgery can all be traced to Córdoba. At a certain point, then, a very particular set of historical circumstances produced an equally particular set of intellectual ideas, which had significant material consequences. The study of Western civilization is therefore emphatically not solely that of Christian DWEMs.

In 1988, Jesse Jackson led Stanford students in the chant, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go!” The protests attracted national headlines and inspired a television debate between the university’s president and William Bennett, then secretary of education. Bill King, the president of the Stanford Black Student Union, claimed at that time, “By focusing these ideas on all of us they are crushing the psyche of those others to whom Locke, Hume, and Plato are not speaking. . . . The Western culture program as it is presently structured around a core list and an outdated philosophy of the West being Greece, Europe, and Euro-America is wrong, and worse, it hurts people mentally and emotionally.” He presented no actual evidence that reading Locke, Hume, or Plato has ever hurt anyone mentally or emotionally, and that was of course decades before the snowflake generation could proclaim themselves offended by the “micro-aggression” of a raised eyebrow.

2. There’s mucho COVID confusion in Michigan. John J. Miller is on the scene to recount the madness. From the piece:

The state government couldn’t get its story straight in other areas either. On April 3, a spokesman for the Michigan State Police told the Detroit News that the governor’s order forbade recreational boating on waterways. A few hours later, the Department of Natural Resources said that this was wrong: People could use the waterways as long as boats carried only the members of a single household. On April 9, however, the governor banned motorboats, which meant that 54-foot sailboats were okay but fishing boats with trolling motors were not. Again, the rationale was unclear. Meanwhile, marinas couldn’t take pontoons out of storage and deliver them to owners, even though these activities can occur at a safe social distance.

Todd Ritchey, the owner of White’s Welding, chose to shut down in March. Whitmer’s order had blocked him from even the simplest jobs, such as repairing a broken metal gate. “I was going to stay open, but when people stayed at home, business dropped off.” He thinks closing the sake of safety, but he says that he and a lot of others need to get back to work soon: “If you make a living at something, then it’s essential. I don’t care if you sell butterfly magnets.”

Landscapers and lawn crews were idled, too, at a time when they should have been revving up. “Normally we’d be cleaning up yards, removing sticks and leaves, and making our first cuts,” says Spike Lewis of TLC Lawn Care. Lewis, who works by himself, also employs a couple of mowers who operate as a two-man team. They rarely see customers when they work. Lewis bills by mail. “I understand being safe, but I don’t understand why we can’t be out there. Why does she have to shut us down?”

3. Know-Nothing Redux: Kevin Williamson profiles the homeschool invaders at the Harvard Law Review. From the piece:

Professor Bartholet’s aggressive secularism is, ironically, a variation on an old American political tendency in Puritanism. The anti-Catholicism of Puritan New England is difficult for contemporary Americans to appreciate. A Catholic priest could be put to death in colonial Massachusetts simply for being present in the territory. (It is not clear how stringently this law was enforced, though Massachusetts did hang Quakers.) Catholic Mass could not be legally celebrated in much of New England, and Catholics were legally second-class citizens in Massachusetts until well into the 19th century, when the state constitution was amended.

The case against Catholics in preRevolutionary Massachusetts was that their religious beliefs made it impossible to integrate them into the political system of the time, which was true: In colonial Massachusetts, church and state were effectively united. Later anti-Catholic animus elaborated on that point, and anti-Catholic polemicists in the Revolutionary era argued that Catholics could not be good republicans and democrats, that they were instinctive monarchists, that they were religiously and culturally incompatible with American-style liberty. (One sometimes hears similar arguments about Muslims today.) That the First Amendment would give license to “popery” was a lively concern in the 18th century.

4. Bryan Garner, in his new “Grammarian” column, commences a three-part series he’s calling “Killing Grammar.” From the piece:

The core idea among many educators is that we shouldn’t stigmatize regional and class speech habits because that’s equivalent to teaching children that their parents are uneducated or socially unacceptable. Given that most children learn language from their parents, linguistic correction would supposedly damage those children’s self-esteem.

