The Weekend Jolt

National Review

Supremely Disappointed

Dear Weekend Jolter,

Point of Personal Privilege: It’s the Correspondent’s Mother’s star-spangled birthday — which by coincidence happens this same day every year — so to her, a happy birthday. The same to all others who share such with this Glorious Republic, marking its 244th year of holding and protecting and championing self-evident truths.

Will there be a 245th?

Self-evident things — like rotten legal precedent — are seemingly not so self-evident to the chief justice of the Supreme Court. Unless . . . they are. Maybe the real point of wearing the black robe — the need to declare the truth true — has proven of less importance to Mr. Roberts in his Big Kahuna capacity.

The 1955 movie was funny. The 2020 SCOTUS chief executive officer ain’t. Allowing for cinematic metaphoring, he has turned the High Court into the judicial version of the movie’s aptly named USS Reluctant. The DACA and abortion cases, the stare decisis excuse-mongering — on all this, Roberts comes into just lambasting from wise NR colleagues who find the chief justice now makes no bones about prioritizing politics over interpreting the Constitution. And then there is this takeaway by the Left, courtesy of Ed Whelan in his Bench Memos analysis: “One lesson that folks on the Left are drawing from this and other recent votes by Roberts is that bullying him pays big dividends.”

Were that happier, Old Glorying things could be noted this July 4th. Well, they will be next week, whence appears a special issue of NR that you will surely mistake for a songbook of praise to what Honest Abe rightly called the Earth’s last best hope. Meanwhile, America’s leftist chattering classes and privileged Ivy-grad street punks are sure to mark this special day by contriving new ways to spread chaos and instigate crime sprees — the ones whose hail of bullets are murdering many Black Lives that never seemed to have enough status to Matter after all.

After all: This madness is not about Justice, is it? It is about destabilizing the Republic and preparing for a leftist regime that will snuff out this historic experiment. There is a word for that: Revolution. And there is a choice for all to make between an America that is the 2020 Project or the 1776 Project. Take it away, Mr. Payne:

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.

Choose wisely.

(N.B.: This missive was filed on Thursday to allow Editor Phil, who never gets a three-day-weekend break, to get a break, sorely needed and richly deserved. That’s the story we’re going with, anyway.)


1. Our disappointment in John Roberts over his repeated forays into jurisprudential monkey business cannot be deep enough. From the editorial:

The Constitution does not prohibit Louisiana from requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges in hospitals near where they operate. We know this fact from reading it; from the debates over the ratification of its provisions, none of which suggest that anyone believed that it could be used in such a fashion; and from the fact that for many decades states prohibited abortion altogether without anyone’s even alleging that they were violating the Constitution. Now five justices of the Supreme Court have conceded this obvious point.

The Court will not allow Louisiana this regulation anyway. Chief Justice John Roberts is one of the five justices who do not believe the law conflicts with the Constitution, rightly interpreted. He voted in 2016 that an identical Texas law should be upheld, and his opinion in the Louisiana case says that he still agrees with his reasoning then. Nevertheless, he claims to believe that the Louisiana law is too similar to the law that his colleagues in 2016 struck down over his dissent. The force of precedent, he maintains, requires the law to be nullified. Otherwise, Americans would lack confidence in the rule of law. It is, on the other hand, wonderfully inspiring to that confidence for a justice to strike down a law that he concedes the state had the constitutional authority to enact.

It is impossible to credit Roberts’s claim that respect for precedent dictated his decision. He has been perfectly willing to overrule precedents in the past. Some of them were of much longer standing. Janus v. AFSCME (2018), on public-sector unions, overruled Abood v. Detroit (1977). Some of them involved cases that presented nearly identical fact patterns. Gonzales v. Carhart (2007) upheld a ban on partial-birth abortion of a type that had been struck down in Stenberg v. Carhart (2000).

2. And so the ChiCom crackdown of Hong Kong begins. Somewhere through the flames Mao is smiling. From the editorial:

The new national-security act is a grave violation of the terms of the 1997 Sino–British Joint Declaration, which guarantees Hong Kong’s judicial and political semi-independence from Beijing until 2047, and made the one nation–two systems settlement part of Hong Kong Basic Law.

The new national-security act sets itself against “terrorism” by which the Chinese Communist Party means Hong Kong’s democracy movement. This protest movement in Hong Kong has re-emerged to confront every challenge to Hong Kong’s Basic Law since 2003. It has proved an astonishingly disciplined and calm movement that has been able to draw nearly one third of Hong Kong’s residents into the streets for its largest demonstrations. Despite violent provocations from anti-riot police that have been subordinated by the Chinese Communist Party and Beijing-backed criminal gangs, the movement has been conspicuously peaceful; leaders of the movement issued apologies when tensions ran hot enough that a few protesters engaged in direct hand-to-hand fighting with police.

That peacefulness was deliberate and reveals Beijing’s “anti-terror” justification for the brazen lie that it is. The law is deliberately and maddeningly vague on what constitutes a terrorist organization, though it specifies the destruction of a vehicle as one terrorist act. It would punish “terrorists” of this sort with a minimum sentence of ten years and a maximum of life imprisonment. The law prohibits “collusion” with foreign governments or institutions, a measure which will be used to put international freedom organizations in the bind of not knowing whether their actions help or harm their peers in Hong Kong. The law applies to everyone — not just Hong Kongers. In the first hours after its passage, a man was arrested under the law for waving an independence flag.

3. Bigots weep as the Blaine Amendment is put to rest — a century and a half late. From the editorial:

Kendra Espinoza, a Montana single mother working three jobs, had a scholarship to send her daughters to a private school of her choice; she chose Stillwater Christian School. The scholarship was partly funded by tax credits from the state that were available for parents to choose any private school, religious or not. Then, the Montana supreme court stepped in, ruling that because the program included religious schools, the whole thing had to be shut down for everyone.

The reason was Montana’s Blaine amendment. A relic of open anti-Catholic prejudice in the late 1800s, more than three dozen states have such amendments to their constitutions banning any state funds from going to any sectarian school or institution. “Sectarian” was code for “Catholic.” In practice, these amendments often mean that state school-choice vouchers and other state programs discriminatorily exclude religious schools and institutions. The Court today called that what it is: religious discrimination. The Court did not need to get into the toxic history of these amendments — which Justice Alito recounted in graphic detail — to conclude that they discriminate on their face against believers.

Chief Justice John Roberts’s opinion carefully focused on discrimination against “religious status and not religious use,” but Justice Neil Gorsuch reminded him that the First Amendment’s protections are broader than that: The Free Exercise Clause “protects not just the right to be a religious person, holding beliefs inwardly and secretly; it also protects the right to act on those beliefs outwardly and publicly. . . . Our cases have long recognized the importance of protecting religious actions, not just religious status. . . . What point is it to tell a person that he is free to be a Muslim but he may be subject to discrimination for doing what his religion commands” even if “deep faith . . . requires [him] to do things passing legislative majorities might find unseemly or uncouth”? For Gorsuch, who only recently expanded federal anti-discrimination protections for gay or transgender Americans, this is a shot across the bow of those who themselves would use those protections as weapons of discrimination against believers.

