KBO2018-12-27T12:00:48-07:00

KEEP BUGGERING ON

Peggy Noonan Misses It

In her latest column-as-civics-lesson, which reads like a GED practice essay, Peggy Noonan predicts that President Trump will face a foreign policy crisis. Not only will it be a “full-fledged” crisis, which, in Noonan Speak, means it will be serious; and here, like a 17-year-old version of herself, holding a Clairol Son of a Gun hair dryer as both microphone and trophy, ignoring her siblings’ shouts to “Hurry up in there,” Noonan continues her Class Day Oration by telling her fellow graduates of Rutherford High School—by telling us, too—that “History resides in both the unexpected and the long-predicted.” Before her brother Jimmy can hurl their father’s folding chair against the bathroom door, before he can smash the door by bashing it with the dented frame and torn seat cushion of their father’s favorite chair, and drag Peggy from the mirror—before he can spare us further agony, she keeps talking. From class orator to deranged oracle, she says: “The National Security Council is not fully staffed. . . . Think, study, talk, and plan.”

According to Noonan, a president cannot do the right thing without the right staffers, like the ones Presidents Kennedy and Bush (H.W. and W.) had; like the ones who, respectively, gave us defeat in Vietnam and disaster in the Middle East.

Without the right advisers, Kennedy would not have prevailed during the Cuban Missile Crisis, or so Noonan suggests, because the world would have ended.

Had Kennedy failed, he would have done the wrong thing for the right reason: He would have destroyed the world to save it from Peggy Noonan.

By |February 8th, 2019|Comments Off on Peggy Noonan Misses It

Liam Neeson’s List

Not since 1976, when a man began his day 180 miles from Athens, Georgia, and 6,500 miles from Jerusalem, Israel, not since a peanut farmer named Jimmy wrestled (Greco-Roman style) with a shepherd named Jacob, has another man suffered so much for his confessions. Not since Jimmy Carter confessed to having “looked upon a lot of women with lust”—to having committed adultery in his heart (better than in his hands) many times—has a mob chased a fellow sinner, for his confession of sinful thoughts, like it has Liam Neeson. Never mind that the vengeance Neeson sought to visit unto a black man—any black man—he exorcized from his heart before he could exercise his fists; because he exercised his legs by walking, from the darkness of night to a confessional, where the light of Providence ended Neeson’s long night of spiritual darkness.

Never mind that Neeson’s acts speak to his humanity. Never mind, too, that it is harder to avoid temptation than it is to accept it. None of that matters, not to the hashtag brigade of vigilantes and professional victims, for whom sin is unforgivable and forgiveness is unthinkable. If they cannot have Neeson’s soul, they will settle for ending his acting career instead.

Unless they want Neeson’s final role to be a live performance of “Taken,” they should heed his character’s warning.

By |February 7th, 2019|Comments Off on Liam Neeson’s List

Virginia Follies: A Summary

Northam says he’s very sorry; also says, “That wasn’t me!”
Fairfax finds the facts unfair, and also says—“Eff that B!”
Bobby Scott knew quite a lot, but chose to “wait and see,”
Unlike the erring Herring, who confessed pre-emptively.

Photo credit:  Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

By |February 7th, 2019|Comments Off on Virginia Follies: A Summary

After the Flight 93 Election

Michael Anton, in the preface to his just released, After the Flight 93 Election: The Vote That Saved America and What We Still Have to Lose, explains why he felt compelled to write “The Flight 93 Election“:

In 2016, I judged the modes and orders of my time – and especially of conservatism – to be exhausted and imprisoned within an inflexible institutional and intellectual authority. I believed that its conclusions on the most pressing matters were false and pernicious and that its orthodoxy therefore required smashing. I believed that ordinary rhetoric would not suffice. I knew that in writing I would anger many more than I inspired.

And yet, though he acknowledges that in some ways he felt inadequate to the task, no one else was taking it up and it needed to be said. So he did it, and at great personal risk to himself. (Full disclosure: I have known and considered Michael Anton a friend for some quarter of century, and I knew of his struggles during the time of his anonymity. Those who dismissed his concerns as inconsequential did so out of animus or, in some cases, just didn’t know what they were talking about.)

This new work, Anton suggests, is offered in the hope that in having explained the nature of danger we faced in 2016, we do not imagine that it is now vanquished. Indeed, much of it yet remains, and we need to begin to answer “Where do we go from here?” There’s a lot more to landing a plane than just overtaking the hijackers and it is by no means obvious that we have even fully accomplished that.

There will be more to say at American Greatness about Anton’s important work in the coming weeks. In the meantime, all readers of AG should order their copy of After the Flight 93 Election and get involved in the conversation. Let’s Roll.

 

By |February 5th, 2019|Comments Off on After the Flight 93 Election

Time To Give the World Bank a Gold Watch . . .

. . .  and make it go away? 

President Trump will nominate David Malpass, to run the World Bank. Like his close associate Larry Kudlow, Malpass has been critical of the institution. The bank, created three-quarters of a century ago for World War II reconstruction, is WAY past its expiration date. Generation after generation, the entitled class that benefits from the bank’s unnecessary continuation keeps inventing new spurious arguments for keeping it open. Let’s hope David Malpass will begin the process of giving bank a gold watch and retiring it from the global stage.

By |February 5th, 2019|Comments Off on Time To Give the World Bank a Gold Watch . . .

