Feminists have a new target: working-class women

Feminists have a new target: working-class women, by Brendan O’Neill.

This is the nature of feminism today: it has become a well-off women’s racket. It has become a means for educated women to secure their position in the media, business and politics.

Witness the new feminism’s myopic obsession with numbers of women on company boards, or the exact ratio of male-to-female guests on the Today programme, or how female MPs are addressed on Twitter.

The vast majority of women, and men, do not work in these fields, of course. Feminism, clearly, isn’t for them. In fact, feminism is very often against them, especially if they are those ‘bad women’ who take jobs or have points of view that mainstream feminists disapprove of. Those women will be raged against by the sisterhood.

The way feminists talk about certain working-class women is disgraceful. …

It increasingly seems that there is one kind of person who irritates the new feminists more than men do: women who don’t think or behave as feminists expect them to. Women who think for themselves. These women will be written off as suffering from ‘internalised misogyny’.

Whether they’re voting for Trump or Brexit, or doing jobs that involve wearing revealing clothes, or questioning the sexual-harassment panic, or doing something else that the feminist elite disapproves of, these women will be diagnosed as having had their brains warped by The Culture.

It is the most sexist idea of our times, this notion that certain women cannot think for themselves and thus must be corrected, saved or possibly condemned by rich, right-on women in the media and politics. Indeed, the feminist idea of ‘internalised misogyny’ rehabilitates the old, foul notion that women whose thinking diverges from the mainstream are mad somehow. The universe is barely large enough to contain the irony of this.

Shorten delivers last rites to the Hawke-Keating model

Shorten delivers last rites to the Hawke-Keating model, by Simon Benson.

What little was left of the traditional Labor model under the Keating and Hawke governments died with Bill Shorten’s speech to the press club yesterday.

The Labor leader delivered a hollow but unquestionably populist manifesto that sought to tap the rich vein of discontent in the community.

In defining Labor’s vision for the year ahead, Shorten borrowed from the playbook of the radical UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who used to great effect the concept of the “left-behind society” by exploiting class envy in an appeal to the disaffected. It almost won Corbyn an election. …

The speech was a vision of an empowered union movement and interventionist government based on a bombastic class-driven promise to carve up and redistribute Australia’s wealth by taxing high income workers more and everybody else less.

The rhetoric around the disenfranchised drew an obvious ring around low-income workers, welfare recipients, students and pensioners. These have become the Labor “dependants”.

Where Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan drew the income line between the haves and have nots at $150k, Shorten has lowered the bar to $87k. …

On energy policy, Shorten appeared to suggest the path to lowering energy prices was to build more wind farms.

Old Labor has been submerged under the new Labor of identity politics.

The Origins of the English

The Origins of the English, by Alistair Miller.

The story of the English people used to be straightforward. In the fifth and sixth centuries, following the departure of the Roman legions, successive waves of Angles, Saxons and Jutes crossed the North Sea to settle in Britain. … Initially pillaging invaders, they soon turned peaceful settlers and were converted to Christianity by Augustine, who landed in 597. Tempered by the Danes and Vikings, and forged into political shape by the Normans, the English people (as they had now become) were set fair for a glorious history …

Traditionally, the English character was regarded as having arisen from a mixture of Celt (or Briton) and Anglo-Saxon, with the emphasis squarely falling on the manly virtues of the latter. …

But modern archaeology, equipped with a dazzling panoply of new scientific techniques … has transformed the picture. In “The Origins of the British,” Stephen Oppenheimer reports that … although there has been a 30 per cent intrusion of founder gene types from northern Europe into England since the last Ice Age, less than 5 per cent of this was from the putative Anglo-Saxon homelands. It is possible that invading Anglo-Saxons formed an elite ruling class, but … there is no archaeological evidence for this. Nor is there evidence of a violent invasion, of burned towns or villages, or charred remains; only of continuity and peaceful evolution. Most telling of all is that isotopic analysis of the tooth enamel of bodies in early Saxon graves has revealed that none of the population sampled was born outside Britain.

The traditional view that Britain was invaded en masse by the Anglo-Saxons, who drove the Britons westward, or exterminated or enslaved them (the ‘wipe out’ or ‘genocide’ theory), then, is simply a myth.

But how do we explain the rise of the Saxon kingdoms and the birth of the English nation? Perhaps even more puzzling, how do we explain the origins of the English language? Nobody knows for certain. But there is a growing consensus among archaeologists, pre-historians and linguists that genetic, cultural and linguistic influences on eastern England from Scandinavia and north-west Europe date back as far as the late Neolithic and Bronze Ages. In other words, Old English was already spoken in England by the ancestral English when the Romans departed, its roots derived not from the languages of Dark Age invaders (Old Saxon, Norse and Frisian) but from an ‘ancestral common Germanic root’ spoken thousands of years before. …

That the English of 1927 were more than 90 per cent the descendants of the English of 927, the year Athelstan founded the English state (the Normans and Huguenots added relatively little to the gene pool), and that some 70 per cent of British DNA dates back more than 6000 years, explodes the fashionable myth that Britain has always been a multicultural society, a nation of migrants.

