May 20, 2020

Posted by orrinj at 5:26 PM


Hamiltonian Means, Jeffersonian Ends (Samuel Hammond, May 20, 2020, American Compass)

My American Compass co-blogger, Michael Lind, likes to portray America's development as a tug of war between the ideals of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson -- nation builders and industrialists on the one hand, and laissez-faire localists on the other. 

noun [ U ]
US  /ˌleɪ.seɪˈfer/ UK  /ˌleɪ.seɪˈfeər/
unwillingness to get involved in or influence other people's activities:

Posted by orrinj at 5:15 PM


GOP House candidate demeans Muslims and compares Dreamers to pedophiles (ALLY MUTNICK, 05/20/2020, Politico)

Republican congressional candidate Ted Howze said earlier this month he had nothing to do with social media posts from his personal accounts that demeaned Muslims, accused prominent Democrats of murder and mocked a survivor of the Parkland school shooting. [...]

At least a dozen additional posts from Howze's account over a two-year period espouse conspiracy theories, suggest Hillary Clinton and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) are responsible for murder, or denigrate Dreamers, Islam and the Black Lives Matter movement. As of Tuesday afternoon, they were accessible on his personal Facebook account.

Howze, his party's nominee in a competitive central California district, is endorsed by the National Republican Congressional Committee and House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy.

Why do those who oppose Donald always bring up race?  It's a mystery...

Posted by orrinj at 5:11 PM


Warner asks intel chief to fork over underlying 'unmasking' intel on Michael Flynn (NATASHA BERTRAND, 05/20/2020, Politico)

[T]he declassified list, which was provided by the National Security Agency, appears to have nothing to do with the Flynn-Kislyak calls, which were discovered by the FBI. According to the Washington Post, Flynn's name was not masked -- or "minimized," in FBI parlance -- in those records.

National security experts and former officials have also noted that the "unmaskers" wouldn't have known who they were trying to get more information about--and that the frequency with which Flynn's name showed up in intercepted calls with foreign officials before entering the administration, and the corresponding swell of unmasking requests, is evidence only that the Obama administration was alarmed by the content of the conversations and sought to find out more.

Posted by orrinj at 4:37 PM


Posted by orrinj at 1:32 PM



At least 85 percent of Latinos believe all immigrants should be covered by any new stimulus package, including undocumented immigrants who pay taxes and U.S. citizen children who have undocumented parents, a new poll showed.

The SOMOS US, UnidosUS and MoveOn poll conducted by Latino Decisions also found that 88 percent of Latinos believe a second stimulus check should be authorized by Congress in coming weeks. About 31 percent of U.S. born Hispanics and 45 percent of immigrants saying they did not receive the first stimulus check.

Posted by orrinj at 1:27 PM



After mounting frustration, Moscow finally seems to be growing weary of its Syrian burden. Last month a prominent retired Russian diplomat wrote on an influential website that Syria was a "humanitarian disaster." A "new military reality cannot be sustained without economic reconstruction and development of a political system that will truly rest on an inclusive approach and international consent."

The Kremlin may be running out of patience with Assad, but is unlikely to abandon the regime. Syria is Russia's only major Mideast ally. Russia's outsized role there is key to its wider great power aims.

Moscow has shown some interest in a political solution. In 2016, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State John Kerry announced several ceasefires, but they were violated and fell apart. Lavrov said Syria was a "quagmire" and the "time is ripe for compromise."

It required a profound misunderstanding of both Syria and Russia to think this intervention was anything but disastrous for Vlad. 

Posted by orrinj at 1:23 PM


Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Who Was Jesus of Nazareth? (CHILTON WILLIAMSON, JR., 5/20/20, The Crisis)

It is reasonable to think that on so essential a matter as religion human neutrality is a psychological impossibility, as it is equally reasonable believe that no human being is really asexual. In fact, experience and evidence abound to support the conclusion that no writer, no thinker--in fact, no person alive--is wholly free of bias on any subject of importance, or even of no importance at all. Persons in search of the historical Jesus err solely in supposing that only those who believe that He was who He claimed to be and worship Him as such are incapable of intellectual honesty, and that consequently whatever they have said and written for two thousand years about Him is suspect from the outset. Their rule of thumb is that Christians should never be allowed the benefit of the doubt on the matter, in short, that they should be presumed to be liars until they have proven themselves to be otherwise.

Scholars and others laboring in the vineyard of Historical Jesus Studies will be satisfied, one way or another, only when they think they have discovered incontrovertible historical proof that Christ was not who He said He was--that He was not the Divine Son of the Living God. Since they are engaged in the practice of historical research and deduction, they must be assumed to be looking for the kind of evidence that professional historians look to uncover and interpret: spoken and written testimony by eye-witnesses; accounts at secondhand and reliable contemporary hearsay; documents, including official reports, memoranda, and letters; historical accounts by contemporaries; the results of archival research by later historians belonging to subsequent historical periods; artifacts exhumed by archaeological investigations; and so forth.

In the case of Jesus of Nazareth, we begin with four separate accounts written by four men whom we believe to have been His disciples, having accompanied Him for three years and witnessed His arrest, trial, execution, Resurrection from the dead, and ascent into Heaven. These accounts, as I say, are scrupulously detailed though not documented, and they amplify rather than contradict each other. They are obviously the work of literate and highly intelligent men, owing to hitherto undemonstrated native talent or else to divine inspiration. Save for one thing--the supernatural element that is inseparable from the beginning of the story to its finish--the Gospels would have been accepted as histories, good or bad, shortly after they began to circulate among the public. Were the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John the Gospels According to Thomas Jefferson, few people over the last two millennia would have tried to discredit them, or had reason to believe.

