A Guide to Pants-Dropping for the New Man by Mark Steyn

Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats swing together. Eighteen years ago, Senate Dems stood lockstep in support of keeping Bill Clinton in office. Yesterday they stood lockstep in support of forcing Al Franken from office – even though Franken’s sins (unwanted tongues and touching) are of a considerably lower order than Clinton’s (assault and rape). A shift is underway in the Democrat Party, even if – as Caitlin Flanagan notes in The Atlantic – it’s not quite there yet:

Let’s not fool ourselves. “I believe Juanita” doesn’t just mean that you’re generally in favor of believing women when they report sex crimes. It means you believe that for eight years our country was in the hands of a violent rapist.

It was – which was why some of us said we believed Juanita at the time.

Democrats are heavily invested in identity politics. Unfortunately, almost by definition, most of the available identities are minorities (blacks, gays) and some of them are barely statistically detectable (trans). The obvious exception is women. In 2016, a majority of white women voted for Donald Trump. In that sense, Hillary not only failed to shatter the soi-disant glass ceiling, but, remarkably, managed to lower it. That’s what sticking with the Clintons did for the Dems.

So they’ve belatedly realized that their over-investment in the violent rapist and his enabler proved near-fatal last year. To win in 2020, the party has to get back some of those white females. Hence the decision to go full-scale war-on-women. Which means Franken and John Conyers are expendable. The Democrats are preparing to weaponize sex as they’ve weaponized race since the civil-rights era.

With hindsight, they were on their way to doing this a quarter-century back, before they got detoured into licensing Bill Clinton’s pathologies. Here’s what I wrote almost twenty years ago in the Speccie – April 1998 – when Gloria Steinem was arguing in The New York Times that dropping your pants and inviting a woman to “kiss it” was “not harassment” but an example of “the commonsense guideline to sexual behavior that came out of the women’s movement” – and only uptight GOP squares felt otherwise. Tell it to Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, John Conyers and all the other Clinton karaoke acts of the last month.

Newsflash: Jerusalem Not on Fire! by Bassam Tawil

“Newsflash for the journalists: There’s nothing new on the Palestinian street. Palestinian threats of violence and walking out of any “peace process” is old, old news. Jerusalem is not on fire. Jerusalem is tense, and has long been so, because the Palestinians have not yet managed to come to terms with Israel’s right to exist. That is the real story. The Palestinians rage and rage and rage for only one reason: because Israel exists. Put that in a story and publish it.”

“More journalists than protesters…” — Björn Stritzel, German journalist.

Protests against Israel and the US are not uncommon on the streets of Ramallah, Hebron and Bethlehem. But for the “war correspondents,” there is nothing more exciting than standing behind burning tires and stone throwers and reporting from the heart of the “clashes.” Such scenes make the journalists look as if they are in the middle of a battlefield and are risking their lives to bring the story home to their viewers. They might even receive an award for their “courageous” reporting from danger zones!

Jerusalem is tense, and has long been so, because the Palestinians have not yet managed to come to terms with Israel’s right to exist. That is the real story. The Palestinians rage and rage for only one reason: because Israel exists. Put that in a story and publish it.

The Palestinians declared a three-day-long “rage” spree over US President Donald Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Thus far, however, it seems that the real anger is showing up in the international media, not on the Palestinian street.

Question: How many foreign journalists does it take to cover the Palestinian reaction to Trump’s announcement? Answer: As many as the Israel-Palestinian-conflict-obsessed-West can manage to send.

The massive presence of the international media in Jerusalem and the West Bank has taken even the Palestinians by surprise. Since Trump’s announcement on December 6, dozens of additional journalists and camera crews have converged on Israel to cover “the big story.”

The American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, once a favorite haunt of international reporters, is once again packed with journalists from around the world.

Some of these reporters, including those working for American networks, have been flown in from their working posts in London, Paris, Cairo and New York to cover what many of them are already calling the “New Palestinian Intifada.” But is it really a new intifada, or is it simply wishful thinking on the part of the swarm of Palestinian and foreign reporters?

In the past few days, we have seen wild exaggeration in the media as to what is really happening in and around the Old City of Jerusalem. What is evident, however, is that the number of journalists and photographers covering the protests in the city has thus far exceeded the number of Palestinian protesters.

Let us start with Friday, December 8, the final day of the announced Palestinian “rage.” The Palestinian Authority, Hamas and other Palestinian groups told us to expect mass rallies and protests after Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound. So did the reporters.

