The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Late Night With Rule 5 Sunday: Olga Kurylenko

Posted on | March 20, 2023 | No Comments

— compiled by Wombat-socho

Born in 1979 in Berdyansk, in what was then the Soviet Union and is now Ukraine, Olga moved to Paris at the age of 16 to start her modeling career and ten years later began acting, finding success two years later in the video game movie Hitman and later as Bond Girl Camille Montes in Quantum of Solace. More recently, she’s been in Black Widow and The Death of Stalin as Maria Yudina.
Ceterum autem censeo Silicon Valley esse delendam.

Evening wear…very nice!

NINETY MILES FROM TYRANNY: Hot Pick of the Late Night, The 90 Miles Mystery Box Episode #2022, Morning Mistress, and Girls With Guns

ANIMAL MAGNETISM: Rule Five Mexican Drug Cartels Friday, and the Saturday Gingermageddon

EBL: MAGA Indictment, St. Patrick’s Day Rule 5Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris, The Murder of Julius Caesar, The Trad Wife Whisperer, Piggy|Cerdita, Next Exit, When Movies Were Good – The Magnificent Seven, and Siberia

A VIEW FROM THE BEACH: Portia DoubledayHappy St. Paddy’s DayFish Pic Friday – Summer RialsGiant Orange Blob Threatens FloridaGov. Moore Goes Fishing for Catfish MoneyThursday TanlinesThe Wednesday WetnessMoore Dictates Maryland Adopt Electric MotoringHappy Pi DayTattoo TuesdayThe Monday Morning StimulusGone Fishin’Palm Sunday and Maryland, My Maryland

Thanks to everyone for all the links!

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What Happened to Charlie Sykes?

Posted on | March 19, 2023 | No Comments

Charlie Sykes in his talk-radio heyday at WTMJ

Jeff Goldstein has a long essay slamming #NeverTrump pundit Charlie Sykes, a well-deserved slam, in reaction to a very bad Bulwark column Sykes wrote about Republican critics of Biden’s Ukraine policy.

Although it’s not my main point, let me briefly address that subject: One of the basic principles of success in politics was distilled to its essence in the title of Phyllis Schlafly’s famous 1964 book, A Choice Not an Echo. That book was written in support of Barry Goldwater’s candidacy, at a time when liberalism was near it apogee of prestige, and the GOP Establishment was trying to foist moderate Nelson Rockefeller on the party as their presidential nominee. Although Goldwater lost in a landslide to LBJ, the choice of Goldwater proved decisive for the Republican Party’s future. There never would have been a Reagan presidency had it not been for “AuH2O” in 1964.

What does “conservative” mean, if it does not mean opposition to liberalism? Or to put it another way: Why should anyone vote Republican, if the GOP is going to support the same policies advocated by Democrats? Schlafly’s book clarified this point at a time when many Republican politicians (notably including Mitt Romney’s father) were responding to the liberal agenda by enthusiastically shouting, “Me, too!”

As it was in the Age of LBJ, so it is in the Age of Biden. Most conservatives, I believe, are in favor of Ukraine’s independence, and hope to see Putin’s invasion fail, but this does not mean — and should not mean — that the Biden administration’s Ukraine policy is off-limits to criticism. As a matter of fact, I have offended some of my friends (including colleagues at The American Spectator) by acknowledging the basic validity of John Mearsheimer’s critique of long-term U.S. policy toward Russia. Our Russia policy has been a mess for decades, going back at least as far as Clinton’s ill-advised intervention against Serbia in 1999 (the Serbs historically being a Russian ally) and Donald Trump at least ought to get credit for having tried to pause this bipartisan bungling.

Much of the problem has to do with the military weakness of our so-called “allies” in NATO. What good is an ally, if they can’t put a combat-effective armored brigade into the field? And the abysmal state of military readiness of our European allies has been notorious for many years because, as Trump repeatedly pointed out, most of them were not living up to their NATO agreement to devote 2% of their GDP to defense spending. (The U.S. spends more than 3.5% of GDP on its military.)

