Sure enough I’ve got my political prejudices, but they don’t impair my judgment of acting. Yours Truly can proudly boast that Ronald Reagan was terrific on the silver screen (I could watch Kings Row over and over). This week I happily stumbled across this scene from Desperate Journey in which captured pilot RWR, fluent in jibberish, confounds the Nazi boss played by Raymond Massey (important unrelated fact: Both were NR subscribers) about secret American flight technology.
It has nothing to do with Comey, Mueller, Stormy D, North Korea, the Pope, or Starbucks. Just mirthful stuff which I hope brings a smile to your Saturday face. Now let’s get down to business.
1. We encourage a “No” vote in the upcoming referendum in Ireland to repeal the constitution’s protection of unborn life. From the editorial:
Ireland’s law against abortion has not produced the dystopia that pro-abortion activists conjure to gain consent. Ireland has one of the lowest gender-income gaps on earth, and it has outstanding statistics in maternal health. Although some Irish women who are determined to get an abortion do cross the Irish Sea to get one, the Eighth Amendment clearly lowers the rate of abortion overall, and Ireland stands in contrast to the rest of Western Europe, having consistently maintained a higher-than-replacement fertility rate. Irish people meet and interact with people whose lives were saved by the Eighth Amendment every single day.
Repeal of the Eighth will not end Ireland’s own version of the culture wars. In fact, it will come with a nasty backwash of secularism, as activists inevitably pressure religious health institutions to make the procedure more widely accessible, and demand that religious schools defend it as a social good. It will not exorcise the ghosts of Ireland’s sometimes unhappy past. It will not solve the problems of Irish society, as abortion is the most parsimonious and nasty thing a society can offer a woman as its all-purpose solution to a difficult pregnancy. Repealing the Eighth is a step backward on human rights.
2. We urge the President to rejoin the TPP, hated in 2016, but now seemingly tolerable in 2018. From our editorial:
The TPP is not a perfect agreement, nor will rejoining it be a silver bullet to counteract Chinese misbehavior. Negotiating a favorable return to the agreement — which has been rebranded as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP — will not be easy: Since our withdrawal, the CPTPP has been shorn of provisions on intellectual property and patent protection that were key to American negotiations. It will be difficult to secure the reinstatement of those provisions, let alone the tougher measures forbidding currency manipulation that the Trump administration should push for.
But the president has an opportunity here to reassert American influence in the Pacific, and help American exporters in the process. He should take it.
2. And then on The Bookmonger, JJM talks with author Joseph Tartakovsky about his new book, The Lives of the Constitution: Ten Exceptional Minds that Shaped America’s Supreme Law.
3. On the new episode of Ordered Liberty, David and Alexandra discuss the question, “Why aren’t more Never Trumpers willing to support the opposition party?” Listen here.
4. The Jamie Weinstein Show hung out in the liberal alleyways the last two weeks. In the most recent episode, our intrepid host interviews CNN’s Don Lemon. You can squeeze out that performance here. And in the show’s prior episode, former CNBC flannel-mouth Ed Schultz (now a host-ski for RT News), faced the Weinstein question barrage. Listen here.
5. The Radio Free California duo of David and Will talk up the latest left-coast lunacy, including a referendum to raise taxes on California’s wealthiest in order to bankroll free college education. Listen, learn, and cry here.
6. He’s baaaack: trade expert Scott Lincicome returns for another appearance on The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg, this time to contemplate what may happen if a U.S.-China trade war erupts. Why this episode is called “The Nacho Situation” is something you’ll have to find out for yourself by listening here.
7. My old pal Christian Schneider, columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and, once upon a time, frequent NRO contributor, heads to Political Beats to discuss Pixies with Scot and Jeff. Dig it, groove to it, right here.
8. On the new episode of Reality Check with Jeanne Allen, our host has a very cool discussion with Matt Greenfield, Managing Partner of ReThink Education, a venture capital firm focused on educational technology. Here ye can hear ye.
9. Chuck is in the house! The gallivanting Mr. Cooke, back in the Big Apple, joins Reihan, Rich, and MBD for the new episode of The Editors, in which the foursome discuss the Comey tell-all, the Trump administration’s diplomatic efforts with North Korea, and Starbucks’s company-wide sensitivity training. Listen here.
Because You Wanted More than 13 Sensational NR Pieces to Consider, Here Are . . . 14!
