The Weekend Jolt

National Review

October for the Red-Compromised Hunter

Dear Weekend Jolter,

Eddie turns 100, more on that below, but first . . .

We knew the emperor was buck naked, but back in October the Fifth Estate was adamant (watch this Newsbusters’ compilation) he was indeed finely clothed, no doubt sweating from all the layers. “What Hunter Biden scandal?!” they thundered at the charged-and-convicted conspiracy theorists, whose conspiring was about, well, the truth. Post-election polling evidence shows that the U.S. media’s hellbent and often sanctimonious suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop scandal — which in part pointed at president-elect Big Guy getting his beak wet thanks to Sonny Boy’s global access-selling, including to the ChiComs — was consequential in keeping just enough Biden voters in the dark.

But now, oh my, an admission: There’s some there there after all, as Hunter admits the FBI is investigating him for tax issues (Al Capone is holding on Line One). That’ll teach him for forgetting his laptop at the repair shop. David Harsanyi tells it like it is in a piece appropriately and accurately titled “The Disgraceful Hunter Biden Cover-Up.” Do read it, and here’s a slice to wet your . . . interest:

In October, left-wing sites such as the Daily Beast were featuring headlines that read, “Russian State Media Is Desperately Trying to Keep the Hunter Biden Story Alive“ and “FBI Examining Hunter’s Laptop As Foreign Op, Contradicting Trump’s Intel Czar.” Today we learn from the same outlet that, “Evidence of [a money laundering] probe [into Hunter Biden] was apparent in the markings on a series of documents that were made public — but went largely unnoticed — in the days leading up to the November election.”

Indeed.

Today, NBC News reported, “Hunter Biden, president-elect’s son, says federal prosecutors probing his taxes.” But in October, NBC News had “reporters” Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny producing serious-sounding articles such as, “How a fake persona laid the groundwork for a Hunter Biden conspiracy deluge” and “Inside the campaign to ‘pizzagate’ Hunter Biden” to undercut the Post’s reporting. Ken Dilanian, a leading voice in the debunked Russian collusion coverage, had a mid-October headline that read, “Feds examining whether alleged Hunter Biden emails are linked to a foreign intel operation.”

It’s peculiar that reporters could so easily confirm alleged counterintelligence investigations but not one into the family of the front-running presidential candidate. Then again, you may recall the interview with National Public Radio’s public editor in which Terence Samuel, NPR’s managing editor for news, explained: “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions.” It is the default position of many journalists that anything undermining Democrats is by default a distraction.

This missive’s godfather, Morning Jolter Jim Geraghty, piled on:

Why did Hunter Biden’s life go so awry, and why is Joe Biden now taking office with his son reportedly under FBI investigation for tax evasion, money laundering, and shady foreign business partners? In part, it’s because Hunter has been insulated from the worst consequences of his bad decisions for at least two decades now. If Time magazine had ever done a cover story on “the senator’s son who’s making a fortune lobbying his dad’s colleagues,” or 60 Minutes had done a devastating expose, the current situation might be different — very different. Barack Obama might have selected a different running mate. The Democrats might have nominated someone else, and the country might have elected someone else.

Now let us get on to our SOP: Leading the WJ cliché-mixing parade are frills-free links to many a swell NRO editorial and article. Then follows a rewind, where many of those same links get a second walk down the runway, this time with fat, juicy excerpts. Strap on the feed bags!

Links Short, Links Sweet

Editorials

That kraken won’t hunt: Texas Unleashes an Absurd Kraken.

No more know-towing: A New Consensus on China?

Our policy cannot get lost in the weeds: The Feds Should Decriminalize Marijuana.

The road leads back to you: Holding the Senate in Georgia Is Vital.

Never met an abortion he didn’t like: Xavier Becerra: Biden’s Health Secretary Nominee Should Be Rejected.

Time to brush: Section 230: Defense Authorization Bill Not the Place to Debate Internet Regulations.

NRO Examples of Brilliance and Controversy

David Harsanyi lays into the MSM’s growing assault on free speech: Journalists Turn Principles of Free Expression.

Victor David Hanson seconds the motion: Progressives Are Killing Free Expression.

Tobias Hoonhout watches the Gray Lady deal with Trump cooties: Coronavirus & Public-School Closures: New York Times‘ Shifting Narrative.

Rich Lowry sees cruelty: COVID-19 Restrictions Hit Lower-Income Workers the Hardest.

Ryan Mills gives chapter and verse on the Georgia lefty: Raphael Warnock’s Black Liberation Theology and Radical Politics.

Andy McCarthy on next possible steps: Hunter Biden Investigation: Indictment or Special Counsel Could be Imminent.

Frederick Hess and R.J. Martin lambast a promise to undo due process: Biden’s Pledge to Repeal DeVos Title IX Fix Is Misguided and Hypocritical.

Colin Dueck contemplates foreign policy post-Trump: Conservatives Divided into Three Camps.

Isaac Schorr looks at Xavier Becarra’s bloodlust: Biden Taps Abortion Enthusiast to Run HHS.

Russell Pulliam remembers the great Stan Evans: The Bill Buckley of the Midwest.

Jack Crowe remembers Chuck Yeager: RIP to an American Original.

Orlando Watson remembers a great economist and America: Walter Williams — A Tribute.

John Hillen contemplates the date which will live in infamy: How to Remember Pearl Harbor Day.

David Klinghoffer discovers something hellish: When Erik Saw the Devil.

What Matters? Capital Matters!

David Bahnsen sees the moral fog filling the Bay City’s air, and he cares: San Francisco Wealth Tax Misguided & Destructive.

Eric Grover reminds that there is a terrible danger in corporate wokery: Virtue Signaling in Financial Services Is Destroying Wealth.

John J. Cochrane worries as we glibly borrow trillions: U.S. National Debt Denial.

Steve Hanke says it’s high time we treated H20 like the commodity it is: Water-Futures Contracts Help Farmers & Consumers.

Lights. Camera. Review!

Mank One: Armond White sees myth: David Fincher’s Facile Fascism.

Mank Two: Kyle Smith sees Hollywood navel-gazing: David Fincher Puts Style Over Substance.

Armond White is impressed by a documentary: The Plot Against the President Documents Anti-Trump Scheme.

Links Adorned with Plump Excerpts

Thus Sprake Us: The Editorials

1. The Texas lawsuit to overturn the presidential elections is — an understatement — weak. From the editorial:

The state isn’t exactly scrupulous in the evidence it musters. It contends that Biden had less than a one in a quadrillion chance of winning any one of these battleground states after Trump established a lead on election night. The chance of winning all four, per the suit, was less than one in a quadrillion to the fourth power. Of course, it was expected and predicted that Trump would establish an early lead in states that counted in-person ballots first and then Biden would gain as the states began to count in mail-in ballots, which were heavily Democratic. The last-counted ballots were universally understood to be the Democrats’ turn at bat, given who and where they came from.

The suit rehearses arguments against the validity of the outcomes in the four battleground states that have been extensively litigated and rejected in other courts. Texas, for instance, makes much of the Pennsylvania secretary of state issuing guidance allowing counties to give voters the opportunity to “cure” faulty absentee ballots and the Pennsylvania supreme court permitting late-arriving absentee ballots to count, but there is no reason to believe either of these jerry-rigged measures involved enough votes to call into question Biden’s 80,000-vote margin in the state.