The weakness of our European allies makes a bellicose posture toward Russia problematic. If the Germans, French, Dutch, et al., wanted to confront Putin, why weren’t they doing what was necessary, in terms of defense spending, to create a credible deterrent to Russian aggression? The Europeans seem to have a rather one-sided view of the NATO alliance, with Uncle Sam playing the role of military Sugar Daddy. And when Putin made his lunge into Crimea in 2014, what was the response? Nothing but a lot of talk, talk, talk and economic sanctions, which Putin shrugged off. If the West was not willing to fight for Crimea, why should Putin expect them to fight for the Donbas? And so, by a combination of military weakness and diplomatic provocation, the West more or less invited the 2022 Ukraine invasion. Certainly, Biden’s disastrous pullout from Afghanistan was interpreted as a green-light signal by Putin.

Where is Charlie Sykes’ in-depth analysis of U.S. foreign policy? If he’s written one, I missed it, but what we get from him instead is a parroting of MSNBC talking points about Trump “channeling Kremlin propaganda,” as if it were impossible to criticize U.S. policy without being a pro-Putin stooge. But the real bottom line is this: Sykes voted for Biden, and is defending Biden’s policy in toto — to criticize Biden is tantamount to treason, according to Sykes’ brand of True Conservative™ principles.

Beyond the matter of Ukraine and Russia, aside from any consideration of policy, foreign or domestic, there remains the disturbing question: What the hell happened to Charlie Sykes?

Because of my long-term interest in education (being a Christian conservative homeschooling dad back in the 1990s), I was mainly familiar with Sykes because of his excellent 1995 book, Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can’t Read, Write, or Add, which was largely an attack on the then-trendy “outcomes based education” (OBE) agenda. At that time, there was no difference between Sykes and, say, Michelle Malkin in terms of the basic issues facing America. He was a staunch conservative and, most importantly, was the No. 1 local talk-radio host in Wisconsin.

How much do you know about the business of talk radio? Well, during the 30-year reign of Rush Limbaugh as the king of the genre, there were a comparative handful of hosts — among them Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy and Michael Savage — who were successful in national syndication. But most conservative talk-radio hosts were strictly local phenomena, and Charlie Sykes was one of these. Based at Milwaukee’s WTMJ, he was the morning host beloved by Wisconsin conservatives. He had begun his career as a print journalist, working his way up to editor of Milwaukee Magazine by the mid-1980s before subsequently getting into talk radio. His two-decade tenure as one of the most influential figures in Wisconsin conservative politics arguably reached its pinnacle in 2011, during the showdown over the state budget between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the state’s powerful public-employee unions. Charlie Sykes was the loudest voice on the right during that protest carnival that attracted nationwide attention, but then things started going downhill. Barack Obama was reelected in 2012, carrying Wisconsin by a seven-point margin, 53%-46%, despite the fact that GOP candidate Mitt Romney had picked Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate.

Meanwhile, the commercial viability of local talk radio was beginning a slow but inexorable decline, as online streaming services became more popular. Listening to local radio during the daily commute was a habit for many people, but younger audiences were downloading playlists to Spotify, and never got the car-radio habit. Of course, being a local conservative talk-radio host was always a less lucrative career than many listeners may have imagines. You heard your local host in the morning, then Rush Limbaugh came on at noon — both of them on the same station — and you might have imagined that your local host was making the same kind of money as Rush, but au contraire! One year at CPAC, I found myself sitting outside a pub with a crowd that included a talk radio host who had gotten some nationwide attention, but was then working at a local station in the South and, wow, how bitter he was! Limbaugh had signed a $50,000-million-a-year contract and was carrying on as usual, meanwhile this local talk-radio guy was scrapping for every dollar, fighting against advertiser boycotts, etc. He felt like he was getting screwed over, trying to make a living in a dying business.

We can imagine that things weren’t much better for Charlie Sykes at WTMJ during that era, circa 2013-2015, as conservative talk radio was beginning its slow, steady descent into oblivion. Politically, however, there was reason for conservatives in Wisconsin to be optimistic. Walker defeated a recall effort in 2012 and, in 2014, was reelected to a second term by a comfortable 52%-47% margin. Walker was highly touted as a 2016 presidential candidate. Meanwhile, Republicans expanded their majority in the Wisconsin legislature and, in Washington, Paul Ryan was emerging as a congressional leader, his national profile boosted by his campaign as Romney’s running mate. In fall 2015, when House Speaker John Boehner stepped aside, Ryan became the Speaker, and it looked like a great time to be a conservative from Wisconsin. But in June 2015, Trump had taken that ride down the escalator, and one of the first casualties of Trump’s rise was the presidential candidacy of Scott Walker. After two lackluster debate performances, Walker dropped out of the primary campaign, and called on other GOP candidates to follow his lead, to unite behind a single alternative to Trump. This effort failed.

