The Other McCain

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

Haunted by Ghosts of ‘Fitzmas’ Past: Jason Leopold’s Trump/Cohen Debacle

Posted on | January 20, 2019 | No Comments

Jason Leopold is a journalist, allegedly.

The anti-Trump media are going through the Kübler-Ross stages of grief, Professor Jacobson notes, since the collapse of Thursday’s BuzzFeed “exclusive” with the devastating headline, “President Trump Directed His Attorney To Lie To Congress About The Moscow Tower Project.” One clue to what was wrong with the story was in the first paragraph: “according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.” Who were these “officials”? Keep in mind that Cohen has already pleaded guilty to lying to Congress; the question is whether this was done at Trump’s direction and, also, is there proof of such direction?

Another clue to what was wrong with the BuzzFeed story was the byline: Jason Leopold wrote the story along with Anthony Cormier, and some of us have long memories of Leopold’s sordid career as an “investigative journalist.” Here we must climb into the time machine . . .

In 2005, left-wingers were promoting wild conspiracy theories about the “leak” of Valerie Plame’s employment at the CIA. What became known as “Plamegate” was a scandal — in retrospect, rather minor — that involved Plame’s husband Joseph Wilson, who had undertaken an unusual trip to Africa to investigate whether Saddam Hussein had obtained uranium ore from Niger. Plame’s husband published a July 6, 2003, column in the New York Times describing his Niger trip and disputing the Bush administration’s claims about Saddam’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons. This column bolstered the Left’s “Bush lied” theme about the Iraq war, and the question arose: Why would the CIA choose this retired diplomat to undertake such a sensitive mission?

The answer was supplied by legendary Washington Post columnist Robert Novak in a July 14, 2003, column which explained how Wilson got his assignment: “Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction.” It was not actually a secret that Plame worked at the CIA, but until Novak’s column, nobody had connected the dots. Novak had gotten this scoop from Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, but nobody knew this at the time, and the anti-war Left instead focused suspicion on their two most-hated villains in the Bush administration, Vice President Dick Cheney and senior political adviser Karl Rove. A special counsel investigation by Patrick Fitzgerald was undertaken in December 2003 and, although Fitzgerald learned early in the investigation that Armitage was Novak’s source, the investigation inexplicably dragged on past the 2004 election, in which Bush defeated anti-war Democrat John Kerry.

Having failed to defeat Bush at the polls, therefore, the anti-war Left was now obsessed with the idea that this “CIA leak” investigation would provide the scandal that brought down Bush, and so in 2005, speculation about Fitzgerald’s probe was rampant on the newly emergent liberal blogosphere. In December 2005, the phrase “Fitzmas” was coined to describe the moonbat Left’s hope that Fitzgerald would indict Karl Rove and bloggers gloated over their fantasies of Rove being “perp-walked” in handcuffs after what they hoped would be his imminent arrest. Alas, December came and went with no “Fitzmas” to celebrate, but in May 2006, Jason Leopold broke the exclusive news: Fitzgerald’s grand jury was about to return an indictment against Rove!

Leopold reported that Karl Rove “told President Bush and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, as well as a few other high level administration officials,” that he was about to be indicted in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case, “according to people knowledgeable about these discussions.”
Leopold claimed that multiple sources “confirmed Rove’s indictment is imminent. These individuals requested anonymity saying they were not authorized to speak publicly about Rove’s situation.”

This was simply false, and so far as we know to this day, the “knowledgeable” sources were figments of Jason Leopold’s imagination. Rove was never indicted, and the only person prosecuted by Fitzgerald was Cheney’s aide Scooter Libby who had lied about his conversations with two reporters, Tim Russert of NBC News and Matt Cooper of Time magazine. (Libby’s indictment was only tangentially related to the CIA “leak” and had nothing at all to do with how Novak got his scoop, thus paralleling the current Mueller “Russian collusion” probe, where people associated with Donald Trump keep getting charged with crimes that have nothing to do with Russia.) Once it became clear that Leopold’s story about Rove’s indictment was wrong, the Columbia Journalism Review mocked his story as “Leopold’s latest addition to his application for membership in the Stephen Glass school of journalism.” (In case you don’t know, Stephen Glass was an infamous journalistic fraud who once worked for The New Republic.) The key point about the Rove indictment story is this: Not once in more than a dozen years since that debacle has Leopold explained how and why he got it wrong.