Texas argues that such acts contravened the electors clause of the Constitution that gives state legislatures the power to determine the manner of selecting electors. And in some instances, it might be correct. But the answer is not for the Supreme Court, at the urging of one state a month after the election, to reverse the duly certified election results in four other states. This would be a grotesque violation of federalism and our constitutional scheme, not to mention democracy. There is a proper, but limited role for the federal courts in election cases: They can rein in violations of federal law based on evidence that the violation was large enough to affect the outcome. They do not have a free-floating mandate to oversee state election procedures.

2. The chance may be fat, but it’s in America’s interest that the Trump administration’s hawkish approach to Red China is carried on by Team Biden. From the editorial:

The administration also this week implemented a ban on cotton imports from the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, the shadow government and farming collective that governs swaths of the Xinjiang region and has significant involvement in the genocide and slave-labor scheme there. Not only does this deter multinational corporations from doing business in China’s West, it also strikes at a key strategic node in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Meanwhile, work on deepening U.S. global partnerships to counter Beijing has continued. Last month, the U.S. and Taiwan struck an agreement to establish an economic dialogue that touches on areas including semiconductors and 5G technology. And the State Department’s Clean Network initiative has continued apace, adding Brazil to the ranks of the now 50 countries that are working with the United States to sideline CCP-tainted technology.

Other possibilities include issuing a formal determination that the crimes against the Uyghurs constitute a genocide, targeting banks that serve CCP stooges in Hong Kong under new sanctions authorities created this year (a potential move that’s become even more salient with the imprisonment of Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong this week), and facilitating the immigration and resettlement of persecuted peoples fleeing the Party’s grasp.

3. It’s time to reject federal laws that criminalize marijuana. From the editorial:

Drug abuse and drug addiction impose serious personal and social costs, as indeed does a great deal of casual drug use. We have seen this not only in the case of prohibited drugs such as marijuana but also in the case of generally legal drugs such as alcohol and some pain medications. The question is not whether we are in favor of marijuana use or against it, but rather is whether current policy is genuinely in the public interest. It isn’t. Marijuana prohibition creates a vastly profitable criminal enterprise that causes far more damage, including loss of life — at home and abroad — than marijuana consumption itself does or would even if use became more widespread. Prohibition makes petty criminals out of most Americans — the majority of Americans smoke marijuana at some point in life — and in the process acclimates both individuals and institutions to low-grade criminality. It results in needless incarceration and in criminal convictions that can severely circumscribe a person’s opportunities for advancement and prosperity. It creates opportunities for selective enforcement and prosecution. The so-called war on drugs has contributed mightily to the militarization of many local police forces, to the normalization of invasive domestic surveillance, and to heavy-handedness in policing. That is a high price to pay for a policy that is — this is worth remembering — almost entirely ineffective in preventing the widespread use of marijuana and the commerce attached to it.

4. The Georgia special elections are must wins for the GOP, and for America. From the editorial:

Biden can get tax and spending bills through Congress with 50 Democratic senators; with a Republican Senate, he would be compelled to start from a posture requiring compromise. Republican-run committees could also provide oversight, deterring executive adventurism. No committee run by Democrats will offer meaningful oversight of Biden.

A Democratic Senate could also abolish the filibuster, changing the face of the Senate forever. Even the threat to do so would give Democrats leverage that they would not otherwise be able to wield. Broader plans to reshape the system — Court-packing, voting legislation, adding new states — could be on the Democrats’ table. This is before we even get to the individual Democratic candidates in Georgia; Warnock’s record is particularly radical and alarming.

The setting in Georgia intensifies the danger to Republicans of losing these races. Georgia has long been a crucial Republican stronghold. Entering Election Day, Republicans held nine of the state’s 14 House seats and had not lost a major statewide election for president, senator, or governor since 2000. Yet, the state’s economic and demographic structure have been shifting in Democrats’ favor. Biden’s 0.25 percent margin of victory in Georgia could be written off as a fluke, and that has implications for how he may govern. If Democrats win both Senate seats, Republicans may need to take more seriously the prospect of losing both Georgia and Arizona from the Republican column in future elections.

5. Xavier Becerra hasn’t slept for 20 years, he’s so woke. Bidens HHS pick would be a disaster, and the Senate should say no when the nomination comes its way. From the editorial:

Becerra has waged a legal crusade against each of these groups as attorney general. In 2017, Becerra filed felony charges against the pro-life activists and citizen journalists who had gone undercover to expose Planned Parenthood’s gruesome practice of selling the body parts of aborted babies to biotech companies. California is a “two-party consent” state for audio recordings, but the progressive L.A. Times editorial board called Becerra’s decision to file criminal charges a “disturbing overreach.” The law had not been similarly enforced against animal-rights activists who recorded undercover videos. One writer at Mother Jones called the Planned Parenthood videos “a legitimate investigation, and no level of government should be in the business of chilling it.”

Becerra has also zealously defended a California law requiring abortion coverage in insurance plans offered by churches — yes, churches. In January, the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services ruled that California’s abortion mandate violated a federal law known as the Weldon amendment, which prohibits federal funding of states and localities that force health providers and insurers to participate in or cover abortion. Becerra announced California would not comply.

There are more examples of Becerra’s bizarre and misplaced extremism. In 2014.9, he aggressively opposed the merger of two religiously affiliated hospital chains in California because the resulting consolidated chain could reduce access to both abortion and gender-reassignment surgeries. In 2018, Becerra and the State of California were smacked down by the U.S. Supreme Court over a state law forcing pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise abortion. In NIFLA v. Becerra, the Court ruled the law was a grotesque violation of the First Amendment. It’s not always easy to disentangle Becerra’s own zealotry from the radicalism of California’s legislature, but Becerra’s selection is a clear sign the Biden administration is tempted to use the power of the executive branch to wage a culture war that will push and exceed the limits of its constitutional authority.

6. Making the federal Defense Authorization bill the locus for a “Section 230” debate about free speech on the web is not a good idea. From the editorial:

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with hardball negotiations over must-pass spending bills. But procedurally, and on the merits, President Trump is in the wrong here. For a start, Section 230 has nothing whatsoever to do with defense spending or defense policy. On Twitter, President Trump has claimed that Section 230 presents “a serious threat to our National Security.” But there is no more to this claim than there usually is when, struggling to gain traction on a domestic-agenda item, a politician attempts to recast it as a question of security. At various times, we have been told that education, gun control, climate change, and income inequality are “national security” issues. They are not.

There is a clear distinction to be drawn here. The federal government has grown beyond recognition over the last century, but it is still the case that its primary job is the maintenance of a national defense. There are important arguments to be had around the size and scope of the military — and, in particular, around how it ought to be used in the world. Those questions are fair game in a debate over a defense bill. How Twitter is treated in court is not.

We remain of the view that Section 230 is, in fact, not much of a threat to anything; indeed, we consider it a useful legal tool that ensures that lawsuits over online speech target the speaker rather than hosts or platforms. But if there is to be a serious debate around reform — or, in the president’s terms, around “complete termination” — that debate must be had in earnest. The proper allocation of power, liability, and private-public balance in Internet speech is a complex topic, at least if one intends to define it by federal law; a 24-year-old settlement on the issue should not be lightly overturned without a vigorously debated replacement plan.

