Friday, February 15, 2019

The Silent Scream and the Lies of Roe v Wade

By Alicia Colon
February 15, 2019

On my first bus trip to the Right to Life March in DC, the driver put in the tape of the infamous film, The Silent Scream, narrated by Dr. Bernard Nathanson. Nathanson was one of the original co-founders of NARAL, (the first abortion advocate group), whose mind was changed about the issue after watching an ultrasound showing the struggle of a fetus fighting for its life.  What I found incredible about the film was a display of the many deadly instruments depicted that would be inserted into the woman’s body.

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Ironically, laws here in New York forbade parents from having their children’s ears pierced without parental permission, but Planned Parenthood needed no such admonition about allowing those metal instruments to be inserted into minors requesting termination of inconvenient pregnancies.

According to a repentant Nathanson, Roe v. Wade was decided in the SCOTUS through a series of lies and deceitful testimony. Jane Roe, aka Norma McCorvey, admitted she lied to her attorneys about being gang-raped. One of her lawyers had recently had an abortion in Mexico but told McCorvey she did not know where she could obtain one. She also lied to the court that Ms. McCorvey had sought out many places to have it performed.  Bernard Nathanson admitted lying about the number of back ally abortion deaths, and said the figure of 5,000-10, 000 was completely fabricated. According to health records of 1972 over 130,000 women attempted self abortions; 39 died.

There were more lies to come from abortion advocates in the other case before the SCOTUS, Doe v. Bolton. This case extended the right to abortion from the first trimester to the point of delivery. According to Sandra Cano, “Doe,” she didn’t want an abortion at all. She had come to see her lawyer about a divorce. She never had an abortion nor sought one. Her ACLU lawyer saw an opportunity to advance the cause of abortion so, without telling her client, Ms. Cano, she proceeded to push this case all the way to the Supreme Court. Sandra Cano never knew this was even happening. The case came up with no evidence — unheard of at the Supreme Court. There was presented an affidavit that said that Sandra Cano asserted that she would “go crazy” if she had to have another baby.

The truth is that Sandra was pregnant and wanted her baby. She had already had two babies who were at that time in state care and she wanted them back. She loved babies and wanted to have them. Her lawyer lied and said that Sandra wanted to be sterilized. More lies. Both McCorvey and Cano subsequently became active pro-life spokespersons. They attempted to set the record straight and to dispel the lies surrounding Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. Lies, all lies and I wonder if these lawyers should have been disbarred for lying to their clients.
 In her second book, Won By Love, Norma McCorvey wrote about why she changed her stance on abortion:
“I was sitting in O.R.'s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. 'Norma', I said to myself, 'They're right'. I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that's a baby! It's as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth—that's a baby!
I felt crushed under the truth of this realization. I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn't about 'products of conception'. It wasn't about 'missed periods'. It was about children being killed in their mother's wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion—at any point—was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear.
Dr Nathanson, who had presided over 60,000 abortions as an OB/GYN and performed  over 5,000 himself including his own child by a former girlfriend, became increasing uneasy when he witnessed a live abortion on the newly developed ultrasound. It reminded me of an article I read in Esquire magazine.  It was a page long and illustrated with a picture of what appeared to be a procedure room. It was written by a doctor passing by this room where an abortion was taking place. Another doctor had inserted a saline solution into the womb and the passing doctor viewed with interest the needle protruding from the patient. He watched as the needle started moving back and forth and then watched it move violently as the fetus fought for its life as the killing solution filled the womb. The article was written not long after the Roe v. Wade decision, and the author of the article did not weigh in on the issue in depth other than to suggest that he was disturbed by the fetus's fight for life.

Up until this time, abortionists could argue that the fetus was just a clot of bloody cells, but the new technology showed the fetus as alive, breathing with a heartbeat and feeling pain. Besides Nathanson, McCorvey and Cano, many Planned Parenthood workers have become converts to the respect life movement. The public ignorance about what actually goes on in abortion clinics is coming to an end for several reasons.
  • Underground videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of aborted fetal parts has been confirmed by testimony of an ex procurement technician for biotech startup Stem Express.
  •  Last year’s film, Gosnell: the trial of America’s biggest serial killer, largely suppressed in theatrical distribution by the left, is now on DVD and being widely distributed, is an eye-opener to the truth about the filthy and dangerous clinics available to minority women.
  • The admission by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam that born alive aborted babies could be killed if parents and physician decided on this choice, shocked people more than the blackface picture in his yearbook.
  •  Then, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gleefully signing an abortion bill euphemistically called the Reproductive Health Act that allows abortion till birth, while still claiming his values are part of his Catholic faith since he was an altar boy, brought out calls for his excommunication.
I doubt that the Governor cares about being ostracized from a church he doesn’t even attend, but what might shake him up is when Democrat Catholics change their political registration to Independent or Republican. Perhaps it’s time that the clergy start preaching about how evil it is to kill babies just because they are inconvenient. Perhaps it’s time for Democrat voters to admit the party is not what it was before. Their party believes in infanticide and open borders that threaten our security.

It’s also time for no more lies about the evil of abortion still paid for by taxpayers.

No mas.

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Why Are These Professional War Peddlers Still Around?

Pundits like Max Boot and Bill Kristol got everything after 9/11 wrong but are still considered "experts."