Howard Schultz’s Apron

An espresso machine is a machine for men. Women may use it—millions do—but that does mean they are men. Nor does it mean the same women want to be men. It does, however, mean we have a shortage of men who look the part, who have the skills to know and the strength to do their part: to operate a machine of many parts; to handle a machine that requires precision; to take the heat—in and outside the kitchen—as they stand before that hulk of copper and brass, with its pumps and pistons and its gears and temperature gauges, so they may drink not the fruit of their labor but the fuel that moves them. They drink it in shots (or doubles or triples), while they dress like executives and act like factory workers. They work like tradesmen, but they do not ply their trade at Starbucks.

In contrast, Howard Schultz sells coffee and wears an apron.

Unless we want to emasculate the presidency by electing a man with such a decaffeinated personality, whose outfit is more feminine than
any skirt or pantsuit, Schultz should continue to take orders and not try to give them.

He should stay where he is: on his knees, in that scene from “Rebel Without a Cause,” where, domesticated and neutered, he wears his wife’s apron—a flowery slip tied around his waist—as he crawls beside a food tray and cowers when his son asks, “What can you do when you have to be a man?”

Unable to be one, the father is unable to answer as one.

Howard Schultz needs to lose the apron.

By |January 31st, 2019|Comments Off on Howard Schultz’s Apron

Howard Schultz’s Strange Old Brew

Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks and registered “independent,” would make the perfect presidential candidate for the Democratic party in 2020. Described as a socially liberal deficit hawk, Schultz is the ideal combination of loose liberalism on cultural issues with a libertarian view toward taxes, big business, and budget deficits.

When President Trump signed tax reform into law in 2018, liberals from across the party unanimously opposed the bill because it raised taxes on the country’s biggest earners, those who make over $730,000 a year. Howard Schultz has now come to their rescue.

Schultz opposes the burgeoning socialist tendencies in the Democratic party. In fact, the troubling proposal of a 70 percent tax hike on the rich from Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is precisely what made him consider running.

Schultz is also an unapologetic billionaire, something he sees as an achievement of the American Dream. Schultz said Wednesday:

Let’s talk about that. I’m self-made. I grew up in the projects in Brooklyn, New York. I thought that was the American dream, the aspiration of America. You’re going to criticize me for—for being successful when in my company over the last 30 years, the only company in America that gave comprehensive health insurance, equity in the form of stock options, and free college tuition? And Elizabeth Warren wants to criticize me for being successful?

No suburban liberal disagrees with this!

But, like the Clintons in the 1990s, Shultz will not give an inch on issues of sexual politics that have become the test of respectable opinion.  He endorses every liberal shibboleth on sexual inequality, gay marriage, transgender rights, and other new diversity issues like immigration.

Schultz is a member of our new oligarchy, a class who have achieved massive levels of wealth and are happy to pay for “diversity” initiatives so long as they can live free of the consequences of these policies. As a former CEO, Schultz sits comfortably with the tech barons, financial executives, and thousands of others working in private equity markets that make up this new class.

With a safe liberal like him in office, the limousine class would continue to enjoy their wealth at unprecedented levels and do so with a clean conscience. Their president will have led a company which is on the cutting edge of corporate progressivism and goes out of its way to educate employees in trendy diversity issues. Schultz is not only safe, but, from their point of view, would continue to provide cover for our wealthy, dissonant overlords by mouthing all of their pieties in a calm, polite manner.

Yet what exactly has changed in the Democratic landscape? Wasn’t Schultz happily giving money to progressives like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama when their campaigns took in astronomic funding from Wall Street? Isn’t he part of that scene?

Schultz sees that the Democratic Party, in the aftermath of Obama and the failed challenge to the Clintons from Bernie Sanders, has moved too far left and now believes that combining real socialism with hard-core identity politics is a winning proposition. He envisions himself the grown up standing up to tell them it is a losing proposition. Democratic candidates have embraced both sides of the radicalism, Schultz, the “independent” will only embrace identity politics plank of Democratic radicalism as that is the socially permissible radicalism in vogue with suburbanites, the same people who drink his coffee.

Schultz knows where the money is, and he could find a path to victory if he sticks to the cultural side of Marxism. Populist Marxists will have no viable alternative but to content themselves with his brew.

By |January 31st, 2019|Comments Off on Howard Schultz’s Strange Old Brew

Boots (With Apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

They’re tromp, tromp, tromping, across social media —
(And if you judge them, you are a chauvinist)
Boots, boots, boots, boots, strollin’ cross the Senate floor,
There’s no dignity, anymore.

I turned on the cable news last week to see,
An obsession with a certain Senatrix
And boots, boots, boots, boots, strollin’ cross the Senate floor —
There’s no dignity, anymore!

The dress code says, says to dress “profess’nally”:
Which profession, they forgot to specify.
Now boots, boots, boots, boots stroll across the Senate floor,
There’s no dignity, anymore.

Tromp, tromp, tromp, tromp – could it be significant
They’re not cowboy  or combat boots or Wellingtons,
Those boots, boots, boots, boots, strolling ‘cross the Senate floor?
There’s no dignity, anymore.

Cowboy boots suggest a rugged fearlessness;
Combat boots, a great heroic heritage;
Wellingtons, manure on the Senate floor —
There’s no dignity, anymore.

These boots, made for strutting down a darkened street
Or for walking all over your liberties —
Boots, boots, boots, attracting all the cameras —
There’s no dignity, anymore.

Orwell feared the future of humanity,
Was a jackboot standing on a human face —
Little did he guess ‘twould be a stripper boot!
There’s  no dignity, anymore.

By |January 30th, 2019|Comments Off on Boots (With Apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

Deep Thoughts from Tom Friedman

Did you ever wonder what would happen if Tom Friedman dropped acid and bumped his head against an imaginary desk during a series of duck-and-cover drills in a garage, with the doors closed, so as to better inhale the fumes from, respectively, a 1967 Plymouth Fury and a row of aerosol spray cans, followed by him spinning a 16-inch world globe—after having stripped to his skivvies—prior to entering the Star Gate from “2001: A Space Odyssey”?