For today’s immigration debate:

The point is not that newcomers are undesirable; merely that a thousand years and more is ample time for a distinctive culture and pattern of life – for a strong sense of English identity – to have taken shape. Sir Arthur Bryant, the doyen of Anglocentric historians, put it in gloriously politically incorrect terms: although the English are formed of a succession of immigrants (if one goes far enough back), ‘this alien inflow has never been too rapid’ and England ‘has never suffered as other countries have from racial indigestion … Before the next inflow, the strong tradition of England has had time to mould the newcomers to the national pattern’.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Trump Jacks Up Tariffs On Solar Panels. Here’s How China Responded.

Trump Jacks Up Tariffs On Solar Panels. Here’s How China Responded. By Ryan Saavedra.

Just one week after the Trump administration announced a massive 30% tariff on imported solar panels, one of China’s largest solar panel manufacturers announced plans to open a manufacturing plant in the United States.

Regarding the huge hike in import tariffs, Trump said last week:

When we do this, a lot of manufacturers will be coming to the United States to build washing machines and also solar. For both solar and washing machines, these executive actions uphold the principle of fair trade and demonstrate to the world that the United States will not be taken advantage of anymore. Our companies will not be taken advantage of anymore.

You won’t hear about that in the PC media.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific

Michael Moore: America Must be “Cleansed” of its “White Male Privilege”

Michael Moore: America Must be “Cleansed” of its “White Male Privilege”, by Paul Joseph Watson.

Far-left film maker Michael Moore called for America to be “cleansed” of its “white male privilege” during a speech in New York last night.

Moore was giving an address at the ‘People’s State of the Union’ event in Manhattan, which was derided by its critics as having nothing to do with “the people” and everything to do with mega-rich celebrities lecturing Americans about how to think and vote.

Michael Moore in 2004

Asserting that the removal of Donald Trump and Mike Pence from office, “Still won’t be enough,” Moore said, “We must remove and replace the system and the culture that gave us Trump in the first place.”

“He did not just fall out of the sky and land in Queens,” Moore continued.” He is a result….of us never correcting the three original sins of America – a nation founded on genocide, built on the backs of slaves and maintained through the subjugation of women to second class citizenship and economic disempowerment.”

“As we seek to rid ourselves of Trump, we must also cleanse our American soul of its white male privilege, its voracious greed,” he added. …

Back in August last year, he celebrated a future where white men were a minority because America’s demographic shift will make it easier for Democrats to win future presidential elections.

“The angry white guy is dying out, and the Census Bureau has already told us that by 2050, white people are going to be the minority, and I’m not sad to say I can’t wait for that day to happen. I hope I live long enough to see it because it will be a better country,” said Moore.

John McDonnell’s excuses for Venezuela just don’t stack up

John McDonnell’s excuses for Venezuela just don’t stack up, by Kristian Niemietz.

At last, we’ve learned what went wrong in Venezuela: it wasn’t real socialism. At the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, [UK] Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell explained:

“It’s not that the issue is socialism vs capitalism. … All the objectives of Chavez… would have been successful if they had mobilised the oil resources to actually invest in the long term. … I think in Venezuela they took a wrong turn, a not particularly effective path, not a socialist path.”

McDonnell is in good company. Quite a few prominent figures on the Left, such as Noam Chomsky and Slavoj Žižek, are now explicitly disputing Venezuela’s socialist credentials.

With this, Venezuela joins a long list of countries that were once held up as role models of socialism by Western intellectuals, until their failures became so obvious and undeniable that they became an embarrassment for the socialist cause. At this point, those countries’ version of socialism retroactively ceases to be “real” socialism.

This has been going on for a long time. Thirty years ago, Friedrich Hayek wrote about, “the intellectuals’ vain search for a truly socialist community, which results in the idealisation of, and then disillusionment with, a seemingly endless string of ‘utopias’ – the Soviet Union, then Cuba, China, Yugoslavia, Vietnam, Tanzania, Nicaragua.” …

Whenever a heavily state-controlled economy fails, socialists think that now would be a good time to embark on a semantic discussion about what socialism “really” means. But this is neither here nor there. It wasn’t socialism’s critics who attached that label to the Chavista programme. It was the regime itself, and its many Western admirers.

In Australia many left wing media personalities and celebrities lauded Chavez and publicly advocated his policies for Australia — including Natasha Stott-Despoja, Phillip Adams, and John Pliger. See The Suicide of Venezuela.

hat-tip Matthew

‘Islamophobia’ Hoaxes and the Rush to Judgment

‘Islamophobia’ Hoaxes and the Rush to Judgment, by Andy Ngo.