And it was just around that time, in the fall of 2015, that Charlie Sykes shoved all-in on #NeverTrump. Like most of his comrades in that project, Sykes has ended up a de facto liberal Democrat. Trump Derangement Syndrome is incurable like that: Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat.

Ace of Spades long ago took to mocking Sykes as “Charlie Three Wives,” and when you become an object of Ace’s ridicule, your credibility as a conservative is pretty much over. Like most of the #NeverTrump crowd, Sykes cannot accept responsibility for his own choices — it’s Trump’s fault he committed career suicide, you see. Now 68, Sykes is apparently determined to spend his dotage in the role of Grandpa Simpson.

It didn’t have to be this way. All of these people who let themselves be sucked into the vortex of Trump Derangement Syndrome could have resisted that temptation. There is plenty of viable political terrain between being a True Believer in the Cult of Personality, on the one hand, and being Charlie Sykes, on the other. Byron York, for example, has maintained both his sanity and his integrity during the past several years when many of his former colleagues went over the deep end with the #NeverTrump crowd. But if you listen to Charlie Sykes (or David French, or Bill Kristol, or Rick Wilson) they never stop insisting that their core principles as True Conservatives™ required them to die on that particular hill, and they are such absolute fanatics as to make the Khmer Rouge seem moderate by comparison. Is there a lesson here, a “moral to the story,” so to speak? I dunno. Politics is a team sport, and some of these guys seem to be like superstar NFL players who sign a big contract and then start acting like divas (e.g., Antonio Brown). They think they can throw a tantrum and walk off the field in the middle of a game, without damaging their own prospects. I’m reminded of an old Persian proverb, “The dogs may bark, but the caravan keeps rolling.”

It’s a shame what happened to Charlie. But it’s his own fault.



‘Stockholm Syndrome’? SVB, BLM and the Toxic Plague of Liberal White Guilt

Posted on | March 18, 2023 | No Comments

Bert the Samoan Lawyer sent this story to me with the dry remark, “Basically, this means the taxpayers are picking up the tab for BLM”:

Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank New York (SBNY) donated a combined sum of $71.5 million to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, according to a new database released by the Claremont Institute.
SVB forked over a whopping $70,650,000 to BLM while, while SBNY gave $850,000 according to the records gathered by the conservative think tank.
Claremont’s database cited several “social impact reports” that recorded the transactions and highlighted SVB’s pledge from early last year, to give $5 billion to companies aiming to assist with “the transition to a sustainable, low carbon, net zero emissions economy.”
They were criticized following their collapse, for taking their eye off the ball by prioritizing eco-conscious environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing over sound investment principles, while also focusing on diversity and social justice in hiring over strict merit.
One of SVB’s LinkedIn posts in 2022 celebrated the “diversity” hire of Jay Ersapah as the head of Financial Risk and Model Risk Management, highlighting how she helped “establish and is the lead for the LGBTQ+ network at Silicon Valley Bank; where she works closely with Stonewall to create and promote a culture where all can bring their authentic selves to work.”
That same year, Ersapah hosted an “exclusive fireside chat with Suki Sandhu, the author of “How To Get Your Act Together: A Judgement-Free Guide to Diversity and Inclusion for Straight White Men.” The topics discussed included “How to get started with LGBTQ+ inclusion” and “Global best practice in LGBTQ+ inclusion — what great looks like.”
Other big-name corporations listed in the BLM donor database included: CitiGroup and Facebook, which each gave over $1 billion, Amazon (almost $170 million), Apple ($100 million), and American Express ($50 million), among dozens of others.

Let us pause briefly to scrutinize the “intersectional” logic behind SVB’s hiring of a risk management executive who hit all the “diversity” quota marks — brown, female, and gay. A three-fer!

While her resume shows extensive financial-sector experience, that wasn’t why Jay Ersapah got hired at SVB, as their publicity surrounding her hiring focused almost entirely on her identity-politics qualifications “to create and promote a culture” for “LGBTQ+ inclusion” — as if this is why banks exist? When did the banking industry become obsessed with “inclusion” and why? The simple answer is, White Guilt, which happens to the be the title of an excellent book by Shelby Steele.