1. From the party that brought you fiscal responsibility comes pending bankruptcy: Doug Bandow explains. From his piece:
The CBO just released its latest report on federal finances over the coming decade. As the agency politely put it, “projected deficits over the 2018-2027 period have increased markedly since June 2017.” The rise was almost entirely the result of the spending and tax bills approved last year: Uncle Sam will be spending a lot more while taking in a good bit less in the future. That is, the Republican-controlled executive and legislative branches went wild and abandoned even the pretense of fiscal responsibility. It wasn’t the first time, of course: In the early 2000s, President George W. Bush and the Republican Congress spent money faster than even Lyndon Johnson and his Democratic congressional majority. The latest round of GOP budget-busting provides a dramatic reminder that the spending problem in America is bipartisan.
2. We run an excellent excerpt from Ross Douthat’s new book, To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism. Because you’ve always wanted an excerpt of an excerpt, here it is:
Huns or Visigoths no longer menace today’s popes, and their odds of being poisoned — conspiracy theories notwithstanding — are mercifully slim. But alongside the continued dangers of high office (the assassin’s bullet that struck John Paul II, the Islamic State’s dream of taking its jihad to Saint Peter’s), there are new and distinctive pressures on the papacy. The speed of mass communications, the nature of modern media, means that popes are constantly under the spotlight, their every move watched by millions or billions of eyes. Papal corruption would be an international scandal rather than a distant rumor. Papal misgovernment leads to talk of crisis in every corner of the Catholic world. Papal illness or incapacity can no longer be hidden, and aging pontiffs face a choice between essentially dying in public, like John Paul II, or taking his successor’s all-but-unprecedented step of resignation.
3. Dan McLaughlin shares his thoughts on Barbara Bush. From his piece:
Like most people in politics — and in life — Mrs. Bush was human and fallible; her acid wit and fierce loyalty to her family sometimes led her to insensitivities, political gaffes, and misjudgments. She was out of step with demonstrative social conservatives and populist enthusiasms. But she always lived by the values of her time and her social class: love of country, devotion to family, loyalty to those who are loyal in return, and an obligation to public service. And as she approached the end, she was happy to tell anyone who would listen — in her own, dignified way — that she was ready to move on to her eternal reward.
4. Andrew Stuttaford reflects upon France’s EU-addicted President Emmanuel Macron and his problem with . . . democracy.
5. Once again, California radicals lead an attack on the First Amendment. David French has their number. From his essay:
Christians find their identity in Christ, not in their gender and not in their sexual orientation. The state of California says no. Your gender and your orientation are your identity, and you should engage in actions that celebrate and ratify your alleged essence. The state is creating a new religion of sexual libertinism, declaring that religions opposing it aren’t just false but harmful, and then prohibiting contrary religious exercise.
No one doubts that Christian orthodoxy is contentious. No one doubts that its teachings on sexual morality are increasingly unpopular. But they remain constitutionally protected, and no state legislature should be permitted to ban a “good” (such as a book) or a “service” (like counseling) that makes these arguments and provides them to willing, consenting consumers. In fact, state law would lock in a sexual-revolution orthodoxy that all too often hurts the very people the state seeks to protect.
6. Switch to decaf, America: Kyle Smith reviews the crazed “racism” situation at Starbucks. From his piece:
In ironic juxtaposition to the viral video of the two black men being confronted by police was a picture taken during the protest at the Philadelphia Starbucks Sunday by the Inquirer’s Michael Bryant. It captures Black Lives Matter activist Asa Khalif standing in front of a staffer, identified on his apron as Zack. Zack is not the employee who called the police last week. Khalif is yelling into a bullhorn despite being maybe three feet away from poor Zack, who is standing with his hands folded, patiently absorbing abuse for something he had nothing to do with. “Today, this space is now secure, secured by the people” was among the announcements Khalif thought it necessary to make through his bullhorn.
That photo, shared widely on social media, is the perfect American tableau for our demented political moment, when one guy feels entitled to yell through his bullhorn at another guy for an incident that didn’t involve either of them. In 2018 America, it’s as if just about everyone is either Khalif, absurdly overreacting to the latest news, or Zack, getting dragged into somebody else’s political controversy. At the Philadelphia protest on Monday, one man shouted to his fellow demonstrators, “What do we want?” The crowd responded, “Liberation!” “When do we want it?” he cried. “Now!” they answered. Sorry — Starbucks may be a great place to get a venti macchiato, but it’s not able to offer anyone liberation.
Too often, well-intentioned policymakers turn to large tax increases to finance generous program-funding promises when coffers run low. Prominent millionaires respond to these proposals by threatening to leave, and research shows that the well-to-do regularly follow through on these promises. It is also often overlooked that the vast majority of small businesses are structured as sole proprietorships, partnerships, or S corporations and thus file on the individual side of the tax code. While the so-called “progressives” think they are targeting trust-fund babies and “fat cats” with millionaire’s taxes, the sad truth is that these taxes hit small businesses, along with their employees, and kill the jobs they would otherwise be able to create.
8. Comey One: Conrad Black looks at the week that was and sees the Mueller and Comey Show was in town. From his piece:
Best of all for the president is the shambles of the James Comey book launch. The book has been generally panned, even by the president’s enemies. The ex-director acknowledged that he had made a political decision in his pre-election statement on Hillary Clinton’s emails, as he didn’t want Clinton’s victory to be tainted by allegations that her emails weren’t properly investigated (they weren’t). Comey is squarely at odds with McCabe and casts serious aspersions on former attorney general Loretta Lynch. There are no suggestions of obstruction of justice by Trump, and a weak response on why he didn’t tell Trump, as he was laying out the Steele dossier, that it had been paid for by the Clinton campaign (yet he expected to remain as FBI director). He breathes no life into the collusion fraud, which the Justice Department happily propagated for many months. Comey admitted there are no grounds for impeachment of the president. The Mueller pestilence was mere vengeance.
9. Comey Two: Rich Lowry checks out the fired FBI jeffe and memoirist, in all his preening righteousness. From the column:
James Comey has managed the seemingly impossible. The former FBI director is locked in a death struggle with an unpopular president who makes even his allies cringe with his belittling nicknames, foolish threats and strange view of the presidency — and somehow it is Comey who is coming away as the unlikable one.
That’s because no one likes a prig, especially when he has an ax to grind. Comey has good reason to disdain Donald Trump, who fired him in humiliating circumstances and whose warped view of the Justice Department as an institution for the protection of the president is rightly anathema to him. Comey is just the latest of Trump’s adversaries, though, who are diminished by the president dragging them down to his level and exposing their weaknesses.
10. Comey Three: David French sees a serial . . . failer. From his piece:
While public perception matters to the credibility of any law-enforcement agency, credibility ultimately turns on the law. Credibility turns on professionalism.
Far from being “freed,” Comey found himself in a prison of his own making. One can’t know what was in his heart — his motives could have been as pure as the driven snow — but the end result looks a lot like a person who tried to please his political masters in the ultimate question (should Hillary be prosecuted?) while preserving at least a reputation for independence and transparency through his public statements.
11. Comey Four: Big Jim Geraghty reads the memoir and wonders about all its holes. From his piece:
Maybe someday in the future, when the political winds shift and the publishing and media worlds aren’t consumed by anti-Trump passions, we’ll get another Comey book filling in the blanks and giving more than vague hints about his views about Hillary, McCabe, and Lynch. He could call it “An Even Higher Loyalty.”
12. Alexandra DeSanctis reviews the deceptive and self-aggrandizing memoir of Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, and finds a literary abortion.
13. From the Magazine One: Jonah Goldberg adapts a chunk from his new book, Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy.
14. From the Magazine Two: Victor Davis Hanson has delivered an exceptional essay titled “Donald Trump, Tragic Hero.”
There’s a disconnect between what’s being taught and what’s being absorbed. Colleges can’t truly indoctrinate a generation that grew up with the Internet, which has conditioned us not to take what we’re told at face value. When I did my own research into my professor’s arguments, I found out that unrestricted trade and the spread of capitalism have done more to reduce global poverty than almost anything else. Students from the Socialist Club were too busy protesting for “free abortion on demand” and resisting Donald Trump to notice that Bernie Sanders might not have all the answers.
McCarthy and Enmities
Our man Andy cranks out a number of important columns on the Michael Cohen hearings, their revelations, and a number of things he finds troubling.
1. In an April 10 column on the Cohen office raid, Andy explains that Stormy likely trumps Russia. From that piece:
About two weeks ago, I tried to explain that the Stormy Daniels scandal could be more perilous for Trump than the Russia investigation has been: Even if it’s not nearly as consequential as the specter of “collusion” with a hostile foreign power, the porn-star payment undeniably happened. I argued then, and I’m even more convinced now, that “the best argument in Trump’s favor is one that claims mitigation, not innocence.”
2. Yeah, this Southern District of New York fed investigation (Andy served in that office for 20 years) is very much a bad thing for the President. From his April 14th column:
I believe that the government is investigating whether there was, in connection with Trump’s White House bid, a conspiracy to commit fraud and extortion for the purpose of silencing potentially compromising sources — specifically, people in a position to portray Donald Trump as a womanizer. Clearly, the prosecutors regard Trump and Cohen as potential co-conspirators. That does not mean a conspiracy will be proven, but the possibility is certainly being scrutinized. Here, it is important to bear in mind a distinction from the Russia investigation: This is not a counterintelligence matter; the SDNY is unquestionably conducting a criminal investigation, and a federal judge would not have authorized search warrants absent finding probable cause that federal crimes may have been committed.
3. In his next essay, Andy explains why the raid on Cohen’s office might be the least of the lawyer’s problems. A slice of that analysis:
The raids, then, are almost beside the point. The investigation is apparently far along, a grand jury is considering evidence, and the revelation that the probe is largely unrelated to Cohen’s law practice makes sense since he doesn’t appear to have much of one.
4. And finally (so far) Andy finds the “outing” of Sean Hannity to be outrageous legally. From his April 18 column:
The prosecutors could easily have handed Cohen’s attorney, Stephen Ryan, a grand-jury subpoena demanding disclosure of the client identities. That would have required Ryan to reveal the identities to the grand jury, but not to the public. Clearly, the prosecutors and Ryan were aware of this: As The Atlantic’s Natasha Bertrand tweeted yesterday, Ryan was prepared to surrender the information to the government under seal.
Apparently, Judge Wood was initially disposed to let that happen. Then, however, the judge allowed Robert Balin, an attorney for the New York Times and CNN, to intervene. Balin, the Times reports, argued that potential embarrassment was not a sufficient reason to withhold the purported client’s name from the public. The judge was somehow persuaded by this frivolous contention. Without providing Hannity any notice and opportunity to be heard on the matter, she directed that his name be disclosed in open court.
3. Connor Clegg — white, male, and Republican — is impeached as president of the Texas State University student council. This is a big and insane story, which Jennifer Kabbany, editor of the College Fix, tells well.
4. Being moral . . . and moralizing . . . are not the same thing. Over at The Federalist, John Daniel Davidson says we have way too much of the latter, and it is the fault of the Left. Read his piece here.
5. The Frenchies are fighting for full-benefits retirement at the age of 52. Très fou baby. At Acton Institute, Ben Johnson (the Reverend, not Sergeant Tyree) takes a religious gander at a troubling demand.
6. The long and cruel history of the anti-semitic Left, as recounted in the Telegraph by the great Dan Hannan.
In my appeal, I appeal to you. I hope it is . . . appealing. But if you are of the mindset to say, “You don’t need to appeal to me about the appeal, ‘cause I’m gonna peel off some bills right now and send them to you,” well, do that here.
More RIP Barbara Bush
1. Christopher Buckley pens a warm remembrance in the New York Times.
2. The Wall Street Journal does so as well, in an editorial.
The Mighty Goldberg is making some stops from sea to shining sea to discuss and even sign copies of his forthcoming (out April 24th) book, Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy. Interested in whether he might be in your neighborhood? Then check out Jonah’s appearances calendar. And show up!
Coming Soon from Conrad
Our friend and NRO columnist, the acclaimed historian Conrad Black, has a book coming out next month (May 14) from Regnery. It’s titled Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other. VDH has penned the foreword. More about it next week, but if you’d like to order a copy pre-publication, you can do that here, on Amazon.
Follow follow follow
Try to remember when life was so tender . . . Betsy Weinrich, Joseph Tartakovsky, Sirwan Kajjo, Aaron Renn, Matt Greenfield, Jonathan Williams, Ross A. Marchand, Brad Polumbo, Conrad Black, Christina Hoff Sommers.
2. On the latest Uncommon Knowledge, Peter Robinson interviews Ross Douthat about his new book. You can watch it here.
3. John Stossel interviews Jordan Peterson. Watch it here.
You ever get the feeling that you’re heading for the glue factory? Strange premonitions in my coconut. Maybe I should stop listing to the Sons of the Pioneers. Or Jimmy Durante. Well, have a good and fruitful week and say your prayers and when you wash the dishes, maybe just this once wouldyapleez use soap and hot water?
P.S. Call me names (just don’t call me late for dinner — rimshot!) or ask me to handicap the opening day at Belmont Park or demand I share grandma’s meatball recipe: Do all that and more (even hurl insults) via firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.P.S. An emailing pal and WJ reader wanted to make sure I knew that this week past included the feast day of her patron saint, Bernadette Soubirous, which I did. So, since we began this Weekend Jolt edition with movie stuff, let’s end likewise: Jennifer Jones won an Oscar for her tremendous performance in the 1943 classic about the simple and holy French peasant girl, The Song of Bernadette. If you’ve never seen the movie, you need to correct that. Watch it here.