This change in approach marks an about-face in education. In essence, it makes the learning of Standard English optional. It dooms many speakers of English to the dialect into which they were born. It also liberates English teachers by letting them skip English-language lessons and focus entirely on literature, which for many is the more enjoyable aspect of the curriculum.

While growing up in a small college town in the Texas Panhandle, I was exposed to both educated speech and the regional dialect. Some of my friends’ parents would say things like It don’t make me no never mind. Although I never adopted that particular locution, I did as a child often say things like Me and Leslie are fixin’ to go to the store.

My father, a university professor with a doctorate in music education, was continually correcting his sons away from such speech. My mother and grandparents did, too. If I’d been born to a different family, I might well have spent my life speaking the West Texas dialect. But then maybe not: The English teachers in Canyon were also constantly correcting their pupils’ grammar and pronunciation in the 1960s and 1970s.

Signatures and DP-J

This week past we celebrated the publication of NR senior editor David Pryce-Jones’ new book, Signatures: Literary Encounters of a Lifetime, by running three excerpts. Each is a delight. Signatures is available for purchase at Encounter Books.

1. In which David reflects on Arthur Koestler, the author of Darkness at Noon, who signed a copy of his 1971 book, The God that Failed. From the piece:

Koestler happened to be ahead of me as I was boarding the flight to Iceland and so we took seats together. It was the first week of July 1972 and we were off to cover the Spassky-Fischer chess championship, he for The Sunday Times, I for The Sunday Telegraph. This was widely perceived as a test of strength between the two sides in the Cold War. The awe I had initially felt towards him had long since subsided. To think of him as impatient or intolerant was to fail to perceive that he was governed by deep and admirable rage against the infamy of the times. As soon as we were in the air, a voice on the intercom asked Mr. Arthur Koestler to make himself known. The airline was offering him a courtesy drink. A stewardess arrived with a bottle, a large home-brew kind of bottle without a label, and poured a mug for him and one for me. He drained it straight down so the stewardess could pour another. I could not come to terms with a brew like this so early in the morning, so he drank mine too. Soon closing his eyes, he lay back. “But zis iss murder.”

Once in Reykjavik, we stepped straight into slapstick. Bobby Fischer had not arrived and might never leave the United States. The opening ceremony was held in a dark half-empty theater without him. According to the grapevine, Spassky was longing to give an interview to Westerners but could not escape the KGB agents escorting him. So we went to his hotel and found him and half a dozen KGB in one of the public rooms on the first floor. He made for the lift and so did we. On the landing, the KGB froze him out, and managed to crowd all non-Russians into the lift and then deposit them on the ground floor.

Could the restaurant where we took our meals really have been called Nausea? The place had its comic turn too. A man alleged to be the Icelandic national poet was lying at the foot of the bar. Every so often he would haul himself up, point a finger, and bellow, “I know you! You are Hungarian, yes! But not Koestler — your name is Istvan Szabo!” and then relapse to his position on the floor. A reporter once more, Koestler was in his element. “He sniffs the air with animal awareness,” I wrote in my diary. “He makes me think of an otter, trim, the coat in tip-top condition.”

2. In which David discusses Robert Conquest, the great historian and Sovietologist (and frequent NR contributor) who signed a copy of his monumental 1968 history of Stalin’s purges, The Great Terror. From the piece: 

My friendship with Bob goes back to 1963 when he was foreign editor of the Spectator, and I was its literary editor. At the time, the Soviet Union appeared to be gaining the upper hand in the Cold War, and its criminality at home and abroad was a regular subject for discussion with others on the staff, for instance Tony Hartley and Iain Hamilton. It was amazing that so clear-minded a chap (he liked the word) as Bob should ever have joined the Communist Party, what’s more in 1937, which thanks to Stalin was one of the most frightening years in Russian and indeed European history. In 1944 he was posted to Bulgaria as a liaison officer to Bulgarian units fighting under Soviet orders, or to put it bluntly, preparing for a Communist takeover under cover of driving the German army out. After this formative experience, he joined a department of the Foreign Office set up to research the Soviet Union.