A Goodly Gathering of Tempting Expressions of Conservative Brilliance

1. David Harsanyi recounts the media establishment for its mounting hostility to free speech. From the article:

For one thing, I wish I could believe they cared. For four years, journalists acted as if Donald Trump was an existential threat to free expression because he berated and insulted reporters. Trump’s tone was certainly unpresidential, but it needs to be said that he did absolutely nothing to hinder anyone from criticizing him or reporting about him. Contra the self-canonized Jim Acosta, it was not a particularly dangerous time to tell the truth. Indeed, reporters were not only free to accuse the president of being a fascist, they could concoct entire fake scandals surrounding the Russians, and Trump was powerless to stop them.

(You might remember the panic over the Cambridge Analytica–Facebook whistleblower scandal. This was one of the stories that convinced Democrats that social-media giants were attacking our democratic institutions. At the time, Bloomberg breathlessly noted that “revelations of the apparent skulduggery that helped Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election keep sending shock waves across the political landscape.” After a three-year investigation, the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office uncovered no skullduggery from Facebook. Chances are, you didn’t hear about that.)

In any event, if journalists thought free expression was a “sacred principle,” they would also likely have been up in arms about the Obama administration spying on dozens of Associated Press reporters and using the Espionage Act to file criminal charges against then-Fox News reporter James Rosen. For the most part, they were not.

2. Once defenders of radical speech, when the Left faces opposing ideas, says Victor David Hanson, quickly come the calls for gag rules and book burnings. From the article:

Staffers at the Canadian branch of Penguin Random House recently confronted management over the company’s publication of libertarian Jordan Peterson’s new book Beyond Order, a sequel to his earlier bestseller 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

What were their objections to the book? Peterson, who has criticized the notion of white privilege and contends that masculinity is under attack, was accused of “white supremacy,” “hate speech,” and “transphobia.” These are simply our generation’s synonyms for their predecessors’ bogeyman labels “heretic,” “witch,” and “Communist.”

Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Twitter are more refined in suppressing books, films, communications, and ideas they don’t like — and don’t want others to like, either.

Author Alex Berenson self-published a series of pamphlets on Amazon that offer a dissenting view about the efficacy of forced coronavirus lockdowns. Suddenly, Amazon blocked his most recent installment — at least until public pressure forced the multibillion-dollar company to relent.

3. When it came to opening schools in the time of COVID, the New York Times, reports Tobias Hoonhout, was happy to shift its narrative to be wherever Donald Trump wasn’t. From the piece:

Since April, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has been tracking cases among children and, as of May 21, hospitalizations and deaths as well. According to data released this week, both the child hospitalization and mortality rate has steadily fallen since May to 1.4 and 0.01 percent, respectively — even as more states have begun tracking the data.

But a big question remained: Do kids spread the disease, especially at the same rate as adults? The issue became politically polarized in early July, after President Trump entered the fray and demanded that schools be open in the fall.

“The moment Trump said that we ought to get people back in schools, there was a huge chunk of people that, I think, to some degree, just wanted to defy Trump,” Prasad said. “I mean, I’m sympathetic to it — I’m not a big Trump fan myself — but just because the man says the sun rises in the east doesn’t mean it rises in the west. Occasionally he is saying the right thing, and in this case, he was right.”

Immediately, the paper of record pivoted to counter the White House. In a July 11 piece, the Times warned that “even if it turns out that children do not spread the virus efficiently, all it would take is one or two to seed new chains.” The article quoted a New Jersey nurse named Robin Cogan, who warned that “it feels like we’re playing Russian roulette with our kids and our staff.” While the Times identified her as a school nurse who sits on the state’s reopening committee, they failed to note that, based on her #Resistance Twitter account, she’s as partisan as the president.

4. Rich Lowry scores the perversity of COVID policymakers, demanding crazed sacrifices by the least well-off. From the piece:

The pandemic has torn apart what the long recovery since the Great Recession had slowly, too slowly, built.

Since 2010, a lion’s share of new jobs were created in the services sector, which has been shredded by the virus. In 2019, black employment had hit record levels. It plummeted last spring. Positive trends in labor-force participation have been stymied, with the labor-force participation rate the lowest it’s been in about 50 years.

Mass vaccination next year should take the edge off this economic dislocation, but it’s harder to create than destroy. The Federal Reserve estimates that employment won’t fully bounce back until 2023.

What is to be done? Policymakers need to realize that when they promulgate COVID-19 restrictions, they are asking the people with the least economic margin for error to sacrifice the most. Congress needs to pass a new stimulus bill to cushion the blow of a natural disaster that has immiserated many millions of people through no fault of their own. And the incoming Biden administration ideally would realize that fashionable causes such as climate change need to take a back seat to the pursuit of full economic recovery.

5. Ryan Mills delves into Raphael Warnock’s brand of black liberation theology. From the piece:

Warnock’s opponent, Senator Kelly Loeffler, has painted him as a “radical’s radical.” During Sunday’s debate, she repeatedly referred to him as “radical liberal Raphael Warnock.”

As evidence of Warnock’s radicalism, critics have pointed to sermons and statements in which he has defended socialism as simply “things we have in common,” called gun-rights legislation dumb, declared that “nobody can serve God and the military,” likened Israeli tactics to those used by “apartheid South Africa,” and compared police officers to gangsters, thugs, and bullies.

Warnock has generally responded that he’s been taken out of context, that his critics have selectively plucked passages out of uncontroversial sermons and twisted their meaning. In Warnock’s view, he’s a mainstream Democrat standing up for “ordinary people.”

But Warnock has not shaken his connections to Cone, whose books are filled with jarring racial language, criticism of white society and white churches, and calls for revolution, violent if need be. Almost from the beginning, Cone intentionally infused his theology with Marxist principles.

“Together, black religion and Marxist philosophy may show us the way to build a completely new society,” he wrote in a 1980 paper for The Institute for Democratic Socialism.

6. Andy McCarthy assesses the Hunter Biden investigation, so far. From the article:

Much of what the Justice Department and its investigative agencies were doing was covert. In part, this was no doubt because DOJ did not want to be accused of trying to influence the election. Now that the election is over, the investigation (there may be more than one) is more overt, but as Tobias details, the full scope has not been revealed. On that score, I would put zero stock in Hunter’s public statement yesterday that the probe is limited to tax issues from 2018. He may not know the full scope of the investigation, he and the Biden presidential transition have obvious motives to minimize it, and referring to 2018 tax issues is a good way to do that because those matters are already public.

There are unique challenges for the Justice Department in conducting an investigation of the incoming president’s son, which involves some suspicious business activities to which Joe Biden has been connected — the Burisma business in Ukraine and the alleged 10 percent slice of China payments that Bobulinski says was held for him. Clearly, the concern would be that a Biden Justice Department could bury the probe.

Let’s take it as a given that if there is no substantial evidence of serious criminality, the investigation should be closed. It might be comeuppance, but it would not be justice to keep an essentially empty probe alive and create a cloud around Joe Biden’s presidency for no better reason than that’s what the Obama/Biden administration did to President Trump.

Given the staggering amount of foreign money involved (particularly from hostile regimes in Beijing and Moscow), as well as reports of sordid materials on Hunter’s laptop (coupled with his troubled background), I am assuming there is a serious investigation. If that is the case, it would be sensible for investigators to be more overt now in pursuit of information needed to make a charging decision.

7. Frederick M. Hess and R.J. Martin anticipate a bad thing that a president Joe Biden will do to due-process rights on campus. From the piece:

The American Council on Education and the various outfits that constitute the higher-education blob recently joined with the progressive base to urge a series of education-specific executive actions. High on their wish list is for Biden to reverse the Trump administration’s Title IX regulations governing sexual misconduct in higher education. Biden, for his part, has promised a “quick end” to the Trump regulations, with his campaign policy director pledging that a Biden administration would “return to and then build on” Obama-era guidance.