By early morning, at least six television production trucks were stationed in the small parking lot outside the Damascus Gate, the main entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. The trucks belonged to various television stations were presumably brought there to film live broadcasts of the anticipated mass protests. Another 70-80 journalists and photographers were waiting, some impatiently, for the Muslim worshippers to finish their prayers and start their protests against President Trump’s announcement.

What we got in the end was a small and peaceful protest of some 40 Palestinians, who chanted slogans against Israel, the US and Arab leaders — including Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, who was dubbed a “traitor” and “Israeli spy.”

Björn Stritzel, an honest and brave German journalist, tweeted from the scene: “More journalists than protesters after Friday prayers.”

The media frenzy was echoed by several other reporters. “Three days of ‘rage’ have passed since Trump’s Jerusalem declaration and Armageddon hasn’t arrived,” remarked journalist Oren Kessler. “One is loath to make predictions of continued calm in the region, but thus far the doomsday prophecies have not materialized.”

French journalist Piotr Smolar, who also waited for the “big” protest, wrote: “Dozens and dozens of journalists at Damascus gate, where nothing has happened until now.”

Joe Dyke, a reporter with Agence France Press (AFP), tweeted this photo showing more journalists than protesters at Damascus Gate. He wrote: “Small Palestinian protest at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem broken up by the Israeli police. They seemed to object to a picture of Trump as a toilet.”

Dyke later reported that he had “just walked through Jerusalem’s Old City and the situation is very calm. More police on streets but no issues as yet. Tourists milling about.”

Why Did Islamic State Kill So Many Sufis in Sinai? by Denis MacEoin

A 2007 report by the Rand Corporation advised Western governments to “harness” Sufism, saying its adherents were “natural allies of the West.”

In the end, the Sufi parties are outnumbered by those of their Salafi opponents, meaning that the brotherhoods and the wider Sufi-oriented public must look to the state for protection. In that context, it is important to stress that the massacre in Sinai was not simply another Islamic State attack on people it considered heretics (effectively, in their interpretation of Shari’a law, non-believers), but an assault on everyday mainstream Islam in Egypt, a declaration of apostasy for the vast majority of Egyptian Muslims.

The massive November 24 terrorist attack by Islamic State on a Sufi mosque in a town of little importance, Bir al-Abd, in northern Sinai, resounded across the world. Despite the presence of members of the security services, the al-Rawda mosque also serves as the local headquarters of a prominent Sufi Brotherhood founded by the local al-Jarir clan, a branch of the powerful Al-Sawarkah tribe. The number of dead, somewhat over 300, were shockingly high, yet not higher than the tolls in two earlier Islamic State massacres. In 2014, IS fighters killed 700 men of the Shu’aytat tribe in Dayr al-Zur. “Over a three-day period, vengeful fighters shelled, beheaded, crucified and shot hundreds of members of the Shaitat tribe after they dared to rise up against the extremists.” In 2016, a series of bombings in Karrada, a Shi’i district of Baghdad, took some 347 lives.

Islamic State — though defeated in Syria and Iraq — remains a major threat in many parts of the world. Its fighters returning to Europe have carried out attacks in Brussels and Paris, and yet others have been welcomed back by naïve government agencies who hope to make them into innocent citizens again by rewarding them with benefits and housing.

In a stunning list of attacks, CNN has identified Islamic State as a global threat: Since declaring itself a caliphate in June 2014, the self-proclaimed “State” has conducted or inspired over 140 terrorist attacks in 29 countries in addition to Iraq and Syria, where its carnage has taken a much deadlier toll. Those attacks have killed at least 2000,43 people and injured thousands more.

The massacre at Bir al-Abed is not the first time Islamic State has attacked a Sufi shrine or mosque, nor is it the first time Sufi Muslims have been attacked by Salafi hardliners. Everything and everyone deemed by IS leaders to be “unIslamic” or “insufficiently Islamic” are eligible to be killed or demolished. Ancient sites in Syria; Shi’i Muslims, their mosques and shrines in Iraq; and Yazidis in northern Syria and Iraq have all been the objects of major attacks, in many ways echoing similar massacres by the Wahhabis of Arabia in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

Feeding the Swamp: the Democrat Strategy for 2018 by Linda Goudsmit

National Geographic teaches us that the growth and decay of swamp roots increase the accumulation of soil. The animals living in the swamp feed on fallen leaves and other material. The droppings of wildlife including animals, fish, and birds help fertilize the swamp. So it is in Washington – political animals, fish, birds, and plants living in a well-calibrated ecosystem dangerous to outsiders. President Trump has threatened the delicate balance of the established Washington swamp ecosystem and the swamp creatures are uniting to destroy him.

