National Review

What I Did on My Summer Vacation


Dear WJ Reader,

It was a short one, my vacation, and as for its planned events, it ended on a sweet note: at Fenway Park, where we watched the Red Sox lose to the Indians, 5 – 4. A good game on a beautiful summer night, accentuated by peanuts, Cracker Jacks, hot dogs, and a beer. And did I mention that the Red Sox lost?

Anyway, the two-day visit to Beantown with Mrs. Jolt and Son Jolt (who headed to UConn on Friday) began with a patriotic thrill: A visit to Charlestown to see the USS Constitution, and nearby Bunker Hill.

As for Old Ironsides, the world’s longest-serving, still-active, commissioned vessel afloat, she is a thing of beauty. She makes the heart swell. While on board one of her guns was shot off, and mackerels of holiness, the roar of actual battle (against the HMS Guerriere and several other vanquished British ships during the War of 1812) must have shaken to the core all but men of internal steel. After debarking, we walked the short distance to Bunker Hill. Actually, to Breed’s Hill, which was the true battlefield, but no matter the name, this was a place of patriot bloodshed: 115 Americans died that day, June 17, 1775, and more than 300 were wounded. The eyes-white Redcoats prevailed, in a victory most Pyrrhic: The cost was 226 dead and over 800 wounded. Our freedoms are dearly purchased.

I recommend any and all to visit these sites, especially while it remains permissible and yet-legal to have authentic patriotic feelings. Now, as to this missive: We have much in store for you my friends, so grab yourself a libation and maybe even a stogie and please do enjoy. But first, of course, is this message . . .

You Don’t Want to See Me Beg. It’s Ugly.

How ugly? Mirror-breaking ugly. But if I have to beg, I will. Here goes: Look, pal and palstress, I think your intellectual life would be greatly behooved by your becoming a member of our new-fangled NRPLUS program. You get the NR magazine (digital edition, same as the print but no paper, ink, postage, or mailmanning). You get NRO minus ads. You get to comment on articles (Like: “I cannot stand Fowler and this Weekend Jolt. For God’s sake someone introduce him to stamp-collecting or teach him how to juggle!”). You get to hang out in the ether with our editors. And there is plenty more “you get to be you”-getting. It’s just $59 a year, which is the price of one cup of coffee (admittedly, a 20-gallon cup). Find out more about NRPLUS here and now. Or so help me I am going to take off this mask.


1. Looks like Barrack’s “Clean Power Plan” is heading for the ash heap, courtesy of President Trump. Kudos and good riddance we say in our editorial, which includes this slice:

President Trump has offered himself as coal’s savior, just as President Obama offered himself as its reckoning. The key difference between the two is that the Obama administration created expansive new executive powers, while the Trump administration is putting the presidency back in its constitutional box.

Coal country will appreciate Trump’s gesture, certainly. But this move, welcome on constitutional grounds, probably will not be sufficient to revitalize the ailing coal industry. It has suffered under heavy regulatory burdens, but in the long term what it suffers from is displacement by cheap and relatively clean natural gas. It is very likely that the United States will continue to use less coal to generate electricity — thanks to fracking, which has liberated stores of hydrocarbons once thought to be unusable. That presents a problem for the high priests of green, who can’t decide whether they hate coal more or fracking. We are content to let the market sort that out.

2. Speaking of clean, we editorialize that on the unfolding Cohen Drama, Donald Trump should . . . come clean. From the opinion:

Regardless, the issue for Trump now isn’t so much legal as political — Justice Department guidelines say a sitting president can’t be indicted, meaning impeachment is the only immediate recourse for such misconduct. We don’t believe such an alleged campaign-finance violation — sleazy as it is — rises to the level of a high crime or misdemeanor, but Democrats will almost certainly disagree if they take the House.

The best defense for Trump is the one he’s least likely to make — being completely truthful about what happened, apologizing, and putting his trust in the capacity of the American public to forgive even more embarrassing lapses.

3. China is brutally persecuting the Uygurs. We urge America to fight to stop it. From the editorial:

The history of the Uyghurs in China is that of a restive minority generating fears among the Chinese majority that the fringe of their empire is pulling away, and the Chinese responding with brutal consolidation. Uyghurs tried to declare independence from the Republic of China multiple times before the Communists came to power; under Mao, there was no shortage of Red Guard violence bent on stamping out their religious practice. More recently the PRC encouraged Han Chinese to move to Xinjiang, hoping to dilute the Uyghur presence in the region. And it has exploited international fears of Islamic terrorism as a pretext to build an immense surveillance state that involves DNA collection, cell-phone monitoring, and the installment of facial-recognition software.

Now authorities are using this surveillance apparatus to round up and incarcerate Uyghurs suspected of dissident activity or excessive religiosity. Reporters and international officials have been barred from the reeducation camps and, in the case of BuzzFeed reporter Megha Rajagopalan, ejected from the country, so the information that is available is piecemeal. But we know from researchers and eyewitnesses that conditions are dire: Prisoners are made to recite political propaganda and renounce Islam, some have been tortured, and others have died soon after being released. The family members of those incarcerated have not been able to contact them. The scale of the detention campaign is only growing.

The September 10, 2018 Issue of National Review Is Out

Echo echo echo. . . get yourself an NRPLUS membership, because if you did, you could be reading this amazing content already. Mein spiel now having been spielt, let me recommend these four pieces from the new issue:

1. Madeleine Kearns stumbles upon the Happy Warrior column and taps out the issue, bothered that comedy is a victim of political correctness. It ends with a dirty joke, but here’s a slice before the naughtiness:

The rage against humor exists in America, too. Three years ago on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Jerry Seinfeld, in conversation with David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, recalled sensing unease in his audience after he told his “gay French king” joke. “I can imagine a time when people say, Well, that’s offensive to suggest that a gay person moves their hands in a flourishing motion and you now need to apologize.” But no need to imagine, Mr. Seinfeld. Welcome to 2018, when sitcoms like yours are under severe scrutiny.

Take the slew of articles from Vice, Buzzfeed, and Slate with titles such as “21 Times Friends Was Actually Really Problematic” and “Millennials Watching Friends on Netflix Shocked by Storylines.” Apparently, woke viewers are combing through old episodes and being scandalized by “homophobia,” “transphobia,” “slut shaming,” and jokes about fat people. Contemporary progressives are more bothered by Friends than are social conservatives, who oftentimes begrudge the show’s normalization of promiscuity.

2. Kyle Smith takes on the Southern Poverty Law Center, more a fundraising operation than an entity concerned with justice. From his article:

Founded in 1971, the Alabama-based SPLC, dubbed “essentially a fraud” by Ken Silverstein in a blog post for Harper’s back in 2010, discovered some time ago that it could line its coffers by positioning itself as a that in 1987, after the SPLC sued the United Klans of America, which had almost no assets to begin with, over the lynching murder of Michael Donald, the son of Beulah Mae Donald, the grieving mother realized $52,000 from the court case — but the SPLC used the matter in fundraising appeals (including one that exploited a photograph of Donald’s corpse) that raked in some $9 million in donations. Today the SPLC typically hauls in (as it did in 2015) $50 million. In its 2016 annual report it listed its net endowment assets at an eyepopping $319 million. It’s now quaint to recall that, when Silverstein called the SPLC the wealthiest civil-rights group in America, it had a mere $120 million in assets. That was in 2000. President Richard Cohen and co-founder–cum–chief trial counsel Morris Dees each raked in well over $350,000 in compensation in 2015.

News that has anything to do with the South or with race has proven to be a bonanza for the SPLC; after the events in Charlottesville last summer, the SPLC swiftly took action to capitalize. It placed a digital picture of Heather Heyer, the young Charlottesville resident who was killed when a white supremacist drove into a crowd, on its “Wall of Tolerance” and blasted out press releases about it. What is the Wall of Tolerance? It’s a gimmick to make donors feel important, neon-style virtue-signaling in the pixels that light up a giant video screen that continuously scrolls the names of 500,000 people who have taken a pledge to be tolerant. After Charlottesville, Apple CEO Tim Cook pledged $1 million to the group and put an SPLC donation button in the company’s iTunes store. JPMorgan Chase promised $500,000.

3. David Pryce-Jones remembers V. S. Naipaul.

4. Speaking of remembering: Do you remember the craze when Janet Reno and hell-bent prosecutors tormented the arrested and conned idiotic juries into convicting day-care workers of outlandish charges? Rael Jean Isaac has penned a powerful essay about “The Last Victim.” It begins like this:

On January 23, 2014, the Florida Parole Commission sent Frank Fuster a letter informing him that, owing to a recent policy change, it had determined that his initial interview was scheduled for March 2134. No, that isn’t a misprint. His first parole hearing is scheduled in 120 years. And this for a crime that, by any fair reading of the evidence, not only did Fuster not commit but never even happened.

Thirty-three years ago, Fuster, along with his young wife, Ileana, was convicted of sexually abusing children at his suburban Florida home, where Ileana provided day care. He is the last person charged in the mass sex-abuse-in-day-care scares that made headlines from the 1980s to the mid ’90s to remain in prison. Part of a broader obsession with child sex abuse — therapist-induced repressed “memories” of incest destroyed thousands of families — the day-care cases were a modern version of the Salem witch trials of the 1690s, down to allegations of Satanic rituals by caregivers. They stand as a warning to those who look condescendingly at our Salem ancestors, incredulous that judges and public alike would believe girls writhing and shrieking that they were at that moment being pinched by the accused sitting far away in the dock. As a young attorney, Robert Rosenthal cut his teeth on the day-care cases, winning reversals on appeal in a number of them.

“These cases made normal people abandon their disbelief,” he says. “In another situation, would they believe this crazy stuff about pentagrams and Satan? But here they believe it.” These cases attest to the inability of our justice system to deal with mass hysteria and, worse, to rectify injustice in a timely fashion even after the hysteria has passed. Traditional rules of evidence and procedure were thrown out the window, with nary a protest from the American Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, or other watchdog organizations.

Sixteen Wonderful NR Pieces that Will Have You Smacking Your Gobs and Gasting Your Flabbers

1. Cohen Un: Andy McCarthy offers his reflection and guidance on what the Manafort verdict and Cohen pleas mean. From his analysis:

At this point, it does not appear that Mueller has a collusion case against Trump associates. His indictments involving Russian hacking and troll farms do not suggest complicity by the Trump campaign. I also find it hard to believe Mueller sees Manafort as the key to making a case on Trump when Mueller has had Gates — Manafort’s partner — as a cooperator for six months. You have to figure Gates knows whatever Manafort knows about collusion. Yet, since Gates began cooperating with the special counsel, Mueller has filed the charges against Russians that do not implicate Trump, and has transferred those cases to other Justice Department components.

When it comes to the president, I believe the special counsel’s focus is obstruction, not collusion. When it comes to Manafort, I believe the special counsel’s focus is Russia — specifically, Manafort’s longtime connections to Kremlin-connected operatives. Mueller may well be interested in what Manafort can add to his inquiry into the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting (arranged by Donald Trump Jr. in futile hopes of obtaining campaign dirt from Russia on Hillary Clinton). That, however, is not the more serious “collusion” allegation that triggered the Trump thread of the investigation — cyberespionage conspiracy (i.e., Russian hacking of Democratic party emails). At this late stage, I’m betting Mueller is most interested in whatever information Manafort might provide regarding potential Russian threats to American interests.

2. Cohen Deux: El Jefe Lowry, à la our editorial (above), says the lawyer’s plea should instigate a Trump come-clean. Catch the wisdom here.

3. Cleta Mitchell has a suggestion for Robert Mueller’s fishing expedition, in case the special prosecutor is interested in being truly non-partisan: How about taking a look at the Hillary Clinton campaign’s financial chicanery? From her piece:

The point here is that if Mueller is interested in unreported and excessive contributions to a 2016 presidential campaign, he can certainly accomplish that objective on a much grander scale in both the amounts involved and the scope of the conspiracy by turning his attention to the $84 million that flowed through the DNC in their massive scheme to completely evade the legal contribution limits to the Clinton campaign. Their misconduct is laid out quite specifically in a federal civil suit filed in May 2018 (Committee to Defend the President v. Federal Election Commission),making Mueller’s job fairly straightforward. Mueller and his agents could spend 30 minutes reading the complaint in that lawsuit and the memorandum of understanding prepared by Marc Elias for and signed by the DNC and the Clinton campaign (Elias represented them both) that gave Clinton control of the DNC’s finances, activities, and expenditures, as well as the millions of dollars in proceeds of joint fundraising by the DNC, state Democratic parties, and the Clinton campaign. These co-conspirators collectively engaged in the greatest campaign-finance scandal in history. Mueller has the opportunity to prove that his investigation is not a partisan witch hunt, as millions of Americans now believe. It will be interesting to see if he applies the same fervor to the Democrats’ 2016 campaign-finance violations and activities that he has applied to those of President Trump and his associates.

4. Alexandra DeSanctis wonders if Heidi Heitkampf, who now has a record to run on, is in an impossible situation seeking re-election in Republican North Dakota.

Critics of the North Dakota Democrat note that, while Heitkamp may have started aligning with the president’s agenda over the last year and a half in anticipation of her reelection struggle, she’s done so only on a few issues such as banking deregulation and farming.

At the same time, she’s opposed nearly every big-ticket GOP priority, and the ones that conservative voters favor. For instance, in January, she joined most of her Democratic colleagues in filibustering a popular 20-week abortion ban. This, despite having said during her 2012 run, “I do not support public funding of abortions, and believe that late-term abortions should be illegal except when necessary to save the life of the mother.”

Heitkamp has supported taxpayer-funded abortion, too, and in one sense it’s paid off: She’s earned herself a 100 percent rating on Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s 2018 congressional scorecard. In a state as pro-life as North Dakota, though, this might as well be a target on her back. In June, Cramer told me that Heitkamp’s vote against the 20-week ban was one of the key reasons he changed his mind and decided to jump in the race. After that vote, he said, his office was inundated with calls from North Dakotans demanding that he challenge her for the seat.

5. Yoo hoo! Resistance! Your anti-Christian boas is showing. Jonathan Tobin lifts the Left’s skirt and exposes something nasty. From his column:

How can we explain such unabashed religious bias, even in the context of an editorial claiming that the administration isn’t sincere about protecting religious freedom? Clearly, some liberals are questioning the legitimacy of the entire subject of religious liberty. Evangelicals and Catholics have found themselves under fire in the culture wars for refusing to accept federal mandates about abortion drugs and contraception or participation in gay weddings. Many Christians worry that religious freedom is being sacrificed here in the U.S. to encourage progressive social goals, such as the celebration of abortion and same-sex marriage. But leftists see such worries as a reason to distrust all calls to protect our “first freedom,” as Mike Pence called religious freedom in a recent speech.

The belief that conservative Christians are an obstacle to progressive measures is so ingrained among liberals that they often dismiss the genuine peril that this faith group faces throughout the Muslim world and in totalitarian countries. Protecting Christians from persecution should not be a priority for U.S. foreign policy, this thinking goes, and, indeed, we should question the motives of Christians drawing attention to the persecution.

6. Elon Musk shows his agonies and frustrations in public, and finds comfort (maybe?) in T.S. Eliot. Kevin Williamson waxes about Musk’s waning. From his reflection:

Elon Musk is not religious. He has a net worth of around $25 billion, a figure that went up by more than $1 billion after Tesla stock surged following his tweet about taking the firm private. (Hence the SEC probe.) He is a man who has, or who could have, almost any material thing a human being might desire. And yet he has spent a year that he describes as “excruciating.” That’s an interesting word, deriving from the Latin word for crucifixion, a punishment that not even the SEC contemplates. (Excrucioris the word Catullus used to describe being tortured by love.) There is excruciating and there is excruciating: Elon Musk’s worst day (as I am sure he appreciates entirely) is not very much like anybody’s worst day in the tragically misnamed Democratic Republic of Congo. But, as Eliot suggests, it’s impossible to know exactly what someone else’s interior life is like. He did believe that it was possible to finesse that, a bit, through art and literature, believing that the artist could isolate an emotion and assemble “a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion.” Read strictly (formula?), that’s a little bit quacky. But reading “The Waste-Land” does produce a unique sensation. It does in me, anyway. Presumably it does in Musk, too, which is what he was hoping to share.

7. Among numerous things he is wrong about, George Will is wrong about his economic predictions, writes David Bahnsen. From his piece:

My concern with Will’s article is not that he wants to correct the administration’s claims about the strength of the economy.

Rather, it is in the tired and vanilla analysis that seeks to use the length of this economic expansion as indicative or predictive of, well, anything. While this bull market — defined as a period of no 20 percent declines in equity prices from peak to trough — is the longest on record (though prices fell by 19.8 percent in the summer of 2011), the magnitude of this economic recovery is nowhere near those of past recoveries. In other words, tenure is in tension with magnitude, rendering comparisons to past periods highly questionable. This stock bull market has gone on for a long time, but the vast majority of it came in a 1–2 percent real GDP environment, not the 4–7 percent environments typical of post-recession periods. It has also gone on with very little participation from some key international partners. Global divergence in monetary policy, let alone fiscal conditions, makes past comparisons tricky as well.

8. Marlo Safi finds Kanye West’s “casual endorsement of porn” something not to be . . . taken casually. From her critique:

It’s disingenuous for Westerners to claim to be champions of gender equality and seekers of justice for victims of sexual violence in the MeToo era when porn is unchecked and virtually unquestioned. Catcalling is widely viewed as objectifying and threatening, and often rightfully so — but videos featuring women being violated, which reduce them to only their physical being and their availability to men, aren’t?

Kanye West is one of the most popular pop-culture icons in the world, with millions of young men listening to his music and following his public appearances. He had a valuable opportunity, after writing a song that showed a genuine concern for the well-being of his daughter, to influence other men to reflect on their own behavior and treatment of women. Instead, he reinforced porn in front of millions as harmless and even humorous, at the expense of women and young girls.

9. More on the pigginess front: Kyle Smith finds the new imitation Muppets flick, The Happytime Murders, to be “a spectacularly inappropriate R-rated comedy.” From his review:

The movie itself actually has considerably less wit and bounce than a real Muppet film. Far from being freewheeling, it’s a slog to sit through. I was surprised to see the screenplay credited to one guy, Todd Berger (with story by Berger and Dee Austin Robertson). If any movie called for pinging every comedy writer in the 310 area code and urging them to pile on with their wildest gags, it would seem to be this one. Instead, the story moves like Snuffleupagus. Whole scenes go by without anything much happening, and the movie’s tendency to let dirty jokes go on too long (such as in an endless scene in a porn shop) costs it opportunities to do more interesting, weirder jokes: The highlight of the movie is a demented little riff by Maya Rudolph, as the private eye’s secretary, who talks about what happens to puppets who get sent to prison. Apparently their insides get ripped out and replaced by rice pilaf. No joke involving prison and the words “rice pilaf” can fail to be funny.

10. Fauxcahontas is promoting legislation which Samuel Hammond describes as a “corporate catastrophe.” From his analysis:

Dubbed the “Accountable Capitalism Act,” Warren foresees the creation of an Office of United States Corporations that would require any company with revenue over $1 billion to obtain a federal charter, binding company directors to “consider the interests of all corporate stakeholders — including employees, customers, shareholders, and the communities in which the company operates.” The bill further requires 40 percent of a chartered company’s directors to be selected by employees and adds statutory restrictions on how executive compensation may be structured.

As motivation, Warren cites stagnant median wages and the declining labor share of income. Yet to call this bill a non-sequitur doesn’t quite do it justice. Changes in labor share, such that they exist, are almost completely explained by rising real-estate prices (which appear in the statistics as capital income). Stagnant wages, meanwhile, are largely the result of a secular decline in economy-wide productivity — a force that the country’s biggest, most productive firms are actively fighting against. Indeed, as Michael Lind and Robert Atkinson note in their recent book Big Is Beautiful, productivity growth in any era tends to be driven by a handful of highly innovative frontier companies at one end of the size distribution. Workers in large firms, for instance, earn on average 54 percent more than their small-business counterparts. This helps to explain why regulations that distort the size distribution of firms can have such a big impact on a nation’s aggregate productivity.

11. China has a de facto “Jim Crow” system. Jonah Goldberg argues that we shouldn’t ignore it. From his new column:

America’s Jim Crow system of second-class citizenship is rightly remembered as our version of apartheid: a racist raft of laws designed to dehumanize and marginalize African Americans in the name of white supremacy. But it was also a form of economic regulation designed to prevent blacks from participating fully in the labor market and to protect business from the supposedly dire threat of rising wages. Such statist crony capitalism doesn’t detract from the moral horror of Jim Crow, but it does help put it in context.

In China, there is systemic discrimination against non-Han Chinese. Ethnic minorities — about 10 percent of the Chinese population — are routinely denied access to elite universities and urban job markets in the name of Han supremacy. Under China’s internal-passport system, many non-Han aren’t permitted to even look for work outside of their rural provinces. Tibetan and Uighur citizens are often barred from using Chinese hotels.

12. We provided an excerpt of Raymond Ibrahim’s new book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War Between Islam and the West, about the consequential Battle of Yarmuk in 636. From the excerpt:

Indeed, mere decades after Yarmuk, all ancient Christian lands between Greater Syria to the east and Mauretania (encompassing parts of present-day Algeria and Morocco) to the west — nearly 4,000 miles — had been conquered by Islam. Put differently: Two-thirds of Christendom’s original, older, and wealthier territory was permanently swallowed up by Islam. (Eventually, and thanks to the later Turks, “Muslim armies conquered three-quarters of the Christian world,” to quote historian Thomas Madden.)

But unlike the Germanic barbarians who invaded and conquered Europe in the preceding centuries, only to assimilate into the Christian religion, culture, and civilization and adopt its languages, Latin and Greek, the Arabs imposed their creed and language onto the conquered peoples so that, whereas the “Arabs” were once limited to the Arabian Peninsula, today the “Arab world” consists of some 22 nations across the Middle East and North Africa.

This would not be the case, and the world would have developed in a radically different way, had the Eastern Roman Empire defeated the invaders and sent them reeling back to Arabia. Little wonder that historians such as Francesco Gabrieli hold that “the battle of the Yarmuk had, without doubt, more important consequences than almost any other in all world history.”

13. Will land-seizing South Africa go the way of Zimbabwe? John Fund reports on the attack on private property in Africa, and the likely consequences. From his column:

It’s been a quarter century since apartheid ended, and since then each ANC government has scrupulously followed the pledge of the late Nelson Mandela that private property wouldn’t be seized except on the basis of “willing buyer, willing seller.” But Mandela’s moderate voice has increasingly been replaced by the likes of Julius Malema, who heads the radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a breakaway party from the ANC.

Malema notes that during the apartheid era, blacks were barred from buying land in white areas, and the ANC government has been slow in compensating blacks who had their land forcibly seized by the apartheid regime. Land grabs are “necessary justice,” he says, and he has issued a call: “People of South Africa, where you see a beautiful land, take it, it belongs to you.”

14. Boo hoo hoo, John Brennan’s security clearance was revoked by the mean Old President. Such stuff, writes Victor Davis Hanson, was a long time in coming. From his Corner post:

The entire issue of security clearances extended to former government officials, especially those who are paid partisan commentators and allude publicly to their connections to establish their fides, has long needed to be addressed.

Almost all retired professionals with clearances have notbeen previously fired for cause from government, or have not lied to Congress, or have not accused the sitting president of being a traitor to the country, or have not likened him to a Nazi, or have not suggested that the president’s days were numbered and that he might well be assassinated.

But for the small number of those who cannot abide by any of those quite low bars of behavior, there seems little reason to extend such privileges after the completion of their government tenures.

15. Frederick Hess and Cody Christensen look at the U.S. college dropout crisis, and the related book-cooking by university officials. From the piece:

The troubling dropout rate across American colleges and universities is starting to get the attention it deserves. Earlier this year, always eager to mobilize the armies of social reform, the New York Times declared “a new dropout crisis.” As 2 million students drop out of college each year, the costs should give everyone pause — including a half-trillion dollars in unpaid student debt and public subsidies wasted on college-goers who never graduate.

Policymakers have sought to answer the challenge, with most states adopting performance-based funding policies. Currently, 32 states allocate a portion of their higher-education funding based on educational outcomes. Ohio, for instance, allocates more than half of its funding to colleges based on how many students earn degrees. Other common metrics including retention and job-placement rates.

16. Mark Krikorian pays respects to the murdered Mollie Tibbets.


1. The Editors is back with El Jefe, Rich Lowry, in the saddle, joined by Luke, Michael, and Dan for a monster discussion on the aftereffects of the Cohen and Manafort trials, corruption’s role in current politics, and Cuomo’s clumsy shot at patriotism. To finish up, they answer some questions from NRPLUS members. I double dog dare you: Listen here.

2. On the new Trump Was Right About . . . episode of Radio Free California, David and Will discuss The Donald’s verbiage about California wildfires, our out-of-control water policy, teacher strikes reveal unions’ real ambition, and L.A.’s million-dollar cop. Dig the groove here.

3. If they asked me, I could write a book: The guest on the new episode of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg is our host’s literary agent Jay Mandel, of WME Entertainment, who divulges as many of the secrets of book publishing success as the podcast length and format allows. Hear here, and take notes!

PAL JOEY BONUS: Harold Lang and Vivienne Segal croon about their literary plans.

4. Cohen’s guilty plea is the subject of Rich and Andy’s discussion on the new episode of The McCarthy Report. Also on the docket: Trump’s need for forthrightness in dealing with the Cohen outcome, and if the Manafort trial was a victory for Mueller. Approach the bench here.

5. How Does It Feel . . . to anticipate a third installment of Political Beats grooving to the tunes of Bob Dylan? The times may be a-changing, but not until Scot and Jeff and guest Andrew Kirell of The Daily Beast share more wisdom about the Tambourine Man. Look out kid, it’s something you are gonna do: Listen here.

BONUS: You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

6. More Cohen: On the new Ordered Liberty episode, David and Alexandra consider Cohen’s guilty plea and its — impeachment? — ramifications. Listen and learn.

7. On the long-awaited new Jaywalking, Brother Nordlinger treats us to Verdi and Burt Bacharach (Mr. Angie Dickinson!) and many more . . . treats. Treat yourself, here.

8. Gack! The guest on the new episode of The Jamie Weinstein Show is Ezra Klein. I’m told you can listen here.

9. Constitutionally Speaking has moved over to NRO. The hosts are Luke Thompson and Jay Cost, and Episode 27, the initial one for our glorious website, discuss the historic rise of America’s political parties. Join the party, here.

The Six

1. Holy Mother Church, Batman: In First Things, Robbie George describes “the poison in the bloodstream of the Church” and suggests cures. Among them:

So here is what I think needs to happen going forward. No one should be ordained or retained by his bishop as a priest (and certainly no one should be consecrated as a bishop) who does not believe, and is not prepared publicly in carrying out his priestly ministry to proclaim, the teachings of the Church on all points on which the Church solemnly teaches — including her teachings, in all particulars, on the dignity of the human person, on sex and marriage, and on the requirements of justice. Any seminarian who is guilty of grave sexual misconduct, whether that conduct involves women or other men, and certainly if it involves minors, should be expelled from the seminary. Any priest (of any rank — going all the way up to pope) who is guilty of such misconduct should be stripped of his priestly faculties.

2. To infinity, and beyond: Do you have the right to create your own universe? At The Imaginative Conservative, Thomas Ascik asks and answers, before the background of the forthcoming SCOTUS / Kavanaugh hearings, and the expected barrage of privacy-rights questions that will come at the nominee. From his essay:

Thus, the Supreme Court, in the “privacy” line of cases, usurped the legislative authority of the states over morals, marriage, parenthood, and the family, and along the way, purposely did away with the judicial doctrine that it would hear cases only from “real parties in interest.” It forever altered the most fundamental aspect of the doctrine of justiciability, that is, the kind and “character” of cases and controversies appropriate for federal constitutional adjudication as “cases or controversies.” As for “precedent,” the Court, once it had established Griswold, never overruled any previous decisions but proceeded by ignoring, contradicting, or finessing essential elements — specifically the factual predicates — of those decisions.

BONUS: This was Ascik’s second part of a two-part series. You can find part one here.

3. Related: In Law and Liberty, Bruce Frohnen considers the Supreme Court’s “inability to deal with religion in a reasonable manner,” and the casualty of such, which he identifies as “the common mind.” From his essay:

Decisions connecting Christianity with the common law were legion in the early republic and rooted, not in some narrow attempt to “impose religion,” but in the need to understand law in its proper context. A prime example from a somewhat later period (1889) is Riggs vs. Palmer, in which New York’s highest court held that a man who murdered his grandfather to secure an inheritance could not legally take that inheritance. The court found that, in drafting its testamentary law, the New York legislature could not have intended to allow a donee to inherit from a testator he had killed. Why not? Because the court recognized the fundamental maxim of the common law that “No one shall be permitted to profit by his own fraud, or to take advantage of his own wrong, or to found any claim on his own iniquity, or to acquire property by his own crime.”

Our common law always has assumed that, beneath their technical provisions, statutes carry with them the legislature’s intention to avoid rewarding conduct that violates our common understanding of right conduct. Today’s positivist lawyers may scoff at the idea of “bad conduct” not specifically defined by law. But law always has rested on cultural, in the end religious, assumptions as to right and wrong found most prominently and reliably in long-established common law maxims.

YET ANOTHER BONUS: Frohnen penned two related essays of interest. The first is The Supreme Court’s Religion Problem, which explains the hyper-individualist ideology motivating this campaign against traditional American practices and culture. The second is What the Court Misses: Religion, Community, and the Bases of Ordered Liberty, which focuses on what these decisions miss – the necessity of religious associations for American ordered liberty.

4. Requiem for a Heavyweight: At City Journal, good ol’ Bob McManus writes the maddening tale of the vandalization of the USS Ling, the ignored, Hackensack, NJ-based submarine museum honoring the 52 US subs that sank during World War Two. Try not to spit nails when reading this.

5. If the Four Seasons got kindergartened: Spare us the “patronizing Millennial trend” of the micro-hotel, begs Addison Del Mastro in The American Conservative. From the howl:

I am probably not alone in feeling some affection for the generic, stodgy, could-be-anywhere aesthetic of the mid-range suburban hotels, brands like Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and the lower-tier Marriotts. There’s something welcoming about it all: the elegant but overbuilt lobby furniture, durable in a way that nothing in the consumer market is; the overpriced room service menu and plain old American restaurant; the fresh but definitely-not-homemade cookies in the lobby; the “local” or “welcome to X” prints hanging behind the desk, the only indication that you’re in any particular place at all; the perfectly appointed yet soulless guest room, packed with rarely used amenities like ironing boards and bathrobes. I could rail against the McDonaldization of hotels, or I could wonder why the phones and alarm clocks usually look like they were manufactured in 1985, or I could inquire how many people really use the massive work desk. But I also like all of those things, because they suggest a level of indulgence and redundancy, of unnecessary but pleasing service.

6. At American Greatness, Mackubin Owens considers America’s need to review the experience of Great Britain as a global power and “renegotiate” its role in the world. From his piece:

Trump’s approach to Russia is part of a necessary restructuring of America’s relationship with the rest of the world. As in the case of Great Britain in the 19th century, America’s hegemonic position has become more expensive as its relative share of the global wealth has declined. And again as in the case of Great Britain, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan illustrate that the opportunity cost of policing our “frontiers” has risen, hampering our ability to check the rise of a major state competitor, especially China. Trump intuitively recognizes this reality and has sought to renegotiate America’s global bargain.

The Seventh (This Being a One-Time Caboose of The Six)

Mamma mia I just cannot stand tattoos and if you have one, yeah, I love you anyway, and will still even when one day that Chinese symbol you thought meant “peace” (but really means “septic tank”) gets all droopy and stretched on your parchment skin. Here I share my pal Father George Rutler’s take on Catholicism, tattoos, the history of such, the latest papal head-scratcher, and much more, written for First Things. Here’s a slice from The Morality of Tattooing:

There was a time, not in the hoary past, when tattoos were an indulgence of louche members of the demi-monde, as observed by Alexandre Dumas. They seem to have become respectable as our culture erasures the border between the demi-monde and the monde entier. Priests have become somewhat accustomed to pious communicants with arms totally decorated like a Persian tapestry or Michelin roadmap, in what is vernacularly called a “sleeve.” Even facial tattoos are appearing. Some are in the form of written slogans, which one supposes would appear to a narcissist backwards in a mirror. Other designs are more audacious, like a portrait of Anne Frank on the cheek of the “hip-hop” producer Arnold Gutierrez. One used to have to go to state fair sideshows to see tattooed men like those who have become part of the vernacular on Main Street. Roughly over one fifth of all adults in the United States now sport more than one tattoo, up from about 14 percent in 2003, although these figures of course are estimates.

One practical problem with this fad — if it is just a fad — is that it cannot be corrected in mature years like hairstyles or clothing. If these markings can be removed, it is only by a long and painful process, more so if the depiction is in a less accessible part of the body. But the bigger issue is whether a tattoo befits what is increasingly referred to with unqualified insouciance as “the dignity of the human person.” If it is undignified to execute someone, whatever the crime may be, as some would now propose, is it unworthy to turn the human body into a human billboard? And if the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20), are such decorations embellishments or defacements?

Which reminds one of Theodore Dalrymple’s classic piece for City Journal, It Hurts, Therefore I Am.

Plan to Work Off the Turkey and Stuffing . . .

. . . on the National Review 2018 Buckley Legacy Conservative Cruise. It sails the glorious Caribbean from December 1-8, aboard Holland America Line’s luxurious Oosterdam. Get complete information at


Jimmy Foxx began his historic baseball career in Philadelphia, for the Athletics, in 1925, and ended it two decades later, back in Philadelphia, signing on with the war-ravaged Phillies, who in 1945 coasted to last place and a miserable 46 – 108 record. There, the three-time AL MVP hit the final seven of his 534 career home runs (he was second to the Bambino in this category until the mid-1960s). But of interest to National Pastime devotees might be this: that more so than spot-playing and pinch-hitting in his last hurrah, Foxx found himself on the mound nine times for the Phillies, garnering a 1 – 0 record and an amazing 1.59 ERA in 22 and 2/3 innings of hurling (of the 94 batters faced in that year and one one-inning appearance on the mound for the Red Sox in 1939, he gave up zero home runs).

On August 19th, at home in Shibe Park, in the second game of a doubleheader, Foxx found himself starting against the Cincinnati Reds, facing Howie Fox (whose greatest distinction was leading the NL in losses in 1949). In the Battle of the Foxes, the one with two Xs prevailed: Jimmy pitched 6 and 2/3 innings, gave up just four hits and two earned runs, struck out five, and picked up his sole career victory (Andy Karl got the save).

A Dios

God watch over mine and theirs; inspire us with Your wisdom and prudence; heighten our senses of charity and mercy; bring prosperity to all; and succor to those who need such, comfort to those who need such, solace to those who need such, and salvation to all who need such. Pretty please.

Peace until next weekend,

Jack Fowler

Who deserves your torments for the reparation of sins past, and which you can send to him via

National Review

Nancy’s Big Mouth


Dear Jolters,

Well, Nancy hung around for a long time. Little Miss Ritz — the slot-nosed niece of Ms. Fritzi Ritz and significant other / BFF of pug-nosed Sluggo Smith, born from the ink well of Ernie Bushmiller — first graced the funny pages in 1933 and had her own strip in 1938, which perseveres lo these many decades later, albeit in a handful of newspapers. That was just two years before the birth of another Nancy, Nancy D’Alesandro (of the Baltimore D’Alesandros) who later married Mr. Paul Pelosi and headed to California, where she found political fame. And just like our comic strip honey, she too perseveres . . . to a dwindling audience?

More on that below.

Now, on a more serious level: Some of us (Catholics) thought Pandora’s Box was unleashed in the early 2000s, when the news burst about the plentiful abuse of children by priests and religious. In hindsight, that seems like a trifle. The report released this week, of the toll (the sheer numbers!) of crimes committed against the young over the past several decades in Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania and the degree of the cover-up by embarrassed, aloof, conniving bishops (who became little more than de facto accomplices) is staggering, especially coming on the heels of the scandal of Cardinal McCarrick, seminarian “groomer.” It all leaves Yours Truly and millions of others with hearts heavy and broken.

Back in the days when Rod Dreher was in the National Review saddle, he wrote one of the first major pieces exposing these scandals. Maybe I want to convey now the idea that NR was not aloof then. Which is not a bragging point. But we have revived the Dreher essay, “Sins of the Father,” which is now live on NRO. Read it here.

I admittedly play the Catholic thing a bit much in these missives, but whether you are Catholic, Protestant, Jew, or of another faith, or no faith, this expanding — exploding — scandal is not a provincial concern. The Catholic Church in America has played a profound role in our culture, and continues to. Its being laid low is not of passing interest.

More on all that below, too. Sigh.


Starting here. We say that the Catholic Church needs more than expressions of sorrow. Instead, she must “Cleanse the Temple.” Read it in toto here, but first, a slice:

Bishops, including cardinals, who are shown to have been derelict in confronting the evil they knew about in the Church must be made to resign and encouraged to live a life marked by visible signs of penance. Policy changes are not enough for a Church that believes in the supernatural. The bishops are in the same position as the apostles who asked Christ why they were unable to drive out an evil spirit. The Lord explained to them: “This kind can go out by nothing but by prayer and fasting.”

It’s Pronounced “Pluhs,” Not Ploo

My crazy French ami was discussing Ehn Ehrrr Ploo, and I had to remind him that, while en francaise the word plus implies the more-ness of what we are promising with our very cool, new, and groovy subscription and membership service, the term NRPLUS is pronounced EN ARE PLUHS. Or, if you are a pirate, EN ARRRRH PLUS. But no matter how one says it, I strongly recommend that every Tom, Dick, and Pierre indeed get it. Which one can and may do, très bien, right ici.


1. On the new Ordered Liberty podcast, David and Alexandra reflect on three grim topics — the Catholic sex abuse in Pennsylvania, the renewed persecution of Colorado Baker Jack Phillips, and the Democrats’ devotion to abortion on demand. It’s called “A Grim Day,” but grim or not, it is worth your while to listen, here.

2. A very special episode (not because it is Bahnsen-less) of Radio Free California features Will and five California Policy Center summer interns who discuss learning about the Golden State’s desire to grow government into areas of state-mandated cancer warnings, plastic-bag bans, the power of government unions, and California’s influence on national politics. Listen, learn, maybe even cry a little, right here.

3. An appropriate item for the new episode of The Great Books: John J. Miller and UC Berkeley prof Robert Alter discuss The Book of Job. Get the sack cloth, get the ashes, get the headphones, and listen here.

BONUS: I recommend this 2017 Nick Frankovich Corner post on how to read the Bible.

4. Michael Long, who along with Daniel Lieberman co-authored The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, Creativity—and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race, which is one humdinger of a book title, shacks up with JJM on the new episode of The Bookmonger. Get the cold shower running, and listen here.

5. Political Beats is so cool, getting all confident and wing-spreading with these multi-parters. OK, I am digging the depth and the confidence. So what have we this week you ask? Scot and Jeff bring back The Daily Beast’s Andrew Kirell for Part 2 of his expertise-ery on Bob Dylan. How does it feel? Listen to find out.

6. WMAL professional talker Larry O’Connor is the guest on the new episode of The Jamie Weinstein Show, discussingwhat’s surprised him about Trump’s presidency, what he thinks should happen if the alleged racist Apprentice outtake tape exists, his influences, and much, much more. Hear here.

7. Mad Dogs and Englishmen hit Episode 200, and the milestone is marked by aloud-wondering if liberal democracy and socialism can co-exist.Balloons, confetti, and Chuckie/Kev banter here.

8. Fernando Zulueta, CEO of Academica Corporation, is a great leader in education choice and he is this week’s guest on Reality Checkwith Jeanne Allen. Now class, pay attention and listen here.

9. On this week’s episode of The McCarthy Report, MBD and Andy talk about Donald Trump stripping John Brennan of his security clearance, the compound in New Mexico led by radical Islamist Siraj Wahhaj, and the Paul Manafort trial and what it says about Robert Mueller’s probe into the Trump campaign. Do listen, please, right here.

BONUS: Liberal sweetie Jeanne Safer, the better half of Richard Brookhiser, has started a new podcast for Apple, called “I Love You, But I Hate Your Politics.” Find out more here. (Make you think: I wonder if there is a podcast “Bronx Bomber Married to a Red Sox Fan.”)

10. On the Lowry-less new episode of The Editors, Michael, Charlie, Dan, and Luke discuss the media’s coordinated anti-Trump editorials, John Brennan’s security-clearance troubles, a second round of litigation against Masterpiece Cake Shop, and the heinous PA grand jury report on Catholic priests. Listen up right here.

11. Woof! With the dog days of summer emptying D.C., Matt Continetti, editor in chief of the Washington Free Beacon, is dragged back onto The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg for some rank punditry, some Trumpsplaining, and some conservative nerdery. And awaaaaay we go.

Eighteen Main Courses, Each Expertly Prepared for Your Nourishment

1. Paging Toodles the Flute: KLO interviews Wall Street Journal writer-editor Matthew Hennessey about his new book, Zero Hour for Gen X: How the Last Adult Generation Can Save America from Millennials. How about trying one question on for size? Okey dokey, here’s one from the full interview:

Lopez:“Do not go quietly into the good night of millennial domination, whether in your professional or personal life,” you write. “Stand up for regular order, face-to-face meetings, and systems that reward merit over all else. Celebrate experience. Find a way to promote humanistic values. Don’t let childish ignorance or the promise of a utopian future steamroll your sense of right and wrong. Give as good as you get, even as the grey hairs form on your temple, as technological change outpaces your ability—and desire to keep up, and your 20/20 vision begins to blur. Gen X may be small, but we are tough. Our specific experiences should allow us to punch over our weight.” What do you have against Millennials?

Hennessey: You assume I have something against Millennials, but I really don’t. The word is useful to me mostly as a proxy for the app-soaked, Millennial-friendly world that is still busy being born all around us. I work at the Wall Street Journal with some great Millennials, who are clever, kind, and not always staring at their phones. If they ended up running the world I’d be thrilled.

If you read Zero Hour you will see I have some contrary opinions about culture’s drift toward a utopian, semi-socialist techno-paradise premised on the idea that privacy, free speech, edgy comedy, and newspapers have outlived their usefulness. Millennials don’t appear terribly worried about where things are going. I want them to wise up. So this book is aimed as much at them as it is at Gen Xers. There’s a hunger among younger people for a more authentic way of living. You see it in the hobbying around vinyl records, vintage fashion, artisanal gin, and old-timey bikes. Some of that is posturing  , but some of it, I think, betrays a real longing for a simpler time.

2. It’s Miller Time, One: Michelle Malkin mocks the media hoopla over the immigration hawk Stephen Miller’s dovish Uncle Dave. From her column:

Miller, by contrast, spent a dozen years on Capitol Hill mastering every aspect of immigration policy — border security, sanctuary cities, deportation, asylum and refugee programs, and the impact of foreign guest-worker visas on wages, for starters — before taking on a senior policy-adviser role for the Trump transition team and White House. He is a longtime vocal proponent of serious, comprehensive immigration-enforcement reform from top to bottom — including a long-overdue rethinking of our chain-migration system, which rewards familial ties over merit and skills.

Glosser thinks that by pointing out that their family entered America through chain migration, Miller is somehow an “immigration hypocrite.” This is one of the most inane arguments of the open-borders lobby. And there’s a lot of inanity there to choose from, my friends.