February 15, 2019

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One thing that every late-stage ruling class has in common is a high tolerance for mediocrity. Standards decline, the edges fray, but nobody in charge seems to notice. They’re happy in their sinecures and getting richer. In a culture like this, there’s no penalty for being wrong. The talentless prosper, rising inexorably toward positions of greater power, and breaking things along the way. It happened to the Ottomans. Max Boot is living proof that it’s happening in America.
Boot is a professional foreign policy expert, a job category that doesn’t exist outside of a select number of cities. Boot has degrees from Berkeley and Yale, and is a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has written a number of books and countless newspaper columns on foreign affairs and military history. The International Institute for Strategic Studies, an influential British think tank, describes Boot as one of the “world’s leading authorities on armed conflict.”
None of this, it turns out, means anything. The professional requirements for being one of the world’s Leading Authorities on Armed Conflict do not include relevant experience with armed conflict. Leading authorities on the subject don’t need a track record of wise assessments or accurate predictions. All that’s required are the circular recommendations of fellow credential holders. If other Leading Authorities on Armed Conflict induct you into their ranks, you’re in. That’s good news for Max Boot.
Boot first became famous in the weeks after 9/11 for outlining a response that the Bush administration seemed to read like a script, virtually word for word. While others were debating whether Kandahar or Kabul ought to get the first round of American bombs, Boot was thinking big. In October 2001, he published a piece in The Weekly Standard titled “The Case for American Empire.”
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“The September 11 attack was a result of insufficient American involvement and ambition,” Boot wrote. “The solution is to be more expansive in our goals and more assertive in their implementation.” In order to prevent more terror attacks in American cities, Boot called for a series of U.S.-led revolutions around the world, beginning in Afghanistan and moving swiftly to Iraq.
“Once we have deposed Saddam, we can impose an American-led, international regency in Baghdad, to go along with the one in Kabul,” Boot wrote. “To turn Iraq into a beacon of hope for the oppressed peoples of the Middle East: Now that would be a historic war aim. Is this an ambitious agenda? Without a doubt. Does America have the resources to carry it out? Also without a doubt.”
In retrospect, Boot’s words are painful to read, like love letters from a marriage that ended in divorce. Iraq remains a smoldering mess. The Afghan war is still in progress close to 20 years in. For perspective, Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of France, crowned himself emperor, defeated four European coalitions against him, invaded Russia, lost, was defeated and exiled, returned, and was defeated and exiled a second time, all in less time than the United States has spent trying to turn Afghanistan into a stable country.
Things haven’t gone as planned. What’s remarkable is that despite all the failure and waste and deflated expectations, defeats that have stirred self-doubt in the heartiest of men, Boot has remained utterly convinced of the virtue of his original predictions. Certainty is a prerequisite for Leading Authorities on Armed Conflict.
In the spring of 2003, with the war in Iraq under way, Boot began to consider new countries to invade. He quickly identified Syria and Iran as plausible targets, the latter because it was “less than two years” from building a nuclear bomb. North Korea made Boot’s list as well. Then Boot became more ambitious. Saudi Arabia could use a democracy, he decided.
“If the U.S. armed forces made such short work of a hardened goon like Saddam Hussein, imagine what they could do to the soft and sybaritic Saudi royal family,” Boot wrote.
Five years later, in a piece for The Wall Street Journal, Boot advocated for the military occupation of Pakistan and Somalia. The only potential problem, he predicted, was unreasonable public opposition to new wars.
“Ragtag guerrillas have proven dismayingly successful in driving out or neutering international peacekeeping forces,” he wrote. “Think of American and French troops blown up in Beirut in 1983, or the ‘Black Hawk Down’ incident in Somalia in 1993. Too often, when outside states do agree to send troops, they are so fearful of casualties that they impose rules of engagement that preclude meaningful action.”
In other words, the tragedy of foreign wars isn’t that Americans die, but that too few Americans are willing to die. To solve this problem, Boot recommended recruiting foreign mercenaries. “The military would do well today to open its ranks not only to legal immigrants but also to illegal ones,” he wrote in the Los Angeles Times. When foreigners get killed fighting for America, he noted, there’s less political backlash at home.
American forces, documented or not, never occupied Pakistan, but by 2011 Boot had another war in mind. “Qaddafi Must Go,” Boot declared in The Weekly Standard. In Boot’s telling, the Libyan dictator had become a threat to the American homeland. “The only way this crisis will end—the only way we and our allies can achieve our objectives in Libya—is to remove Qaddafi from power. Containment won’t suffice.”
In the end, Gaddafi was removed from power, with ugly and long-lasting consequences. Boot was on to the next invasion. By late 2012, he was once again promoting attacks on Syria and Iran, as he had nine years before. In a piece for The New York Times, Boot laid out “Five Reasons to Intervene in Syria Now.”
Overthrowing the Assad regime, Boot predicted, would “diminish Iran’s influence” in the region, influence that had grown dramatically since the Bush administration took Boot’s advice and overthrew Saddam Hussein, Iran’s most powerful counterbalance. To doubters concerned about a complex new war, Boot promised the Syria intervention could be conducted “with little risk.”
Days later, Boot wrote a separate piece for Commentary magazine calling for American bombing of Iran. It was a busy week, even by the standards of a Leading Authority on Armed Conflict. Boot conceded that “it remains a matter of speculation what Iran would do in the wake of such strikes.” He didn’t seem worried.
