Saturday, January 25, 2020

Protecting Hunter and Joe Biden

As the old saying goes, the cover up is always worse than the crime. We might question the wisdom behind the statement, but we can confirm that the New York Times itself has been directly involved in the effort to cover up the Hunter Biden/Burisma connection.

While Joe Biden insists that he knew nothing about his son’s business relationship with the Ukrainian gas company and that he did not set down a quid pro quo for the Ukrainian government in which he was willing to trade $1,000,000,000 in aid for the firing of the prosecutor who was probing Burisma, the truth was that the Obama State Department and the Obama White House knew precisely what was going on.

Not only that, but the point man on Ukraine for the National Security Council, a man by name of Eric Ciaramella, was directly involved in the discussions. As you probably know by now, Ciaramella is also the whistleblower whose second and third hand rumor mongering set off the current impeachment crisis. And you also might know, as reported here, that Ciaramella was, while at Yale, an avid Islamist. He stood tall and proud to defend an Islamist anti-Semitic professor whose contract with Yale was allowed to lapse. 

If you think that the impeachment madness is just about the Ukraine, think again.

Anyway, the Times had the Hunter Biden/Burisma story and chose to kill it. Laura Ingraham gained possession of some inculpatory emails between Times reporter Ken Vogel and the State Department. Matt Margolis has the story (via Maggie’s Farm):

In the email, Vogel wrote, "We are going to report that [State Department official] Elizabeth Zentos attended a meeting at the White House on 1/19/2016 with Ukrainian prosecutors and embassy officials as well as ... [redacted] from the NSC ... the subjects discussed included efforts within the United State government to support prosecutions, in Ukraine and the United Kingdom, of Burisma Holdings, ... and concerns that Hunter Biden's position with the company could complicate such efforts."

Ingraham said this email was forwarded to Schilling's colleagues Zentos and George Kent, who appears to have been a source for Vogel. The conversation ended on May 3, with the State Department declining to comment. Kent, who was stationed in Kyiv at the time, told House investigators during an impeachment hearing last year that he raised concerns in 2015 about Hunter Biden holding a position with Burisma but was rebuffed by a Joe Biden aide.

Using archived Obama White House visitor logs, Ingraham said her team was able to corroborate details of the January 2016 meeting, showing on the screen the names of Ukrainian officials checked into the White House by Ciaramella, who was Ukraine director on the National Security Council.

Let’s see. As I understand it, our State Department was going to support the prosecution of Burisma. But, the presence of Hunter Biden on the board of Burisma complicated the issue. You can say that. Then again, isn’t that why Hunter Biden was paid millions to do a job for which he had no qualifications whatever?

Keep in mind, according to Joe Biden his son did nothing wrong. And certainly he did nothing wrong. Buying influence through a son is perhaps not a crime. But, to say that it is not wrong shows merely that one has no moral sense.

As always, in the mainstream American media, stories that make Democrats look bad get killed while stories that make Republicans look bad get blared, even exaggerated by every outlet. 

Transgender Terrorism

So much for intersectionality. You know all about intersectionality. By its theoretical lights oppressed groups have something in common. They are all oppressed by the straight white male patriarchy. And they ought all to band together to form a vanguard to overthrow said oppressive bigots. The groups include members of minority ethnic groups, African-Americans, women, gays, Muslims and of course the transgendered.

One might notice that these groups, if you put them all together, constitute a majority of the citizens in a place like the United States. Just in case you think that they want to impose their will by violent revolution, this simple fact suggests that they are aiming to produce an unbeatable electoral coalition. The more oppressed people vote the easier it will be for intersectionalists to take over the country. 

You might ask what these groups have in common, but that would require some thought. And intersectionality does not allow any thought to undermine its political agenda. 

Better yet, the transgender activist community, in a place like Great Britain, in a school like the venerable Oxford University, has been known to shut down free expression by employing Storm Trooper tactics. If you say the wrong thing, even if you are a fully committed feminist, they will threaten you, harass you and try to cause you serious bodily harm.