“Inclusion” is about cashing in on White Guilt. Jay Ersapah cashed in, and then brought in Suki Sandhu, a brown gay man from England, to have a “fireside chat” to preach the Gospel of Inclusion to the (presumed-to-be-defective) “Straight White Men” working at SVB. The bank probably paid Sandhu a lucrative fee, and there’s an international syndicate of these “diversity” specialists who get paid to promote this nonsense. They have no other skills, no other service to vend, beyond their status as experts in diversity and inclusion, and Corporate America pays out untold millions in consulting fees and salaries for such people.

Why is this happening? On the one hand, I’m prone to suspect that this is a completely cynical gesture on the part of bigtime financiers, who understand perfectly well the shakedown aspect of “diversity” — you don’t want to get sued for discrimination, and the price you pay for protection against such claims is to engage in a lot of virtue-signalling, which takes the form of quota hiring, publicity campaigns with lots of rainbow-flag themes, and of course, giving money to support whatever trendy “social justice” cause is The Current Thing.

From such a cynical perspective, it doesn’t even matter whether an outfit like Black Lives Matter is legitimate. BLM turned out to be a fraudulent racket, but so what? From the perspective of a banking executive trying to purchase protection against claims of racial discrimination, it’s the symbolic value of the contribution that really matters.

Explaining the “inclusion” craze in Corporate America as a function of cynicism is, to me, much preferable to considering the alternative, i.e., that CEOs actually believe all this crap. How could it be that an executive makes it through a top university MBA program, claws his way up the company ladder, lands himself a seven-figure gig as the Big Cheese and then, having reached the summit of success, surrenders to a psychopathology of self-hatred? Because let’s be honest about what White Guilt really is — an irrational impulse, symptomatic of mental illness.

Debutante-turned-terrorist Patty Hearst

“Stockholm Syndrome” was the popular diagnosis in the case of the young heiress Patty Hearst who, after being kidnapped and held for ransom by a radical ultra-Maoist cult calling itself the Symbionese Liberation Army, began to identify with her captors and joined their campaign of “revolutionary” violence. That could be understood as a metaphor for what has happened to “woke” corporations.

For the past 10 or 15 years, companies have been more or less compelled to signify their allegiance to various “progressive” causes for fear of being bombarded with online harassment campaigns. Some have traced this back to the campaign of terroristic intimidation against contributors to the Prop 8 campaign in California in 2008. Perhaps as a result of such intimidation, which threatens the targets with destruction of their careers and livelihoods, business leaders became so accustomed to repeating the mantras of “social justice” that they actually internalized this preposterous radical belief system, in much the same way Patty Heart eventually internalized the SLA’s absurd slogan: “Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people!”

In this interpretation of why companies “get woke and go broke,” they are helpless victims of a psyops campaign, coercively brainwashed to adopt the worldview of their enemies until they actually believe the rainbow-flag nonsense they promote in their publicity. As I say, I’d prefer to think otherwise; it makes me uncomfortable to think anyone could really believe that bullshit. Much better to suppose that corporate executives are just cynically repeating these slogans for the sake of making a buck.

Either way, however, there’s no danger that I could be deceived by their sloganeering. My survival depends upon keeping a firm grip on my own sanity amid this swirling carnival of 21st-century madness.

Bert the Samoan Lawyer knows this as well as anybody. He first met me in the aftermath of my disastrous 1979 experiment with psilocybin mushroom tea and Bolivian flake cocaine. Having descended into the psychotic vortex of drug-induced lunacy and managed somehow to escape, I’ve since dedicated myself to a life of respectable bourgeois stability. Given my early experience of pure Gonzo insanity, I consider that being normal is my greatest achievement. So there is no danger of my succumbing to the masochistic neurosis of White Guilt, or the clearly abnormal behavior of corporate executives promoting bizarre causes like Drag Queen Story Hour. Not enough psilocybin on the planet to make me fall for delusions like that. Just going to sit here sanely drinking my coffee and reminding you: Crazy People Are Dangerous.



What Did China Get for Its Money?