Listed in one place, Boot’s many calls for U.S.-led war around the world come off as a parody of mindless warlike noises, something you might write if you got mad at a country while drunk. (“I’ll invade you!!!”) Republicans in Washington didn’t find any of it amusing. They were impressed. Boot became a top foreign policy adviser to John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008, to Mitt Romney in 2012, and to Marco Rubio in 2016.
Everything changed when Trump won the Republican nomination. Trump had never heard of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He had no idea Max Boot was a Leading Authority on Armed Conflict. Trump was running against more armed conflicts. He had no interest in invading Pakistan. Boot hated him.
As Trump found himself accused of improper ties to Vladimir Putin, Boot agitated for more aggressive confrontation with Russia. Boot demanded larger weapons shipments to Ukraine. He called for effectively expelling Russia from the global financial system, a move that might be construed as an act of war against a nuclear-armed power. The stakes were high, but with signature aplomb Boot assured readers it was “hard to imagine” the Russian government would react badly to the provocation. Those who disagreed Boot dismissed as “cheerleaders” for Putin and the mullahs in Iran.
Boot’s stock in the Washington foreign policy establishment rose. In 2018, he was hired by The Washington Post as a columnist. The paper’s announcement cited Boot’s “expertise on armed conflict.”
It is possible to isolate the precise moment that Trump permanently alienated the Republican establishment in Washington: February 13, 2016. There was a GOP primary debate that night in Greenville, South Carolina, so every Republican in Washington was watching. Seemingly out of nowhere, Trump articulated something that no party leader had ever said out loud. “We should never have been in Iraq,” Trump announced, his voice rising. “We have destabilized the Middle East.”
Many in the crowd booed, but Trump kept going: “They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none. And they knew there were none.”
Pandemonium seemed to erupt in the hall, and on television. Shocked political analysts declared that the Trump presidential effort had just euthanized itself. Republican voters, they said with certainty, would never accept attacks on policies their party had espoused and carried out.
Republican voters had a different reaction. They understood that adults sometimes change their minds based on evidence. They themselves had come to understand that the Iraq war was a mistake. They appreciated hearing something verboten but true.
Rival Republicans denounced Trump as an apostate. Voters considered him brave.
Trump won the South Carolina primary, and shortly after that, the Republican nomination.
Republicans in Washington never recovered. When Trump attacked the Iraq War and questioned the integrity of the people who planned and promoted it, he was attacking them. They hated him for that.
Some of them became so angry, it distorted their judgment and character.
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Bill Kristol is probably the most influential Republican strategist of the post-Reagan era. Born in 1954, Kristol was the second child of the writer Irving Kristol, one of the founders of neoconservatism.
The neoconservatism of Irving Kristol and his friends was jarring to the ossified liberal establishment of the time, but in retrospect it was basically a centrist philosophy: pragmatic, tolerant of a limited welfare state, not rigidly ideological. By the time Bill Kristol got done with it 40 years later, neoconservatism was something else entirely.
Almost from the moment Operation Desert Storm concluded in 1991, Kristol began pushing for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. In 1997, The Weekly Standard ran a cover story titled “Saddam Must Go.” If the United States didn’t launch a ground invasion of Iraq, the lead editorial warned, the world should “get ready for the day when Saddam has biological and chemical weapons at the tips of missiles aimed at Israel and at American forces in the Gulf.”
After the September 11 attacks, Kristol found a new opening to start a war with Iraq. In November 2001, he and Robert Kagan wrote a piece in The Weekly Standard alleging that Saddam Hussein hosted a training camp for Al Qaeda fighters where terrorists had trained to hijack planes. They suggested that Mohammad Atta, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was actively collaborating with Saddam’s intelligence services. On the basis of no evidence, they accused Iraq of fomenting the anthrax attacks on American politicians and news outlets.
Under ordinary circumstances, Bill Kristol would be famous for being wrong. Kristol still goes on television regularly, but it’s not to apologize for the many demonstrably untrue things he’s said about the Middle East, or even to talk about foreign policy. Instead, Kristol goes on TV to attack Donald Trump.
Trump’s election seemed to undo Bill Kristol entirely. He lost his job at The Weekly Standard after more than 20 years, forced out by owners who were panicked about declining readership. He seemed to spend most of his time on Twitter ranting about Trump.
Before long he was ranting about the people who elected Trump. At an American Enterprise Institute panel event in February 2017, Kristol made the case for why immigrants are more impressive than native-born Americans. “Basically if you are in free society, a capitalist society, after two, three, four generations of hard work, everyone becomes kind of decadent, lazy, spoiled, whatever.” Most Americans, Kristol said, “grew up as spoiled kids and so forth.”
In February 2018, Kristol tweeted that he would “take in a heartbeat a group of newly naturalized American citizens over the spoiled native-born know-nothings” who supported Trump.
By the spring of 2018, Kristol was considering a run for president himself. He was still making the case for the invasion of Iraq, as well as pushing for a new war, this time in Syria, and maybe in Lebanon and Iran, too. Like most people in Washington, he’d learned nothing at all.  
Tucker Carlson is the host of Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Tonight and author of Ship of Fools: How A Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution (Simon & Schuster). This excerpt is taken from that book.