3. It’s Miller Time, Two: Kevin Williamson considers Miller’s “hypocrisy.” From his essay:

I sometimes tease the most indefatigable of my immigration-hawk colleagues that, try as I might, I cannot find anybody named “Krikorian” on the manifest of the Mayflower. But, here’s the thing: Mark Krikorian’s views on immigration may be valuable and true or corrosive and false, but none of that has anything at all to do with how the Krikorians made their way from Armenia to Washington. We are all of us entitled to our own opinions, irrespective of what our grandparents or great-grandparents did. Even Stephen Miller.

If we are to have any legal immigration process at all, then there will be conditions and criteria under which certain would-be immigrants are excluded. That’s what it means to have a legal process. There was no immigration-and-naturalization process when our Pilgrim forebears landed here, and we had effectively open borders for many years. Victorian England had effectively open borders, too. (And borders have a way of moving around.) A great deal of immigration occurred during that period. Are we then obliged to accept open borders as the only possible policy that avoids opening us to the charge of hypocrisy? That’s a silly argument, but it is what follows from Glosser’s construction.

4. Glynn Custred serves up the latest case for breaking California’s eggs in the hopes of getting three omelettes. From his piece:

California occupies just over half the west coast of the United States, with a land surface larger than that of Germany. The highest population concentration is in the San Francisco–Sacramento area, extending south along the coast to the Mexican border, while the rest of the state is much less densely populated. Moreover, there are economic and political disparities between those regions, with the economy of the urban liberal coastal counties based on commerce and manufacturing, while the small-town and rural population elsewhere is more conservative and agricultural. But the coastal counties, thanks to their far higher population, dominate the politics of California, imposing their policy preferences on the rest of the state.

One possible solution is to divide California into multiple states, with the lines drawn to reflect these divides. This is what Tim Draper intended to do with a ballot initiative, Cal 3. But the state supreme court pulled it off this year’s ballot, citing constitutional concerns. If it survives the ongoing legal challenge, it will appear in 2020 instead.

It is no wonder that the special interests, the politicians, and the bureaucrats who now have a stranglehold on state government and finance would resist such a move. They and their supporters in the media act as if there were something radical or unreasonable about this proposal. Yet a brief look at history shows that this is by no means unreasonable or radical, but is consistent with the way our federal union has functioned from the start.

5. Heather MacDonald goes after the New York Times and its intention to portray fringe white supremacists as central-casting Conservatives. From her Corner post:

Trade protectionism has an American lineage dating back to the Founders; that lineage is distinct from white nationalism. It has been embraced by union leaders as a form of economic justice for workers of all stripes. As for immigration control, it was Texas congressman Barbara Jordan who argued in 1994 — again, decades before the rise of the alt-right — that “any nation worth its salt must control its borders.” As chair of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform from 1994 to 1996, Jordan insisted that “it is both a right and a responsibility of a democratic society to manage immigration so that it serves the national interest.” Jordan recognized the connection between mass low-skilled immigration and falling wages for low-skilled American workers, often themselves black and Hispanic. The commission she chaired proposed stricter measures to curb illegal immigration and family chain migration.

The Times cannot concede a good-faith reason to adopt any of these views and portrays them only as eruptions of bigotry. The paper also needs to keep alive the narrative of a racist white power structure. Linking longstanding political positions, some conservative, to the only recently noticed insignificant political fringe is therefore a match made in heaven. The paper quotes Thomas Main, a political-science professor at Baruch College, who obligingly dismisses the significance of the white-nationalist rallies now that, in retrospect, they have proved such a wash-out. “What’s crucial for the fate of the alt-right is not the demonstrations,” Main told the Times. “They are a political movement that is concerned with influencing the way people think, and there are a lot of signs that their ideas continue to penetrate mainstream media and political culture.”

6. Aunt Fritzi! Help!! John Fund finds that, for Republicans, Nancy is the gift that keeps giving, and wonders if Dems will contrive an October Surprise and mothball Minority Leader Pelosi. From his column:

Democrats privately scoff that Pelosi’s departure could be this year’s surprise. Instead, they are focusing on the recent accusations from disgruntled former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault-Newman, who also was a guest on today’s Meet the Press. Omarosa predicted that a tape of Trump using the “N-word” against African Americans would surface shortly before the election: “I know it exists, and what I regret is that these people are probably trying to leverage it as this October surprise.” I have no idea whether such a tape exists, but I rate Omarosa’s overall credibility on a par with that of fabulists.

A “Bye, Nancy” pass to appeal to swing voters strikes me as at least as likely if not more so as an October surprise. Republicans haven’t been buoyed by the strong economy as much as they thought they would be. They will probably fall back on warning voters about what a return to power by increasingly liberal Democrats would mean: efforts to scale back border controls and even abolish ICE, higher taxes and more regulation, and a focus on impeaching President Trump. Despite her best efforts to downplay such issues, Nancy Pelosi is easily identified with this left-wing agenda.

7. That flailing sound you’re hearing, coming from Virginia? That’s Corey Stewart, ticking candidate. Alexandra DeSanctis reports, and here’s a slice of it:

Stewart, the Republican nominee challenging incumbent Democratic senator Tim Kaine in Virginia this fall, has come under sustained fire lately as news outlets have uncovered disturbing past comments from his campaign staff and from Stewart himself — shedding new light on the candidate’s friendly relationships with white-nationalist figures.

The negative publicity seems already to be taking a toll. In a VCU poll of likely voters released late last week, Kaine led Stewart by a comfortable 23 points, 49 percent to Stewart’s 26. That’s an improvement for Kaine from the 18-point lead he enjoyed over Stewart in a Quinnipiac poll from late June, shortly after Stewart won the GOP nomination.

A bit of bad press alone rarely tanks a campaign, but for Stewart, the series of hard hits has established a troubling pattern.

8. Jim Talent is insistent that America realize the massive military buildup in China is quite for real, and will seriously impact in our affairs. From his essay:

The Chinese are also engaged in a national effort to develop advanced weapons, which would be game changers in any armed conflict. The PLA is improving its already potent ability to attack American space assets, testing hypersonic-missile technology at a high rate, and developing sophisticated maneuverable reentry vehicles. It has exercised mass formations of unmanned aerial vehicles and has plans to build the world’s largest facility for unmanned-ship research.

While growing stronger itself, China has systematically used cyberespionage to steal America’s defense secrets from U.S. allies and defense contractors. That means that in any conflict the PLA will begin with a high level of situational awareness of American capabilities and how to defeat them.

China is also acquiring key maritime nodes around the world. Chinese companies own or are highly invested in 70 percent of the world’s ports, while the PLA has militarized its new artificial and illegal islands in the South China Sea and opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti.

9. Washington or Bust! Or, Washington Bust. Brian Allen review the Frick Museum’s exhibition of some classic sculpturing of the Father of Our Country. Here’s a history lesson for you:

In 1816, North Carolina’s legislature commissioned a full-length, life-size sculpture of Washington for the rotunda of its state capitol. When consulted on possible artists, Thomas Jefferson insisted that only Canova, probably Europe’s most distinguished sculptor, would do. By that time, Canova had portrayed emperors, popes, gods, and princesses, his figures sleek and subtly sexy. Absolute power might corrupt absolutely, but restrained, elegantly conveyed power can be intoxicating.

Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of Washington might have been ubiquitous given the many versions Stuart painted, but Jefferson and others thought Giuseppe Ceracchi’s bust, done from life in 1791, was the most accurate depiction of Washington ever done. There are two versions in the show, one marble and the other terra-cotta. The terra-cotta bust is as alive as it could be. Also in the show is Jean-Antoine Houdon’s 1785 plaster life mask of Washington. This is the first time all of these depictions have been together. Canova faithfully used Ceracchi’s work as his model.

10. Yeah bishops, you have lost our trust. That’s why it’s time to reappoint Frank Keating to investigate your coverups. Michael Strain makes the painful but obvious argument for truth and against self-interest wearing a red cap. From his piece:

How did a man who likely belongs in a jail cell rather than in the red cassock of a prince of the Church get away with so much for so long? McCarrick apparently preyed on those over whom he wielded power for decades, and he reached the highest levels of leadership in the Church. Some important people in the Vatican and the U.S. must have known at least something of his behavior. How many people — including bishops — turned a blind eye, or covered up his crimes? Why did they make that choice? Petitions were made to the Vatican to stop McCarrick’s rise. They went nowhere. Why?

A good place to start looking for answers is with the 15 American cardinals. At least four of them, or 27 percent, likely heard at least something regarding McCarrick’s behavior and did, it appears, nothing.

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, the highest-ranking American in the Vatican, worked for and lived with McCarrick for several years. A priest wrote a letter to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, discussing McCarrick’s behavior. Cardinal O’Malley’s staff responded to the priest. It’s hard to believe that Cardinal Donald Wuerl, McCarrick’s successor as archbishop of Washington, didn’t hear rumors, at a minimum. Despite the close proximity that all three held to McCarrick, these cardinals deny any knowledge of McCarrick’s behavior.

11. More Bishop-Walloping. Michael Brendan Dougherty lets loose at the hollow verbiage of sorrow. Here’s how his new essay begins:

“We are deeply saddened.” So begin the many perfunctory statements of many Catholic bishops today in response to the Pennsylvania grand-jury report detailing how priests in that state abused children and how bishops shuffled these priests around. What deeply saddens these men? The rape of children, the systematic cover-up, or the little schemes to run out the clock on the statute of limitations? Are they saddened by the people who were so psychologically wounded by their abuse at the hands of priests that they killed themselves? What exactly are they sorry about? Soon the bishops are telling us about a chance for “renewal” after the promised implementation of new policies. They tell us about “overcoming challenges” in the Church. Or they use the phrase “a few bad apples.”

I find it impossible not to notice that these expressions of sorrow never arrive before the courts, the state attorneys general, or the local press arrive on the scene. That fact gives you another idea about what causes the bishops’ sorrow.

12. Three leading Jewish journals in the U.K. have joined forces to make an emphatic declaration about Labour bossman Jeremy Corbyn: He’s an anti-Semite. Julie Lenarz tells the ugly tale. Here’s a slice:

Corbyn has often excused his meetings with Hamas and Hezbollah as gestures of peace, an opportunity to talk to all sides in the conflict — except when it comes to Jews. Corbyn time and again has missed opportunities to meet with Israeli delegates and boycotted events with Israeli officials in attendance. He is part of a mindset in which Zionism, the belief that Jews deserve their own homeland, is a racist endeavor — a position that, according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition, is anti-Semitic.

Corbyn’s collusion with extremists goes on. He invited for tea in Parliament the Palestinian hate preacher Raed Salah, whom he described as “a very honoured citizen” whose “voice must be heard.” Saleh was found by a British court to have used the anti-Semitic “blood libel” (the fabricated assertion that Jews use the blood of Christians in religious ceremonies). On a different occasion, Corbyn accepted a free trip to meet Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, paid for by a Palestinian group that blames Jews for the Holocaust. In a similar fashion, Corbyn’s spokesperson had to disassociate Corbyn from Holocaust denier Paul Eisen, to whom he had allegedly donated money.

13. Harvard Shmarvard: Victor Davis Hanson sees elite degree, pedigrees, and idiocies — all at the same time. From his essay:

It is growing harder and harder to equate elite university branding with proof of knowledge. Barack Obama, another Harvard Law graduate, proved this depressing fact a number of times when he asserted that the Maldives were the Falklands, “corpsmen” was pronounced with a hard p, Austrians spoke a language called Austrian, there were 57 states, and Hawaii was in Asia.

Joe Biden, another law-school graduate, once stated that George W. Bush should have addressed the nation on television the way FDR did after the stock crash: “When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television . . .”  Biden apparently forgot that FDR was not president in 1929 and that TVs weren’t introduced to the public until 1939.

The point is not to cite egregious anecdotes but rather to reflect on why Americans have pretty much lost faith in their degreed elite. On most of the major issues of the last 40 years, what we were told by economists, foreign-policy experts, pundits, and the media has proven wrong — and doubly wrong given the emphases placed on such assertions by the supposedly better-educated professional classes.

14. Daniel Allott travels to Obama / Trump country and finds not an iota of regret among those who switched sides and voted for The Donald. From the story:

With each new round of tariffs and counter-tariffs, media outlets have deployed reporters to tell the story of how the White House’s protectionist policies could prompt a backlash among voters in these pivotal Trump states. But that is not what I found in Howard County. On my final day there, I headed to Casey’s General Store on the outskirts of Lime Springs and chatted with a group of farmers who gather there early each morning.

None of the farmers wished to be quoted by name, but all were happy to give me their political opinions. They said they were nervous about the tariffs and had already seen significant drops in crop and livestock prices. “We’ve lost a dollar and a half on the beans, and seen a drop on the corn in the last month,” one farmer said. “It’s really affecting people that have to have that cash flow. For them, it’s traumatic.”

But I didn’t sense any anger at Trump or hear anything to suggest he’d lost their support. In fact, they said they appreciated that a president was finally pushing back against other countries’ unfair trade practices. “I think we’ve been giving our wealth away for way too many years,” said one farmer. “We’ve made terrible deals,” another said. “Terrible.”

I asked the group whether an ongoing trade war would affect their vote in 2020. “Last time there wasn’t much of a choice,” one elderly farmer said. “Depends on who’s running. If it’s a socialist, no.”

15. Plenty of critics are acclaiming Sorry to Bother You. Not Kyle Smith.

16. Jonathan Tobin gives credit where due: It’s Trump’s boom, not Obama’s. From his piece:

As for Trump’s supposedly superb salesmanship, it’s true that the president isn’t bashful about claiming credit. But if he were really expert at seizing credit for good news, Trump wouldn’t spend so much time and energy distracting the public from the news of his economic success. His tweets and statements are a never-ending stream of arguments, complaints, and abuse directed at opponents that make it harder for voters to concentrate on the central fact of a robust economy that is bringing down unemployment and raising wages for his working-class supporters as well as satisfying big business. If the Republicans lose control of Congress this fall, it will be because Trump isn’t as good a salesman as either he or his opponents think he is, and it will disprove James Carville’s rule that elections are always about “the economy, stupid.”

Trump has removed the regulatory shackles that Obama placed on the economy during his unsuccessful attempts to orchestrate a robust recovery. Whether it lasts or will be undermined by other policies remains to be seen. But whatever else happens, the boom belongs to him, not Obama.

17. There’s nothing that great about Andrew Cuomo either. Charles Cooke smacks around the volume-obtuse hack Governor of New York. From his piece:

Queen Victoria complained of William Ewart Gladstone that he “speaks to Me as if I was a public meeting.” Andrew Cuomo has the opposite problem: He addresses public meetings as if trying to convince a recalcitrant octogenarian that the fire in his bedroom means he really, seriously has to leave. Never have so many friendly faces been so vigorously barked at by a man saying so little. In his mind, Cuomo is Pericles. Outside of it, he’s late-90s Al Pacino reading a bargain-basement script. “We’re not going to make America great again,” he bellowed this afternoon, to audible gasps. “America was never that great.”

Cuomo is everyone and nobody all at once. “I am a Muslim,” he proposed last January, provoking widespread consternation. During the same speech he also became “Jewish,” “black,” “gay,” “disabled,” and “a woman seeking to control her health and her choices.” Conspicuously missing from his list was the one self-descriptor that explained his overzealous schizophrenia: “I am a white guy running for office in the Democratic party in 2018.”

18. The SCOTUS Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling be damned, the Left’s trolling and continued persecution of Jack Phillips continues. David French reports on a man with a target on his back, and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission once again is complicit in the assault on Freedom of Worship. Read David’s piece here.

Bonus: David calls BS on the “stunned” claim of Phillip’s lefty troller.

The Six

1. In First Things, a group of prominent Catholics has sent Pope Francis a powerful message in opposition to his dictat that Church teaching formally opposes the death penalty. From their letter:

Since it is a truth contained in the Word of God, and taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium of the Catholic Church, that criminals may lawfully be put to death by the civil power when this is necessary to preserve just order in civil society, and since the present Roman pontiff has now more than once publicly manifested his refusal to teach this doctrine, and has rather brought great confusion upon the Church by seeming to contradict it, and by inserting into the Catechism of the Catholic Church a paragraph which will cause and is already causing many people, both believers and non-believers, to suppose that the Church considers, contrary to the Word of God, that capital punishment is intrinsically evil, we call upon Your Eminences to advise His Holiness that it is his duty to put an end to this scandal, to withdraw this paragraph from the Catechism, and to teach the word of God unadulterated; and we state our conviction that this is a duty seriously binding upon yourselves, before God and before the Church.

2. Department of Whose Ox: Writing at Crisis, my dear old pal Anne Hendershott (who I first met on the commuter train, she was reading National Review!) reports on an incredible head-turning (everything turning) “Title IX” case involving a renowned lesbian New York University professor, Avital Ronell, accused by a gay male graduate student of some aggressive sexual harassment. All of a sudden, Ronell’s lefty peers are okay with victim-blaming. From Anne’s piece:

In some important ways, this is the logical outcome of the mess created by Title IX. The mandates imposed by the law have devastated the lives of falsely accused students and faculty members who are deprived of legal rights by their academic institution. Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, has attempted to mandate due process protections for the accused but most colleges and universities have defied her attempts. In fact, some schools have implemented even more draconian policies. No longer content to deny due process to accused university students in the wake of often unsubstantiated and frequently false charges of sexual harassment and assault, there was even a movement last year toward destroying any hope for these students to transfer to other colleges and universities. The Safe Transfer Act, a bill promoted by Rep. Jackie Speir (D-CA), requires transcript notation for those students who try to transfer to other colleges or universities after being found “responsible” for violations of Title IX policies. Creating a new “check the box” requirement specifically for the transcripts of the students who have become ensnared in Title IX’s ever-expanding net for campus “sex crimes,” Speier’s bill requires a warning on the academic transcript of any student found by a college or university to have violated the school’s rules or policies on sexual harassment and assault.

3. At The American Conservative, Rod Dreher looks at the Church’s scandal and shares his thoughts about weak men.

4. Writing in American Greatness, Michael Walsh looks into the roots of American Catholicism’s collapse, and finds them in Pope John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council. From his piece:

I cannot say for certain when the rot set it, but I can say when my disillusionment first set in: with Vatican II and the papal reigns of John XXIII and Paul VI. After the ascetic papacy of Pius XII, who shared the same grim visage as John Foster Dulles and James Jesus Angleton, so common to men of that period, the roly-poly Cardinal Roncalli seemed a Kennedyesque breath of fresh air. And yet some of the outward changes he and Paul instituted in the Church — the abandonment of the Latin rite was one that most affected this altar boy — seemed arbitrary and superfluous; we would have called them “virtue signaling” today.

The theological implications of the wider reforms were lost on me at the time (the opening of dialogue with the Jews was long overdue), but what I did sense from my limited perspective was that in making the Mass more “inclusive,” the authority of the Church, as expressed in the universal Latin Mass, said by the priest with his back to the congregation (and thus leading them in worship instead of addressing them as a primus inter pares), was being lost in the interest of a transient accommodation to vogueish concerns. For whatever reasons, Church attendance began to dwindle, then plummet, not long thereafter.

5. For Gatestone Institute, Nonie Darwish asks a big geo-political question: Does Turkey belong in the EU? Here’s his answer.

6. Houston is under threat. The “opportunity-rich” municipality is being targeted by regulation-wielding Smart Growthers. Joel Kotkin explains in City Journal. From the piece:

Houston is largely an engineered city. Its success does not owe to a perfect location, a salubrious climate, or spectacular scenery. Situated far from a natural harbor, this bayou city was forged, in large part, by the 1914 decision to build a ship channelthat connects it with the Gulf of Mexico, 50 miles away. Its location makes Houston susceptible to natural disasters. Long before Harvey, Houston was devastated by hurricanes, including the one that destroyed the once-thriving port city of Galveston in 1900. A 1935 flood caused more severe damage, proportionally, than Harvey did, on a then much-smaller Houston.

Historically, Houston has met these challenges by seeking to tame nature. A relevant model can be found in the Netherlands, where, for hundreds of years, planners managed to push back against the sea, in the process creating one of the world’s great metropolises (Amsterdam). Historian Jonathan Israel traces the rise of the Netherlands, particularly following a massive flood in the sixteenth century, to its period of extensive infrastructure-building. Like Houston’s suburban expansion, infrastructure development in Holland opened new land and opportunities for residents. It also initiated liberal laws about tenancy and allowed for the expansion of ownership and enterprise, much as Houston’s expansion accomplished over the past half-century. The new lands constituted “the geographic roots of republican liberty,” notes historian Simon Schama.


Interesting thought: What was the worst team whose starting lineup included the most future Hall-of-Famers. WJ’s research minions need to look into this, but at first glance, it will be hard to top the 1962 Chicago Cubs, which had to be thankful this was the New York Mets’ abysmal inaugural season. The Cubbies were 59-103, good for 9th place (they endured 10 “walk off” losses!). The future Cooperstown boys were Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, and rookie Lou Brock. Believe it or not, the latter did not lead the team ins stolen bases; that distinction went to George Altman, who swiped 19 to Brock’s 17.

A Dios

This missive is being finished in the wee hours, in a hotel room near the airport in Fresno, California. Your bleary-eyed jet-lagged correspondent doesn’t travel well. Next Friday, Correspondent Jr (he’s Deduction #5) heads off to college, so a busy week awaits. But we’ll manage another WJ. Until then, please water the flowers, apologize even if there is a remote chance you were wrong, and wash your own coffee mugs!

God’s blessings on you and yours,

Jack Fowler

jfowler@nationalreview.comis where I can be hectored.

P.S.: is where you can reserve a cabin on our post-election voyage, which gives you the chance and right to hector me in person!

National Review

Fired the Shot Heard Round the World


Dear Weekend Jolter,

Lookee below and see the link-sharing for just some of the great content found in the new issue of National Review. It’s extravagant title is: “The Gun Issue.” We don’t often do special issues at NR. This one is one of the best in my 30-whatever years hanging around this joint.

It’s hot and the water looks inviting so let’s just dive in straight away.


1. Of course I am overjoyed that one of the greatest lawmakers I have ever known — Connecticut state senator Joe Markley, a man of such principle and class — has been endorsed by NR for lieutenant governor of Connecticut. From our editorial:

Connecticut holds its primaries August 14, and the Republican contests really matter this year. We strongly urge the GOP voters to give their nod for lieutenant governor to state senator Joseph Markley.

The lieutenant governor, who presides over the senate among other duties, is a position that has been very consequential in Connecticut’s decline. The Lowell Weicker tax increase depended on the tie-breaking vote of a lieutenant governor and so did Dan Malloy’s sweetheart union deal.

We have no doubt that Joseph Markley, if ever faced with such a choice, would make the right one. He has written for this website, and his conservative bona fides are so excellent that Bill Buckley held a fundraising event for him when he first sought office in 1984. He is a lawmaker of great principle, discernment, eloquence, and energy. He knows how the legislature works, in ways formal and informal. If there is to be reform in Connecticut, we believe Markley will be integral to it.

2. We believe the time has come for carmakers to be freed from abusive, nutty, and political federal regulations on fuel economy standards. From our editorial:

The Trump administration has proposed two major changes to federal vehicle regulations. First, it seeks to abandon its predecessor’s 2012 plan to nearly double cars’ fuel economy by 2025, to an average of 54.5 miles per gallon; instead, the standard would stop rising after 2020, at 37 miles per gallon. And second, the administration wants to eliminate a waiver that gives California the right to create state-level emission rules that are stricter than federal law.

Obama’s fuel standards are a looming boondoggle and Trump is right to discard them. And California’s waiver, despite its pretensions to federalism, gives the state an unwarranted and outsized sway over federal policy: Unlike any other state, California can threaten to create a separate regulatory regime if federal policy doesn’t track its own prerogatives.

3. The PRC-hacked-and-violated Google is now considering reentering its business and products into China. We advise: Don’t do it. From the editorial:

Our concerns with Google’s possible reentry do not end with censorship, which in China is just one element of a unified state strategy to manage the Internet. As a New America Foundation brief notes, “Party leadership is expanding the legal tools at its disposal to monitor and control information disseminated online.” The 2017 cybersecurity law and a spate of related regulations require “critical information infrastructure” to be based in China and restrict the flow of “sensitive” data. Hence Google is reportedly in talks with state-aligned companies Tencent and Inspur to partner on its cloud service; the data would be stored in China. The party has also tightened its ban on anonymous online activity and ramped up its tracking of personal information, enlisting private companies to help enforce these rules. If Chinese law enforcement demands access to such data, will Google provide it to them? If it wants to comply with the law, it won’t have a choice. No American company should willingly become an adjunct of the Chinese state.


1. We spied New York Times columnist and NR film critic Ross Douthat in our NYC HQ, there to be interviewed by the intrepid host of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg, a session in which such questions as “is Saruman a Randian superman?,” “should Alex Jones be banned?,” “has Jonah ever made love in the back of a Model T?,” and other pressing inquiries were entertained. As you will be when you when you listen here.

2. On the new episode of The McCarthy Report, Andy and Rich discuss “Trump Tower Turmoil.” It’s must-listenable, here.

3. The Editor trio of Rich, Charlie, and Luke triage the week’s politics, considering the Sarah Jeong affair, Alex Jones’ bannery, and the Ohio special elections. Get informed, here.

4. They’re calling it “The Brief Phone Call Episode” — Charlie and Kevin do their Mad Dogs and Englishmen thing about the thoroughly unlikeable Andrew Cuomo. Catch it here.

5. Is it true that The Pump Don’t Work ’Cause the Vandals Took the Handles? Scotty (Wotty Do-Do) Bertram and Jeff Blehar (Witch Project?) will have you rolling stones and complete unknowns grooving to the discussion — with The Daily Beast’s Andrew Kirell — of Bob Dylan. Activate your headphones here.

6. More Daily Beast invading of NR podcast space: Matt Lewis gets grilled on The Jamie Weinstein Show, about Trump, Palin, Bannon, Alex Jones, and a kajillion other things. Listen here.

7. Andrea Neal joins John J. Miller to discuss her book, Pence, on the new episode of The Bookmonger.Get your warm bucket of spit here.

8. The stuff that dream are made of? More JJM: on the Great Books podcast, crime-novel reviewer Tom Nolan waxes about commie pinko Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon. Learn a thing or two or three here.

BONUS: Bogie fondles a bird.

9. Way out West, David and Will send forth a new episode of Radio Free California, discussing the much-rumored Los Angeles teachers strike and the dark money behind a statewide ballot measure to resuscitate rent control. And there’s what they call a “special bonus track” about banning plastic straws and shopping bags in a state that hands out free hypodermic needles. Get hip and hep to it all, right here.

10. Alexandra and David conjure up a Twitter War peace plan on the new episode of Ordered Liberty, in which they break down the Sarah Jeong and Alex Jones free speech controversies and solve all the internet’s problems. And then they move on to discuss the intersection between race, class, and religion in America’s culture wars. Sounds like a rollicking time, which you can hear here.

The Baker’s Dozen of Cream-Filled, Frosted, and Sprinkled NR Doughnuts

1. Elizabeth Warren, forked-tongue speaker, fails Rich Lowry’s lie-detector test. From his new column:

Her riff is a sign that the Democrats are going to leaven their lurch toward socialism with a condemnation of America as fundamentally racist. After helping fuel Donald Trump’s rise in 2016 with loose rhetoric about the bigotry of cops, Democrats hope to dislodge him in 2020 with even more sweeping accusations of systematic racism.

The U.S. criminal-justice system is obviously a legitimate topic of debate. The war on drugs has been a blunderbuss mistake, and we should be reconsidering how many people we jail, and how we do it and why. But the contention that U.S. law enforcement is a product of racial hatred is a paranoid lie, from top to bottom, from beginning to end, from front to back.

2. The title of Victor Davis Hanson’s new essay says pretty much all: “The Police Were Not Policed.” From his piece:

Our current agency directors and cabinet are rightly calling universal attention to the ongoing threat of Russian espionage efforts.

They do so in concert because they are apparently worried, though they cannot say such openly, that President Trump himself and the American public are not yet sufficiently woke to these existential threats from Russia.

Such concern for the national security is fine and necessary.

But somewhere, somehow, someone must also must explain and rectify the past. For two years, the top employees of these agencies, most appointed during the Obama administration, have been engaged in unethical and illegal behavior, likely intended to throw the election to President Obama’s preferred candidate and then, after the election, to subvert the new presidency.

In other words, those who are warning of Russian collusion efforts to warp an election now work for agencies that in the recent past were doing precisely what they now rightly accuse the Russians of doing. The damage that Brennan, Clapper, Comey, and others have done to the reputations of the agencies they ran will live on well after their tenures are over.

The public will not be able to square such a circle — believe that the intelligence agencies are trustworthy now, while knowing they were deeply corrupt in the very recent past — unless there is some accountability for U.S.-government misdeeds.

3. Armond White finds Spike Lee’s new film, BlacKkKlansman, to be “stupidly incendiary.” And confusing. And this:

Consider BlacKkKlansman’s “Infiltrate Hate” ad poster, which recycles the font used for Gordon Parks’s Shaft in Africa. Lee’s advertising is usually his cleverest ploy. But this campaign’s unclear emphasis on police as white-hooded villains carrying an Afro comb is mere exploitation of an issue minus the sincere dramatic investigation of a crisis like in Melvin Van Peebles’s Panther. Lee leaves it unclear whether cops are good or bad; the simplistic association with the Klan is a weak meme for a born Madison Ave. hack.

All these pop-culture miscues indicate that Lee operates from the peculiar antipathy of the black middle class that remains angry despite its own successful pop-culture maneuvering. His most offensive — and thereby most effective — stunt is the end credit that turns the American flag upside down, then shifts from egalitarian red, white, and blue to fascistic black and white. It’s a millionaire (film nerd’s) scam artist’s version of a Colin Kaepernick prank.

4. Kathryn Jean Lopez reflects on two important matters. From her column:

Adoption and foster care are subjects that, like abortion, tend to be obscured from public view. If it happens to you, you know — and may feel quite alone in it. If not, it may be something foreign, the stuff of bad headlines or miserable politics. And adoption and fostering, being much rarer than abortion, also suffer from our lack of attention: Whether you’re a birth, adoptive, or foster parent, you may have to go it alone in your community. Even our language is woefully inadequate: “Giving a child up for adoption” sounds to a lot of people, most especially and unjustly birth mothers, like abandonment — when in truth it’s the most selfless act there is. When we throw around the word lovein the most casual of ways, we should stop to reflect that this is exactly what it is: radical self-sacrifice. In this case, wanting the best for another, and knowing you may not be the best for them.

5. Conor Friedersdorf wrote an unpleasant piece about Hillsdale College and its president for The Atlantic. But Larry Arnn, said president, was having none of his “concern trolling.” From his counterpunch:

Third, it is alleged that, because I support Donald Trump politically, I am eroding the moral standards of the college and of its students. This is silly. What one teaches the young about morality is a very different thing from choosing whom to support for president of the United States. For the young, a whole life is before them, and it is right and possible to encourage them to build all of the virtues in themselves. The first step is for them to learn what those virtues are. We teach that.

The choice for president is by contrast sharply circumscribed: One opts for the best of two people. I made the choice for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. I thought that was an easy choice to make. I still think so. If one believes as I do that the Constitution is precious and in danger of eclipse by the modern administrative state, then one places a high value on stopping and reversing that. Donald Trump stated the intention to do this, and so far he has done it more than any president excepting, maybe, Ronald Reagan. This seemed and seems to me the decisive thing. I feel this acutely as a citizen, but also because of my station: I am responsible for keeping the college independent in service of its ancient mission, and the extension of the administrative state in recent years has threatened Hillsdale’s independence as surely as it has threatened religious liberty.

6. “Gender-neutral” pronoun rule dictators continue to do their amok-running on campuses. Brad Palumbo explains why this is a threat to free speech. For thee, thou, and thine, a selection from the essay:

After decades of such free-speech precedents, it’s unlikely that mandatory-pronoun rules would pass constitutional muster. Samantha Harris, FIRE’s vice president of policy research, told me in an email that “it would certainly be unconstitutional for a public university to require students and faculty to use gender-neutral pronouns or face punishment,” although she noted that since the language of the University of Minnesota’s proposed policy is vague, it’s possible that this wouldn’t be how the rule was implemented. But it’s clear that if they did force students to use pronouns they disagreed with, university administrators would be trampling over the Constitution in their race to prove their progressive bona fides — and students shouldn’t stand for it.

From my experience as a conservative activist on campus, it’s clear to me that most right-of-center students don’t actually want to harass transgender people — and many are even willing to use alternative pronouns — but rather they take issue with the idea that we should be compelled to do so. I spoke with Michael Geiger, a conservative student at the University of Minnesota, and his frustration with the administration’s new proposal was clear: “The fact that the bill is receiving serious consideration shows that the school’s administration has no grasp of what free speech means and why it is so important.” If liberal faculty really want to promote the inclusion of transgender students, force simply isn’t the way to do it. In fact, it may only engender more hostility.

7. RIP, Paul Laxalt. Quin Hillyer remembers a conservative lawmaker. From his piece:

Laxalt, governor of neighboring Nevada while Reagan was governor of California, was liked and trusted entirely by both Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Serving three times as chairman of Reagan’s presidential campaigns, for years as general chairman of the Republican National Committee, and as a stalwart conservative senator known for integrity, decency, and quiet effectiveness, Laxalt played key roles in implementing the Reagan agenda. Perhaps his greatest single triumph came when he personally persuaded Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos to abdicate in the face of (justifiable) civil unrest, rather than trigger a bloodbath that might have resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands.

8. Bruno Macaes sees a New World Order that is chaotic. From his essay:

The global order created after the Second World War had been endangered before, but in the past the threat had come from the outside. Now it seems to be in danger of being abandoned by those who had been responsible for building it and who had always benefited from it. For some, Brexit and Trump have simply been an error of perception: It is true that the countries at the core of the system have to restrain their power and cannot come out on top every time, but over the long term they reap the largest benefits and have the most interest in preserving the system.

As domestic divisions in Europe and the United States became increasingly exposed, relations between elites and a large section of the electorate acquired something of the old, familiar dynamic between Europeans and those inhabiting the rest of the world. They sound like an effort by the rational and enlightened classes to persuade the irrational and the superstitious — professedly in the interest of the latter. Politicians and intellectuals scrambled to explain the bizarre voting behavior through all sorts of economic and psychoanalytic theories, all the while insisting that a new effort at civic education had become urgent. Such messages can only deepen the divisions and alienation.

9. Andrew Cuomo hates the Second Amendment. And the First. David French has the skinny on a man at odds with the Bill of Rights. From his piece:

New York’s Andrew Cuomo is engaging in a deliberate campaign to use state power to drive the NRA out of business. It’s using a combination of consent decrees and warning letters directed at financial institutions to coerce them into cutting of business relationships with the NRA.

Cuomo’s intentions aren’t hidden. He’s on a crusade. “If I could have put the NRA out of business, I would have done it 20 years ago,” he said earlier this week. He followed up with this pithy statement: “I’m tired of hearing the politicians say, we’ll remember them in our thoughts and prayers. If the NRA goes away, I’ll remember the NRA in my thoughts and prayers.”

Clever. But when statements like this are accompanied by state action, there’s another word that applies — unconstitutional.

10. You don’t say — a socialist demagogue? Who trades in anti-Semitism? And is on the verge of grabbing a nation’s power? Jonathan Tobin considers if Jeremy Corbyn might be replicated on our shores. From his analysis:

Far from moderating once installed atop the party, Corbyn stuck to his radical stances on both domestic and foreign issues. Yet when Labour voters were given a chance to replace him after the parliamentary party repudiated him, he won reelection as leader in 2016 by an even greater margin. At that point, pundits still dismissed his chances of winning election to No. 10. Prime Minister Theresa May was so unthreatened by the prospect that she called an early general election in June 2017. Of course, rather than increase her majority as the polls predicted, May lost seats and barely retained power. Though Corbyn fell short of winning the election, Labour’s share of the vote increased to 40 percent and it gained 30 seats in parliament. His chances of replacing May could no longer be dismissed. In fact, given the deep divisions Brexit has opened up among Tories, the prospect of a Prime Minister Corbyn is less remote than ever before.

Despite this seemingly golden opportunity, however, Corbyn hasn’t budged an inch toward the center. His hostility to Israel and his refusal to unambiguously condemn anti-Semitism are particularly instructive examples.

11. Heather Mac Donald finds Sarah Jeong . . . boring. As hell. She explains in part:

Jeong’s five-year tweet trail is much longer than a mere “period of time” during which she allegedly experimented with counter-trolling. But most important, her tweets are not imitative of anything other than the ideology that now rules the higher-education establishment, including UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School, both of which Jeong attended. And that ideology is taking over non-academic institutions, whether in journalism, publishing, the tech sector, or the rest of corporate America. Sarah Jeong’s tweets and blog posts are just a marker of the world we already live in.

The key features of Jeong’s worldview are an obsession with whiteness and its alleged sins; a commitment to the claim that we live in a rape culture; and a sneering contempt for objectivity and truth-seeking. These are central tenets of academic victimology. From the moment freshmen arrive on a college campus, they are inundated by the message that they are either the bearers of white privilege or its victims. College presidents and the metastasizing diversity bureaucracy teach students to see racism where none exists, preposterously accusing their own institutions of systemic bias. “Bias response teams,” confidential “discrimination hotlines,” and implicit-bias training for faculty and staff roll forth from university coffers in wild abandon.

12. Rich Lowry (again!) finds that the erasure of crackpot Alex Jones has “worrisome ramifications for free speech.”

13. Picking winners and losers and losers and more losers. Amelia Irvine finds much to criticize in the Trump Administration’s trade policy. A healthy chunk from her essay:

In short, no American business did anything to merit the special treatment of Trump’s tariffs, and no American business did anything to merit the punishment of Trump’s tariffs. Instead of allowing the free market to decide the value of products, the Trump administration has sought to use tariffs as a weapon to improve the American economy, even though tariffs will always give rise to arbitrary winners and losers. This is fundamentally unfair to businesses whose only crime was exporting goods into an emerging market, and to those whose only merit was happening to have the “right” foreign competitors. (Trump’s $12 billion agricultural bailout puts a nice bow on the whole farce: His tariffs hurt American farmers, and then he turned to the taxpayers to offset the damage.)

Supporters of Trump’s trade war might point to his recent success in securing negotiations with the European Union toward the goal of “zero tariffs.” They may say that he is using steel and aluminum tariffs to gain leverage in the ongoing NAFTA-renegotiation talks, or to force Beijing to end its “unfair trade practices,” as administration officials have put it. If so, Trump’s actions are even more irresponsible. Allowing American farmers and manufacturers to take hits in the hopes of securing better trade deals is political suicide and economic malpractice. . . .

Trump supports trade wars so heartily because he believes there is something intrinsically economically harmful about the trade deficit, the difference between exports and imports. Of course, there are working-class men and women in the United States who have been harmed by global trade as manufacturing jobs are offshored and factories shut down. But workers lose jobs and factories close because of trade itself, not because of the trade deficit. Though job displacement is one awful side effect of an innovative and prosperous economy and the U.S. should do a better job of mitigating it, in the long run, everyone benefits from trade. The alternative — an increasingly closed economy — would foreclose any potential for economic growth, hurting us all.

You Want a Job?

National Review Institute is seeking an Accounting and Office Manager for the NYC HQ. Description here. You get to turn off the AC in KLO’s office and force Jonah to submit expenses in triplicate. Think of the fun!

You Want a Filet Mignon?

I think that’s what will be served. Anyway, get one for yourself and nine friends when you sponsor a table at NR Institute’s Fifth Annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner.

In the New Issue of NR (the Magazine!)

Here are four selections — to whet your whistle — from the special gun issue!

1. Kevin Williamson profiles bad boy Jesse James and his move from Motorcycle maker to gun manufacturer. From his piece:

“The gun regulation — I didn’t even realize how bad it was until I moved to Texas,” James says. “I was like: Whoa. It happened when I was in high school, but I wasn’t paying attention.” For much of his time in California, James’s experience with firearms was a lot like that of any other California-based celebrity: the Hollywood version. “We rented a lot of guns for filming Monster Garage,” the reality show in which teams of colorful characters worked to create unlikely mechanical monstrosities, e.g., turning a DeLorean into a hovercraft. Unsuccessful projects were dispatched with dynamite, tank treads, and, on occasion, gunfire. “Full autos, .50-calibers. But I didn’t realize what it was really like until I bought an AR-15 in the 1990s and it was this weird composite breechloading thing.” California law requires that AR-style rifles have fixed magazines rather than detachable and swappable ones, which more or less defeats the purpose of an AR. “It kind of made me mad,” he says. And his interest in gunsmithing? “It kind of found me.”

Unlike motorcycles or monster mutant cars, guns become family heirlooms, meaningful in a way that few other things are. “I’ll always build bikes and cars. But a motorcycle is just like a boat. You can sell it on Craigslist. Guns are a personal thing. It provides protection for you and your family, and that gives it a higher meaning. You’re not going to think about showing it off this weekend, but about two generations from now. And that seems more important than motorcycles.”

2. Frank Miniter makes the case for defending hunting. From his piece:

One main reason conservatives should support hunting is that hunters and their associations act as a counterbalance to far-left environmentalism. Not all hunters vote Republican (many Democratic-voting union members hunt), but most hunters tend to be conservative on environmental issues. Hunters don’t share today’s preservationist belief that humans can only harm nature; those who hunt tend to understand that we are part of the ecosystems we live in, so forest and game management aren’t off-limits, though we must take a responsible and scientific approach to them. This is why the environmental Left fears and fights local sportsmen’s groups all the time. It’s why environmentalists don’t like to admit that hunters are some of wildlife’s greatest advocates.

Just look at the League of Conservation Voters’ “National Environmental Scorecard”: The “issue categories” by which the group ranks politicians include “climate change,” “clean energy,” “drilling,” and “wildlife . . . including the Endangered Species Act,” but “hunting” appears nowhere on the list. Moreover, the candidates who receive the organization’s highest grades are Democrats who often fail to support hunting.

3. To set things straight about the Second Amendment, Charlie Cooke puts down the Colt and takes to the keyboard to explain that it was always meant to protect an individual’s right to be armed. From his essay: From his essay:

Given changing sensibilities; the evolving meaning of words; the decline of a shared republican worldview that regarded government as an auxiliary, not all-conquering, domestic force; and a healthy helping of cynical gamesmanship from the gun-control movement and its allies in the press, one can comprehend how we went from a widespread understanding that Americans enjoyed the right to keep and bear arms to breathless online headlines insisting that the “gun lobby” has “rewritten the Second Amendment!” “Arms,” “state,” “militia,” “well-regulated” — these terms have all changed in the popular imagination in the years since 1791, as have what we would now refer to as America’s “gun politics.” For many unfamiliar with the history, the mistake is a forgivable one.

For those who are familiar, however, it is most decidedly not. Indeed, to be cognizant of the history is to arrive at one clear and unmistakable conclusion: that the “collective right” theory is just nuts. As a 1982 Senate report on the meaning of the Second Amendment concluded bluntly, it is “inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as its interpretation by every major commentator and court in the first half-century after its ratification, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner.”