Wonder no more, because Friedman’s latest column answers that question.

The column, which may be a film treatment or a reason for Friedman to seek treatment, is a stream of consciousness about the word deep. As in, “Everything is going deep.” By everything, he means . . . everything and everyone: digitization, connectivity, big data, A.I., China, Russia, Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, lifeguards, satellites, YouTube, and nuclear war. (Cut to Friedman in a karaoke bar, still tripping—and bleeding—in his ripped underwear, having left that garage and freed himself from a spool of razor wire atop a chain-link fence, where, microphone in hand, he screams the lyrics to his updated version of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”)

The column is many things, obviously, but deep is not one of them.

An unintentional PSA for drug prevention, perhaps; a reminder for Friedman to wear a medical bracelet, definitely, because he mixes metaphors the way a blind bartender mixes drinks: poorly.

The bartender has an excuse, whereas Friedman’s column is one. It is what his editor needs, so he can say to Friedman what readers have said for years—“No more!”

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images

By |January 30th, 2019|Comments Off on Deep Thoughts from Tom Friedman

Robert Mueller’s Close Encounter of the Third Kind

Robert Mueller has a body, but he does not have the bodies.

He has Roger Stone, whom the FBI arrested after IMF Agent Ethan Hunt had lowered himself into Stone’s home office and hacked his computer, while wearing a suspension suit and squeezing his stomach muscles to maintain his balance, after, also, a time-traveling cybernetic organism—with living tissue over a robotic endoskeleton—had arrived, naked, outside Stone’s yard and surveyed the scene for clothes, guns, and transportation.

But Mueller does not have 77,744 bodies: the total number of people from Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan who did not vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. To find them, he must perform a five-tone musical phrase. To have them testify before a grand jury, he must use Curwen hand signs that correspond to the five-note tonal phrase.

If Mueller does these things, an alien mothership will release the 77,744 bodies—in addition to the 14 airmen from Flight 19, the 32 sailors of the SS Cotopaxi, and 3-year-old Barry Guiler from Muncie, Indiana.

The aliens will send their best people. They will not bring their problems to us. They will not bring drugs. They will not bring crime. They may be kidnappers, but they are not rapists. They are good people.

We need their help. Mueller cannot complete his investigation without their help.

We have seen them.

We have physical evidence of their existence.

Now, we must contact them.

Photo illustration credit: Getty Images/YouTube

By |January 29th, 2019|Comments Off on Robert Mueller’s Close Encounter of the Third Kind

Does Covington Expose the Tipping Point?

Americans learned an important lesson last week: Innocent 16-year-old boys are acceptable sacrificial lambs for the political Left’s altar.

In order that there could be a real-time detailing of events with truthful covering of the story as well as subsequent events, I created a 90-tweet thread to serve as an overview of the Covington Catholic incident.

Issue #1:  The Existential Threat to Us & Our Children

The existential threat in today’s America: Many people who decry Trump’s tweets—which are only very pointed, sometimes rude, words that call out the Left—remain silent about the Left’s actions to destroy a boy’s life with smears, threats to punch/shoot/place in a wood-chipper/burn to death, and dox him and his family.

For what crime is this 16-year-old boy subjected to such totalitarian retaliation? Wearing a MAGA hat and smiling. The Left has taken us down into an Orwellian 1984 world where “to wear an improper expression on your face…was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called.” All to intimidate people who hold different political and religious beliefs into silence.

If you think your minor child is exempt, dream on. Have them express a politically incorrect view and see how it goes. That is the future our progeny will experience if we remain silent.

Issue #2:  The MSM as Purveyors of Fake News & Vicious Political Partisanship

In a piece at Breitbart, John Nolte notes: “If NBC and the rest of the media are willing to lie this openly when the facts (and video) are right there for the world to see, imagine the lies being told using unnamed sources and the like.”

A friend adds: “When Trump and others criticize fake news, or individual[s], they are not attacking the role of a free press. They are criticizing the abdication of the mercenaries who lay down their press credentials to become leftist political operatives.”

The Covington story was entirely fake news, becoming a Rorschach test for Americans: Adult bully. Lies. Stolen-valor. Reporting to fit a political agenda, ignoring facts. No church courage. Telling the truth equated to Trump’s internet pouncing. Meaningless retractions of fake news after they passed on option to get it right. Asking the boy if he had anything to apologize for; never asking same of lying adult who forced the confrontation. Bully who never apologized but opined on his willingness to forgive the boy. Anti-Catholic bigotry. Ongoing criticism and threats to boy, even after debunking.

Sacrificing innocents is the very definition of evil. Whether we choose to admit it or not, we are in a war with an evil that knows no limits. An evil Left is aggressive on its nihilistic march, eliminating any middle ground and room for civic comity.

No bully backs down unless confronted with a greater force. We cannot peacefully coexist with a Left that is intent on destroying all who disagree with them. They will only be stopped if enough Americans become sufficiently outraged to punch back twice as hard at their attempt to destroy our minor children, showing a fighting spirit that so far only the Left has displayed.

 

By |January 28th, 2019|Comments Off on Does Covington Expose the Tipping Point?

Sticks & Stones & Catapults & Ninjas: FBI’s Raid on Roger Stone

At 4:02 a.m., three hours and five minutes before sunrise in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the only thing Roger Stone could see without his circular-framed glasses, during his state-sanctioned eye exam, were the letters (stenciled in yellow) FBI.