Think about that: A reporter for a website claims to have sources “knowledgeable” of discussions among top White House officials related to the pending indictment of a key presidential advisor in the most widely reported scandal of the era, and his story is proven false. Yet there is never any explanation from the reporter, not even after more than a decade, when surely the identity of his sources could no longer be regarded as confidential, especially since the information obtained from them was wrong. Shouldn’t that omission — the lack of an explanation from Jason Leopold of how and why he botched that 2006 “exclusive” — cause us to be permanently suspicious of him?

Indeed, after the BuzzFeed “bombshell” about Cohen and Trump exploded Thursday morning, many people familiar with Jason Leopold’s past brought up his previous bungles, and CNN’s Alisyn Camerota raised the issue with Anthony Cormier in an interview Thursday morning:

“[Leopold] was in trouble for perhaps claiming to have sources he really didn’t have. His stories didn’t wash. Executive directors and editors have had to apologize after some of his big blockbuster stories,” Camerota noted, before asking” How can you be certain today?”
Cormier fiercely defended his “rock solid” sourcing on this story.
“My sourcing on this goes beyond the two on the record,” Cormier told Camerota, adding “It’s 100 percent. I am the individual who confirmed and verified that it I am telling you our sourcing goes beyond the two I was able to put on the record. We were able to gather information from individuals who know this happened.”


Watch that interview closely, because something Cormier said may give away where this story actually came from:

“[Our sources] have been working the Trump Moscow tower portion of the investigation…before Mueller. So they had access to a number of different documents, 302 reports which are interview reports,” he said. “That stuff was compiled as they began to look at who the players were speaking with, how those negotiations went, who all from the Trump organization and outside the organization were involved in getting that tower set up.”
“They began to compile the evidence before Michael Cohen decided to cooperate and speak with the Special Counsel,” Cormier added.

Doesn’t this indicate that this story is coming from sources who are no longer involved in the investigation, perhaps James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, et al.? In other words, it appears that Cormier and Leopold are taking the word of “individuals” who say they “know this happened,” but this doesn’t tell us anything about the direction of Mueller’s current investigation or what Mueller can actually prove.  In other words, even if it were true that Trump directed Cohen to lie in his testimony to Congress, the sources cited by Cormier and Leopold would not have knowledge of whether Mueller could prove this, because their sources were involved “before Mueller.” He was appointed special counsel in May 2017, so when Cormier says these sources “began to look at who the players were speaking with” prior to May 2017, shouldn’t we infer that these “two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation” are not relating any recent information obtained by the Mueller probe?

A gigantic nothingburger — that’s what this story was, and when BuzzFeed published it, Professor Jacobson speculated about the motive:

The Buzzfeed story, like the Steele Dossier, serves a purpose.
Just like the Dossier was used as justification for a FISA warrant on Carter Page and two years of Russia collusion conspiracy theories, the Buzzfeed story is being used by Democrats in the House to demand a House investigation be launched to see if there is evidence to support impeachment of Trump. . . .
How convenient that this story drops just after Democrats regain control of the House and its committees, and just three weeks before Cohen is scheduled to testify in the House.
What better way to justify pre-impeachment proceedings that otherwise would be unpopular than to be able to point to the smoke of the Buzzfeed story.

That’s merely speculation, of course, but what else could explain it? Well, if you’re really cynical — and I am — how about the possibility that Jason Leopold needed a big “exclusive” to justify his continued employment? Prior to his Jan. 17 article, it had been four weeks since his last article (“Russian Agents Sought Secret US Treasury Records On Clinton Backers During 2016 Campaign,” Dec. 20, 2018). Now, I don’t know how your workplace operates, but in most companies, somebody who goes four weeks without producing any actual work might have to deal with an angry boss demanding to know what the hell he’s been doing lately.

Having had some experience as an editor dealing with investigative journalists, I’ll say that productivity can often become an issue if the reporter gets the idea that only the Big Story is worth his time and attention. If he thinks his byline should only appear on “home run” stories, an investigative journalist may stop producing the “base hits” of daily news. In such cases, “investigative journalism” can become synonymous with goofing off, and if Jason Leopold’s editors at BuzzFeed were pressuring him to produce more content, perhaps this overhyped, undersourced nothingburger of a story was his response.

Sketchy as this story was, it nevertheless gave the media an excuse to return to their favorite theme, The Walls Are Closing In. MSNBC and CNN mentioned “impeachment” 179 times in less than 24 hours, before a spokesman for Mueller officially denied the story:

“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate.”