4. Have Big Gun, Will Travel. Rabbi Rob Thomas collects . . . tanks. Takes ‘em out for a spin. And a bang bang. From his wonderful piece:

My first tank was an M4A1 Sherman Grizzly medium tank, built in 1943. I flew to the seller’s location and inspected the tank with great enthusiasm and a discerning eye. Being a neophyte to tank collecting, I quickly deduced that the tank was large, smelly, and green. I took it for a test drive (yes, qualified buyers do this) and loved it. It was much easier to drive than one might expect, as long as one had driven a manual transmission. It handled well and rattled even better. I bought it and immediately began to learn that transporting a tank is never routine. There are countless state permits required (wide load, heavy load, etc.), rules restricting trucking traffic on certain days of the week, and significant costs.

Yet it was worth it. The Sherman was truly the tank that won the war. While German WWII armor (meaning tanks, tank destroyers, and assault guns) were rarely operational more than 60 percent of the time, the American Sherman tank was at least 89 percent operational during the entirety of WWII, and often more so. Further, while Sherman tanks were taken out by German armor and guns, resulting in an average of 1.1 crewmen per tank becoming casualties, German tank crewmen were lost at a rate eight times higher. The Sherman was reliable, durable, and survivable. Thanks to it, at the end of World War II, the U.S. had achieved dominance over opposing German armored vehicles, with a kill ratio of 2.75 to 1.

The Six

1. In a mega-essay/review in Claremont Review of Books, Michael Anton takes on six blame-Trump tomes (such as Wiliam Galston’s Anti-Pluralism: The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracyand David Frum’s Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic) and finds authoritarian pots noticing kettle pigmentation. From the essay:

What Harvard’s Nathan Glazer said of the original study — “the authors of The Authoritarian Personality seem quite oblivious to authoritarianism on the political left, and so set a precedent for studying authoritarianism without need for unpleasant self-examination” — may not be true to the letter of these present-day updates. Hugo Chavez, for example, is a sometime target. But it is true to their spirit. One gets the sense that Chavez and other leftists, such as Greece’s Alexis Tsipras, are included not to demonstrate genuine belief that authoritarianism cuts both ways, but as inoculations against charges of left-wing bias. How can that be, when I criticize Chavez on pages 16-19?

These new exposés on the threats to democracy have the same dry social science-y surfaces that obscure (if not exactly conceal) polemical cores. President Trump’s name appears in the title of only one, David Frum’s, but he is the real subject of all six. Their purpose — with perhaps one-and-a-half exceptions — is, like The Authoritarian Personality, to clothe polemic in scholarly robes, this time to make Trump’s legion of haters feel more high-minded about their rage, but mostly to misuse “science” to categorize Trump as “authoritarian.” The finding being “scientific,” it is therefore irrefutable and not subject to debate. “Authoritarianism” being beyond the pale, thus so is Trump and all he represents.

2. What the Frack! At Forbes, David Bahnsen celebrates the 20th anniversary of hydraulic fracturing. From his piece:

“Fracking” is the term we have applied in the culture to the combination of vertical drilling (where the well is dug deep into the ground, often many thousands of feet deep), followed by hydraulic fracturing, where sand and water are pumped into the shale rock that exists many thousands of feet below the surface to “fracture” that rock, and allow the oil and gas embedded deep underground to be captured. The volumes of natural gas, natural gas liquids, and crude oil that this technique has uncovered all over the country have been unfathomable, and over the last decade alone has caused the United States to more than double their crude oil production on an absolute basis, and to surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia in production on a relative basis.

3. At Gatestone Institute, Majid Rafizadeh writes about how the hijab is a force of torment and suppression. From his piece:

Last month, an Iranian court ordered Shaparak Shajarizadeh, 43, to prison for two years, with 18 years’ probation, for removing her headscarf in public.

In our childhood in Iran, my sister’s screams would cut through the silence of our home at night. Nightmares would wake her and leave her too terrified to go back to sleep. We all encouraged her to share her fears; she would always refuse. On the night she finally opened up, her entire body was shaking with fear.

Afraid to ask the question out loud, my sister, then nine years old, whispered: “Will Allah hang me from my hair? The religious and Quran teacher at our school told us in class that if we show our hair in public, God will hang us from our hair in the afterlife and torture us for infinity. He will resurrect us if we die and then torture us again,” she was sobbing. “I went to the grocery store and forgot to wear my hijab. Will He torture me for infinity?”

4. Modern Age, founded in 1957 by Russell Kirk, celebrates the approaching centenary of his birth with an essay by Jack Hunter on his enduring relevance. From the essay:

Kirk’s preference for practical reform over radical change was conservatism at its most basic: conserving the best or most integral traditions and institutions of a community, nation, or civilization even in the face of unavoidable evolution or correcting injustice. So while sympathizing in many ways with the antebellum South, Kirk viewed Abraham Lincoln as a conservative reformer, not a radical Republican or tyrant as so many Confederate apologists would characterize him (including me, for a time).

If my partisan political interests had led me to Kirk, his conservatism also dovetailed with new developments in U.S. politics in the mid-1990s. My newfound fascination with Kirk coincided with Pat Buchanan’s meteoric 1996 Republican presidential primary campaign. In that election, Buchanan adorned the covers of Time, Newsweek, and other major outlets, and he won the New Hampshire primary. The “Buchanan Brigades” were a popular movement within the Republican Party, but they were also largely in opposition to it on many fronts.

Buchanan, like Kirk, was deeply critical of U.S. foreign policy. (Conservatives could oppose war? Rush Limbaugh never told me that.) He also preached a “conservatism of the heart” that favored Main Street over Wall Street and Washington, D.C. Buchanan’s conservatism might have been populist in style, but in substance it was similar to the anti-populist Kirk’s preference for local community over Leviathan. I was not surprised to learn later that Kirk was the Michigan chair for Buchanan’s 1992 primary challenge to President George H. W. Bush.

5. The Catholic News Service reports that Edward Scharfenberger, the Bishop of Albany, NY, is strongly advocating lay oversight of the bishops’ exploding perv scandal. Per His Excellency: “I think we have reached a point where bishops alone investigating bishops is not the answer. To have credibility, a panel would have to be separated from any source of power whose trustworthiness might potentially be compromised.” Amen.

6. Related. First Things publishes an open letter from young Catholics (including our Alexandra DeSanctis) attacking “the culpable silence or active complicity of men at the highest levels of the Church.” From the letter:

We are scandalized by the fact that men like Archbishop McCarrick have held positions of authority in the Church. Indeed, we are alarmed by reports that Pope Francis acted on McCarrick’s guidance in creating cardinals and appointing men to senior positions in the Church. Men McCarrick mentored and lived with are now important archbishops and heads of Vatican dicasteries. We want to know what those men knew about McCarrick and when they knew it, especially since “everybody knew.” If the pope himself knew, we want to know that as well.

You are the shepherds of the Church. If you do not act, evil will go unchecked. As members of your flock, we therefore ask the following of you.

We ask you to agree to a thorough, independent investigation into claims of abuse by Archbishop McCarrick, both of minors and of adults. We want to know who in the hierarchy knew about his crimes, when they knew it, and what they did in response. This is the least that would be expected of any secular organization; it should not be more than we can expect from the Church.

BONUS: Ed Ring at California Policy Center has written a terrific essay on the amount of taxpayer money being spent on “water” that . . . isn’t being spent on water. As in a desperately needed increase in supply. Read it here.

Attention All Rand Fans

The Fountainhead is playing at 6PM (Eastern) tonight on TCM. Mamma miaPatricia Neal!


Happy birthday Bobo Newsome, born this day in 1907. His pickled soul and other cirrhotic organs went to the Big Ballpark in the Sky in 1962, at the young age of 55. His may be the longest, most-traveled, staggering, and oddball career of any hurler — his career record was 211-222, and he was 2-2 in World Series play (for the Tigers in 1940 and the Yankees in 1947). The journeyman played for the Brooklyn Dodgers (he broke into the majors with them in 1929) twice, the New York Giants, the Chicago Cubs, both Beantown teams, the Boston Braves and Red Sox, the St. Louis Browns for three separate tours of duty, twice for the Philadelphia As (where his career ended in 1953), and an amazing five separate tours with the Washington Senators. He led the league in losses during four seasons, was a four-time All Star, had three 20-plus win seasons, one home run, and one stolen base. R.I.P.

A Dios

Primary elections are held in Connecticut on Tuesday. Is it wrong to pray for certain people to win, certain to lose? I’m going with yes. I’ll also be praying for all the interns who have graced the offices this summer — the last two marked their final day on Friday. Their presence in part was due to the generosity of NR supporters — and we are confident that this experience will be for their own good, and for the good of the causes and principles we hold dear.

God bless you and your family and all those you love, and maybe even those you don’t.

Jack Fowler

Toss the ball at and watch his blubber plunge into the dunk tank.

P.S.: is where to go to buy that cabin.

National Review

Why I Remain a Fervent Marxist


Dear WJer,

We’d all have preferred Gummo in that lineup, rather than the humorless author of Das Kapital and numerous other works that propagated a philosophy of death and mayhem, its hallmark being unprecedented massacres — whether by bullets or deprivation — in the last century.

Speaking of centuries, two have passed since the 1818 birth of the original Commie in Trier, Prussia. A brilliant commentary by Dan Mahoney on Karl Marx’s bicentennial is linked below.

Like you, I remain a Marxist, as long as it is of the Groucho / Chico / Harpo / Zeppo variety. And I am most definitely a Louis Marxist, and odds are you are too.

Won’t You Let Me Take You on a . . .

Sea Cruise? Join us December 1 – 8 in the Caribbean on Holland America Line’s Oosterdam for the 2018 National Review Buckley Legacy Conservative Cruise. For more information or to book your cabin visit


1. Marc Short — named to a one-year senior fellowship at University of Virginia’s Miller Center— worked in the Trump White House, which means for many in academia, he has the cooties. The demand is that the fellowship be revoked. We say: Pound sand. From our editorial:

The core message is clear: Anyone who has served in the Trump administration, in any role, is not welcome to a fellowship at the Miller Center. Never mind the perspective that a member of the Trump White House could bring to an institution that both seeks to understand the presidency and aims to provide competing viewpoints. And never mind that Short doesn’t face a single accusation rooted in his own behavior.

Fourteen Intelligence-Weaponizing National Review Articles Exploding with Brilliance

1. So we have come maybe to the brink of America’s second civil war? How did that happen? Victor Davis Hanson hazards a detailed explanation. High Tech is in part to blame, as described in this slice:

The mass production of cheap consumer goods, most assembled abroad, redefined wealth or, rather, disguised poverty. Suddenly the lower middle classes and the poor had in their palms the telecommunications power of the Pentagon of the 1970s, the computing force of IBM in the 1980s, and the entertainment diversity of the rich of the 1990s. They could purchase big screens for a fraction of what their grandparents paid for black-and-white televisions and with a computer be entertained just as well cocooning in their basement as by going out to a concert, movie, or football game.

But such electronic narcotics did not hide the fact that in terms of economics the lifestyles of their ancestors were eroding. The new normal was two parents at work, none at home; renting as often as buying; an eight-year rather than three-year car loan; fewer grandparents around the corner for babysitting or to assist when ill; and consumer service defined as hearing taped messages of an hour before reaching a helper in India or Vietnam.

High-tech gadgetry and the power to search the Internet did not seem to make Americans own more homes, pay off loans more quickly, or know their neighbors better. If in 1970 a nerd slandered one on the sidewalk and talked trash, he might not do it twice; in 2018, he did it electronically, boldly, and with impunity behind an array of masked social-media identities.

2. Meanwhile, Dov Greenberg explains the thriving BDS-fortified Jew-hate at VDH’s academic home of Stanford University. From his article:

In mid July, Hamzeh Daoud, a student at Stanford University, publicly posted on Facebook: “I’m gonna physically fight Zionists on campus next year.” If his meaning wasn’t clear enough, Hamzeh continued, “And after I abolish your ass I’ll go ahead and work every day for the rest of my life to abolish your petty ass ethno-supremacist, settler-colonial state.” While not reflective of Stanford’s values, the sentiment of this hateful post reveals the state of contemporary life on campuses.Daoud’s post is particularly telling, and its damage outlasts his reactive retraction.

A thought experiment: Replace the word “Zionist” with “LGBT” or “supporters of #BlackLivesMatter” in Daoud’s post. Almost certainly, the outcry would be universal and deafening. Yet, for some reason, when it comes to threatening physical violence against fellow students who support Israel, the response is indifference or, worse still, support. Somehow, the target of hate becomes the villain and the aggressor becomes the victim. How has this come to pass?

3. Kathryn Lopez marks the 50th anniversary of the controversial papal pronunciamento on birth control, Humanae Vitae, by Pope Paul VI. The anniversary comes at a particularly painful time for the Church. From her piece:

But the story of Humanae Vitae over the last 50 years is not complete without even more reason for repentance and renewal: The June news that former Washington, D.C., cardinal archbishop Theodore McCarrick had credible allegations against him in his past and then some. Not only priests but a cardinal living such a double life, torturing seminarians and priests — and boys younger, along the way — according to what was revealed before and continues to be after the initial news finally broke; it all brings to the surface that “smoke of Satan” Pope Paul VI also warned about during his pontificate. Of course, the world wasn’t going to embrace Humanae Vitae, or the Good News of the Gospel it sought to further communicate, when such filth was amidst the sacred at the highest levels.

4. Could Chevron’s days be numbered? No, not the oil giant, but the same-named idiotic judicial deference to regulators as law-definers. Jonathan Wood believes a Justice Kavanaugh and an upcoming case (California Sea Urchin Commission v. Combs, and yes, there really is such a commission) provide the opportunity for Chevron’s kyboshing. From his piece:

The fundamental principles underlying our Constitution are that government power must be divided up, rather than concentrated, and those who exercise it must be accountable to the people. It’s difficult to imagine a greater departure from these principles than the concentration of near-limitless power in the hands of unelected bureaucrats, combined with a lack of oversight from Congress and the courts.

With three sitting justices raising questions about Chevron deference and another on deck, it’s time for the Supreme Court to address the issue head-on.

5. Kyle Smith reads Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Unmasked: A Memoir, and likes what he sees. From his review:

The whole book is a merry justification for the wisdom of following your own aesthetic compass, especially when it points in what everyone says is the wrong direction. Aged 14, he visited Athens and Rome on a school trip and declared his favorite building was the American Church in Rome, citing its mosaics by the Victorian Edward Burne-Jones. Apoplexy ensued when Lloyd Webber put the case for the pre-Raphaelite in an essay. “How can you write such garbage?” his art teacher screamed at him. “Don’t you realize that church is full of Victorian tat?” Merely implied, not stated, is the rejoinder that a taste for tat made Andrew as rich as King Tut.

6. A Scottish university fired a Catholic chaplain because his views were . . . Catholic. Maddy Kearns reports.

7. The expressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez bears, in the words of Charlie Cooke, “The Unserious Face of an Unserious Movement.” From his takedown:

Given the extent of our polarization, it would be premature to assume that Ocasio-Cortez will suffer consequences for her ignorance. Criticize her and you will be met upon the instant with a barrage of righteous indignation. “Er,” her apologists immediately retort, “have you seen the guy in the White House? He’s not exactly Thomas Jefferson.” Which, of course, is not actually a defense of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — what, on that logic might her slogan be? “I’m ignorant, too, but I’m younger”? — but is certainly a preview of the post-rationalizations that she will come to count on from her fans. “They all lie”; “They are all stupid”; “They’re just saying that because she’s a woman”; “Well, she’s better than the alternative”; ”Here is what she was trying to say” — these are the sentiments that lead us to embrace mediocrity or worse. Sure, she’s a fool. But she’s not Donald Trump, and thus . . .

8. Douglas Murray has a thing in for ISIS. Thank God. He has just read Dunya Mikhail’s The Beekeeper of Sinjar, and finds it terribly important. From his review:

Rape and modesty might seem an inherently unstable cocktail of beliefs, but it is one that ISIS practiced with considerable success earlier this decade. If it isn’t to come back in any of its forms — watered-down or otherwise — then as many people as possible should make themselves familiar with the creed that these men followed. For not only are the scars of their savagery far from healed. The embers are far from out.

9. Since Mexico’s new president seems to want to control his nation’s southern border, it’s imperative the U.S. work with him, argues Dan Crenshaw. From his report:

The need for physical border security is a very real one. But equally important is the need to focus on the source of the problem: mass emigration from Central America. With the Mexican president-elect showing a clear willingness to tackle this problem, the U.S. should show equal and enthusiastic willingness to be a strong partner in such efforts.

10. Theresa May’s parade of lies has many Brits wondering — how to save Brexit. John O’Sullivan weighs in with expert analysis of the crisis; from his Corner post:

This extraordinarily comprehensive list of lies is finally prompting those who favor Brexit, including a large majority of Tories, to confront the fact that the May government is seeking to keep Britain in the EU in all but name and that it may well succeed in doing so. There is accordingly a sudden rush of articles asking the question: How can we save Brexit? Naturally, there are several possible answers to this question from leaving the EU without a deal in order to trade under World Trade Organization rules to remaining in one of the half-way houses to Brexit, such as the European Economic Area. (None of these routes, incidentally, include the Chequers deal which only Remainers now support.)

I remain agnostic about which route to take. My opinion is that the WTO route would be the best one in economic terms, providing disruption in the short term but long-term opportunities for greater prosperity in the long term, but politically hard to sell when the Remainers control most of the forums of debate. Unless those politics change, I’ll be compelled to accept the argument long made by Andrew Stuttaford (and repeated yesterday in this space) that we will have to accept a Brexit-in-installments, leaving the EU but remaining in the EEA through EFTA. (I write this through gritted teeth, which is no easy task.)

11. Andy McCarthy says the plot by House conservatives to impeach Rod Rosenstein is wrong in so many ways. From his piece, here’s one example:

As for disqualification, while I believe the deputy attorney general has conflicts of interest, his decision not to recuse himself is not an impeachable offense, even if it is wrong. Government lawyers have considerable leeway in determining whether they are conflicted in a given situation. Further, recusal is more of an issue in judicial proceedings than in congressional inquiries. Congressional committees are political bodies, and conflicts abound in their investigations. (Note that no one is suggesting that the sponsors should recuse themselves as fact-finders because they support President Trump and, like committee Democrats, are not objective arbiters of the contested FBI and Justice Department conduct.) It is not typical for a government lawyer whose conduct is at issue in a congressional investigation to recuse himself from his official responsibilities.

12. David French explains through the shouting what the “3-D Printed Gun” controversy is really about.

13. Kyle Smith says The Originalist, a new play about Justice Antonin Scalia, is a must-see. Kyle’s review is a must-read.

14. Trump’s impeachment is coming, writes Jim Geraghty, à la Godot. For the liberal faith, impeachment and criminalization is a doctrine, and inevitable. Here’s a slice of Big Jim wisdom:

I wonder how many people — particularly the not-tuned-in Trump haters — think that is how this is going to work. Mueller enjoyed a long and distinguished career at the FBI, taking over the bureau a week before 9/11, but he barely permeated the public consciousness in that role. Now he’s being portrayed as the ultimate no-nonsense tough guy by Robert De Niro on Saturday Night Live. How many Americans think that once Mueller issues his final report, this will be resolved quickly and neatly like a Scooby-Doo episode, with a mask being pulled off and everyone gasping, “It was Old Man Putin all along!”


1. Hiatus kaput: Mad Dogs and Englishmen is back. In the new episode, Kevin and Charlie discuss the freakout over 3D-printed firearms, the price tag for Medicare for All, and whether the president should be the avatar of the nation. Get your long-awaited dose of woof-woof Cheerio here.

2. Sonny Bunch joins The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg to discuss “Star Wars” revisionism, the “Golden Age” of (too much) TV, Marvel vs. DC, and more. To the Batcave, here!

3. On Episode 103 of The Editors, Rich, MBD, Charlie, and Reihan discuss Bernie Sanders’s ‘Medicare for All’ idea, the unwarranted backlash over 3D-printed guns, and the theatrical mess of Trump v. the press. Here now, hear now.

4. It’s another super-duper episode of The McCarthy Report, in which Andy and Rich ponder recent Trump tweets, continue to follow the Manafort trial, and discuss some dubious goings-on at a Trump Tower meeting. Court is in session, hear ye.

5. On the new episode of The Great Books, our dear old pal and colleague Tracy Lee Simmons joins John J. Miller to discuss Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. Lend me your ear!

6. The Bookmonger’s JJM is joined by Oanh Ngo Usadi to discuss her book, Of Monkey Bridges and Banh Mi Sandwiches, the story of a young girl’s path from Saigon to Texas. Do listen, right here.

7. Put anortha steak awn the barbie and listen to Jonathan Swan dive into the new episode of The Jamie Weinstein Show. The Axios journalist opens up on what has surprised him about the Trump presidency, who holds influence in Trump world, how he achieved his rapid success, and much more. You’ll find the fun here.

8. In Episode 11 of Projections, Ross and Kyle take a break from the multiplex and hunker down with some home-viewing options available on demand or on streaming services: A Quiet Place, ChappaquiddickThe Death of Stalin, and Blade Runner 2049. Lights! Camera! Podcast!

9. On the new episode of Jaywalking, Brother Nordlinger speaks of Kim Kardashian — and of Kim Kashkashian, a distinguished violist, as well as Reagan, Trump, Ed Schultz, Serena Williams, and others — including the Gabors, the pre-Kardashian cool sisters. Wander over here and listen.

10. On Reality Check with Jeanne Allen, our hostess sits down with Mike McShane, who is currently the director of national research for EdChoice in Indianapolis, to discuss educational options and the effects the newest Supreme Court justice nominee might have on school choice. Strap on the earphones and pay attention.

11. David and Alexandra break down the bizarre attack on Catholic hospitals for daring to be Catholic on the new episode of Ordered Liberty. Sister says you have to listen.

And Now, a Commercial about My Kind of Gala in My Kind of Town

And that is what Chicago is, if we are to believe Old Blue Eyes. And we do! And believe you too this: On Thursday, October 18th, there will be a humdinger of a gala in the Windy City — namely, National Review Institute’s fifth annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner, to be held at The Cultural Center in Chicago. We will bestow the Buckley Prize on our close friends, Edwin J. Feulner (for Leadership in Political Thought) and Karen Buchwald Wright (for Leadership in Supporting Liberty). Now, especially if you live in the Midwest, we want very much for you to join us at this swell and important affair, and even possibly to join the gala’s host committee (now in formation). To register as a sponsor, please click hereor contact Alexandra Zimmern Rosenberg by email ( or phone (212-849-2858).

The Six

1. Professor Daniel J. Mahoney, the pride of Assumption College, marks Marx’s bicentennial in Law & Liberty with this takedown of one of history’s most consequential fines. From his piece:

Economist, prophet of capitalism’s doom and an inevitable and blissful communist future, and revolutionary agitator par excellence, Marx hated the world as it was. His goal was “revolution” — not merely political revolution or “political emancipation,” but a wholesale change in the order of things: the aforementioned “human emancipation.” For the German ideologist, there was no human nature or “natural order of things” that needed to be respected even as one worked to promote humane and salutary change. It is a mistake to apply categories such as “eternal justice” to Marx’s political reflection. As he put it in 1845 in his “Theses on Feuerbach,” “the philosophers have only interpretedthe world, in various ways; the point however is to changeit.” This comes from the young Marx but it remained a profound sentiment of his until his death in 1883. Marx was not an advocate of reform, however radical. He did not work for “social justice” like a good humanitarian. Instead, he advocated something like “metaphysical rebellion” against the human condition. His humanism — and historicism — were distinctively inhumane and entailed something like a “gnostic” revolt against reality. Eric Voegelin and Alain Besançon have demonstrated as much and they have yet to be refuted convincingly.

For those looking for a humane alternative to the consumer society, and to the excesses of “late capitalism,” Marx does not in any way challenge the established view that the modern project ought to culminate in the thoroughgoing “conquest of nature.” He praised capitalist globalization as its most noble and desirable feature and had no quarrel with a materialist cornucopia as the final goal of human existence (even if the young Marx — the one attractive to the New Left — sometimes prefers “being” to “having”). In his early years, Marx sometimes preferred “authenticity” to material prosperity. But that is not the conclusion of mature Marxism.

2. More from Law & Liberty: Jessica Hooten Wilson reviews Elizabeth Amato’s The Pursuit of Happiness and the American Regime: Political Theory in Literature.

3. Writing in Bloomberg, Ramesh Ponnuru levels some criticism at erstwhile free-traders who now claim President Trump’s protectionism policies re truly free-trade efforts, just in disguise. From his column:

It is of course always possible that tariffs or the threat of tariffs will lead other countries to drop their own trade barriers or reduce their use of abusive practices such as the theft of intellectual property. So far Trump’s tactics — his tariffs on washing machines, solar panels, steel and aluminum, and Chinese imports — have yielded almost no such reform. The one exception: South Korea has raised the number of cars it will allow American companies to sell. But that is a fairly theoretical gain, since American companies have not been hitting today’s lower caps.

What isn’t theoretical are the higher costs for American consumers and companies Trump’s tariffs have imposed, or the retaliatory tariffs they have provoked.

It would be nice if the administration had put as much intelligence and ingenuity into setting its trade policies as Trump’s defenders have put into devising rationales for them.

4. More Mahoney: For City Journal, he discusses a new book (en français seulement, quel dommage) by French political philosopher Pierre Manent on natural law and human rights. From his piece:

Manent’s latest work is above all an effort to reactivate the perspective of the citizen or religious believer who truly acts in the human world. In the second chapter, “The Counsels of Fear,” Manent challenges a widely held belief that Machiavelli and other early modern political philosophers liberated a salutary practical perspective against the one-sidedly contemplative emphases of classical and Christian thought. This is to turn everything upside down, Manent believes. It was the classics and the Christians who defended “reflective choice” and “free will,” the preconditions of all meaningful action.  By contrast, Machiavelli, writing at the dawn of modernity, substituted a theoretical perspective on action that eclipsed the agent’s point of view. The rationale for this assault on practical action shows up most revealingly in chapters 15 and 18 of Machiavelli’s The Prince. Machiavelli could not abide the gap between “what men do” and “what they ought to do.” This distinction, so central to practical action and reflective choice, becomes, for Machiavelli, an unbridgeable chasm that confuses and enervates human beings. The chasm, he contended, must be closed once and for all. Machiavelli counsels subduing fortuna, but he has no place for reflective choice or moral prudence — the crown of the virtues, according to Aristotle.

5. More City Journal, with this from Matt Hennessey (author of the forthcoming Zero Hour for Gen X: How the Last Adult Generation Can Save America from Millennials), who worries that TechDaddy doesn’t know best.

The visionaries of Silicon Valley seem, at best, ambivalent about the social implications of calling into existence an omniscient, self-aware technium; at worst, they are so eager to see it happen that they can barely contain themselves. Call it delusions of grandeur, the God complex, or plain-old ordinary lust for power, but the celebrated geniuses of tech seem to have one thing in common: they think that they know better than the rest of us how society should run. They envision a pyramid-shaped political economy, with themselves and the super-productive Silicon Valley workforce at the top and the rest of us spanning out below in a massive, obedient — and grateful — base. The bad news is that they have the means to try to make this happen, and the implicit support of many of the soon-to-be governed, which derives from more than a decade of supplying everyone with things that we didn’t know we wanted until we got them.

6. On the Fox News website, a beautiful farewell by Judge Andrew Napolitano of his dad.

BONUS: Turkey, the land of . . . child brides. Burak Bekdil has the disturbing story for Gatestone Institute. From his piece:

Where would you like your daughter to be when she is 13? In school, or in bed with a grown man? The answer to this question is largely beyond argument in much of the world. In Islamic societies, however — including non-Arab and theoretically secular Turkey — the answer is anyone’s guess. Usually in such states, the police power of the government does not fight the patriarchal tradition; instead, it supports it.

Turkey’s former president, Abdullah Gül, incumbent Islamist strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s former ally and co-founder of the party that has ruled Turkey since 2002, was a 30-year-old man when he married his wife Hayrünnisa when she was 15. Gül, nominated for the presidency by Erdoğan, was Turkey’s first Islamist president.


May 1933 was the absolute nadir of the Great Depression, as unemployment spiked to 25.49 percent. Baseball barely survived the gloom, yet soldiered on, often in near-empty ballparks. On Monday, May 15, the month’s ides and America’s economic low point, just two MLB games were played. In the AL, at Shibe Park (attendance unknown), the Philadelphia A’s beat the Cleveland Indians 1-0, with Sugar Cain getting the eight-hit shut-out win, and scoring the game’s sole run. In the Senior Circuit, at Forbes Field the first-place Pittsburgh Pirates beat the last-place Philadelphia Phillies, 5-4. The Bucs’ ace, Heinie Meine, who sported royal backup nicknames “The Count of Luxemburg” and “The Duke of Luxemburg,” went the distance, getting future Hall of Famer Chuck Klein to fly out in the top of the ninth with two on, ending a Phillies’ rally (Klein would win the Triple Crown that year). One-time Phillies’ ace Jumbo Elliott — who had no backup nickname — took the loss. The Pirates’ lineup featured five future Hall of Famers: Freddie Lindstrom, brothers Lloyd Waner and Paul Waner, shortstop Arky Vaughan, and Pie Traynor. What a day.

Eye Candy

1. The lunacy over plastic straws gets trashed by Reason TV. View the video here.

2. Oldie but goodie: Jay Leno exposes geography ignorance of America students. Watch and cringe here.

3. Comedian Owen Benjamin appears n the new Prager U video to discuss “The Strange Death of Politics.” Watch it here.

4. WFB et al in 1994 debate the death penalty. Watch it here.

5. The Gipper tells jokes.

A Dios

And to Rose, sweet soul, always there, with a smile bigger than her heart, now with all the other girls at that big Coffee Klatch in the Sky, (“Aunt Helen! Coffee time!!”), keep the pot warm for us. We hope to get there eventually. To all the rest of you, slather on the sunscreen and wear a hat in the sun, get that strange freckle checked out, and steer clear of cigareets, whusky, and wild, wild women.

God’s blessings on you and yours,

Jack Fowler

P.S.: Umbrage, dudgeon high and low, and brickbats may be heaved at I will offer up unfair slights for the redemption of the souls in Purgatory.

National Review

As with Gladness Men of Old


Dear Weekend Jolters,

Do not be confused by this missive’s subject line: We know it’s not Christmas. Nope, we just have a thing around here for . . . reflecting. We can’t help but look back to our movement’s roots. To the once-young Men of Old. Women too (Love you Priscilla! Maggie!). For nostalgia? Sure. But more so, to refresh our thoughts and contemplations as to why indeed we are conservative, why we believe what we believe. The picture attending this missive is of Our Founder and the great Russell Kirk, the centenary of whose death will be celebrated later this year by various organizations, including National Review Institute, the The Russell Kirk Center | Cultural Renewal, and The University Bookman. Just wanted to get this on Ye Olde RadarScreen.

Related: Below I link to a smart NRO piece by Liam Warner about Kirk making the case for the centrality of virtue.

More Related: A few weeks back, on his Ricochet Q & A podcast, Jay Nordlinger had a terrific interview with George Nash, the great historian, a.k.a. “Mr. Conservative.” There’s Kirk Talk aplenty. Do give that a listen.

Can It Be? Yes, Even More Related: George will be a speaker on the forthcoming NR 2018 Buckley Legacy Conservative Cruise. You should be on the cruise too! Get all the info you need, and more, at

And while we’re hawking events: You really must join us this October in Chicago for NRI’s fifth annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner.

With all business having been conducted, we’ll echo the Great Gleason . . . and away we go.


1. Theresa, love, you’re blowing it. The UK PM gives Brexit the cooties treatment. From our editorial slapping the Tories’ Remain dalliance:

This rising hysteria of Remainer arguments may be due to the fact that the Chequers package, devised in secret by May and her aide Olly Robbins, is meeting massive and stubborn resistance from the public and in particular from the Tory public. Moreover, this resistance seems to harden the more the policy is explained — in part because, as the distinguished Tory lawyer Martin Howe, QC, points out with forensic relentlessness, most of the explanations are, ahem, terminological inexactitudes.

2. Raise tariffs, get boomeranged in the economic noggin, then bail out those boomeranged? How about . . . not raising tariffs in the first place. Our editorial strongly argues against the Trump Tariff-instigated $12-billion farmer bailout. From the editorial (warning: You might need a thesaurus with this passage):

We are right to push the Chinese to end their misbehavior, but the administration’s course is not the way to do it. The reasons should by now be pellucid. While the U.S. has indiscriminately imposed tariffs on intermediate and capital goods — often raising costs for American manufacturers in the process — foreign countries have shrewdly targeted consumer goods and commodities that will cause political problems for Republicans. And if Trump’s goal is to solve the problems in the agricultural economy, this bailout is insufficient: Many businesses that rely on the farm economy but do not grow crops themselves will not see any benefits, and the payments will lead to further market distortions as the government artificially drives up demand. Regardless, the president has resorted to cut-rate dirigisme in service of nakedly political goals, a sign that he is being out-maneuvered.

A Dozen (and Then Some) Dramatic and Delicious Conservative Confections

1. Well isn’t that nice: Kat Timpf reports that admissions officers at the Dartmouth Business school are going to evaluate applicants on their . . . niceness. Rants Her Meowness:

Now, I’m certainly not anti-nice. Like most people, I would much rather spend time around a nice person than a mean person, and I also like when I see good things — like business-school acceptance — happening to nice people. Still, I really don’t think that this is the best way for Tuck to be deciding which students it will and will not admit.

You see, “niceness” is not exactly an easy quality to identify in a person. There are plenty of fake people out there who may seem nice because they’re smiley and friendly but who are actually not good people. Conversely, there are also people out there who might seem stuck-up because they’re not smiley and friendly, but who are just shy and actually very nice at the core. I have a hard time believing that the admissions people are going to be able to tell how “nice” someone is — especially through something as cursory as reading an answer to an essay prompt.

2. For those who think a generational turnover will houseclean the liberal louts and perverts from the ranks of Catholicism’s clergy . . . nope. Michael Brendan Dougherty has a sensational piece in the wake of the scandal about Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, arch lefty and groomer of seminarians. From his essay:

First, we underestimated the damage that can be inflicted by a dying generation on its way out. If your plan is to gain territory because the other side will cede it naturally, you are vulnerable to stunning reversals when that side decides to fight back. Not long after Pope Francis was elected, the type of appointments made in America began to change. The traditional-leaning and “relatively young” Cardinal Raymond Burke was cast off the powerful Congregation of Bishops in Rome. While he had been there, Burke had likely seen to the elevation of tradition-minded men to replace old progressives, men like Bishop Salvatore Cordileone in San Francisco, Jose Gomez in Los Angeles, Timothy Dolan in New York, and Charles Chaput in Philadelphia. When Burke was removed, he was replaced by the icy Cardinal Wuerl, the successor to Cardinal McCarrick in Washington. And suddenly Cardinal McCarrick’s personal lobbying became instrumental in the ascension of progressives to the College of Cardinals, men like Blase Cupich in Chicago, Kevin Farrell sent to a Roman office, and Joseph Tobin in Newark. (Tobin, you may remember, recently tweeted what he intended to send as a direct message, “Nighty Nighty, baby. I love you.”) The careers of Burke’s men stalled out. No red hat for Chaput, nor for Cordileone, nor, shockingly, for Gomez, the leader of one of the largest archdioceses on the planet. In fact, Gomez has been gelded. His scandal-ridden predecessor, Cardinal Mahony, roams the diocese against his wishes, and beyond his control.

3. And as if that wasn’t enough, MBD looks at the mealy-mouthed reaction of America’s Catholic Cardinals to McCarrick’s decades of debauchery. It’s a doozie! From his powerful piece:

A spokeswoman for the diocese of Metuchen said that she had spoken to Cardinal Tobin and that he “has expressed his intention to discuss this tragedy with the leadership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in order to articulate standards that will assure high standards of respect by bishops, priests, and deacons for all adults. ”

An expressed intention to articulate standards endorsing high standards. Let them eat standards. This is the moral imagination and moral vocabulary of Cardinal McCarrick’s peers in the Church. They need new policies to confront predators; the fear of perdition doesn’t move them to do so. Nor does respect for the seminarians or their congregants. Nor does self-respect. The reaction of the cardinals goes some way toward explaining how a man like McCarrick flourished in their ranks.

4. More McCarrick: George Weigel wonders how a pope with institutional moxie, such as Pius XI, might have dealt with the seminarian groomer.

5. As no one else can, Andy McCarthy explains what the FISA applications expose, redactions and all. From the get-go of his piece:

On a sleepy summer Saturday, after months of stonewalling, the FBI dumped 412 pages of documents related to the Carter Page FISA surveillance warrants — the applications, the certifications, and the warrants themselves. Now that we can see it all in black and white — mostly black, as they are heavily redacted — it is crystal clear that the Steele dossier, an unverified Clinton-campaign product, was the driving force behind the Trump–Russia investigation.

6. My dear old pal, the great Hadley Arkes, thinks through a strategy for Senate Republicans when the abortion issue rears its head in the upcoming Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. From his essay:

But as an issue for Ending the Conversation — or making the Democrats lose their appetite for raising the issue any longer — nothing stands as decisive now as the votes already taken on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. That act was passed in the House in January of this year, a follow-up to a bill passed into law in 2002 and billed as the “most modest first step” in legislating on abortion: an act to bar the killing of a child who survived an abortion. That bill was brought forth to break out information that most of the public would find jolting: that the right to abortion was not confined to the first three months of pregnancy, that it extended through the entire pregnancy — and even when the child was born. In one notable case of a child who had survived an abortion for 21 days, a well-known federal judge ruled that “the fetus in this case was not a person whose life state law could protect.” It was a child marked for abortion — which is to say, the right to abortion meant the right to an “effective” abortion, or a dead child.

7. George Leef follows the campus lefties and their ongoing jihad against triggering statues and memorials.

8. Yo mullahs: The Trump tweets are nothing compared to the economic crackdown that is about to descend on you. Rich Lowry peers into Iran’s future.

9. Fred Bauer says that without a sense of common identity and mutual commitment, self-government loses much of its persuasive force. From his essay:

Of course, a society without any consensus might not just have a hard time sustaining the welfare state — it might also struggle to sustain the conditions of liberty. This consensus need not be absolutely rigid. Everyone doesn’t have to wear the same color shirt on Thursday or agree that Nickelback is the best band ever. But, without some broad commitment to certain key norms and institutions (such as the rule of law, the results of elections, mutual tolerance, and so forth), a society is likely to dissolve into endless fratricidal warfare. Such overarching norms help ensure that tribal disagreements can be modulated within a greater civic order. And, as I’ve just implied, some of these norms might be norms of limitation — to allow one’s fellow Americans to live, worship, and think differently. These norms might find there to be more virtue in mercy and tolerance than vengeance.

10. Ahoy matey, thinking there be too few truckers? Well this watery idea will vang yer boom and shiver yer timbers, writes Colin Grabow: Repeal the Jones Act! From this very smart piece:

Passed in 1920, this law mandates that ships transporting cargo between two points in the United States be domestically flagged, owned, crewed, and built. Intended to bolster the U.S. maritime sector, the Jones Act has instead been a case study in the failures of protectionism. Absent foreign competition, U.S. shipbuilders produce vessels whose price is as much as eight times higher than those built abroad. This disincentive to the purchase of new vessels means we have fewer ships and a fleet that is old and inefficient.

11. Congressman Carlos Curbelo, a Florida Republican, has a proposal for a greenhouse-gas tax. Like most tax proposals, it’s . . . dumb. So says Benjamin Zycher. From his piece:

So this proposal is preposterous as environmental policy regardless of what one assumes about the science and dangers of anthropogenic climate change. But it is serious in terms of wealth redistribution. With a 33 percent reduction, U.S. GHG emissions in 2030 would be about 4.9 billion metric tons; annual revenues from this tax would be $125-$150 billion, 70 percent of which would go to the Highway Trust Fund as a replacement for the federal fuels tax. Revenues from the latter in fiscal year 2016 were about $36.4 billion, so this proposal would double or triple annual federal receipts for the highway fund, to be paid by almost all energy-using sectors rather than the direct beneficiaries of federal highway outlays.

12. A century ago, the Romanovs, prisoners of the new Red regime, were dragged to a basement, murdered, and then taken to a mineshaft and dumped down it. Maddy Kearns remembers the end of a dynasty, and the beginnings of its bloody successor.

13. Later this year we’ll be celebrating Russell Kirk’s centennial. So take a look at this essay by Liam Warner about the importance of Kirk to the foundation and development of the conservative movement. From the piece:

In Kirk’s conception of society, free speech plainly does not extend to indecent material, and the Christian standard is the best we have for judging what is indecent. In the libertarian conception, which is now dominant in the conservative movement, free speech should be as broad as possible, and the virtuous citizen can decide for himself whether to patronize lewd media. Libertarians’ almost paranoid wariness of government action at any level denies the very concept of public decency.

Kirk would probably find such paranoia reckless, particularly in view of the catastrophic decline in traditional morality since World War II. Meyer and the libertarians would likely attribute this decline to religious leaders’ failure to persuade people to adhere to their doctrines, and they would assert that the government is unable to coerce virtue.

14. Marlo Safi is the new Collegiate Network Fellow, and she will be working at NR for the next year. The mostly forgotten 1933 Simile Massacre, in which Assyrian communities were wiped out by murdering Iraqi soldiers, is not forgotten by her in the important piece. From it:

Assyrians were never afforded the opportunity to heal and properly document what happened to their community. Today, they still don’t have a dignified memorial site for those who perished in the massacre. The bones of those who were callously burned in mass graves remain scattered, and can be seen protruding through the dirt in a neglected and haunting ossuary treated as a waste yard. Atop a large, dirt hill overlooking the gravesite is a sign reading “Simmel Archaeological Hill.” Trash is carelessly tossed among the bones, and the relatives of the deceased have been prohibited from unearthing the bodies for proper burial.

Four Articles from the New Issue

The August 13 issue is hot off the presses, and for those of you who are members of NRPLUS — if not, then you really need to subscribe — you can access the issue pronto. That said, here are four selections from the lofty magazine’s lofty pages:

1. The cover essay, by liberal Alexander Nazaryan, explains why he has given up on the mecca of Berkeley. Chew on this slice:

This past April, posters appeared on Berkeley’s utility poles — wooden beams scabrous with staples and shreds of paper, the remnants of older handbills calling for a protest against the Trump administration or, just as frequently, the construction of market-rate condominium buildings. “Prepare Now for the People’s Park Riots of 2018,” the new notice declared (“Date and Time to be announced”). While the riots were presumably being planned, the poster urged concerned citizens to contact Berkeley’s chief spokesman, Dan Mogulof, and the city’s mayor, a hapless and bumblingly ambitious young progressive named Jesse Arreguín who in 2016 earned an endorsement from Bernie Sanders and beat an establishment candidate on the same night that Donald Trump won the White House.

The communards were being summoned to People’s Park once again because Berkeley had declared its intent to finally reclaim its land (not a decade too soon!) and build student housing there. Berkeley’s campus is terrifically overcrowded; according to the university, it can currently house only one-fifth of its 42,000 students, leaving the rest to hunt for dwellings in the nation’s most viciously expensive housing market. The new dormitories to be erected on the site of People’s Park would house about 1,000; there would also be, according to a university press release, “75 to 125 apartments that will provide safe and supervised living for homeless Berkeley residents.”

While this may seem like a munificent gesture, not to mention an effective one, those for whom People’s Park is hallowed ground saw only an affront. Ergo, there had to be riots.