4. The COVID “reopenings” have not been a failure, despite the rantings of a biased MSM. From the editorial:

The reality is that Greg Abbott, Ron DeSantis, and Doug Ducey are reasonable, public-spirited men who never said they would insist on full reopening regardless of the consequences. Abbott has closed bars back down and further restricted the capacity of restaurants. He’s also stopped elective surgeries again in hard-hit areas and will allow counties to mandate wearing masks in public. DeSantis, too, has shuttered bars, while Florida localities are tightening up again on some restrictions. Ducey is hitting the brakes on the state’s reopening process.

All of this seems prudent. They are following the evidence and adjusting to new data. We like the local watering hole as much as the next guy, but if bars are contributing to the surge of cases, it only makes sense to close them again. Bars and restaurants also should not be allowed to flout state and local guidelines. And masks, which more Florida localities are mandating, are a mild mitigation measure compared with shutting business and telling people to stay at home.

The good news is that in none of these places have we yet seen a spike in deaths commensurate with the spike in cases. This may simply reflect the fact that deaths are a lagging indicator. But the evidence suggests that we are seeing a younger cohort of people getting the virus. In Florida, the median age of the positive cases has drastically declined, from 65 years old in March to 35 years old now. It looks as though older, more vulnerable people have continued to be cautious about the virus, while younger, less vulnerable people are being less careful. Although not ideal, this is better than the alternative. The virus is unpredictable, but younger people are less likely to get seriously ill and die.

5. You won’t find the address for Equality Under the Law located in California. From the editorial:

California had a long struggle with race-based admissions practices in its public universities, most famously with the Bakke case, in which the Supreme Court upheld race-based policies. The 1996 amendment was an attempt to sort that out in the most straightforward fashion, by insisting that the state take no notice of race at all in its policies. That was, for some generations, the great aspiration of most good-hearted Americans, who took it to be the dream of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech.

But the Democratic Party, whether in California or in Mississippi, is not interested in high-minded liberal principle. It is interested in spoils and patronage. And in an education-driven society such as ours, there are few more attractive forms of patronage than controlling admissions to universities, handing them out on a constituency-by-constituency basis the way old-fashioned ward-heelers still hand out turkeys at Thanksgiving.

Predictably, the 1996 amendment’s largely conservative supporters were smeared as covert racists looking to keep California’s universities white. That is one of the unlovely quirks of racial politics: The people who want to encode racial preferences into law and practice are the ones who insist they are anti-racists, and the people who want to encode racial neutrality into law and practice are taken as the latest incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan.

A Yankee Doodle Dandy Compilation of 15 Star-Spangled Examples of Conservative Rockets Whose Red Glare Will Light the Night Sky of Your Intellect

1. It’s hasta la vista, suburbs, if Joe Biden becomes POTUS. Stanley Kurtz has the troubling analysis. From the piece:

Well, there’s another “abolish” the president can add to his list, and it just might be enough to tip the scales this November. Joe Biden and the Democrats want to abolish America’s suburbs. Biden and his party have embraced yet another dream of the radical Left: a federal takeover, transformation, and de facto urbanization of America’s suburbs. What’s more, Biden just might be able to pull off this “fundamental transformation.”

The suburbs are the swing constituency in our national elections. If suburban voters knew what the Democrats had in store for them, they’d run screaming in the other direction. Unfortunately, Republicans have been too clueless or timid to make an issue of the Democrats’ anti-suburban plans. It’s time to tell voters the truth.

I’ve been studying Joe Biden’s housing plans, and what I’ve seen is both surprising and frightening. I expected that a President Biden would enforce the Obama administration’s radical AFFH (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing) regulation to the hilt. That is exactly what Biden promises to do. By itself, that would be more than enough to end America’s suburbs as we’ve known them, as I’ve explained repeatedly here at NRO.

What surprises me is that Biden has actually promised to go much further than AFFH. Biden has embraced Cory Booker’s strategy for ending single-family zoning in the suburbs and creating what you might call “little downtowns” in the suburbs. Combine the Obama-Biden administration’s radical AFFH regulation with Booker’s new strategy, and I don’t see how the suburbs can retain their ability to govern themselves. It will mean the end of local control, the end of a style of living that many people prefer to the city, and therefore the end of meaningful choice in how Americans can live. Shouldn’t voters know that this is what’s at stake in the election?

2. Abortion-on-Demand’s new BFF: Andy McCarthy explains how John Roberts went out of his way to uphold the abortion-right legal monstrosity. From the analysis:

Roberts also elides mention of the inconvenience that none of those who first answered “the questions of yesterday” would have thought it possible that the Constitution guaranteed a right to terminate the unborn. And while, last year, he was telling us the takings precedent had to go, even though people had been inured to it for 34 years, today he said the four-year-old abortion precedent had to be preserved — even though there hasn’t been time for societal arrangements to become ingrained, and the question arose precisely because the Court’s abortion jurisprudence is so slipshod.

Note that Roberts had an out here. He could easily have decided that the plaintiffs did not have standing. As Justice Clarence Thomas explains in a withering dissent, the parties objecting to Louisiana’s law were not women whose purported right to abortion was being burdened; they were abortion providers who sought to raise the claim on the women’s behalf. A court does not have jurisdiction unless the parties before it have standing — i.e., unless they are asserting a denial of their own rights. Roberts, moreover, is typically a stickler on this point — the New York Times has described him as “the Supreme Court’s leading proponent of the standing doctrine.”

So he didn’t just protect abortion. He went out of his way to protect it.

3. More Roberts: Dan McLaughlin explains how the chief justice’s remarkable lack of courage is harming SCOTUS. From the analysis:

In the second case, Selia Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the chief justice wrote the Court’s opinion declaring that Congress in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act had violated the separation of powers by placing the CFPB’s head beyond the reach of presidents to remove at will. This is an important milestone in a longstanding fight by legal conservatives, most prominently Justice Scalia, to restore presidential control and accountability over the executive branch and constrain the growth of a “deep state” that answers to no voter. It is also an epic embarrassment for Elizabeth Warren, who designed the CFPB, and President Obama, who signed Dodd-Frank and has yet again been found by the Court to have done violence to the structure of our Constitution.

As Justice Scalia was fond of observing, separation of powers is, itself, the first of all constitutional rules: So long as we have a government of limited and divided powers, it is possible to enforce particular guarantees of individual rights, which appear in the constitutions of many nations that fail to enforce them.

But Roberts pulled up short of actually concluding that an agency created in violation of the Constitution lacked the power to compel the citizenry. That is what Justices Thomas and Gorsuch would have done here. Normally, if Congress passes an unconstitutional statute, it should be struck down as a whole unless Congress has written instructions on how to sever parts that are unlawful. Here, Congress did just that — for other specific parts of the 1,100-page Dodd-Frank Act, but not one particular to the CFPB. Relying on Dodd-Frank’s general severability clause, Roberts (joined this time by Alito and Kavanaugh) took the narrowest possible “scalpel rather than a bulldozer” to make the CFPB director removable, disregarding the question of whether Congress would really have granted such broad powers to the agency if it had been placed under direct political control.

4. And More Roberts: Ed Whelan in Bench Memos says the capricious chief justice’s thickly sliced stare decisis baloney stinks. From Part 1 of the commentary:

Roberts’s assertion that stare decisis requires his vote against the Louisiana law is difficult to take seriously.