That would be a tragic mistake. Under Title IX, Washington has come to require that the nation’s colleges operate quasi-judicial court systems to try sexual misconduct cases. These campus courts can’t apply criminal penalties but they can suspend or expel students, permanently damage reputations, and ruin young lives.

In 2011, via a “Dear Colleague” letter that skirted the formal federal-rulemaking process, the Obama Department of Education issued new Title IX guidance that violated fundamental elements of due process. For instance, the Obama administration pressured colleges to use a “single-investigator” model, in which a single Title IX officer could serve as investigator, prosecutor, judge, and jury. The Obama guidance instructed colleges to use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard (defendants were to be judged guilty if there was better than a 50–50 chance that allegations were true), strongly discouraged cross-examination, and ditched the notion of double jeopardy by permitting accusers to appeal an unsatisfactory verdict.

8. The conservative foreign-policy world will can be placed into three camps, explains Colin Dueck. From the analysis:

Republican foreign-policy hardliners favor a robust U.S. military and strong presidential leadership together with aggressive counterterrorism. They have no difficulty believing that a dangerous international environment requires a punitive attitude against numerous threats. At the same time, they recoil from global governance projects, multilateral pieties, and extended nation-building missions overseas. This distinct combination, so different from liberals, means that hardliners have never been especially well understood by most U.S. foreign-policy analysts. And yet, of the three broad groupings mentioned, they are the most numerous at the base of the party among heartland conservatives in rural, exurban, and small-town counties. Leading examples in the U.S. Senate include Senators Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), Ted Cruz (R., Texas), and Josh Hawley (R., Mo.). There are also some important differences within this group. Cotton, for example, is more hawkish in the Middle East than is Hawley. Hawley is more open to the use of protective tariffs against various U.S. trade partners than is Cruz.

Within the GOP, conservative foreign-policy hardliners are the key pivot group in between activists on the one hand and non-Interventionists on the other. This has been true for generations. Hardliners are not catalyzed into support for assertive international approaches by talk of rules-based liberal world order. Rather their natural instinct on U.S. foreign relations, as on so many other matters, is better expressed by the slogan of Scotland’s Black Watch: “Nobody insults me unharmed.”

Hardliners can be catalyzed into support for an assertive foreign policy — and often have been — once convinced of some concrete external threat to the interests and values of their community. And once convinced, they are relentless. For this reason, conservative GOP hardliners were historically among the fiercest advocates for robust U.S. policies against the Axis powers, Soviet-backed Communism, and al-Qaeda.

9. Xavier Becarra just can’t seem to get enough of abortion. Isaac Schorr contemplates the disturbing enthusiasm. From the piece:

Becerra was also the defendant in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, the Supreme Court case that struck down California’s FACT Act, a law (enforced by Becerra’s Justice Department) that forced pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to provide their patrons with government-drafted documents about how they could procure an abortion. This effort to compel speech directly contrary to these organizations’ purpose obviously constituted a First Amendment violation, but Becerra happily enforced it anyway. 

Those inclined to be charitable toward Becerra might defend his enforcement of the FACT Act by protesting that it was only his job to implement any law passed by the California legislature. But his prior record and pledge not to prosecute abortionists if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned suggests that Becerra was motivated not by a fidelity to the rule of law, but by partisan animus. 

Becerra’s career betrays not only a religious, worshipful attitude toward abortion, but a vindictive, authoritarian streak that should disqualify him from any position of power. For Becerra, it’s not enough that abortion providers be venerated, subsidized, and left un-scrutinized. Pro-life advocates must be menaced, bullied, and silenced by the long arm of the state. Indeed, the only good thing that can be said of Biden’s picking Becerra to lead HHS is that he has not been chosen to lead the Justice Department, where Becerra’s activist instincts could do even greater harm.

10. Russell Pulliam has done a wonderful thing, reminiscing about the great Stan Evans. From the article:

Though he never signed up with the Religious Right, Evans later offered substantial research for the movement in his 1995 book, The Theme Is Freedom, Religion, Politics and the American Tradition. He goes into great depth to show how the Christian faith was the foundation for the American conservative movement. He also argues that the Christian faith is the foundation for freedom or liberty, as we know it in America and often take for granted.

The book helped me see his Christian faith more clearly. He traces the origins of western political freedom back to medieval Christian philosophy and famous names such as Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, then on through the Reformation and early American history. Like Francis Schaeffer in How Should We Then Live (1977), Evans offers a vivid contrast between the law-oriented American Revolution and the lawlessness and anarchy of the French Revolution a few years later. “Rather than trying to overturn the existing order, the American War of Independence was an effort to preserve that order,” he writes, explaining how the Founding Fathers were defending their common-law rights in the British tradition.

Most daily-news journalists can’t make the challenging transition from deadline story-writing to book chapters, footnote citations, and in-depth research. Stan excelled in both callings.

11. Jack Butler pays tribute to the late Chuck Yeager. From the piece:

Out for a late-night horseback ride after having a few beers at a bar near the Air Force base where he was stationed, Yeager sustained the injury when he crashed into a fence. He didn’t even consider letting someone else make the barrier-breaking flight, which was scheduled for just two days later. He had a doctor tape up his ribs, and a friend and fellow pilot rigged his X-1 so that he could close its cockpit. Then, he climbed into his X-1 and, after being detached from a B-29 23,000 feet above the Mojave desert, shot forward, eventually reaching 700 mph.

Anyone who would question why Yeager chose to get drunk and ride a horse around the desert days before the biggest flight of his life is not in possession of what Tom Wolfe called “the right stuff,” in his iconic book of the same name. Yeager had that vanishingly rare mixture of technical expertise, guts, and boredom with life outside of the cockpit in spades. Other pilots of all kinds so looked up to him that, according to Wolfe, they started imitating his backwoods West Virginia drawl, which is why any member of the flying public can do a decent impersonation of Yeager, even if they’ve never heard of him.

“It was,” Wolfe wrote, “the drawl of the most righteous of all the possessors of the right stuff: Chuck Yeager.”

12. Orlando Watson pays tribute to the late Walter Williams. From the piece:

During the Great Recession, as a black millennial and college student, I was captivated by Williams, who argued in “The State Against Blacks” that black people had much to contribute to economic life, yet the government suppressed this potential when attempting to create equal outcomes. His book illustrated in detail the harmful impact on “outsiders, latecomers, and [the] resourceless” when access to opportunity and markets was limited through measures like overregulation and occupational licensing. This message resonated deeply with me as I prepared to graduate college in the midst of an economic recession and take on greater responsibility in making my own decisions and pursuing my own dreams.

The more I studied Williams’ writings, the more I came to see a man who was willing to challenge conventional wisdom — not with over-the-top rhetoric, but with evidence, research, and insight. Years later, as I began a career in Republican politics, it was unsurprising to me that Williams’ rhetorical style, coupled with the weight of his work as an economist, would earn him a near-celebrity status within conservative and libertarian circles. Though there are several prominent black conservative voices, few outlined so clearly the link between government intervention and black participation in the economic life of the nation.

Williams’ work was inspirational to me, and I was later fortunate enough to learn from him directly. When I reached out for advice, he made time to speak with me. I’ll always remember him listening patiently, inquiring deeply, and challenging me gracefully. He encouraged me to continue my formal and informal education and engage with differing ideas about the government’s role in society.