Swamp life and career politicians adapt to fluctuating water levels and weather conditions. Elections that destabilize the equilibrium are managed with absorption of the excess water and a return to the balance of nature that swamp life requires. President Trump has disrupted the status quo of political life in Washington and the establishment Democrat/Republican ecosystem is in total disarray and struggling to survive – they cannot resorb the water – they are desperate and determined to destroy the disruptor.

The current Mueller investigation is a joint effort of the Washington establishment to remove President Trump from office. Mueller’s “EPA” – Effort to Prove Anything – seeks to restore equilibrium to the corrupt political establishment. Political analyst Cliff Kincaid has written a superb article chronicling the troubling ascendance of Mueller.

Mueller, lauded as a non-partisan man of integrity by both Democrats and Republicans, has exposed himself as a primary swamp creature determined to destroy President Trump. So far Mueller’s “EPA investigation” into Russian meddling in the 2016 election has exonerated candidate Trump of any collusion and instead exposed secretary of state Hillary Clinton for actually colluding with the Russians to sell 20% of American uranium assets. No problem for swampster Mueller – in a move of stunning investigative overreach he simply expanded the scope of his witch hunt with a suspicious lack of opposition from Republicans. Currently the Mueller “EPA” is conducting an unauthorized, unrestricted, unlimited investigation into President Trump personally. Why?

It is always about the delicate balance of the ecosystem. President Trump promised America that he would grow the economy and drain the swamp to make America great again. Voters could finally see that career politicians like the Clintons, Pelosi, Obama, Bernie Sanders (the pretend socialist), Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell all came into office with very little and left as millionaires with full benefit packages guaranteed for life. Voters recognized that lawmakers were making laws that benefitted themselves at taxpayer expense. They could see the lives of the politicians improving but their own lives deteriorating. Voters were no longer satisfied with the established political ecosystem – they voted for change. They voted to drain the swamp.

Peter Smith The Joy of Righteous Madness

Had I been born with the gullible gene found so often on the Left, life would be gloriously simple. I would believe, for example, that climate can be regulated by decree and punishing productive people promotes growth. Alas, a blissful immunity to history’s lessons is not my happy lot.

Saw a mad chap on Fox News who heads a group of people who want no national borders and one world government elected by, well, everyone. There will be fewer have-nots apparently. Without catching breath, he blamed the California bushfires on climate change.

There are, and have always been, I guess, eccentric people around with eccentric (unconventional and sightly strange) views. They usually do no harm and are best put up with. But what happens when large mobs take possession of eccentric views or, more correctly, when eccentric views take possession of large mobs. Nothing good is the answer. Effectively the inmates take over the asylum.

This is where we are now. Hordes of people in every land believe that we can control the climate. Hordes, particularly among those under thirty-five, believe that we can share the fruits of production much more equally. There is a large overlap.

I find it unnerving to be sane amid so many inmates. How do I know that I am sane? It’s simple really. I don’t have fanciful ideas about what mankind can control. It used to be called having one’s feet on the ground. So back to the asylum and, first, to economic equality

We know what happens when governments try to impose economic equality. People die in large numbers. Yet old ‘gurus’ devoid of sense — Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, for instance — are heroes among many young people for proposing at best immiseration and at worst gulags. Of course, it is dressed up as fairer shares but we know where it leads.

Washington Post: Where Conservatism Dies in Bitterness By Julie Kelly

The Washington Post might want to roll out a new motto in 2018. Instead of “Democracy Dies in Darkness” perhaps the paper should try, “Conservatism Dies in Bitterness.”https://amgreatness.com/2017/12/08/washington-post-where-conservatism-dies-in-bitterness/

Since Donald Trump’s election, the Post has become an asylum—er, home—for conservative sore-losers who cannot get over the fact that Trump won the presidency over their erudite objections. One-time conservative heroes such as George Will and Kathleen Parker serve up red-meat rants against Trump to curry favor with the Post’s liberal readership. It’s a shrewd, if not cynical, tactic by columnists with waning influence to stay relevant in the age of Trump, and a calculated move by the paper to refute charges of bias by featuring allegedly conservative columnists.

But in its zeal to add another drummer to the paper’s anti-Trump conservative garage band, the Post has dug up some interesting characters. On Wednesday, the Post published a column by Jay Kaganoff, who urged his “fellow conservatives” to call on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to resign. Kaganoff wrote a solemn plea—complete with a scummy reference to Thomas’s alleged appetite for pornography—for “conservatives [to] seriously reconsider our continued support for Thomas in light of his past.”