As Justice Alito spells out in his dissent, the majority’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health was intensely fact-dependent. Indeed, it was on the basis of “changed circumstances” that the majority held that the post-enforcement challenge that it addressed did not involve the same claim as the pre-enforcement facial challenge that plaintiffs had first pursued and lost (and was therefore not barred under principles of res judicata). In June Medical, the plaintiffs were making a pre-enforcement challenge to Louisiana’s law. The district court’s factual findings were therefore little more than predictions about what the effects of the law would be, and, as Alito emphasizes, one of its key findings “was based on a fundamentally flawed test” regarding the “good faith” of abortion-clinic doctors in seeking admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. (See Alito dissent at 12-14; see also pp. 15-24 (evidence in record doesn’t show that doctors made serious efforts to obtain privileges.)

Further, even as Justice Breyer in his plurality opinion repeats the balancing test that he set forth in his majority opinion in Whole Woman’s Health, Roberts devotes pages to arguing that Breyer doesn’t really mean what he says in either case and that Breyer’s opinions therefore aren’t really a departure from the undue-burden standard set forth in Casey. (Roberts opinion at 5-11.) Roberts won’t take Breyer at his word because the precedential force of Whole Woman’s Health would be much weaker if Whole Woman’s Health itself departed from Casey.

More broadly, Roberts had never before applied such a wooden view of stare decisis. Indeed, as Ilya Shapiro discusses here, Roberts’s previous decisions to overturn precedents that were “much older and more entrenched” make his “capricious application of stare decisis [in June Medical] startling.”

RELATED: Find Part 2 of Ed’s analysis here.

5. And Even More Roberts: John McCormack thinks butcher-abortionist Kermit Gosnell must be wondering how close he came to being protected by the chief justice. From the piece:

In his Hellerstedt dissent, Justice Samuel Alito took care to explain why Texas had enacted the law in the first place: to protect women from the likes of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

In 2013, Gosnell was convicted for the murders of three infants born alive as well as the manslaughter of Karnamaya Mongar, a woman seeking an abortion. “Gosnell had not been actively supervised by state or local authorities or by his peers, and the Philadelphia grand jury that investigated the case recommended that the Commonwealth adopt a law requiring abortion clinics to comply with the same regulations as [ambulatory surgical centers]. If Pennsylvania had had such a requirement in force, the Gosnell facility may have been shut down before his crimes,” Alito wrote.

Indeed, the Gosnell grand jury found that the “abhorrent conditions and practices inside Gosnell’s clinic [were] directly attributable to the Pennsylvania Health Department’s refusal to treat abortion clinics as ambulatory surgical facilities.”

According to the report, the Gosnell clinic’s narrow hallways hampered efforts to help women injured there: “Ambulances were summoned to pick up the waiting patients, but (just as on the night Mrs. Mongar died three months earlier), no one, not even Gosnell, knew where the keys were to open the emergency exit. Emergency personnel had to use bolt cutters to remove the lock. They discovered they could not maneuver stretchers through the building’s narrow hallways to reach the patients (just as emergency personnel had been obstructed from reaching Mrs. Mongar).”

Justice Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts joined Alito’s Hellerstedt dissent in 2016. But on Monday, Roberts handed a victory to would-be Kermit Gosnells in voting to strike down a 2014 Louisiana law almost identical to the Texas law at stake in Hellerstedt.

6. Despite the judicial wet-blanketing, David Harsanyi finds that “But Gorsuch” may indeed remain the best case for providing Donald Trump a second term. From the piece:

“But Gorsuch” also had immediate implications. Without Gorsuch there is no Janus v. AFSCME, and unions would still be forcing workers to pay dues to organizations that participate in political causes they do not support. Without Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — who, say what you will about Trump, was unlikely to have sustained the support of any other Republican president through such a malicious confirmation battle — states such as Colorado would still openly be destroying the lives of Americans over thought crimes.

A Supreme Court with two Hillary appointees would be whittling away the free-speech protections of Citizens United. It would be hammering the Second Amendment protections that were reaffirmed by Heller and McDonald. Roberts may view himself as a Solomonic strategist and stickler for precedent, but his liberal colleagues have little problem dispensing with it whenever convenient.

It’s understandable that conservatives feel frustrated. When Republicans take Congress, Barack Obama simply circumvents the legislative branch and create laws by fiat. When Republicans win back the presidency, Democrats refuse to accept the legitimacy of the election, and spend the entire term trying to overturn the results, while convincing their constituents that the constitutionally prescribed election process is illegitimate. And when Republican presidents attempt to overturn the previous president’s diktats, using the very same mechanisms, the Court stops them.

7. Victor Davis Hanson finds that it’s quiet in the Delaware basement, surely by intention. From the essay:

But by avoiding the campaign trail, Biden is only postponing the inevitable. He is compressing the campaign into an ever-shorter late-summer and autumn cycle. If he really agrees to three debates (he may not agree to any at all), and if he performs as he usually now acts and speaks, then he may end up reminding the American people in the eleventh hour of the campaign that they have a choice between a controversial president and a presidential candidate who simply cannot fulfill the office of presidency. And if Biden is a no-show, Trump will probably debate an empty, Clint Eastwood–prop mute chair.

Why, then, is Biden the nominee at all — other than that he leads in the delegate count and surged after Democrat back-roomers panicked when Bloomberg imploded and Bernie surged? As a result, politicos forced or enticed all the other primary candidates to vacate and unite around someone nominally not a socialist.

Is one consolation that Biden’s dementia offers a credible defense that he has “no recollection” that he was in on Obama’s efforts to surveil an oppositional campaign and abort a presidential transition?

While all Democrats know that the cat must be belled, no one wishes to step forward to do it and remove Biden — and indeed no one knows how to steal a nomination from an enfeebled winner and hand it off to an undeserving but cogent alternative. Take out Biden in August, and who knows what sort of candidate stampede might follow in today’s insane landscape?

8. David Harsanyi declares the Left’s Coronavirus narrative to be absurd. From the beginning of the piece:

To this point, 71 percent more Americans have died in New York nursing homes than have died in the entire state of Florida, which not only has a larger population but a population that skews older. To this point, New York’s death rate has been ten times larger than Florida’s. So, naturally, liberals are busy concocting a narrative that holds that the failures of the American response to coronavirus have been the fault of Trumpian nihilists in the Red States.

The “toxic imbecility” of Republicans is getting people killed, writes Max Boot. “Trumpism, not polarization, drives America’s disastrous coronavirus politics” says Ezra Klein. Some pundits who push this myth, Paul Krugman in particular, had even had the temerity to suggest that the country look to New York State for advice.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but today it’s clear that NYC has been the key spreader of the infection nationally, and clear, too, that NYC was unable to flatten the curve.

9. At 90, Thomas Sowell is in the fight and taking no prisoners: Steve Hanke and Richard Ebeling take a look at the author of the important new book Charter Schools and Their Enemies. From the piece:

When analyzing race and discrimination, Sowell relishes going after one of his favorite targets: the intellectual elites, or as he refers to them, “the anointed.” The heart of his message is that men are not born with equal abilities. Contrary to the assertions of the anointed, Sowell argues that “empirically observable skills have always been grossly unequal.” Sowell also argues that not all cultures are equal contributors to world civilization. Indeed, he observes that “differences among racial, national and other groups range from the momentous to the mundane, whether in the United States or in other countries around the world and down through the centuries.” Sowell concludes that the world is culturally complex and filled with variety. We still have little understanding of the causes and consequences of that complexity. But markets tend to harmonize the interests of, or at least minimize the friction between, various peoples and cultures, while politics creates conflict, with advantages for some at the expense of others.