Posted on | March 18, 2023 | No Comments

The family of “the big guy” collected over a million dollars:

President Biden’s daughter-in-law Hallie is the mysterious “new” Biden family member who got paid Chinese cash in 2017, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer revealed exclusively to The Post Thursday.
Comer said the payments to first son Hunter Biden’s sister-in-law-turned-former lover were revealed in subpoenaed bank records.
The records show Hallie Biden received $35,000 over two transfers in 2017 from Biden family associate Rob Walker, who got $3 million on March 1, 2017, from State Energy HK Limited, a firm affiliated with CEFC China Energy.
President Biden, who allegedly was the “big guy” mentioned in communications about the same Chinese venture, dined at Hallie Biden’s residence last Friday during his regular weekend trip home to Delaware. It’s unclear if they discussed the looming bombshell, which Comer (R-Ky.) publicly teased Monday night on Fox News’ “Hannity.”
One transfer to Hallie from Robinson Walker LLC was for $25,000 on March 20, 2017, Comer’s staff wrote in a Thursday morning memo to committee members. Another $10,000 was transferred on Feb. 13 — raising “many questions” according to a committee aide because it came shortly before, rather than after, the $3 million haul.
The information creates an unexpected new avenue for investigation — and the memo notes the bank records don’t include the first names of all Biden family recipients, meaning there may be others involved, in addition to Hunter Biden and first brother James Biden.
Hallie Biden is the widow of Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer in 2015, and the mother of two of the president’s grandchildren, Natalie and Robert Hunter. She dated the president’s other son, Hunter, from around 2016 to 2019, a timeframe that included the Chinese dealings.
“Democrats described our subpoena as providing nothing more than records for Papa John’s and Starbucks, but they failed to mention the records we’ve received documenting the Biden family’s business schemes,” Comer told The Post, referring to committee ranking member Rep. Jamie Raskin’s disclosure of the subpoenas this week.

What did the Chinese expect in return for this money? That’s the big puzzle. The payment to the Biden family came at a time when Democrats had lost the White House, and one wonders how the Chinese clients expected the family of the former vice president to exercise influence in their favor. Certainly the only “business” involved was influence peddling — what relevant expertise did Hunter Biden offer, other than being Joe Biden’s son? Democrats (and their media allies) seem to believe that the use of cutouts and middlemen to launder these payments from the Chinese is sufficient defense against accusations that Joe Biden himself is guilty of corruption. No sensible person buys this excuse, but still what intrigues me is the question of how the Chinese purchasers of Biden’s influence expected to be repaid for their “investment.”

If we are free to engage in speculation, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Joe getting his family members paid by the Chinese after he left the vice-presidency was in fact the fulfillment of some secret agreement made while he was still vice president. That is to say, Biden did the Chinese favors during the Obama administration, with the agreement that he’d get paid after he left office. This is just wild speculation, of course, but there must be some explanation for this deal, which on the surface doesn’t make much sense from an influence-buying point of view. Maybe the explanation is simply that the Chinese clients didn’t understand U.S. politics well enough to realize that “former vice president” isn’t a very influential position in America.



In The Mailbox: 03.17.23

Posted on | March 18, 2023 | No Comments

— compiled by Wombat-socho

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Ceterum autem censeo Silicon Valley esse delendam.

Patron saint of Ireland

357 Magnum: The Woke Rewrite Literature Because They Can’t Write
EBL: St. Patrick’s Day Rule 5, Saint Patrick ??, and Happy Birthday Michael Caine
Twitchy: California Congressman Shows What Cali Is Doing With All That Stormwater, Stanford Red Guards Rage At Being Named & Shamed By Washington Free Beacon, and Misogynist Leftard Preacher John Pavlovitz Accuses Republican Women Of “Internalized Misogyny”, Gets Rekt
Louder With Crowder: Kamala Harris gets booed of out an Iowa arena when they showed her attempting to pander for March Madness
Vox Popoli: The World They Never Knew, Sigma Game, Checkmate, Putin, and Secular Blindness and Post-Ideology
According To Hoyt: In Praise Of Beauty, Your Lying Eyes, and SVB – A Guest Post by Francis Turner
Monster Hunter Nation: WriterDojo S4 E10: Profanity, also, Back to (Gun) School