Communism was to the 20th century what sorcery had been to the Middle Ages. The claim of the foundational doctrine of Marxism to be a science was pure witchcraft. Something known as the dialectic was said to be the key to progress, but nobody could make sense of this figment. The state was supposed to wither away, leaving us all to look after ourselves as though back in the Garden of Eden, yet in the starkest of contradictions the Communist state granted itself ever more total power over the individual in every aspect of daily life. The organizing principle of class became a sentence of death, exile, or dispossession for tens of millions of men and women defined as bourgeois, capitalist, kulak, or whatever could be profitably exploited.

Bob had spent the Sixties studying Soviet demographic statistics and census returns in order to measure as accurately as possible the drastic fall in population brought about by Stalin’s criminal policies. The Great Terror, published in 1968, was straightforward in language, firm in tone, and careful in depicting the ruthlessness with which Stalin had sent to their death millions of Party members, soldiers from the rank of field marshal downwards, princes and peasants and anyone else whom he judged fit to distrust. Eight years later, on the eve of the Gorbachev era, Bob’s The Harvest of Sorrow was the first fully documented account of the Soviet collectivization of agriculture and the famine deliberately induced in the Ukraine which also cost millions of people their lives. Only when the Soviet Union was reincarnated as Russia did he go there and meet the people whose fate he had brought to the world’s attention.

3. In which David reflects on John Stewart, a popular photographer who signed a copy of his 1988 war memoir, To the River Kwai. From the piece:

Enrolled in the Intelligence Corps, he arrived in Singapore in January 1942, disastrously timed for the Japanese to take him prisoner. He had learned enough of the language to be an interpreter. “Navigating through the labyrinthine Japanese mind,” he writes, “was, after food, everyone’s favourite intellectual occupation.” In Changi he had an inconceivably far-fetched encounter with Fujita, the well-known painter and a friend in Paris days but now an Official War Artist, who greeted him, “Mon pauvre ami, je ne vous demande pas ce que vous faites ici” (My poor friend, I don’t ask you what you are doing here). Sadism and sentimentality were an incomprehensible combination.

The collision of cultures is recorded in a passage that deserves a place in any anthology to do with human nature and its extremes. Speaking to a cadet, John resorted to a Japanese word meaning “bad, inadequate.” Like someone possessed, the cadet reacted with a rant, frothing at the mouth, sending for his sword and preparing to behead the kneeling prisoner who had given such offense. John in fact saved himself by knowing and reciting what the victim is supposed to say ritually before the sword ends his life. The cadet dropped his sword, burst into tears and invited John to have some cake and a cup of tea, the one and only time when the slave laborer was treated as a guest. John’s misuse of language was wiped away because he had proved his respect for the whole culture.

The Six

1. At Gatestone Institute, Con Coughlin takes on Communist China’s attempt to exploit the pandemic to increase its power regionally. From the beginning of the article:

While the rest of the world is preoccupied with tackling the coronavirus pandemic, China is intensifying its efforts to extend its influence in the South China Sea by intimidating its Asian neighbours.

The arrival of China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier, together with five accompanying warships, in the South China Sea earlier this month has resulted in a significant increase in tensions in the Asia-Pacific region as Beijing seeks to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to flex its muscles.

So far in April, there were claims that a Chinese coast guard vessel deliberately rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat operating close to the disputed Paracel Islands. All the fishermen survived and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels operating nearby.

The incident prompted a furious response from the Vietnamese government, which accused Beijing of violating its sovereignty and threatening the lives of its fishermen. The US State Department said it was “seriously concerned” about the incident and called on Beijing “to remain focused on supporting international efforts to combat the global pandemic, and to stop exploiting the distraction or vulnerability of other states to expand its unlawful claims in the South China Sea.”