Much of what Sowell has to say about race is contained in his undeniably controversial Black Rednecks and White Liberals, a collection of essays. In the course of a lengthy examination of identity, culture, and its socioeconomic effects, he looks, among other issues, at what he refers to as “black ghetto culture” (something, he stresses more than once, of which “most black Americans” are not a part) and its particular language, customs, behavioral characteristics, and attitudes toward work and leisure. Sowell argues that it has been heavily influenced by earlier white southern “redneck” culture, although, as he is careful to note, this is not a matter of “simple linear extrapolation.” And indeed it is not.

Sowell traces this culture to several generations of Americans mostly descended from immigrants from “the northern borderlands of England . . . as well as from the Scottish highlands and Ulster” who arrived in the southern American colonies in the 18th century. The outstanding features of this redneck or “cracker” culture — as it was called in Great Britain before and during the emigration years — included, Sowell writes, “an aversion to work, proneness to violence, neglect of education, sexual promiscuity, improvidence, drunkenness, lack of entrepreneurship, reckless searches for excitement, lively music and dance, and a style of religious oratory marked by rhetoric, unbridled emotions, and flamboyant imagery.” It also included “touchy pride, vanity, and boastful self-dramatization.” The point to be drawn, he writes, “is that cultural differences led to striking socioeconomic differences among blacks, as they did among whites. In both races, those who lived within the redneck culture lagged far behind those who did not.”

10. More McCarthy: Andy ties together the racism narrative with the call for “police reform.” (And throws in a good look at Republican gutlessness.) From the piece:

I admire Senator Tim Scott. His life story, recently told in moving detail by the WSJs Tunku Varadarajan, is an inspiration. Yet his police-reform legislation was far from inspirational. Sure, it should have been debated. Democrats are cynical — surprise! — to block its consideration, the better to keep riding the racism wave they expect to make an anti-Trump tsunami by November (and, as usual, getting no small amount of help from the president). But the best you can say for Scott’s proposal was that it would do no real harm.

Republicans had no intention of pushing back against the slander of institutional racism. They have no stomach for trumpeting the 30-year revolution in policing that, by dramatically driving down homicide and violent crime, has saved thousands of black lives. They would not rouse themselves to a defense of police forces that, reflective of their communities, boast high percentages of African-American officers and, in many major cities, of African-American leadership. No case was made that those black lives matter, too.

Instead, Republicans accept the premise that the nation’s police forces are infected with racism and in desperate need of reform. The GOP won’t dictate to the states, as a bill passed by House Democrats’ would. But Republicans would use federal funding as the prod for state data-gathering on police uses of force. Given that policing is a state responsibility, and that the use of force is a necessary component of it, the only rational purpose of this federal scrutiny is the conceit that police violence is triggered by racism, not by the imperative of countering aggressive criminal behavior.

You might think Congress would want to test that proposition before hamstringing police in a way that will inevitably endanger American communities. Nope.

11. It’s this simple, says Robert VerBruggen: Walls work. From the beginning of the analysis:

We have a problem with people crossing the southern border on foot without authorization. But who could have guessed that putting a wall in their way would stop them?

Well, pretty much every immigration restrictionist. But a new study from American Economic Journal: Applied Economics finds that, indeed, border fencing reduces illegal immigration.

The effects are not small. “Construction in a [Mexican] municipality reduces migration by 27 percent for municipality residents and 15 percent for residents of adjacent municipalities”; it also reduces migration from municipalities that are farther away but historically have relied on the fenced area as a crossing point. Border-wall construction disproportionately deters lower-skilled workers, though it does cause some to cross the border elsewhere instead.

To reach these conclusions, the economist Benjamin Feigenberg had to assemble an impressive amount of data from numerous sources. Congress authorized the construction of nearly 700 miles of pedestrian fencing in 2006, but incredibly, there is no centralized database of where and when fencing was actually built. Pulling together the details meant searching news stories, government documents, and contracts, as well as interviewing Sierra Club staff who are tracking the fence’s progress for environmental reasons.

12. MEDIC! Wow does Matthew Scully ever knock the sanctimonious stuffing out of Republican ex-patriot Stuart Stevens. From the piece:

No matter how we regard the influence of President Donald Trump — as prime source of things gone wrong in politics or as deeply resented corrective — November 6, 2012, holds as good a claim as any date to being remembered as a turn of history and point of departure in the remaking of the Republican Party. Without Romney’s defeat, no Trump takeover. And no Republican other than Utah’s freshman senator himself had more to do with the fateful outcome on that Election Day than Mitt Romney’s sole campaign strategist in 2012, principal advertising consultant, and convention speechwriter, Stuart Stevens. Strange, then, to pick up Stevens’s new book, It Was All a Lie, to find him accusing Republican voters of all manner of sins, failures of judgment, and squandered opportunities, as if they were due the harsh accounting and he was the one left disappointed.

The book is billed as a “lacerating mea culpa,” a painful outpouring of regret by “the most successful political operative of his generation,” though in practice what the penitent mostly confesses is having for too long overlooked the faults of others, and having kept the wrong company when he should have known better. Presenting himself as the battle-weary veteran of many a campaign, with “the best win-loss record of anyone in my business,” Stevens shares his sadness and remorse at having labored so long as a Republican consultant, in service to people he now realizes are mostly frauds and to ideas he now regards as “lies” unworthy of his talents.

“If I look back on my years in politics,” he reflects, “the long-standing hypocrisy of the Republican Party should have been obvious.” But it wasn’t, and now in atonement he is prepared to testify that Donald Trump’s arrival merely revealed “the essence” of a selfish, backward, hateful, hopelessly racist “white grievance party” — defined by “the kooks and weirdos and social misfits of a conservative ideology” — our lofty Republican ideals all along just for show. As he tells us in his Prologue, “This is a book I never thought I’d write, that I didn’t want to write. But it’s the book I now must write. It’s a truth to which I can bear witness.”

Replace “book” with “review” in that bit of melodrama and it captures something of my own state of mind while reading as the author, a colleague in both the Bush campaign of 2000 and the Romney enterprise in 2012, airs his thoroughgoing contempt for the political party whose fortunes were entrusted to him just eight years ago. Nor does it quite ring true that all of this came to him as a sudden revelation during the Trump era. Though Stuart has some admirable traits and gifts, with It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump we have not the timely manifesto for 2020 that he intended but instead a valuable contribution to the historical record. The book helps to explain his own influence in the Romney campaign, which was ruinous. And it perfectly illustrates why so many Republican voters in 2012 sensed a lack of respect from the party establishment, leaving them receptive to something so dramatically different the next time around.

13. Get Your Geek On: Is there a right to . . . repair? NR intern Luther Abel conducts a most interesting interview with its advocate, Louis Rossman. From the transcript:

ABEL: You touched on this already, but I’ll ask it very deliberately: Does Right to Repair mean that every electronic item must be repairable, rather than replaceable. For instance, I had an old ASUS laptop I bought for 200 bucks. Everything was soldered in, meaning upgrading was impossible. Now it’s completely useless to me, but I paid $200. So what’s the big deal?