The Russia Collusion Thud Heard 'Round the World

February 14, 2019

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after briefing members of the U.S. Senate on his investigation of potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, June 21, 2017. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

On Tuesday’s show this week, Fox News host Tucker Carlson revealed that he had tried to take the Russian “collusion” accusations and the launch of subsequent investigations seriously for about three months. It is Carlson’s job as a journalist to keep an open mind for as long as possible when such a serious allegation has been made. He apparently kept that open mind for three months, until the ridiculousness of it all could not be ignored.

A majority of the left, the Democrats, and their “mainstream” media arm have pounded the spurious collusion narrative for over two years. How much of that narrative they actually believe to be true is an open question that will someday hopefully be answered.

And then there was that vast swath of the American public that never, not for a moment, believed the charges. For them, the very idea that Donald Trump strategized with Russian apparatchiks, operatives, spies, whatever, was always patently ridiculous. For them, the investigations, particularly Mueller's, which gives new and ironic currency to the phrase “trumped up,” was always what President Trump said it was, a “witch hunt.”

Now, the release of the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee’s report has borne out what those millions in the nation’s electorate always believed: there was no coordinated effort between Trump and the Russians to win in 2016.

But the damage has already been done by our long (and unfortunately still ongoing) national collusion nightmare. Especially for younger members of the Trump brigade, or older members who may not have been tuned in to the scorched-earth tactics customarily deployed over the political landscape. Citizens who embraced Trump’s America first ideology and strategy with a degree of idealism and political naiveté. These citizens knew something was wrong in Washington, and across the globe actually, but either hadn’t been around or been engaged enough to track the Watergate scandal, or Ken Starr’s Clinton probe. They might have only had a fleeting sense of how far the two major parties will go to upend the other’s standard bearer.

They know now, and it has been a bruising indoctrination. And this time the damage is worse.
There was never any collusion. The entire debacle has been a Deep State plot to depose a president. The Deep State-promulgated disillusionment about our country’s true power nexus and electoral process has done much to erode the faith of a generation not yet baptized in the fires of partisan destruction.

There are heroes, as it looks as though Robert Mueller too may come up with nada on a collusion fraud that has been perpetrated on the people.

California Congressman Devin Nunes has battled back with legal countermeasures related to congressional oversight from the very beginning. America’s Mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, though at times muddling the defense narrative on his cable news appearances, never wavered in his conviction that the entire trope was a lie. In his cable appearances, Trump legal adviser Joe diGenova could barely contain his scorn for the debacle that was taking place. Even liberal Alan Dershowitz has called out the unprecedented prevarication used to float what credible analysts have labeled an “attempted coup.”

On the conservative media push-back front, acknowledgement must go to Sean Hannity, who has indefatigably questioned the collusion accusations and given a platform on his show to many of the most effective truth detectors: author and former Fox host Gregg Jarrett, investigative journalist and Fox News contributor Sarah Carter, and The Hill’s John Solomon, to name but a few.

The villains in this ignominious episode are too numerous to mention, but certain names rattle off: Comey, Brennan, Clapper et al. harped incessantly with assertions and implications that are in grave danger of being exposed as outright lies. The mincing visage of Peter Strzok, the harridan Nellie Orr and the rest, now forever associated with nefarious surreptitiousness.

Regarding the preponderantly leftist media, the Lemons, the Maddows, commentators like Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough; the reality of their unmitigated collusion with the Democratic Party is no longer even subject to debate. Their entire presentation on the alleged Russian connection over the last few years can be summed up in the mantric phrase: “It’s coming.” As a backdrop to their bias, they manufactured an estimated 93 percent negative coverage of the president to augment that presentation.

The Destroy Trump comedians were unrelenting in their collusion “humor.” Late Night’s Stephen Colbert is now forever enshrined in the “cock-holster” position he distastefully ascribed to the commander-in-chief. Bill’s Maher’s comedic obsession with the dossier’s salacious and unverified “golden shower” allegation has put the HBO host himself at ground zero.

It is not “coming,” and the void of substance created by the Senate Intel report is dropping with a thud heard 'round the world.

The dossier and FISA applications were always rubbish They blatantly tried to take President Trump out, and if the designs of this tragic episode’s ultimate elected villain, California Congressman Adam Schiff, gain traction, they will continue to do so.

But the investigatory paradigm has shifted.  And the damage done to the body politic, not to mention the reputations and credibility of a leftist media formerly tarred with bias, and now feathered as rank partisan propagandists, will be lasting.

On a personal note, I can vouch that the Russian collusion madness trickled down into my own neighborhood, a busy intersection at which an unhinged leftist periodically stationed himself and danced around holding a sign depicting a shirtless Vladimir Putin and the words, “Impeach!” It was all I could do not to roll down my window and suggest that he “get help,” but I held fire. The man was obviously deranged.

A great number of citizens across the country believe, and have always believed, that the idea that Donald Trump worked with Russians in a coordinated attempt to win the presidency is insane.

A major investigation has just wrapped, but it is unlikely that any lasting cease fire has been achieved.

As John Wayne used to say, in a simpler time in America, “Mount up!”