American Conservative: Germany Lurches Toward Schism, also, Conservatives Should Hope
American Greatness: Biden Family Members Paid by Chinese Firm with Ties to CCP
American Thinker: Questioning the January 6 Aftermath, also, ESG Will Bankrupt You — Financially and Morally
Animal Magnetism: Rule Five Mexican Drug Cartels Friday
Babalu Blog: Protests likely as Cuban dictatorship’s team arrives in Miami for World Baseball Classic, Cuban terrorists who murdered four American human rights activists should be brought to justice, Are you sure St. Patrick wasn’t Cuban?, and Cuban opposition leader says he’d rather remain imprisoned for life than stain his honor
BattleSwarm: LinkSwarm For March 17
Behind The Black: Rocket Lab and China launch satellites successfully, Astra asks for more time from Nasdaq before its stock is delisted, Starship launch still stalled by FAA, SpaceX launches another 52 Starlink satellites, and Pushback: Smithsonian ordered to no longer violate the First Amendment
Cafe Hayek: Difficult to Believe that Such An Essay Is Published In March 2023, also, On Hayek
CDR Salamander: Fullbore Friday
Chicago Boyz: Harrison Bergeroning
Da Tech Guy: Off to Maine To Continue the Lockdown Birthday Tradition
Don Surber: Libs Want A Trump-DeSantis War
First Street Journal: “I’ll take ‘Things you won’t find in the Inquirer’ for $200, Alex.”
Gates Of Vienna: Klaboosterbach Walks It Back… Sort Of, A Banner Day for Dutch Farmers, Imagine There’s No Migrants — It’s Easy if You Try, and BBB Won a (Useless) Landslide Victory
The Geller Report: BOMBSHELL Pfizer Confidential Documents: Pfizer Knew Its Covid ‘Vaccine’ Caused Myocarditis But Did Not Disclose, also, CDC Bought Phone Data To Monitor Americans’ Compliance With Lockdowns, Contracts Show
Hogewash:  Hubble and the Crab Nebula, I’m Not Making This Up, You Know, Team Kimberlin Post of the Day, and A Higher Authority Disagrees with Rep. Harris
Hollywood In Toto: Fox News’ Secret Weapon – Kamala Harris Impressionist Ester Paltielova, also, Rumble Goes All-In on Free Speech with Russell’s ‘Brandemic’
The Lid: Dept. of Defense is Wasting $50 Million/Year Doing Nothing With Trump’s Border Wall Materials
Legal Insurrection: Troy University Closes China-Sponsored Campus Confucius Institute, Boston Mayor Focuses on ‘Green’ Construction as City Struggles to Answer 911 Calls, Pennsylvania Democrat Outraged That Conservatives are Allowed to Speak on College Campuses, Woke Twitter Claims “Woke” Doesn’t Exist If You Can’t Precisely Define It, and Stanford Red Guard Screamed At Conservative Judge: “We hope your daughters get raped!”
Nebraska Energy Observer: Scattershot Friday
Outkick: The Bunny Ranch Welcomes Jimmy Garoppolo To Las Vegas, Invites Him To Pay Them A Visit, Olympic Pole Vaulter Alysha Newman Does Some Resting & Recovering In A Bikini In Miami, Viral Utah State Cheerleader Reacts To Crying During March Madness Loss: ‘Now I’m A Meme’, Double Whammy: Howard Players Endure Cringey Kamala Harris Post Game Speech After Losing To Kansas By 28 Points, and #1 Purdue Loses to #16 Fairleigh Dickinson In Historic Upset
Power Line: Minnesota Is In the News–For Craziness, Hallie Biden in family business, Inside Stanford’s disgrace, and Thoughts from the ammo line
Protein Wisdom Reborn: The Unbearable Lightness Of Being Charlie Sykes
Shark Tank: Diaz-Balart Calls For Investigation Into Exported Cuban Baseball Players
Shot In The Dark: One Morning In The Duchey Household, So Let’s Make Sure We’re Clear On This, Defining His Place, and Metaphor Alert
The Political Hat: Firing Line Friday: Panama Debates and Crotchety Conservatives
This Ain’t Hell: I know you’re Fonda Jane, Bus hijacker Soldier to be chaptered out of the Army, The Department of Veterans Affairs to change its motto, and Valor Friday
Transterrestrial Musings: Hilarious Twitter Thread, also, Revisionism
Victory Girls: Banks Are Sound Says Yellen While Bank Execs Made Bank
Volokh Conspiracy: The Declining Political Significance of Irish-American Identity, also, The State-Created Danger Doctrine
Watts Up With That: Best Extinction Prevention Plan?  Quit Killing Them, also, Countdown To New York’s Rendezvous With Energy Impossibility
Weasel Zippers: 785 Days After Biden Took Office, WH Says “We’re Going To Secure The Border”, also, Kamala Harris Confirms Her Failed Vice Presidency Is Really An Episode Of Veep
The Federalist: Minnesota Could Be Third State To Adopt Ranked-Choice Voting, Following Alaska And Maine, DOD Pays Media-Rating Scammers To Create Propaganda And Censorship Tech For U.S. Government, San Francisco Moves Forward With $5 Million-Per-Person ‘Reparations’ Handouts While City Falls Apart, In Bemoaning What They ‘Won’t Teach Anymore,’ Educators Reveal 6 Ways They Indoctrinate Students, and ‘Woke’ Effectively Describes The Left’s Insanity, And That’s Why They Hate When You Say It
Mark Steyn: Live Around the Planet: Friday March 17th