At 4:03 a.m., after 29 FBI agents and 17 vehicles had surrounded Stone’s home, after two Black Hawk helicopters with swivel-mounted machine guns and grenade launchers created a downrush of air and 79 commandos (and a dog) rappelled from the choppers, after five combat divers rose above the surface wind of the waterway outside Stone’s home, after Rima the Jungle Girl whistled like an osprey and summoned a female panther from the Caloosahatchee River, after Charles Xavier wheeled himself to Stone’s driveway and coordinated (telepathically) with Special Counsel Robert Mueller—at 4:03 a.m., the FBI arrested Roger Stone.

It was an act of discretion, an exercise of restraint, a display of justice.

It was a testament to our men and women in blue windbreakers, with their tactical gear and semiautomatic weapons, who risked their lives to take a 66-year-old suspect into custody.

Years from now, after workers from the National Park Service will have washed the pigeon droppings from the bronze statue of Robert Mueller, people will still remember the FBI’s finest hour. The children of Dreamers will gather ’round that icon and listen to the Spanish translation about Mueller’s fidelity, bravery, and integrity.

The world will learn that Mueller got his man.

By |January 26th, 2019|Comments Off on Sticks & Stones & Catapults & Ninjas: FBI’s Raid on Roger Stone

Zucked Again!

Not since a group of yellow-eyed dwarfs, dressed like monks and armed with muskets, held a flea market in the desert has there been a sale on robots like the one in the Wall Street Journal. Not so much a sale as the debut of a new robot: Mark Zuckerberg, Typist. This one even uses the word love, as in people around the world “love” Facebook. That feature alone proves that a robot can—that this robot does—deceive itself; that it can lie, or not know how to distinguish between a lie and the truth, while it preserves its battery life by only blinking three times per minute.

This robot is dangerous because it is delusional. It believes what it types when it says: “Our systems are still evolving and improving.” It believes bad content exists because “the people and artificial-intelligence systems we [Facebook] use to review it are not perfect—not because we have an incentive to ignore it.”

The fault, dear humans, is not in our stars, but in our systems.

Such is Zuckerberg’s view of mankind. Such is his belief in our perfectibility, based on the glitches that plague us and the plagues he (presumably) will eliminate. Love, anger, pity, remorse, fear, and mortality—all are a few keystrokes from oblivion.

With Zuckerberg’s help, we will soon have enough “likes” to achieve enlightenment.

With his help, we may insert ourselves on the “Hilltop,” joining 40 ageless prototypes, who look like unindicted co-conspirators from an LAPD raid at Spahn Ranch, so Mark Zuckerberg may teach us—and the world—to sing.

Until then, we must live as imperfect creatures.

Let us hope we do not have to live that way much longer.

Photo credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

By |January 25th, 2019|Comments Off on Zucked Again!

California Dreaming with Joan Didion

The swoop of a 1969 Corvette coupe. The streak of Daytona Yellow at night, against a fluorescent line, beneath a white-on-green sign for the San Diego Freeway. Neither a shark nor a stingray but a Stingray, with the speed of a mountain lion and a lioness behind the wheel, who wears her sunglasses at night—who wears them day and night—while she exhales cigarette smoke as her car coughs like a smoker; while the smell of ozone, with its bleach-like stench of suburban napalm, fills the air; while the driver clears the passenger seat of her notebook and Thomas Guide, that spiral-bound atlas of the street maps of Los Angeles and San Bernardino County; while she moves the leather case for her black round-frame acetate sunglasses; while she raises the concealed headlights and flashes the high beams of her sports car, as she makes room for us to take a seat.

Next stop: the desert.

A half-century after Didion drove that car, the Inland Empire of Southern California is no less hot or hellish.

A half-century after Didion sat behind her Royal KMM typewriter, a piano she plays by ear, and filed her report from the sea about the desert—in this story, which is my story by way of a dream version of Didion, she is both a girl who preferred to spend time with people who hung out at gas stations and a woman who never pumped her own gas.

She is a Westerner who loved John Wayne, a Democrat who voted for Barry Goldwater, a Californian who hated Ronald Reagan.

She is an American—a foreign correspondent in her own country—whose essay about the desert, “Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream,” is a work of excellent reportage and a reminder about the existence of evil.

It reads like a missive from a high-ceilinged room in the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, where she went in lieu of filing for divorce; where she wrote, in my mind, on legal pads and on the backs of linen postcards; where her room was across from Room 214 of the Hôtel Continental; where she wrote about a murder in the desert, while Graham Greene sat inside 214 and wrote The Quiet American; where he wrote about America’s humiliation through hallucination because the United States had contracted a form of political malaria; where, in the tropics, my Didion wrote about the devil winds, while American soldiers fought and died in the jungles of South Vietnam.

The desert may no longer offer as rich source material as when Didion had traveled there, but the whirlwind still spins on the other side of the Cajon Pass. The winds still carry pathogens, which cause “Valley fever”: a flu-like illness with fever, cough, headaches, rash, and muscle pain.

When the winds blow, meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks.

Anything can happen.

Photo credit: Henry Clarke/Conde Nast via Getty Images

By |January 24th, 2019|Comments Off on California Dreaming with Joan Didion

Read Covington Student Nicholas Sandmann’s Side of the Story

Editor’s note: The following is the statement that Covington Catholic High School junior Nicholas Sandmann released to the press over the weekend.

I am providing this factual account of what happened on Friday afternoon at the Lincoln Memorial to correct misinformation and outright lies being spread about my family and me.

I am the student in the video who was confronted by the Native American protestor. I arrived at the Lincoln Memorial at 4:30 p.m. I was told to be there by 5:30 p.m., when our busses were due to leave Washington for the trip back to Kentucky. We had been attending the March for Life rally, and then had split up into small groups to do sightseeing.