2. Pulitzer Prize-winner Jerry Kammer writes a major essay on the worksite-enforcement failures that are central to America’s immigration-policy problems. Here’s a slice:

Today, in the aftermath of President Trump’s similarly strenuous campaign to stem the flow of Central Americans across the Rio Grande, leading Democrats are calling for ICE to be abolished completely. Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) has suggested that immigration enforcement is the work of racist bigots. “We have to stop vilifying and criminalizing whole populations of people because they came and arrived here from south of the border!” she proclaimed last year. Meanwhile Trump, while declaring an urgent need for a wall across the Mexican border, has shown scant interest in repairing the virtual wall around the American jobs market that Congress long ago promised but has abjectly failed to deliver.

Every feature of the widening gyre that is the modern immigration debate — outrage, efforts to delegitimize all enforcement, a pro-enforcement backlash that sometimes targets all immigration, and a political environment that smothers efforts to find common ground — is a result of the colossal failure of the last major immigration-reform law, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Known as IRCA, it stands as one of the most consequential failures of governance in our recent history, and we cannot understand how we got ourselves in this mess unless we understand how IRCA failed to earn its ambitious name.

3. Jay Nordlinger profiles nonagenarian Thea Musgrave, the Scottish-American composer. Do read it, right here.

4. Cell phones be darned: Graham Hillard makes the case for the land line. From the article:

To go without a cell phone in 2018 is to provoke both wonder and indignation. Snake handlers and pansexuals inspire less anthropological curiosity, lawyers and used-car salesmen less rage. Among the questions I’ve received (the most common — an astonished “How do you do that?!” — neatly illustrates the snugness of technology’s shackles) are inquiries into my trustworthiness (“You’re lying, right?”), my sociability (“Have you no friends?”), my sanity (“Are you psychotic?”), and the health and safety of my children (“They’re dead on the side of the road somewhere, aren’t they?”). The common denominator of these reactions is their implication that I have violated an unassailable 21st-century covenant—that, in my unwillingness to get with the mobile program, I have unfitted myself for polite society and, like Huck Finn’s father, can be reformed only with a shotgun.

That I have not yet been fired on, I consider purely a matter of happenstance.

Because, of course, “Thou shalt be connected” is one of the civil and economic commandments of our time. To break it produces serious annoyance. By going phoneless, I have spoiled social opportunities, caused my colleagues inconvenience, given my family grounds for worry when circumstances have delayed me, and risked setting myself up as a scold and a fool. I have forfeited the breezy conviviality of text chains and Instagram and have missed out on services — Uber, Seamless — that clearly ease city living. Were I a single man, I would now be preparing to die alone.


1. On The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg, RFC’s David Bahnsen, author of Crisis of Responsibility: Our Cultural Addiction to Blame and How You Can Cure It, cross-pollinates to discuss whether China is poised to dominate the world, whether the 2008 financial crisis was the fault of Wall Street, and much more. You gotta listen, and you gotta do that here.

2. So on the latest episode of Radio Free California, David and his dynamic other half, Will Swaim, have at Luke Thompson’s recent major NR piece on California’s problems. It’s a great program, which you can catch here.

3. Episode 102 of The Editors — titled “Coherence and Chaos” — features El Jefe Lowry with MBD, Reihan, and Charlie in a lively tussle over trade issues, followed by a discussion of Trump’s Iran and NATO diplomacy, and finish off by glancing at the Cohen tape. Groove to the tussle here.

4. On the new episode of The McCarthy Report, Rich and Andy discuss the many grey areas of the Carter Page FISA warrant, the information gaps of the Cohen tape, the new clamor for Rosenstein’s impeachment, and the possibility of a Trump and Mueller conversation. Hear ye, here.

5. Skidmore College prof Natalie Taylor joins John J. Miller to discuss The Education of Henry Adams (yeah, by Henry Adams) on the new episode of The Great Books podcast. Get educated, here.

6. Sean Spicer is the big-kahuna guest on the new episode of The Jamie Weinstein Show. You’re gonna want a bowl of popcorn for this one.

7. JJM gets the great Mona Charen to spill her guts onThe Bookmonger about her new book, Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense. Listening matters too: Accomplish that here.

8. It’s a big agenda for David and Alexandra on the new episode on Ordered Liberty: the heavily-redacted FISA applications, the difference between James Gunn and Roseanne Barr, and a terrible abuse of Florida’s “stand your ground” law. Grab the headphones and listen.

9. On Reality Check with Jeanne Allen, National Heritage Academies boss Brian Britton talk shop about the NHA mission and vast accomplishments. Do lend an ear here.

10. I especially hope yawl will listen to the recent episode of Jay’s Q&Apodcast, featuring as his guest businessman Bill Browder, thugocrat Putin’s white whale. Listen here. And then there is Jay’s subsequent interview with Kyle Parker, the House of Representative staffer who is largely responsible for the Magnitsky Act. Which makes him another top target of Putin. Listen to the podcast here.

EXTRA: You should read Jay’s early-2018 profile of Browder and his family.

Point of Personal Privilege

In which I condemn the attempt to bring leftist-style “identity politics” to the Connecticut Republican party’s forthcoming primaries.

The Six

1. Over at The Catholic Thing, Matthew Hanley, in an essay on the Italian philosopher Augusto Del Noce, provides an understanding of our secular era. From his piece:

As a result, we now inhabit a technocratic society that is radically irreligious: any thought of matters pertaining to the divine in man, to his interiority, is deemed meaningless — totally irrelevant. Del Noce would not have been the least bit surprised by the recent revelations that social media giants are censoring “traditional” (i.e., mainly Christian) viewpoints; this is only the culmination of the broad pattern he saw emerging.

2. At Law & Liberty, Emina Melonic makes the case for rereading Michael Oakshott. From the essay:

Politics or political activity for Oakeshott is very much connected to the idea and reality of the community. It is “an activity of attending to the general arrangements of a set of people whom chance or choice have brought together.” Politics is relational in nature and it is in those relations that we learn how to navigate through any community which we may be part of. Unlike political ideology, political activity is not primarily concerned with theoretical musings but what kind of human beings are created in the process of politics. With this argument, Oakeshott affirms the dialogue between the individual and the community.

Politics is an act, but not one identical to activism. In our current state of affairs, we witness ideology daily in empty and meaningless slogans, whether it comes from established media figures, protests, or general social media exchanges among people. It all amounts to what we may call ‘hashtag politics.’ We understand the activity of politics when we recognize that the world we inhabit is not a haphazard mess but a “concrete whole.” The actual political act extends beyond static terms, which are the territory of ideology. Rather, a political act has the “source of its movement within itself.” What Oakeshott means is that politics, by nature, is a movable act dependent upon individual thought.

3. For Gatestone Institute, Douglas Murray castigates anti-Israeli sentiments of Britain’s Foreign Office, obsessed with claims to the Golan Heights. From his piece:

According to the British Foreign Office, the Golan Heights are ‘occupied’. They have been ‘occupied’ — according to the logic of the UK Foreign Office — since 1967, when Israel took the land from the invading forces of Syria. Ever since then, the Israelis have had the benefit of this strategic position and the Syrian regime has not. This fact, half a century on, still strikes the British Foreign Office as regrettable, and a wrong to be righted in due course.

Of course, since the onset of the Syrian civil war in 2011, the official position of the UK government has become ever-harder to justify. For example, if the Israeli government were at some point over the last seven years suddenly to have listened to the wisdom of the Foreign Office in London and handed over the strategic prize of the Golan, to whom should it have handed it? Should Israel be persuaded to hand over the territory to the Assad regime in Damascus? It is true that, throughout the course of the Syrian civil war, the one bit of territory to which the Syrian regime has laid claim and which it has not been able to barrel-bomb and otherwise immiserate the people there has been the Golan Heights. Only in the Golan has anybody in this ‘Greater Syria’ been able to live free from the constant threat of massacre and ethnic, religious or political cleansing.

4. The New Criterion remembers Tom Wolfe.

5. The College Fix reports on the new great scandal: People are prejudiced against black robots. I kid you not. Read the story here.

6. Powerful and disturbing, from Quillette: Matthew Blackwell looks at the Academic Left and its denial of Cambodian genocide. From his piece:

Amazingly, even as Cambodia disintegrated, the Khmer Rouge benefitted from unsolicited apologetics from intellectuals at the West’s august universities. Just as Mao, Stalin, and Hitler enjoyed disproportionate popularity among academics and university students, Pol Pot and his promise of a communist utopia in South East Asia elicited sharp defences from many radical Western academics. In what is now known by some historians as the ‘The Standard Total Academic View,’ these professors downplayed reports of atrocities perpetrated in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, and printed vicious attacks against anyone who disagreed.

Reports of cities being emptied by the regime’s forced marches, for instance, were explained away as a necessary policy to prevent starvation in the country. “What was portrayed as a destructive, backward-looking policy motivated by doctrinaire hatred was actually a rationally conceived strategy for dealing with the urgent problems that faced postwar Cambodia,” wrote Gareth Porter and George Hilderbrand in their 1977 book Cambodia: Starvation and Revolution. “Cambodia is only the latest victim of the enforcement of an ideology that demands that social revolutions be portrayed as negatively as possible, rather than as responses to real human needs which the existing social and economic structure was incapable of meeting.” The authors didn’t have the direct data on food levels in Cambodia required to make this claim. Nor were they able to assess conditions on the ground, since the regime had expelled all Western observers under a policy even more strict than that adopted by North Korea today.


Small world: NR Buckley fellow Teddy Kupfer’s pop (Charles) has written a book about the Baltimore Orioles’ glory years. Something Magic: The Baltimore Orioles, 1979-1983 gets a healthy dose of thought, attention, and praise from Jay Nordlinger, who loves the National Pastime and his Tigers. From his reflection / review:

If this book has a dominant figure, it’s Earl Weaver, the fiery little sage who managed the Orioles from 1968 to 1982 (and again in 1985 and ’86). He was “baseball’s best manager,” says Kupfer, frankly if not unchallengeably. Weaver was best known for the tantrums he threw at umpires.

Is that how he was best known by Oriole fans themselves? No, as Kupfer shrewdly notes. That’s how we, the great non-Oriole public, best knew him. Baltimoreans, living with him day to day, had a better sense of how canny he was.

I am anxious to flip through the book’s pages for one of my obsessions’ sake: To see if the St. Louis Browns are mentioned. Not that they need to be. But damn it would be nice if somehow, some way, they were.

A dios

It’s late as I finish this and there is no ice cream left in the refrigerator! This offering-it-up for Purgatory’s souls stuff is hard for the sweet-toothed. OK, you have a sweet weekend. Count to 10 before you let loose. Don’t kick the dog. Be kind to spiders. And enjoy God’s profound blessings.


Jack Fowler

Send pictures of sundaes to

P.S.: The Most Beautiful Summer Melody. Ever.

NR Insider

. . . And Two Hard-Boiled Eggs


Dear Jolter,

Youth abounds at NR’s NYC HQ: We’re stuffed here with interns, Buckley fellows, a new ISI fellow, social-media worker bees, and other types of galley slaves (I swear some editor yelled “RAMMING SPEED!”). No one will be surprised if an episode of Romper Room erupts. Anyway, crowd scenes always bring to mind Groucho and the boys. By the way, the script for A Night at the Opera was written by the great Morrie Ryskind, who in his later years was a regular contributor to Bill Buckley’s little magazine. I hope we’ve taught these young’uns (we’ll show them a little Jolt love below) about the colorful heritage of this joint.

Hey, speaking of (or referring to) ship cabins: Order yours for the National Review 2019 Buckley Legacy Cruise, sailing December 1-8 on Holland America Line’s spectacular MS Oosterdam. Sign up and two hard-boiled eggs — and one duck egg — are on me.

And speaking of NRPLUS (We weren’t? Well, now we are.) I want you to become a member. Yep, not just a subscriber to the magazine, but a member of the community that has emerged through this terrific new program. In fact it’s so good there’s talk we may call it NRMULTIPLY.


1. I was in Helsinki once (on NR’s 1999 Baltic Cruise), and wandered its empty streets on a Sunday morning. Gotta admit: I was bored out of my pickled herring. Socks too. But the Finnish capital was anything but boring this week past. Understatement alert: In the opinion of our editors, it served as the summit-setting for what was not Donald Trump’s finest hour. From “The Mouth that Toured”:

Trump’s meeting with Putin in Helsinki was wholly misbegotten, an itch that he’s wanted to scratch since he got elected. On the rest of the trip, he pursued valid goals (such as the need for more NATO defense spending, especially from Germany) or made valid points (such as that Theresa May is botching Brexit, and that the Nord Stream 2 project is a boon to Russia) in a characteristically bombastic, indelicate manner.

We hope the upshot, once the dust settles and jaws stop dropping, is that the Europeans will spend more on defense and Angela Merkel will find it harder to defend Nord Stream 2, although Trump softened his opposition in Putin’s presence in Helsinki. By the time Trump had left the NATO meeting, he was praising the alliance and boasting of great progress. But he shouldn’t want the main impetus for any additional spending to be his unpredictability and his bizarre personal soft spot for Vladimir Putin (even as his administration’s actual policies on Russia have been tougher than those of its predecessors).

2. Here with some very deserved criticism of the President for pressing on auto tariffs, and furthering abuse of federal law in the process, is the editorial “Junk the Auto Tariffs”:

It appears the administration would justify the tariffs under the same provision — section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, which gives the executive broad authority to adjust tariffs if doing so is in the interests of U.S. national security — that it cited for the recently imposed steel and aluminum tariffs. As we have argued repeatedly, the invocation of this statute is an abuse of executive authority that distorts the law beyond its meaning; imported Mercedes sedans have even less to do with American national security than does Canadian steel.

On the merits, the policy is no better. Globally integrated supply chains mean that cars manufactured in the United States (which include both domestic and foreign brands) often use imported parts, and that domestic companies occasionally manufacture overseas. The retaliatory tariffs that would surely follow would hurt American automobile exporters. All of this belies Trump’s stated rationale of protecting American auto companies, which is likely why foreign and domestic auto companies alike, as well as some automobile-production workers, have lobbied against the tariffs in recent days.

3. More taking to task, this time Senators Rubio and Scott for their efforts to scuttle the President’s nomination of Ryan Bounds to the Ninth Circuit. From the editorial:

The college writings are being described in the press as “racially charged” or worse — which is another injustice being done to Bounds as a predictable result of the senators’ conduct. Bounds’s views, while sharply expressed, were mainstream, defensible, and absent of any hint of hostility toward anyone based on his race. He opposed the existence of racially-defined organizations on campus. He criticized these groups for insulting conservative members of minority groups as “oreos” or “twinkies.” Absurdly, Bounds has been treated as a bigot for using these terms in the course of denouncing them.


1. On Episode 101 of The Editors, Charlie, Luke, Reihan, and MBD discuss Trump’s poor Helsinki performance, debate the sustainability of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez as a candidate, and much more. Bend an ear thisaway.

2. Rich is away, but Charlie Cooke is here to save the day and team up with our favorite Andy for a new episode of The McCarthy Report, in which they discuss advances in the Russia investigation, the indictment of The Notorious Dozen Ruskies, the devolvement of judgement in the case of Strzok and Page, and the recent arrest of Russian agent Maria Butina. Listen while you handle a bowl of borscht.

3. On the new episode of The Bookmonger, John J. Miller brings on thriller-writer Daniel Silva to discuss his new novel, The Other Woman. You can catch it here.

4. Last year Sarah Ruden, occasional NR poet, published a new translation of Augustine’s Confessions, and this classic work finds itself as the topic for the new episode of JJM’s The Great Books podcast. Do listen, here.

5. If you were anxiously awaiting for Part Two of Charlie Cooke’s dissembling on The Beatles for our Political Beats podcast, I’ve got good news for you. Keep Calm and Carry Headphones.

6. On the new episode of Reality Check with Jeanne Allen, charter-school pioneer Lisa Graham Keegan talks about past, present, and future in education today in Arizona and across the country. Class, pay attention; right now, right here.

7. Bring your flashlight to the new “Light and Dark” episode of Jaywalking, which Brother Nordlinger starts with a phrase from long ago — “a thousand points of light” — and ends with some music, heard in the darkness of Iraq under ISIS. Listen here.

8. The “Helsinki Follies” get reviewed by David and Alexandra on the new episode of Ordered Liberty. Definitely not entertaining for those who cannot take criticism of the President. Listen, or not, here.

9. More Charlie: He’s the big kahuna guest on the new episode of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg. Listen to it here.

And Now, a Commercial about My Kind of Gala in My Kind of Town

And that is what Chicago is, if we are to believe Old Blue Eyes. And we do! And believe you this too: On Thursday, October 18, there will be a humdinger of a gala in the Windy City – namely, National Review Institute’s fifth annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner, to be held at The Cultural Center in Chicago, and bestowing the Buckley Prize onour close friends,Edwin J. Feulner (Leadership in Political Thought) and Karen Buchwald Wright (for Leadership in Supporting Liberty). Now, especially if you live in the Midwest, we want very much for you to join us at this swell and important affair, and even possibly to join the gala’s host committee (now in formation). To register as a sponsor, please click here or contact Alexandra Zimmern Rosenberg by email ( or phone (212-849-2858). We’re hoping folks will do that before August 1.

Fifteen Examples of NR Brilliance, In Toto Possibly Brighter Than the Lightning Strike That Knocked Out the Power in Your Neighborhood

1. If you’re like me, you were eager for John O’Sullivan’s analysis of the Brexit mess and the fate of PM Theresa May. And you’d be right to be eager. A terrific piece that was worth the wait. From it:

All this created an atmosphere at Westminster of instability, uncertainty, even chaos, and right on cue Donald Trump arrived. There followed three days of diplomatic pratfalls, insults, inappropriate political interventions, minor court discourtesies, apologies, and at last charm offensives until the Donald left a relieved Theresa May for Helsinki. It was Hellzapoppin’ stuff, but apparently it went down quite well with about two-thirds of the Brits, probably because Trump said nice things about Britain in comparison with the vituperative attacks we hear from Brussels. Also it was highly entertaining — see Freddy Gray’s reports for the London Spectator. But it left an impact on two serious matters. Trump managed to get the Europeans to concede that this time they’d have to hike their defense spending. Second, he said — and despite all the blunders and apologies he didn’t retract the statement — that May’s version of Brexit was not compatible with the U.S.–U.K. free-trade deal he was offering. People took that on board: Obama may have threatened, but May was actually sending Britain to “the back of the queue.” It was yet one more sign that her version of Brexit was not meeting her red lines, what people had voted for, or what Brexiteers in her own party plainly wanted.

Even while Trump was in the U.K., her support began to collapse. Opinion polls showed that support for the Tory government and for her personally was falling precipitately. Labour took a four-point lead as the Tories fell from 42 to 36 percent. Worse, UKIP rose by five points, or almost the same number of voters the Tories lost, to 8 percent. UKIP again poses a serious electoral threat to the Tories. Reports from the constituencies showed massive anger and rejection of the May policy, with stories of party members resigning, burning their party cards, and vowing never to vote Tory again. To staunch this hemorrhage, May gave a television interview. It fell short of a disaster, but it gave very little reassurance to those who feel that she has made too many concessions to Brussels in the talks so far and that she will probably make more.

2. Peter Beinart smacked (in “a trademark incoherent rant”) Rich Lowry and Victor Davis Hanson. VDH smacked back. Ouch. That’s going to leave a mark. From his piece:

Last time I looked, the Paris climate accord and the Iran deal (and its stealth “side” deals) were pushed through as quasi-executive orders and never submitted to Congress as treaties — largely because the Obama administration understood that both deals would have been summarily rejected and lacked support from most of Congress and also the American people, owing to the deal’s inherent flaws.

The U.S. may soon come closer to meeting carbon-emission-reduction goals than most of the signatories of the Paris farce. Following the Iran pullout, Iranians now seem more inclined to protest their theocratic government. They are confident in voicing their dissent in a way we have not seen since we ignored Iranian protesters during the Green Revolution of 2009. Incidents of Iranian harassment of U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf this year have mysteriously declined to almost zero.

3. Helsinki One: Nope, says Andy McCarthy, President Trump really did not have to meet with Putin. From his analysis:

We are no longer in the era of the Second World War, or even the Cold War. We are not in a ferocious global conflict in which a grudging alliance with Stalin’s Soviet Union makes sense (especially when the Russians are taking the vast majority of the casualties). Nor are we in a bipolar global order in which we are rivaled by a tyrannical Soviet empire. Modern Russia is a fading country. Yes, it has a worrisome nuclear stockpile, strong armed forces, and highly capable intelligence services; but these assets can scarcely obscure Russia’s declining population, pervasive societal dysfunction (high levels of drunkenness, disease, and unemployment), low life expectancy, and third-rate economy. Putin’s regime — more like a marriage of rulers and organized crime than a principled system of government — must terrorize its people to maintain its grip on power.

We don’t need summit meetings between our head of state and theirs. Even during the Cold War, when it could rightly be argued that we had to deal with our ubiquitous geopolitical foe, such meetings did not happen very often. For example, in the decade-plus between President Kennedy’s Vienna meeting with Khrushchev and President Nixon’s trip to Moscow, there appears to have been just one meeting (between LBJ and Alexei Kosygin in 1967). Contact was also sparse in the decade between the end of the Nixon–Ford term and Reagan’s first meeting with Gorbachev in 1985 (after which the meetings became more frequent as the Soviet Union declined and collapsed). Many of these meetings are memorable precisely because they were unusual events. Whether the top-level U.S.–U.S.S.R. meetings succeeded or not, they were arguably worth having because there was something potentially highly beneficial in them for us.

4. Helsinki Two: Jonah Goldberg calls it a fiasco for Trump. Why? From the finale of his new column:

But Trump’s stubborn refusal to listen to his own advisers in the matter of the Russia investigation likely stems from his inability to admit that his instincts are ever wrong. As always, Trump’s character trumps all.

5. Helsinki Three: Rich Lowry’s take is smart and sharp, as usual. From it:

More startling were Trump’s statements blaming both the United States and Russia for poor relations. He tweeted it before his meeting with Putin and then confirmed the point when pressed about it in his news conference: “I hold both countries responsible.”

Ah, yes, both countries. One is given to invading its neighbors, rigging elections, killing dissidents (including on foreign soil), and violating international agreements and norms in the hopes of reestablishing something like the old Russian empire. The other has a strange, but apparently unbreakable, habit of electing new presidents who naïvely believe that they can reset relations with Russia based on their personality and goodwill.

6. The Administration’s imposed tariffs are biting — or, in this case, clawing — American industries as the Chinese counter or shop elsewhere. It’s a long way from Shanghai, but regardless, Maine’s lobster industry is getting slammed. Jibran Kahn has the grim analysis. From it:

China is one of the largest markets for Maine shellfish, but because the Chinese have reacted to the U.S. tariffs by imposing some of their own, that is beginning to change. With tariffs now set at 40 percent for live lobster and 35 percent for processed lobster, Maine’s seafood producers are taking a hit. Rather than pay a considerably higher amount in taxes by importing from Maine, Chinese businesses are shifting to Canadian suppliers, whose lobster exports have not been subject to the new tariffs. Canadian waters are home to the same species of lobster, so the trade war makes their product a direct, cheaper substitute.

The fact that Chinese businesses are still importing the same type of lobster shows that this shift is not the product of market forces. It is the completely avoidable result of government interference. Indeed, before the advent of the trade war, exports of Maine lobster to China had been increasing. Last year alone, they tripled, and fishing companies in the state have invested in larger facilities to in response to the boom in sales. One business (among many), The Lobster Co., had expanded its capacity so that it could ship out 100,000 pounds of lobster a day (up from the 15,000 pounds a day it sent to China last year). Businessmen spent more, knowing that they were set to sell enough to make up for the investments. Now, they continue to face those costs, but without the expected profits. The co-owner of The Lobster Co., Steph Nadeau, is not sure if her business, which employs 18 people, will survive the year. In addition to its direct employees, it sources its lobster from dozens of lobstermen. These freelancers may now find themselves without a market to sell their catch to.

7. More Jibran: He’s got a very smart piece about a forthcoming SCOTUS case (Timbs v. Indiana) that presents an opportunity to clobber the form of thievery better known as civil-asset forfeiture. From his piece:

The way that seized money is spent is just as disgraceful as the takings themselves. Departments have used forfeiture funds to buy Mercedes-Benzes, BMWs, Corvettes, Hawaiian vacations, and ski trips — just to list a few. They have also used these funds to buy military equipment, which has contributed to the dissolution of Sir Robert Peel’s concept of good policing that held the police should be well-integrated with the public rather than seeing itself as a military force. It’s no surprise that Brad Cates, who headed up asset forfeiture at the Department of Justice in the 1980s, describes it as “a free-floating slush fund.” The taking of property from citizens who are not charged with crimes to fund lavish lifestyles for government officials sounds like something out of the most dysfunctional Third World regimes.

It’s heartening to see that the Supreme Court will hear the case. The practice is an affront to both constitutional and cultural norms, and has empowered law enforcement to engage in what would be considered criminality by any other measure. The incentive to police for profit encourages miscarriages of justice. Citizens who find themselves stripped of their property may resort to crime for quick cash. Removing civil forfeiture will not only reduce corruption; it will help fight crime.

8. Did our president seriously consider allowing the thug Putin to interrogate Bill Browder? Mona Charen looks at Putin’s obsession with the Magnitsky Act. From her column:

Sergei Magnitsky was the accountant who worked for William Browder. When Browder’s firm, Hermitage Capital, was the victim of a fraud and embezzlement scheme, Magnitsky patiently pieced together the truth. Those responsible, it turned out, were Russian government agents, living large and enjoying BMWs and seaside apartments. Magnitsky’s reward was to be arrested and tortured to death. Oh, and to add a nice Soviet-style touch, Putin’s government pinned the embezzlement on Magnitsky. Putin’s retaliation, halting adoptions of Russian babies by Americans, was another human-rights abuse.

Browder was shaken to his core by Magnitsky’s fate and has since devoted his life to passing Magnitsky laws in every country he can convince. Ours passed in 2012. The law forbids Americans to do any business, including banking, with those who had a part in Magnitsky’s torture and death, thereby making it more difficult for Russian criminals (i.e., state actors including Putin) to stash stolen money in the U.S. or other countries that have adopted such laws. It would not be strange for a president of the United States to award someone like Bill Browder a medal. It is pathetic for a president of the United States to be so obtuse or ignorant or both as to agree before all the world that such a man might be questioned by Putin’s trained attack dogs.

9. Kyle “Fernando” Smith reviews Mama Mia. Abba dabba do! From his piece:

As you’d expect, the film resembles a string of goofy conceptual music videos from about 1983. Those who are made happy by camp will be happy campers, but I’m in it for the melodies, not the feather boas and the electric-blue space boots. Yes, I’m an ABBA lover, and you won’t find a heterosexual man more devoted to those songs than I (except, perhaps, my boss Charles C. W. Cooke). My grudge with the original Broadway musical and its 2008 film adaptation was primarily the ruinous show-tune arrangements, though my ears were also scarred by Pierce Brosnan’s broken-carburetor vocals in the latter. This time, however, those unblessed by singing ability are elbowed off to the side and the songs are closer to the sound of the records. That ripping guitar on “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” for instance? Perfection. A faithful rendition of “Dancing Queen” as presented by a flouncy flotilla of party guests? Works for me. I can never tire of the song.

10. Meanwhile, Armond White pens this amazing piece about Denzel Washington, Equalizer 2, his role in last year’s Roman J. Israel, Esq., and the “disappearance of the black public intellectual.” From the piece:

All the RJI character study needed to make sense to moviegoers was a reassuring bebop/funk/disco black-power theme song like that in Shaft. Instead, we got a doofus brandishing impeccable musical taste: Marvin Gaye records on his old-fashioned stereo turntable. Despite this éclat, RJI’s sob story turned out to be a frustrating elegy for something we didn’t know we’d lost.

Moviegoers couldn’t recognize RJI because they could no longer relate to him as one of the breed of black media and academic specialist that peaked during the 1990s — who frequently appeared on PBS’s Charlie Rose Show and C-SPAN, was a regular vendor on the New York Times op-ed page, and was a staple on the university lecture and conference circuit. The fin-de-siècle black public intellectual has been replaced — given today’s historic levels of political division and equally historic degrees of celebrity worship — by showier political gestures, whether from the estimable Kanye West or the race hustler Donald Glover (Childish Gambino).

11. A short but very sweet Charlie Cooke take on media bias: “Apparently, Only Conservatives Spend Money on Politics.”

12. Late at night, while you are sleeping, Ramesh Ponnuru is scouring the footnotes of inane Democrat lawsuits. Look at what he found.

13. More VDH: He didn’t need to go up to Mount Sinai to get these 10 Commandments. Here’s Number 8:

The Law Follows Reality.In the progressive legal mind, popular culture and collective progressive habit need a law to sanctify reality. The neo-Confederate idea of sanctuary cities does not nullify the Constitution because they are useful to the open-borders movement. By contrast, a travel ban against countries deemed unable to verify the passports and records of their citizens would be unconstitutional, given the perception that it falls inordinately on unstable Muslim-majority nations. The legality of gay marriage or abortion depends entirely on how popular or acceptable to the public such trends have become, or how useful such changing protocols are to political ends. The constructionist idea in contrast believes that the spirit of law exists across time and space and predates popular practice. The law is immune from considerations of whether it enhances or retards progressive change. When the Court bucks popular culture, it is derided as little more than the cranky work of “nine old men”; when it accelerates perceived social justice, then the justices become “far-seeing,” “lively,” “engaged,” and “spirited.” When nine justices rule progressively, they are properly shielded from popular passions and benefit from their separation from the politics of the day; when they don’t, they are “out of touch” and “clueless” to the world about them.

14. A gaggle of editors and NRO friends make summer-reading recommendations right here. One of the suggesters (is that a word?) is Tevi Troy, and it gives me great pleasure to single him out!

15. What happened to the ADL (which, per Jonathan Tobin, has turned into an adjunct of the Democrat Party)? Here’s a smart look at another sector of the Trump Resistance. From the piece:

It is no surprise that many liberal groups — including some that are all-in on what some on the left are treating as an apocalyptic fight for the future of the High Court — are reflexively opposed to anyone Trump may nominate. But the ADL’s presence in the ranks of those who are supplying the organizational muscle for the resistance to Trump might come as a surprise to those who haven’t been paying much attention to the group in recent years. Though it spent its first century of existence being careful to avoid getting labeled as a partisan outfit, in the three years since the ADL’s longtime national director Abe Foxman retired, Greenblatt has steadily pushed the group farther to the left and, in so doing, more or less destroyed its reputation as being above politics. After the ADL has repeatedly involved itself in partisan controversies, it is impossible to pretend that Greenblatt’s vision of the group isn’t fundamentally that of a Democratic-party auxiliary that is increasingly overshadowing and marginalizing its still-vital role as the nation’s guardian against anti-Semitism.

Let’s Hear It from the Kiddies

1. Socialist wanna-congressman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez appears on the new episode of Margaret Hoover’s Firing Line reboot, and intern Liam Warner finds the newbie politico embarrasses herself. From his piece:

On finally to immigration. She made a good point in noting that we should consider the humanitarian consequences of military involvement in foreign countries, which might create an obligation for the United States to accept the refugees displaced by the conflict. She went on, however, to complain that “we have always legislated from a place of ‘How do we exclude?’ and ‘Who do we exclude?’” We could, of course, also ask whom to include — that’s the same question. Immigration policy consists precisely in deciding which people to admit and which people not to admit. We could admit all of them, we could admit none of them, we could select using various criteria. Rather than declare her position, Ocasio-Cortez explained how important low-skilled workers are to the economy that, as she has just finished telling us, is hemorrhaging low-skilled jobs to automation.

2. What happens on the campus doesn’t stay on the campus: NR intern Christian Gonzalez argues that the wars over campus politics should matter very much to all, because they eventually involve all. From his piece:

The clearest example of this phenomenon is seen in how intersectionality — an academic ideology if there ever was one — has influenced protest movements surrounding issues of race. The ideology of Black Lives Matter (BLM), one of the foremost protest movements on the left, shows clear signs of having been shaped by highbrow intellectual currents. BLM’s platform makes clear references to Marxist political economy, declaring “that patriarchy, exploitative capitalism, militarism, and white supremacy know no borders” and that its members “stand in solidarity with our international family against the ravages of global capitalism and anti-Black racism, human-made climate change, war, and exploitation.” It owes a debt to intersectionality as well, as we can infer from its affirmation of “the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, undocumented folks, folks with records, women, and all Black lives along the gender spectrum.” These are not just abstract rhetorical points: They translate into BLM’s policy demands. For instance, BLM believes that “Black humanity and dignity requires political will and power,” asks that higher education be made free for black students, and argues that black Americans should receive a form of universal basic income.

Whatever one thinks of BLM’s policy proposals, they are indisputably influenced by an intersectional ideology with deep roots in academia. If BLM successfully effects policy changes, those changes will owe an intellectual debt to the influence of intersectional theorists in the academy.

3. Jimmy Quinn, whiz-bang intern, scores the Democrats’ Russia smugness. Here’s how his Corner post ends:

But as long as the Democrats want to play their faux anti-Russia game, we might as well hold them to a repudiation of Obama’s feckless policy of acquiescence and move them toward an embrace of assertive policies that hold Putin to account.

4. If you think The Donald has bad manners, well, so did his British protestors last week. NRI Buckley fellow Madeline Kearns reflects in the Corner.

The Six

1. This one is for your Walker Percy lovers: At Law and Liberty, Titus Techera considers the nexus of technology and self-knowledge. Find it here.

2. At Gatestone Institute, Soeren Kern reports on Germany’s dysfunctional deportation system.

3. At Modern Age, George Hawley reviews The People Vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger & How to Save It by Yascha Mounk. From his review:

Economic stagnation and growing inequality are another source of rising skepticism about the compatibility of liberalism and democracy. Political theorists like to emphasize the growing acceptance of liberal ideals in the twentieth century. But it is possible that most people were never enthralled with liberal democracy as a matter of principle. Instead, its stability may have resulted from the high and rising standard of living that it seemed to provide. The consolidation of liberal democracy across the Western world coincided with unprecedented affluence, widely shared. Even more important, all signs indicated that the long-term trajectory was toward even greater prosperity. Although the economy would experience vicissitudes, in the end each generation was expected to be better off than its predecessor.

This pattern has broken down. Economic growth continues in the United States, and few Americans are destitute by global or historical standards. Yet the wealthiest Americans are capturing most of these gains, and wages are stagnant for the rest of the country. Many of the oldest millennials are approaching middle age with less economic security than their parents enjoyed at a similar stage of life, despite higher levels of education. Material comfort was one of liberal democracy’s greatest selling points. If it no longer delivers on that promise, faith in liberalism and democracy may erode further.

4. Big surprise: The College Fix reports that the University of Oregon student government last year gave liberal groups $250,000, but conservative groups a measly $1,500. Brandon Jacob reports.

5. At The Federalist, Joy Pullman reports on a new study which shows that preschool kids learn less and misbehave more. From the piece:

At the end of one year in Tennessee’s pre-k, participating children scored better on academic measures than non-participants did, such as letter recognition and sounds. But during just one year of kindergarten, non-participating children not only caught up to the preschooled children but surpassed them. This effect persisted through third grade, where “VPK participants scored lower on the reading, math, and science tests than the control children with differences that were statistically significant for math and science.”

“In math, the VPK group scored 0.12 standard deviations lower than the control group, which equates to roughly 13 percent less growth in math achievement than would be expected in the third grade year,” the Straight Talk summary explains. “In science, the VPK group scored 0.09 standard deviations lower than the control group, which equates to roughly 23 percent less growth in science achievement than would be expected in the third grade year.”

6. Department of Ox Gored: Heather Mac Donald writes in City Journal about selective outrage for murders in Chicago. From her piece:

There were no protests against the taking of the carjacking victim’s life. Carjackings have nearly tripled in Chicago since 2015, averaging two per day in 2017 and close to that in 2018. In August 2016, officers tried to pull over a car involved in an earlier carjacking; someone inside the car opened fire and hit one of the officers in the face. The shooter was on parole for attempted armed robbery. In January 2017, a teen carjacker ambushed a 34-year-old mother in an alleyway where she had been parking her car. His initial blow to her head with his gun was so severe that it temporarily blinded her. “Quit trying to kick back, you white bitch,” the assailant said as he pistol-whipped her. Before the attack, the mother had noticed a van suspiciously idling in the alleyway, but decided to continue about her business, likely second-guessing herself about “racial profiling.” In March 2017, a man with a gun forced a 24-year-old woman into the trunk of her car and raced it around the South Side until crashing into a tree. In August 2017, a 28-year-old entrepreneur and student was fatally shot in his car when he refused to hand it over to the carjacker. In November 2017, a pair of thugs accosted an 88-year-old man and stole his Lincoln at gunpoint. They almost immediately crashed into a semitrailer truck and retaining wall; one of the two felons died in the crash.

Baseballery, in Which I Namely Name Names

1. I would like to buy a vowel: Emil Yde, Pirates hurler of the mid 20s — as a rookie in 1924 went 16-3 — started and lost a game in the 1925 World Series (gave up a single to Walter Johnson and back-to-back home runs by Goose Goslin and Joe Harris).

2. I would like to sell a vowel: Dario Antonio Lodigiani, San Francisco native and childhood playmate and teammate of the Brothers DiMaggio. He played second and third for the As and White Sox in the late 30s and early 40s, and was still knocking around in the minors in the mid 50s.

3. Cactus Keck hurled for the Cincinnati Reds in 1922 and 1923 (his record was 10-12), and then disappeared into the minor leagues. His Reds teammates included Bubbles Hargrave, Greasy Neale, and my non-relation, Boob Fowler. He was also known by the hardly better nickname of “Gink.” Maybe “Glorp” and “Toenail” were taken.

(BTW: Cactus also played with Rinaldo Angelo Paolinelli, a.k.a Babe Pinelli, who later became an umpire and was behind the plate when Don Larsen pitched his perfect game in the 1956 World Series.)

A Dios

I had a theological talk with a colleague this week, and the discussion came to finding happiness in God’s creation in things small and innocent and not obvious. I have found intense happiness in things big (the one time I saw the Milky Way, and that time I won the quinella at Yonkers Raceway!), but then there is the beauty of . . . the Buffalo Nickel. Even worn and scratched, it is majestic and dignified and elicits a smile. Find something innocuous to smile about this weekend, and some time to thank the Ancient of Days for your life and your liberties.

God bless,

Jack Fowler

On the grid at

Corrections: Daniel Silva is the author of The Other Woman. The Ten Commandments were given to Moses on Mount Sinai.

NR Insider

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


Dear Jolters,

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Huzzah! The New Issue of National Review Is Out!

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Six

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eye Candy

1. The Facebook series, The Swamp.

2. John Stossel explains how feminism fails boys.

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


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

A Dios

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

God’s blessings on You and Yours,

Jack Fowler

Stalkable at

NR Insider

Everything You Wanted to Know about the Declaration of Arbroath * But Were Afraid to Ask


Dear Jolter,

Greetings came this week from my pal from the Constitution State, John Philip Sousa IV, and you can imagine that when the guy who protects the legacy of the man who wrote Stars and Stripes Forever sends you howdy-dos on the eve of Independence Day, well, you get the patriotic vapors and are happily shocked by the rockets’ red glares that flash in your fevered imagination. (By the way, I recommend JPS4’s beautiful 2012 book, John Philip Sousa’s America: The Patriot’s Life in Images and Words.)

So, how was your Independence Day? If it proved uneventful, be of good cheer, because the 4th always lingers: at the least there will likely be some stray fireworks this weekend. Enjoy whatever patriotic residue and wisps remains. But do make sure you find time to read those wonderful NRO nuggets you missed when you were occupied with lighting bottle rockets.


1. A draft of a bill titled the “U.S. Fair and Reciprocal Trade Act” has seen the light of day, and NRO weighs in to call it a stinker of an idea. From our editorial:

It is hard to imagine Congress, despite its habitual acquiescence to executive-branch abuses of power, passing a bill that completely cedes the authority to impose tariffs to the president — let alone this president. The steel tariffs President Trump has levied against Canada, the European Union, and others rely on an abuse of section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, which gives the executive the authority to impose tariffs for national-security reasons. But congressional Republicans still believe in the value of free trade, and understand that there are better ways to punish abusive trade practices than a retreat into autarky.

2. “Abolish ICE” is not a call for practical reform but a sign of the Democrats’ radicalization on immigration. From our editorial:

But of course this isn’t what “abolish ICE” is about. The Democratic party already has coalesced around the policy that only illegal immigrants who are convicted felons should be deported; internal enforcement against non-felons would then be unnecessary. We suspect it is the enforcement of our immigration laws itselfthat the Left objects to. A significant chunk of illegal immigrants are people who overstayed their visas. Abolishing our internal-enforcement agency would mean that these immigrants were de facto free to stay in the country so long as they did not commit a felony. And though ICE does not police the border, illegal border-crossing would be incentivized in a world without internal enforcement, as those who managed to make it into the country would not be subject to deportation. Without ICE, the U.S. would have an immigration system with mostly meaningless limits.


1. It’s timeless, but keyed to this week of Independence celebrating: The special “Foundational Questions” episode of The Editors, in which Rich, Charlie, Luke, and MBD discuss the essence of the U.S. Senate and threatened rights, rate the top Founding Fathers (poor John Adams), and pick the winner of Declaration v. Constitution. The Spirit of ’76 thrives here.

2. Andy McCarthy, this is your life. Or, at least, a most-interesting look-see at love for the law. The new episode of The McCarthy Report is a great discussion between our hero and Rich Lowry. Listen here.

3. John J. Miller brings us another The Great Books gem, this time discussing Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye the Dairyman with Harvard professor Ruth Wisse. Listen here.

4. Brad Thor, god of best-selling fictional thunder, is the guest on the new episode of JJM’s The Bookmonger, there to talk about his new thriller, Spymaster. Scot Harvath is there. Even if by Grabthar’s Hammer, you shall listen here.

5. Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk is the guest on The Jamie Weinstein Show. The Donald, Kanye, and so much more is discussed. Teacher says listen here.

6. “Pimps, Turks, Dutchmen, and Golfers” might someday be the subtitle of a memoir, but until then, it is the title of the new episode of Jaywalking, in which Brother Nordlinger chats about social conservatism, in Nevada and elsewhere; freedom of the press, in France and elsewhere; a Dutchy town in Michigan; and a noble tragedy in South Dakota. And then there is clog-ophile dance music. Limber up and listen here.

Nineteen Wowza Pieces Published this Week by the World’s Premier Conservative Website

1. So if you are curious as to what might have been some from-abroad influences on the Declaration of Independence, Maddy Kearns, a Scot, says the principle one is from . . . Scotland.

Opposing tyranny, demanding liberty, pledging their lives, screwing the English — familiar, no? If one examines both the Declaration of Arbroath and the Declaration of Independence side by side, one sees striking similarities in both wording and content. Remarkably, the same is true of a later Scottish document, the National Covenant of 1638. This, again, asserted Scotland’s opposition to an unrepresentative English monarch and parliament. It details the “usurped authority” of the King’s “tyrannous laws.” It also invokes the role of divine providence: “We call the Living God to witness . . . and bless our proceedings with a happy success.”

The Declaration — the one from Arbroath (known for its smoked haddock) — is pictured above.