Two weeks ago, Canadians responded in horror to a disturbing news story in Toronto: before a bank of cameras, a tearful 11-year-old girl said that a man had repeatedly cut her headscarf with scissors as she walked to school. …

Khawlah Noman … told the roomful of reporters that the brazen attack had left her terrified and screaming. She was flanked by a Muslim activist, her mother, and younger brother Mohammad. Mohammad confirmed his sister’s story, stating that he had witnessed the attack while walking with her to school. …

Politicians … rushed to express outrage at the incident, even though details remained scant. “My heart goes out to the young girl who was attacked, seemingly for her religion,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a televised speech. …

Passionate reactions to the incident were swift on social media. Echoing a common belief, Twitter user @Sakira_writes said: “A no doubt white male monster did this.” … Al Jazeera splashed with the following headline: “Toronto Muslim girl ‘scared’ after attacker cuts hijab.” …

But then, three days after the family’s emotional press conference and the collective rush to judgment, Toronto Police released a terse statement: “After a detailed investigation, police have determined that the events described in the original news release did not happen. The investigation is concluded.” Khawlah Noman and her brother, it turned out, had fabricated the attack. They will not face legal consequences for falsely reporting it. …

Khawlah Noman’s elaborate tale is unfortunately not a one-off incident on the continent. A series of hijab-related attack stories marred the American media landscape shortly after the election of Donald Trump.

  • In November 2016, a University of Louisiana at Lafayette student claimed she was violently attacked and had her hijab torn off by two white men, one of whom she said was wearing a Trump hat. She later admitted to making the whole thing up.
  • The same week, a student at the University of Michigan said a man threatened to set her hijab on fire. A Michigan police investigation subsequently determined that the incident did not happen.
  • The following month, Yasmin Seweid, a college student in New York City, claimed she was assaulted by white men who tried to pull off her headscarf during a subway ride. CCTV footage later confirmed that the incident never happened.

While activists and politicians are keen to move on when these stories unravel, I wonder if anyone bothers to consider how much damage is left in their wake and who stands to benefit from “Islamophobia” hysteria.

The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life

The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life, by Samuel Hammond.

“The elephant in the room” is any important and obvious fact that, for whatever reason, no one is willing to talk about.

In their new book, The Elephant in the Brain, authors Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson extend the concept to one the most important and obvious, yet unspoken, facts about the human mind: that we are masters of self-deception, equipped by evolution with an “introspective blind spot” that hides our deeper, selfish motives, even when the same motives are easy to spot in others. …

Our introspective blind spot is not unlike the literal blind spot in our eye, located where the optic nerve connects with our eye’s disc of photoreceptor cells. … Our brain automatically fills in the hole using information from the surrounding context, creating the illusion of a continuous field of vision. We can easily verify that the deception is taking place with imaging techniques or simple optical illusions, and yet knowledge of its existence cannot make us any less blind to our own blindness.

Unconscious self-deception in the social domain works similarly: easy to demonstrate but impossible to switch-off. Thus for any action with a mix of sacred and profane motives — as much Good Samaritan as quid pro quo — we are willfully blind to the latter, not as conscious manipulators, but because strategic ignorance of our Machiavellian side had survival value for our ancestors. As the renown evolutionary psychologist Robert Trivers once put it, “We deceive ourselves the better to deceive others.”

The core thesis of The Elephant in the Brain is that this has major implications for public policy that we are loathe to admit. Thus spending on health care, we learn, isn’t merely about improving our health; it’s also a wasteful way to signal our caring for others. Admitting this, we could conceivably cut medical expenditure in half and be no worse off. Likewise, charitable giving isn’t just, or even mainly, about doing good in the world; it’s also a way to flex one’s wealth and generosity while bathing in the “warm glow” of peer approval. …

Take cheating. “Everybody cheats,” declare Simler and Hanson. “There’s no use in denying it … Most of us honor the big, important rules, like those prohibiting robbery, arson, rape, and murder. But we routinely violate small and middling norms.” Even our ancestors were incorrigible cheaters, as shown by “the fact that our brains have special-purpose adaptations for detecting cheats,” manifested in the elusive search for sincerity in the eyes of a suspected liar. The best liars are therefore the ones who believe their own lies, and “drink their own kool-aid.” It’s a feat humans accomplish with the aid of self-serving excuses, what Simler and Hanson call “pretexts” (“I didn’t steal it. I borrowed it.”), that help us construe our misbehavior in a better light. …

Like our visual blind spot, our cheating natures are impossible to excise. Hypocrisy is our evolutionary original sin.

After Building New African Union Headquarters, China Spies on Its Inhabitants

After Building New African Union Headquarters, China Spies on Its Inhabitants, by Amira El Masalti.

In 2012, the Chinese government “graciously offered” African States a gift and constructed the African Union’s headquarters in Addis Ababa. The act of soft diplomacy proved to be a rather self-serving maneuver to spy on the activities and discussions being conducted by leaders of the exclusive continental group.