When we arrived, we noticed four African American protestors who were also on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I am not sure what they were protesting, and I did not interact with them. I did hear them direct derogatory insults at our school group.

The protestors said hateful things. They called us “racists,” “bigots,” “white crackers,” “faggots,” and “incest kids.” They also taunted an African American student from my school by telling him that we would “harvest his organs.” I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear.

Because we were being loudly attacked and taunted in public, a student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group. The chants are commonly used at sporting events. They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school. Our chaperone gave us permission to use our school chants. We would not have done that without obtaining permission from the adults in charge of our group.

At no time did I hear any student chant anything other than the school spirit chants. I did not witness or hear any students chant “build that wall” or anything hateful or racist at any time. Assertions to the contrary are simply false. Our chants were loud because we wanted to drown out the hateful comments that were being shouted at us by the protestors.

After a few minutes of chanting, the Native American protestors, who I hadn’t previously noticed, approached our group. The Native American protestors had drums and were accompanied by at least one person with a camera.

The protestor everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him. I did not see anyone try to block his path. He locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.

I never interacted with this protestor. I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me. We had already been yelled at by another group of protestors, and when the second group approached I was worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke teenagers.

I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.

During the period of the drumming, a member of the protestor’s entourage began yelling at a fellow student that we “stole our land” and that we should “go back to Europe.” I heard one of my fellow students begin to respond. I motioned to my classmate and tried to get him to stop engaging with the protestor, as I was still in the mindset that we needed to calm down tensions.

I never felt like I was blocking the Native American protestor. He did not make any attempt to go around me. It was clear to me that he had singled me out for a confrontation, although I am not sure why.

The engagement ended when one of our teachers told me the busses had arrived and it was time to go. I obeyed my teacher and simply walked to the busses. At that moment, I thought I had diffused the situation by remaining calm, and I was thankful nothing physical had occurred.

I never understood why either of the two groups of protestors were engaging with us, or exactly what they were protesting at the Lincoln Memorial. We were simply there to meet a bus, not become central players in a media spectacle. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever encountered any sort of public protest, let alone this kind of confrontation or demonstration.

I was not intentionally making faces at the protestor. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation. I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me — to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence.

I harbor no ill will for this person. I respect this person’s right to protest and engage in free speech activities, and I support his chanting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial any day of the week. I believe he should re-think his tactics of invading the personal space of others, but that is his choice to make.

I am being called every name in the book, including a racist, and I will not stand for this mob-like character assassination of my family’s name. My parents were not on the trip, and I strive to represent my family in a respectful way in all public settings.

I have received physical and death threats via social media, as well as hateful insults. One person threatened to harm me at school, and one person claims to live in my neighborhood. My parents are receiving death and professional threats because of the social media mob that has formed over this issue.

I love my school, my teachers and my classmates. I work hard to achieve good grades and to participate in several extracurricular activities. I am mortified that so many people have come to believe something that did not happen — that students from my school were chanting or acting in a racist fashion toward African Americans or Native Americans. I did not do that, do not have hateful feelings in my heart, and did not witness any of my classmates doing that.

I cannot speak for everyone, only for myself. But I can tell you my experience with Covington Catholic is that students are respectful of all races and cultures. We also support everyone’s right to free speech.

I am not going to comment on the words or account of Mr. Phillips, as I don’t know him and would not presume to know what is in his heart or mind. Nor am I going to comment further on the other protestors, as I don’t know their hearts or minds, either.

I have read that Mr. Phillips is a veteran of the United States Marines. I thank him for his service and am grateful to anyone who puts on the uniform to defend our nation. If anyone has earned the right to speak freely, it is a U.S. Marine veteran.

I can only speak for myself and what I observed and felt at the time. But I would caution everyone passing judgment based on a few seconds of video to watch the longer video clips that are on the internet, as they show a much different story than is being portrayed by people with agendas.

I provided this account of events to the Diocese of Covington so they may know exactly what happened, and I stand ready and willing to cooperate with any investigation they are conducting.

By |January 22nd, 2019|Comments Off on Read Covington Student Nicholas Sandmann’s Side of the Story

The Worst a Brand Can Get

Forget plastics. Numbers are more pliable than any polymer and more credible, to the incredulous, than all the words of a believer in God, than all the world’s believers, than all the God-loving prayers by people of humility and kindness; because to only believe in what you can count is to lose count of the obvious: that it takes very little for someone to act like a fool.

Ask the brand managers at Gillette or the executives at Procter & Gamble what made them believe men would agree to be eunuchs. Ask them why they aired a commercial lathered in propaganda and soaked in politics to insult consumers. Ask them why they destroyed a 30-year-old slogan, “The Best a Man Can Get,” with a 90-second indictment of “toxic masculinity.”

If they have the cojones to answer—as if they ever had them—expect to hear a lot about numbers. Numbers about numbers, with charts and graphics, backed by “research” and reports. Numbers about response rates and purchasing power. Numbers about polls and numbers about what polls well. Numbers that prove the point by missing it entirely, despite the fact that business is not a science and no paid liar is a true scientist.

What Gillette has here is not a failure to communicate but the inability to even fail at communicating.

No doubt the company has numbers.

What it does not have is a record number of sales.

For that, the geniuses at Gillette should look themselves in the shaving mirror. If they do, they will see they have company.

Among the rejects, everyone is a victim of his own hubris.

Each repeats what the first one said: Me too.

