Bulwark Report: When All You Have Is an Anti-Trump Hammer…


I think Jonathan V. Last is a very funny fellow, in a dark and sardonic way. I enjoy him on the Sub-Beacon podcast and wherever else I hear him. He’s an amusing, irreverent, nebbish fellow, and I don’t like saying bad things about him.

But his latest piece at The Bulwark, entitled Donald and Jussie, Birds of a Feather, is trying too hard to fulfill The Bulwark’s mission, which is to spare no expense, grace, or integrity in its effort to besmirch the all-too-readily besmirchable President Trump.


Mueller Did the Right Thing


It seems that “13 hardened Democrats” or “angry Democrats” did not deliver a politically-motivated, illegitimate hit job after all. Based on what we know so far, the special counsel’s office reported that it did not find evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. This is a fabulous vindication of the integrity of the system.

No one is noticing that. Instead, the Trump team is gorging on schadenfreude, and the anti-Trump team is choking on bile.


Does the US Really Risk Treating Its Tech Titans as National Champions?


If one fears the supposed malign impact of Big Tech on modern life — destroying competition, innovation, privacy, democracy, and our bainstems — then the prospect of Washington making them its special “national champions” must be horrifying. Government should counterweight big business power, these critics contend, not further enable its expansion and influence.

This is not unreasonable analysis. Companies should succeed globally by competitive excellence, not from the protection and subsidy of politicians at home. As Financial Times columnist Rana Foroohar argues in a new piece, “National growth strategies are welcome. National champions are not.”


A Fine Whiskey with Victor Davis Hanson


In this great interview with Victor Davis Hanson, Dave Sussman makes a startling observation of Donald Trump and the erudite classicist Victor Davis Hanson, two men who would seem to differ as much as any in the public sphere in their character, background, and intellect, that each is “the everyman,” someone who speaks clearly to everyone and evinces a plainspoken authenticity.

He’s right. I think that, in Trump’s case, it is a matter of confidence and a willingness to engage any opponent. In Hanson’s, I suspect it’s an expression of deep integrity and a desire to understand and communicate carefully considered truths. But the impression is the same: an appealing lack of pretense, a blunt and compelling frankness, and a sense that the chaff of political correctness and poll-tested caution has been brushed aside in favor of simply telling it like it is.


Truth Cries Out


Walking through downtown Mesa, AZ, the Monday after the Mueller report news broke, one of the public art statues leaped out at me. A newsboy stands astride his stack of newspapers, waving a copy over his head and shouting out the news. The front page has a one-word headline, all caps and bold: “TRUTH.” What a contrast to the sordid state of our current “journalism.”

The background is littered with paint cans and construction barriers. This is part of a facade renovation for downtown Main Street. How much more does our news business need renovation?


By the Time I Got to Hollywood, the Communists Were Disappearing


Lester Cole, member of the “Hollywood Ten”, on the Moscow River with our Soviet guides/handlers. July 1985, weeks before he died.

Maybe I should explain that title. I’m talking old school, OG, bottled in bond Hollywood Communists. Stalin, that kind of stuff. I’ve known a few. This begins a short series of sketches and book reviews about their lives and times in motion pictures.


Does Capitalism Cause Social Decay?


One of the paradoxes of our time is that even though material conditions have improved dramatically across the world over the last several decades, it is commonly asserted that more people feel anxious and depressed. Surely there are more reports of such dislocation and perhaps better treatment of these conditions. Understanding this alleged conundrum is critical to the future course of social policy. An increasing number of important conservative thinkers point to modern capitalism as the source of our malaise. Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute criticized labor markets in his recent book The Once and Future WorkerAnd Raghuram Rajan, a professor at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, offers his account of why more people feel despair in his new book, The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind.

I’ve covered Cass’s book previously, so will focus on Rajan’s work in this column. Before joining Booth, Rajan was the governor of the Reserve Bank of India. His training is in finance, not sociology, which is a far more nebulous field of study. But his book ventures quite often into sociological territory. A distinguished conservative intellectual, Rajan writes in his book: “We are surrounded by plenty. Humanity has never been richer as technologies of production have improved steadily over the last two hundred and fifty years. It is not just the developed countries that have grown wealthier; billions across the developing world have moved from stressful poverty to a comfortable middle-class existence in the span of a generation. Income is more evenly spread across the world than at any other time in our lives. For the first time in history we have it in our power to eradicate hunger and starvation elsewhere.”