In Addis Ababa, ministers and heads of states meet twice a year to discuss major continental issues. While strict security measures give the impression that that building is closely monitored and secured, an unseen security threat was present from 2012 until 2017. …

An investigation conducted by “Le Monde Afrique” exposed Chinese espionage efforts. According to the report, for five years, between midnight and 2 a.m., computer servers were reaching a peak in data transfer activity. A computer scientist noticed the oddity of the situation. The organization’s technical staff later discovered that the AU servers were all connected to servers located in Shanghai. …

The glass tower $200 million complex was gifted to the African Union in 2012. The computer systems were fully equipped by the Chinese. … Cybersecurity experts inspected the building’s rooms and disposed of microphones placed under the desks and in walls by the Chinese workers.

Beware of Greeks Chinese bearing gifts.

Churchill, Churchill, Churchill

Churchill, Churchill, Churchill. There are two movies about Churchill out recently:

1. Churchill (2017) stars Brian Cox as Churchill.

2. Darkest Hour (2017) stars Gary Oldman as Churchill.

From a review of the “Darkest Hour” movie by Lion:

At the beginning of the movie, I was wondering, who is this senile old drunk man? And where is Winston Churchill, said to be the greatest statesman of the 20th Century? Well it turned out that the senile old drunk man was Winston Churchill. …

This movie turned into two hours of watching a doddering old drunk guy chain-smoking cigars. Pretty disappointing. I refuse to believe that Churchill was like that in real life. …

Talking about huge rewrites of history, you wouldn’t think to find many black people in London in 1940 (I estimate that 1 in a 1000 Londoners were black at the time), but Churchill manages to find one when he decides to take a subway ride in order to talk to the common people, and a black man named Marcus gives him wise advice. See the Magical Negro Trope. “In order to show the world that minority characters are not bad people, one will step forward to help a ‘normal’ person, with their pure heart and folksy wisdom.” Yep, that describes the encounter perfectly. …

World War II is the only war that Hollywood feels completely comfortable in endorsing as a clear-cut fight of good guys against bad guys. There’s nothing sociopathic about Churchill ordering thousands of men to their death in order to delay the Germans in their assault on Dunkirk. It was necessary in order to fight against Hitler, and all of the wusses on his war council who were aghast at the idea can be portrayed as a bunch of girly men without the backbone for real leadership. In contrast, if one can imagine a movie about George Bush and the Gulf War, the movie would take a much different moral viewpoint.

The left have always hated Churchill and his success. Sounds like “Darkest Hour” belittles the man and ignores his ideas.

Some Churchillian quotes:

hat-tip Stephen H

Dems on Immigration: That Was Then, This Is Now

Dems on Immigration: That Was Then, This Is Now, by Steven Hayward.

The Democrats, increasingly followed by left parties all through the Western world, now push for open borders — which just happens to be in their strong electoral interest. Votes! Because with their identity politics push, they have lost most whites and even more men.

Like gay marriage. Definitely not on the agenda ten years ago, but now it’s law. What surprise “progress” is next?

Star Wars has always been a leftie fantasy

Star Wars has always been a leftie fantasy, by Arthur Chrenkoff. The latest Star Wars movie is more nakedly political. But even the first ones were political too … which surprises many people.

CNN reports (spoilers alert): … ““The Last Jedi” seemingly dispenses with heredity as a primary concern. … most of those one-percenters earned their money from war profiteering — selling weapons to the First Order and Rebels alike — while subjugating and exploiting those around them. The pair’s escape also weaves in an animal-rights theme, as the two rebels liberate a creature used for a kind of horseracing entertainment. The beast eventually wanders off free, regaining its natural state.”

And all that’s even before analysing the “triumphant feminism” of “The Last Jedi” …

But “Star Wars” as a left-wing critique of the American society is hardly restricted to the latest instalment of the saga, as once again CNN recalls:

In 2005, many took dialogue in “Revenge of the Sith” as a not-so-subtle indictment of the Bush administration, starting with Princess Amidala’s observation as the Emperor expands his wartime powers. “So this is how liberty dies,” she says, “With thunderous applause.” Later, when the turned-to-darkness Anakin Skywalker confronts Obi-Wan Kenobi he warns, “If you’re not with me, then you’re my enemy,” to which his former master replies, “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” To many, the exchange vaguely echoed then-President George W. Bush’s pronouncements about terrorism.

Spoiler alert: liberty somehow survived the Bush Jr presidency, and the democracy did not die either to a thunderous applause or in darkness. …

This, perhaps, is a good time to recall that right from the outset, “Star Wars” was conceived as a still fashionable in the 1970s New Left critique of the United States and its foreign and military policies. …

George Lucas conceived the whole story as a science-fiction metaphor for his own times – the (small letter “e”) evil Empire is his own United States, and the heroes, the good guys that we, the viewers, are meant to root for, are the communist guerrillas.