ROSSMAN: Right to Repair is not the concept that everything needs to be specifically designed in a manner where it’s easier for me [to fix]. So, for instance, if you’re going to solder the drive to the board, I’m not saying, “Don’t do that.” Feel free to make those decisions as a company, to make your products slimmer in any way that you see fit. But if you’re going to say, “We’re going to specifically pair this SSD to this computer, so that even if you’re able to locate the chips, they’re not going to work when you put them in,” that’s the area where Right to Repair would come in and say, ”Let’s do less of that.” So if you want to design them in a manner where you solder the charge chip in, rather than, I don’t know, having it in a socket, let’s say — this is a really silly example cause we’re going back like 30 or 40 years — if you’re going to solder the chip instead of socket it in, I don’t mind that. You do you. But, if you’re going to make it so that nobody can get the chip, that’s where Right to Repair would come in and say that that’s what we’re against.

So one example of what Right to Repair is not: The European Union, I believe, was looking to mandate that Apple use USB-C instead of Lightning, because USB-C is a standard and Lightning is not a standard. I don’t want people to think that has anything to do with Right to Repair because it doesn’t; that’s completely separate. I’m not looking to tell Apple, “You need to use this type of charge port. I want you to use micro USB. I want you to use USB-C. I want you to use this.” No, what we’re saying is, regardless of what you use to charge your phone — you could use a banana to charge it — just give us access to be able to purchase that charge port so that if the charge port in the phone breaks, we can fix it for customers rather than tell them, “Your phone is now a brick.” So I think that is a good example of what Right to Repair is not: We’re not looking to say, “You need to use this port. You need to do this.” Just don’t intentionally lock people out of the ability to fix it once you’ve chosen how to design it.

14. Is there a home-grown Anti-European Fusionism taking place on the other side of the pond? NR intern Mathis Bitton, reporting from over there, has the story. From the piece:

In fact, far from posing a threat to France’s political order, Front Populaire represents the culmination of a strange alliance that started with the birth of the fifth French Republic. In the aftermath of World War II, Charles de Gaulle united conservative and Communist members of the Résistance to form a government that would uphold national sovereignty, limit foreign interference, and celebrate French culture after four years of German occupation. A similar coalition resurrected itself in 1992 with the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty, the treaty many view as having marked the beginning of European federalism. Then, a surreal partnership between convinced socialists such as Jean-Pierre Chevènement and conservative leaders such as Philippe Séguin emerged. Despite their colossal ideological differences, the two men shared the stage to fight against what they perceived to be the end of France as a nation-state.

But the most important date in the history of this peculiar alliance is May 29, 2005. On that day, and against all odds, the French people voted against the ratification of the Treaty of Rome, which extended the powers that Maastricht had already delegated to transnational European institutions. For the first time, the cause of national sovereignty had united a majority of voters, ranging from disillusioned Communists to committed nationalists. Naturally, the French government did not respect the popular vote; two years later, a repackaged version of the Treaty of Rome was signed by the French president without any form of public consultation. This betrayal of democratic norms has ever since fuelled the determination of anti-EU parties; but never have sovereignist political forces been able to unite beyond occasional referenda.

The reason for this is a simple one: Apart from their rejection of the EU, French conservatives have had very little in common with socialists, Communists, and even reactionaries. At least, until now. Onfray claims that the common enemy that is the EU is sufficient to launch a real political movement. American observers may find this development familiar. When future president Ronald Reagan and Republican fusionists built an anti-Soviet coalition in the 1960s, they brought together a panoply of libertarians and traditionalists who did not share much philosophically. What did unite them, however, was a threat so immense as to dwarf their differences. Naturally, Onfray by no means implies that the EU is somehow analogous to the U.S.S.R. But he does argue that the circumstances may be similar enough for a new kind of fusionism to arise.

15. Cameron Hilditch considers the consecration of a new Russian cathedral and what it bespeaks about the way certain powers regard themselves. From the essay:

The nation-state, properly defined, is a territory in which a single sovereign government wields the geographic monopoly on violence. Western nations have taken this idea to be fundamental and projected it psychologically, geopolitically, and militarily on parts of the world where it is a purely contingent and incidental way of manifesting and safeguarding modes of political unity that far antedate it. None of the English-speaking peoples have known any sense of political unity and solidarity apart from the development of a national consciousness. This might be because England herself developed this self-consciousness exceptionally early, during the reign of Alfred the Great in the ninth century.

Yet the nation-state is not the fundamental unit of political identity in either China or Russia. It is the topsoil over much deeper foundations. Both the history and the ambitions of these two countries put them in a category of polities that Jacques calls “civilization-states.” Whereas Westerners think of their countries as nations, men such as Putin and Xi think of their own as civilizations. The idea of the civilization-state allows a polity to extend the story of its own history back to a time before its current constitutional settlement. It allows for the possibility that different national arrangements may have prevailed at different points in the country’s history, yet without diminishing the continuity of identity that holds true through all the different constitutional permutations over the centuries. Consequently, for the Chinese, “China” as a recognizable entity of which they feel themselves to be a part is 5,000 years old. The historian Wang Gungwu asks, “Of what other country in the world can it be said that writings on its foreign relations of two thousand, or even one thousand, years ago seem so compellingly alive today?”

The role of the government in a civilization-state is therefore different from its role in a nation-state. In the former, the purpose of government is to maintain the unity of the civilization across time and space and prevent its dilution, rather than secure the individual rights of its citizens. This purpose is informed and undergirded by the people’s sense of intimacy with their own history and traditions and by the emotional power of an identity shared across millennia. The general acquiescence of the Han Chinese and the Russian peoples to their illiberal regimes makes sense when these countries are assessed according to the principles of a civilization-state.

Lights. Camera. Action! And Paintings!

1. Armond White finds Quentin Dupieux’s horror-comedy import, Deerskin, compelling. From the review:

In a French countryside town that looks recognizably vacant and free of social standards — the opening sequence features several impressionable young people following an unlikely group ritual — a stranger arrives from the city. Georges (Jean Dujardin) seeks to purchase a vintage suede hunting jacket complete with hanging fringe. The seller, an old hermit, throws in a video recorder as an ominous Brothers Grimm–style talisman. Georges tapes himself — and his jacket — like a self-taught introvert.

When Georges shoots the local scenery, Dupieux lets the footage suggest alienation. This is a place without history, where conscious social memory has mostly been erased, replaced by a madman’s attempt at expressing his own wacky and irate egotism. Dupieux observes things in Georges’s own solipsistic terms until he meets a bartender, Denise (Adèle Haenel), who coincidentally shares his lunacy. “I edit,” she tells him. “I put Pulp Fiction in order.”

That’s when Deerskin’s bizarre conceit falls into place. Combining old and new fetish objects, traditional and modern obsessions, Dupieux assesses the moral retreat that has occurred ever since Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction opened Pandora’s Box.

This slyly paranoid art film proposes what cannot be put back in order — or, as an amateur filmmaker might think, rectified by pressing a rewind button. It defies back-to-roots, back-to-nature aspirations (our roots being torn down and vandalized now) and so goes forward into murderous madness.

2. Kyle Smith believes that Lawrence of Arabia has well withstood the sands of time. From the commentary:

A strikingly modern trait of Lawrence is that it explores Thomas Edward Lawrence’s flaws and complicating aspects to a degree that was unusual for a Hollywood hero story then and for many years thereafter; even two decades later, its Columbia Pictures successor Gandhi was a strict hagiography that allowed no blemishes in its portrait (and suffers for it). Lawrence repeatedly casts its title character as vainglorious, dancing around admiring himself when he gets his splendid white sherif’s robes and twice comparing himself to Moses before he grants himself a promotion: “My friends, who will walk on water with me?” He’s not even 30 yet. Typical of a modern liberal intellectual, he is an internationalist, disdainful of his own country: He dubs England “fat country. Fat people,” anticipating how generations of Western students would talk as they roamed the earth looking for exotic folks to save, often begging to be accepted as one of them. “I’m different,” he says, and so he is. He’s a man with “a funny sense of fun,” we are told. That’s a genteel Edwardian reference to what we will observe is Lawrence’s sadomasochism.