2. There’s lots of Wisconsin hoopla over the Foxconn deal, but Jimmy Quinn calls it “a condemnable example of corporate welfare in its most egregious form.” From his piece:

A look at the numbers is illustrative. All told, Wisconsin could end up delivering $3 billion in tax credits to Foxconn. Even if Foxconn’s arrival results in thousands of new jobs over the next several years, it will open a gaping fiscal hole that will be filled only in 2043, when the state recoups the money spent on these tax breaks.

Here’s the bottom line: If the jobs target of 13,000 is met, Wisconsin taxpayers will pay $219,000 per job. If only 3,000 jobs are created, they will pay $587,000 per job in the form of a $1.7 billion tax credit. And these are conservative estimates, leaving out the additional tens of millions of dollars that will go toward the infrastructure improvements necessary to accommodate Foxconn’s new plant. The ill-conceived incentives are the core of an all-around terrible arrangement. Who wins? The politicians. Who loses? Fiscal sanity and those footing the bill for political pet projects.

3. Christian Gonzalez nails Europe’s hip, groovy, capitalism-hating Marxist philosopher, Slavoj Žižek, in a de facto review of his new book, The Courage of Hopelessness. From Christian’s alanysis:

Wherever a problem arises in the world, Žižek is certain to be there, ever-ready to find a connection, however tenuous, to the dynamics of global capitalism.

It’s all part of Žižek’s overarching theory: He overstates the nature of the challenges we face and misstates their causes to create the intellectual space needed for the projects of the radical left. “The change required,” The Courage of Hopelessness explains, “is not political reform but a transformation of the social relations of production — which entails precisely revolutionary class struggle rather than democratic elections.” Liberal democracy is incapable of handling the disasters brought about by capitalism. Overcoming them requires a total departure from extant political and economic systems. But, asks Žižek, “Can such [a departure] remain within the confines of parliamentary democracy?” The answer for him is no. Extreme problems demand extreme solutions, which are not laid out in this book.

4. A recent Freedom House report scores the US of A as being only 86 percent free. Fred Schwarz rolls his eyes and explains in the Corner.

5. Will Supreme Court rulings and openings affect the midterm elections? Dan McLaughlin has some early thoughts about the political impact. From his Corner post:

How does a Supreme Court fight, with control of abortion and just about every other hot-button social issue potentially on the table, play out with these groups? Again, we’re just operating at the level of informed speculation, but anyone involved in Republican politics could tell you there should be major opportunities with all three. The complacent voters, especially the sorts of conservative Christians who are typically detached from day-to-day politics, are likely to care far more about the Supreme Court than about anything else, even economic or national security issues. There is no hiding the palpable sense of THIS IS THE BIG ONE for people who have voted for Republicans for years on these issues and come up empty. And those voters more than anything are the people most likely to be activated if Trump picks a nominee (like Amy Coney Barrett) who triggers a wave of Christian-bashing from liberal quarters. The same dynamic can be expected to animate Republican-leaning voters who don’t like Trump and are concerned about his many negatives (bad trade policy, unduly harsh immigration policy, issues with his mouth and his ethics) — the “But Gorsuch” argument that at least Republicans can unite around conservative judges will be a powerful temptation to come back home in Senate races. Finally, if Senate Republicans are able to stay united enough to get a nominee through, that will help reassure those voters who see the Congressional caucus, rather than Trump, as the weak link.

6. David French finds CNN whiner Jeffrey Toobin’s puzzling picture of a post-Kennedy Court to be a big honkin’ smear. From his analysis:

No one should doubt that the stakes are high in the Supreme Court, and — as I wrote about at length last week— a more originalist Court will result in substantial doctrinal changes (among them, more protection for individual liberty against state power), but it’s important to at least try to keep the debate within the bounds of accuracy and reason. Roeis potentially at stake. No question. And that fact alone is enough to lead to a super-charged confirmation hearing. As for the rest of Toobin’s alleged parade of horribles? The exaggerations do a disservice to the public discourse.

7. Rich Lowry body slams Roe v. Wade and its author, Justice Harry Blackmun. From his column:

He is at pains to deny that unborn children are “persons in the whole sense.” As evidence, he points to clauses in the Constitution about persons that don’t have “pre-natal application,” e.g., the requirement that persons must be 35 or older to run for president. This is too stupid for words. Just because clauses like this refer to adults doesn’t mean that minors, or unborn children, don’t have rights.

The best case that can be made for Roeis that it is a mistaken decision on the books for nearly 50 years now, so it has to be honored as a precedent. But the Court is not, and shouldn’t be, in the practice of standing by fundamentally flawed decisions. Brown v. Board of Education overturned Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld segregated education, almost 60 years later. Just last week, the Court overturned a labor decision from 1977.

8. “The Resistance” is finding violence . . . irresistible. Dennis Prager explains. From his new column:

When conservatives — even one as critical of the president as Ben Shapiro — need the protection of bodyguards and police officers in riot gear when speaking on an American college campus, it is clear where we are headed. You can get an idea by watching what students did to biology professor Dr. Bret Weinstein, perhaps the only decent faculty member at Evergreen State University, because he refused to cooperate when left-wing students demanded that all whites leave the university campus for a day. Some months later, Weinstein was told by the left-wing university administration it “could no longer guarantee his safety.” Weinstein then left Evergreen State for good.

9. Neal Freeman is near Ground Zero of what might be the most important 2018 race . . . for 2020 — the Florida gubernatorial contest. He reports on that, and on the formation of the “August 29th Committee.” From his article:

The contest between Rick Scott and Bill Nelson, they surmise, will decide control of the Senate, which in turn will decide the composition of the Supreme Court, which in turn will decide the incandescent issues of our time, which in turn will decide the fate of the world as we know it.

Maybe. But it seems much more likely that the Race of the Year will be the one that decides the fate of state government in Tallahassee, which in turn will decide the future of Florida, which in turn will set the odds for conservative prospects in 2020 and beyond.

10. Alexandra DeSanctis finds South Carolina senator Tim Scott not only a happy warrior, but a joyful one. From her worthwhile profile:

It isn’t difficult to understand why Republican politicians would be desperate to have Scott stump for them. It’s also the first election cycle since Donald Trump swept into the presidency, and with the talk of an impending “blue wave,” Scott is the perfect figure to reconcile the splits among Republicans and present a congenial face to moderate voters. If his bipartisan legislative work on Capitol Hill can be taken as an indication, he even has the ability to appeal to Democrats.

Part of his growing influence stems from his balanced approach to the divisiveness within the GOP and between the two parties since 2016. Scott has been much less critical of the president than have, say, his colleagues Jeff Flake and John McCain (both Republicans from Arizona). But he has not been a pushover, either. As he sees it, he has found a prudent balance in deciding when to speak and when to keep silent.

“The best advice is not to speak every time there’s something to be critical of, especially if you don’t speak every time there’s something to be positive about,” he tells me as we’re driving up to the Capitol. “But if you find something that is jugular, speak up. I think you should pick and choose your battles, so to speak.”

11. Omar Mohammed, a professor at the University of Mosul, chronicled the city’s brutalization by ISIS. Jay Nordlinger profiles an extraordinary man.

12. NAFTA’s renegotiation is threatened, writes Clark Packard, thanks to bad policy and political screwups. Which ain’t good for America. From his piece:

Another troublesome demand the United States is making in NAFTA negotiations is the inclusion of a so-called sunset clause that would terminate the agreement after five years unless all three countries affirmatively renew it. This is an unpopular idea on Capitol Hill and is a non-starter for Mexico and Canada, with good reason. Investment thrives in predictable environments. The fundamental value of trade agreements like NAFTA is that they provide the certainty necessary for investment and economic growth to flourish. Since the agreement went into effect, an incredibly sophisticated web of supply chains has developed around North America, enhancing competitiveness and driving economic growth. If NAFTA’s tariff cuts and elimination of other barriers could be overturned hastily, its basic economic benefits would be undermined.

The various NAFTA proposals put forward by Lighthizer would even cut against the Trump administration’s primary goal of increasing domestic manufacturing in the automotive industry. The United States initially proposed to increase the share of content that must come from NAFTA parties for an automobile to qualify for duty-free status, under what are known as “rules of origin.” The U.S. proposal would up the regional-content requirement from 62.5 percent — already the most stringent automotive rule of origin in any trade agreement in the world — to 85 percent, with a 50 percent American-made-content requirement.

13. It’s one of the more-important little-known top administrative positions: director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. President Trump has nominated Kathy Kraninger to head it, and J.W. Verret finds her decidedly unqualified for the job. From Verret’s piece:

Kraninger’s lack of relevant qualifications is especially problematic in choosing her to serve as director of the CFPB, a post that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit last year deemed the “second-most powerful” in the entire federal government, behind only the presidency. It is also disquieting in that this will be the first time a Republican nominee will take the helm at the CFPB, which was created in the mold of Senator Elizabeth Warren and quickly filled with career staff who demonstrated loyalty to Senator Warren’s progressive philosophy.

The CFPB was established as a key element of the Dodd–Frank financial reform legislation passed in response to the 2008 financial crisis. The agency wields unprecedented authority but has little accountability to the president or the Congress. It was insulated from effective congressional oversight by design, given a dedicated source of direct funding — the Federal Reserve — outside the normal budgetary process. And its director, once confirmed, serves a five-year term and is removable only “for cause,” meaning that she is hardly accountable to the president, either.

In short, if confirmed, Kraninger would be a five-year mistake, and neither Congress nor the President could really do anything about it.

14. Move over Stella: How American got its groove back has plenty to do with Clint Eastwood, says Kyle Smith. From his commentary:

Heartbreak Ridge is the chronicle of one small but important step on the way to Morning in America. On the surface it has a hackneyed theme: Grizzled, hard-as-nails sergeant whips the lackadaisical, poorly trained troops of Recon platoon into shape. What elevates the film are its dead-on verisimilitude about 1980s military culture, its lightly-worn insights into the larger issues at stake, and its precision-lathed dialogue, which is smart but never smarmy. People speak with a marvelous economy of language without ever sounding like screenwriters, notably in an exchange during which Highway’s former battle buddy Choozoo explains how Highway distinguished himself in an agonizing Korean War battle when both men (now Marines) were in the Army. Reminiscing, Choozoo says, “It ain’t in any of the history books. Just a little piece of war. Hell, the place didn’t even have a name; just a number. [Fellow soldier] Stony Jackson took one look up and said, ‘Ladies, if this hill doesn’t kill us, it’ll surely break our hearts.’”

15. Liam Warner finds the Constitution to be inherently hospitable to conservatives. “Home turf,” in fact. Please consider his worthwhile piece.

16. Jump-Shipper Max Boot sounds the cry: Don’t only leave the GOP, but also vote Democrat. Mammas of mia! Jonathan Tobin takes on the mighty morphing Trump Derangers. From his piece:

But if the overwhelming majority of Republicans have made an uneasy peace with Trump, it is because on most issues, it is the presidentwho has changed, not the rank-and-file “sheep” that Rubin, Will, and Boot deprecate. Trump, the longtime liberal on domestic and social issues, is now Trump the tax cutter, the apostle of deregulation, and the fierce defender of religious liberty and constitutional conservatism. It may have taken a leap of faith for Republicans to vote for a man seemingly bereft of conservative principles or religious convictions, but he is keeping his promise to them that he would appoint conservative judges.

Even on foreign policy, where traditional GOP hawks such as Boot continue to have good reasons to worry about this administration, Trump has taken important stands that are in accord with the pre-2016 party. On the Middle East peace process, Jerusalem, and the Iran nuclear deal, Trump has followed the lead of the conservative base, not the reverse. If Boot now opposes Trump’s effort to roll back the gains the Islamist Iranian regime made under Obama, it is Boot who has changed his tune, not the approximately 90 percent of Republicans who support the president.

RELATED: Groucho set the derangement to music.

17. Kyle Smith takes on the Democrats’ regression to extremism, now displayed through its ICE rhetoric and a former moderate and current ranter, Kirsten Gillibrand. From his piece:

The Left is hoping the midterms will be a referendum on Trump’s behavior. The self-promoting tendencies of Gillibrand and other Democrats venturing to extremes could make it a referendum on ICE instead. The harder they push on issues to galvanize the base and presidential primary voters, the more difficult they are making it for any one of them actually to get elected president or to win the House and Senate seats a Democratic president would need to advance any legislation. The race to be most radical is a self-defeating strategy.

18. John Yoo and Saikrishna Prakash believe that the upcoming SCOTUS confirmation battle presents an opportunity to kybosh judicial supremacy. From their piece:

While the confirmation process encourages conflict, the Supreme Court itself bears some blame for making confirmation fights even more contentious. The Court’s expanding control over more social issues, such as race, religion, and sexuality, has only amplified the political polarization and importance of Supreme Court nominations. Any nominee should pledge to advance a jurisprudence that restores the other branches to their rightful roles in constitutional interpretation. The courts should embrace a more diverse approach to constitutional interpretation, one that looks to many actors, institutions, and sources for meaning. Conservatives should favor such a nominee because of their disdain for “jurocrats” who would supplant the political process. Liberals who fear a Trump judiciary should could favor an appointee who does not suppose that the Court is the font of all wisdom.

President Trump and the Senate can begin the march away from judicial supremacy with Justice Kennedy’s replacement. Trump could choose a nominee not because she opposes abortion or gay marriage, but because she believes that the Constitution leaves these questions to the states and the national political process. The Senate might confirm a justice who seeks to limit the administrative state not because he thinks judges should oversee the agencies, but because the agencies cannot intrude into the judiciary’s responsibility to enforce the laws as written.

19. Mona Charen takes on the religious bigots attacking Amy Coney Barrett. From her column:

As for Barrett herself, it seems that she lives her faith. She and her husband have seven children including one with special needs and two adopted from Haiti. Her former colleagues on the Notre Dame law-school faculty, many of whom have disagreements with Barrett, unanimously endorsed her nomination to the Circuit Court, describing her as “brilliant” and also “generous” and “warm.” They wrote: “She possesses in abundance all of the other qualities that shape extraordinary jurists: discipline, intellect, wisdom, impeccable temperament, and above all, fundamental decency and humanity.”

If Barrett is a glazed-eyed cultist, she’s done an incredible job of hiding it. She fooled her fellow clerks on the Supreme Court when she worked for Justice Antonin Scalia. Dozens of clerks, including some who worked for Justices Ginsburg and Breyer, endorsed her previous nomination, calling her a “woman of remarkable intellect and character.” She fooled her students, hundreds of whom signed an endorsement reading in part “Our religious, cultural, and political views span a wide spectrum. Despite the many and genuine differences among us, we are united in our conviction that Professor Barrett would make an exceptional federal judge.” And she fooled all of the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee along with three Democrats, who voted to approve her nomination.

Eye Candy

1. Peter Robinson takes us to Part Two of his Uncommon Knowledge conversation with historian Stephen Kotkin about his book, Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941. It’s a great discussion, which you can watch here.

2. Old Glory in pictures.

3. Ulysses S. Grant, as remembered on Prager U by Garry Adelman. Watch it here.

4. John Stossel gets all warm and fuzzy about the Declaration and the Constitution — and limiting government and freedom. Watch his latest video here.

Independence Eloquence

The stars of The Editors suggested some patriotism-inspiring words and rhetoric, which we share here.

1. From Rich Lowry: President Calvin Coolidge’s speech celebrating America’s 150th birthday.

2. From Charlie Cooke: More Silent Cal, this time the irked president defending civil rights.

3. From Luke Thompson: The speech Richard Nixon did not have to give. Thankfully for the men of Apollo 11.

4. From Michael Brendan Dougherty: Frederick Douglas’s 1871 Decoration Day speech at Arlington Cemetery. From it:

But we are not here to applaud manly courage, save as it has been displayed in a noble cause. We must never forget that victory to the rebellion meant death to the republic. We must never forget that the loyal soldiers who rest beneath this sod flung themselves between the nation and the nation’s destroyers. If today we have a country not boiling in an agony of blood, like France, if now we have a united country, no longer cursed by the hell-black system of human bondage, if the American name is no longer a by-word and a hissing to a mocking earth, if the star-spangled banner floats only over free American citizens in every quarter of the land, and our country has before it a long and glorious career of justice, liberty, and civilization, we are indebted to the unselfish devotion of the noble army who rest in these honored graves all around us.

The Six

1. City Journal this Spring published a wonderful essay by our dear old pal Hadley Arkes on “The True Meaning of the Pentagon Papers.” NRO republished it, but you can find the original piece here. From it:

And yet, apart from the weighing of these interests, the damage was already done by the fact that the matter was being taken into the hands of judges to decide. Justice John Harlan made the point tellingly when the matter reached the Supreme Court, in New York Times Co. v. United States: the fact that the executive had to go to court to restrain publication was itself a sign that the executive was not in control of its most critical papers on diplomacy and the movement of troops. The late journalist Claire Sterling, interviewing sources in the intelligence services in Europe, reported that this revelation was decisive: the French decided, after the Pentagon Papers, that they could no longer responsibly share with the Americans their most sensitive intelligence, bearing on the lives of their agents.

2. Will anyone be shocked when California bureaucrats start treating the Catholic Church as a criminal organization? At The Federalist, Eileen Han looks at percolating legislation that would ban the teaching of doctrine. Read it here.

3. Maybe Golden State lefties are taking cues from up North? Again in The Federalist, Alexandra Hudson profiles Canada’s hostility to religious freedom (a Christian college was recently banned from opening a law school because “because it adheres to Christian teachings about human sexuality.” Read her analysis here.

RELATED: Edgar Noble also writes about the Canadian bird-flipping for NRO.

4. If you think Hezbollah will exit Syria, you may have hit your head. Sirwan Kajjo pens this excellent analysis for Gatestone Institute. From it:

Having helped defeat anti-regime rebel forces in the suburbs of Homs, Aleppo and Damascus, Hezbollah fighters are now in control of much of Syria’s border with Lebanon. In fact, the Shi’ite terrorist group is in charge of controlling the Lebanese side of the border, despite the presence of the Lebanese military, which is weak. The areas in which Hezbollah operates are of great importance to the group, which uses the mountainous terrain as a route to transport military equipment between Syria and Lebanon. So entrenched is Hezbollah in that region that it has managed to build multiple military bases within a small radius.

With those fronts of Lebanon and southern Syria already secured, Hezbollah fighters increasingly have moved to the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria to aid the Syrian military in its battle against Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists. Meanwhile, Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed militias — such as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) — are largely in control of strategic areas along Syria’s border with Iraq.

5. Maybe Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had an obligation to recuse herself from the Trump “travel ban” case. At Law & Liberty, Michael Rappaport seems to think so. From his piece:

Of course, this is one reason why a Supreme Court justice should not make extra judicial statements about a presidential candidate. But even if one thinks that statements about the President should ordinarily not lead to a recusal, this case is different. Not only is it a lawsuit against the President in his own name, it also centers more on the President’s personal behavior and character than other lawsuits against the executive branch. If one has a low opinion of Trump, then one is more likely to view his statements during the campaign as based on animus towards Muslims rather than as a sloppy way of referring to the problem of Islamic terrorism. Similarly, one would be more likely to view his subsequent policy as an attempt to implement his alleged anti-Muslim bias through a more moderate policy than as an attempt to implement a policy that is constitutional. The question here, of course, is not whether one believes that Trump exhibited anti-Muslim bias in this case. The point is that a low opinion of Trump may – and is probably likely to — influence one’s conclusion about his motivation.

Finally, there is an irony to Ginsburg’s behavior. A significant aspect of the opinion she joined was that Trump’s statements rendered illegitimate what would otherwise have been a policy that did not conflict with the Establishment Clause. Yet, that is also true of Ginsburg’s behavior — her anti-Trump statements suggest the possibility that her otherwise legitimate position was motivated by anti-Trump bias.

6. In my travails in the conservative world I have discovered that many folks are terribly passionate about . . . Caddyshack. There’s a recent book out, Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story, written by Entertainment Weekly’s lead film critic, Chris Nashawaty. Mark Judge in turn reviews it for The University Bookman. From his review:

Caddyshack, despite the memories of the middle-aged men who remain its fans, is a bad movie that has not aged well. The film is a slobs-vs-snobs story set at a Florida country club. The drug references, too-broad slapstick, juvenile poop jokes, and characters like Murray’s mentally challenged groundskeeper Carl Spackler have become pop culture touchstones. Yet films of the same era that emptied the kitchen at the Drafthouse — films like Raising Arizona, Back to School, Beverly Hills CopThe Princess Bride, and Little Shop of Horrors — not to mention Tootsie, arguably the best comedy of the 80s — were and remain funny in sharp and delightful ways that Caddyshack is not.

Caddyshack is the subject of a beautifully written and even historically important book. Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story by Entertainment Weekly writer Chris Nashawaty, is about the making of Caddyshack, but also about how American comedy was changed by the counterculture in the 1960s and 70s. Caddyshack was the product of a cultural revolution in American comedy, albeit a revolution that thankfully did not completely destroy classic comedy forms as they existed before the 1960s.


Pitch counts . . . poor widdle American League pitchers having to run bases . . . the dying category of Complete Games — will the candy-arsing of the National Pastime ever cease?! Once upon a time, when men were men, they proudly accomplished things as the Milwaukee Braves’ Warren Spahn and the San Francisco Giants’ Juan Marichal did on the night of July 2, 1963. The coolio Twitter-er Baseball by BSmile was kind enough to remind us all of this amazing high-kicking duo’s performance on its 55th anniversary. The 1-0 duel (each ace hurled a complete game and faced 55 batters) went into the bottom of the 16th, only ending with Willie Mays’s solo walk-off homer. (Seven future Hall-of-Famers played that night: Marichal, Spahn, and Mays, plus Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey, and Orlando Cepeda.) Here’s a friendly photo of the two hurlers. Spahn, 42, was in the midst of his last great season (he won 23 games that year; he would retire in 1965, pitching his last game for the Giants), while Marichal, 25, was at the beginning of an amazing career. They registered 382 and 244 career complete games, respectively. But that’s what one could accomplish when Major League Baseball, once upon a time, was the sport of fierce individual competitors.

A Dios

And in July, a lemonade, to cool you in some leafy glade, I wish you health, but more than wealth, I wish you love . . . maybe it’s better if Andy Williams sings it. God’s blessings on you and those you love and cherish, and this Great Nation.

Patriotically Yours,

Jack Fowler

Hurl invectives and make your lame case for excessive relief pitching at

P.S.: Do I have to tell you to book a cabin at

National Review

Ring My Bell!


Dear Jolter,

OK, that crack wasn’t funny!

Of course we love Independence Day, whenever it falls, but really, a Wednesday?! Jeesh. Looking ahead to 2019, the holiday falls on a more-enviable Thursday, so there is a four-day weekend in the offing.

Before we get the the giganta of stuff to follow, a personal note: Mia mama, star-spangled and quite the Yankee doodle who stuck that feather in her Bronx Bombers cap and called it Marconi (her maiden name), was born on the day back in the Roosevelt administration (Franklin, not Teddy). Truth be told my grandparents were New York Giants fans (Gran once told me in particular she liked pitcher Freddie Fitzsimmons and shortstop Dick Bartell, who, pardon the non sequitur, was once traded for a guy named Pretzel Pezzullo), so I doubt there was a Yankee cap around for feather-sticking. So happy birthday Mom.

Anyway . . . what I wouldn’t do to celebrate July 4 like Jimmy Cagney did! And don’t just settle for a clip: TCM will be showing Yankee Doodle Dandy on Wednesday.

By The Way One: On Independence Day in 1957, then-senator John F. Kennedy read the entire Declaration of Independence for WQXR radio in New York. Listen if your eyes are otherwise occupied.

By The Way Two: The formal legislative instrument of our Independence, adopted on July 2, 1776, was the Lee Resolution. If you didn’t know that, now you do.


Mackerels of holiness have there ever been so many editorials, and about such a mix of despairing and non-despairing matters?! Dive in and doggie paddle through this sextet of sound, sane, and scintillating sentiments.

1. A friend to many here, conservative icon Charles Krauthammer passed away. From our editorial:

He believed in American power and the international order it had created, and had no patience for apologists for our enemies or for the gauzy clichés of supporters of “the international community.” A baseline of realism undergirded his thought, and he was equally willing to puncture the fantasies of the Left and, as necessary, the irrational enthusiasms of the Right.

Everything he wrote was characterized by his uncommon intelligence. His style matched an unsparing logic with an economy of expression that routinely produced masterpieces of lucidity and persuasion. He gave us phrases that entered the political vocabulary, e.g. “the unipolar moment” after the end of the Cold War, and his big essays on the Reagan and Bush doctrines helped define the foreign policies of those two presidents.

2. Amidst all the madness of the border immigration “crisis,” and calls for various fixes, we say: Insist on E-Verify. From the editorial:

If we want to make sure that illegal immigration is brought down and kept down — even as the American economy grows stronger — then the most important step we can take is not building a border wall or arresting illegal border crossers, with or without families. Roughly two-fifths of illegal immigrants did not cross the border illegally in the first place. They came here legally and then overstayed their visas.

The most important step is to keep illegal immigrants from having gainful employment, whichever route they took to be here illegally. We must make it possible and mandatory for employers to verify that their new hires are present in the United States legally. After all, it’s the prospect of economic advance, rather than crime or political chaos, that drives almost all illegal immigration. To get control of it — and not just at the border — we have to take away the economic incentive. The knowledge that it will be much more difficult to make money in the U.S. will serve as a humane deterrent against future illegal immigration. Moreover, mandatory verification for new hires will make it harder for existing illegal immigrants to switch jobs, so some of them will leave. In addition, the mandatory implementation of E-Verify would make it easier to prosecute employers who exploit illegal workers and depress wages for lower-income Americans.

3. SCOTUS rules (barely, 5-4) on behalf of free speech in the case (NIFLA v. Becerra) in which California tried to stick it to pro-life “crisis pregnancy” centers. We called it a “welcome blow” for the First Amendment. From the editorial:

Though the law related specifically to abortion, free speech was the fundamental issue at stake. This being so, the vote should not have been a narrow one. Alas, four of the Court’s justices were so hell-bent on promoting the manufactured right to abortion that they were prepared to jettison a real, preeminent, foundational liberty.

Justice Clarence Thomas’s majority opinion cast the case more clearly, noting that there exists no such category in America as “professional speech” and concluding that to invent one would “give the States unfettered power to reduce a group’s First Amendment rights by simply imposing a licensing requirement.” In a short concurrence, Justice Kennedy dispensed with the idea that the First Amendment is outmoded. The viewpoint discrimination inherent in the FACT Act was “a matter of serious constitutional concern,” Kennedy concluded, and the law served as “a paradigmatic example of the serious threat presented when government seeks to impose its own message in the place of individual speech, thought, and expression.”

Though this decision is worth celebrating, it’s lamentable that the Supreme Court was ever asked to consider such an obvious and malicious violation of the First Amendment. The FACT Act is perhaps the best example of the rapidly growing extremism of the abortion-rights movement — and, of course, of the intensely progressive bent of California’s state government.

EXTRA: You’ll find the decisions in favor, concurring, and dissenting here. And David French’s amicus curiae brief (echoes of his position were found in Justice Clarence Thomas’ ruling) on behalf of 41 pro-family groups can be found here.

4. And in another squeaker 5-4 ruling for the good guys, SCOTUS, in Trump v. Hawaii, got the President’s “travel ban” right. From our editorial:

Quite apart from the fact that Trump was thus acting at the apex of his authority (in an area of core presidential responsibility with sweeping statutory support), the travel restrictions were imposed only after an exhaustive process in which executive agencies responsible for visa-issuance decisions evaluated every country in the world for compliance with U.S. needs for information-sharing and risk-assessment. The majority noted that the twelve-page proclamation was more detailed with factual findings than any ever issued under the statute. The restrictions imposed were not based on nationality per se, much less religion, but on inadequacies in addressing risks. There was, in addition, a proviso that the “conditional restrictions” would remain in force only as long as the cited countries failed to address the problems identified. And, indeed, the chief justice pointed out that three countries — Iraq, Sudan, and Chad — have been removed from the list.

Under long-standing precedent, the judiciary may not second-guess the denial of a visa, even if an American citizen claims derivative harm from it, if the executive branch offers a “facially legitimate and bona fide” reason. This, coupled with the manifest care taken by the administration to tailor the travel restrictions narrowly, should have been cause for the courts to stay their hand. The lower courts did not do so, however, because of Donald Trump’s purple prose on the hustings and in the early days of his presidency, in which sensible concerns about border security and jihadist terrorism were framed in terms that could be construed as anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim. Clearly, as the barely controlled rage of Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent attests, that is why what should have been an easy decision turned into a 5–4 cliffhanger.

EXTRA: The Court’s ruling and the judges’ concurrences and dissents can be found here.

5. And in still another squeaker, but a crushing blow to the union Left, the High Court used Janus v. AFSCME to uphold the First Amendment and overturn the terrible Abood precedent that forced workers to bankroll objectionable political stands. From the editorial:

Unions generally doseek exclusive representation merely because they want the power that comes with it. As the Court explains, “Not only is the union given the exclusive right to speak for all the employees in collective bargaining, but the employer is required by state law to listen to and to bargain in good faith with only that union.” In fact, organized labor has been known to oppose legislation to expand members’-only unions precisely because they threaten this power. As James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation has written, “unions care about free-riding to the extent it justifies forced dues. They do not actually want to stop representing ‘free riders.’”

EXTRA: The Alito opinion and the Notorious Gang of Four’s dissent can be found here.

6. Tony, we’re not sorry to see you go. From the editorial:

Again and again, Kennedy made rulings that aggrandized the power of the Court and of himself as its swing justice. No justice, right or left, was more willing to substitute his judgment for that of elected officials and voters. No justice was less willing to tie himself down to clear rules or a legal philosophy that would constrain him in future cases, let alone rules or a philosophy that bore a plausible relation to the Constitution. We moved toward a system of government no Founder intended, in which his whim determined policy on a vast range of issues.


1. John J. Miller hits the milestone of his 200th The Bookmonger episode. In the newbie, he interviews NR’s former social-media czarina, Ericka Andersen, about her new book, Leaving Cloud 9. Now don’t you leave until you listen up first, which can be done here.

2. Episode 97 of The Editors is out and piping in the hotness: Rich, Charlie, Michael, and Luke discuss the latest SCOTUS decisions, the civility debate, and the most recent George Will column (Ugh). Strap on the headphones and learn a thing or three.

3. And then there is the special “Supreme Court Vacancy” episode of The Editors, with Rich and Bench Memos Lord and Master Ed Whelan discussing Anthony Kennedy’s legacy and the looming political uproar of the SCOTUS nomination battle. Oyez Oyez! Listen here.

4. On the new episode of The Great Books, JJM and Wilfred McClay discuss The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Listen to all the greatness here.

5. A busy week for Ordered Liberty. On the sorta-new “Red Hen” episode, David and Alexandra discuss the firestorm of controversy around a restaurant’s refusal to serve Sarah Huckabee Sanders, outline the dangers of directly confronting and verbally shaming Trump officials, and celebrate another Supreme Court victory for religious liberty. Learn what the cluck is going on here.

6. On a Bahnsen-AWOL episode of Radio Free California, Will Swaim is joined by Santa Ana education board member Cecilia “Ceci” Iglesias to discuss the Latino community and Golden State education — and much more. Listen and learn here.

7. But wait: Bahnsen returns! And in Episode 35 of Radio Free California, he joins Will to discuss the Janusruling and what that means for the future of California. Catch it here.

8. Bowers of flowers are blooming on the new episode of Jaywalking: Brother Nordlinger talks California, conservatism, personal responsibility, and trade — with some help from singers Al Jolson, Ella Fitzgerald, and Bryn Terfel. A sun-kist miss says listen here.

9. A new McCarthy Report episode awaits. In it, Andy and Rich discuss Paul Manafort’s impending trial, FBI agent Peter Strzok’s upcoming testimony before Congress, and recent travel ban developments. Catch it here.

10. Jonah invites Cato Institute legal scholar Ilya Shapiro back on The Remnant for some rank legal punditry: a rundown of the cases the Supreme Court decided this term and speculation about what happens to the Court now that Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring. Hear ye, hear ye. Here, ye.

Nineteen USDA Grade A, Mouth-Watering, Meaty NRO Articles into Which Your Teeth Are Yearning to Sink

1. Mex-hico what the heckico: A powerful Victor Davis Hanson column about what went and goes wrong, south of the border. From his piece:

Facts are stubborn and reveal Mexico, not the United States, as a de facto aggressor and belligerent on many fronts. Mexico runs a NAFTA-protected $70 billion trade surplus with the U.S., larger than that of any other single American trade partner (including Japan and Germany) except China. The architects of NAFTA long ago assured Americans that such a trade war would not break out, or that we should not worry over trade imbalances, given the desirability of outsourcing to take advantage of Mexico’s cheaper labor costs.

A supposedly affluent Mexico was supposed to achieve near parity with the U.S., as immigration and trade soon neutralized. Despite Mexico’s economic growth, no such symmetry has followed NAFTA. What did, however, 34 years later, was the establishment of a dysfunctional Mexican state, whose drug cartels all but run the country on the basis of their enormous profits from unfettered dope-running and human-trafficking into the United States. NAFTA certainly did not make Mexico a safer, kinder, and gentler nation.

In addition, Mexican citizens who enter and reside as illegal immigrants in the U.S. are mostly responsible for sending an approximate $30 billion in remittances home to Mexico. That sum has now surpassed oil and tourism as the largest source of Mexican foreign exchange. That huge cash influx is the concrete reality behind Obrador’s otherwise unhinged rhetoric about exercising veto power over U.S. immigration law.

2. Andy McCarthy eye rolls about the latest contortion from Congressman Trey Gowdy over FBI and DOJ bias against Donald Trump. From his piece:

This week, Gowdy did a 180: back on the warpath, slamming the politically biased Feebs over “prejudging” the outcomes of the Clinton-emails and Trump-Russia investigations and delivering a chest-beating vow that the House would “use its full arsenal of constitutional weapons to get compliance” with its subpoenas — a threat that includes holding recalcitrant FBI and DOJ officials in contempt.


If I seem frustrated by Representative Gowdy, it is the frustration of an admirer. He is singular among lawmakers in his ability to ask piercing questions and drive home important points. But often there is little follow-through after a hearing’s highlight reel, and some of the scintillating rhetoric is, well, extravagant. The House is most certainly not going to use its “full arsenal of constitutional weapons” to pressure stonewalling agencies.

3. First off, dear friend Mona Charen has a new book out: Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense. Second off, she has a big essay on NRO hitting the book’s themes. From Mona’s piece:

Sadly, among women high-school dropouts, 57 percent of births are non-marital. That compares with only 9 percent among college graduates. This is the key to growing inequality. Single mothers cannot afford the luxury of part-time work. They live one illness, one crime, one missed rent payment from disaster. America holds the dubious distinction of leading the world in chaotic adult relationships. Forty percent of American children will see their parents’ arrangement — whether marriage or living together — dissolve by the time they reach their 15th birthday. Forty-seven percent will see a new partner enter their home within three years of their parents’ separation, which is associated with even poorer outcomes for children than living with a single parent. Among cohabiting couples, the breakup rate is 55 percent after five years, the highest among OECD countries.

Perhaps due to feminism, or unquestioning attachment to the sexual revolution, or the deep-seated American reverence for freedom, we are reluctant to confront the price of neglecting duty and commitment. Consider what works: Among married African Americans, the poverty rate is 8 percent, or half the national rate. Among black single mothers, 46 percent live in poverty. The ratios are similar for other ethnic groups.

4. Jonah Goldberg bemoans the push to have politics fill the hole in society’s soul. From his new column:

It’s not merely that lifestyles are being politicized, but that politics is becoming a lifestyle.

Partisans are convinced that the answer to our woes lies in total victory over the other. This is disastrous, because the embrace of partisan identity exacerbates the problem, and because our government was never designed to fill the holes in our souls.

5. Intern Liam Warner takes a step backs and looks at the Jordan Peterson hullaballooing and sees that the effort (his and others’) to address the “crisis of meaning” is hurt by an obvious God deficiency. From the piece:

Oren Harman, a professor of the history of science, instead advises us to revive the mythological sense that gave rise to religion in the first place. This is the project of his new book, Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World. He aims to fashion modern scientific ideas such as the multiverse and natural selection into stories that can “help us live more comfortably with the uncertainty of wonder.”

If you suspected that this enterprise would turn out fatuous and lame, you were correct. The so-called myths are an irritating mixture of anthropomorphism and oversimplification. The prose style is intolerable, chiefly for compulsive overuse of the melodramatic terse-sentence-as-its-own-paragraph. Stories that are supposed to be replacing Virgil and the Psalms ought to demonstrate more literary merit than an infomercial for a blender. That such sophisticates as Professor Stephen Greenblatt, the world’s leading Shakespeare scholar, can call Evolutions a “revelatory restoration of wonder” is downright disturbing, unless he means something along the lines of “I wonder what else this publisher will buy.”

6. SCOTUS One: Big Ed Whelan gives a NIFLA v. Becerra verdict run-down at the esteemed Bench Memos blog. Get briefed here.

7. SCOTUS Two: In its Travel Ban ruling, the High Court (five members at least) was merely upholding the law as written by Congress, writes David French. From his piece:

Critics are already decrying the decision, talking about how in the “real world,” rather than the “debating parlor” of the Supreme Court, it’s motivated by nothing but anti-Muslim animus. No one can doubt Trump’s statements were absurd, extreme, and malicious. But the policy here is focused and targeted, and it leaves untouched the vast majority of Muslim believers across the world. Under the critics’ preferred doctrine, this president and future presidents would be hamstrung in promulgating facially neutral policies aimed even at enemynations if a collection of justices subjectively determined that his or her heart was not right.

8. SCOTUS Three: Janus presents the teachers’ unions with a real opportunity, writes Jeanne Allen. Fat chance if they notice it. From her piece:

The teachers’ unions may decry the ruling, but they would do well to look beyond the financial loss that it will entail and see the opportunity that it presents — the opportunity to secure support for their work based not on coercion, but on voluntary support from those who truly believe in the ideas, actions, and pronouncements of organized labor. They might also take this opportunity to abandon their entrenched stance against all things reform and embrace the cause of improving education for parents seeking new opportunities for their children.

RELATED: Max Eden sees Janus instigating collaboration between conservatives and teachers’ unions.

9. SCOTUS Four: Well, well, well it seems that after all these Supreme Court openings are important. In fact, their political ramifications are . . . immense! David French opines on the Kennedy retirement. From his piece:


If Trump holds firm to his promise to choose his next justice from the list he put forward last November, the Supreme Court will be dominated by a core of five largely originalist justices, and the next two oldest judges are both progressive. Justice Ginsburg is 85, and Justice Breyer turns 80 in August. It may be quite some time before a president will have the opportunity to so clearly and decisively impact the judicial philosophy of the Court. In the meantime, that means that originalists may well have a golden opportunity to reset our jurisprudence to align more with the words and meaning of the Constitution. It’s too much (perhaps) to argue that Roecould fall, but one can easily imagine the Court granting greater autonomy to state governments to regulate abortion providers. One can also imagine more robust protections for free speech and religious liberty, greater protection for the right to keep and bear arms, and further inroads against the unconstitutional administrative state.

10. The call by “woke” libertarians and leftists for a borderless, welfare-state nation is a call for massive internationalism. Fred Bauer connects the dots on “post-national egalitarianism” in this excellent piece, from which comes this slice:

If one of the premises of the free movement of people is that government should not be prejudiced against an individual for things behind his control (such as place of birth), it seems pretty clear that it would be unfair to limit redistribution only to those who immigrate to the United States. Plenty of things outside an individual’s control might prevent him from immigrating to the United States or make it harder for him to immigrate. For instance, by geography alone, it is much easier for someone from Mexico to immigrate than it is for someone from the Solomon Islands, and Mexico is a much wealthier country than the Solomon Islands. A very ill person might have a much harder time immigrating than someone in perfect health. Allowing international redistribution primarily through immigration would in turn end up favoring one group over another according to certain arbitrary standards (such as geographic proximity, personal health, and family connections).

As has been implied above, internationalizing the welfare state need not be sudden. Rather than calling for the end of entitlements, advocates for universal egalitarianism might instead call for means-testing them, with the savings rolled into international aid. They might also stop spending any political capital on new income-support programs for Americans and instead fight to increase international-aid spending.

11. Heather Wilhelm imagines a world without social media.

12. A few weeks back we called on controversy-immersed Scott Pruitt to step down. His pal (and ours) Cleta Mitchell gives NRand the editorial what for. From her response defending the EPA Administrator:

The attacks against Scott Pruitt are a pretext for what the Left is really angry about: President Trump’s election and his subsequent naming of Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator — and the remarkable job Pruitt is doing on policy matters at the EPA. He is wresting control of this taxpayer-funded agency from the clutches of the environmental activists and groups that have taken as given that the agency belongs to them rather than the American people.

As Scott Pruitt fights the battle to restore environmental common sense and the rule of law to the EPA, those who hate such ideas are treating all of us to a full display of how they fight. They rail against the substance, to be sure, but they are also skilled in the art of character assassinations — and that’s what is driving the narrative against Pruitt, as they hope that their sworn enemy can be toppled by their relentless attacks. The Left knows how to use the media and various government “ethics” officials and agencies to wage their wars, and that is exactly what they are doing to Scott Pruitt.

13. George Will, denigrator of Whittaker Chambers and Billy Graham, gets no plaudits in this weekly epistle, for those and other reasons. Such as this recent column urging voters to turn against the GOP in November. About that: I find Dan McLaughlin is too gentlemanly in his detailed rebuttal. From his take:

And what of executive powers? On one very important topic — trade — the Republican Congress has indeed been cowed into shameful inaction when they ought to be restraining Trump from economically ruinous tariffs. Would Democrats do better? Previous Democratic Congresses have tried to hobble free-trade agreements by imposing labor and environmental standards on our trading partners, and the Bernie Sanders movement was nearly as hostile to trade agreements as Trump is. The prospect of bipartisan action that effectively constrains Trump on trade is far from assured even with the Democrats in charge.

Would Democrats improve the integrity of government? One of the poster boys for ethical problems in the Trump administration is EPA head Scott Pruitt, who has been embroiled in an endless series of controversies over remarkably petty perks he has squeezed out of his department and the people who do business with it. Pruitt’s case is most remarkably similar to that of Mike Espy, Bill Clinton’s agriculture secretary, who was ultimately indicted but acquitted by a sympathetic jury for receiving football tickets, a car lease, and luxury-hotel stays — more or less the same sort of thing. Where is Mike Espy today? He’s running as a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Mississippi. If you followed George Will’s advice, you’d vote for him.

14. The border-immigration controversies have sparked Lefty call-’em-Nazis derangement. In his new column, Dennis Prager goes after some of the blathering fools who have trivialized the Holocaust. From his piece:

By contrast, Jewish children separated from their parents by Nazi guards were sent to gas chambers to die a gruesome, painful death by their lungs being filled with poisonous gas. And their parents almost always eventually suffered the same fate unless they were worked, starved, or tortured to death.

Comparing the two is not only a trivialization of the Holocaust; it is actually a form of Holocaust denial.

If Jewish children were treated by the Nazis the same way Central American children have been by America, then everything we know about the Holocaust would be false. Jewish children weren’t subjected to torturous medical experimentation, and they weren’t gassed and cremated. They were simply separated from their Jewish parents for a finite period of time, sent to stay with Jewish relatives or provided for by foster families while their parents were detained pending due-process legal proceedings. According to Donny Deutsch, Michael Hayden, and all the leftists comparing America and Trump to the Nazis, Jewish children weren’t gassed; they played soccer while waiting to be reunited with their parents.