13. John Hillen advises how to best remember and learn from Pearl Harbor Day. From the article:

Through the first four decades after the event, it was hard to remember a Pearl Harbor Day not begun with thoughts of or lessons from the attack. My fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Brantley, told us one December 7th of being a little girl at Pearl and lying under the kitchen table in her home on the hills above the harbor — seeing the faces of Japanese pilots through the windows as they raced by on their bombing runs just a few hundred feet above the home.

We have 9/11 now — a raw and contemporary day of national tragedy to observe. The World War II generation is passing on, and our civic culture, such as it is, focuses on different issues.

Pearl Harbor Day is still worth serious reflection though, and not just to mourn the loss of the 2,403 souls killed that day, or to salute the courage of those who persevered and fought through the attack. In addition, our constant and annual refrain on Pearl Harbor Day should be to remind ourselves that surprise attacks are an endemic feature of national security, and it will continue to happen to the U.S. repeatedly if we do not adopt a posture and set of policies that mitigate these attacks’ worst effects.

14. Former NR colleague David Klinghoffer stumbles onto a motherload of bedeviling experiences from the late Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn. From the piece:

My first editing assignment was to make Erik’s rambling missives “From the Continent,” as his column was titled, publishable. I went to work, at Linda’s request, and did what I thought best: make Erik, elderly European aristocrat, sound like me, a 23-year-old Californian and recent college grad. What could be more obvious? With each article, I realized with a blush that Linda had “stetted” (reversed or restored) almost all my edits. When I finally asked her why, she said, “Because you were taking Erik’s voice away.” It was a lesson not just about editing but about life. As much as possible, in whatever context, we should let Erik be Erik.

That was the extent of my reflections on him, until last week. I’ve had a recurring hunger for other worlds, going back to childhood. I will not try to explain the immediately prompting circumstances, but I was moved to post a request on Facebook. I asked if anyone would be kind enough to send me their supernatural experiences. However they define the term, I would be grateful to have them. I myself have never had an unambiguous experience like that. I received a number of very interesting replies, including one, perhaps the most interesting, from Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn.

Not directly, of course, though it turns out that replies from beyond this Earth would not surprise Erik. A Facebook friend, styling himself the deceased journalist’s “servant,” had been transcribing Erik’s speeches for years. One that he thought was relevant was entitled “Sorcery.” He sent it to me by mail. I received it last Friday afternoon.

What Matters? Capital Matters.

1. David Bahnsen sees through the fog of the San Francisco wealth tax. From the beginning of the piece.

Media coverage of San Francisco’s recent passage of a citywide “wealth tax” has been hard to come by, to say the least. One can be forgiven for wondering if leftist media outlets even see the writing on the city’s wall. It is not just that this bill will do little to provide additional net revenue to a city facing financial ruin; it is that this bill will surely do the exact opposite. Even critics of modern income inequality see policy prescriptions such as this as counterproductive. Indeed, in the present COVID-19 moment, San Francisco needs all the help it can get to attract businesses and well-paid taxpayers. This couldn’t come at a worse time.

So, what is this new tax? Supporters call it the “overpaid executive tax.” (Kudos to them for framing so bluntly.) Technically, the citywide tax will operate as a levy of at least 0.1 percent on companies that pay their CEO more than 100 times the median pay of their workforce. That 0.1 percent tax can reach as high as 0.6 percent depending on how far above the company’s median pay the CEO’s total compensation is. Embedded in the name attached to this new legislation is the belief that disinterested third parties should determine fair and appropriate pay. Whether that be city bureaucrats or voters unconnected to the company in question, the notion that such actors should serve as the arbiters of proper pay levels is nothing more than a form of price-and-wage control. An easy retort to my concern here may be, “Why care about a mere 0.1 percent hit?”

Well, if what we are seeking to address is really egregious, unfair, socially contemptible income inequality — robber-baron stuff — why should we stop at 0.1 percent? In other words, if the rationale for this 0.1 percent is what its proponents say it is, why are we only talking about 0.1 percent? If a Silicon Valley tech billionaire makes an amount considered to be unfair relative to the money paid to, in all probability, administrative support staff, shouldn’t voters and bureaucrats up the ante here, seeking far more than a 0.1 percent surtax?

2. Eric Grover sees corporate virtue-signaling running amok, the shareholders be damned: From the piece:

Executives tout popular causes in order to demonstrate to themselves and their social and professional networks they’re good men. Management at stellar performers such as Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, and Amex likely feel emboldened to take license because they run strong businesses.

But making investment decisions based on skin color rather than commercial merit is not only bad for shareholders, it’s morally abominable. Banks and payment networks are institutionalizing racial criteria, making hiring decisions not based on a candidate’s skills but on his skin color. These criteria reduce long-term profits and destroy wealth.

With perhaps even greater zeal, banks and payment systems have embraced climate-change theology, with commitments to reduce carbon emissions and invest in “sustainable” businesses.

The world’s largest payment network, Visa, announced that it has met its goal of using 100 percent “renewable” energy. Its network, however, must be up 24/7/365 worldwide. Wind and solar power aren’t. The grid, therefore, relies on fossil fuels and nuclear power. Visa spends money on carbon credits to offset these power sources, but more reliable and cheaper electricity worldwide would be better for Visa’s payment network, bank licensees, cardholders, and merchants, and, consequently, for shareholders.

3. Just because we have avoided a debt crisis, writes John J. Cochrane, doesn’t mean there won’t be one sooner or (or, than) later. From the article:

The argument is straightforward. Bond investors are willing to lend money to the U.S. at extremely low interest rates. Suppose Washington borrows and spends, say, $10 trillion, raising the debt-to-GDP ratio from the current 100 percent to 150 percent. Suppose Washington just leaves the debt there, borrowing new money to pay interest on the old money. At 1 percent interest rates, the debt then grows by 1 percent per year. But if GDP grows at 2 percent, then the ratio of debt to GDP slowly falls 1 percent per year, and in a few decades it’s back to where it was before the debt binge started.

What could go wrong? This scenario requires that interest rates stay low, for decades to come, and remain low even as the U.S. ramps up borrowing. The scenario requires that growth continues to outpace interest rates. Most of all, this scenario requires that big deficits stop. For at best, this is an argument for a one-time borrowing binge or small perpetual deficits, on the order of 1 percent of GDP, or only $200 billion today.

Yet an end to big borrowing is not in the cards. The federal government borrowed nearly $1 trillion in 2019, before the pandemic hit. It borrowed nearly $4 trillion through the third quarter of 2020, with more to come. If we add additional and sustained multi-trillion-dollar borrowing, and $5 trillion or more in each crisis, the debt-to-GDP ratio will balloon even with zero interest rates. And then in about ten years, the unfunded Social Security, Medicare, and pension promises kick in to really blow up the deficit. The possibility of growing out of a one-time increase in debt simply is irrelevant to the U.S. fiscal position.

4. Steve Hanke says is pleased that the tide is coming in for a water commodity market. From the piece:

A futures contract is nothing more than an agreement between a buyer and seller to exchange an asset at a predetermined price on a specific day in the future. In the case of the CME’s water-futures contracts, the market price of water for future delivery will be determined by employing the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index (NQH20). This index is calculated using weighted average values of water-rights transactions among water users in five of California’s largest and most actively traded water markets. In these markets, water rights confer annual water-pumping allocations to holders, and the sales of those pumping rights among water users are recorded and used to price the NASDAQ Veles Index. The Veles Index price for water rights at any given time is a spot price for an acre-foot of water for immediate delivery.