Lawrence thinks it would be fun to lead the Arabs to seize the port of Aqaba from the Turks not for honor, adventure, or country, as in previous war epics, but as an act of allyship for people of color. His motive is to win the Arabs their independence in a pan-Arab postcolonial state. Underlying that is a semi-erotic fixation on pain, both receiving it and administering it. Prince Faisal (Alec Guinness) has his number: He’s seen misery tourists before. “No Arab loves the desert,” Faisal reminds him. Arabs aren’t stupid. They like water and green things, not deprivation. Lawrence is irritated by comfort. When he is captured and whipped by the Turks, he barely reacts, though immediately after that scene he expresses dismay about his skin color, which strikes him as hopelessly limiting rather than, like other British soldiers of the Empire, a mark of superiority.

3. Brian Allen proposes that the moneybags who fund museums stop giving to those which continue to keep their doors closed. From the commentary:

Texas is saying “enough already” to public-health bureaucrats with no credibility, a news media with no scruples, and politicians with no cojones. Alas, COVID-19 is a new virus, the barn door’s flung open, and the country can’t tolerate millions of workers unemployed and millions of children unschooled. We need to end this most unexcellent, reckless, hubristic, and ruinous adventure. We’ll need to integrate COVID-19 into our lives for the foreseeable future.

Museums need to do their part. Many can’t reopen because their state and local masters won’t allow them, but many others can and won’t. They’re “preparing” and studying statistics and convening special committees, we’re told, but the truth is their shelter-in-place directors and senior staff have grown accustomed to collecting fat paychecks for the once-in-a-while Zoom meeting.

Today I read a long list of California museums that won’t open to serve the public until September. “Surf’s up,” I imagine, since I doubt more than a few among their staffs can productively “work from home” for what will be six months, with no collection, no public, no library, no shows, and no files.

Millions of unemployed, millions of mostly low-income workers who drive trucks, stock our supermarkets, and grow food, and millions working in factories and hospitals aren’t such lucky duckies. In a world of “haves” and “have nots,” right now big chunks of the museum class have it made. “Just keep scouring the papers for spikes, anywhere,” cry the lucky duckies. I suspect many want to keep the Endless Summer going. Aren’t the directors embarrassed?

4. It’s Summer! John Loftus finds Jaws middle-aged but still terrific. From the piece:

Prior to Jaws, studios dumped their B-list fare into the summer junkyard, saving the fall and winter for the big-budget, star-studded prestige releases. But Jaws was unique, deliberately crafted and marketed for a season, and thus Spielberg and Universal Studios established the summer “blockbuster.” Jaws was purposefully released nationwide in half the number of theaters usually allotted for a studio film. In cities, Americans waited hours on lines circling around whole blocks. The hype — and fear — ballooned. TV advertising, as opposed to print reviews, continually touted the film with “saturation booking.” Jaws also marks the point at which studios sought “high-concept” ideas — easy to pitch, easy to market — that prompted a string of ’80s box-office hits. Legend has it, screenwriter Dan O’Bannon pitched Alien as “Jaws in space.”

There’s the artistry and pluck, too. Unlike most summer blockbusters made today (Christopher Nolan’s movies are the exception, not the rule) Jaws is every bit as dramatic and compelling as the best Oscar-bait. Brody, Quint, and Hopper — all three idiosyncratic to the core — share a rich dynamic. Filming on boats with a mechanical shark was an unprecedented technical crucible. The cinematography, editing, John Williams score, and Spielberg’s direction built tension and suspense much like a Hitchcockian thriller. Not to mention, the script is chock full of classic lines such as “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”; “Smile, you son of a b****”; and “This shark, swallow you whole.”

5. More Kyle: He praises Mr. Jones. From the review:

Mr. Jones, it turns out, is also the name of an Orwell acquaintance who might have been an inspiration in his writing: Jones is a Welsh reporter, first name Gareth, who is our vantage point for the Stalin-engineered Ukraine famine of the 1930s that amounted to the state-ordered murder of more than three million people by seizing the region’s grain. At the outset of the film Mr. Jones (which is just out via VOD services) is seen pleading to a team of politicos led by David Lloyd George, a former British prime minister in 1933. Jones (played with a combination of determination and disbelief by James Norton) advises the Brits that Herr Hitler, whom he has recently interviewed, has already started a war on western civilization and that a similar threat is building in the Soviet Union. Guffaws greet everything Jones says, and he gets the sack from Lloyd George. “It is me you need, I’m the only one who tells you the truth,” Jones tells the grand old man, but the ex-premier isn’t interested. So Jones goes to Moscow anyway, pretending he has Lloyd George’s blessing.

The genius move of this scathing and suspenseful film by Poland’s Agnieszka Holland (who was once arrested by the Soviets, during the Prague Spring) is in whom it selects to be the menacing, dead-eyed apparatchik with a cold determination to search out and destroy any threats to the regime: He is none other than Walter Duranty, the New York Times’s man in Moscow, or rather Moscow’s man at the New York Times. Duranty is portrayed by one of the screen’s true masters of all things snaky and slimy, Peter Sarsgaard. Sarsgaard, Holland, and screenwriter Andrea Chalupa perform such a vicious act of celluloid vivisection on Duranty that Mr. Jones may restore your faith in movies.

Duranty, the one-legged Anglo-American granddaddy of fake news, was, as the film makes vividly clear, not a lazy hack who stuck with a comfy narrative because it was the easiest thing to do (like most journos) or a cynic who thinks all sides stand equal in their sins (like many other journos). He wasn’t even a useful idiot. He was, rather, an active and fervent defender of an evil regime and consequently a deeply evil man himself. Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1931 reports defending Stalin under such headlines as “Stalinism Solving Minorities Problem” and “Red Army is Held No Menace to Peace.” After he said reports of a famine were “an exaggeration or malignant propaganda,” FDR granted recognition to the USSR. This was back in the days when Pulitzers were being handed out not for advancing public knowledge but for setting fire to the facts in order to light a torch for far-left propaganda. Thank heavens that never happens anymore.


1. On The Editors, Rich, Charlie, and Jim discuss Trump’s recent polling problems and the Supreme Court decisions handed down this week. Listen here.

2. On The Victor Davis Hanson Podcast, VDH discusses the cognitive challenges of Joe Biden; the former Veep’s basement strategy — and how Trump needs to get Biden up through the BILCO doors; how November will be about the Angry Voter; Blue State leaders’ “neo-confederate” approach to mayhem; John Roberts, the intimidated jurist; a Trump Second-Term agenda; recalling California governor Gavin Newsom; and reflections on the Fall of France on its 80th anniversary. Listen here.

3. On The McCarthy Report, Andy and Rich discuss why people should be cautious of the Taliban/Russia narrative, and condemn China’s takeover of Hong Kong. Listen here.