Well, “not accurate” is perhaps not a synonym for bullshit, but it was enough to send the anti-Trump media into a state of mourning. CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin had perhaps the most honest reaction:

“The larger message that a lot of people are going to take from this story is that the news media are a bunch of leftist liars who are dying to get the president, and they’re willing to lie to do it,” Toobin said. “And I don’t think that’s true.”
“I just think this is a bad day for us … It reinforces every bad stereotype about the news media,” he added.
“Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter agreed with his latter statement but said as a media reporter, he was “desperate” for his audience to judge individuals and brands on a case-by-case basis.
“Don’t fall for what these politicians out there want you to do. They want you to think we’re all crooked,” Stelter said. “We’re not.”

Narrator voice: “In fact, they are all crooked.”


If the media were not “a bunch of leftist liars who are dying to get the president,” as Toobin said, Jason Leopold would be unemployed. The fact that he is on BuzzFeed’s payroll, despite his demonstrable record of publishing discredited hit jobs against Republicans, tells you everything you need to know about the liberal media’s ethical standards.




Jonah Goldberg Only Steals From the Best

Posted on | January 19, 2019 | No Comments


Plagiarism — passing off someone else’s work as your own — is generally a career-destroyer in journalism, and what Jonah Goldberg has done in recycling an idea borrowed from Ace of Spades is perhaps not exactly plagiarism. Like, it’s not as if he cut-and-pasted entire sentences, but rather that he failed to attribute the basic idea to the guy who originated it. By his lack of attribution, Goldberg essentially cheated Ace of credit he deserved. The weird thing is that, less than three years ago, Jonah did acknowledge Ace’s authorship of the “political MacGuffin” idea in a May 2016 column about Trump’s campaign where the “MacGuffin” was the GOP nomination. But now in January 2019, Goldberg returns to the same idea — this time, with the border wall as the “MacGuffin” of the government-shutdown melodrama — and cheats Ace out of his proper credit. Maybe it’s not a career-destroying plagiarism scandal, since Goldberg had previously acknowledged Ace’s authorship in an earlier iteration of the same theme, but it sure as hell ain’t fair or honest.

By the way, my entire blogging career was stolen from Ace.

Circa 2005-2006, I was feeling trapped in the newsroom of the Washington Times and, in my idle moments, would toggle over to Ace’s and literally laugh out loud at his stuff. Ace was having fun, and I was like, “I want to do that for a living.” I met Ace at CPAC 2006, hanging around outside the Omni Shoreham Hotel smoking cigarettes, basically fangirling all over him like my daughter would behave if she ever met Harry Styles. Then in 2007, I recommended Ace to my friends at the Young America’s Foundation for a sort of blogger junket to their West Coast student leadership conference in Santa Barbara, which was nice. That was where I learned how seriously Ace takes his anonymity, by the way. He presciently understood that the Left would sooner or later want to destroy his life, and so he guarded his true identity to such an extent that he was actually registered in the hotel as “Ace of Spades.” Also, that 2007 West Coast YAF conference was the occasion when I got a Drudge-linked front-page scoop on a story based on Phillip Klein’s notes of an interview, but I digress . . .

When the Washington Times changed editors in 2008 and I took that as my cue to leave, I knew that blogging was a thing I could do, and the madcap “what’s-he-gonna-say-next” aspect of Ace’s work was my basic inspiration for this gig. And sometimes it’s demoralizing to me to realize how far short I fall of my original ambition. Ace is remarkably productive, and consistently so, and he somehow manages to stay focused on the daily D.C. melodrama in a way I simply can’t anymore. Like, I just don’t see any point in writing about whatever is the top-of-the-hour thing on Fox News. Why should anyone want to read my take on the Breaking New Development in the Ongoing National Crisis? What’s the point in adding my own voice to the incessant mooing of the Pundit Herd?

The fact that Ace is able to keep going, and is still a daily must-read, is remarkable. He’s been doing this for 15+ years, OK?

Thursday night, I took my daughter and one of her school friends out for a late-night snack at Sheetz and while we were sitting there eating our delicious MTO meals — Sheetz is da bomb — I was reading Ace on my phone and laughing out loud at his take on the Google “you-can’t-say-‘family’-because-that’s-homophobic” story. And rather than trying to explain what I was laughing at, I just handed the phone over to my daughter: “Read this.” She didn’t seem to get it, but that’s OK. My point is to illustrate what I mean when I say it’s demoralizing to compare myself to Ace. I’d seen the same Daily Caller scoop by Peter Hasson that Ace was commenting about, and had intended to comment on it myself, but was busy Thursday working on my American Spectator column and intended to get around to the Google story later. But once I’d seen Ace’s take, I was like, “Why even bother now?” Because he absolutely murdered it:

Hi, I’m a transexual weirdo in a polyamorous relationship with multiple other dregs. We hope to live together in a collective f–k-pile. We would like to be called a “family” like a boring heterosexual family of 2.5 kids and a dog. We hate stereotypes but it’s okay to stereotype heterosexuals because Breeders, Am I Right?