The New Left “revisionist” historians of the 1960s and thereafter, of course, loved to refer to the United States throughout all its history, up to and including the present, as “the Empire”. Thus, according to the left-wing metanarrative, the American Empire was a quasi-fascistic, semi-dictatorial, highly aggressive and militaristic polity in the grip of “the military-industrial complex” and “the power elites”, suppressing dissent and subjugating minorities at home, while continuously invading poor Third World countries to crush their national aspirations in the interests of the American corporations and the American war machine. This is the Galactic Empire too, whether it’s in the 33rd century or a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.

Just so you can’t possibly miss the point about how evil the United States is, the Galactic Empire’s trappings are meant to bring to your mind Nazi Germany, with its crisp uniforms and military parades – George Lucas channelling Leni Riefenstahl as a social commentary on his own country. No wonder it makes you root for the courageous Rebels and the brave Ewoks, whose low-tech (and ultimately victorious) battle with the Imperial forces on Endor, comes as close to a restaging of a Vietnam jungle battle as possible in a science-fiction epic. …

For the far (and often not so far) left, the United States is always the enemy, the monster, the bad guy, and so whoever confronts it and fights it – the enemy of my enemy – is the hero to be cheered on, whether Uncle Fidel’s Cubans, the Viet-Cong, the Sandinistas, or even the Arab insurgents. The United States, too, is perpetually on the brink of a fascist dictatorship, whether under Richard Nixon, or Ronald Reagan, George W Bush, or Donald Trump (in fact, pretty much every Republican president). The country in which the left live, work, and politic, is the source of all the evil in the world and not an example to be emulated by others. …

Like “Star Wars” itself, the left-wing ideological franchise is too emotionally lucrative to let go.

Reader Stephen writes:

I can’t watch the Australian national broadcaster (though I help pay for it), I almost never go to theatre any more as the subject matter is invariably unsubtle left-wing proselytisation (anything ‘edgy’ ‘brave’ or ‘political’ can only be left-wing).

All the movies are left-wing agit-prop – for open borders, same-sex romance (though they invariably deceitfully disguise that fact in the movie’s blurb) or some other lefty cause-du-jour. The newspapers are crap; tv is crap.

Pod-people espousing left-wing pap are everywhere. Even decent, common-sense, nominally right-of-centre folk, who don’t know that they are pod people, are espousing left-wing pap. The Borg is triumphant. It is so dispiriting.

Tory Government REJECTS Petition for a Free Speech Act

Tory Government REJECTS Petition for a Free Speech Act, by Jack Montgomery.

The British government has rejected a petition calling for a Free Speech Act and an end to laws against so-called ‘hate speech’.

“For several years now the government has been infringing people’s most basic rights to speak freely on matters, by deeming their speech ‘offensive’ or ‘hateful. and declaring that such speech, even online, warrants being fined or jailed,” the petition suggests.

“We demand the legal right to Free Speech, in an Act which will bring an end to the ludicrous notion that ‘hate speech’ and ‘offensive speech’ deserves people be imprisoned or charged … Ideas must be fought with other ideas, not with force.” …

The Home Office, led by Amber Rudd MP, responded on behalf of Prime Minister Theresa May’s administration as the Free Speech petition reached around 16,000 signatures — rejecting it out of hand. …

Critics have pointed out that, far from providing citizens with the right to freedom of expression, the European Convention on Human Rights in fact provides governments with the right to restrict freedom of expression on the flimsiest of pretexts, with the caveats concerning the protections of “morals” and “the reputation or rights of others” appearing particularly open to abuse. …

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that police forces increased arrests under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003, which makes it illegal to intentionally “cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another”, by up to 877 per cent between 2014 and 2016.

At the beginning of 2018, police in Northumbria even took the time to hunt down Facebook users for making “offensive” comments about Muslim grooming gangs.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Trump likes controversy, conflict less so

Trump likes controversy, conflict less so, by Gerald Seib.

He likes controversy, but he isn’t all that fond of conflict.

That might seem like a contradiction, but it actually isn’t. The distinction is important, and is woven through Mr Trump’s operating style during his first year in office.

He relishes stirring up controversy, and, in fact, believes stirring the pot advances his reputation as an outside agitator and improves his position by keeping adversaries off balance. But he usually keeps controversy at arm’s length, using his Twitter feed or offhand comments to attack and posture.

By contrast, when he finally comes face-to-face with both friends and foes, his actual positions are often less contentious and rigid than his public posturing suggests. His Twitter bark is worse than his personal bite.