Taking a cue from liberals who are now conveniently condemning Bill Clinton 20 years later, Kaganoff said this:

I believe Anita Hill. I believe that Clarence Thomas abused his authority to sexually harass a woman who worked for him. And lied about it. And smeared his accuser. As painful as it is to repudiate a man I respected, I believe Thomas should never have been confirmed and should resign.

So, who is this conservative crusader whose call to remove a sitting Supreme Court justice we real conservatives should heed? Kaganoff’s byline claims he has “written for National Review Online and Commentary Magazine, among others.” As a National Review Online contributor, I have never heard his name, nor read anything he has written. On Facebook, National Review publisher emeritus Jack Fowler wrote: “The guy who penned it claims an NR pedigree. Fact: He wrote for NR twice under a pseudonym. Maybe he thinks he’s Mark Twain.” Naturally, Commentary’s archive came up empty and a Google search of his name doesn’t produce much of anything. But despite his thin, questionable résumé, the Post gave Kaganoff 1,100-words worth of prime real estate on its op-ed pages to demand Thomas’s ouster. Why? To crib a famous line from “The Brady Bunch,” because he fit the suit.

18 Questions CNN Needs To Answer After Getting Busted For Fake News Mollie Hemingway

Early on Friday, CNN promoted its latest breathless report purporting to show collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. CNN has been extremely invested in the narrative of collusion for the last year.

In June, CNN was forced to pull one of its Russia-Trump conspiracy stories that “did not meet CNN’s editorial standards.” The discredited story was based on a single anonymous source who connected Anthony Scaramucci, a prominent ally of President Trump, to a Russian investment fund managed by a Kremlin-controlled bank. Three journalists who worked on the story were fired.

But many of the other stories CNN pushed had serious problems, including one that claimed fired FBI head Jim Comey would testify he never told President Trump three times that he was not under FBI investigation. That’s precisely what he testified the next morning after the story ran. Still other stories are headlined explosively and presented on-air breathlessly while being quite anodyne. Earlier this week, was a piece headlined, “Exclusive: Previously undisclosed emails show follow-up after Trump Tower meeting.” The piece quietly revealed that Trump Jr. didn’t receive the follow-up and the “follow-up” was in no way incriminating or suggesting treasonous collusion to steal an election. Such stories have been par for the course for the Russia-Trump collusion narrative.

Friday morning’s report — which got the usual suspects extremely excited — was one such story. Broadcast widely on air and online, it intimated that Donald Trump, Jr. was given an advance notice about documents hacked or phished from Democrats before they were publicly available. The story didn’t include any evidence that the random dude who emailed Trump, Jr. was correct, that his email had been opened, that he was connected to Russia, or anything else to justify the excitement that those all-in on the collusion narrative had in response to it.

But more than that, it turned out that CNN completely botched the story. Instead of advance notice that this random dude sent in to Trump affiliates, it was late notice that this random dude sent in. The Washington Post obtained the email and reported that CNN had completely messed up the story, claiming a September 4 date to an email that was actually sent on September 14, a day after the documents were publicly available.

The U.S. Media Yesterday Suffered its Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages: Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Happened by Glenn Greenwald

Friday was one of the most embarrassing days for the U.S. media in quite a long time. The humiliation orgy was kicked off by CNN, with MSNBC and CBS close behind, with countless pundits, commentators and operatives joining the party throughout the day. By the end of the day, it was clear that several of the nation’s largest and most influential news outlets had spread an explosive but completely false news story to millions of people, while refusing to provide any explanation of how it happened.

The spectacle began on Friday morning at 11:00 am EST, when the Most Trusted Name in News™ spent 12 straight minutes on air flamboyantly hyping an exclusive bombshell report that seemed to prove that WikiLeaks, last September, had secretly offered the Trump campaign, even Donald Trump himself, special access to the DNC emails before they were published on the internet. As CNN sees the world, this would prove collusion between the Trump family and WikiLeaks and, more importantly, between Trump and Russia, since the U.S. intelligence community regards WikiLeaks as an “arm of Russian intelligence,” and therefore, so does the U.S. media.

This entire revelation was based on an email which CNN strongly implied it had exclusively obtained and had in its possession. The email was sent by someone named “Michael J. Erickson” – someone nobody had heard of previously and whom CNN could not identify – to Donald Trump, Jr., offering a decryption key and access to DNC emails that WikiLeaks had “uploaded.” The email was a smoking gun, in CNN’s extremely excited mind, because it was dated September 4 – ten days before WikiLeaks began promoting access to those emails online – and thus proved that the Trump family was being offered special, unique access to the DNC archive: likely by WikiLeaks and the Kremlin.