The new CME futures contracts will allow for the determination of the price for water in the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index at future points in time. That’s why it’s called a “futures contract.” Each futures contract will obligate the buyer and seller to trade ten acre-feet of water. Each contract will have a quarterly duration. So the contracts will be settled in three months’ time. Although some futures contracts allow for the delivery of the underlying asset, such as corn, at the time of settlement, the CME’s water-futures contracts will be settled entirely in cash. For example, if the NQH20 spot price on the settlement date is below the futures contract’s price, the buyer of the water-futures contract would suffer a loss and be required to pay the price differential to the seller of the contract. Likewise, if the spot price at settlement exceeds the futures contract’s price, the seller would suffer and a loss and be required to pay the buyer of the contract the price differential.

Why is there a demand for futures contracts? In the words of my friend and collaborator, the late Nobelist Merton Miller, the futures exchanges are “offering a product that people want,” and “to show that they want it, they are actually willing to pay for it.” But, why? “The answer is: insurance. The world wants insurance against price risk.” And, long and short hedgers who participate in futures markets generate futures prices and make insurance against price risk possible.

Lights. Camera. Review!

1. Armond White catches Mank, sees bogus, says so. From the review:

Cutely titled after Herman Mankiewicz, co-writer of Citizen Kane’s screenplay, Mank does the Millennial thing: unwarranted idolatry. When Mank (played as obese and cynical by Gary Oldman) doubts his talent, his secretary butters him up: “You’re super at it.” Fincher makes a god out of a Hollywood super-hack in the same way that the media praise Steve McQueen, Jordan Peele, J. J. Abrams, Alfonso Cuarón, Megan Rapinoe, Kylie Jenner, Colin Kaepernick, Taylor Swift, John Legend, and Shaun King. Millennials can’t tell the difference between artists, athletes, intellects, and influencers. So Mank inflates a story about the obscure co-screenwriter of a film that has no impact on the culture, turning it into a Netflix pseudo-event.

You won’t find a clearer demonstration of class differences in American life, which excuse the malfeasances of the elite, than this film about Mankiewicz and his self-righteous betrayal of colleagues and friends. Told against a background of Jewish competitiveness in Hollywood (high-rollers Herman and his sibling Joseph, best known for All About Eve), the biblical parallels are replaced with flashbacks to ethnic antagonism, using the context of political righteousness when Hollywood was split over the 1934 gubernatorial race of socialist Upton Sinclair. These could be lessons for our times, but they don’t make Mank a good movie because Fincher treats these issues facetiously.

Mank is so bogus, and so lacks dramatic credibility, I’ll skip the shoddy narrative (from a script written by Fincher’s father, Jack) to note the immediate offense of this folly. Fincher has chosen to honor Mankiewicz over director, co-writer, and lead actor Orson Welles (a minor role played by Tom Burke) as a celebrity-cult aberration.

2. Kyle Smith sees Mank, sees Hollywood loving Hollywood, but doing a lousy job of telling the story. From the review.

Still, this is just a spiffy example of Hollywood’s endless navel-gazing and Mank must stand or fall based on its substance, not its packaging. As a narrative, Mank flails. To get us out of the room where Herman works on the screenplay, Fincher flashes back to his mid-Thirties friendship with the newspaper baron he lampoons in Citizen Kane, William Randolph Hearst (Charles Dance), and Hearst’s showgirlfriend Marion Davies (a delightful Amanda Seyfried, doing a throwback Brooklyn accent). Mank was a frequent guest at San Simeon, the spooky palace Hearst built for himself on the California coast, and Fincher has great fun recreating this grandly macabre space and the costumed sycophants who peopled it. Too bad production design isn’t drama. The film keeps noodling around the relationship between Hearst, Mankiewicz, and the former’s toadying pal, MGM chief L.B. Mayer (Arliss Howard) without ever making much of a point, except that Mank has a witty comment for everything and feels a bit like a trained monkey around the swells. Reaching for social significance, Fincher gets bogged down in the uninteresting details of Mankiewicz’s and Hearst’s opposing views on Upton Sinclair, the muckraker-turned-politician who ran for California governor in 1934 on an unapologetic socialist platform but was soundly beaten by incumbent Republican Frank Merriam. At the time, Hollywood studios lent their cultural power to the center-right, much to the distaste of ardent left-wing writers such as Mankiewicz, but for the latter to be shocked that newsreels used paid actors for propaganda purposes seems hopelessly naive, given how proudly world-weary Mankiewicz was.

3. More Armond: He likes the new documentary, The Plot Against the President. From the review:

But The Plot Against the President isn’t a doc cry for vengeance. Instead, it’s a movie equivalent of the Gadsden flag’s “Don’t Tread on Me” sentiment. It lines up House Intelligence Committee member Devin Nunes, his assistants Kash Patel and Jack Langer, and politicians Richard Grenell, K. T. McFarland, and Lee Zeldin, who opposed the Beltway treachery. Milius features interviews with conservative political commentators from John Solomon, Sebastian Gorka, Edward Luttwak, Tom Fitton, Jack Posobiec, Michael Anton, Raheem Kassam, and Lee Smith (Smith wrote the nonfiction exposé this film is based on).

A brief clip shows a disingenuous Nancy Pelosi enabling the coup attempt by endorsing the Russia hoax as “a desecration of our democracy not seen since Watergate,” which sets up the Left media’s go-to myth — their cry of “avenge me!” Although Milius never returns to Nancy Pelosi’s subversive doings, this telling moment reminded me that another scion-turned-filmmaker, Nancy’s daughter Alexandra Pelosi, had in 2002 made Journeys with George, a seemingly bipartisan doc that made the class affinity among cross-the-aisle politicians suspicious. Amanda Milius goes deeper, revealing almost Shakespearean complexity of behavior.

Milius concentrates on conservative patriots, yet her colloquy of all those involved in creating or fighting the coup highlights the varied countenances, plus their camera-ready expressions, that reveal an unexpectedly broad, adversarial America. The calm, uninflected presentation of the faces in this nightmare scenario looks past the usual suspects that the mainstream media favors — Adam Schiff, James Comey, John Brennan, James Clapper, Andrew McCabe, and Peter Strzok, who all regularly appear on CNN and MSNBC as Beltway stars.

Elsewhere in the Conservative Solar System

1. At The Kennan Institute, Ignat Solzhenistyn and Daniel Mahoney discuss the great Aleksandr’s important memoir, Between Two Millstones, Book Two. Watch the video here.

2. Fishmonger reticence? At the Wall Street Journal, William McGurn wonders aloud why Pope Francis, who voices an opinion about everything, remains silent on the abuses of Red China. From the column:

Jimmy Lai has embraced his destiny. Last Wednesday the founder of one of Hong Kong’s most popular newspapers, Apple Daily, was arrested on ginned-up fraud charges. On Thursday he was clapped into jail as a national security risk. Thus did a man who started the week a Hong Kong billionaire end it a Chinese dissident.

Mr. Lai’s jailing has provoked condemnation from figures as diverse as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky and New York Rep. Eliot Engel. They have been joined by journalists, activists and politicians such as the Labour Party’s Sarah Champion and other members of Parliament who on Monday raised Mr. Lai’s plight in Britain’s House of Commons.

But there is one place where China’s bullying elicits only silence: the Vatican. Which is strange, because Jimmy Lai is not only Hong Kong’s most well-known champion of democracy; he is also its most prominent Catholic layman. At a moment when he and his family most need their shepherd, Pope Francis is MIA.