Thus, he angrily withdrew the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, but then he walked into the very den of economic globalists at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week to say that he is prepared to negotiate a new version of it. He ordered the US out of the Paris accord on climate change, but told British interviewer Piers Morgan over the weekend that, thanks in part to the personal intervention of French President Emmanuel Macron, who, “as you know, I like,” he might rejoin the accord. …

He … complains openly about other aides, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the White House chief of staff, John Kelly. But he then promptly backs away and praises them, as if he had never whacked the hornet’s nest in the first place. When he wants someone to leave, he is more likely to drop hints he wants them to depart on their own, or have someone else send them overboard, than to fire them himself. …

Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media and a presidential friend. … “He often stakes out very extreme positions. He does this partly for rhetorical effort or to stake out a negotiating position. It’s worked for him in business so he’s applying it to politics.” … The problem is that the president’s allies and enemies alike, at home and abroad, have a hard time figuring out where bluster ends and reality begins.

House Intel votes to release controversial surveillance memo to the public

House Intel votes to release controversial surveillance memo to the public, by Alex Pappas.

The House Intelligence Committee on Monday evening voted to release a classified memo circulating in Congress that purportedly reveals government surveillance abuses.

The vote was announced to reporters by California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, who called it a “very sad day, I think, in the history of this committee.” The motion passed on a party-line basis, he said.

President Trump now has five days to decide whether he has any objections before the memo can be publicly released.

ast week, a top Justice Department official urged House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes not to release the memo, saying it would be “extraordinarily reckless” and could harm national security and ongoing investigations.

The four-page memo has being described by GOP lawmakers as “shocking,” “troubling” and “alarming,” with one congressman likening the details to KGB activity in Russia. …

Schiff said the GOP-majority committee also voted against releasing a counter memo written by Democrats. …

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement that the committee’s Republicans had “crossed from dangerous irresponsibility and disregard for our national security into the realm of cover up” and “disregarded the warnings of the Justice Department and the FBI.”

Could be big. Looks like the “Nunes memo” is going to go public, and judging by the highly partisan voting it is going to be bad for the left. The Democrats have already started discrediting it and throwing mud at it.

Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe Stepping Down Before the Memo is Released

Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe Stepping Down Before the Memo is Released, by Kristina Wong.

According to Fox News, McCabe was “removed.” A source told the news outlet that this was the earliest date possible for the FBI to remove him and still leave him fully eligible for his pension. …

McCabe has come under scrutiny from congressional Republicans, who have questioned why he only recused himself from the Clinton email investigation a week before the election when his wife had received hundreds of thousands in campaign donations from a close Hillary Clinton ally.

McCabe was appointed FBI Deputy Director in 2016 by former President Obama, and became acting director in May 2016, after President Trump fired James Comey.

hat-tip Chris

It Begins: ‘Secret Empires’ Book Set to Rock Official Washington

It Begins: ‘Secret Empires’ Book Set to Rock Official Washington, by Rebecca Mansour.

The author who wrote Clinton Cash and sparked an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation is preparing to launch his highly anticipated investigative follow-up — a book that appears it will be every bit as explosive as his last.

While little is known about the book’s contents, five images on the book’s cover suggest that Schweizer’s next targets may include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), former Vice President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State John Kerry, and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

According to the publisher, Secret Empires will expose vast corruption by top Washington figures who leverage their political power to enrich their family members and friends, often by helping grease deals with foreign entities.

The author of four major New York Times bestsellers, Schweizer has garnered praise from conservatives and progressives alike for his reputation as a nonpartisan deep-dive investigative journalist. Newsweek dubbed him “the wonk who slays Washington.” …

In 2013, Schweizer released Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets and sparked the resignation of Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ). Schweizer revealed that Andrews used $16,575 from his leadership PAC to jet he and his family to a lavish resort in Edinburgh, Scotland. …

Then in 2015, Schweizer sent shockwaves through Washington, DC, with the release of Clinton Cash. The book revealed that Hillary Clinton’s State Department, along with eight other agencies, approved the transfer of 20 percent of U.S. uranium and that nine foreign investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation. …

Surprisingly, some of Schweizer’s strongest defenders came from the political left. Progressive columnist Eleanor Clift hailed Schweizer “an equal-opportunity investigator, snaring Republicans as well as Democrats.” And Columbia University Earth Institute Director Jeffrey D. Sachs said Clinton Cash was “compelling reading on how Bill and Hillary have mixed personal wealthy, power, and influence peddling.”

Drain the swamp.

hat-tip Charles

Riding a Wild Wind, Transatlantic Jets Fly Faster Than Ever

Riding a Wild Wind, Transatlantic Jets Fly Faster Than Ever, by Jack Stewart.

On Thursday, a Norwegian 787 [flying from Los Angeles to Paris] briefly hit … 779 mph for part of its trip, with a tailwind of 224 mph. And on Friday, yet another Norwegian plane used the jet stream to set a new speed record for a subsonic transatlantic crossing. The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner went from New York’s JFK Airport to London’s Gatwick in 5 hours and 13 minutes. It beat British Airways’ 2015 record by three minutes and outpaced the standard crossing by half an hour. (The Concorde still holds the ultimate record among commercial aircraft: 2 hours, 53 minutes.)