The Bul****: You’ve Gotta Pivot Like There’s Nobody Watching


Lest we lose sight of the forest for the trees: It seems to me likely Mueller will find there was collusion between Trump associates and Putin operatives; that Trump knew about it; and that Trump sought to cover it up and obstruct its investigation. What then? Good question. — Bill Kristol, August 9, 2018

Good question, indeed. The complementary question, of course, is: what if Mueller doesn’t find that there was collusion between Trump associates and Putin operatives? What then?


Mueller: This Should Not Be The End


Mueller has concluded that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. After two years of concerted attacks by a biased press and a corrupt bureaucracy, the collusion fantasy has been laid to rest.

Now let’s talk about collusion.


You Go Girl! Kellyanne Conway Goes after Adam Schiff


Kellyanne Conway is fighting back. She’s not just willing to say, “let’s just move along, folks”; for one, she’s going after Adam Schiff:

Adam Schiff should resign. He has no right as somebody who has been peddling a lie, day after day after day, unchallenged and not under oath. Somebody should have put him under oath and said ‘you have evidence, where is it’?


Quote of the Day: Greatness is a Decision


Everybody matters. Everything goes back to the people. I hire people first, coaches second. I recruit people first, players second.

But if you want to know what the biggest change in Clemson football is over the last 10 years, it’s this: it’s attitude. We control what goes in our heads. So many people let people walk through their heads with dirty feet. Greatness isn’t anybody’s destiny. It’s a decision.


The Kellyanne and George Debacle: A Sad Testimony on Marriage


This post is not going to cover the lurid details of the public spat between Donald Trump and George Conway. Instead, I’d like to speak to the degradation of the Conway marriage vows, to the absence of spousal respect and to the damage it causes to the family, especially the children.

Let me provide a little background. Kellyanne and George Conway married in 2001. They now have four children. Before working for President Trump, Kellyanne founded a polling company with many credits to her name. George is a private attorney.


Harvard Caught in Victim Vise


Haaah-vahd is caught in a virtuous-victims vise, and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving center of intersectional grievance mongers. For the past year, Harvard has been slowly bled by allegations and then ugly revelations about their administration’s racial problem with Asians. Now, Harvard is being sued for profiting today from the racist Harvard past, specifically by exploiting the image of a slave. The plaintiff claims she is a descendant of the exploited African-American and suffers harm herself in seeing the continued exploitation of her ancestor by Harvard.

So, Harvard University is being sued for discrimination against Asians, in the same way as they once discriminated against Jews, and is being separately sued for the present-day continuation of its 19th-century exploitation of an African-American slave. Perhaps the Harvard shield of arms should be updated, replacing “Veritas,” written across three open books, with a plain black bar sinister.


Make Them Own It: Part 2


Make them own it” was a call to hold the Democratic Party and the left fully accountable for its past and present misdeeds. Continuing to honor Woodrow Wilson, through the Woodrow Wilson Center and places named for him, has become incongruous with claims of justice and righting past wrongs. Indeed, controversy over Wilson’s name on a school in the District of Columbia raises an additional issue of past injustice and present claims for social justice.

Celebrated to this day as a founder of modern progressive government, Woodrow Wilson created the environment within which the Klu Klux Klan reemerged with a vengeance.


Let the Sun Shine In


As Mark Davis says “Trump makes everyone better.” President Trump just issued an executive order linking federal grants to real protection of free speech on college and university campuses. Unlike Obama administration “Dear Colleague letters,” this will be a publicly taken presidential action, with clear political accountability. This move suggests two other actions the president can and should take, in short order.

Executive Order on Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities


The Bulwark: Walking it Back, Just a Little?


Our mutual friend @garyrobbins has called my attention to a change at The Bulwark, one that I think is positive, so I thought I’d give a little bit of credit where a little bit of credit is due. The Bulwark has changed its mission statement. Previously, its “About Us” page described its mission as follows:

Our mission will be to say [that the president of the United States is a serial liar, a narcissist and a bully, a con man who mocks the disabled and women, a man with no fixed principles who has the vocabulary of an emotionally insecure nine-year-old] out loud and encourage others to do so as well.