Photo credit:  Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

By |January 18th, 2019|Comments Off on The Worst a Brand Can Get

Justice for the Victims

Justice delayed is . . . justice delayed. Not justice denied, because if justice means anything—if America’s criminal justice system is to retain a scintilla of strength from moral rot within and martial enemies from without—if there is a constant to this White House, it is opposition not only to illegal immigration but to immigration by the world’s worst criminals. To see justice done, then, is to know that neither the passage of time nor the passing of the victims of the worst crime to have befallen any people can stop us from seeking justice for the Jewish people. The last Nazi living in America is now another dead Nazi, who was deported by America to Germany last year.

Jakiw Palij, a former guard at a forced-labor camp for Jews, died last Wednesday. He was 95.

That he died a free man is an injustice. That he died without the rights and liberties of an American citizen, that he was deported by a president of German (and Scottish) descent, that our president has a Jewish daughter and a Jewish son-in-law—that they have three Jewish children of their own—is altogether just.

Our country did what the fatherland had refused to do: to render justice not unto the sons of evildoers but against their fathers; the guards, the commanders, and the administrators of industrialized murder.

Our country did what all Germany’s attempts at expiation will never do. We expelled a member of the foulest and most soul-destroying tyranny which has ever darkened and stained the pages of history.

We deported a Nazi.

By |January 16th, 2019|Comments Off on Justice for the Victims

Business as Usual at the World Bank?

President Trump’s National Economic Council chief Larry Kudlow is on record saying the World Bank is an outdated, unnecessary relic of a bygone era. With an unexpected opening for the bank’s presidency, a post customarily reserved for the nominee of a United States president, there’s an opportunity to install a new chief who could begin the process of winding up the business of an obsolete institution.

Instead, early reports for the succession have shown a depressing pattern of short-listing liberals diametrically opposed to the Trump agenda and Kudlow’s sage judgment. Nikki Haley, Bill Kristol’s top candidate for U.S. president in 2020, is on the Great Mentioner’s list. A staunch Hillary Clinton supporter, former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, also is said to be under consideration. Either of these is a status quo candidate.

Trump voters should let the White House know that business as usual at the World Bank is not acceptable. Trump should insist upon a World Bank president who will work to phase the bank out of existence. Another non-negotiable qualification for a Trump-appointed bank president is that the person should be pro-life. “International development” agencies are notorious for their pro-abortion and anti-family biases, even under Republican U.S. presidents. If President Trump cannot get the bank’s board to accept those two criteria, it will be time for the U.S. to withdraw unilaterally from a needless globalist bureaucracy.

Photo credit:  Alex Wong/Getty Images

By |January 15th, 2019|Comments Off on Business as Usual at the World Bank?

Andrew Bacevich and the Long Twilight Struggle

Greatness is neither a guarantee of goodness nor a grant for do-gooders to remake the world. Try they nonetheless have, at home and abroad, from the 19th century to the first two decades of the current century, in which the handprints of presidents and the footprints of soldiers have left their respective marks throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East; in which the Great War begat not the end of war but its expansion; in which the combined shadow of so many bad wars threatens to darken the legacy of the last good war, World War II.

To recognize the temptations of greatness—to resist the urge to pursue it—is to know the costs of fighting forever, in an unwinnable war, against an indefatigable enemy: ourselves.

It is better to acknowledge the obvious, that America is great, than it is to obfuscate the truth by perpetuating a bankrupt foreign policy.

Andrew Bacevich’s latest book, Twilight of the American Century, speaks to that point. That I differ with some of Bacevich’s proposals does not mean he is wrong about the consequences of American foreign policy.

I care less about his opinion of the greatness of America than I care that he has an opinion—that he is more practical than polemical—regarding the perpetuation of an empire whose existence is undeniable and whose expense has become indefensible.

I care that he is a combat veteran, who is not personally combative. That is to say, he has as much a right to be angry as he does to write angrily; to rage against the death of his only son and namesake who died fighting in the Iraq War.

That he writes honestly and well—that his casus belli is to stop America’s search for another war—is a testament of Bacevich’s integrity and a tribute to his son.

Photo credit: Getty Images

By |January 14th, 2019|Comments Off on Andrew Bacevich and the Long Twilight Struggle

A Diva’s Demand Gives Dems a Way Out

Cher last week demanded that both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) give President Trump the money to build the wall. The 70-something pop music diva is well known as being hostile to Trump. Previously, she had said Trump’s election felt like a death in her family and that she would leave the planet.

The media and Dems haven’t quite figured out to react yet, but I think she just threw Pelosi and Schumer a lifeline; a way to fold and in doing so claim the high moral ground.

The public is just beginning to really look at the issue and a minority (under 50 percent) agree with President Trump that immigration is a crisis. But a large number also agree that it is a problem and that number should scare Democrats because it will increase the longer the impasse continues.

As Trump continues to make his case, the poor responses from Schumer and Pelosi have weakened the opposition. Media water carriers have sought to divide Republicans in the hope that they will, in the traditions of John McCain and Jeff Flake, fold. But they aren’t there anymore and that effort appears to have failed.

While Dems and the media still rail at an “immoral” wall and support the far Left of their party it is increasingly hard for Democrats to explain why it is “immoral” now when it wasn’t just a few years ago when they supported funding for border security. In truth, the opposition has been based largely on emotional arguments and not logical ones based on facts and reasons. That has been a winner for Dems for a long time as voters don’t generally spend the necessary time to examine facts and reasons. It has always been easier to just use emotional arguments.

Cher, of all people, has now pointed them to a solution that allows them not only an out but a way to win back voters.

Suppose that they suddenly agreed to the funding with this:

President Trump’s heartless treatment of federal workers and the public must end and it seems we are the only grown-ups in the room. We will most reluctantly add the funding he is extorting from us due to his cruel and heartless tactics. We strongly encourage everyone to demand that he stop treating immigrants like criminals and will resist all of his further attempts to harm them using the power of the new majority of compassionate Democrats who will seek to solve problems instead of creating them.