So how does a standard Boeing jet carrying a full complement of passengers and luggage fly so fast? By taking advantage of a particularly vigorous jet stream, a current of air rushing from west to east, across the Atlantic. During Norwegian’s record-setting flight, that tailwind reached 202 mph and pushed a Boeing that usually cruises at 570 mph to 776 mph.

Airlines have long made use of the transatlantic jet stream to save time and fuel when flying from the US to Europe. “The airlines look at forecasted winds and they supply air traffic controllers with their preferred routing,” says Ian Petchenik, a spokesperson for FlightRadar24, which tracks flights all over the world.

17 Jan 2018, 0400 UTC. That rainbow in the middle marks wind speed, with red signifying the most intense part of the Jetstream.

The speed of sound at an altitude of 30,000 to 40,000 feet is roughly 670 mph. But Norwegian’s planes didn’t break the sound barrier. Those near-800-mph figures represent ground speed — how fast the aircraft is moving over land. Their air speed, which factors out the 200-mph wind boost, was closer to the 787’s standard Mach 0.85. (The older Boeing 747 can cruise at Mach 0.86, but is less efficient than its younger stablemate.) When talking supersonic, and breaking sound barriers, it’s all about the speed of the air passing over the wings, which in this case was more like 570 mph.

Dershowitz: I Wouldn’t Have Campaigned for Obama If I Knew About Farrakhan Pic

Dershowitz: I Wouldn’t Have Campaigned for Obama If I Knew About Farrakhan Pic. By Fox.

Harvard Law Professor and longtime Democrat Alan Dershowitz said he would not have campaigned for then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) if he knew about the future president’s photo op with Louis Farrakhan.

Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, is a “virulent anti-Semite and anti-American,” Dershowitz said on “Fox & Friends.” …

A photographer, Askia Muhammad, showed Fox News’ Tucker Carlson a 2005 picture of Obama and Farrakhan smiling together.

He said that afterward, the Congressional Black Caucus contacted him and demanded to have the photo back. …

Muhammad said he thought the CBC was concerned a photo with Farrakhan could hurt the young senator’s future presidential aspirations.

Muhammad added that Obama had Nation of Islam followers working in his Chicago senate office.

Do you think the media would have covered up for say Trump in the company of a white supremacist? No, it would have been a leading news item for a week. We’re being had. Dershowitz was had.

Daniel Greenfield: “Guns Are How A Civil War Ends… Politics Is How It Starts”

Daniel Greenfield: “Guns Are How A Civil War Ends… Politics Is How It Starts”, by Tyler Durden.

That’s the basic issue here. Who decides who runs the country? When you hate each other but accept the election results, you have a country. When you stop accepting election results, you have a countdown to a civil war. …

The Mueller investigation is about removing President Trump from office and overturning the results of an election. We all know that. But it’s not the first time they’ve done this.

The first time a Republican president was elected this century, they said he didn’t really win. The Supreme Court gave him the election. There’s a pattern here.

Trump didn’t really win the election. Bush didn’t really win the election. Every time a Republican president won an election this century, the Democrats insist he didn’t really win. …

When you consistently reject the results of elections that you don’t win, what you want is a dictatorship.

Your very own dictatorship.

The only legitimate exercise of power in this country, according to the left, is its own. Whenever Republicans exercise power, it’s inherently illegitimate.

The attacks on Trump show that elections don’t matter to the left. …

The left lost Congress. They lost the White House. So what did they do? They began trying to run the country through Federal judges and bureaucrats. Every time that a Federal judge issues an order saying that the President of the United States can’t scratch his own back without his say so, that’s the civil war. …

The left’s system is that any part of government that it runs gets total and unlimited power over the country. If it’s in the White House, then the president can do anything. And I mean anything. He can have his own amnesty for illegal aliens. He can fine you for not having health insurance. His power is unlimited.

He’s a dictator.

But when Republicans get into the White House, suddenly the President can’t do anything. He isn’t even allowed to undo the illegal alien amnesty that his predecessor illegally invented.

A Democrat in the White House has “discretion” to completely decide every aspect of immigration policy. A Republican doesn’t even have the “discretion” to reverse him.

The “deep state” or “shadow government”?

This is a war over who runs the country. Do the people who vote run the country or does this network that can lose an election, but still get its agenda through, run the country?

We’ve been having this fight for a while. But this century things have escalated.

They escalated a whole lot after Trump’s win because the network isn’t pretending anymore. It sees the opportunity to delegitimize the whole idea of elections.

Now the network isn’t running the country from cover. It’s actually out here trying to overturn the results of an election and remove the president from office. …

Professional government means entrenched privilege and creeping corruption:

America was founded on getting away from professional government. The British monarchy was a professional government. Like all professional governments, it was hereditary. Professional classes eventually decide to pass down their privileges to their kids.