The silence might be understandable if Pope Francis were in the tradition of pontiffs who hold themselves aloof from worldly affairs. But Pope Francis is a man who readily weighs in on outrages wherever he finds them, whether it be modern air conditioning, American capitalism or Catholic moms who breed “like rabbits.”

3. At City Journal, Troy Senik remembers Bruce Hershensohn as the happiest of warriors. From the reflection:

In the days when Southern California was a power center in Republican politics, it was often said that you could distinguish the Nixon men from the Reagan men at a glance. Each were said to follow the cues of their principal: the Nixonites cold, cynical, and calculating; the Reaganites sunny, positive, and idealistic. Bruce was a walking reprimand to that thesis (though, as a member of the Reagan transition team, he arguably had a foot in both camps). If your only examples of conservatism in the 1980s were Ronald Reagan and Bruce Herschensohn, you could be forgiven for believing that all Republicans had a low resting heart rate, a quick wit, great hair, and a voice that sounded like God after a glass of wine. Lots of people disagreed with Bruce Herschensohn; no one hated him.

Bruce twice ran for the Senate, finishing second in a 13-candidate field in the 1986 Republican primary and earning the party’s nomination in 1992, when he came within five points of defeating Barbara Boxer for an open seat. He never tried for any other elected office, simply because none interested him. Single-mindedly focused on foreign policy — he was virulently anti-Communist — the Senate was the only station that he thought more powerful for those purposes than a media perch.

His amiability could mask just how formidable he was on those issues. You tangled with Bruce on foreign policy at your peril. Those who thought it easy to outwit the man whose terminal degree was a high school diploma severely miscalculated. Bruce started his reading regime every morning at 4:00, consumed the English editions of newspapers from around the world, refused research assistance, and committed everything to memory rather than relying on notes. This tended to leave his sparring partners bewildered. The man seemed too nice to be such a savant.

4. At Gatestone Institute, Lawrence Franklin sounds the alarm — China seeks military presence in the Caribbean. From the article:

It is important to remember that China also promised Hong Kong autonomy until 2047, then, in 2020, jumped the gun by 27 years. “Hong Kong will be another communist-run city under China’s strict control,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared in July. China is clearly not a government that honors its agreements.

The CCP leadership has also been launching a diplomatic effort in the Caribbean with the goal of delegitimizing the state of Taiwan, while encouraging regional countries to open relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Chinese shipments of military and police equipment to several Caribbean states could be developing into beachheads for future People’s Liberation Army (PLA) “advisory groups” in the Western Hemisphere. China’s construction projects already include the modernization of airports and seaports, which could increase Chinese geopolitical and military influence in the region. Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe already is on record expressing China’s willingness to deepen military cooperation with Caribbean countries.

Additionally, China has been investing considerable revenue in the economies of the hemisphere’s anti-American Caribbean socialist states of Cuba and Venezuela. China’s establishment of a Caribbean Belt and Road Sector is an opportunity for CCP intelligence operatives to suborn the sovereignty of Caribbean countries by luring these societies into “debt trap” economic dependency on China. In Sri Lanka, for instance, the country’s inability to pay back its Chinese creditors for Beijing’s modernization of the port of Hambantota has resulted in the South Asian country’s effective loss of the port.

5. At The Heritage Foundation, Michael Gonzalez and Jonathan Butcher have crafted a major report titled “Critical Race Theory, the New Intolerance, and Its Grip on America.” From the report:

Because of their strong political commitment to transforming the United States, CRT writers make clear that they do not intend for what happens on college campuses to stay on campus. “It is our hope that scholarly resistance will lay the groundwork for wide-scale resistance. We believe that standards and institutions created by and fortifying white power ought to be resisted,” writes Bell. On that score, we must pronounce CRT to have been a resounding success. CRT has broken out of the classroom and become the philosophy of wide-scale resistance. It is useful to identify a few of the ways with which it impacts the daily lives of Americans.

Identity Politics. CRT has become the academic body of work that underpins identity politics, an ongoing effort to reimagine the United States as a nation not of individuals and local communities united under common purposes, but as one riven by groups based on sex, race, national origin, or gender — each with specific claims on victimization. These identity categories correspond to Marcuse’s new revolutionary base (“the substratum of the outcasts and outsiders, the exploited and persecuted of other races and other colors”). The identities are often artificial ones manufactured by government itself, examples being the Hispanic and Asian-American pan-ethnicities contrived in 1977 by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), or the 31 genders approved by the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Under identity politics, America is no longer a country where the individual is the central agent in society, who, because of his very existence possesses individual rights. Instead, membership in the official categories becomes the identity that matters when it comes to rights (mostly positive rights, not natural ones), responsibilities, and everything else. Identity politics has become the new paradigm under which many Americans now operate. Victimhood is what commands attention, respect, and entitlements, seen as compensatory justice.

CRT emerged contemporaneously with the proliferation of these identity categories in America and became the philosophical tool to implement identity politics and the attempt to transform the United States. Race, Racism and American Law by Derrick Bell includes toward the end a chapter for “Racism and Other Nonwhites,” among whom he names for the United States the Chinese, the Japanese, and the Mexicans. It was published in 1972, two years before the Census Bureau bureaucrats, under pressure from leftist activists, opened the first national racial and ethnic advisory committee. Just three years later, these activists convinced the OMB to create the pan-ethnic categories.

The simultaneity was hardly coincidental: The activists who forced the bureaucracy to confect the identities also drank deeply from the well of European philosophies brought over after World War II. “The language of ‘dominant’ and ‘subservient,’ or ‘subordinate,’ groups, integral to Critical Theory and the Frankfurt School” pervaded the work of Julian Samora, the first founder of a Hispanic studies department at a major university, the first leader of La Raza [“The Race”] and a member of the Census Bureau’s first national advisory committee on race. Samora’s 1953 dissertation, titled “Minority Leadership in a Bi-Cultural Community,” quotes the German-born American social psychologist Kurt Lewin, who was associated with the Frankfurt School.

6. More Wall Street Journal: Alex Berenson takes on Big Tech’s censorship in the public-health debate. From the piece:

Information has never been more plentiful or easier to distribute. Yet we are sliding into a new age of censorship and suppression, encouraged by technology giants and traditional media companies. As someone who’s been falsely characterized as a coronavirus “denier,” I have seen this crisis firsthand.

Since June, Amazon has twice tried to suppress self-published booklets I have written about Covid-19 and the response to it. These booklets don’t contain conspiracy theories. Like the scientists who wrote the Great Barrington Declaration, I simply believe many measures to control the coronavirus have been damaging, counterproductive and unsupported by science.

Amazon has said earlier that “as a bookseller, we believe that providing access to the written word is important, including books that some may find objectionable.” The company sells “Mein Kampf” and “The Anarchist’s Cookbook.” But when it comes to Covid, Amazon has a different standard. At least half a dozen other authors have emailed me that their books have been pulled. Amazon won’t disclose how many, or other details about how it picks books to censor.

7. At The Federalist, Ben Weingarten explains how lefty, fork-tongued spook John Brennan has BFFs in the MSM. From the article:

Brennan’s newsworthy lies regarding Trump and Russia, for example, are just two of the many that persist at the heart of the collusion narrative that he, fellow Obama administration national security and law enforcement officials, and their media mouthpieces have pushed on the country over the last four years as part of an information operation. That operation was essential to toppling the ruling class’s greatest stumbling block, President Trump, who threatened its globalist gravy train, particularly with respect to Communist China.