15. As to why journalists think the First Amendment is a law banning the mockery of the Fifth Estate, especially by The Donald, Kyle Smith explains in this excellent piece, from whence comes this excerpt:

Even President George W. Bush did more damage to the First Amendment than Trump ever will when he signed the single most pernicious threat to it that has arisen in recent decades — the McCain-Feingold law that gave the federal government the power to ban political books and movies. Not only were the leading journalistic outlets sanguine about this, when it came to the Citizens Uniteddecision that struck down aspects of the law, they loudly supported the forces of censorship, not the First Amendment. The media are therefore (much) more dangerous opponents of the First Amendment than is the president they despise.

16. How can you not read an article titled The ‘Mustard Seed’ that Liberated Spanish Christians from Islamic Rule? From the piece by Raymond Ibrahim about events on the Iberian peninsula in 722 A.D.:

Contrary to the claim that Spain capitulated easily, that it reasoned that Muslim rule was no worse and possibly more lenient than that of the Visigoths, even Muslim chroniclers note how “the Christians defended themselves with the utmost vigor and resolution, and great was the havoc that they made in the ranks of the faithful.” In Córdoba, for example, a number of leading Visigoths and their people holed themselves up in a church. Although “the besieged had no hopes of deliverance, they were so obstinate that when safety was offered to them on condition either of embracing Islam, or paying jizya, they refused to surrender, and the church being set on fire, they all perished in the flames,” wrote al-Maqqari, adding that the ruins of this church became a place of “great veneration” for later generations of Spaniards because “of the courage and endurance displayed in the cause of their religion by the people who died in it.”

In the end, native Spaniards had two choices: acquiesce to Muslim rule or “flee to the mountains, where they risked hunger and various forms of death,” according to an early Christian chronicler.

17. More Spain: The Inquisition obviously needs a new P.R. agent — it may not have been as bad as you’ve been told. Ed Condon files a most interesting and detailed account of those little-understood court methods of 15th century Madrid and Toledo.

18. Intern Christian Gonzalez reviews Patrick Deneen’s “Why Liberalism Failed” and finds in many ways the book itself fails. From his essay/review:

While Deneen effusively praises the ancient forms of political philosophy, singling out especially the Greek cultivation of Aristotelian virtue, he largely elides the troublesome aspects of ancient Greek society — in particular its approval of slavery, its unbelievably cruel and at times genocidal wars (Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War is not an easy read), and its indifference to the condition of women. A fastidious reader might be willing to forgive these omissions ifDeneen gave due credit to liberalism’s triumphs. He does no such thing; rather, he dons horse-blinders and laments the defeat of ancient political theory without making any concessions. Of course, he is under no obligation to endorse liberalism despite its having separated church from state, contributed to slavery’s abolition, expanded democratic freedoms, secured private property, and legally emancipated minorities and women. But he certainly should feel compelled to acknowledgethese great instances of moral progress before attempting to draw contrasts between modern vices and ancient virtues.

19. Washington Post columnist Max Boot tried to justify Harvard’s practice of de facto discrimination against Asian-American applicants. Ramesh Ponnuru is having none of it. From his piece:

First, he says that admissions should not be based on grades and test scores alone. “You don’t necessarily want a student body made up entirely of bookworms . . .” This point is often made in defense of race-conscious admissions policies, but it always seems to me to be an attack on a strawman. Who argues that colleges should ignore musical talent, charitable works, or athletic ability? And where’s the evidence that positive non-academic qualities are generally correlated with race? From the proposition that not all students should be bookworms, it does not follow that therefore colleges should put a thumb on the scale for whites over Asians and for blacks and Hispanics over whites. But that logic would have to be valid for Boot’s argument to be pertinent to the controversy.

BONUS: I am among the many who love Jay Nordlinger’s travel journals. This week he treats us to his notes from a recent trip to Japan. In Part One, Jay is traipsing around and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of Tokyo, and then in the sequel, he bullet-trains to Kyoto, the most archetypally Japanese of all her cities.

The Six

1. For the record, here is a PDF of the amicus curiae brief David French authored on behalf of 41 “family policy” organizations in NIFLA v. Becerra.

2. Canada’s jihadi infantilization project continues at full gallop. At Gatestone Institute, Judith Bergman tells the painful story. From her piece:

The Canadian government is willing to go to great (and presumably costly) lengths to “facilitate” the return of Canadian jihadists, unlike the UK, for example, which has revokedthe citizenship of ISIS fighters so they cannot return. The Canadian government has established a taskforce, the High Risk Returnee Interdepartmental Taskforce, that, accordingto government documents:

“. . . allows us to collectively identify what measures can mitigate the threat these individuals may pose during their return to Canada. This could include sending officers overseas to collect evidence before they depart, or their detention by police upon arrival in Canada.”

Undercover officers may also be used “to engage with the HRT [High Risk Traveler] to collect evidence, or monitor them during their flight home.”

In the sanitizing Orwellian newspeak employed by the Canadian government, the terrorists are not jihadis who left Canada to commit the most heinous crimes, such as torture, rape and murder, while fighting for ISIS in Syria and Iraq, but “High Risk Travelers” and “High Risk Returnees.”

3. At The University Bookman, Matthew Stokes reviews Zero Hour for Gen X: How the Last Adult Generation Can Save America from Millenials, Matthew Hennessey’s forthcoming book. From the review:

The millennials pose a very real problem for Hennessey, and technology is at the root of that problem. Sure, there are the issues with helicopter parenting and high-strung demands for validation, but the core problems with millennials revolve around their connectedness to the internet of things. In happily attaching themselves in such a manner, millennials have gleefully given up notions of privacy. There are no closed spheres anymore, and everything from dating to professional accomplishments are now publicly displayed in a manner heretofore unknown. Millennial overdependence on technology has left them strikingly ignorant on any number of topics necessary for good citizenship, while years of affirmation and self-esteem boosting have left them unable to accept there may in fact be a lot that they don’t know. Making matters worse, according to Hennessey, is the tendency of companies and startups to favor young employees at the expense of older ones, locking all of us in a vicious cycle at the mercy of millennials.

4. My old NR colleague Prof. Rich Samuleson cranks out the wisdom for Law and Liberty on the Constitution with an essay on “Madison’s Originalism.” From the piece:

How, then, to change the Constitution? Amend it. It is no coincidence that Madison urged, in his last act as President, amendment of the Constitution so as to add necessary powers that were not in the original grant.

The Madisonian view of the subject is not the only one, but there is a powerful logic to it, one that the votaries of the “living constitution” have quite successfully obscured. Many scholars seem to think that amendments are, somehow, a rejection of originalism. A few years ago, a very senior and distinguished colleague mocked originalists for blindly revering the Founders and for having no space for the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments in their view of the Constitution. Originalism, of course, is based upon the view that the proper way to change the constitution is to amend it.

5. The National Association of Scholars recently put out a report, The Irreproducibility Crisis of Modern Science: Causes, Consequences, and the Road to Reform, that is a must-read for anyone concerned with the politicization of science and the monkey-business rigging of “data” to achieve desired results. From the report’s preface by NAS president Peter Wood:

This report deals with an epistemic problem, which is most visible in the large numbers of articles in reputable peer-reviewed journals in the sciences that have turned out to be invalid or highly questionable. Findings from experimental work or observational studies turn out, time and again, to be irreproducible. The high rates of irreproducibility are an ongoing scandal that rightly has upset a large portion of the scientific community. Estimates of what percentage of published articles present irreproducible results vary by discipline. Randall and Welser cite various studies, some of them truly alarming. A 2012 study, for example, aimed at reproducing the results of 53 landmark studies in hematology and oncology, but succeeded in replicating only six (11 percent) of those studies.

Irreproducibility can stem from several causes, chief among them fraud and incompetence. The two are not always easily distinguished, but The Irreproducibility Crisis deals mainly with the kinds of incompetence that mar the analysis of data and that lead to insupportable conclusions. Fraud, however, is also a factor to be weighed.

Actual fraud on the part of researchers appears to be a growing problem. Why do scientists take the risk of making things up when, over the long term, it is almost certain that the fraud will be detected? No doubt in some cases the researchers are engaged in wishful thinking. Even if their research does not support their hypothesis, they imagine the hypothesis will eventually be vindicated, and publishing a fictitious claim now will help sustain the research long enough to vindicate the original idea. Perhaps that is what happened in the recent notorious case of postdoc Oona Lönnstedt at Uppsala University. She and her supervisor, Peter Eklöv, published a paper in Science in June 2016, warning of the dangers of microplastic particles in the ocean. The microplastics, they reported, endangered fish. It turns out that Lönnstedt never performed the research that she and Eklöv reported.

6. At City Journal, Joel Kotkin reports from Normandy, where he attended a conference on the state of democracy. There were plenty of big brains on hand, most sporting very glum faces. From the piece:

That order is now unraveling. Americans in the Donald Trump era have grown weary of carrying the defense burden, particularly for wealthy Germany (a complaint, incidentally, also voiced by President Obama). More important still has been President Trump’s critique of Europe’s cozy trade and monetary arrangements, which keep German products artificially cheap and allow for mass subsidization of industries and agriculture. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross points out that our leading trading partners have long imposed higher tariffs on incoming U.S. goods than what we levy on their exports.

With its ties to America fraying, Europeans, including those on the right, expressed frustration over a world where the big deals are now struck not with Europeans, but between America, China, and Russia. “We thought we were at the vanguard of the world,” conceded former French foreign minister Hubert Vedrine, “but we have become fragile on the inside.” The picture that emerged in Normandy was of a continent that has lost the will to do anything more than theorize and make broad statements. Americans, Chinese, and Russians, noted philosopher Pierre Manent, know how “to use their power.” Europeans, he added, “only wish for things.”

Most conference participants were from the center-right, but they did not regard President Trump highly. Figaro senior reporter Laure Mandeville noted that Europeans were not sure whether Trump was “the cause of evil or just the reflection of it.” Yet, as she and others acknowledged, Trump is not the cause of European demographic (one-third of the EU’s leaders are childless) and economic torpor. Few made a direct connection between the weakness of the European economy and the rise of nationalist and populist movements across the continent. Half of Europeans think that future generations will live worse than today’s, while only one-quarter believe that things will improve, which does much to  explain why Europe’s center-right and center-left parties are contracting, while populist-right governments predominate in Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Italy. Nationalist movements are also ascendant in once reliably progressive strongholds of Germany, Holland, Sweden, and Finland. Some of these factions openly embrace the notion of “illiberal democracy,” which contradicts Tocquevillian notions of ordered liberty.

BONUS: Do not for a moment think that public-sector union bosses are rolling over because of Janus. Get ready for the hand-to-hand combat. At California Policy Center, once again Ed Ring provides critical analysis. From his piece:

The political power of public sector unions in California and other blue states is almost impossible to overstate. Returning governance to elected officials by rolling back the power of these unions will be a long and difficult fight. The highly visible steps the unions are taking or testing — the direct payment alternative, contracts that temporarily or permanently waive an employee’s right to free speech, forced dues for up to one year after opting-out — can be challenged in court. They may also be politically unpopular — direct payments in particular would be a hard sell to voters.

The more subtle ways unions are buttressing their power in the post Janus environment may be harder to stop, and collectively create daunting barriers to reform. Examples including denying right-to-work and pro-free-speech groups access to public employees, forbidding employers to discuss pros and cons of unionization, mandatory new employee “orientations” with union membership commitments filled with fine print and buried in multiple documents requiring a signature, handing dispute resolutions over to the union-packed PERB instead of the courts, broadening the base of employees eligible to join the unions.

Four Articles from the New Issue of National Review

I should say the “recent” NR (July 9, 2018 cover date) . . . and commence the flogging for my failure to promote it in the previous edition of WJ. But here you go, much better late than never.

1. If you think “fake news” is a problem, and so are the fixes, Andrew Stuttaford warns all in The Propagandist and the Censor.

2. The cover story by Nick Eberstadt scored it a Kim win in Singapore.

3. Michael Hendrix thinks Silicon Valley should disperse. From his piece, Go Midwest, Young Techie:

By investing so much in Washington, D.C., Silicon Valley risks doubling down on its main problem: working in a gilded bubble that is increasingly distinct from the rest of the world it claims to reach. Lived experience shapes the life and death of great ideas, yet coastal elites come from increasingly small circles of education, employment, and economic status. There is a limit to the number of tech-enabled services one can build on the same business model: providing to prosperous young knowledge workers what Mom once did for them, whether it is Rinse for laundry, Seamless for lunch, or Uber for a ride. If start-up formation is down, maybe it’s because Silicon Valley has simply run out of new ideas.

So why not move? By locating in emerging tech hubs outside Silicon Valley, leading venture capitalists could gain a measure of protection against changing politics. In an earlier era, the military and its industrial complex mitigated political risk by opening bases and plants in congressional districts across the country. Moving could also serve as a form of patriotic economic development if it meant investing in “comeback cities” of the Heartland such as Detroit, St. Louis, or Youngstown.

4. 100 years ago this summer, Eddie Rickenbacker was flying a Nieuport 28 biplane and dispatching German Fokkers from the skies over France. The Ace of Aces was a true and great American hero, the subject of a wonderful profile by John J. Miller.

What Do You Mean, ‘I Can’t Access Those NR Pieces’?

Why don’t you simply subscribe to NRPLUS, which is a very good thing, and an exceptional way to receive and enjoy all NR content (and groovy member benefits). Heck, if this wasn’t worth your while we’d have called it NRMINUS. But that’s not what we call it, is it? Find out more and subscribe to NRPLUS here.

Eye Candy

1. Ericka Andersen, author of Leaving Cloud 9: The True Story of a Life Resurrected from the Abuse of Poverty, Trauma, and Mental Illness,visited the Heritage Foundation last week to discuss her new book. Watch her presentation here.

2. Soviet tactics, media-wise, are the subject of the new Prager U video, hosted by James O’Keefe. Watch it here.

3. Margaret Hoover, on the new episode of Firing Line, interviews Ohio governor John Kasich about what it means to be a conservative in the Age of Trump. Watch it here.

4. Margaret appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to discuss Firing Line and the Buckley legacy. Let’s go to the videotape.

5. The Federalist Society explains the Trump “travel ban.” Be informed here.

6. A recent and worthwhile episode of The College Fix’s “Campus Roundup” checks out the war on white authors. Watch it here.

7. Not-Too-Oldies-But-Goodies: Last year Peter Robinson taped a two-part Uncommon Knowledge with Victor Davis Hanson about his amazing book, The Second World Wars. You can watch Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

8. Maybe this was an attempt by Turner Classic Movies to mellow relations with our northern brothers? Whatever the reason, earlier this past week, TCM broadcast the sometimes hammy, often grand, beautifully filmed, patriotism-charged you-gotta-watch-it Canadian WW2 film, 49th Parallel.

9. How your Fourth of July fireworks are made.


From Days of Yore, it’s hard to imagine a more troubled fan than that of the Philadelphia Phillies (unofficially dubbed the “Blue Jays” from 1943 to 1949). From 1918 to 1949, the franchise had but one measly season performing .500 or better (1932, when they went 78-76). In twelve of those seasons they lost over 100 games, and during one ten-year period (1936 through 1945) the record was 511-1016, for a dismal .335 winning percentage. The team’s workhorse “ace” pitcher in the late 30s was the unfortunate Ed Mulcahy. He bore one of the worst nicknames in baseball history: “Losing Pitcher.” By the way, about those troubled fans: There weren’t many of them. On the final day of their 1938 season, which saw a pitiable total attendance of 161,111, the Phillies dropped a doubleheader to the Brooklyn Dodgers. A mere 500 fans saw losses 104 and 105.

To the Editor

In last weekend’s Jolt I recommended Stephen Klugewicz’s essay, A Requiem for Manners, from The Imaginative Conservative. Devoted reader Randall from Oklahoma, a retired Army Major, was not a fan of the piece (“It smacks of neo-Confederatism”) and wrote Yours Truly a response, which I provide here:

Stephen Klugewicz’s essay is a bit too much for me, starting with the lead-in story about Lee’s surrender to Grant. According to Klugewicz, Lee is the great man, of wealth, tradition, and good manners. Grant is the grubby failure who only made something of himself by leading armies that had overwhelming advantages of men and material.

It smacks of neo-Confederatism. Klugewicz implies the Old South was a land of noble gentlemen and virtuous ladies, and the happy, benevolently cared-for slaves worked in the fields, while they sang by the light of the moon. Because Lee had wealth (through his marriage) and manners (thanks to his mother and the wealthy relatives she mooched off of), no mention of his valiant efforts on behalf of a slaveholder society are mentioned. Seemingly, they do not matter.

And, were Mr. Klugewicz here, I would ask him why Grant’s accomplishment is so meager, how it was that George McClellan, Henry Halleck, Ambrose Burnside, Joe Hooker, George Meade, and others Union generals hadn’t been able to defeat Lee and bring the war to a successful end even though they also had those advantages that enabled Grant to win.

I’m a lifelong conservative and was reading National Review as far back as 1970. But nostalgia for a superficially glorious, but actually hideously immoral, Old South because the cream of society had good manners is not anything like what conservatism means to me.

A Dios

Our freedom as Americans was promulgated with “a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,” per the Founders, who wrapped up the historic proclamation thusly: “We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” Wow. God bless their souls, and yours too, and those of all you hold dear.


Jack Fowler

Stalk-able at

P.S.: About ringing my bell . . . Anita Ward makes the case here. Hmmm, I don’t think it has much to do with the big broken metal “Liberty” thing in Philadelphia.

P.P.S.: Stop telling me that you want to come on an NR cruise. Actually DO IT! Sign up for NR’s 2018 Buckley Legacy Conservative Cruises (scheduled to sail the balmy waters of the Eastern Caribbean on Holland America Line’s MS Oosterdam from December 1-8) at

National Review

Shall I Compare Thee to A Summer’s Day?


Dear Jolters,

Well, shall I? Great — you are a summer’s day, and not one of those high-humidity ones. Nope, a frolicking hubba hubba one! A breezy, sunny, sandy-beachy, no-horse-flies, double-scoop sprinkle-dipped ice-cream-cone-ish kind of summer day. Now you try to enjoy it because, as Stratford Willie allegedly said, its lease hath all too short a date.

I’m filing this early (on the solstice, Thursday) because on Friday I’ll be in Boston for Michael Potemra’s funeral Mass. Please remember him in your prayers, and those who knew him please keep him in your memory so that his eternal summer never fades.

My apologies in advance if I miss late-week editorials and podcasts (e.g.: Jonah will likely be uploading a new Remnant). The meas having been culpa’d, now let’s head south of the border, down Mexico way. . .


1. “Family Separation One”: NR says Congress can act and make it possible for families to remain together while their cases are adjudicated. From the editorial:

This is an insane way to run an immigration system and starkly pits humanitarian concerns against enforcement. It’s easy to condemn the separations at the border — they are indeed wrenching and appear to be overwhelming an already taxed system. But most critics don’t grapple with the fact that the administration literally doesn’t have the option of holding parents and kids together for more than a few weeks, which isn’t long enough to resolve an asylum claim.

Congress needs to address all this. It should give the executive the authority to hold kids longer than mandated in the Flores decree; fix provisions in a well-intentioned anti-trafficking law that make it difficult to quickly deport Central American minors; appropriate funds for more detention space, especially family space; and hire more immigration judges and do everything possible to expedite the asylum process. (Attorney General Sessions took a step in the right direction by making it clear asylum isn’t for people fleeing general disorder or abusive relationships — it’d be even better if all asylum seekers had to apply at our consulates abroad or at ports of entry.)

2. The long-awaiting DOJ Inspector General’s reportshows, we charge, that there was plenty of bias in the FBI’s Clinton-emails investigation. From the editorial:

Yet despite marshaling this damning proof of bias, Horowitz spends much of his report discounting it with respect to individual investigative decisions. His approach obscures more than it illuminates. The IG says it is not his burden to second-guess “discretionary” investigative decisions unless they were irrational. Thus, even if agents exhibited bias, he presumes that such decisions as granting immunity, declining to seek relevant evidence, or forgoing subpoenas are defensible as long as some government policy arguably supports them — even if other, better options were available. FBI director Christopher Wray has pounced on this, disingenuously arguing that the IG “did not find any evidence of political bias or improper considerations impacting the investigation.” It is a misleading comment: The IG found overwhelming evidence of bias and merely withheld judgment on whether it affected the investigation at key points.

3. Speaking of bias, if you’re an Asian-American applying to Harvard University, you’re likely to experience it in the admission’s process. From our editorial decrying the practice:

Evidence shows the discrimination happens along two lines. First, Harvard evaluates applicants according to a “holistic” process that considers, in addition to their academic, extracurricular, and athletic achievements, “personal” qualities: whether they have demonstrated “humor, sensitivity, grit, leadership,” etc. Asian Americans consistently rank below others on the personality metric, despite the fact that admissions officials never meet most applicants. The internal review showed that Asian Americans were the only demographic group to suffer negative effects from the subjective portion of the evaluation. Second, even after the subjective criteria are taken into account, the university tips the scales further by adjusting for “demographics.” The specifics of this adjustment have been redacted by the university, but the review found that the share of admitted Asian students fell from 26 percent to 18 percent after it was made.

Related: See Rich Lowry’s new columnlambasting Harvard for this “ongoing micoraggression.”

Yeah, Ahm Tawkin’ ta You

Someone snitched to NRI and said that I was the one who left the dirty mugs in the sink, so now, unless I do their bidding, they’re going to make me wash everyone’s dishes. Every day! I knuckled under. The latest demand is that I share the following with WJ readers.

It goes like this: NRI is seeking Regional Fellows applicants in Dallas and San Francisco. What the heck does that mean? Well, first off, the Regional Fellows Program— based in various major U.S. cities — is this hyper-groovy undertaking providing select conservatives with a deeper understanding of the foundations of conservative thought. Yeah, it’s like a college seminar, only fun. Every year, right about now, NRI begins the process to seek applicants for Fall 2018 RFPs (scheduled forDallas and San Francisco). Who should apply? The ideal applicant will be a mid-career professional with an interest — but not professional experience — in policy or journalism.

Past Fellows have represented diverse industries and professions. The program takes place over eight moderated dinner discussions (yes, the food is typically very good and there is vino). The 2018 program will run from September to November. Moderators include popular NR writers and leading academics at local universities. The rewards of participating are plentiful and last a lifetime. The deadline to apply is July 15. Do that here. And if you don’t live in one of the two program cities, but know folks who do and who might be NRI fellow material, please share this with them.

What’s Better Than One?

Two. So that means on Fox News Sunday, both Rich Lowry and Andy McCarthy will be panelists. Keep NR the Sabbath!


1. Betcha didn’t know that Laura Ingalls Wilder was a subscriber to NR in its earliest years? Now you do! Anyway . . . on the new episode of The Great Books, Hillsdale College’s Dedra Birzer joins host John J. Miller to discuss The Little House on the Prairie series. Be good boys and girls and listen here.

2. And then on The Bookmonger, Ed Husain, author of the new book The House of Islam: A Global History, joins JJM. Get educated here.

3. After a hazy and siren-filled two-week hiatus, Big Bad Scot and Jumpin’ Jive Jeff thump out a new episode of Political Beats, this edition featuring Chris Scalia (co-editor, along with Bench Memos maestro Ed Whelan, of Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life). The band on tap: Cheap Trick. Dig it here.

4. The previous WJ was making its way through the NRO pneumatic tubery like Augustus Gloop when the then-latest episode (#45) of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg, featuring Steve Hayes, burst upon the NRO scene. Catch up with it here.

5. So Gavin Newsom has a “Marshall Plan” for California. God save us! Will Swaim and David Bahnsen look at that on the new episode of Radio Free California, as well as a state court decision to allow assisted suicide; a November proposition to split California into three states; Berkeley’s declaration that climate change is worse than World War II; and a new state law that will leave you feeling so dirty. Get some Golden State between your ears here.

6. There’s a new Ordered Liberty awaiting your headphones: David and Alexandra take a deep dive into “family separation” — explaining the law, analyzing the politics, and discussing potential solutions — and then serve up a rant about pro-choice rhetoric and a tribute to actor Chris Pratt. Pay heed here.

7. The new episode of The Editors features Rich, Charlie, Jonah, and Luke dissecting FBI fumbles and border blunders. It’s right here for your listening pleasure.

8. On The McCarthy Report, Rich and Andy deep dive into the IG report. Be attentive here.

9. Erica Komisar knows the best path for kids to follow in order to grow up to be stable and successful adults. So it should come as no surprise that she is the guest on a most-listenable episode of Reality Check with Jeanne Allen. Catch the wisdom here.

10. The Janus decision will be dropping any day now, so in an extra Reality Check episode, Jeanne talks with SCOTUS petitioner Mark Janus’s attorney, Jacob Huebert of the Liberty Justice Center, about the potential outcomes and their various impacts on teachers and education. Listen here.

WAIT! Just minutes before going off the radar I located the newest episode of The Remnant, with Jonah interviewing political strategist / egghead Luke Thompson about that thing that gets crunched: Data. And much more. Insert the ear buds and listen here.

Send All of Them to a Movie and Dinner So That Way You Can Enjoy These Twenty NR Gems in Peace and Quiet

1. Some political advice for the GOP from free-trader Edward Conard: Don’t ignore the concerns of blue-collar workers. Or else, free trade might just go kaput. From his piece:

Support for free enterprise has always been fragile. Free-market Republicans must recognize they can’t build a winning coalition without the president’s supporters. In our two-party democracy, agendas without winning coalitions are largely irrelevant.

Dismissing President Trump’s supporters as racist, antiestablishment, or lemmings of polarized media trivializes their concerns and deflects attention from their agenda. His supporters view criticism of the president as self-serving, undermining their leader’s effectiveness, and subordinating their objectives to other priorities — the very fear of these previously underrepresented voters. Whether the criticism is valid or not, the president’s supporters won’t vote for it. If free-market Republicans want to regain the trust of the president’s supporters and influence the GOP by wielding electoral muscle, they need to address these voters’ concerns.

2. Just what is Kim gunning for? Jack David contends, like Dictator father, Dictator son. The goal remains conquering South Korea. From his analysis:

Rather than analyzing what the North nowmeans by “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” we should identify why the Kim family regime developed nuclear weapons in the first place and advanced its ability to manufacture and deliver them in the ensuing years. North Korea developed nuclear weapons because it saw them as essential to the goal of the Kim family business, which is conquest and reunification with South Korea. As the adage says, “actions speak louder than words.” North Korea’s actions demonstrate that the Kim family business has made no change to that goal.

North Korea still maintains a military force of more than a million. It still maintains huge secret tunnels under the Demilitarized Zone that would enable its military to rapidly invade South Korea. It still maintains a cache of chemical weapons. The North also maintains prodigious artillery in the hills and mountains facing south, thereby enabling it to threaten much of the outskirts of Seoul and much of Seoul itself with death and destruction. There isn’t the slightest evidence that the Kims’ business goal, conquest of the South by any means, has been modified. In pursuit of that goal, nuclear weapons are as useful today as they have been in the past.

3. Douglas Murray has a brilliant takedown of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has just paid out a settlement in a defamation suit to Islam-reformer Maajid Nawaz, himself a Muslim (and a Brit). From the piece:

What if everybody whom the SPLC has erroneously smeared over recent years — the individuals, the groups, the scholars and activists — took this precedent to launch legal actions of their own? The SPLC has a vast endowment of tens of millions of dollars. But going by this precedent, if everybody decided to correct the lies that the SPLC has taken upon itself to spread over recent years, then the SPLC, which failed to shut itself down when its work was done, could be shut down by the very people it has spent recent years trying to shut up. Which would not just be poetic, but justice too.

4. More on SPLC: This leftist outfit has now placed Prager University on its “Hatewatch” list — of course without providing an iota of evidence. Dennis — for whom the “University” is named — fights back. From his new column:

In addition to videos on current political issues, history, and economics, PragerU brings goodness and kindness into millions of people’s lives. It produces videos on forgiveness, refraining from gossip, raising grateful and kind children, remaining attracted to one’s spouse, God and suffering, happiness, and the importance of gratitude, along with many other life-enhancing subjects. And these have been viewed by tens of millions of people — most of them under age 35.

On any given day, PragerU increases goodness and kindness on Earth while the Southern Poverty Law Center increases anger and resentment.

That’s why the SPLC hates PragerU. The bad hate the good. It’s a rule of life.

5. The bet on President Hillary didn’t pay off. Victor Davis Hanson looks at the DC apparatchiks who see their likely illegality as nobility (and once saw I as future job security). From his piece:

Why would a seasoned careerist like Andrew McCabe allow his spouse to receive nearly $700,000 in campaign donations from Clinton-affiliated organizations, only later to become a chief investigator of the Clinton email scandal, or why would he so clumsily leak to the press and lie about it afterwards? Easy answer: He wisely played the odds and knew that his future FBI ascendency was assured, given that he had helped exonerate the soon-to-be president, Hillary Clinton. His only rub would be competing with other post-election sycophants who would all be vying for President Clinton’s patronage, each claiming that his own particular improper, illegal, or unethical behavior trumped that of the others.

Why would Loretta Lynch endanger her reputation with an adolescent stunt like agreeing to a weird jet-plane meeting on an Arizona tarmac with the old conniving schmoozer Bill Clinton? (What are the odds that two friends accidentally bump into each other in charter jets at the same time at one of the nation’s roughly 5,000 airports?) Answer? Such a concession was not entirely adolescent by Lynch’s savvy calculations. Not only was her improper behavior unlikely to become publicized; far more important, the Clintons, once Hillary was elected, would probably have either retained Lynch as AG or promoted her to the Supreme Court as a careerist reward for noble service rendered. We can imagine that Lynch would have reported to President Hillary that she had forced Comey to drop the word “investigation” and only with a wink and nod had “recused” herself from an investigation that she intended would lead to only one result.

6. IG Report One: Yep, Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz’s long-awaited report on the agency’s Clinton-email investigation was, per Andy McCarthy, meticulously “half-baked.” From his initial analysis:

How do you best evaluate the FBI’s approach to the Clinton case? Well, if I may invoke that term again, common sensesays you look at how the same agents handled another case which bore on the same event that informed their every decision, the 2016 election. The question is not whether every Clinton-case decision was defensible considered in isolation; it is whether the quality of justice afforded to two sides of the same continuum by the same agents at the same time was . . . the same.

It wasn’t. One was kid gloves, the other was scorched earth. The candidate they hoped would win got the former; the candidate they needed to “stop” got the latter. The candidate they were almost certain would win got the case dropped; the candidate they needed an “insurance policy” against . . . well, whaddya know — the case against him is still going . . . and going . . . and going.

Did bias have anything to do with that? In 568 pages that leave out the Trump half of the story, we’re told the answer is, “Who really knows?”

I think we know.

7. IG Report Two: Andy returns to the report to take up the intentional omission of the DOJ/FBI’s rationale and refusal to indict Hillary. The fix was in. From Andy’s second analysis:

A comprehensive critique of the investigators’ approach would have described the evidence they chose notto weigh. That would have been consistent with other parts of the report, in which Horowitz dilates on the minutiae of investigative techniques the agents and prosecutors eschewed.

A detailed description of the grossly improper communications system Clinton established would have illustrated that she knew full well the risk she was running. A large percentage of the secretary of state’s job involves classified matters. We are not talking merely about the exchange of documents marked classified but, more commonly, constant deliberations about sensitive intelligence in classified documents, briefings, and conversations. Clinton’s willful concoction of a home-brew communications network — not a harried official’s occasional, exigent use of private email for official business, but her rogue institution of a private, non-government infrastructure for the systematic conduct of State Department business — made the non-secure transmission and storage of classified information inevitable.

Horowitz’s fleeting conclusion that the decision not to charge Clinton was rational and not necessarily motivated by political considerations hinges on the assumption that the intent evidence truly was as sparse as the FBI and Justice Department described it. Of coursethe decision to decline prosecution was defensible, if not incontestable, if one accepts that false premise. And Horowitz does not just accept the premise; he treats it as a background assumption, writing as if there’s no other conceivable way to look at the case.

8. The nation-state, group identity, and tribalism is much on Jonah Goldberg’s mind. Check out this Corner post.

9. Family Separation Two: Filling in for the vacationing Big Jim Geraghty, ace writer Teddy Kupfer grabs the Morning Jolt reins and delivers an early-week play-by-play that says the border insanity will dominate the news. From his piece:

Trump succeeded as a candidate largely because he treated immigration as a contested issue. There are plenty of restrictionists in the United States whose concerns, for years, were ignored by Washington. But building a policy regime of tighter borders that lasts beyond the Trump administration means more than just returning the issue to the political map or taking provocative executive action against illegal border crossers — it means crafting legislation that can get through both houses of Congress and building a coalition for immigration restriction that extends beyond committed Trump supporters. There is plenty of misinformation in the family separation debate, to be sure. And on the margin, the practice indeed might deter some Central American asylum seekers from crossing the border. But over the long term, it will make the cause of immigration restriction ever harder to defend.

10. Family Separation Three: Mexico’s disingenuous role gets up the dander of Victor Davis Hanson, who calls out the hypocrisy. From his long Corner post:

Mexico’s policies of deliberately exporting its own citizens are decades-old and hinge on providing it a social safety valve in lieu of domestic economic and human-rights reforms.

Illegal immigration, increasingly of mostly indigenous peoples, ensures an often racist Mexico City a steady stream of remittances (now its greatest source of foreign exchange), without much worry about how its indigent abroad can scrimp to send such massive sums back to Mexico. Facilitating illegal immigration also establishes and fosters a favorable expatriate demographic inside the U.S. that helps to recalibrate U.S. policy favorably toward Mexico. And Mexico City also uses immigration as a policy irritant to the U.S. that can be magnified or lessened, depending on Mexico’s own particular foreign-policy goals and moods at any given time.

11. Family Separation Four: Senator Ted Cruz proposes emergency legislation to end the practice. David French high fives it. From his Corner post:

Cruz’s bill enjoys the considerable virtue of focus. By banning family separation, it deals with the immediate crisis. By increasing the number of judges, authorizing new shelters, and providing for expedited processing, it can increase comfort for families, reduce the length of their detention, and ease the backlog. There’s a modest fiscal cost, of course, but it’s a price worth paying to end a broken policy.

12. Family Separation Five: Yuval Levin also blesses Cruz’s plan.

13. Family Separation Six (and Last!): Attorney General Sessions and Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders find Biblical guidance for obeying the law, and no one is arguing with that. But Dan McLaughlin finds the applicable chapters and verses in Romans and sees thorny moral questions. This is a terrific analysis. From it:

The injunction to follow the law rests differently on government policymakers — they can’t just recite rote formulas about obedience to law to solve difficult questions of conscience when they are the ones making the law. As More put it, “When statesmen forsake their own private consciences for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.” Which brings us to the specific immigration controversy of the hour.

The spectacle of children’s separation from their parents shocks us, and it is good that it shocks us. Families are a precious thing, and the decision to break them up — even for a short period of time — should not be undertaken lightly. The Christian position on the primacy of family is ancient, going back to Pope Adrian I’s ruling in the late eighth century that slaves could not be barred by their masters from marrying. The fact that liberals mostly did not care about this when the Obama administration was doing it tells us a lot about them, but nothing about what weshould do. If Congress can be moved to act to alleviate or eliminate the problem, it should. At the same time, Sessions and other administration policymakers are responsible for their own choices no matter what Congress does.

14. Some obvious things just need to be stated and restated, which Jibran Khan does in his piece, “Tariffs Beget Tariffs.” Read some of this and be-getting some wisdom:

In an age where an American can email a factory in Lahore for a sports uniform or someone in China can have American cosmetics drop-shipped over, the notion of trade as something that happens between peopleshould be more obvious than ever. And tariffs prevent this, without regard for whether the target was engaged in cheating or not. They mean I must pay more to get something from someone who is getting no more money for it than before. The tax inhibits my own ability to buy, by making everything more expensive. And the higher price does nothing to encourage selling, because the tax authority pockets the difference. Now imagine this process repeating itself millions of times, across wide swathes of both the American and Chinese economies, the two largest in the world. Many more people will be hurt, besides the actual cheaters.

15. Take the gun, leave the soccer: Kyle Smith wants to bequeath soccerto the rest of the world, and says the sport . . .

Is corrupt, hyper-regulated, impoverished by a socialist-style fondness for rationing, and organized to strangle human flourishing. It is so dependent on the whims of referees that is in effect a helpless captive of the administrative state, and it’s so dull that it could get people killed.

16. Conrad Black says phooey to the critics: Donald Trump has strengthened our democracy. From his new column:

The system Trump attacked had largely broken down. Apart from the leftward shift of the Obama interregnum, which was generally frustrated by a Republican Congress, a Bush-Clinton tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum had passed executive authority back and forth between themselves and was cranked up to do it again with Jeb and Hillary until Donald Trump mounted the stage and interrupted the play. After the indiscriminate militarism of George W. Bush’s seeking to plant democracy on stony ground, and the feckless pacifism of Obama, American foreign policy was in shambles. The resigned acceptance of a perpetually colossal trade deficit was essentially the result of American toleration of being hosed by largely disreputable and uncompanionable OPEC countries, unfair-traders led by China, and the supposed necessity of carrying the Western European allies on America’s back. The Obama climate policy would have been an act of singular self-punishment for the benefit of largely corrupt and flaccid under-developed countries, rewarding them for their backwardness like welfare addicts. Hillary Clinton would have continued this, and the Bush-Romney-McCain Republicans would have been only marginally preferable in policy terms, though probably less grating personally than a Hillary Clinton regime. (Senator McCain is rightly indulged, given his distinguished service and tenuous medical condition; without those mitigations, his public conduct in the last two years would qualify him as a public nuisance.)

17. It’s impossible to resist recommending this exemplar of sarcasm, by Kyle Smith, titled The Kochtopus Crushes Nashville Transit.

18. Newt Gingrich offers four key GOP midterm talking points. Here’s one:

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts of 2017 was a key part of America’s great economic comeback. For the great majority of workers, these tax cuts were an immediate, real, tangible result of the pro-growth policies of President Trump and the Republicans.

Every GOP candidate should know the average take-home-pay increase for the voters in his or her state and district. Candidates should also know and name the companies in their states that gave bonuses after the tax cuts were passed. They should reach out and find people in their states or districts who were affected by the tax cuts and share their stories.

19. Bowing to the prevailing academic ideology, the University of Chicago has killed standardized testing requirements. Liam Warner reports.

20. There’s a federal judge in Texas, by the name of David Ezra, who is showing all the hallmarks of a complete jerk in a case pitting local abortion “providers” — fighting a law that demands they bury the remains of butchered babies — and the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops. Ed Whelan has the maddening storyat the Bench Memos blog.

Summer Tunes Interlude

A few random from-the-past-blasters to get you in the mood for sand, hot dogs, Coppertone, and a cold brewski.

1. On a day like today . . . Love Letters in the Sand. Pat, you could deliver.

2. Even though I took a shower, the back of my neck is feeling dirty and gritty. Must be Summer in the City.

3. Sly and the Family Stone assure us all that you can have Hot Fun in the Summertime.

4. Get your mitts on a time machine, punch in 1962, and spend a day at Palisades Park.

5. Summer’s here and the time is right for Dancing in the Street. Thanks Martha and you sweet lovely Vandellas.

The Six

1. Everything You Wanted to Know about Wave Elections, But Were Afraid to Ask . . . has released a lengthy, detailed, and meaty report analyzing the last 100 years of Congressional midterms to determine the difference between a true wave and a ripple.

Read it here.

2. Is Turkey coming off the rails? At Gatestone Institute, Uzay Bulut provides his latest glimpse of murder glorification in the Land of Erdogan. From his piece:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned the Austrian government that “These measures taken by the Austrian chancellor are, I fear, leading the world towards a war between the cross and the crescent,” he said, referring to Christianity and Islam. “You do this and we sit idle? It means we will take some steps too.” He added that the “western world should get their act together.”

3. The Imaginative Conservative reruns Stephen Klugewicz’s essay, a requiem for manners. From his piece:

Today the idea that the cultivation of manners should be an essential part of one’s education has been nearly lost entirely. It seems to have followed in death its greatest modern advocate, Emily Post. “Manner is personality, Post wrote, “the outward manifestation of one’s innate character and attitude toward life.” Proof of the demise of manners is all around us: the open use of foul language on the public street, not simply by unkempt, uneducated youths but by middle-age, well-groomed businessmen; the in-your-ear blaring of something incorrectly deemed to be music by its devotees out car windows; the making of turns or changing of lanes by drivers without the courtesy of a turn signal; the routine violation of one’s personal space by passersby without the least expression of apology; and most obvious and appalling, the horrific decline in standards of dress everywhere. Indeed, T-shirts, jeans and sneakers have become standard attire for adults on “casual Friday” in the business world and, even more distressingly, at Sunday Mass. People venture out of their houses into public wearing their pajamas as they perform Saturday-morning errands. Today it is the lowest class of society that sets the standards of attire for everyone else; young people have adopted an exaggerated version of prison uniforms as their everyday attire, particularly excessively baggy pants, often worn so low that underpants and even one’s derriere is exposed for all to see.

4. Also at The Imaginative Conservative, Bradley Birzer continues his series on Old Hickory with this piece, The 1820s: The Decade of Andrew Jackson. A slice:

Third, as indicated by his refusal to allow military salutes to begin his presidency, Jackson distrusted the federal government but loved the Constitution. As such, he feared a standing Army. Standing armies were, to Jackson’s understanding, the playthings of kings and despots. Necessary only when the Union was in danger, an Army should be called into action, rather than simply linger over time. Article I of the U.S. Constitution states that Congress may never allocate money for the Army for a duration longer than two years. As with most things in the Constitution, Jackson took this quite literally but also symbolically. Republics defended themselves, first and foremost, by militias, temporary but virtuous volunteers ready to defend and protect hearth and home.

5. At The Federalist, Stella Morabito asks Whatever Happened to Losing an Argument if You Invoke Nazis?

6. Yeah, Seattle and Portland are heading into the septic tank. At City Journal, Alex Titus explains that the reason for Left Coast lawlessness is progressivism.

BONUS: At The Conservative Online, Steven Kessler contends that the State of Connecticut, which recently passed a law to track its electoral votes to the popular vote, is offing itself. From his piece:

Direct democracy always leads to governmental-suicide. The passions and appetites of men and women are left unchecked, and when left unchecked, run-amok and eventually cause our own destruction.

By altering their electoral process, the State of Connecticut is giving in to its unruly passions and appetites, fueled by their hatred of President Trump. It’s only a matter of time before other States find ways to remove the restraints on our passions and appetites to enact permanent solutions to their temporary Trump problems.

BONUS BONUS: California Policy Center’s Ed Ring calls out state legislators for their “Malthusian Mentality” on water. For those of us back East who think nothing of H2O as an issue, hey: It is for millions of Americans, and it’s long become another soapbox for progressives who are intent on new ways of regulatory torment and torture. From Ed’s piece:

In the long run, the costs to manage outdoor water use will get much higher. Every home will need to have two meters, one to measure indoor water use, one to measure outdoor water use. These meters, increasingly, will be “smart,” able to monitor time-of-day use in anticipation of variable pricing depending on when you water. (Don’t water your plants after 9 a.m.!) And eventually, first in new construction, and later in retrofits, every home will have two sources of water supply – one pipe to provide potable water for indoor use, and a separate pipe to provide marginally less potable reclaimed water for outdoor use.