Why the authorities have not put these people in jail defies the imagination.

Consider the case of Oxford historian Selina Todd. She researched the transgender issue and concluded that this current media-driven aberration was bad for women.

On her website, Todd writes, “Like every other gender critical feminist I know, I encountered the current debate about whether transgender people should be able to self-identify as such (without fulfilling other legal and medical requirements) from the instinctive standpoint that I wanted to support transpeople’s rights,” according to

“But after months of research, I concluded that this position would harm the rights of women, because so often what is being asked for is free access to women-only spaces.”

Penis bearing human beings who declare themselves to be female demanding free access to women-only spaces. Does that sound like a veiled description of a rape? Hmm. 

Is there a concomitant demand for vagina bearing human beings who declare themselves to be males to be admitted into men-only spaces. If not, why not? It’s a question that is surely worthy of Oxford.

Anyway, now Todd gives lectures in the company of two burly bodyguards:

A feminist professor at Oxford University was given two security guards to protect her from potentially violent transgender activists furious over some of things she wrote on her website, according to a report Friday.

Selina Todd, a historian who focuses on the lives of working-class women, received threats after writing that trans people sometimes “harm the rights of women,” according to the UK Telegraph.

“I get frightened by the threats in lectures,” she told the paper. “You can’t help but worry. It’s had a huge impact on me. You don’t expect to be defending yourself the whole time from complaints or threats of violence.”

Todd said the presence of two “two big burly guys” at her lectures is designed to protect her from threats verified by the school — and quite a handful of students who recently began showing up in trans activists T-shirts, and calling her “transphobic.

You have to wonder why the authorities have not seriously cracked down on this. Then again, the authorities do not seem to care that transgenderism is causing children to be mutilated with puberty blocking drugs, to be poisoned with opposite sex hormones and to be carved up surgically. 

That the British intelligentsia and the public authorities have become totally passive, submissive and supine in the face of transgender activists is a very bad civilizational omen, indeed.

It Smells Like a Vagina

Just in case you have been puzzled that you cannot buy yourself a Goop vagina candle, now you know why. Apparently, Elton John has bought up massive numbers of the candles, entitled: "This Smells Like My Vagina."

If anyone can offer a rational explanation for Sir Elton’s taste in candles, I am willing to listen.

Now, Gwyneth Paltrow, the Hollywood celebrity who is hawking these candles, wants us all to know that they do not smell like her vagina. I am sure you find that a relief. But do they smell like a generic vagina? Perhaps that’s why Sir Elton has bought so many of them.

As for the demographic, Paltrow suggests that most of the candles have been bought by women, and perhaps Joe Biden. No, Paltrow did not mention Joe Biden, but I could not resist placing his name in this context. He has earned the mention.

As for the reasoning behind this absurdity, Paltrow’s co-creator explains the limited intelligence behind the project:

The artist [co-creator Douglas Little]  said that he and Paltrow, 47, wanted to create “something that was voluptuous and sensual and also provocative and fun,” and shot down the notion that the final product — despite its “very musky notes” and much-discussed name — is meant to mirror the aroma of the Goop guru’s own nether regions.

“Just saying the word — vagina! — is shocking to some people,” he told the outlet. “Why the f—k is that? There’s no reason. It’s this beautiful, sacred thing and yet in our society and in many societies there is a lot of stigma and shame. I think people are sick of that.”

In  a pornified world, images of the female and the male sexual anatomy are ubiquitous. The problem is not that sexuality is covered up. The problem is that it is uncovered, demystified, destigmatized, and rendered public property. Think about that, private parts have become, through the rage to destigmatize, public property.

Do you think that this represents a civilizational advance? Or do you think that it contributes to the current epidemic of sexual harassment?

Friday, January 24, 2020

The Stupidity of the American Media

Among the phenomena not noted often enough is this: during the Russian collusion hoax and even during the impeachment farce, a handful of liberal journalists have offered some of the best analysis of the process.