In its willingness to continue trotting out Brennan, leftist media has proved it is no adversary of the powerful. It is an instrument of it. This media does not speak truth to power. It gives the powerful an avenue to speak its “truth.” It is not enough to say it has been captured by the ruling class, with which it works hand in hand for mutual ends, ideological and otherwise. In fact, the media is its de facto communications arm. The public loses immensely as a consequence of this relationship.

The only inadvertent benefit of Brennan’s airtime is that it exposes how unmoored our ruling class is from the public it is supposed to serve. It shows, in all its ignominy, how unmoored both the media and the purported leaders of our most vital governmental institutions have become from their public missions.

8. At the Daily Mail, Peter Hitchens reports on the decline of Eton College and the U.K.’s “other supposedly conservative schools.” From the commentary:

Eton may still have its silly fancy-dress uniform and its wall game, its stately buildings and grounds. But these survivals conceal the truth.

Even the richest and most renowned of all the great public schools realised some time ago that, to be allowed to survive at all, they must submit to correction and purification.

That is why the Eton teacher Will Knowland is now in trouble for expressing unfashionable opinions in a not-very-distinguished video.

And it is why, whether he loses or wins his struggle for reinstatement, Left-wing conformism will now tighten its grip on the school.

Within 20 years, it will just be a very expensive version of Bog Lane Comprehensive, flying the Black Lives Matter flag on its gatehouse, alternating with the gay rights rainbow, the Extinction Rebellion banner or any of the other causes which must now be supported — or else.

Who can really blame it? This is just a mopping-up operation. The war which decided all these matters was finally lost long ago, when in the years before 2010 the Old Etonian David Cameron forced the Tory Party to take the yoke and support the Blairite revolution.

9. At The College Fix, Hunter Gallo reports on The Ohio State University’s multi-million-dollar spending on “diversity workers.” From the beginning of the article:

Ohio State University currently employs more than 100 workers whose jobs are dedicated to diversity and inclusion, according to information recently compiled using the most recent salary reports for the public university.

The research found that the salary and benefits costs come in at over $10 million dollars annually, according to Professor Mark Perry of the University of Michigan-Flint, who conducted the research.

According to Perry, that annual cost is enough to cover the tuition of approximately 882 in-state students or 303 out-of-state students.

“I have long been a critic of ‘administrative bloat’ in higher education, and the explosion of diversity officers is just one example of that bloat,” said Perry, a professor of finance, business and economics.

Of the 100-plus employees, they consist mostly of non-faculty positions in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, such as provosts, directors, assistant directors, managers, equity investigators, administrative assistants, and “academic encouragers.”

10. At Washington Free Beacon, Yuichiro Kakutani reveals how Columbia University has covered up its ties to Red China. From the article:

Columbia University failed to disclose at least $1 million in Chinese government funding that went toward hosting a Confucius Institute, which the State Department has described as a part of Beijing’s propaganda effort targeting U.S. students.

The New York-based university is the only Ivy League institution to host a Confucius Institute, a controversial Chinese government-funded program that at its height operated in more than 100 U.S. colleges. Hanban, the Beijing-controlled entity that manages the Confucius Institute, pledged at least $1 million in donations to Columbia University, according to a Chinese state media report. Department of Education records show that Columbia never disclosed any such donations to the federal government.

At least part of the Chinese government money went toward bringing on Prof. Wei Dedong, an adviser to the Chinese regime’s propaganda department, to serve as the director of Columbia’s Confucius Institute starting in 2016. Wei, who is an associate professor at Renmin University in Beijing, gave several lectures and organized events at Columbia, including a seminar on “China’s regulation of religious affairs” in Tibet. He also oversaw the Confucius Institute’s Mandarin instruction and grant programs for Columbia students.

Baseballery

Eddie Robinson turns 100 on December 15th, Tuesday upcoming. He played his first MLB game in late 1942 with the Cleveland Indians, and then, like many young men of his age and time, lost three prime seasons to Uncle Sam. While in the Navy, a tumor was found on his leg, and the surgery to remove it was botched. A second surgery saved his leg, and his ensuing baseball career.

Eddie returned to the Indians in 1946, spent the following year in the minors (he was the MVP of the International League), and in 1948 was back with the Tribe (he started in all six of the team’s World Series games against the Boston Braves). In 1959 Robinson was traded to the Washington Senators, where he earned his first All Star nod. Midway through 1950 he was dealt to the Chicago White Sox, where he hit 29 home runs and drove in 117 runs in 1951. Robinson’s hitting wasn’t too shabby in 1952: he smacked 22 homers and knocked in 104 ribbies while batting .296. Traded the following year to the Philadelphia Athletics, Robinson kept up the power routine, hitting another 22 homers accompanied by 102 RBIs. That 1951-53 stretch saw three more All Star appearances for Robinson, including as the starting first baseman in the 1951 game.

Then came the decline, but not the glory. Traded to the Yankees, Robinson meshed with Casey Stengel’s platooning system, and in 1955 hit 16 home runs for the Bombers, plus appearing in four games in the World Series.

It may be that someone else played for five clubs in two seasons, but it’s a fact for Robinson as he ended his career: Midway through 1956, the Yankees traded his to Kansas City, who then in the off season traded him to the Detroit Tigers. Released in May, Robinson was picked up by his old team, the Indians, for whom Robinson slammed the last of his 172 career home runs (a two-run, pinch-hit, Ninth inning dinger that earned the Tribe a comeback 4-3 win over the same Tigers who has abandoned him two weeks earlier). Released on June 29th, at the beginning of September the Baltimore Orioles (aka the old St. Louis Browns) picked up Eddie, who got into the his last four MLB games.

Of interest: The last man he ever faced, pinch-hitting in the 13th inning in an eventual 16-inning 5-4 win over the Indians (Robinson flied out), was Cal McLish, who himself would play for seven original MLB teams (albeit not in the same league). Also of interest: The most-franchised player in pre-expansion baseball was likely Bobo Newsom, about and upon whom this space has reflected on prior occasions. Over a 25-year span, Bobo pitched for nine teams (six in the AL, and the Cubs, Dodgers, and Giants in the NL), and in his final MLB appearance, once again in the uniform of the Philadelphia Athletics (a relief appearance against the Cleveland Indians on September 17, 1953), backing him up at first base was, yes, Eddie Robinson.

By the time he hung up the spikes, the only AL team uniform Robinson had not worn was that of the Boston Red Sox. He went onto serve in various capacities — as a general manager of the Braves and Rangers, and as a scout for many teams — before finally retiring in 2004.

By the way, Eddie has a tremendous weekly podcast. Give a listen here. We wish him a very happy birthday this Tuesday.

A Dios

This day we publish, December 11th, is the feast day of St. Daniel the Stylite. He lived atop a pillar. For 33 years! He came down just once. Fascinating! On Saturday, the 12th, it is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Even more fascinating. Going to the First Book, we wish our Brothers and Sisters in Abraham a Happy Hanukah, now in its early days of celebration of the Festival of Lights. And do remember, when the gentleman come ‘round asking for help, to not reply with a question about the continued existence of poorhouses. Be generous, for it is true: In giving, we receive.

God Rest Ye Merry Undismaying Gentlemen and Ladies,

Jack Fowler, who receives entreaties and critiques at jfowler@nationalreview.com.

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