America was different. We had a volunteer government. That’s what the Founding Fathers built. …

What infuriates professional government more than anything else? An amateur, someone like President Trump who didn’t spend his entire adult life practicing to be president, taking over the job. …

When you’re a government professional, you’re invested in keeping the system going. But when you’re a volunteer, you can do all the things that the experts tell you can’t be done. You can look at the mess we’re in with fresh eyes and do the common sense things that President Trump is doing. …

Identity politics:

Identity groups don’t vote for leaders. … The left’s identity politics only represents ideas. Nobody gets to vote on them.

Instead the left puts out representatives from different identity politics groups, there’s your gay guy, there’s three women, there’s a black man, as fronts for their professional government system.

Dennis Prager: ‘My Opposition to Donald Trump Was Wrong,’ He Is a ‘Great President’

Dennis Prager: ‘My Opposition to Donald Trump Was Wrong,’ He Is a ‘Great President’, by Robert Kraychik.

“My opposition to Donald Trump was wrong,” said Dennis Prager, describing Donald Trump as a “great president” whose political successes are connected to a disregard for the left-wing and partisan Democrat news media narratives.

Prager’s comments came during Thursday’s episode of his eponymous radio show. While Prager has said that Trump was his last choice during the Republican primaries, he supported him vigorously in the general election against Hillary Clinton.

“I was wrong. My opposition to Donald Trump was wrong, in retrospect. I was wrong. I had friends who supported him, and I didn’t understand them. I said, “Are you not aware of what he said about John McCain? Isn’t that enough to disqualify the guy?” They perceived in him what I did not perceive in him, that these over-the-top statements – as objectionable as the statements themselves may be, and none of them defended the statements – nevertheless, what they perceived was accurate: a man who doesn’t give a damn about what the press says about him. That is the only way to govern. It is the only way to advance the principles of conservatism in the United States is to not give a damn.”

“[Donald Trump] is so much better a president than Mitt Romney would’ve made,” said Prager, describing Romney as “tepid” and concerned with appealing to news media outlets such as The New York Times. …

“He has turned out to be a great president with big communication flaws, in the way he tweets and some of the things he says and his temperament,” said Prager. “My temperament is the opposite. I love dignity. I love understatement. Okay, so be it.”

hat-tip Charles

Who’s afraid of Jordan Peterson?

Who’s afraid of Jordan Peterson? By Peggy Noonan.

[This interview] burned through the internet, in part because she was remarkably hostile and badgering: “What gives you the right to say that?” “You’re making vast generalisations.” He seemed mildly taken aback, then rallied and wouldn’t be pushed around. It was also interesting because she, the fiery, flame-haired aggressor, was so boring — her thinking reflected all the predictable, force-fed assumptions — while he, saying nothing revolutionary or even particularly fiery, was so interesting. When it was over, you wanted to hear more from him and less from her. …

Why must the PC crowd shut him up?

What could a grown-up, seemingly stable professor (former associate professor of psychology at Harvard, full professor for 20 years at the University of Toronto) stand for that would make a journalist want to annihilate him on live TV — or, failing that, to diminish him or make him into a figure of fun?

He must have defied some orthodoxy. He must think the wrong things. He must be a heretic. Heretics must be burned. …

The interview was to promote his second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. … In it he offers advice, much but not all of it based on decades of seeing patients as a psychologist, on the big eternal question: How to Live. He is of the tough school: Know life’s limits, see and analyse your own, build on what you’ve got and can create. And be brave. Everything else is boring and won’t work.

Deeper in, you understand the reasons he might be targeted for annihilation. First, he is an intellectual who shows a warm, scholarly respect for the stories and insights into human behaviour — into the meaning of things — in the Old and New Testaments. (He’d like more attention paid to the Old.) Their stories exist for a reason, he says, and have lasted for a reason: They are powerful indicators of reality, and their great figures point to pathways. He respects the great thinkers of the West and the Christian tradition.

More undermining of the modernist project, Mr. Peterson states clearly more than once that grasping at political ideology is not the answer when your life goes wrong. There’s no refuge there, it’s a way of avoiding the real problem: “Don’t blame capitalism, the radical left, or the iniquity of your enemies. Don’t reorganise the state until you have ordered your own experience. Have some humility. If you cannot bring peace to your household, how dare you try to rule a city?

That is a dangerous thing to say in an ideological age. … If I were of the radical established left, bent on squelching contending thought, I’d hate him too. …

Back to the hostile interview, and the labelling of Mr. Peterson as “controversial,” which is a way of putting a warning label on his work. When people, especially those in a position of authority, like broadcasters, try so hard to shut a writer up, that writer must have something to say.

When cultural arbiters try to silence a thinker, you have to assume he is saying something valuable.

So I bought and read the book. A small thing, but it improved my morale.

Peterson is pretty good here too:

hat-tip Stephen Neil