They are not Trump supporters, and this lends their work more credence. But they have been fair and rational, evaluating the evidence and drawing sane conclusions. Since they have dissociated themselves from the Resistance they have surely lost friends.

We lead today with Matt Taibbi, from Rolling Stone, not a member of the vast right wing conspiracy. But we have occasionally pointed out the excellent work of Glenn Greenwald, Aaron Mate, Stephen Cohen and Alan Dershowitz. Sometimes it feels like the American left is a monolith, but, that is clearly not the truth. Some liberals still know that classical liberal thought was open to both sides of every argument.

In a recent essay, Taibbi points out that the media, consumed with Trump hatred, has basically destroyed its own credibility. He calls out the New York Times, of course, but he argues effectively that the media is now trying to do to Bernie Sanders what it tried to do to Trump.

Rather than offer reasoned judgment about Trump, the American media doubled down on stupid. It refused to balance good and bad. It decided that everything Trump did was bad.

It was on display yesterday when Adam Schiff declared that Trump was guilty of compromising national security because he held a meeting with Vladimir Putin. How stupid do you have to be to accept the Schiff analysis? Do we recall, that during the furor over Trump's meeting with Putin, that the Nation's Stephen Cohen pointed out that it was perfectly normal?

Taibbi is not a Trump supporter, but he correctly bemoans the media’s irrational hostility toward Trump. And he points out that this mindless ranting has compromised the media’s credibility while enhancing Trump’s:

When Trump jumped into the presidential race in 2015, it would have been easy enough for members of the media to decry his ignorance, personal and professional venality, and racism.

But they couldn’t help themselves, declaring every word out of his mouth a Satanic lie. This made the occasional things that he said that were true, like that Jeb Bush was a puppet for corporate donors or NATO was a bloated and outdated organization, pack significantly more punch.

The transparent full-of-shitness of the corporate press reaction to Trump was probably the leading argument for his credibility. Trump wrongly pushed voters to blame minorities and foreigners, and when he did identify correct targets for public opprobrium, like Goldman Sachs, it wasn’t believable that he would oppose them in office. But media figures gave his “drain the swamp” message a huge boost by scoffing at it with their inimical obnoxiousness.

They then spent years doubling down, backing conspiracy theories about espionage with Russia, mis-predicting the end of the Trump presidency, and, yes, employing tactics like bodylanguage analysis to say all sorts of silly things (“What is Donald Trump hiding? His body language says it all,” wrote Newsweek, interviewing an analyst who’d made “interesting observations about Hitler’s salutes”).

People in the media business underestimate, by a lot, the damage the last three years have done to their ability to reach not just Trump fans but non-Trump Republicans, independents, libertarians, Greens, and other groups. The latest fiascoes with Sanders double as confirmation for these people of their worst conclusions about media, and an additional insult that such goofball messaging is only now attracting the notice of some on the “other side. “

The media seem to believe that they belong to a righteous resistance. And that they are damaging Trump by throwing barrages of spitballs his way. In truth, they have mostly damaged themselves. People no longer trust their presentation of facts. People no longer believe that their opinions have been reasoned. 

The American media has gone over to the side of propaganda. It wants to be a player, not to be an objective and neutral observer. Thus, it has exposed the fact that it is completely lacking in a moral compass. Whether or not it is beyond repair, I do not know. But, hats off to Taibbi for calling it out.

The Middle East Realignment

For your and my edification, Jim Hanson has a report on the shift in American policy towards Iran. He explains how the Trump administration, in breaking with its predecessor, has stymied Iran’s hopes for a Shia crescent and has damped down the Iranian love for regional disruption.