White Privilege Doesn’t Mean Anything—And That’s the Point

February 12, 2019
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If you’re intimidated by a racially loaded term such as “white privilege,” as so many conservative leaders and commentators seem to be, then you don’t belong in a position of power. A game is being played on you, and you don’t understand the rules.
Here’s how it works.
Take a look at this video clip from last year’s Munk Debate over political correctness. In it, the Canadian clinical psychiatrist Jordan Peterson asks his adversaries how he is supposed to understand “white privilege.”
Peterson accepts for the sake of discussion the premise of white privilege—he otherwise rejects it outright—and poses a practical question. How much is his white privilege responsible for his own success? Peterson wonders. Five percent? 25 percent? And what is he supposed to do about it at this point?
Michael Eric Dyson, professor and media figure, responds by judging Peterson’s question “dismissive, pseudo-scientific, non-empirical.” Which is a lie, of course. Peterson has done the opposite, wanting some clarity about the empirical specifics of his white benefits. Dyson confesses as much in the next sentence, which reveals well how the white-privilege allegation works. White privilege “doesn’t act according to quantifiable segments,” Dyson says. Rather, white privilege is a moral command for “a society to grapple with the ideals of freedom, justice, and equality.”
Got that? White privilege doesn’t describe a reality. It tells people how to behave.
Let’s be more specific. It tells white people how to behave, their first obligation being to acknowledge their own responsibility for injustice and inequality. When someone talks about white privilege, he doesn’t burden blacks, Hispanics, or Asians with changing their ways. Only whites are affected. The moment someone utters “white privilege,” it sets all the white people in the room on the defensive. Only when whites join in the attribution of white privilege, especially to themselves in a kind of show-trial or struggle-session confession, do they regain some integrity.
That’s the real meaning of “white privilege”—not to signify a social and historical condition, but to control a situation. You can see that in Dyson’s refusal to answer Peterson’s request for specifics. If Dyson said something like, “You owe 20 percent of your wealth to white privilege, and you should donate it to black churches, black colleges, and the NAACP,” Peterson would be able to engage the numbers and question the advice. He would have a ground on which to argue a case. He would no longer be on the defensive. Better for Dyson and other white-privilege talkers to remain vague and tell whites that they must “grapple” with freedom and inequality—which is another fuzzy injunction that leaves even agreeable whites guessing, “Uh, what does that mean?”
It is essential that conservatives, especially Republican politicians, understand “white privilege” in just this way—as a power move, not a sincere idea. It is not designed to communicate facts. It means to stymie and stigmatize opposition.
There’s a reason, too, that liberals have chosen this particular rhetorical weapon. It doesn’t just paralyze conservatives with a guilt trip. It steers the subject away from a condition embarrassing to liberals.
Seventy years ago, liberalism adopted the plight of African Americans as a cardinal moral mission. That’s why they so often refer to fresh controversies as “the Civil Rights issue of our time.” Back then, African-American uplift, especially in education, became a special goal that would confirm the truth and goodness of liberal philosophy and politics. And through the 1970s and ‘80s, it seemed to work as the education achievement gap closed.
But over the past two decades, the trend has stalled. On the National Assessment of Education Progress math exam, the gap for white and black 17-year-olds in 1973 was 40 points. (See Figure 4 here.) By 1992, the gap had shrunk to 26 points, a clear sign of success. Since then, however, the gap has remained at around 26 points, in spite of Goals 2000, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, affirmative action, and other programs designed to remedy the inequity.
This is painful for liberals. They don’t know what to do about it. More money for public schools, more “cultural relevance” in the curriculum, fewer racial disparities in school punishment, no more school-to-prison pipeline . . . the liberal solutions keep coming, but nobody puts much faith in them.
Conservatives have a ready answer to the “why” question: No matter how much you improve schooling, they say, children who grow up in a single-parent household generally fare less well than do children in two-parent households. Educational achievement rises for children living in a stable traditional family.
But that is not the situation for most African-American kids. In 1965, when Daniel Patrick Moynihan completed his report on the black family, the rate of illegitimacy was 25 percent, which he termed a “crisis.” Today, the rate of African-American children raised in single-parent households stands at 66 percent. This family breakdown, more than any other factor among African Americans, has hampered educational progress. It has stopped liberal hopes cold.
Liberals can’t talk about the family, however. Feminism and LGBT voices won’t let them. It might sound like blaming-the-victim or downgrading single mothers or pushing “heteronormativity.” Still, they can’t ignore the educational stall, so liberals desperately need another explanation for the persistence of the achievement gap.
“White privilege” does the job well (as does “systemic racism,” another murky term). It retains the racism theme, which still frightens conservatives who worry about their “respectability.” At the same time, it is nebulous and insinuating enough to keep the targets of it off-balance.
It’s time to stop playing along. The next time conservatives face the white privilege point, they should not give it one iota of credence. Instead, they should say, “Let’s talk about something real, like the number of African-American boys who have never lived with their fathers. What happens to them, Mr. Caring Liberal?”
Mark Bauerlein is a senior editor at First Things and professor of English at Emory University, where he has taught since earning his Ph.D. in English at UCLA in 1989. For two years (2003-2005) he served as director of the Office of Research and Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. His books include Literary Criticism: An AutopsyThe Pragmatic Mind: Explorations in the Psychology of Belief, and The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future. His essays have appeared in PMLAPartisan ReviewWilson QuarterlyCommentary, and New Criterion, and his commentaries and reviews in the Wall Street JournalWashington PostBoston GlobeThe GuardianChronicle of Higher Education, and other national periodicals.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Leftism Is Like the Cult of Cthulhu