4. On The Great Books, John J. Miller and Spencer Klavan discuss Aeschylus’s The Persians. Listen here.

5. Then on The Bookmonger, JJM is joined by Abigail Shrier to discuss her book on trans lunacy, Irreversible Damage. Listen here.

6. On Radio Free California, Will talks with historian Robert M. Senkewicz about Junípero Serra, founder of the California missions; object of veneration, admiration, and hate. In other news, Steve Greenhut talks about police reform, Dr. Jeff Barke about how K–12 schools should open sans masks and social distancing, and California Policy Center’s Ed Ring about one city’s revolutionary approach to the problem of fire-fighting. Listen here.

7. On Political Beats, Scot and Ed are joined by legal guru Randy Barnett to discuss The Zombies and Agent. Listen here.

8. On Constitutionally Speaking, Jay and Luke continue their discussion of one-term presidents, following up the previous episode with more on Martin Van Buren, and then on to John Tyler (skipping the skippable William Henry Harrison). Listen here.

The Six

1. At Real Clear Politics, Daniel J. Mahoney diagnoses the severe threat to this More Perfect Union and calls for a rejection of the Left’s Culture of Hate. From the essay:

True democracy presupposes mutual accountability and mutual respect. Our greatest and most noble president, Abraham Lincoln, “loathed slavery,” as Frederick Douglass, the greatest black American of the 19th century, rightly said. “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master,” Lincoln wrote in a note to himself in August 1858. This, he said, “expresses my idea of democracy.” And in his Gettysburg Address of November 1863, he called for a “new birth of freedom” that would bring black Americans fully into the American civic community. Lincoln knew that proud black men had spilled their blood for the Union and liberty and that Americans owed them honor and due respect for their sacrifices on behalf of the republic. As Douglass said in his dedication to the Freedmen’s Monument in Washington, D.C., in April 1876 — a statue dedicated by former slaves in memory of Lincoln — one must show gratitude and appreciation to those “loyal, brave, and patriotic” black soldiers who “fell in defense of the Union and liberty.” Both they and Lincoln died at the service of a republic worthy of free men and women, one where citizens shared in rule and were neither masters nor slaves. We should be proud of that shared civic legacy, that mutual struggle for liberty and human dignity.

But now even the Freedmen’s Monument is threatened by a mob of angry thugs. These “Bourgeois Bolsheviks,” as The American Conservative recently described them, despise the mutual accountability and respect for law that undergirds true liberty and equality. They mock the greatness of Lincoln and Douglass. They are defined by ignorance, ingratitude, and envy. Their ignoble “passion for equality,” as Tocqueville called it, is a grotesque perversion of the noble moral and civic equality that underlies the American proposition. This desire to tear down, to destroy and repudiate the patrimony of our fathers, is incompatible with civilized existence.

2. At The Imaginative Conservative, Bradley Birzer compares the patriots of 1776 to the Mayhemocrats of 2020. From the piece:

Finally, the protestors of 2020 have shown almost no interest in discussion. They believe their conclusions are unassailable, and, thus, they see debate as nothing more than delay toward their inevitable future. Yet, when we look back at 1776, we see an entire population that engaged in ideas at every level. Here, though extremely violent, is a typical statement from the American Revolution, a broadside that threatened bodily harm while also expressing serious ideas about the nature of God, the nature of the human person, and the dangers of a standing army:

Fellow Countrymen

be not intimidated at the Sight of Soldiers, mercenary Soldiers, who for a penny a day addition to their Wages, would serve Mustaphay 3rd as soon as George ye 3rd. You know their Number: 1000 Slaves are not to give Laws to a brave and free people. They have already began to shew their Insolence. There is now no appeal but go God. Extirpate them Root and Branch, be sure their Chiefs are the first Victims, rise my Countrymen. Throw off the first Fetter of Slavery, a Standing Army—remember your brave Forefathers, men of whom, the world was not worthy. They purchas’d this Land with much Treasure and Seas of their Blood, let them not in this day rise up and see their posterity less brave, less resolute, and less virtuous. My Countrymen we either must unsheath our Swords or be Slaves. Your understandings would be affronted were the Last to be put to you. The day is come. Strike these Invaders of your Liberty, these Enemies of your God and not let them any longer pollute this Insulam Sacram, ye that have got no swords, sell your Garments and buy one. You fear not Death, only Slavery. The Anniversary of our last Stroke to their underhand plots was the 14th August. Let our last and effectual stroke to their open Hostilities be the same. My Countrymen, be Freemen or Slaves, or die, or die.

The revolutionaries of 1776 could be just as violent as those of 2020, but they were truly a lot more intelligent and interesting.

3. At Unherd, Mike McCulloch tells the tale of how some Twitter “likes” nearly cost him his teaching position. From the beginning of the piece:

University was once a place that prided itself on freedom of thought, academic inquiry and a free exchange of ideas, but in recent years it has turned into something different. As a university lecturer in geomatics, I can attest to this: earlier this month, I received a polite email from my Head of School stating that an anonymous person had sent a list of tweets that I had ‘liked’ over a 24-hour period to the University’s Equalities Team. My supposed ‘crime’ was that I had liked posts saying ‘All lives matter’, ‘Gender has a scientific basis’ and ones opposed to mass immigration.

The complainant extrapolated from that to say that I was black-hating, woman-hating, immigrant-hating…etc, which is not true. In the complaint, this person also targeted my work by claiming that my physics papers had been blacklisted by journals, which again, is not true.

Last week, I was then told of another complaint received by the University and that there would be an investigation. A senior colleague was appointed investigator and a Zoom meeting was organised for the 1st July to decide whether a disciplinary hearing should be held that could lead to my dismissal.

4. At The Pipeline, John O’Sullivan wonders about the problematic veracity of the Green movement’s “97 per cent” claim. From the piece:

That said, it’s oddly interesting (i.e., counter-intuitive) that political partisanship seems to operate on global warming as strongly among scientists as among the rest of us. A Pew Research survey for this year’s Earth Day showed that while Democrats with a high degree of scientific knowledge were likely to have a strong belief in the human contribution to climate change, Republicans with the same level of information were much more skeptical.

These are intriguing, even embarrassing, results. The researchers plainly thought so, because they added this somewhat nervous comment on them:

A similar pattern was found regarding people’s beliefs about energy issues. These findings illustrate that the relationship between people’s level of science knowledge and their attitudes can be complex.

And maybe they illustrate something else, too. For these results seem to conflict with perhaps the single best known statistic about science and global warming, namely that 97 per cent of scientists believe in global warming. To unpack that claim, they believe that global warming is happening, it’s man-made, and it’s dangerous. That’s President Obama speaking. Former Secretary of State John Kerry added the word “urgent.” And that’s pretty much the internationally respectable orthodoxy of officialdom and the media. Anyone who dissents from it is labelled a “climate denier” and, as Herbert Spencer said of such judgments a century and a half ago, “nothing he says thereafter need be listened to again.”

But that raises a doubt. If ninety-seven per cent of the scientists you meet believe in global warming, how come that many Republicans knowledgeable about science don’t believe them?

5. At Gatestone Institute, Judith Bergman finds slavery rampant, and wokeness silent. From the article:

In the UK itself, there is a shocking range of modern slavery, something that the local wokesters are happy to ignore as they bravely attack statues of stone and metal. According to the UK government’s 2019 Annual Report on Modern Slavery, there are at least 13,000 potential victims of slavery in the UK, although as that number dates back to 2014, it is questionable. According to the 2018 Global Slavery Index, there are an estimated 136,000 people living in modern slavery just in Britain.