Hanson begins by pointing out that the Islamic Republic has always wanted to be a hegemon in the Middle East:

Since the revolution in 1979 and the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the ruling theocracy has long sought the role of hegemon in the Middle East, not openly but clearly. Proxy armies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and in the Palestinian territories have been the main weapon which has allowed Iran a certain level of deniability to this effort. But the sheer amount of resources and energy put into these elements of Iranian influence shows its importance.

One particular thrust is worth a deeper look: Iranian efforts in the last fifteen years to solidify control of the Shi’a majority areas in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The King of Jordan warned in 2004 of an emerging “Shiite crescent” in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, a land bridge from Tehran to the Mediterranean.

Iraq felt a strong increase in Iranian influence after the American drawdown began under President Obama in 2009. Lebanon has always felt the touch of the mullahs through Hezbollah and that power has grown over the past decade as well. Since then the civil war in Syria and relative weakness of Hafez al-Assad’s rule in Syria allowed it to fall into Tehran’s orbit as well.

The mastermind of the Iranian effort was Qassem Soleimani. With his assassination the Iranian project was seriously damaged:

The “Shia Crescent” was dealt a heavy blow with the killing of Qassem Soleimani – the architect of Iran’s supremacist goals as well as the puppet master of its terror proxies.
My colleague Dr. Brad Patty wrote in a piece after Soleimani’s death:

“The ability to smooth out conflicts between these organizations and hold them together is a quality that will be extremely hard to replace. It is a quality that was built upon his personal relationships with all of the leaders of these organizations, not merely upon Iranian cash or power. It was built on his willingness to stand under fire with them, to be there on the front lines with them, as well as his ability to bend their competitor organizations.”

Iran’s efforts all across the region are now in jeopardy and it remains to be seen if they can regain their momentum, especially given the “maximum pressure” sanctions led by the United States.

Of course, the American president who seemed clearly to embrace the Iranian project was Barack Obama:

Much of this malign activity by Iran was supposed to end as a by product of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) commonly known as the Iran deal. 

President Obama believed that he could both control Iran’s efforts to build nuclear weapons and bring it into the community of nations with this effort. He was unrealistically optimistic and flaws in the deal were evident. Far from slowing Iran’s efforts at regional domination, it accelerated them because the regime used the cash the U.S. sent to pay and equip its proxy armies and launched them on ever more ambitious missions.

During the end of Obama’s second term in 2014-15, these combined efforts seemed to be bearing fruit and even saw Iranian-controlled militias partnered with the counter-ISIS operations. Iran’s dream of a land bridge from Tehran to the Mediterranean seemed a distinct possibility until 2016. But Donald Trump was elected and the laissez-faire approach to Iranian malign actions practiced by the Obama administration left when President Obama did.

No wonder our foreign policy elites have been so upset with Trump. 

The Chucklehead Party

Just in case you were worrying yourself about the mind of Hollywood celebritydom, the New York Times has chosen to print the immortal political commentary of one Marianne Williamson. As you know Williamson is something of a spiritual guru, a New Age sorceress for the mini-minds on the Left Coast.

Keep in mind, Williamson was at a time a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States. And Democrats used to be the party that attracted smart people.

Anyway, the cautious Williamson is withholding her full support for a candidate. In the meantime she is supporting Andrew Yang in Iowa, because, why not. In truth, to be fair, she could have chosen a lot worse.

And yet, she compromised her selection by offering up this piece of New Age pabulum:

Andrew’s personality is like a tuning fork realigning us with something we need to retrieve, taking us back to a more innocent time, making us remember to chuckle.

She says nothing about policy and qualifications because she knows nothing about policy or qualifications. In that, she is better than those who pretend. She cares about his personality, which she compares to a tuning fork… one that is realigning us with God knows what.

By the way, this is pagan idolatry. Tuning forks do not align us with anything. Using a spatial image-- of alignment-- ruins the thought. As for why a tuning f0rk would bring us back to a more innocent time, I have not a clue.