February 13, 2019
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The most merciful thing in the world, I think,” wrote the American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft in the opening to The Call of Cthulhu, “is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.” In the Lovecraftian mythos, this refers to the occult world of the Great Old Ones, eldritch gods from outer space, as old as time itself who lie beyond our ken, dead but still dreaming. If we could only grasp their existence and see how fragile our imaginary world really is, we would go mad. Thus, we go on believing in an illusion and subconsciously hope Cthulhu and Azathoth never show us their true faces.
The secret to being a successful leftist is very similar. Like Lovecraft’s narrator, they are unable—certainly unwilling—to correlate the contents of the minds; thus, they are able to hold two or more antithetical bits of information in their minds and discount or ignore any bit of evidence that does not conform to their theoretical worldview. In Through the Looking-Glass, the White Queen tells Alice that she can believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast. Leftists have her beat many times over.
A prime example came this past week, when the Democrats, who now appear to be the personal party of a small child from the Bronx named after a city in Egypt, rolled out their “Green New Deal”—which implicitly called for, among other inanities, high-speed trains to Europe and the reconstruction of every building in America—at the same time that the newly installed governor of California, Gavin Newsom, was aborting his predecessor Jerry Brown’s high-speed train to nowhere, a $77-billion exercise in fruitlessness that marks, to date at least, the high-water mark of liberalism’s inability to correlate any of the contents of its largely empty heads.
Anyone, including this semi-native Californian, could see there was no market for a bullet train from Bakersfield to Fresno to Merced to Erewhon, especially one that had already busted its budget many times over—a great gobbling maw worthy of Cthulhu himself that, in true pagan god fashion, would and could never be satisfied no matter what or whom was sacrificed to it. But liberal gods are insatiable; too much is never enough for them. And so “progressives” keep on feeding the beast, in the belief that it will eat them last.
In the meantime, they feel free to indulge their wildest fantasies and darkest desires. Infanticide—one of the surest signs of a pagan culture—came out of the closet in New York (where it is now the law of the former Empire State) and in Virginia, where it was turned back legislatively but no doubt will return with its governor’s blessing, if he lasts that long. The fact that Cardinal Timothy Dolan has not summarily excommunicated the notional Catholic, Governor Andrew Cuomo, speaks volumes about the impotence of the modern Catholic Church.
In the Senate, the Spartacan walk-on also known as Cory Booker—whose veganism is possibly a contributing factor to his lack of mental acuity—bravely launched an attack on meat and cheese, neither of which he eats. As is typical of proto-fascists everywhere, Booker has personalized his dietary preferences and then universalized them on a crusade to—you guessed it—save the planet by punishing the rest of us.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said the planet “can’t sustain” people eating meat, as the 2020 hopeful aims to become the first vegan president. Booker told the vegan magazine VegNews  earlier this month that he became vegan after coming to the realization that eating eggs “didn’t align with my spirit.”
While claiming he does not want to lecture Americans on their diets, Booker says Americans need to be nudged into fake cheese because the planet cannot sustain the “environmental impact” of the food industry. “You see the planet earth moving towards what is the Standard American Diet,” Booker said. “The tragic reality is this planet simply can’t sustain billions of people consuming industrially produced animal agriculture because of environmental impact,” he said. “It’s just not possible.”
Easy for Booker and his imaginary friend T-Bone to say. (Is T-Bone a vegan, too?) But the leap from munching on arugula to the mass extinction of cows in the name of cutting down on methane is a brain fart too far for sane people.
Still, the ease with which such preposterous notions are not only proposed but taken seriously by a national media whose own utter lack of sophistication, knowledgeability, wit, and cultural savvy is on display daily. The earnest dullards of the media have their own Great Old Ones to propitiate; in order stave off having to correlate the contents of their minds, they awaken every morning with absolutely nothing to do except to flog every transgressive, fantastical notion regarding sex, diet, the environment, celebrating each and any deviation from traditional norms as “historic,” when in fact it is generally accidental, when not actually inimical. Who would have thought that a boy declaring himself to be a girl and then winning wrestling, powerlifting, and sprinting events would be cheered as a “first,” although I suppose in a way it is. But not in a good way.
Ah, but as that legendary anti-Semite, Henry Ford, once remarked, “history is bunk.” The modern Left has no use for the past, except as a whipping boy, a scapegoat upon which can be laden all the sins of the Western world, and then sacrificed to appease their angry green gods.
But eventually even the Left runs out of victims, and so it must turn on itself. Suicide is the only act of contrition it can make that will satisfy Cthulhu’s bloodthirstiness. As I wrote in my book, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace, “Satan has no need for servants in Hell, as God does in Heaven; he is instead satisfied with corpses on earth.” Communism, the most perfect expression of what the satanic Left is all about, manufactured them on an industrial scale until it finally collapsed under the weight of, as Marx would say, its own international contradictions.
Because, in the end, even the craziest Leftist must, in his darkest moments, paradoxically have a moment of clarity, when all of the conflicting impossibilities inherent in his world view suddenly, briefly, become visible. And then Cthulhu and Dagon and Shub-Niggurath and Nyarlathotep appear, and the contents are finally correlated in a blaze of mad glory.
Let’s just hope they don’t take us with them when and wherever they go.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Today's Tune: Elle King - America's Sweetheart