2. At the Wall Street Journal, William McGurn ends his must-read weekly column with the truest words ever typed: “Never, ever trust the Communists.” From the piece:

Communism has always been far more about Lenin than Marx—that is, about getting and holding power, rather than any economic arrangement. And it’s extraordinary how consistent the lies and violence have been across time and geography, given the many different flavors of communism. There’s scarcely a Communist Party in the world that doesn’t have a mass killing or two in its past.

Chinese Communism has particularly benefited from the West’s naiveté. When Maoism first appeared, it was hailed as a more authentic and humane form of communism than its brutal Soviet rival. Then came the persecutions and purges and the Cultural Revolution, which left millions of innocent Chinese dead in its wake.

In 1989, when Chinese citizens raised a Goddess of Democracy on Tiananmen Square, some pinned their hopes on the People’s Liberation Army: Surely the people’s army would never fire on the people. In fact, PLA soldiers proved quite adept at firing on the people. And to this day Beijing refuses to come clean about how many it killed at Tiananmen.

3. First Things translates and publishes an important Le Figaro interview of the great Pierre Manent, who contemplates the pandemic’s consequences for liberty in Europe. From the interview:

No one contests that the pandemic constitutes an emergency and that with an emergency some unusual measures are unavoidable. But the fragility of human health in a way constitutes a permanent urgency and may provide the State with a permanent justification for a permanent state of emergency. We now see in the State only the protector of our rights; now, since life is the first of our rights, a broad path is opened up to the State’s inquisitorial power. That said, we gave ourselves over to the State long ago, according it sovereignty over our lives. This long-term tendency has become more acute in recent years. The spontaneity of public speech has been subjected to a kind of prior censorship, which in effect has excluded legitimate debate on most of the important questions of our common life, or even of our personal lives. Whether the question is migration or relations between the sexes and related social questions, an ideology common to society and the State dictates what is permitted and prohibited, which is the same as what is honorable and shameful, noble and vile. In a word, we have altogether internalized the principle of a code of speech and expression, which it is considered suspect to resist. Thus have we quietly left behind the liberal and democratic regime that was informed and animated by rival collective projects, and which presented us with great undertakings, common actions to accomplish, good and bad, judicious and ruinous, but which gave us reasons to put up a good fight, occasions for vigorous argument, and great questions nourishing great disagreements. This happy time is gone. Our world is full of victims who, in a voice that is at once whining and threatening, claim to be wounded by all this talk. They see in the grammatical rules governing gender an offense to all women and find homophobic insult in schoolboy profanity. How can we now oppose the State as guardian of rights while we beg it to intrude into our ever-wounded personal lives?

4. At The College Fix, Alexander Pease reports on the huge amount of loot coming to American universities from foreign sources. From the article:

A federal law known as Section 117 requires colleges and universities to disclose all foreign incomes over $250,000 every six months. The Department of Education then releases it to the public.

The most recent disclosures were released in March and September 2019. The earlier disclosure was meant for universities to account for assets received from 2012 through the end of 2018. The newer one covers assets from 2013-2019.

If universities had acted in compliance with Section 117, the newest data set would mainly “just be overlapping information” from the previous disclosure, VanNess said.

But some schools had neglected the federal requirement altogether, and many others omitted old information from previous administrations. New data from 2017-2018 were also released.

5. At The Imaginative Conservative, Joey Barretta takes on the revisionary depictions of Frederick Douglas. From the beginning of the essay:

In Frederick Douglass’s Vision for a Reborn America, David W. Blight, one of the nation’s preeminent Frederick Douglass scholars, provides a faulty account of Douglass’ view of America and his understanding of the American Founding. Throughout his account, Dr. Blight emphasizes the need to examine Douglass in light of modern racial strife. He begins by explaining that at the beginning of Reconstruction, Douglass had a “most sanguine vision of a pluralist future of human equality in the recently re-United States.” This is the “vision” America needs once more, Dr. Blight proclaims. However, the content of Blight’s account does not accurately describe Douglass’ thought and portrays him as a modern progressive, which he was not.