This is epic folly. These conservation measures, as described, are going to cost consumers tens of billions of dollars. When fully implemented, the total annual savings might be around 500,000 acre feet. That’s less than one percent of California’s total human water diversions for agriculture, the environment, commercial, industrial, and residential use.

Eye Candy

1. At College Fix’s “Campus Roundup” video report, there’s a great report on The Oppression Olympics.

2. And in the latest “Campus Roundup,” College Fix editor Jennifer Kabany looks at the 10 biggest campus stories of 2017-18.

3. Ben Shapiro heads over to Prager U to answer questions — What is it? Who’s involved? And, what does it even mean? — about “Intersectionality,” the newest fad in political activism. Watch the video here.

4. In the newest fare at Stossel TV, John interviews Jordan Peterson about SJWs and their tactics. Watch it here.

5. On the latest episode of the PBS Firing Line reboot, Margaret Hoover interviews James Kirchick about the attack on free speech across many U.S. college campuses. Watch the episode here.

6. And on the preceding Firing Line, Margaret interviewed ACLU attorney Ria Tabacco Mar about the SCOTUS Masterpiece Cakeshop decision. Watch it here.

7. If you really are a patriot, then you must watch this NRO slide show of the 1944 Battle of the Philippine Sea. It proved a devastating loss for the Japanese Navy.

8. Encounter Books’ Ben Weingarten interviews VDH about the fate of the West and much more. Watch it here.

Intern Eruption

Do summer interns come in gaggles? Pods? Bloats (hippos!)? Maybe it’s hordes — we’ll go with that. There’s a horde of them here at NRHQ. We thought it kindly to share with you a look at their initial writings.

1. Jimmy “The Mighty” Quinn asks Should Tech Companies Be Broken Up? Maybe you should read that while Manfred Mann is playing. From the piece:

For now, lawmakers and regulators should focus on ensuring consumer privacy in a way that doesn’t curb competition. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), implemented last month, is esteemed by privacy advocates as the gold standard of data protection, but U.S. officials should be wary of its halting effects on competition. Prohibitive compliance costs mean that only the Googles and Facebooks of the world can afford to meet these requirements and thus remain in the European market. A bipartisan consumer-privacy bill, introduced last month in the Senate by senators John Kennedy (R., La.) and Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), that would give users more power — especially in the case of data breaches as in the Cambridge Analytica incident — without creating massive barriers to market entry for new firms seems to be a good first step.

2. Liam Warner tracks The Feminists’ Long Journey Home.

3. Karl Salzmann is put off by The Politicization of Everything. From his piece:

Indeed, politics are at best a necessary evil. They exist not as an end in themselves but as a means of strengthening and uniting the civic ties that bind us as a people and a nation. If we choose to center our lives completely on politics, then we forget why we have them in the first place. We cannot love policy-prescriptions, but we can love people, and we ought to realize that when we’re tempted to politicize every aspect of our society — from pageants to sports to film and television to our interactions with others.

Conservatives have long recognized that politics are not as important as culture — that morality, virtue, and imagination are more central to existence than whoever occupies the White House at a given moment. Would that we’d remember that, and that our liberal friends would come to believe it as well.

4. OK, she’s not an intern: She’s the new NRI Buckley Journalism Fellow! That said she is brand-spanking-new in these offices. The “she” is Madeleine Kearns, and she reports on the fallout of the hook-up culture: STDs Are on the Rise in the U.K., and Sex Education There Isn’t Helping.

5. Christian Gonzalez offers A Response to Corey Robin: Conservatism Isn’t About Preserving Privilege.

NRPLUS Is a Perfect Fit

No, it’s not a section of the NRO store selling T-shirts to big-boned and husky subscribers. NRPLUS is our new super-duper membership undertaking offering lots of benefits. And I do mean lots. Get complete information here.


Look, I am most definitely not an Orioles hater. (Red Sox? Yeah, you got me there.) But I do detest the franchisal amnesia — that the Orioles were, up until 1953, the perennial Second Division-dwelling St. Louis Browns (George Sisler? Who dat?). Well, this year — at 20 – 51, with a .282 W – L percentage — is shaping up to be the worst season since that infamous move, and in fact the 2018 Orioles may be on par with the 1939 Browns, which went 43 – 111 for the worst winning percentage (.279) in franchise history. Maybe the Orioles will see fit to remind us of that come October. One can only hope.

A Dios

My amigo Joel Gehrke, part of the Gehrke Mafia at Hillsdale, tells me about a scholarship effort there (I am happy, obviously, to share this news) on behalf of a 2004 graduate, Thomas Burke, a truly solid citizen (a CIA operative who put himself in harm’s way for our liberties) who died suddenly in November of a heart attack. You can find out more about the Thomas Burke Memorial Scholarship and how to make a donation right here. I’m hoping loyal Hillsdale alums might see fit to contributing.

Do someone a small kindness this weekend. Class dismissed.

God bless,

Jack Fowler

(Where can I write the dimwit author of this tripe, you ask? Simple: at

NR Insider

Soze Yer Old Man


Dear Jolters,

Tomorrow is not only Father’s Day: It is the anniversary (1930) of President Herbert Hoover signing the infamous Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act into law. There’s something about two-name acts — Dodd–Frank, Sarbanes–Oxley, Glass–Steagal, Corker­­­–Kaine— that gives me the willies. Something about tariffs gives NR and plenty of conservatives the willies too. More on that below. But poor Smoot. Poor Hawley. No favors went unpunished: For their troubles in wrecking the national and world economies, both Republicans were defeated for reelection in 1932. Just like Herb.

Mr. President: History is holding on Line One!

Anyway, back to Old-Man Celebrating: Let’s get in Sunday’s spirit with Eddie Fischer belting out Oh! My Papa. And if you need a little guilt to induce a good thought about the hard-working galoot, the never-sleeping ATM machine, get woke to the Fifth Commandment.

One last thing: Al Capp, the great cartoonist and creator of Li’l Abner, pictured above in his boxers promoting Father’s Day gift ideas, was a liberal who became an unvarnished critic of First Amendment foes and destructive campus leftists. His 1969 appearance on Firing Line is considered a classic. You should watch the entire episode, here.

Don’t Tell Me — You Forgot.

I told you now to tell me! Rimshot! So: You haven’t gotten the big lug a Father’s Day present and papa mia is time running (very fast!) out. Don’t reach for the anxiety meds yet — we have you covered. Here’s a great gift for dad — an amazingly good gift, one of those truly keeps-on-giving kinds — that won’t cost much, that’ll save you a trip to a mall, that saves your neck: a one-year NR Plus membership. For a measly $49 (which is a huge 53 percent discount from the regular price), Dear Old Dad or Grandpappy will get a digital access to NR magazine (24 big fortnightly issues), full access to NR’s podcast archives, up to 90 percent fewer ads across NRO when he visits (let me repeat that – 90 percent fewer ads!), the right and ability to comment on NRO articles and Corner posts, and lots more.

So after you deep dive the Jolt (editorials are coming up in a moment) — you’re going to go here and sign up. But as this is a special Father’s Day offer, to get that big discount type in the code NRDADGIFT (a lot safer than typing RUMPLESTILTSKIN or BEETLEJUICE). Yep, you can do right by dad, even at this eleventh hour, by giving him the kind of gift that would thrill the cockles of his conservative heart — NR PLUS.


1. Please do trust us: We are no Trudeau fanboys at NR. But we contend President Trump’s shots at him serve no end, and we also contend that Canada isn’t our enemy. From our editorial:

First, trade disputes with our allies distract attention from the main challenge to the international trading order, which is China. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation ranks countries on their mercantilism. China is far and away the worst offender — Canada and Germany are pikers by comparison. If we are truly going to get China to abandon its most objectionable practices, we will need the allies we are now alienating with steel and aluminum tariffs to help us pressure Beijing, which, by the way, is using its wealth to try to expel us from East Asia.

2. On the Singapore Summit, we find that the North Korean dictator served up more of the same could-be-empty promises. It was Kim’s Big Day. From the editorial:

Even if we have to treat with Kim, we should never forget — or let him forget — that he’s a parasite on his people who violates every civilized norm and runs the most hideous police state in the world. Reagan, of course, never stopped talking about Soviet oppression even as he met with Soviet leaders. Pressuring the North on its wholesale violations of human rights should be an element of our pressure campaign against it — indeed, the nature of the regime is at the root of its recklessness and danger.

The buttering up of Kim would at least be a little more understandable if he had made major concessions at the summit. The meeting was initially billed as the moment when Kim would perhaps commit to complete, verifiable, rapid denuclearization. Instead, he produced more of the same — vague assurances of disarmament — in exchange for American concessions.

3. Here’s one of those things we wish we didn’t have to write: an editorial calling on EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, up to his eyeballs in mounting and controversial / bizarre behavior, to resign. From the editorial:

This is no way for any public official to treat taxpayers. It also makes it practically impossible for Pruitt to make the case for the Trump administration’s environmental policies — a case that we continue to believe deserves to be made. It does not help that Pruitt’s conduct has left him nearly alone at the agency. Many of his top aides have fled and paranoia seems to consume those who remain.


1. The new episode of The Editors — the “Trump/Kim Summit Edition” — features Rich, Reihan, Michael, and Charlie discussing the North Korea summit, the G-7 summit, and the primary travails of Mark Sanford and Corey Stewart. Listen here.

2. Still featuring the new-car smell, The McCarthy Report’s second episode stars Andy and Rich discussing the split loyalties of Trump administration officials (Yo! Rod Rosenstein!). Hear here.

3. James Person has edited Imaginative Conservative: The Letters of Russell Kirk, and he’s on The Bookmonger with John J. Miller to discuss this important book about a primo conservative movement founder. You can catch it here.

4. On the new episode of Reality Check with Jeanne Allen, Carol D’Amico discusses business-led involvement with education reform, and much more. A very interesting program, which you can catch here.

5. In case you’re asking, “what about whataboutism,” David and Alexandra have the answer on the new episode of Ordered Liberty. Catch it here.

6. More JJM: He That Hosts Podcasts interviews U Penn prof Emily Wilson about Homer’s The Odyssey. Find out for yourself why The Great Books is . . . great. Listen here.

Two Six-Packs of Father’s Day Wisdom — Drink Irresponsibly if You Must!

1. About the best thing you can read on the late Anthony Bourdain and his cult of foodie worship is the terrific analysis / reflection by Kyle Smith. Praise where the praising is needed, eye-rolling when and where required too. From his piece:

After Bourdain’s 1999 New Yorker essay “Don’t Eat Before Reading This” subsequently developed into the bestselling book Kitchen Confidential, we began to think of chefs as cocky, swaggering, irreverent, intemperate, profane, macho, preferably with tattoos and a history of heroin addiction. Bourdain had a beguilingly democratic spirit, guiding us to fantastic meals served for a few bucks at a hole in the wall or even a humble food truck (previously derided as a “roach coach”). He made food exciting, adventurous, cool, sexy. On his CNN show Parts Unknown, he brought a sitting president (Barack Obama) to a noodle shop in Hanoi where the pair sat on plastic stools and enjoyed a $6 meal of pork noodles, fried spring rolls, and bottled beer.

The table where they ate, though, is today a shrine, encased in glass, set apart like a priceless work of art. This raises a question: Is the appeal of these two based on their being two ordinary guys like the rest of us, or are they gods who so sanctified objects with their touch that their empty beer bottles must be as jealously guarded as the Shroud of Turin?

2. Power to the people . . . not: The Kim regime, writes Robert Bryce, has “weaponized” electricity, which is now inaccessible to 70 percent of North Koreans. From his piece:

Indeed, by restricting electricity use, Kim has turned it into a weapon. In February, as sanctions on his country began pinching his regime’s finances, rather than increase the supply of electricity to North Koreans, he began selling it to China. According to the Seoul-based publication Daily NK, the electricity from a hydroelectric dam in the western part of the country was being supplied to a Chinese factory that produces fire-proofing materials. In return, Kim’s regime is getting cash payments of up to $100,000 per month. The Daily NK also reported that “The abrupt choice to export electricity means that the absolute amount of energy supplied domestically will be reduced. Power will continue to be supplied first and foremost to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il idolization sites, munitions factories, and essential government organizations like the Party, and intelligence bodies, etc.”

3. Robert Poole has spent a lifetime dwelling upon American transportation, and now worrying about how it gets sustained, repaired, and expanded. This might not be to your liking, but it is sure as heck thought-provoking. From his analysis:

The federal highway-funding system, which now depends on tens of billions in “general revenue” each year to supplement dwindling fuel-tax revenue, is not sustainable. As the national debt nears 100 percent of GDP and entitlements, defense spending, and interest payments consume nearly all federal revenue, there will be little or no general revenue left to subsidize highways and transit. State governments are poorly positioned to take up the slack, since the majority of them have massive unfunded liabilities in their public-employee-pension systems that will restrict their spending for decades to come. And the 20th century gas-tax system is running out of steam, as conventional engines go twice as far on a gallon of gas and electric and other propulsion sources get set to become mainstream in coming decades.

4. Ericka Andersen — author of the forthcoming Leaving Cloud 9: The True Story of a Life Resurrected from the Ashes of Poverty, Trauma, and Mental Illness — writes about the link between childhood trauma and skyrocketing suicide rates. From the article:

People are looking for reasons behind why their loved ones — or even their idolized ones — end their lives. For many, it ismental illness. For others, it is the inability to deal with pasts so painful that they dictate present life. It’s important that those trying to heal from such traumatic pasts — feeling like they may never be free — know that there are people who have come out on the other side.

This is why so many people have come out publicly with their “suicidal stories” in the past week. They want people in their lives to know that it’s possible to feel that life is so dark it isn’t worth living — but that it’s also possible to rise up out of that place and shudder to think that they almost gave up.

5. Netflix has issued an edict to employees: They cannot look at each other for more than five seconds. Four is okay. Six? Verboten. Kat Timpf has the insane story here.

6. Jonathan Tobin found President Trump’s antics at the G-7 Summit to be base-endearing, but terribly troubling. From his piece:

But if, as critics could not unreasonably conclude from his behavior at the summit, the shift he seeks is not so much attitudinal as it is substantive, then perhaps the historical associations with the term “America First” can’t be ignored as just an unfortunate coincidence. His lack of comfort with the whole idea of the Western alliance, his seemingly insatiable appetite for trade wars, and his continuing inexplicable soft spot for Russia seem to indicate more than just a desire to recalibrate U.S. strategy to deal with new threats and realities. Instead, he seems to be demonstrating a fundamental desire to overturn the nation’s foundational beliefs of post–World War II foreign policy.

7. À la our editorial, Bossman Rich Lowry scores Trump’s dustup with Canada’s Prime Minister, who he declares annoying, yes, but not America’s adversary. Like China. From the column:

They said that Trudeau risked undermining the president’s position at his imminent summit in Singapore with Kim Jong-un. But the North Korea dictator is not recalibrating his diplomacy based on the statements of a leader of an inoffensive country half a world away.

The incident is a great misdirection. Canada’s trade practices are hardly above reproach. Its tariff on milk of 270 percent, highlighted by Trump officials the past few days, is stupid and indefensible. It is guilty of subsidizing and protecting favored companies and sectors, the way most countries are.

It is nothing compared with the world’s great mercantilist power, though. China routinely steals U.S. intellectual property, seeks to distort the entire system of international commerce to its advantage, and is pouring resources into a massive military buildup, with which it eventually hopes to expel the United States from East Asia.

8. Just how naturally can (or can’t) Catholicism fit into a changing America — that’s a question being debated by a number of serious papal-y thinkers. To those who say it can’t, well, Notre Dame prof Vincent Phillip Muñoz says ixnay. From this deep and interesting essay:

Faithful Americans can and should be patriotic citizens and champions of American principles. The principles that animated the American Founding — human equality, natural rights, government by consent, religious freedom — do not stand opposed to orthodox religious beliefs and practices. While one might agree with First Things editor Rusty Reno that “the American liberal tradition is in trouble,” our founding principles, rightly understood, remain the surest available means to help us restore a decent and just political order.

9. Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar is working to make sure the predicted fears are realized: That the abortion referendum outcome will mandate complicity in defiance on conscience. Michael Brendan Dougherty scores the referendum’s fallout. From the analysis:

Varadkar has made some rhetorical gestures to those who voted not to repeal the Eighth. He has once said that his party should give a warm welcome to social conservatives. And in his remarks to the Dáil, he warned against socialists and other politicians who seek to “turn religious people into pariahs.”

But altering the religious ethos of Catholic hospitals by fiat seems to do just that. Further, it is becoming increasingly clear that the conscience protections the government considers expedient for pro-life doctors in Ireland really amount to the right to delude oneself while participating in abortion in a remote way. A doctor that does not want to participate in abortion would be legally obliged to refer a patient who requested an abortion to a doctor that would provide it. From a normal pro-life perspective, this means referring one patient, the mother, to a doctor who would harm another patient, the unborn child.

10. Jay Nordlinger has a word or three to say about Kim, Trump, and the “Boys in the Camps.” Prison camps, that is. Such as the torture-infused hellholes of North Korea (the kwanliso) and Red China (the laogai). From his piece:

There are all sorts of things you have to do in foreign policy, to get along in the world. To lessen tensions and prevent war. You have to hold your nose and deal with beasts. But you don’t have to tell outrageous and insulting lies, and you don’t have to break faith with American values, and human values. If you’re president, the whole world hears you — and that can include the boys in the camps.

11. The Tonys (featuring the infamous Robert DeNiro swear) and the entire Great White Way’s leftward politicization are the subject of Ben Shapiro’s new column. From it:

It’s not just the shows. It’s the way Broadway has become a political rally for Democratic priorities. It’s difficult to forget the Hamilton cast’s attempt to slam Mike Pence last year, of course. And this year’s Tonys featured Robert De Niro shouting “F*** Trump” to a standing ovation; the pro-gun-control students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School performing “Seasons of Love”; Andrew Garfield telling Christians to bake that cake; and, on the red carpet, actress Noma Dumezweni telling the assembled media that President Trump wasn’t welcome to visit Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which will surely break his heart.

12. Unfair Fair: David Harsanyi explains why free trade has put America first. From his piece:

Take Trump’s top trade adviser, Peter Navarro, who recently laid out his basic concerns in a New York Times piece: “First, trade must be not only free but also fair and reciprocal.”

“Fair trade,” once used predominately by progressives, is a neologism without meaning. It allows a person to oppose complex agreements for a litany of reasons. The word “fair” is elastic and ambiguous, which is why it’s so popular with adolescents.

The billions of people in developing nations who work tedious menial labor jobs probably don’t find it “fair” that Americans use the savings we gain from their work to build our unprecedented wealth. Is it fair that some countries sit atop vast amounts of fossil fuels or prime farmlands while others sit on arid or barren land?

Let’s hope trade doesn’t get “fair” for us any time soon.

When Navarro writes that G-7 nations’ trade practices “contribute to America’s more than $500 billion annual global trade deficit in goods and services,” he means American citizens purchased goods they prefer from other countries. Sometimes these products are completely foreign-made, and sometimes they’re partially foreign-made, but Americans always get something in return. As economist Milton Friedman argued long ago, the real gain from international trade is not what we export but what we import.

BONUS BREW: Yuval Levin celebrated Flag Day with a Corner post. It included:

. . . it does seem to me that in this moment in particular — a time when the question of the very nature of American patriotism and nationalism is much in the air — the flag can offer us one path through challenging terrain. The flag belongs to no party or faction but to all of us. And it belongs to us as a symbol. It’s not a document that makes an argument, but it’s also not the soil of the land or the blood of the people. It’s a symbol that lets us take in both the idea of America and the reality of it, both the history and its meaning, both the substance and the spirit.

Joltus Interruptus

Dad Jokes.

The Six

1. From the recent Commentary Magazine is this James Kirchick essay on “The Rise of Black Anti-Semitism.” Here’s a chunk from the piece:

It’s hard to imagine that left-wing activists or Democratic politicians would keep their careers after associating with a figure who spouts hatred against any other minority group the way Farrakhan does with Jews. Having attained a certain level of political power or social capital, however, Mallory, Jarret, Obama, and the CBC have apparently insulated themselves from criticism on this point, at least among their fellow progressives and much of the elite media.

Such invulnerability to public condemnation has not been the experience of Trayon White, a Washington, D.C., city councillor representing the capitol’s poorest neighborhood of Anacostia. During a brief snow flurry in March, White published a video on his official Facebook page blaming the adverse weather on the Rothschild family. “Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man. Y’all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation,” the 34-year-old, college-educated, elected official told his constituents. “And D.C. keep talking about, ‘We a resilient city.’ And that’s a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful.”

White seemed genuinely perplexed when it was explained to him that assertions about a European Jewish banking family manipulating the weather had anti-Semitic undertones. And those inclined to give White the benefit of the doubt, presuming his words came more from ignorance than malice, were forced to reconsider when it emerged that he had donated $500 to the very same “Saviours’ Day” event attended by Mallory. Nor did White do himself any favors when, invited by local Jewish leaders to the United States Holocaust Memorial and Museum, he abruptly left in the middle of a personally guided tour. At a rally called to defend White, organized by a mayoral appointee, a Nation of Islam representative blasted one of White’s Jewish fellow council members as a “fake Jew” and referred to Jews as “termites.”

2. Kudos to the Justice Department which, according to a report in The College Fix, is taking on the Thought Police (officially dubbed the “Bias Response Team”) at the University of Michigan. From the story:

Anti-bias efforts at the University of Michigan took a hit Monday as the Justice Department declared some of the institution’s policies “unconstitutional” and accused its Bias Response Team of chilling free speech.

The feds’ statement of interest was issued as part of a lawsuit filed against the University of Michigan earlier this year by the First Amendment nonprofit Speech First. It sued the taxpayer-funded university on behalf of three unidentified students, alleging the university’s vague policies on harassment and bullying — and a pending provision on “bias-motivated misconduct” — violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

The Justice Department agrees with that assessment.

3. In the Asia Times, David Goldman sounds the alarm on Turkey’s commencing major economic crisis. Read his column here.

4. At Gatestone Institute, Alan Dershowitz has a powerful piece on the ever-leftward drift of the ACLU, and how it is now more focused on activist partisan politics than on protecting civil liberties. From the piece:

The director of the American Civil Liberties Union has now acknowledged what should have been obvious to everybody over the past several years: that the ACLU is no longer a neutral defender of everyone’s civil liberties; it has morphed into a hyper-partisan, hard-left political advocacy group. The final nail in its coffin was the announcement that for the first time in its history the ACLU would become involved in partisan electoral politics, supporting candidates, referenda and other agenda-driven political goals.

5. Over at Law and Liberty, Graham McAleer reintroduces 21st century conservatism to Hungarian political philosopher Aurel Kolnai, who championed the essential concept of nobility. From the essay:

His signature contribution is the analytical precision with which he pursues the connection between the moral value of nobility and the place that it holds in society, namely privilege. He sought to resolve an extraordinarily difficult and serious problem in modern Western sensibility: How to inject high moral worth into a thoroughly commercial culture devoted to vanity and changes of fashion without embracing militarism (as fascism did), discarding bourgeois suavity (as communism did), or subverting historically settled patterns of life (as progressive humanitarianism did). . . .

Like the thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment, Kolnai was struck by consensus: patterns of sensibility and manners diffused through settled communities. Wondering about the origins of genius, David Hume argues that the individuals celebrated in history books emerge from a spirit of genius pervading a people, and essential to this common spirit are conditions fostering law, mastery of the mechanical arts, learning, and commerce. With regard to nobility, Kolnai found evidence of this diffusion in an English expression that he loved even though it was (perhaps because it was) grammatically faulty: “I knows a gentleman when I sees ’im.”

6. If America is so freakin’ racist and misogynistic, why do progressives so want the world’s citizens to come here? Huh?! Asked and answered at City Journal by Heather Mac Donald. From her piece:

But why should social-justice warriors want to subject these potential asylees to the horrors of America? In coming to the U.S., if you believe the dominant feminist narrative, the female aliens would simply be exchanging their local violent patriarchy for a new one. Indeed, it should be a mystery to these committed progressives why anyThird World resident would seek to enter the United States. Not only is rape culture pervasive in the U.S., but the very lifeblood of America is the destruction of “black bodies,” in the words of media star Ta-Nehesi Coates. Surely, a Third World person of color would be better off staying in his home country, where he is free from genocidal whiteness and the murderous legacy of Western civilization and Enlightenment values.

But the same left-wing establishment that in the morning rails against American oppression of an ever-expanding number of victim groups in the afternoon denounces the U.S. for not giving unlimited access to foreign members of those same victim groups. In their open-borders afternoon mode, progressives paint the U.S. as the only source of hope and opportunity for low-skilled, low-social-capital Third Worlders; a place obligated by its immigration history to take in all comers, forever. In their America-as-the-font-of-all-evil-against-females-and-persons-of-color morningmode, progressives paint the U.S. as the place where hope and opportunity die under a tsunami of misogyny and racism.

BONUS: My pal Julie Kelly, over at American Greatness, does the mom thing to advise daughters: Don’t sleep your way to the top, and . . . don’t be like Ali Watkins.

BONUS BONUS: Law and Liberty addresses the suicide issue with an excellent piece by Jessica Wooten on Walker Percy, whose many novels deal with the subject. From the essay:

In the wake of recent celebrity suicides—that of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain—there is a whir of explanations as to why they died. The majority of us were not close to these public figures. We could not tell you their pet peeves, what made them laugh, or their favorite childhood memory. Therefore, it seems audacious for so many to theorize on why they took their lives. Despite our ignorance regarding Spade’s and Bourdain’s reasons, we can speak about them as examples of a larger cultural problem. If suicide is the third leading cause of death in America, if it has risen, as journalists contend, thirty percent in a couple of decades, then our silence, in this instance, would be the more galling response.

It is too easy to dismiss suicide as a mental health problem. When we do so, we think we can throw money at the problem, and it will go away. But, the number of suicides has only risen with the increase in mental health care. Is suicide, then, another byproduct of modernity, this nondescript label we give our contemporary culture? As far as modernity has increased our alienation from one another, this may be true. Yet, we’ve been in a modern era for the past century, and suicide has only climbed the charts over the past twenty years. What of the faults of technology, how it disconnects us and dices us up into partial roles with one another rather than deep relationship? True, that’s a problem. However, there are plenty of social media users out there who are hashtagging “My Story” and telling how they overcame suicide rather than succumbed. It seems that social media, in this way, is acting as a bridge, not a divider. So, should we cast stones at American-ism? Our desire for achievement and financial success?

Eye Candy

1. In the new Prager U video, Jordan Peterson focuses on the radical-Left nihilists who are turning campuses into madhouses, unconcerned with education. Watch it here.

2. Purging professors is the top story on The College Fix’s (sorta) new weekly video, “Campus Roundup.” Watch it here.

3. On the new episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Peter Robinson interviews historian Stephen Kotkin, the author of Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941. An appropriate viewing in the week when POTUS praises North Korea’s bloody dictator. Come and get it!

4. Admit it: You want to see an NR volcano-eruption slide show.

Love Is a Many Splintered Thing

No, Mr. President, Mr. Kim does not love his people. Unless, maybe, you meant, love them to death. The North Korean regime’s “gulag” is nothing short of satanic.


The term “cup of coffee” as regards our National Pastime refers to a player getting a one-game chance in his Major League career. A particularly excruciating cup performance on the mound came from the Ireland-born Joe Cleary, who played for the Senators in 1945. He pitched one-third of a harrowing inning in the second game of an August 4 doubleheader, at Griffith Stadium, against the Red Sox. Relieving starter Sandy Ulrich, Cleary proceeded to give up five hits, walked three, struck out pitcher Dave Ferriss, threw a wild pitch, and gave up a total of seven earned runs. Taken out of the game in a rather ugly way, Cleary was never again to throw a Major League pitch. His ERA: 189.00, the highest in MLB history for anyone who recorded at least one out.

But the saddest Cup of Coffee has to be Larry Yount, older brother of Hall-of-Famer Robin. Pitching for the Houston Astros, on the night of September 15, 1971, Yount was tapped to relieve in the top of the ninth against the Atlanta Braves. He was therefore officially in the lineup. But while warming up, he hurt his arm, and had to be relieved, never having faced a batter. Yount spent the rest of his unimpressive career in the minors, and never again stepped on a Major League mound.

More Baseballery

This weekend calls for remembering Jim Bunning’s 1964 Father’s Day perfect game. Here’s the boxscore and the play-by-play.

May I Recommend for Your Viewing Pleasure . . .

You really must drop everything you are doing to watch the 1944 British cinematic classic by Powell and Pressburger, A Canterbury Tale.

And for Your Summer-Reading Pleasure . . .

Law and Liberty provides some wise suggestions from Dan Mahoney, Gerry Russello, and other big brains.

Yep: Dog Backwards Is God

Our sweet Sally slipped away this week. She was beautiful and gentle and proof of God’s existence and infinite goodness. Heaven must have been incomplete without her. That’s been corrected. Wait for us, pup!

A Dios

Bestow tender mercies. Remember and honor Dad and dads, because when you do, thou mayest be long lived upon earth.

God’s blessings and graces on you and yours, including your dogs,

Jack Fowler

(Your slings and arrows may be directed to

P.S.: Another super Dad Gift Idea would be a cabin on the National Review 2018 Buckley Legacy Conservative Cruise. Duh!

NR Insider

Well if That Doesn’t Just Take the Cake


Dear Jolters,

Lots of SCOTUS stuff — and more — will follow, but first let’s get our priorities straight: What horse are you favoring in the Belmont Stakes? Now, the last time I was at that track was in 1979 (with merry Regians Ken and Mr. M). It was a cold, gray, blustery Saturday, snow was coming. So was poverty: I was down to my last sawbuck. Then, in the fifth race field appears the Number 5 horse, named “Snow Alert.” The stars were aligning: Me being a Five’s-My-Lucky-Number kind of guy, I put the 10 bucks on the equine weather prediction. To win. And he (or was it a she?) won! Other than calling that quinella at Yonkers Raceway a few years later (it paid out a fortune of $180), I don’t think I ever had a more euphoric moment in my life. Except of course for that time I saw James Lileks in a Speedo on an NR Cruise.

About the Belmont: I’m hoping my colleague Kevin L can hit the OTB and put $20 on Vino Rosso ($10 to win, $10 box). Sure, the horse’s name may reek of booze, but it more so reminds me of a guy from the neighborhood, Vinnie Russo. Oddsmakers have the colt at 8-1 early Friday. Keep it that way, ’cause Jackie Boy needs a new cheap blazer!

Now, let’s get Jolting! But only after you learn a little about . . .

NR Plus

You can’t see this, but my colleague Jarreau has me in a choke hold as I type and won’t let go until I write up something about our new program (he’s whispering in my ear in a threatening kinda-Russian accent . . . mama mia, all he had to do was to offer me a Klondike Bar!). OK, so this all starts with you subscribing, for the price of a cup of coffee (admittedly, a 20-gallon cup) to NR Plus. Yep, for a measly $59 you get a full year of NR magazine (Ye Olde Digital Edition) and online access toour vastarchives, including our podcast archives, plus (and that is why we call it “Plus”!) up to 90% fewer ads across the website (most pages show one ad or less), and an uninterrupted, enjoyable reading experience with zero in-content ads. Now there are plenty more benefits I could list (and will next week) but I am beginning to lose consciousness. So please, subscribe here.


1. Sometimes you win ugly, or not pretty. We hold the SCOTUS Masterpiece Cakeshop decision (“narrow” was the instant opinion of many) was mixed in its scope, but still “broad enough to matter.” From the editorial:

While we believe that the court should have issued a broader ruling, one holding that baking a custom wedding cake is protected expression under the free-speech clause of the First Amendment, its actual ruling is significant. It can potentially shift the language surrounding America’s religious-liberty debate and increase the cost of state favoritism and double standards. In other words, it isn’t nearly as “narrow” as legal progressives would have you believe.

2. In the face-off between the President’s legal counsels and those of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, debating the matter of the former FBI chief interviewing Mr. Trump as part of his (ongoing and ongoing) investigation, we conclude that there are some things the President’s lawyers got right. From the editorial:

The president’s attorneys are also correct in asserting that no federal prosecutor should seek a president’s testimony, much less attempt to compel it by grand-jury subpoena, absent a demonstration “with specificity” that the information sought is “important” to proving a serious crime, and that it “is not practically available from another source.” (The lawyers here quote the D.C. Circuit Court’s 1997 Espy decision.) It is doubtful that Mueller can establish either condition.

Even if one believes Trump botched the firing of Comey (he did), and even if one is skeptical of Trump’s claim that the firing was unrelated to the Russia investigation (we suspect it had much to do with Comey’s refusal to state publicly his private assurances that Trump was not suspected of wrongdoing), Trump’s removal of Comey was still legitimate, and, as we have opined, justified. Moreover, even if one believes (as we do) that presidents should refrain from involvement in ongoing investigations, especially involving political allies such as Flynn, the president’s authority to assert himself is clear — indeed, Trump could legitimately have ordered the Flynn investigation to be dropped, or pardoned Flynn.

Extra Extra!!

We have a new podcast. It’s called The McCarthy Report and it features Rich Lowry and a guy named McCarthy. Episode One is titled “The Self-Pardon Question” and you need to put on your headphones right now to listen. Do that here.


1. In the special “Pardon Me” episode of The Editors, Rich, Reihan, and Luke discuss the president’s claim that he can pardon himself, the continuing debate over kneeling in the NFL, and the coming immigration fight in Congress. Plug in the ear buds and listen here.

2. Education reform all-star Bill Walton joins Reality Check with Jeanne Allen to discuss his passion: free-market education as an alternative to government-run schools. Listen here.

3. The new Radio Free California— the “Hermit Kingdom” episode — has David and Will discussing the latest moves by California’s government union leaders to clown Wall Street and to eliminate news of the outside world; and then they chat up Victor Davis Hanson’s delightful NR essay on the future — and the past — of California conservatism. Listen West, young man.

4. Cato Institute big brain Ilya Shapiro hops onto The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg to discuss whether the president can pardon himself, whether cakes are free speech, and whether the tonnage clause is a real thing. Catch it here.

5. Hillsdale prof Patricia Bart joins the great John J. Miller to plumb the depths of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. You gotta love The Great Books podcast, presented for your listening and learning pleasure, right here.

6. Did you really think the new episode of Ordered Liberty was going to be about something other than the Masterpiece Cakeshop verdict? David and Alexandra slice the pieces here.

7. But wait, there’s more: David and Alexandra crank out a second Masterpiece-focused episode, taking on the verdict’s critics, and then spend a little time looking into #MeToo-challenged Bill Clinton. Swallow a second dose of Ordered Liberty right here, right now.

8. Jay Cost’s new book, The Price of Greatness: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and the Creation of American Oligarchy, gets the JJM treatment on the new episode of The Bookmonger. If you are in to frenemy Founding Fathers, you gotta listen, and can, right here.

9. In the latest episode of The Jamie Weinstein Show, Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress, opens up about the Trump administration, the internal battles within the Democratic Party, re-evaluating Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton in the age of #MeToo, and much more. Listen here.

A Dozen Sensational Articles to Read to Increase Your Wisdom and, If Needed, to Avoid Painting the Kitchen

1. Solzhenitsyn One: This past Friday (June 8) marked the 40th Anniversary of the Nobel Laureate’s famous Harvard commencement speech, titled “A World Split Apart,” which was a stunning critique of the West. The response was wide and often furious, and the great writer penned a detailed essay about the reaction. Solzhenitsyn’s response has never been published in English, until now, in the new issue of National Review. Here’s the link.

2. Solzhenitsyn Two: Matthew Spalding compares the 1978 speech to Hillary Clinton’s recent blathering blame-gaming at Yale and finds the former gulag denizen’s to be infinitely wiser. From his piece:

Yet Solzhenitsyn did not propose immediate political activism as the way to defend truth. Explaining that the “the press can both simulate public opinion and miseducate it,” Solzhenitsyn argued that the root cause of what we today might label as “fake news” was actually the West’s vulnerability to what today we might call “political correctness.” “In the West fashionable trends of thought and ideas are carefully separated from those that are not fashionable; nothing is forbidden, but what is not fashionable will hardly ever find its way into periodicals or books or be heard in colleges, ” he noted. “Legally your researchers are free, but they are conditioned by the fashion of the day.”

Solzhenitsyn’s Harvard message was thus less comforting, more challenging, and infinitely wiser than Clinton’s Yale address. While Clinton called for a “radical empathy” to heal our country, Solzhenitsyn demanded a “spiritual blaze” to save our soul. “We shall have to rise to a new height of vision,” he said, “to a new level of life where our physical nature will not be cursed as in the Middle Ages, but, even more importantly, our spiritual being will not be trampled on as in the Modern era.”

3. This Is Your Brain on Bubba: Kyle Smith advises Democrats to throw the Man from Hope under the bus. You’ve got to read the entire enchilada, but here’s how it ends:

Take off the kneepads, media. Stand up straight and tall. Barack Obama proved that there is such a thing as a Democratic president who doesn’t abuse women in his personal life. If you don’t want to look absurd when attacking the failings of President Trump, apologize for making excuses for President Clinton. See him clearly as the sleaze he is and always has been. Redefine him for future generations as a loathsome, lying hack.

4. Jim Geraghty, WJ’s ever-revered inspiration, finds more lessons to be learned from Mr. Hillary, including how Democrats set the stage for a series of unintended partisan consequences they would have dodged had they helped impeach the Arkansas Tomcat in 1998. From his piece:

Bill Clinton convinced Democrats that if he resigned or was removed from office through impeachment, the bad guys would win. And Democrats were so primed to believe the worst about Ken Starr, Newt Gingrich, Henry Hyde, and the rest that they stood with Bill Clinton . . . through not only Lewinsky but also Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, and Kathleen Willey. In for a penny, in for a pound. In a lot of Democrats’ minds in the late 1990s, Bill Clinton just happened to be exceptionally unlucky enough to randomly end up alone with women who were all willing to later make false accusations of sexual misconduct against him, again and again.

The Lewinsky scandal wasn’t quite opening Pandora’s box, but it sent a message to many politicians and aspiring politicians that previously unsurvivable scandals were now survivable if you were shameless enough.

5. Andy McCarthy wants to know just what exactly Andrew McCabe is seeking immunity for or from. Read his analysis.

6. James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer Riley tag-team to explain how conservatives can truly have influence in academia. Here’s a piece from their piece:

Conservative and free-market foundations, though, must take a different approach owing to the ideological landscape of higher education. They cannot simply send open-ended checks to favored institutions in the hope that the funds will support teaching and research on constitutional government, free and open markets, and related subjects. If they wish to ensure that their funds are spent to support alternative viewpoints on campus, they have to allocate those funds to support particular individuals, departments, and programs with proven track records in these fields of instruction and research. Otherwise, the funds are likely to be diverted to other purposes in keeping with the ideological climate on campus.

7. If you think federal prison reform is going to happen any time soon, think again. NRO columnist Michael Tanner’s report is a primer on congressional dysfunction and bizarre turf wars.

8. Is it OK to lie if you’ve got your “presidential” groove on? Victor Davis Hanson has a humdinger of a column comparing Obama to Trump. From his piece:

We are slowly appreciating over the last year that lying under oath was an Obama-administration requisite for a high position in the intelligence community. FBI director Comey lied about the particular sequences of his investigation of the Clinton email scandal. He lied by omission to the president when, in his supposed Oval Office informative dissection of the Steele dossier, he failed to include the fact that it was a product of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC.

Comey’s various testimonies often cannot be reconciled with those of his deputy FBI director, Andrew McCabe, who was cited by the inspector general for lying. Comey warped a FISA-court request to spy on U.S. citizens, by deliberately withholding information from the court about the Steele dossier. Comey also has not been forthcoming about the insertion of an FBI informant into the 2016 Trump campaign. Comey has often lectured about the illegality and impropriety of leaking confidential government documents, though he later bragged about his own successful leak of such documents as a successful means of getting Special Counsel Robert Mueller appointed.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan may prove to be the two most prevaricating officials in the history of any modern administration. Both have lied repeatedly while under oath to Congress, respectively, about their agencies’ surveillance of American citizens, spying on Senate staffers, the U.S. drone program, and leaking the notorious Steele dossier. In their particular cases, as current media analysts, they have become completely unhinged over the reality that a crude Donald Trump was never so crude as either of them in their attempt to undermine the constitutional principle of telling the truth to Congress while under oath.

9. Eire, digging its new acceptance of the abortion bloodlust, has become West Britain. John O’Sullivan’s powerful essay cites the end of Irish Exceptionalism. From the powerful essay:

In short, an Irish identity built on the Catholic Church had collapsed, and the nation — or, rather, its cultural elite — was looking for a new identity in which Catholicism was treated as something between an embarrassment and a threat. That process has continued ever since, accelerating recently, until Ireland voted by a margin of two to one to liberalize abortion law on lines similar to those of U.K. law and, still more significantly, celebrated that result in wild public rejoicing. Three years before, Ireland had voted in favor of same-sex marriage by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent, becoming the first country anywhere to introduce gay marriage in this way. Ireland’s 100-year experiment in self-conscious cultural transformation had proved to be a mere detour: from Britannia West to Cathleen ni Houlihan to Britannia West again.

It’s hard even for a natural West Briton like me to be happy about this. If Home Rule had not been derailed by the First World War — with a whole series of historical “what ifs” following on from that — I think I would have found that era’s West Britain a very tolerable place. There would have been no Easter Rising, no partition, no Irish civil war, no cultural-cum-political break with Britain, and therefore no building of a fortress Catholic Republic by Dev. Of course, the Catholic Church would still have been a highly influential force within the somewhat more liberal environment of a Home Rule Ireland constitutionally linked to Britain. Catholicism might also have been more influential throughout Britain as a result. But the Church would not have been able to exercise the kind of unaccountable authority that it had enjoyed and misused for the better part of a century.

10. At the Oslo Freedom Forum, Jay Nordlinger got to meet and interview an inspiring young Afghani woman, Fatemah Qaderyan, a robotics whiz. It’s a delightful read. (And do keep up with Jay’s Oslo Journal.)

11. Bobby Kennedy has been dead for 50 years. His murderer and assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, continues to live, in a California jail. The little blankety-blank Islamic terrorist was just that, and in his NRO piece, Warren Kozak argues that America cannot forget that fact.

12. A review praising The $18-Billion Prize, by Phelim McAleer and Jonathan Leaf about the Left’s brazen attempt to shake down Chevron, gets spiked by the lefty editor of Theatrius. Daniel Kennard, author of the deep-sixed review, gives the played play’s play-by-play:

My editor, Barry Horwitz, a 79-year-old retired U.C. Berkeley English professor and the founder of Theatrius, had first been described to me by a mutual friend as “Berkeley through and through.” Barry talks fast: Within the first 20 minutes of meeting him, I learned of his dodging the draft by fleeing to Paris, of his marching with Mario Savio during Berkeley’s “Free Speech Movement,” and that Reagan ruined everything. So I can’t say I was too surprised that Horwitz found my positive review of a play in which Chevron is portrayed as the victim to be problematic.