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Journalists Against Journalism: Reporter in Crime-Ridden Philadelphia Criticized for Reporting About City’s Crime Wave

Posted on | March 17, 2023 | No Comments

If you live near Philadelphia, you almost certainly know Steve Keeley, one of the city’s most popular television reporters, who has been at WTXF-TV (Fox 29) for nearly three decades. The man is a local legend, and in recent years has been covering the outrageous epidemic of criminal violence that has plagued Philadelphia since Soros-backed Larry Krasner was elected the city’s district attorney. As recently as 2014, Philly had fewer than 250 homicides annually, but Krasner was elected DA in 2017 and the homicide rate began rising almost immediately: 353 in 2018 and the same number the next year. Then in 2020, the city well and truly earned the nickname “Killadelphia,” as there were 499 homicides, an astonishing 41% increase in a single year. But 2021 was even worse — indeed, the 562 homicides in 2021 were the most in the city’s history — and the next year, the total fell just slightly from that all-time record, as 516 were victims of homicide in “Killadelphia” in 2022. That’s just murders, you understand, and doesn’t take into account all the armed robberies, aggravated assaults, carjackings, etc. How bad is crime in Philadelphia? Literally worse than Chicago, at least on a per-capita basis.

Obviously, if your city suddenly turns into a chaotic slaughterhouse of lawless violence, that’s a pretty important story for a local journalist to cover, and Steve Keeley has been covering it relentlessly. Covering it so well, in fact, that a bunch of weenies and wusses in Philadelphia’s journalism hive are complaining that Keeley is covering too much crime:

Philadelphia magazine analyzed a study of the city’s media and concluded that Mr. Keeley’s station devoted far more stories to local crime than any other news outlet. In a follow-up piece in the magazine, several critics came forward with negative takes on Mr. Keeley, including some of his media colleagues.
Cherri Gregg, a longtime radio journalist in Philadelphia who now hosts a show for the city’s NPR-affiliated WHYY, told the magazine that Mr. Keeley’s work “definitely makes me cringe” and that “[c]rime coverage can be very harmful and scares people.”
She said she feared that minority communities, specifically men, could be hurt by such journalism. She did not express concern for people in those same communities who have been victimized by crime, nor did she say the reporting was inaccurate.
Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Jenice Armstrong chimed in as well, calling Mr. Keeley’s Twitter feed “disturbing,” but not because of the constant crime in the city.

Let the reader guess what Cherri Gregg and Jenice Armstrong have in common (I checked; your guess is correct), but beyond the obvious fact of their membership in the same demographic group that’s committing at least 80% of the violent crime in Philly, they have something else in common: Neither one of them is anywhere near as experienced as Steve Keeley in covering actual news, as opposed to engaging in the kind of thinly-disguised progressive activism that is considered “journalism” at liberal outlets like NPR and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Dana Pico’s been on the “Killadelphia” beat for years and has a few thoughts on the anti-journalism tendencies of liberal journalists.



In The Mailbox: 03.16.23

Posted on | March 17, 2023 | No Comments

— compiled by Wombat-socho

Silicon Valley delenda est.

357 Magnum: The End Of Free Speech In America
Ninety Miles From Tyranny: The 90 Miles Mystery Box Episode #2022
EBL: Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris, also, DeSantis Deemphasizes War, Urges Peace Between Ukraine and Russia
Twitchy: DeSantis Pudding Story May End His 2024 Presidential Bid, also, State Sen. Scott Wiener (Pedo-CA) Reveals Far Right Attempts To Incite Violence Against Him
Louder With Crowder:  A biological male, who competed for boys until this year, leads girl’s track team to state championship, also, New ETF does the exact opposite of what Jim Cramer recommends and it’s already beating the market
Vox Popoli: Star Wars is Dead, History is a Cycle, The Crisis of Empire, and The Problem, Not the Answer

American Conservative: America Doesn’t Need Ground-Based Nukes, also, Bishop Barron’s Bottom-Up Revival
American Greatness: Federal Court Rules Against NY Worker Fired for Refusing to Attend LGBTQ Training, also, Angry Taxpayers Respond to Latest Bank Bailouts
American Thinker: January 6 Doesn’t Shine a Candle to COVID, Elections Have Consequences; Stolen Elections Have Catastrophes, and The Communist Tortoise and the Communist Hare
Animal Magnetism: Animal’s Daily Air Traffic Control News
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Is Your Meme a Federal Felony?