Baby, Were You Born Fat Way?


My grandma was a fat woman trapped in a thin woman’s body. Or rather, she was a woman for whom thinness required more mortification of the flesh than is usual, eating like an anorexic (they do eat — sometimes) simply to get her BMI down to normal. At times, this meant weeks of her eating nothing but carrot broth. More generally, it meant cooking deliberately unpalatable food (justifying it as “healthier”) for her whole family, to discourage “overeating”. She was also a hypothyroidic woman who came of age in an era when thyroid supplementation was not widely known.

Trouble keeping weight off isn’t the only sign of an underactive thyroid. The other signs — frizzy, thinning hair, the perpetual frog in the throat, catching chills — grandma had those, too. Not that you’d know it when you met her, since she wore a wig and retained just enough foreign accent to dress up her chain-smoker’s growl (in one who never smoked) as the smoldering alto tones of another Marlene Dietrich. My grandma was an elegant lady; built like a brick house even at her thinnest, but trim and sexy, very sporty; the kind of woman who’d pester the local rowing club into admitting women in the morning, then doll herself up for the evening in a dress looking far less shabby than it really was to go out on the town, dancing and pretending to sip fancy cocktails (not really sipping them, though — calories). My grandma had an iron will, not just iron but huge, rolling and inevitable, a steamroller. Her physical beauty was a manifestation of this, winning her several proposals when she was widowed before her time. For grandma, thinness was a moral issue.


Angel of the Battlefield: An Unexpected Gift


As a child, I was addicted to a series of biographies written for children. They were undersized volumes, with a textured blue cover and the name of the featured person written in a kind of script. One of those books told the story of Clara Barton. Her courage, determination, and devotion to the soldiers of the Civil War have stayed with me all these years.

Clara Barton, 1905

When many people think of Clara Barton, they may think of the American Red Cross, which she founded. But the actions that motivated her to pursue that establishment were amazing and admirable. I’d like to share some of that story, especially the unexpected gift she became to the American soldiers of the Civil War and their families.


A Cautionary Tale: New Zealand Moves to Ban Semi-Automatic Guns


We saw it coming: after the horrific shooting on the mosques in Christchurch, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned the public that gun laws would change. The deed has been done.

Today, New Zealand began the process for banning “military style semiautomatic weapons, assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.”


More Misconceptions About College


Now that we’ve all had a good airing of grievances about elite colleges and their attendant injustices, let’s get some perspective.

While the number of high school graduates heading off to college has increased in recent years, the percentages graduating with a four-year degree have not increased much. Many students, especially those who are the first in their families to attend college, drop out before receiving a degree. (They cannot drop out of student loan payments though.)


President Trump Rocks Out with Real Heavy Metal Band


The afternoon of 20 March 2019, President Trump rocked out with a group that makes real heavy metal. The event was different from other presidential appearances, but featured many of the same themes. Two themes, American defense revival and energy dominance, stood in stark contrast to news from Germany. In the midst of the prepared remarks, with the usual riffs, President Trump elaborated on his criticism of the politician John McCain, who the appointed Senator from Arizona, Martha McSally, is unconditionally defending, raising questions about her viability or suitability in 2020. President Trump’s visit to the Lima Army Tank Plant was a great political messaging success on several levels.

The setting:


PoMoCon Four: Elites vs. Digital


James Poulos, recently named Executive Editor of American Mind, a worthy publication of the Claremont Institute, joins me for a conversation on the changes digital technology has created and revealed in this time of elite crisis in America and around the world. We also talk up a triad of cultural criticism whose moment has come: Philip Rieff, Christopher Lasch, and Marshall McLuhan. I’ll go so far as to boast that our conversation is a good example of what this triad has to offer by way of analysis of elites.


An Unexpected Gift of Speech


https://ametia.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/dr-martin-luther-king-i-have-a-dream-speech4.jpgIn the American government’s secular liturgical calendar, February is African-American History Month, and March is Women’s History Month. The subjects of these two observances converge in a historical event we think we know, but which actually was an unexpected gift to the nation: Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Over the years, the secularist left has not only erased King’s religious identity, they have also blotted out her-story. She was uncompromisingly faithful to her Lord and Savior in her music, so the leftists hated her words then and buried herstory.

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom