The Weekend Jolt

National Review

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Dear WJ Reader,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editorials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The September 10, 2018 Issue of National Review Is Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Podcastapalooza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Six

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plan to Work Off the Turkey and Stuffing . . .

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

Baseballery

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

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

A Dios

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

Peace until next weekend,

Jack Fowler

Who deserves your torments for the reparation of sins past, and which you can send to him via jfowler@nationalreview.com.

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