Posted on | March 16, 2023 | No Comments

How would you like to spend 10 years in a federal penitentiary because of something you posted on Twitter? As strange as it seems, this could be the fate of “Ricky Vaughn,” the DOJ announced in January 2021:

A Florida man was arrested this morning on charges of conspiring with others in advance of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election to use various social media platforms to disseminate misinformation designed to deprive individuals of their constitutional right to vote.
Douglass Mackey, aka Ricky Vaughn, 31, of West Palm Beach, was charged by criminal complaint in the Eastern District of New York. . . .
“There is no place in public discourse for lies and misinformation to defraud citizens of their right to vote,” said Seth D. DuCharme, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “With Mackey’s arrest, we serve notice that those who would subvert the democratic process in this manner cannot rely on the cloak of Internet anonymity to evade responsibility for their crimes. They will be investigated, caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” . . .
The complaint alleges that in 2016, Mackey established an audience on Twitter with approximately 58,000 followers. A February 2016 analysis by the MIT Media Lab ranked Mackey as the 107th most important influencer of the then-upcoming Election, ranking his account above outlets and individuals such as NBC News (#114), Stephen Colbert (#119) and Newt Gingrich (#141). . . .
For example, on Nov. 1, 2016, Mackey allegedly tweeted an image that featured an African American woman standing in front of an “African Americans for [the Candidate]” sign. The image included the following text: “Avoid the Line. Vote from Home. Text ‘[Candidate’s first name]’ to 59925[.] Vote for [the Candidate] and be a part of history.” The fine print at the bottom of the image stated: “Must be 18 or older to vote. One vote per person. Must be a legal citizen of the United States. Voting by text not available in Guam, Puerto Rico, Alaska or Hawaii. Paid for by [Candidate] for President 2016.”
The tweet included the typed hashtags “#Go [Candidate]” and another slogan frequently used by the Candidate. On or about and before Election Day 2016, at least 4,900 unique telephone numbers texted “[Candidate’s first name]” or some derivative to the 59925 text number, which was used in multiple deceptive campaign images tweeted by the defendant and his co-conspirators.

Thus answering the question: How dumb are Democrat voters?

Another question: How did the FBI figure out the identity of “Ricky Vaughn”? To which the answer is, they didn’t. “Ricky Vaughn” got doxxed in 2018 by a HuffPo writer named Luke O’Brien. Trial of “Ricky Vaughn” was scheduled to start this week, until Luke O’Brien popped up again:

Mackey’s trial was meant to commence on March 16 but was delayed at his counsel’s request due to a planned Southern Poverty Law Center article on the defense’s would-be expert witness, George Hawley, an associate professor of political science from the University of Alabama. . . .
While the article by freelance journalist Luke O’Brien has yet to be published, Mackey’s attorney, Andrew Frisch, claimed it “unfairly disparages” Hawley and is partially based on the professor’s “private emails.”
“Mr. O’Brien waited until the start of trial to submit written questions to Professor Hawley in an apparent attempt to paint him as an extremist, including questions based on private emails which Mr. O’Brien obtained, simultaneously asking Professor Hawley if his employer, the University of Alabama, is aware of his proffered testimony at Mr. Mackey’s trial,” Frisch wrote in a letter requesting to delay the trial by at least 14 days.
In response to the unpublished SPLC report, Frisch told U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis that Hawley has requested to withdraw his name as a witness.
“For these reasons, I have no choice but to request a short adjournment of trial so that I may endeavor to identify a replacement expert witness,” Frisch wrote.

Will federal charges of obstructing justice be filed against Luke O’Brien? Isn’t doing this to a witness in a federal trial illegal? If not, shouldn’t it be? And if the trial goes forward now, doesn’t “Ricky Vaughn” have a ready-made grounds for appeal? But while we’re asking rhetorical questions, MEMES ARE A FEDERAL CRIME? MEMES? ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME WITH THIS?



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