'The Night Agent': Five Questions with Author Matthew Quirk

By Ryan Steck
January 13, 2019
Image result for matthew quirk the night agent
If I’m being honest, I’m not always a big fan of standalone thrillers. Personally, I like series books, which allow you to get to know the characters and enjoy spending time with them. That said, every once in a while, a book will come out that makes me reconsider, and Matthew Quirk’s The Night Agent is one of them. 
I’ve read everything Matthew Quirk has ever published and always enjoy his work . . . but never more so than his latest offering, which scores extra points for its relentless pacing and timely plot. Another thing that makes this book so special is that while it is a standalone story, Quirk manages to develop his cast of characters in a way that makes following and rooting for them easy and enjoyable. His protagonist, Peter Sutherland, is a relatable guy, which has been Quirk’s calling card–taking average people and dropping them into high-stakes, complex situations. 
Just before taking off on his book tour, Quirk went on the record for our Five Questions segment, and I asked him about everything from how he came up with the plot details for The Night Agent to how hard it is to beat headlines. Read the full Q&A below, then make sure to run out and get Quirk’s new novel the second it hits bookstore shelves on January 15th. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. 
TRBS: I’ve read all your books and, I have to say, I think The Night Agent is your best yet. How did you come up with the plot details for this one, and what kind of research did you have to do before actually sitting down to write?  
Quirk: “Thanks! The plot was inspired by a friend of mine in DC who worked an overnight shift at the FBI. He didn’t talk much about his job back then, but from what I was able to pick up he was part of a night watch, charged with staying on top of any breaking crises and if need be waking up the director. That idea really stuck with me: a young guy sitting by a phone all night every night, waiting for his moment. What happens when the phone rings and he’s suddenly dropped into the middle of an emergency, face-to-face with the most powerful people in Washington? For research, I talked to my friend and his job actually turned out to be quite a bit more interesting and hush-hush than I had suspected, one of several factors which led me to place the novel’s action in the White House Situation Room. I also talked to FBI and CIA people about what happens on these night watches and in the Situation Room during a crisis, and how a counterintelligence scenario like the one in the book would play out. I had a chance to talk to someone who was personally involved in one of the most notorious real-life mole hunts, the Robert Hanssen case. Fascinating stuff. The hardest part was choosing what research to leave out.”
TRBS: Brad Meltzer has a great quote about how a thriller writer’s job is to beat the headlines. Certainly, considering recent news stories, you’ve hit on a timely topic with this book. Was that planned, and how hard is it to write a thriller that you hope will be relevant, knowing that it won’t be coming out for at least a year after your start it? 
Quirk: “It’s always a gamble because it’s basically two years from when you first come up with the idea for a book until it hits the shelves—about a year to write and revise and then a year from when I hand it in until publication. In this case the early plans for The Night Agent ended up being too timely! I started with some news stories that were then relatively under the radar, and spun out a grand fictional conspiracy plot, but some of it ended up being a little too close to the truth. That forced me to revisit the plot and think of ways to stay ahead of the headlines and keep readers guessing. It ultimately made for a much stronger, twistier book. Writing close to the news certainly makes for some white-knuckle moments, but it worked out!”
TRBS: What is your writing process like? Are you an outliner? Do you have a target word count that you try to hit each day?  
Quirk: “I do outline using Scrivener, an incredible program for writing long projects. I take about a month at the start of a novel to figure out the beginning, the major turns, and a sense of the ending. Thrillers are very tricky, and I like to know roughly where I’m headed so I can lay the groundwork for big twists without writing myself into an impossible corner. Often the characters take over and some surprises sneak up on me while drafting, so I stay open to that. I shoot for 1000 words a day, and usually hit about 2000 once I get going. I am a huge advocate of the super-rough first draft. Just get the whole story down and then make it sing in revisions.”
TRBS: Who are some of your favorite authors, and what was the last great book that you read?
Quirk: It’s so hard to choose, but here are some of the names that come to mind: John le Carré, Graham Greene, Patricia Highsmith, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Don Winslow, Richard Price, Joe Finder, Lou Berney, Gregg Hurwitz, Megan Abbott, Daniel Silva, Gillian Flynn, Steven Pressfield, Tobias Wolff, Evelyn Waugh, Vladimir Nabokov, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, William Goldman, Shirley Jackson, and PG Wodehouse. For nonfiction, Jill Lepore, Louis Menand, Ben Macintyre (incredible spy histories), and Sean Naylor (the best spec ops reporting).
“The last great novel I read—I just finished it—is A Perfect Spy by John le Carré. I picked it up right after finishing his memoir, which made for a fascinating side-by-side. His whole life is in that novel. I’ve been reading a bunch of great nonfiction doorstoppers recently, too: Daniel Dennett’s books on consciousness, Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch, and Why the West Rules—For Now by Ian Morris.”
TRBS: Lastly, now that The Night Agent is set to come out, what’s next for you?
Quirk: “I just handed in a draft of the next one. It’s about these fascinating Red Team people I met while doing research. The government hires them to test the security around federal facilities and VIPs by actually breaking in and posing as threats. I have a few books in mind in a similar vein, inspired by real-life characters I got to know in DC who have these remarkable jobs like The Night Agent that let them go behind the scenes. I’ve been surfing a bunch here in San Diego while waiting for notes, and I’m getting ready to go on tour for The Night Agent. It’s always fun to get out from behind the desk and hang out with booksellers and readers.”