Now the far-Left media might protest and many on the Right would scoff, but they could actually start the election cycle on a mean-spirited bully versus compassionate-caring progressive theme. Trump will claim victory and his base will cheer, but the wall isn’t a sure fix to the problem and the days ahead will see lots of hearings and an eventual Mueller report.

Will they take advantage of Cher’s advice?

Photo credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

By |January 14th, 2019|Comments Off on A Diva’s Demand Gives Dems a Way Out

A Market-Based Solution to Rising Drug Prices: More Competition

President Trump and high-ranking officials in his administration, including Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, are scheduled to meet tomorrow for a strategy session on how to moderate drug prices.

The president is frustrated over recent price increases that have occurred in spite of his publicly pressuring and shaming drug companies. “Drug makers and companies are not living up to their commitments on pricing. Not being fair to the consumer, or to our Country!” he tweeted on January 5th.

Until now, most of the administration’s suggested remedies primarily have consisted of sort of price controls, which seldom work and at best, have unintended consequences.  A far better solution would be congressional authorization of drug-approval reciprocity among select foreign counterparts, giving patients rapid access to drugs that have been already proven to work in countries whose testing and review regimens are similar to our own.

Reciprocal approval would benefit patients directly: The negative effects of FDA delays in approving certain new drugs already available in other industrialized countries are well documented. Meningitis B, for example, is a devastating infectious disease that can become debilitating so quickly that by the time it is recognized, the patient may be too sick for effective treatment. The European Union, Australia, and Canada approved the first MenB vaccine, Bexsero, in January 2013. The FDA did not follow suit until February 2015. Meningitis B outbreaks resulted in deaths and limb amputations during that interval, when federal agencies had to resort to a cumbersome process in order to approve limited usage of Bexsero. The Centers for Disease Control had to apply to the FDA for permission to acquire and distribute the European version of the vaccine.

Reciprocity would also alleviate shortages of critical drugs in the U.S.. Many of the drugs in short supply are generic injectable medications commonly used by EMTs and in hospitals: analgesics, cancer drugs, anesthetics, antipsychotics for psychiatric emergencies, and electrolytes needed for patients on IV supplementation. Hospitals are scrambling to assure adequate supplies of drugs that are in short supply, or to find substitutes for them. Patients sometimes get the second or third choice of medication.

The FDA is severely limited in what it can do to address shortages. The agency’s app to enable health care providers to keep current on shortages informs them about the problem but doesn’t actually remedy it. Reciprocity of approvals would make numerous needed alternative drugs available. It could have been in place decades ago if only the FDA had met its long-standing commitment to pursue it through the International Conference on Harmonization of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH).

The ICH’s agenda (supposedly) includes reciprocity of drug approvals among certain governments, but generations of FDA officials have resisted any such “delegation” of their responsibilities. When a senior European regulator was asked about the extent of the FDA’s cooperation on this issue, she quipped, “It’s like discussing the Thanksgiving dinner menu with the turkeys.”

Though the FDA has improvised procedures for importing drugs approved and marketed abroad that have not been approved in the U.S., this “enforcement discretion” approach—a kind of ad hoc reciprocity—is legally questionable. In a recent court decision, the FDA was blocked from using enforcement discretion to permit the importation of an unapproved drug for capital punishment, because the law is clear that an unapproved drug cannot come through U.S. Customs. That’s why Congress must step in.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

By |January 14th, 2019|Comments Off on A Market-Based Solution to Rising Drug Prices: More Competition

Amazon Fresh

A suggestion: Until Jeff Bezos develops a conscience, he should rent one. Until Amazon improves Alexa, its voice-activated virtual assistant, so as to make this thing—this plastic speaker with a light ring and a cloth exterior—sound more intelligent than artificial, Bezos should find a real-life Alexa. Perhaps he should hire Disney to create a 3/4-inch tall version of Jiminy Cricket, a 1:90 scale model to Bezos’s eighth dwarf, Greedy (or Seedy), where, 10 to 20 minutes after Bezos’s first hit of acid, our green friend—in a red vest, blue pants, yellow spats, and a jacket with tails—starts to talk. He may have to lie when he says, to Bezos, “You are a human animal. You are a very special breed.”

He should lie, to increase the odds that Bezos may act like a human being.

That Bezos “allegedly” texted his mistress a picture of his member—that he has one—is a triumph of 3D printing, because it suggests there is a man (sort of) behind the machine.

It more than suggests that this purported genius, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa with degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton, is a moron. It proves that, given the choice between improving his Dickensian warehouses and inflating his . . . well . . . you know; given the choice between making his workers happy and photographing Mr. Happy, a.k.a. the ninth dwarf, Paltry, Bezos favors indecent exposure over decency itself.

It proves that Bezos is, indeed, a dick.

Photo credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for WIRED25

By |January 12th, 2019|Comments Off on Amazon Fresh

Jon Meacham’s Nose for Nonsense

Between Tom Friedman’s mustache, which looks like Harry Reems’s mustache, and Jon Meacham’s nose, which looks as big as Reems’s “mustache,” Friedman and Meacham look like a perverse version of Wooly Willy—without the magnetic personality. The two may not look the same, but they sound the same. There they stand: Friedman in his half-zippered fleece, issuing parables about Japanese fishermen and Micronesian lenders, while Meacham, in a stained nightshirt made of green velvet and white fur, rhapsodizes about dead Republican presidents.

Meacham’s latest homily in the New York Times, which follows his eulogy for George H. W. Bush at the National Cathedral, the one in which he dressed like George W. Bush and sounded like Mister Rogers, if our friendly neighbor had taken a large dose of estrogen to ease his “transition” from man of the house to the madam of public television; his newest column about Ronald Reagan reads like a love letter from one of our more hypocritical historians.

By replacing Reagan’s burial cloth with one of Meacham’s (cleaner) shrouds, and in an act of rhetorical grave robbing akin to our eulogist-in-chief holding the Gipper’s skull instead of Yorick’s, Meacham reveals how little he knows about Reagan and how much he hates Donald Trump.

He seems to think Reagan was engaged to Lady Liberty, despite his marriage to the First Lady. Maybe Reagan, like Meacham, had a thing for robes and torches, when he was not watching men wear and brandish them at the Creation of Care ceremony at a summer festival of the Bohemian Grove. Or maybe Reagan thought illegal immigration was wrong.

Alas, poor Reagan! Meacham did not know him.

Photo credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

By |January 11th, 2019|Comments Off on Jon Meacham’s Nose for Nonsense

Pure Zuckery

Facebook is the claw crane of social media, with fewer prizes. Instead of stuffed toys filled with straw and roofing fabric, instead of toys laced with mercury and lead—in addition to all manner of choking hazards—for which every fourth dollar yields a 10-cent toy sufficient to make this game feel worthwhile, instead of something tangible we get a series of worthless and intangible likes, shares, and followers.

The difference between the machine and social media is that one may be cancerous, while the other is a cancer in its entirety; a global carcinogen that emits no noxious fumes and no harmful fallout, but is toxic just the same, because the face behind Facebook is a defective version of Lieutenant Commander Data save a VISOR to cover his non-blinking eyes. And yes, I know: Data is white—the character is beige, though the actor who plays him is white—while Geordi is black; but Mark Zuckerberg may as well be blind and colorless.

His workers treat him like a god.

If he thinks he is one, he should classify Facebook as a religion and seek tax-exempt status from the government.

The problem with this suggestion is not a matter of faith but its absence, because it is too hard to believe—it requires too much suspension of disbelief—for an IRS agent to look at this hooded man-child; to view this gold-plated idol whose comments belie his reputation as the chosen one, whose most memorable comment, “Move fast and break things,” is about as profound as any line of dialogue from “Up in Smoke”; and say, “OK.”

The bigger problem is that Mark Zuckerberg continues to act like, and his workers (soon-to-be-replaced by replicants) continue to treat him as, a god.

It is waste of time to argue about religion.

We can better spend our time and money on the crane instead.

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images

By |January 10th, 2019|Comments Off on Pure Zuckery

Ambition and the Ends of Government

One of my favorite journals, The New Criterion, recently posted an article by one of my favorite commentators, James Piereson (disclosure: I’ve know Jim for 30 years, since I worked for him at the John M. Olin Foundation), which pours some some clear water of Machiavellian realism into the muddy debate over Trump’s character.  

Jim is a fine example of the patriot-scholar, and I never fail to learn from his writing. But I would offer a friendly demur, or perhaps clarification, to his article. While he is certainly right that Machiavelli provides edifying lessons about our current politics (I made this very argument myself, here at American Greatness, last year) Jim overemphasizes and thus distorts the role of unprincipled realpolitik in the Founding.

According to Piereson, “Modern politics, following Machiavelli, rests upon a foundation of competing interests in recognition of the fact that, when push comes to shove, interests will trump morals.”  Quoting Federalist Papers 10 and 51, Piereson argues that James Madison and the other framers followed Machiavelli in believing that, “a modern state must be constructed on a foundation of interest, not of morality and virtue. Interest in the end is a more reliable foundation than virtue.”

There is much truth here. But not the whole truth.

Another old friend and teacher (I’ve been very blessed!), professor Charles Kesler, is not only the editor of the Claremont Review of Books, but also, like Piereson, a scholar of the Federalist Papers. Kesler argues that what Federalist 10 and 51 say about the “rejection of ideological politics is sound as far as it goes, but it does not properly distinguish between political ideology and political philosophy.”  Ambition and interest are the beginning, but not the end, of Publius’s wise teaching about American constitutionalism. “Interest group politics,” Kesler explains, “cannot be defended apart from the ends that it is intended to serve and that therefore legitimize it, which ends must exist in public opinion.” The legitimate ends—as opposed to the means or mechanisms—of our government are the safety and happiness of the citizens. Interest may be channeled to serve these ends, but it cannot be an end in itself.

Indeed, one may reasonably ask what self-interest Donald J. Trump thought he would serve by running for President of the United States. As many commentators have noted, he was in 2016 a famous, wealthy, 70 year-old man, who enjoys golf and had not previously served in any elected office. What self-serving advantage did he—does he—hope to satisfy with the long hours, intense public scrutiny, and the incessant, vituperative attacks on himself as well as on his family (attacks which even Jimmy Carter considers unprecedented)?

Piereson himself suggests an answer. “Is Trump perhaps, then, the ultimate Machiavellian, pretending to be a demagogue, a crude and tasteless public figure like many of our Hollywood celebrities, all for the purpose of achieving some large service on behalf of his country? That is also a possibility worth considering, in which case he would deserve to go down in history as one of the great actors of all time.”

This hints at an interpretation of Machiavelli rather different from the traditional “teacher of evil” that Piereson describes. If Trump’s self-interest is that of a patriotic citizen devoted to “some large service on behalf of his country,” then surely this enlarged and enlightened sense of interest is not opposed to, but rather in the service of, “morality and virtue.” It would be a kind of Machiavellianism that, in the words of Federalist 1, subdues “accident and force” in order to perpetuate a political regimes of “reflection and choice.”

 

By |January 8th, 2019|Comments Off on Ambition and the Ends of Government
Load More Posts