Dr. Blight cites Douglass’ 1869 speech “Our Composite Nationality” as the cornerstone of his argument in order to make the case that Douglass had a view of race akin to the modern pluralist. For instance, he quotes the following from Douglass: “Joy and sorrow speak alike in all nations, and they above all the confusion of tongues proclaim the brotherhood of man.” This seems to imply that all peoples are the same and that America ought to be a cosmopolitan, post-racial society. Dr. Blight leaves out some important context in using this quotation. Throughout the speech, Douglass stresses the duties required of citizens and the immense work it takes to form and sustain political society. America may be composed of many races, but there are principles that must be held in common. Dr. Blight notes that his excerpt of Douglass shows that the country would hold true to “universal values,” but he fails to account for the duties of the citizenry of all races to subscribe to those “values.” Douglass’ conclusion has more complex implications than Dr. Blight admits. Douglass believed that there were universal principles that bound together “our composite nationality,” and that all races therein have equal duties they must uphold as American citizens.

6. At The Spectator, Daniel McCarthy checks out Justin Amash, and sees a preening egotist. From the piece:

I’ve related before my impression from the first time I heard Amash speak. It was shortly after his first election in 2010, and he addressed a gathering sponsored by Young Americans for Liberty in conjunction with CPAC. YAL was founded by the youth coordinator of the 2008 Ron Paul campaign, and the Paul movement was instrumental in creating the conditions for the Tea Party and the election of libertarian-leaning Republicans such as Amash in the 2010 midterms. But in his remarks to YAL, Amash made a point of distancing himself from Ron Paul and his branch of the libertarian tradition. This seemed preening and ungrateful, but at the time I chalked it up to a politician’s simple desire to be his own man. He was inexperienced, and if he struck the wrong note, it probably wasn’t deliberate.

But it turned out that Amash’s self-conscious separation from Ron Paul and the Tea Party was the beginning of a pattern. Again and again, Amash has made a point of pretending to be better than everybody else, especially those who work alongside him. He was too good for the Ron Paul movement, too good for the Tea Party, and ultimately too good for the Republican party and the House Freedom Caucus. A humbler man might have asked himself why every other Republican — including equally or even more liberty-minded ones, such as Kentucky’s Rep. Thomas Massie — was opposed to impeachment. Your friends and allies might be wrong, but they’re presumably your friends and allies in the first place because you think they’re generally on the right side. And if you think they’re wrong in a particular instance, friendship and loyalty would argue that you should try all the harder to convince them to change, and not simply break off the relationship. But Amash isn’t about persuasion, he’s about preening his own feathers.


1. On the eagerly awaited new episode of The McCarthy Report, Andy and Rich address some pre-COVID drama in the form of new disclosures concerning General Michael Flynn. Listen and learn, here.

2. On the new episode of The Editors, Rich, Charlie, and Jim discuss the need to figure out a reopening plan for the United States, developments surrounding Joe Biden’s accuser, and more. Listen here.

3. At The Bookmonger, John J. Miller is joined by Michael Kimmage to discuss his book, The Abandonment of the West. Lend an ear, here.

4. More JJM: On the new episode of The Great Books, he’s joined by Michael Schmidt to discuss Gilgamesh: The Life of a Poem. Hear here.

5. Reason editor Nick Gillespie joins Great Scot Bertram and Clef Jeff Blehar on Political Beats to discuss the music of The Byrds. Flap on over here to listen.

6. Let’s just serve up the excellent program notes for Episode 117 of Radio Free California: Gavin Newsom is governing by executive order, sometimes as a deregulating madman and sometimes as the Elizabeth Warren of the West. Who is he really? In other news: Will rants about journalists who support selective enforcement of the First Amendment. David says we can safely ignore headlines warning of the coming economic apocalypse. Got all that. Good. Now grab the earphones and listen up, right here.

7. On the new episode of For Life, Alexandra discusses the biased journalism of a CBS News reporter, lawsuits from abortion-rights groups against COVID-19 policies, and the Left’s hypocritical treatment of Tara Reade’s allegation against Biden. The wisdom gets dispensed here.