Materialists, for whom history is a series of natural events unfolding within the world of time and space, naturally resist the intrusion of the supernatural world upon it. Were they open to doing so, they would recognize the impossibility of searching for natural explanations in supernatural events. It is this supernatural breakthrough that chiefly offends the non-Christian mind. Mohammed claimed to be a messenger of God and God's Prophet. He did not, however, claim to be divine himself. Consequently, no search has been made by Kafiri writers for the "historical Mohammed," though no secularist believes that the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mohammed in his cave and ordered him, "Recite!" For him, Islam is another elaborate system of superstitious belief cherished by ignorant and gullible people, but it is only that. Only two decades after the attacks of September 2001, he does not view it as a dangerous and threatening religion--unlike Christianity, its sinister rival--and self-righteously rebukes anyone who does.

Actually, the case for the historical Muhammad is pretty weak and much written about. If anything, early Islam appears to have just been a run-of-the-mill Christian heresy.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Is Holocaust Denial Conservative Now?Trump's no-enemies-to-the-right mentality has made it impossible for the right to police itself. (MONA CHAREN  MAY 20, 2020, The Bulwark)

The woman Trump thanked is a columnist and social media entrepreneur who was a respected member of the conservative commentariat - emphasis on the past tense. Her books were published by Regnery, she was a featured speaker for the Young America's Foundation and at CPAC, she was a regular on Fox & Friends - the full fandango. In the past two years though, she has been pretty well shunned by respectable conservative outlets, or what passes for such nowadays. She is no longer welcome at CPAC. The Young America's Foundation has dropped her, and the Daily Wire and National Review discontinued her syndicated column.

The occasion for the deplatforming was Malkin's swan dive into the right-wing fever swamps. Who can say whether the rise of Trump emboldened her to consort with racists and Holocaust deniers? Something like those tendencies were in evidence long ago. In 2004, she published a book titled In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and The War on Terror.  That was a tell, but the real nutbaggery didn't set in until about 2017, when she endorsedalt-right candidate Paul Nehlen ("Paul Nehlen slams . . . corporate open-borders elites!"), and contributed to the VDARE website which frequently hosts white nationalists, racists, and anti-Semites.

Her most grotesque relationship though, and the one that got her booted from the Young America's Foundation, was with a group calling themselves "groypers," led by a 22-year-old YouTube host named Nick Fuentes. To get a sense of just how loathsome this figure is, have a look at this video in which he wonders, grinning, about whether 6 million "cookies" could really be baked in ovens and how the "math doesn't add up."

Holocaust jokes. How droll.

Fuentes, you will not be shocked to learn, is one of the "very fine people" who marched with neo-Nazis at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. Remember Pepe the Frog? He's their mascot. He described the mass murder in an El Paso Walmart as an "act of desperation." Turning Point USA is too tame for his tastes, and his group has lately been heckling speakers like Ben Shapiro, Dan Crenshaw, and even Donald Trump, Jr.

In other words, if anything is beyond the pale for a civilized country, the "groypers" are it. Yet Michelle Malkin has declared herself the "mother of groypers" and called them "good kids." When she was rebuked by mainstream conservatives, she declared her allegiances proudly:

They want me to disavow Nick Fuentes and VDARE and Peter Brimelow and Faith Goldy and Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys and Steve King and Laura Loomer and on and on. They want to do to me what they've done to brilliant academics who've told the truth -- Amy Wax at the University of Pennsylvania and Darren Beattie and Jason Richwine and Steve Sailer.

"They" did want that, or at least some mainstream conservatives were willing to draw a line (the grosser MAGA-types like Mike Cernovich and Jim Hoft were not). But now Trump has vitiated that work by praising Malkin.

Scratch a Trumpbot....

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Susan Rice Email Debunks the "Obamagate" Conspiracy Theory: But of course Trump World is pretending otherwise. (TIM MILLER  MAY 20, 2020, The Bulwark)

Well, I guess we can close the file on that one.

Yesterday the Keystone Spooks leading the Trump intelligence regime fully declassified the "mysterious" Susan Rice email that was at the heart of their absurd conspiracy to charge former president Obama and Vice President Biden with espionage. The email had been written by Rice to herself to memorialize a meeting with President Obama's national security team about Gen. Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. [...]

So . . . the note that had been used to advance the idea that Obama was hiding info from--and even spying on!--Flynn has a line in it that indicates specifically that the president did not want to change how his administration shared classified information with the incoming administration unless something were to change, at which point he would want another briefing. And there is no evidence that another such briefing took place.

In summary here is what we know about Obama's actions:

He had a meeting with his intelligence team where he was briefed about Gen. Flynn's back-channel conversations with a country that had committed an attack on our elections during his watch.

At the meeting he is told that some of Flynn's conversations with Russia are unusual, but none of them include the sharing of any classified intelligence.

Obama says that the investigation should be done "by the book" unless new information comes to light at which point he should be briefed again.

President Obama privately warns President-elect Trump about Flynn in one of their only conversations.

What we have here my friends is By-The-Book-Gate!

There are still a couple pieces of intelligence that it would be particularly useful to release--although everything really out to be: (1) transcripts of all the discussions between the Russians and Team Trump; and, (2) the identity of all the individuals Donald has unmasked.  Because, whereas no one questions whether the unmaskings in the prior administration were proper, the 75% increase under Donald and the volume of his personal corruption, and of those serving him,  is troublesome.