For several days, I exchanged emails back and forth with Horwitz, attempting to arrive at a compromise draft of my review. His emails were anguished and lengthy. He was concerned that I had not been critical enough of McAleer’s selective use of verbatim transcripts from the court case. Some of his concerns were downright conspiratorial — he suspected the play had secret corporate backers, despite its transparent crowdfunding (as of now, the play has not even achieved half  its crowdfunding goal).

In my last conversation with Horwitz, he sounded distraught. He was torn between upholding the editorial principles of Theatrius  and ostracizing a play that he truly found to be “contributing to bad causes.” He told me this was the hardest thing he had ever had to deal with at Theatrius and that he was losing sleep over it. I told him to take it easy (he was on vacation in Paris) and that I was confident we could come to a compromise.

BONUS: Jonah Goldberg looks at the ugly side of the new and thoroughly woke Miss America Pageant.

Masterpiece Cakeshop Theater

This is my attempt to corral much of the NRO coverage of the SCOTUS verdict.

1. David French, much involved with this case, reviewed the 7-2 verdict, the majority opinion written by Justice Kennedy, and concluded that the black-robed coot had struck a blow for religious liberty. Here’s a small slice:

Let’s put it differently. All bakers — regardless of religion — have the same rights and obligations. At the same time, gay and religious customers enjoy equal rights under state public-accommodation statutes. Any ruling the commission imposes will have to apply on the same basis to different litigants, regardless of faith and regardless of the subjective “offensiveness” of the message.

This is a severe blow to the state. It hoped for a ruling declaring that the cake wasn’t protected expression and a free-exercise analysis that simply ratified the public-accommodation law as a “neutral law of general applicability.” Such a ruling would have permitted the favoritism on display in this case. It would have granted state authorities broad discretion to elevate favored messages and suppress dissent, all while operating under the fiction that they weren’t suppressing protected expression or religious exercise.

2. Volley: Andy McCarthy whips out the wet blanket and says the decision is a setback for religious liberty. From his piece:

On this one, though, Justice Kennedy assures the Left it can grouse away. This ruling, in grudging accommodation of religious conviction, will not necessarily bear on the outcome “of some future controversy involving facts similar to these.”

To be sure, I am all for a Lincolnian construction that reduces Supreme Court rulings to a duly narrow resolution of the dispute between the litigating parties, leaving it to the republic to govern itself accountably. But that is not what’s going on here. This case is a one-off. The justices, manifestly pained, side ever so ambiguously with religious liberty, a founding principle of the nation, over gay marriage, a trendy progressive cause that would not remotely have been threatened in Colorado had Jack Phillips been left in peace to honor his convictions.

Kennedy’s sweet-mystery-of-life jurisprudence is all about exploring the exotic contours of liberty to discover heretofore unknown substantive safeguards. Not in this case, though. Confronted by a liberty twofer — an attack on free-expression rights that also burdens religious liberty — the justices punt on substantive protections for traditional religious exercise and speech (the latter liberty that could and should have decided the case in Mr. Phillips’s favor); they agitate, instead, over procedural flaws in the state’s adjudication of the conscience question.

3. Return Volley: David French has a thing or two to say in response to the killjoys. Among them:

In the future, when members of the media put “religious liberty” in scare quotes, when academics pontificate about past injustice, and when government officials echo their slurs, conservatives should remind them of Kennedy’s words. They’re not defending liberty. They’re disparaging religion. And, in certain circumstances, government officials are even breaking the law.

Dodging a constitutional bullet? Laying a minefield for activist ideologues? Paving the way for a better case before a potentially better court? Rebutting a common progressive talking point? Not bad for a day’s work at the Supreme Court. Yes, the killjoys may ultimately be proven right. Masterpiece Cakeshop may be a prelude to a disaster, but for now I’ll remain optimistic. The future of free speech at the Supreme Court is so bright, I have to wear shades.

5. More French: David contends the verdict is already being deployed on behalf of religious liberty.

6. Wesley Smith, seeing the verdict as applicable to matters of medical-conscience rights, finds Masterpiece Cakeshop a small win but a win nonetheless. From his take:

A defeat for religious liberty in this case could have been devastating to the prospects for relying on the First Amendment as a shield for protecting medical conscience. This mild victory — let’s call it an infield single — at least helps. It’s better to have a player on first base as the next batter comes to the plate than back in the dugout after striking out.

7. Continuing on the baseball theme, El Jefe, Mr. Lowry, scores it Christian Bakers 1, Officious Bureaucrats 0.

8. Here comes the “Dignity Amendment.” Jonathan Tobin reports on the lefty reax, as a gay-rights rainbow flag is hoisted up the pole. From his piece:

Seen from that perspective, the decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission — finding that the commission illegally discriminated against a Christian baker who’d refused to make a cake for a gay wedding — is, at worst, a speed bump for gay Americans. It was made on relatively narrow grounds. And even if it does wind up carving out space for a religious-conservative minority to escape being forced to take part in celebrations of events their faith opposes, it in no way diminishes the reality of gay equality in 21st-century America.

Yet the view of Masterpiece from the left is that it must be overturned.

The answer from one source was logical as well as revealing. Barnard College professor Jennifer Finney Boylan wrote in the New York Times to call for a “Dignity Amendment” to the Constitution: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.” She also writes that gays “would be helped” by adding sexual-orientation protections to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits businesses from discriminating on the basis of race.

9. He’s not merely a baseball whiz. Dan McLaughlin says yeah, Kennedy’s opinion is a win of sorts for religious liberty, but . . . let’s talk about this obsession with motive. From his piece:

As Justice Gorsuch suggests, the other problem with having everything be about motives is that there’s a third decision-maker: the Court itself. And that’s where the travel-ban case looms: Even the lawyer challenging the Trump administration’s order on refugees admitted at oral argument that they could not show that the order itself violated the Constitution — they needed to rely on evidence of what Trump said about it, on the campaign trail and to some extent later, in order to show that it was the product of bad motives. (Presumably, Justice Ginsburg’s “one or two Commissioners” line gives her wiggle room to reach a different decision about motives when it comes to Trump.) If that case, like this one, is all about the government decision-maker’s motives (a recurring theme in past Kennedy opinions), Trump could be in more trouble than some watchers of the case have suspected.

But should that be the issue? After all, who decides what is too much evidence of bad motive, and who decides which motives are bad, especially when the question is a collision between Biblical teachings and modern mores about sexual identity, or the role of quasi-religious doctrines in terrorist groups? In Trump’s case, many of the judges ruling against him have seemed careful to say that his exercises of presidential power would have been just fine if they were done by someone without his bad motives — a standard that too easily devolves into “somebody I agree with.”

BONUS: Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion (joined by Justice Gorsuch). From it:

In Obergefell, I warned that the Court’s decision would “inevitabl[y] . . . come into conflict” with religious liberty, “as individuals . . . are confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples.” 576 U. S., at ___ (dissenting opinion) (slip op., at 15). This case proves that the conflict has already emerged. Because the Court’s decision vindicates Phillips’ right to free exercise, it seems that religious liberty has lived to fight another day. But, in future cases, the freedom of speech could be essential to preventing Obergefell from being used to “stamp out every vestige of dissent” and “vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.” Id.,at ___ (Alito, J., dissenting) (slip op., at 6). If that freedom is to maintain its vitality, reasoning like the Colorado Court of Appeals’ must be rejected.

BONUS BONUS: Last year, David French wrote and filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of 33 family policy organizations. You can read a PDF of it here. Here’s the brief’s conclusion:

If the state of Colorado prevails in this case, fundamental First Amendment rights have become fragile indeed. They survived world war and the pressure for national unification in the face of an existential threat. Can they survive the sexual revolution and the modern pressure for ideological uniformity? That is what this Court will decide.

It is important to remember that this Court has clearly distinguished the constitutional right to marry from any legal obligation to adopt the state’s view about the nature of marriage. Writing for the majority in Obergefell, Justice Kennedy was clear:

Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.  135 S. Ct. at 2607.

This is the language that preserves the First Amendment. This is the language that preserves Barnette. The owners of Masterpiece Cakeshop are religious persons who are not willing to violate “the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths.” Or, to put it another way, they are not willing to let any Colorado official, high or petty, “prescribe what shall be orthodox” regarding the institution of marriage “or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”

May that star remain fixed in our constitutional constellation. The judgment of the court below must be reversed.

Leaving Cloud 9

Our dear former colleague, Ericka Andersen, has written a new book, of the title above, with the subtitle “The True Story of a Life Resurrected from the Ashes of Poverty, Trauma, and Mental Illness.” It’s an incredible story focusing on her husband Rick Sylvester and a childhood that can only be described as relentlessly traumatic. But his struggle, and the exposition of his life’s arc, told with great openness and emotion by his wife — who is wonderfully unafraid to talk about God and Satan — will be a comfort and a guide and likely an inspiration for many.

Here’s what Publishers Weekly has to say about Leaving Cloud 9: “Using Sylvester’s horrific childhood as an example, Andersen explores how relying on faith can help those who have suffered trauma overcome their circumstances. Rick’s story will appeal to Christian readers looking for an uplifting story of perseverance.”

And even Yours Truly had something to say. Ericka asked me to read it and provide a quote. She cannot be denied, so I did. Reading it was tough at times: The accounts of Little Rick’s travails are unsettling, and the knowledge that there are many Little Ricks in America has a multiplying effect on the soul. Anyway, here is my take:

For many Americans, their greatest challenge is resigning to, or escaping from, the vestiges of a youth defined by deep wounds — the kind found not only in a Dickens novel, but in the streets and cul-de-sacs, the bedrooms and kitchens, of every community. We are taught: Suffer the little ones. The reality is: millions instead . . . suffer. But they need not break. Ericka Andersen’s beautifully written Leaving Cloud 9is a thoroughly honest, wince-inducing, love-instigated account, unvarnished, of how the sorrows relentlessly inflicted on a boy, then carried into manhood, can give way. That there is a resurrection — an emerging redemption from despair and pain to a meaningful life of happiness and worth and true good — to be had for those souls pushed and kicked to the brink of brokenness.

Leaving Cloud 9 has its own website, at which you can find a free chapter, and more. Watch a short video promoting the book here. Order your copy (pre-publication — the official launch date is June 26) here at Amazon.

The Six

1. On his own site, Scott Rasmussen — didja know he was the founder of ESPN?! — pens a column urging the end of the White House / Sports Champs Visits. Here’s a slice:

To restore balance in our public life, it’s well past time to establish social boundaries protecting large segments of public life from the civic pollution of politics. We must get rid of the false media narrative that every problem has a political solution and every situation must be analyzed politically. President Trump could take a simple step in the right direction by ending the practice of inviting teams to the White House.

2. At Crisis Magazine, Robert Reilly remembers his dear friend, the great conservative lawmaker, ambassador (to Switzerland), and Reaganite, the late Faith Whittlesey.

3. I kid you not: Some elites are conflicted by the matter of child-sacrifice rituals, still occurring among some Amazon tribes. At The Federalist, John Daniel Davidson explains.

4. Armond White sizes up Kanye West, a “true original,” for The Spectator.

5. In the Spring edition of Modern Age, the great George Nash gives the history behind “Reagan’s Right Turn.” From the essay:

Reagan’s eye-opening entanglement with Communist front groups was only a prologue to the political education he was about to receive in the workplace. In 1946 the motion picture industry in Hollywood was in turmoil, riven by costly strikes and threats of strikes almost constantly. Forty-three different labor unions represented the film industry’s workforce, and two of these — the two largest — were at war: the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE), dominated by militant anti-Communist Roy Brewer, and the Conference of Studio Unions (CSU), headed by hard-core leftist Herbert Sorrell, with strong support from the Communists. The immediate source of friction between these giants seemed, at first glance, ludicrously petty: which one of them should have jurisdiction over a few dozen stage set erectors? But this was merely a flashpoint in a struggle for supremacy that was approaching a showdown. In late September, under pressure from Brewer’s union and the studio bosses (who favored IATSE), Sorrell’s CSU went out on strike. Mass picketing and confrontations ensued. The IATSE men and many other unions worked anyway. The “battle of Hollywood” was on.

The crisis brought to center stage the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), of which Reagan was now a director, and on whose strike emergency committee he served. The strike had placed SAG in the driver’s seat. The actors knew that if they honored the CSU’s job action, they could bring the entire industry to a halt: if no actors showed up for work, no films could be produced. The IATSE would be outflanked, and the studios would have to capitulate to the CSU. But was Sorrell’s job action defensible? Or did he, a suspected Communist, have less savory motives? If the CSU’s goal was simply better wages and working conditions for its members, SAG would be under pressure to respect the picket lines. But if Sorrell and his henchmen were staging a jurisdictional strike — designed to encroach upon and ultimately destroy a rival union — the screen actors would have no moral obligation to refrain from work.

Although initially sympathetic to the CSU, Reagan and his associates quickly concluded that the CSU strike was in fact merely jurisdictional: in Reagan’s later words, a “phony.” Reagan reported this conclusion on October 2 to the SAG membership, which voted overwhelmingly to cross the picket lines and ignore the strike. At the same time, Reagan and his colleagues attempted strenuously for months to be the peacemakers and bring the IATSE and the CSU to terms. The Screen Actors Guild got nowhere.

6. At City Journal, Oren Cass asks and answers (it’s “no”) the question, “Is Technology Destroying the Labor Market?” From his essay:

What we find, instead, is that the industrial economy has stalled. Technology-driven productivity gains have continued as in the past, if a bit slower. But whereas output used to grow at least as quickly, it now grows barely at all. The dynamic has shifted from one in which workers produce more each year, and total output rises, to one in which fewer workers are needed each year to deliver roughly the same output as the year before.

What has changed, and what deserves our attention, is not the trend in automation but rather the dramatic slowdown in output growth. This has its own explanation, one that makes far more sense than the idea that the blessings of rising productivity have suddenly turned wicked: we have pursued a wide range of public policies that harmed the industrial economy broadly — the manufacturing sector, in particular — and the blue-collar workers relying on them. Only by acknowledging that reality, rather than scapegoating technological trends beyond our control, can we begin to make amends.

BONUS: There has been an ethnic cleansing of Greeks living in Northern Cyprus. Uzay Bulut reports for Gatestone Institute.

Eye Candy

1. Rearrange your church schedule accordingly: Jonah Goldberg will be on Fox News Sunday (amazingly, on Sunday).

2. More Jonah: He appears on C-Span’s “After Words” to discuss Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy. John Podhoretz performs the interviewing duties. Watch it here.

3. Our slideshow commemorating the 74th Anniversary of D-Day can be seen here.

4. Candace Owens discusses the “Black Card,” which can be expertly played by the history-oppressed, on this new Prager U video.

5. John Stossel confronts the Edgewater, NJ mayor and city council members to inquire if they just might be on the take. This is a great piece of reporting.

Firing Line Redux

Margaret Hoover is hosting the PBS relaunch of Bill Buckley’s classic program. The first episode was aired this week (for Buckley lovers like me, be happy: it uses clips from the old program). Speaker Paul Ryan is the first guest, and the topic is fighting poverty. Watch the episode here.

A Dios

A bunch of summer interns have invaded NR HQ this week. Smart, sweet, innocent, bright-eyed . . . please the Almighty, let them not be cursing, churlish, cigarette-smoking smart-arses by the time they depart in August (I spotted a memo on one’s work station: The subject line said “AVOID FOWLER”). Ah well. You all have yourselves a wonderful weekend and if you have a dog, hug Man’s Best Friend. If you have a cat, well, you have my sympathies.

God’s blessings and graces on you and yours,

Jack Fowler

jfowler@nationalreview.comis where to send your invectives.

P.S.: Monday night at 8 pm, Eastern time, Turner Classic Movies will be airing Pygmalion. (another credit to 1939 being the year of so many terrific films). I love it, and maybe if you watch it you’ll agree that Wendy Hiller is a great actress of unique and true beauty.

NR Insider

Have We Got a Sonic, and Boy Is It Super


Dear Jolter,

First, let’s get the day hopping, the blood flowing. I recommend cranking up the volume and listening to Tommy Dorsey’s “Opus One.”

Second, sorry to burst your bubble, but you ain’t gonna find anything in this WJ edition about Roseanne or Dinesh or Kim.

Third, there is no third. Let’s get on with the editorials, but before we do that . . .

Consider . . .

National Review Plus. Yeah, it’s big. And if it had a sonic it would be a super one (but more on that below).


1. We slam the steel tariffs. From the editorial: 

Economically, we will pay for these tariffs twice over. Companies that rely on steel and aluminum will pay higher prices — and those companies are responsible for far more employment than the steel and aluminum industries themselves. For that reason, President George W. Bush’s steel tariffs were estimated to cost more jobs than they protected, as were President Barack Obama’s tire tariffs. There is no reason to expect happier results this time. And other countries are also imposing retaliatory tariffs on us.


1. On the brand-spanking-new edition of The Editors, Rich, Reihan, MBD, and Charlie discuss the fracas over the border, Ireland’s decision to repeal Amendment Eight, and the cancellation of Roseanne. Tune in here.

2. John J. Miller gets his Bookmonger juices flowing and interviews Michael Walsh about his new tome, The Fiery Angel: Art, Culture, Sex, Politics, and the Struggle for the Soul of the West. You’ve just got to listen, which you can do here. 

3. It’s titled “Bibs, Tuckers, and Songs,” and to figure out just why it’s earned that moniker, you’ve just got to hear the new episode of Jaywalking. This week, Mr. Nordlinger talks about the opioid crisis, Seattle, the flag, the Gap, and more. And he does it with a little help from his friends — among them Elton John and Kander & Ebb. Warm up the earphones and listen here. 

4. On The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg, our intrepid host takes a break from book-selling Suicide of the West: How the Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy to memorialize his late, larger-than-life father-in-law, address the books’ critics, and engage in rank punditry on Mueller, China, and North Korea. Lend an ear here.

5. On the Great Books podcast, JJM and Hillsdale prof Paul Rahe discuss historically naughty The Arabian Nights (here’s the link for Volume 1, and here’s Volume 2). If you listen, I won’t tell your mother. Do the former here.

6. Thomas Sowell is the guest on The Jamie Weinstein Show, where the duo discuss his new book — Discrimination and Disparities — and much more. Catch the convo here. 

7. On the new episode of Ordered Liberty, David and Alexandra catch up with Senator James Lankford from Oklahoma and discuss his transition from pastor to politician, his efforts at racial reconciliation, political polarization on Capitol Hill, and whether there’s hope for fiscal responsibility in Washington. Friends, Oklahomans, countrymen, lend an ear here. 

8. Ricochet editor in chief Jon Gabriel visits the Political Beats asylum to discuss New Order with the Double B Boys (Scot Bertram and Jeff Blehar). Play that funky podcast: Listen here.

9. Colin Sharkey, executive vice president of the Association of American Educators, joins Reality Check with Jeanne Allen to discuss the challenges facing today’s teachers, especially with the looming SCOTUS decision on Janus. Sit up straight and listen here.

10. On the new “Grapes of Wrath” episode of Radio Free California, David and Will discuss the city of Stockton’s proposal to pay potential shooters not to shoot people; Steve King’s bill that would put people like Oakland’s mayor in prison; and a California court’s ordering the state to count ballots that have been locked in a Sacramento safe for five years. And this: Art Laffer’s prediction that the Trump tax plan will send Californians packing for low-tax states. Catch all the wisdom here.

Eleven Juicy NR Pieces of Colossal Importance

1. The title of Andy McCarthy’s piece — a smackdown of a lot of people, in particular Trey Gowdy and Marco Rubio — says it all: “Yes, the FBI Was Investigating the Trump Campaign When It Spied.” Here’s a slab:

First, to repeat, the question raised by the FBI’s use of an informant is whether the bureau was investigating the Trump campaign. We’ll come momentarily to the closely connected question of whether Trump can be airbrushed out of his own campaign — I suspect the impossibility of this feat is why Gowdy is resistant to discussing the Trump campaign at all.

It is a diversion for Gowdy to prattle on about how Trump himself was not a “target” of the Russia investigation. As we’ve repeatedly observed (and as Gowdy acknowledged in the interview), the Trump-Russia probe is a counterintelligence investigation. An accomplished prosecutor, Gowdy well knows that “target” is a term of art in criminal investigations, denoting a suspect who is likely to be indicted. The term is inapposite to counterintelligence investigations, which are not about building criminal cases but about divining and thwarting the provocative schemes of hostile foreign powers. In that sense, and in no other, the foreign power at issue — here, Russia — is always the “target” of a counterintelligence probe; but it is never a “target” in the technical criminal-investigation sense in which Gowdy used the term . . . unless you think we are going to indict a country.

2. More Must-Read McCarthy: Andy’s latest piece was preceded by this beaut, in which he takes on the Obama Administration’s “hypocritical pretext” for spying on the Trump campaign. Here’s how this analysis winds up:

That could not have been known in the spring of 2016, when it appears that suspicions about Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and Paul Manafort prompted Obama national-security officials to begin investigating Obama’s (and Clinton’s) political opposition. The Obama administration could have been more measured. If its concerns were based in good faith rather than political opportunism, it could have dispatched the FBI to interview Page (whom agents had interviewed several times since 2013, and apparently did interview in March 2016), and Manafort (who, along with his partner, Richard Gates, was speaking with the Justice Department in 2016 about their work for the Kremlin’s favored Ukrainian political party). It could have given responsible Trump campaign officials a defensive briefing to alert them about its concerns.

Instead, the Obama administration decided to use its counterintelligence powers to spy on the Trump campaign, using at least one covert informant, electronic monitoring of communications, and other intelligence-gathering tactics. It ignored the norm against deploying such tactics against political opponents, not based on evidence of a Trump-Russia criminal conspiracy, but on speculation about the Trump campaign’s Russia contacts and Russia sympathies. Speculation by a government, an administration, and a Democratic-party nominee with their own abysmal histories of Russia contacts and Russia sympathies.

3. Even More Andy: And that piece was preceded by another gem, “Spy Name Games,” which takes to task the politicization of America’s security, intelligence, and law-enforcement arms by the Obama administration. A chunk of its wisdom:

In the Trump–Russia affair, officials of the Obama-era intelligence agencies suggest that there are grounds to believe that the Trump campaign was in a traitorous conspiracy with the Kremlin. What grounds? They’d rather not say. You’ll just have to trust them as well-meaning, non-partisan pros who (all together now) can’t be expected to divulge methods and sources.

Countering that are not only Trump fans but growing ranks of security-state skeptics. The Obama administration blatantly politicized the government’s intelligence and law-enforcement apparatus. Their Chicken Little shrieks that public disclosure of FISA warrants and texts between FBI agents would imperil security have proven overblown at best (and, in some instances, to be cynical attempts to hide embarrassing facts). “Trust us” is not cutting it anymore.

In the end, it is not about who the spies are. It is about why they were spying. In our democratic republic, there is an important norm against an incumbent administration’s use of government’s enormous intelligence-gathering capabilities to — if we may borrow a phrase — interfere in an election. To justify disregarding that norm would require strong evidence of egregious wrongdoing. Enough bobbing and weaving, and enough dueling tweets. Let’s see the evidence.

4. Victor Davis Hanson says the post-WWII “World Order” is kaput. His piece is a must-read, and here’s a taste:

Empirically speaking, neo-Ottoman Turkey is a NATO ally in name only. By any standard of behavior — Ankara just withdrew its ambassador from the U.S. — Turkey is a de facto enemy of the United States. It supports radical Islamic movements, is increasingly hostile to U.S. allies such as Greece, the Kurds, and Israel, and opposes almost every foreign-policy initiative that Washington has adopted over the last decade. At some point, some child is going to scream that the emperor has no clothes: Just because Turkey says it is a NATO ally does not mean that it is, much less that it will be one in the future.

Instead, Turkey is analogous to Pakistan, a country whose occasional usefulness to the U.S. does not suggest that it is either an ally or even usually friendly.

5. The World Cup looms. Jim Geraghty, tongue firmly implanted in cheek, sees the forthcoming Russia-based tournament as an opportunity to consider the . . . 2022 World Corruption Games. Take it away, sports anchors. 

6. Jonah Goldberg remembers his late father-in-law and reflects on immigration and the compelling, American, story of this heroic immigrant.

7. Son of Concorde: Could supersonic jet travel between NYC and London revive the “special relationship” between the UK and the USA? Samuel Hammond thinks so. Hold on to your Jetsons:

The return of commercial supersonic flight could be one gravity-defying possibility, helping bridge the Atlantic through speedy business travel. The Concorde, which retired in 2003 after 27 years of service, was beset by poor fuel economy and exorbitant ticket prices, earning its reputation as an engineering wonder but a massive commercial failure. This was hardly a surprise given its origins in a quite literal case of “design by committee.” Today, in contrast, a confluence of technological breakthroughs, from carbon-fiber airframes to better jet engines, mean the next generation of supersonic passenger jets are well under a decade away and driven by a bevy of private-sector players with every intention of making supersonic flight practical — and profitable.

8. Conrad Black knows from whence he speaks, and writes. In his new column, he praises the long-overdue movement on criminal-justice reform. From his piece:

The assault on the Trump presidency and his counterattack on his tormentors will run their course. But the best possible result that could come from this affair, apart from the end of the routine criminalization of policy differences between partisan political opponents, would be a massive overhaul of the medieval torture chamber of the American criminal-justice system. The plea bargain must cease to be a process of extorting and suborning perjured inculpatory testimony under threat of prosecution and inducement by immunity for the catechized perjury. Notions of civilized penal reform must return, such as assisting convicted people to learn how to earn honest incomes on release, and encouraging wholesome relationships with families and friends during incarceration. The entire spirit of the system must change, from unlimited punitive severity in pursuit of political kudos, to policies that encourage law-abiding conduct as efficiently as possible, facilitate rehabilitation where it is reasonable to aspire to it, while protecting the public from wrongdoers with any tendency to violence.

9. Open office spaces are . . . sexist. Discriminatory! Kat Timpf, on Lunacy Patrol, has the story.  

10. Will Trump’s steel tariffs hurt? Yep, says Benjamin Zycher, and in plenty of areas, including national security. From his piece:

Consider energy, for example, a sector of the economy that involves not only producing energy products, but also transporting crude oil to refineries, refined products to users, natural gas to power plants, and on and on. Those industrial activities are clearly important to our national security, and higher costs could result in a reduced ability to “meet [petroleum] demands for national defense and critical industries in a national emergency.”

The cost of steel represents roughly 10 to 20 percent of the overall cost of constructing and operating an oil field. Pipelines often are made of specialty steels not currently produced in the U.S., and replacing that foreign output domestically will raise prices. The cost of pipeline construction is roughly $5 million per mile, depending on local conditions, of which materials are 15–20 percent. The proposed steel tariffs would increase overall construction costs by 3–5 percent; for an average 280-mile project, that cost increase would be about $75 million. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) estimates that the tariffs would increase the cost of the proposed Alaska natural-gas pipeline by $500 million.

11. Last but never least, Boss Lowry pens a new column on border hysteria and the el blarnio of the “1,475 lost children” story being propagated by the MSM. From Rich’s piece:

Trump is right to want to get a handle on the border. According to the Justice Department, over the past two and half years, more than a quarter million migrants who came here as unaccompanied children or part of a family group have been released into the country.

As long as migrants know they can get in, they will keep coming — and bringing their children on a harrowing journey. Minors have become chits. reports that it is “common to have parents entrust their children to a smuggler as a favor or for profit.”

But separating parents and children at the border is a significant downside of the Trump policy. Congress can help by fixing the consent decree that makes it impossible to detain kids, even if they are with their parents, and by spending more on detention space. There’s no reason we can’t handle these cases quickly and humanely, except for our insanely self-sabotaging immigration system.

BONUS: Thanks to the efforts of intrepid NR reporters Jack Crowe and Mairead McArdle, the original sources of the “lost kids” cock-and-bull — USA Today and — have been (embarrassed into?) correcting their stories. Rich high-fives NR’s dynamic duo in this Corner post.

The Six (and Then Some)

1. In City Journal, Lance Morrow reflects on an old Georgetown neighbor, Bobby Kennedy, on the 50th anniversary of his assassination. From his piece:

Of course, the entire Kennedy family phenomenon is impressive as a prototype of publicity leading on to myth. The Euhemerus process in modern times is much accelerated and intensified by globalized electronic information and social networks. As time passes, the business of fame—carried on in the complicated, unstable metaphysics of the global imagination—becomes increasingly savage and strange. It’s not impossible to become a god these days, but it’s nearly impossible to remain one. The Euhemerus effect now runs powerfully in the negative direction, down from Olympus: incipient gods are disgraced and discarded overnight. The web is Moloch.

But the Kennedys, despite scandals, have survived, as if they had been grandfathered into the myth-systems. The grandfather was Henry Luce. Just before World War II, Life began glorifying the photogenic family. Ambassador Joe Kennedy went to London, and Rose and the children came after him, stepping off the boat as bright as newly minted dimes. Less than a century after the potato famine, America’s immigrant Irish returned across the water, transformed by America, civilized by Harvard, their money and their white teeth gleaming. The Kennedys have lived ever since in a Euhemeristic borderland in the American imagination.

2. Also from City Journal, Walter Olsen says the “Republicans’ Millennial Problem Isn’t What You Think.”

3. Sometimes it’s good to have a little bit of the obvious: New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin says Hillary as POTUS would have made things much worse for America. From his piece:

Of all the possible scenarios, there is one about which we can be certain: A Clinton victory would have kept the public from learning about the Obama administration’s extensive abuse of its powers to help her.

Her victory would mean Stefan Halper, Carter Page and George Papadopoulos would remain anonymous private citizens, and key players involved in the scheme would still have their reputations intact.

Loretta Lynch, for helping to minimize the various probes, might be Clinton’s attorney general. John Brennan, James Clapper, Susan Rice and Samantha Power might have important government jobs instead of having to fight to keep their dirty tricks buried.

4. O(y) Canada: Campus anti-Semitism is alive and well north of the border. Philip Carl Salzman reports for Gatestone Institute. From his piece:

Canadian campuses are home to the organizations Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Students Association which actively campaign against Israel in such events as “Israel Apartheid Week,” and which sponsor boycotts of Israel and a wide array of anti-Israel speakers. Although these anti-Israel advocates, many of them Middle Eastern and Muslim in origin, claim not to be antisemitic even while denying Jews a 3,000 year history in their historical homeland, their animosity toward Jews repeatedly breaks out. For example, a Facebook post celebrating an anti-Israel event at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology asserted that “Jews are rodents.” Other media posts advised Jewish students to “Go back to Palestine.” At Toronto’s Ryerson University, Holocaust education was opposed with a staged walkout.

At McMaster University, numerous incidents have been documented of students writing antisemitic social media posts. Nadera Masad, a member of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, tweeted “hitler should have took you all.”

5. From mid-April, but timeless: Paul Kengor writing in The American Spectator about Ted Kennedy’s 1983 Kremlin outreach to sabotage Ronald Reagan, and his 1980 outreach to Commies to undermine his Democrat presidential primary foe, Jimmy Carter. From the piece:

Again going to Soviet archives, here’s what we now know Kennedy relayed to the Kremlin — this time regarding Jimmy Carter, a Democratic president:

According to the Mitrokhin Archive, Kennedy, in March 1980, had sent his liaison to Moscow. That liaison, once again John Tunney, likewise informed the Soviets that Kennedy was troubled by rising Cold War tensions, which Kennedy blamed not on the Kremlin but on the Carter administration. Yes, Kennedy blamed Carter for being provocative — the alleged saber-rattling of Jimmy Carter! An amazing charge.

What exactly did Kennedy say?

In Mitrokhin’s description, the Massachusetts senator maintained that the Carter administration was trying to “distort the peace-loving ideas behind Brezhnev’s proposals.” There was an “atmosphere of tension and hostility” that was being “fueled by Carter.” Yes, note the charge: fueled by Carter! The Carter White House was “feeding public opinion with nonsense about ‘the Soviet military threat’ and Soviet ambitions for military expansion.”

6. At The Imaginative Conservative, Bradley Birzer pens an essay on “The Andrew Jackson & John C. Calhoun Divide.” Yeah, it is quite interesting. From the piece:

Calming down, he wrote a note to Calhoun, hoping to get the South Carolinian to explain or clarify. “That frankness which I trust has always characterized me thro’ life, toward those with whom I have been in habits of friendship induces me to lay before you the enclosed copy” of the evidence that he had undermined Jackson in 1818, contrary to his professions to Jackson in private correspondence. “My object in making this communication is to announce to you the great surprise which is felt, and to learn of you whether it be possible that the information given is correct.” If Jackson coolly offered Calhoun an out, the South Carolinian refused to take it. In his response of May 29, 1830, he made no apologies but rather expressed contempt that Jackson only now learned of Calhoun’s views from 1818. Then, in typical Calhoun fashion, resembling some Dantean figure in the Inferno, he justified his actions at great length and with the vomiting of much ink and paper. Jackson responded with a swift cut. Calhoun clearly misunderstood the purpose of his letter, Jackson wrote. It was merely to state “et tu Brute.”

BONUS: Despite the government’s and court’s gag order on news about the arrest of the uber-controversial Islamofascist Tommy Robinson, who was creating a public fuss about the trial of Muslim “grooming” gangs (i.e., rapists of young British girls) that operated with impunity for years in Not-So-Jolly-Old-England, news is spreading, nationally and globally. Occasional NR contributor Bruce Bawer reports on the insanity for Gatestone — here’s his most recent update.

BONUS TWO: My pal Julie Kelly writes to her #Resistance ex-friends. A juicy slice: 

Some of your behavior has been kinda cute. It was endearing to watch you become experts on the Logan Act, the Hatch Act, the Second Amendment, the 25th Amendment, and the Emoluments Clause. You developed a new crush on Mitt Romney after calling him a “sexist” for having “binders full of women.” You longed for a redux of the presidency of George W. Bush, a man you once wanted imprisoned for war crimes. Ditto for John McCain. You embraced people like Bill Kristol and David Frum without knowing anything about their histories of shotgunning the Iraq War.

Classified emails shared by Hillary Clinton? Who cares! Devin Nunes wanting to declassify crucial information of the public interest? Traitor!

But your newfound admiration and fealty to law enforcement really has been a fascinating transformation. Wasn’t it just last fall that I saw you loudly supporting professional athletes who were protesting police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem? Remember how you fanboyed a mediocre quarterback for wearing socks that depicted cops as pigs?

BONUS THREE: In the Winter 2018 edition of the Claremont Review of Books, Matt Continetti pens a brilliant, take-no-prisoners review — “Senators and Their Pages” — of tomes by solons Mike Lee, Elizabeth Warren, Ben Sasse, Al Franken, and Jeff Flake. None emerge unscathed. Matt’s essay/review is long and fun and so well-written you do indeed wish it would not end.

More on Tommy Robinson

Maybe this should have been included in the NR links above, but as WJ is pieced together, your Friendly Writer notices up on the home page Douglas Murray’s long and detailed piece on the “grooming gang” madness that has led to unspeakable horrors in England, including the arrest and prosecution of Mr. Robinson. Here’s a healthy slab from Douglas’ piece:

The problem — as I said in 2015 — is that any challenge Robinson presents is all a secondary issue. The primary issue is that for years the British state allowed gangs of men to rape thousands of young girls across Britain. For years the police, politicians, Crown Prosecution Service, and every other arm of the state ostensibly dedicated to protecting these girls failed them. As a number of government inquires have concluded, they turned their face away from these girls because they were terrified of the accusations of racism that would come their way if they did address them. They decided it wasn’t worth the aggravation.

By contrast, Tommy Robinson thought it was worth the aggravation, even if that meant having his whole life turned upside down. Some years ago, after crawling over all of his personal affairs and the affairs of all his immediate family, the police found an irregularity on a mortgage application, prosecuted Robinson, convicted him, and sent him to prison on that charge. In prison he was assaulted and almost killed by Muslim inmates.

What can be said with absolute certainty is that Tommy Robinson has been treated with greater suspicion and a greater presumption of guilt by the United Kingdom than any Islamic extremist or mass rapist ever has been. That should be — yet is not — a national scandal. If even one mullah or sheikh had been treated with the presumption of guilt that Robinson has received, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the rest of them would be all over the U.K. authorities. But different standards apply to Robinson.

Thank You Rush

For slamming Her Crudeness, Samantha Bee. And boy oh boy, a la Andy, does he ever lay into Trey Gowdy.

Eye Candy

1. At the annual conference of Grove City College’s Center for Vision & Values, the great George Nash lectured on “The Aftermath of World War I.” Watch it here. 

2. Geert Wilders says “the light of freedom is going out” in Not-So-Jolly-Old-England — Geert is sticking it to the UK for suppressing critics of Islam and standing in solidarity with Tommy Robinson. Here’s the video.

3. The go-to-college racket is the subject of John Stossel’s new video, in which he interviews economist and author Bryan Caplan about it being a “waste of time and money.” Watch it here.

4. Did I miss this? I think so: Peter Robinson interviews Thomas Sowell in a recent Uncommon Knowledge about his new book, Discrimination and Disparities. Make sure you give it a look, done here.

Didn’t I Meet You . . .

. . . on a summer cruise? If not, let’s meet on a winter one. Join us on NR’s 2018 Buckley Legacy Conservative Cruise, all the information about which you can find at

This One’s for You Walsh

As mentioned above on The Bookmonger podcast item, this week marks the launch of our old pal Michael Walsh’s new book, The Fiery Angel: Art, Culture, Sex, Politics, and the Struggle for the Soul of the West. You want some endorsements of his latest tome? I’ll show you some endorsements!

Mollie Hemingway: “For decades now, the cultural Left has been waging a war for our souls and freedoms, and their success depends on our increasing inability to comprehend and appreciate the rich spiritual and intellectual heritage of Western civilization. In The Fiery Angel, Michael Walsh’s dazzling intellect is on full display and readers will walk away not just with a tremendous appreciation of the Judeo-Christian beliefs and heroic narratives that have preserved and protected us for thousands of years, but he also gives them the tools to go out and defend these ideals from the cultural onslaught.”

Angelo M. Codevilla: “This unique book teaches Western civilization and its agonists by acquainting the reader with the fundamentals of western art –music, literature, and painting. Walsh reminds us that the arts are the basic means by which any and all peoples interpret the experiences of life. The arts are civilization’s substance. Empires are epiphenomena. Shakespeare counts for more than Elizabeth I and Solzhenitsyn more than Brezhnev. Politicizing the arts destroys civilization, understanding them preserves it. Read this book. You will learn from it.”

John Lenczowski: “In his magisterial defense of Western Civilization, Michael Walsh shows how the cultural Marxist Left’s war against human nature, virtue, norms, and a nation’s culture is actually a war against God’s creation. It will ultimately be trumped by honest history and art that faithfully reflects the human condition — our perennial struggle between the better and worse angels of our nature. Ultimately, when we seek beauty and reject Promethean ugliness, we will come closer to basing our society on goodness and truth — and our civilization may even survive.”

Now go buy that book!


One can daydream: Back in his Red Sox days, did Babe Ruth pitch against Walter Johnson? Well, it turns out it happened a few times. In fact, in their first six head-to-head matchups through 1916, Ruth dominated, winning five of the six contests (two were 1-0 shutouts, two others were one-run games). But let’s look a little closer at the last three matchups, before Ruth became a full-time outfielder.

On May 7, 1917, the future Hall of Famers faced off in a classic pitchers’ duel at Griffith Stadium (attendance a paltry 962!). Ruth gave up two measly hits, Johnson four, but in the top of the eighth Inning, the Sultan of Swat drove in the game’s sole run with a sacrifice fly. Here’s the box score.

Payback: The last game of that season, on October 3 at Fenway Park, Johnson faced Ruth again. Both hurled complete games, but this time Ruth gave up six runs as Johnson shut out the Red Sox 6 – 0. At the plate, the Big Train tagged Ruth for a bases-clearing double (driving in three runs) to provide the margin of victory. Ye Olde Box Score is here.

Their final face-off came on May 9, 1918, at Griffith Stadium. Ruth started, pitched the complete game, and took the loss. Doc Ayers started for the Senators and went nine innings, giving up the tying run in the eighth and the go-ahead in the ninth. He was due to bat in the bottom of the frame, but manager Clark Griffith had Johnson (a career .235 hitter, not bad for a pitcher) pinch hit, and the Big Train delivered with a sacrifice fly that tied the game. Johnson held the Sox scoreless in the tenth (Ruth was caught stealing to kill a rally) and then in the bottom of the inning, Eddie Foster hit another sacrifice fly to bring home the Senators’ winning run, and Johnson added another W to his record. Here’s the box score. And get this: Ruth, batting cleanup, went five for five, with three doubles and one triple.

A Dios

Earlier this week NR wrapped up its webathon. We had a goal of $210,000. Thanks to a final-weekend surge, and I do indeed mean surge, we reached and passed that goal. To the thousands of you who gave, we thank you, truly and deeply. We love you for your selflessness and willingness to be our comrade, to stand aside us on the ramparts, to join us in the foxhole, to feed us the ammo belt. Pardon the martial talk but not the sense that this is a fight — and that it is our fight. Whether you gave or not (if the latter, and you’re feeling guilty, you can always donate to NR here), we hope you and yours will have a blessed and fruitful week, one in which you realize the Creator’s many graces and blessings, one in which you engage in the corporal works of mercy, and one in which your prayers find an answer.

God bless,

Jack Fowler

P.S.: is the least cool email address on the interwebs, but you can find me there if you need to complain about something or want me to take out the garbage or if you’re a Nigerian lawyer hoping for a chunk of my lottery haul.  

P.P.S.: June is National Flag Month. Flag Day is the 14th. Get in the mood with the U.S. Marine Band playing John Philip Sousa’s classic, The Stars and Stripes Forever.

NR Insider

Hey Mikey!


Dear Jolters,

Well, we got the jolt early this week upon learning of the sudden death of our colleague. Mike Potemra, NR’s literary editor, passed away at the age of 53 — too young and too soon for us. But not, we pray, for the Almighty.

Phone calls and emails unreturned, we undertook to find out — what gives. In the early a.m. of Tuesday came the grim news that a heart attack had felled him. We are all of us shaken here: Mike was a bold color, part of the dye and pattern of the NR cloth. He was a man capable of boundless wisdom and sincere friendship and gleeful mirth. Pardon the selfishness, but it was bad enough that he left NYC HQ a few years back for the sunnier lands of the City of Angels.

And now, forever? We weep, but hope: more angels.

This will be a truncated Jolt. Let’s preempt the usual “editorials” section with a catalogue of Mikey P remembrances.

What’s Up, Pussycat!

Really, “puss.” That’s if you were a woman (uttered with a gentle clawing gesture). If a guy, Mr. Potemra greeted you with a hearty Bill-and-Ted-channeling “Dude!” To me he was Mikey or Mikey P. There was many a 6 a.m. when we talked about all things under the sun and moon at NR’s otherwise barren offices (where he would have been making his editorial magic since the wee hours). I’m not sure who here couldn’t claim a special relationship with our colleague. Here are some of their wonderful remembrances.

1. What a truly beautiful R.I.P. from Rich Lowry. From it:

Maybe it’s most accurate to call him an outgoing introvert. He never drew attention to himself and wasn’t a backslapper (the last time I saw him, I jokingly attempted a bro hug, and it didn’t come off). But he was genuinely interested in people and loved to laugh. When he had a joke, he’d share it with everyone in the office. He loved to do impressions, particularly making comments about contemporary politics in his Nixon voice. You usually knew he was in the office because you could hear his laughter.

2. Their offices and their love for all things spiritual abutted. KLO recalls Mike’s . . .

. . . fearlessness in calling someone up a