8. The namesake of The Victor Davis Hanson Podcast defies his cohost’s dimwittedness to ably discuss his new NRO piece, “Our Corona Project,” the continuing media effort to belittle theories that the virus may have come to the U.S. earlier than believed, press-conference advice for Donald Trump, the value of Stanford University colleague John Ioannidis, and explosive news about the FBI’s look-pretty-corrupt actions in investigating General Michael Flynn. Hear the wisdom right here.

9. On the new episode of Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Kevin and Charlie discuss the Netflix series Waco. Hunker down and listen up here.


More about great tie games, and the greatest ever — and indeed the longest-ever — was played 100 years ago yesterday, Saturday, May 1, 1920, at Braves Field in Boston, where the home team played host to the Brooklyn Robins (they’d win the NL championship that year) in a 26-inning marathon, much of it played in drizzle, called “on account of darkness” after 3 hours and 50 minutes of grinding baseball, which saw 186 plate appearances, 26 hits, 3 pickoffs, 550 pitches (by the combined estimates of the men on the mound), 4 errors, 3 men thrown out at home, 28 men left on base, and 2 complete games worth of baseball.

Revel in the game’s glorious box score. Some vignettes of the contest:

  • The Braves’ Joe Oeschger and the Robins’ Leon Cadore both went the distance, the former having allowed one run in the fifth, the latter one run in the sixth, and that was all. Oeschger in fact pitched a version of a no-hitter: In the game’s last 9 innings he held Brooklyn hitless.
  • The Braves had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Poor Charlie Pick, Boston’s second basemen, grounded into a double play, quashing the rally. It would be a bad day for Pick: He set an MLB record by going 0 for 11. And he also committed 2 errors.
  • Almost as bad with the bat: Cadore and Robins shortstop Chuck Ward both were 0 for 10.
  • In the 17th inning, Brooklyn had loaded the bases when catcher Rowdy Elliott hit the ball back to Oeschger, who threw to home to force future Hall-of-Famer Zack Wheat. Braves catcher Hank Gowdy tried to throw out Elliott at first, but the ball was dropped by first-baseman Walter Holke . . . who then threw the ball back to Gowdy, who in turn applied the tag to Brooklyn’s once-fleet Ed Konetchy (who singled earlier in the inning) for the inning-ending double play.

The next day, because Sunday baseball was banned in Boston, the Robins headed home to Brooklyn for a one-game visit from Phillies. That was a 13-inning contest won by Philadelphia, 4–3.

Not having played enough extra-inning baseball, the Robins headed back to Boston, and on Monday, May 3, found themselves in their third consecutive extra-inning affair, this one a 19-inning 2–1 loss in which Braves southpaw Dana Fillingim went the distance, scattering a dozen hits (and striking out only four), while Brooklyn starter Sherry Smith (who would pitch beautifully that fall in the 1920 World Series) went 18 1/3 innings, earning the loss when Braves third baseman Tony Boeckel — who had ended the 17th when he was caught trying to steal home — singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 19th.

Two days later, the Braves were in Philadelphia. And yep: For a third consecutive game, went into extra innings. At the Baker Bowl, Boston prevailed in 11 innings, 4–3. The team’s three-game total of 56 innings has just got to be a record.

A Dios

For those who pray, there is a young man, husband and father (little girl), somewhat ill, who was forced to delay getting his worsening symptoms checked (the lockdown’s terrible fallout on people with non-Covid-19), but who finally got tested, only to find he has rampant cancer, Stage 4. Would you mind asking the Creator to let this cup pass? Would you mind asking the Creator to allow doctors to indeed heal him? If you are of my spiritual tribe, would you pray a rosary — a few Hail Marys if that proves too daunting — for this young man’s success in beating this? If you have your health, this may be a good way to acknowledge your fortune, summed up aptly in the saying, “there but for the grace of God” . . .

May the Ancient of Days Bring Peace to You and Yours and to this Great Nation,

Jack Fowler, who will be too happy to pray too for your intentions if communicated to him at


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