More innocent than a string quartet or a symphony orchestra… perhaps. Williamson’s is clearly one-note thinking. One suspects that she wants to return to the state of nature, as many of her democratic compadres want to do. Or else she wants to return to a pre-industrial, pre-monotheistic time when pagan idolatry was all the vogue, and when a high priestess of cant held sway over her subjects. 

As for the word, chuckle, this suggests that she and her fellow co-religionists are simply chuckleheads. Using an outmoded, infantile word makes her sound like she is talking to kindergarten children, or to adults who are still clinging desperate to their inner children.

If you think that Williamson was bad, another New Age princess, by name of Gwyneth Paltrow is selling a new line of candles that smell like her or someone else’s vagina.

For a mere $75.00 you can purchase a candle that smells like a vagina. No kidding.

Perhaps Paltrow is preparing us for a president who has a hair sniffing fetish, but she describes the candle’s scent as:

...funny, gorgeous, sexy, and beautifully unexpected….

In fact, it is a blend of geranium, citrusy bergamot, cedar, Damask rose and ambrette seed. 

Sad to say, it has sold out. The stories do not tell us who is buying them. Frankly, we would rather not know.

But seriously, doesn’t it make you wish for the time when feminists insisted that women be respected for their minds?

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Profiles in Cowardice

How can we fight cancel culture? Douglas Murray presents an idea for a strategy in The Spectator. His thought: when a friend or a colleague is attacked by a mob of modern day Storm Troopers, stand up for him or for her.

The problem is: today’s academics and elite intellectuals are cowards. They do not have the requisite courage to take a stand against Storm Trooper tactics.

Murray offers a wonderful sentence describing the “adult inadequates” who constitute the mob:

And just as some children will always pull the wings off flies and fry small ants with their toy magnifying glasses, so a certain number of adult inadequates will find meaning in their lives by sniffing around the seats in the public square until they find an aroma they can claim offends them.

Being as they are incapable of doing anything else, and are certainly incapable of building anything, they set out to deconstruct what others have built.

Consider the case of Evergreen State College. When the mob came for Brett Weinstein the cowardly college president, George Bridges, simply acquiesced:

When Evergreen State College turned hooligan in 2017, the shock was not that American universities contained students unsuited to any education outside a correctional facility. Nor, frankly, was it a surprise that the college president — George Bridges — was so supine that he ended up begging the student protesters to allow him to go to the bathroom to pee (‘Hold it’ was the advice given by one hoodlum). What was surprising was that even when the professor who had inadvertently caused the breakdown (leftwing, Bernie-supporting, lifetime Democrat Bret Weinstein) was physically threatened, repeatedly defamed and finally chased off campus for good, not one of his longstanding colleagues took any public stance in his defense. Solidarity — perhaps the noblest aspiration of the political left — was totally absent. 

Once a vulnerable victim is chosen, the rest of his crew deserts him:

In case after case it has been the same. The problem is not that the sacrificial victim is selected. The problem is that the people who destroy his reputation are permitted to do so by the complicity, silence and slinking away of everybody else.

It was not just the president of Evergreen State College who was derelict. Not one of Weinstein’s colleagues dared defend him:

When that semiliterate mob claimed Bret Weinstein was a racist, why did his and his wife’s colleagues not stand up and say, ‘Hang on a second. I’ve known these people for decades. You come for the Weinsteins, you come for me.’ Or even just, ‘I happen to know they are not racists, so take that back.’

When Nicholas Christakis was mobbed at Yale University, his colleagues fell silent:

When Nicholas Christakis was surrounded by a screaming mob of Yale students we could have expected that Yale would be so avaricious and weak that it wouldn’t expel each of those students that very evening. But why did Christakis’s colleagues not rise up that night en masse to say, ‘Excuse me, but however much money they are paying, students should not be allowed to threaten, insult and intimidate academics’? Why is it that in so many areas of public life, from the lecture hall to the comedy club, when the mini-mob comes, the adults just vacate the room?

Among the American professoriat true courage is not just in short supply. It has been removed from the moral equation.