Slavery in the UK takes the form of forced labor, and domestic and sexual exploitation. Albanians and Vietnamese are among the groups that constitute the majority of slaves. British news outlets have run several stories about the estimated thousands of Vietnamese, half under the age of 18, who are kidnapped and trafficked to the UK where they are forced to work as slaves on cannabis farms. There, they form a small part of the “vast criminal machine that supplies Britain’s £2.6bn cannabis black market”. Those who are not forced to work in the cannabis industry are enslaved in “nail bars, brothels and restaurants, or kept in domestic servitude behind the doors of private residences”. In January, BBC news ran a story about a Vietnamese boy named Ba, who was kidnapped by a Chinese gang and trafficked to the UK, where his Chinese boss starved him and beat him whenever one of the cannabis plants failed.

BLM may not care much about Vietnamese lives in the UK — after all, they are all about black lives, so how about black slaves in Africa? There are currently an estimated 9.2 million men, women and children living in modern slavery in Africa, according to the Global Slavery Index, which includes forced labor, forced sexual exploitation and forced marriage.

6. At The College Fix, Christian Schneider reports on how the incredibly hypocritical Stanford University is addicted to ChiCom cash. From the piece:

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Stanford has accepted more funds from China since 2013 than all but three other schools in the U.S. (Harvard University, the University of Southern California and the University of Pennsylvania top the list.)

During this six-year period, Stanford reported $58.1 million in China-based gifts and contracts, according to an analysis by Bloomberg.

Yet Stanford’s tightening relationship with China occurred as the U.S. government was warning colleges and universities of the growing influence of China on American campuses.

In 2018, the FBI issued a report indicating some foreign scholars on American campuses “seek to illicitly or illegitimately acquire U.S. academic research and information to advance their scientific, economic, and military development goals.”

The report noted the Chinese government “has historically sponsored economic espionage, and China is the world’s principal infringer of intellectual property.”

Specifically, law enforcement was worried about Confucius Institutes, which allow Chinese nationals access to American students and intellectual property. The institutes are largely funded by Hanban, an organization directly under the purview of the Ministry of Education in Beijing, but which also has ties to the External Propaganda Leading Group of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee.

BONUS: At The Imaginative Conservative, Joseph Pearce explains how those Mean Old Hungarians — led by Victor Orbán — have resisted the Marxist madness within the country’s borders. From the analysis:

To these liberal globalist elites, Mr. Orbán’s national conservative government is anathema, pursuing policies which undermine the globalist agenda. His government has refused to accept the large “quota” of mostly Moslem immigrants that the European Union has sought to impose upon the people of Hungary, and he has outraged the elites still further with his resolute refusal to bend the knee before the Pride movement and its war on the traditional family. While the war on the family continues to wreak havoc in the United States and the countries of western Europe, Hungary has pursued a pro-family agenda which is reaping a bountiful harvest. The country has seen an astonishing 5.5 percent increase in birth-rate in the first four months of this year, a direct consequence of the pro-family legislation passed in 2019, as well as a 50 percent increase in the number of marriages. This resurrection of the traditional family has been helped by the government’s proactive pro-family policies, such as a grant of around $35,000, for married couples who have at least three children.

Mr. Orbán believes that these pro-family policies, aimed at increasing Hungary’s birthrate, is a much more socially and culturally healthy way of coping with Europe’s demographic implosion than the socially and culturally destructive alternative of mass immigration, which has been the path adopted by those countries which have conformed to the globalist elite’s agenda. “Demographic crisis must be solved by powerful state efforts, we must have a demography-focused policy-making,” Mr. Orbán declared last year. He added, in words which would infuriate the anti-family Pride advocates, that “when we talk about family and family subsidies, we support traditional families.” The alternative is national suicide and cultural meltdown, as a spokesman for the Hungarian government told Breitbart London last year: “Europe is at a crossroads. Western Europe seeks to address the problem of demography with simple solutions which only offer short-term success, but convey catastrophic consequences in the long run. What we need is not numbers, but Hungarian children: we’re not seeking to sustain an economic system, but Hungary, the Hungarian nation and Hungarian history; we want to encourage the continuation of our families.”

The “catastrophic consequences” of the short-term or quick fix solution of mass immigration were seen in the riots last week between rival Chechen and Algerian immigrant gangs in Dijon in France, the news coverage of which was largely suppressed in western Europe and the United States but was reported widely in central and eastern Europe. This follows a wave of riots across France in recent months centered on immigrant areas that have become largely no-go areas for the police. Alluding to the “gang wars being fought in the streets of the beautiful small towns of Western European countries,” Mr. Orbán remarked that the globalist elite’s “multiculturalist” ideology was not for his country. “I take a look at the countries which keep sending us messages about how to live our lives correctly, and how to govern and to operate a democracy well, and I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry.”


As the Designated Hitter comes to the National League, completing the pervertage of the art and beauty of the National Pastime (we need to educate David Harsanyi about his dreadful beliefs in this area) it is worth considering — who was the last pitcher to get a hit back in the Good Old Days, before the DH came to the Junior Circuit?

To recount: The DH abomination appeared in 1973 — the Yankees’ Ron Blomberg having the distinction of being the first man to ever bat so designated. It came against the Red Sox at Fenway Park on the afternoon of April 6, 1973, in the top of the First: Blomberg, batting sixth, walked with the bases loaded (driving in the great Matty Alou).

In the stuffy offices of this Meandering Missive, we traipsed through box scores of the last days of the 1972 season to see what pitcher — batting regularly, as was the rule for more than a century — got the final hit of the Unmolested Era.

It was the quite young future Hall-of-Famer Bert Blyleven, who proved to be the only AL pitcher who hit safely on the 1972 season’s final day — October 4. Playing at home against the Chicago White Sox, before a scant crowd of 3,193, Blyleven led the Minnesota Twins to a 14–2 victory. It gave the Minnesota righthander a 17–17 record for the season, while White Sox rookie Goose Gossage, in one of the few starts in his Hall-of-Fame career, took the loss, giving up 13 hits and 9 runs in three innings.

No, he didn’t serve up Blyleven’s hit — that came at the expense of White Sox reliever Dan Neumeier — a two-run double in the bottom of the Fourth, padding the Twins’ beatdown to a 10–0 lead. Never heard of Neumeier? No surprise: this was the last of his three MLB career appearances, in which he compiled a 0–0 record, a 9.00 ERA. There’s not much to say besides that, except that he earned an awkward place in baseball history (a place possibly unrecognized until this sad moment).

A Dios

The power of prayer is f’real. Weeks back Your Humble Correspondent sought them for a young father whose body was rife with late-stage cancers. His mother writes that the last tests show significant reductions in tumors, and once-pessimistic doctors now genuinely optimistic. This is not a tale of Mission Accomplished. Praise to those who did pray — there is a general belief by family and the medical gurus that something above and beyond is happening with the patient — but we beseech once again this weekend that you might repeat petitions to the Almighty for this particular cause.

Of course, to occur in between your petitions that The Divine smite those who aim to defile and destroy this special place He created, unlike any other seen since Eden.

That the Ancient of Days Will Afford You and Yours Graces Abundant and Mercies Tender,

Jack Fowler, who would thrill to images of your Grand Old Flag displays sent safely to


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