It’s impossible to convey with words what a spectacularly devastating scoop CNN believed it had, so it’s necessary to watch it for yourself to see the tone of excitement, breathlessness and gravity the network conveyed as they clearly believed they were delivering a near-fatal blow to the Trump/Russia collusion story:

The World Might Be Better Off Without College for Everyone Part two

I’m cynical about students. The vast majority are philistines.

The conventional view—that education pays because students learn—assumes that the typical student acquires, and retains, a lot of knowledge. She doesn’t. Teachers often lament summer learning loss: Students know less at the end of summer than they did at the beginning. But summer learning loss is only a special case of the problem of fade-out: Human beings have trouble retaining knowledge they rarely use. Of course, some college graduates use what they’ve learned and thus hold on to it—engineers and other quantitative types, for example, retain a lot of math. But when we measure what the average college graduate recalls years later, the results are discouraging, to say the least.
In 2003, the United States Department of Education gave about 18,000 Americans the National Assessment of Adult Literacy. The ignorance it revealed is mind-numbing. Fewer than a third of college graduates received a composite score of “proficient”—and about a fifth were at the “basic” or “below basic” level. You could blame the difficulty of the questions—until you read them. Plenty of college graduates couldn’t make sense of a table explaining how an employee’s annual health-insurance costs varied with income and family size, or summarize the work-experience requirements in a job ad, or even use a newspaper schedule to find when a television program ended. Tests of college graduates’ knowledge of history, civics, and science have had similarly dismal results.

Of course, college students aren’t supposed to just download facts; they’re supposed to learn how to think in real life. How do they fare on this count? The most focused study of education’s effect on applied reasoning, conducted by Harvard’s David Perkins in the mid-1980s, assessed students’ oral responses to questions designed to measure informal reasoning, such as “Would a proposed law in Massachusetts requiring a five-cent deposit on bottles and cans significantly reduce litter?” The benefit of college seemed to be zero: Fourth-year students did no better than first-year students.

Other evidence is equally discouraging. One researcher tested Arizona State University students’ ability to “apply statistical and methodological concepts to reasoning about everyday-life events.” In the researcher’s words:

Of the several hundred students tested, many of whom had taken more than six years of laboratory science … and advanced mathematics through calculus, almost none demonstrated even a semblance of acceptable methodological reasoning.

The World Might Be Better Off Without College for Everyone Students don’t seem to be getting much out of higher education. Bryan Caplan Part One

I have been in school for more than 40 years. First preschool, kindergarten, elementary school, junior high, and high school. Then a bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley, followed by a doctoral program at Princeton. The next step was what you could call my first “real” job—as an economics professor at George Mason University.

Thanks to tenure, I have a dream job for life. Personally, I have no reason to lash out at our system of higher education. Yet a lifetime of experience, plus a quarter century of reading and reflection, has convinced me that it is a big waste of time and money. When politicians vow to send more Americans to college, I can’t help gasping, “Why? You want us to waste even more?”

How, you may ask, can anyone call higher education wasteful in an age when its financial payoff is greater than ever? The earnings premium for college graduates has rocketed to 73 percent—that is, those with a bachelor’s degree earn, on average, 73 percent more than those who have only a high-school diploma, up from about 50 percent in the late 1970s. The key issue, however, isn’t whether college pays, but why. The simple, popular answer is that schools teach students useful job skills. But this dodges puzzling questions.

First and foremost: From kindergarten on, students spend thousands of hours studying subjects irrelevant to the modern labor market. Why do English classes focus on literature and poetry instead of business and technical writing? Why do advanced-math classes bother with proofs almost no student can follow? When will the typical student use history? Trigonometry? Art? Music? Physics? Latin? The class clown who snarks “What does this have to do with real life?” is onto something.

The disconnect between college curricula and the job market has a banal explanation: Educators teach what they know—and most have as little firsthand knowledge of the modern workplace as I do. Yet this merely complicates the puzzle. If schools aim to boost students’ future income by teaching job skills, why do they entrust students’ education to people so detached from the real world? Because, despite the chasm between what students learn and what workers do, academic success is a strong signal of worker productivity.

Suppose your law firm wants a summer associate. A law student with a doctorate in philosophy from Stanford applies. What do you infer? The applicant is probably brilliant, diligent, and willing to tolerate serious boredom. If you’re looking for that kind of worker—and what employer isn’t?—you’ll make an offer, knowing full well that nothing the philosopher learned at Stanford will be relevant to this job.