Film Review: 'Cold Pursuit'

‘Cold Pursuit’: In the crisp winter air, Liam Neeson makes revenge a riot

By Richard Roeper
January 30, 2019
Liam Neeson in Cold Pursuit (2019)
Come on, it’s not THAT cold.
Oh sure, many of the devilishly absurdist doings in the brutally funny “Cold Pursuit” take place in and around the snow-covered, wintry terrain of a Colorado ski resort town — but compared to what’s been happening in Chicago and across much of the Midwest lately, these characters look almost comfortable in the unforgiving outdoors.
I mean, we can see their faces, and they can stand outside for more than five minutes without getting frostbite.
Granted, they might get their heads blown off, but hey, that’s the gig when you’re a henchman, a hitman, a drug lord or a father seeking vengeance in this bat-bleep crazy story.
On the surface, “Cold Pursuit” might look like another one of those Liam Neeson thrillers a la the “Taken” franchise and “Unknown” and “The Commuter” and “Non-Stop,” in which our man plays a happily married regular fella with a seemingly ordinary and perfectly normal life — until that One Life-Changing Thing Happens, and he must morph into a fiercely determined killing machine who will let nothing stop him in his quest for justice.
Ah, but after the introduction of the first of many corpses in director Hans Peter Moland’s English-language remake of his 2014 Norwegian film “In Order of Disappearance,” it becomes evident this is going to be an action comedy, with the emphasis on the comedy.
And the comedy works beautifully because nobody in this movie realizes they’re in a comedy, and rarely does anyone try to be funny. They’re deadly serious about their deadly business — and when you’re constantly killing or trying to not get killed, there’s not much time to take a step back and say, “Hey, that was kind of hilarious.”
Neeson — ably stepping in for Stellan Skarsgard in the starring role — plays one Nels Coxman (that’s right), who operates a vitally important snowplow business in the gorgeous ski town of Kehoe, Colorado, and in fact has just been honored as the town’s “Citizen of the Year,” much to the pride of his loving wife Grace (Laura Dern).
But on the very night Nels and Grace are celebrating his honor, their son Kyle (Micheal Richardson, Neeson’s real-life son with the late Natasha Richardson), who works at the local airport, is abducted and murdered by some very, very bad people. After killing Kyle, the thugs put sunglasses on him and prop him up and leave him slumped over on a bench in Denver, which reminded me of that movie “Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead,” but this movie is a much better take on the Hipster Violent Black Comedy, so let’s get back to “Cold Pursuit.”
The coroner says Kyle died of a heroin overdose. Nels isn’t buying it, and in rapid fashion he begins to track down, pummel and snuff out various lowlifes in his quest to find the person(s) responsible for his son’s death.
Although “Cold Pursuit” adheres closely to the original, with many a scene virtually mirroring its predecessor, director Moland amps up the comedic touches even as the bodies pile up, making sure we know it’s all right to laugh at this madness.
Tom Bateman brings a Loki-esque vibe to his portrayal of the sociopath drug lord known as Viking, who lives in a sleek, modern, glass-walled home worthy of an Architectural Digest spread (although the dozen or so armed bodyguards stationed about would probably have to get out of frame). Viking’s a vegan, and he takes a fanatical interest in the dietary habits of his young son Ryan (Nicholas Holmes), berating his henchmen for sneaking treats into the kid’s school lunch. Julia Jones is Viking’s ex-wife Aya, who shows up from time to time to eviscerate Viking and remind him he’s an idiot.
In Nels’ single-minded quest to avenge his son’s murder, he unwittingly sets off a bloody turf war between Viking and the chief of the local Native American reservation, the antiquities (and cocaine, mostly cocaine) dealer White Bull (Tom Jackson).
Meanwhile, the energetic and enthusiastic new Kehoe Police officer Kim Dash (Emmy Rossum) is convinced there’s a huge case involving multiple murders with roots right there in their sleepy little ski resort, much to the amusement of her laid-back, old-timey partner “Gip” Gipsky (John Doman). Rossum and Doman are so good and so funny together, you could cobble their scenes together and make the case for a TV pilot.
It’s also great to see the veteran character actor William Forsythe as Nels’ estranged brother Brock “Wingman” Coxman, a retired mobster enjoying the spoils of his misdeeds with his Thai wife Ahn (Elizabeth Thai), who was supposed to be the target of his violence back in the day but won his heart at first sight. (Unfortunately, the character of the wife is even more of a stereotype than she was in the original.)
As characters with nicknames such as Sly and Mustang and Smoke and War Dog and Shiv and Drayno enter and often quickly exit the picture, “Cold Pursuit” moves forward with the assured and deliberate force of Nels’ massive snowplow. And with Neeson/Nels at the wheel, “Cold Pursuit” is one fantastically hot mess of a movie.