You’d have to read the whole thing to understand how funny that sentence was in context, because Ace has an impeccable sense of comedic timing that enables him to deliver that line just so. Now I’m doing the Harry Styles fangirling thing again, but Ace deserves more praise than he usually gets and this Goldberg ripoff situation reminds me how wrong it is to take Ace for granted. That ewok is a National Treasure, and if he were to keel over from a heart attack, it would be a loss as painful as Andrew Breitbart’s untimely death in 2012. So now I suppose the question is, what are we gonna do about Jonah Goldberg? How are we going to avenge the injustice Jonah has inflicted on Ace?

We don’t want to be like the Left, doxxing the guy and then assembling a mob to surround his house and frighten his children. Or do we?

One of the reasons Jonah felt he could diss Ace like this, you see, is because he is arrogant enough to think there won’t be payback. And I honestly don’t want to declare war on Jonah. Despite his recent transition to being a testosterone-deficient #NeverTrump soy boy, I still have fond memories of when Jonah was one of the Good Guys, even though there were always signs he might be a bit wobbly, like when NRO purged Ann Coulter over . . . what? It’s been so long I’ve forgotten, but that was one of those incidents that made me mark down Rich Lowry’s name in the “unreliable” column, and I seem to vaguely recall that Jonah played a role in the Coulter purge although, as I say, it’s been a long time and details of that incident are now very fuzzy in my memory. But I digress . . .

My point is not to recount the entire history of Goldberg’s slow-motion descent into an absurd parody of a controlled-opposition RINO, but rather to say that if this is the Franz-Ferdinand-at-Sarajevo moment that leads to all-out #WAR, I’m enlisting with the Ewok Army.

Of course, it’s still possible diplomacy can prevent the needless effusion of blood. There needs to be an “intervention” with Goldberg, to try to save him from turning into Rick Wilson or Tom Nichols or Max Boot.

Oh, dear God, why did I just write the name “Max Boot” and remind myself of his existence? The other day I saw a clip of Max Boot on CNN and there are no words to describe how creepy he is.


Somebody should show that clip to Jonah and ask him: “Is this who you want to be?” Is it your life’s ambition to become a cartoon caricature of an effeminate ex-Republican doing guest spots on CNN to feed their liberal narrative? Because that’s your ultimate destination if you keep hanging around the #NeverTrump crowd. Selah.




In The Mailbox: 01.18.19

Posted on | January 19, 2019 | 1 Comment

— compiled by Wombat-socho

EBL: Buzz Kill
Twitchy: CNN’s Toobin Worries Buzzfeed Backfire “Reinforces Every Bad Stereotype About The News Media”
Louder With Crowder: Ben Shapiro Drops Hard Truths About Abortion At March For Life
According To Hoyt: Bad Crazy
Monster Hunter Nation: Mike Glyer Is A Scumbag, Part II – An Opinion Piece
Vox Popoli: Darkstream – Dealing With Deplatforming

Adam Piggott: Friday Hawt Chicks And Links – The Gender Wars Edition
American Thinker: Credit Card Companies Have No Business Playing Second Amendment Censors
Animal Magnetism:  Rule Five Shutdown “Crisis” Friday
BattleSwarm: Two Essays – Workers v. Elites, also, LinkSwarm For January 18
CDR Salamander: Fullbore Friday
Da Tech Guy: The Color Of Dreams By Derri Daugherty, also, Lifson Flashes The President’s Shutdown “Trump” Card
Don Surber: Shutdown Hurts Democrats, So Mueller Leaks
Dustbury: We Noticed There’s Always A They
The Geller Report: “Moderate” Malaysia Expands Ban On Israeli Activities, also, Muslim Mob Attacks Crowd Leaving London Nightclub With Acid
Hogewash: Team Kimberlin Post Of The Day, also, NGC 5189
Hollywood In Toto: That Shocking Glass Reveal is A Big Fat Nothing
Joe For America: Renowned Forensic Criminologist – California Is Becoming A Third World Country
JustOneMinute: Why Not The Best?
Legal Insurrection: Pelosi Claims White House Leaked Commercial Plans, White House Calls Her A Liar, also, Trump Grounds All Unapproved Congressional Travel On Government Aircraft During Shutdown
Power Line: Rabbis Protest Omar Appointment To Foreign Relations Committee, also, She Knew She Was Right
Shark Tank: Congressman Waltz Soars Into House Committees
Shot In The Dark: I Can Honestly Say…
The Political Hat: Crossdressing Nazis
This Ain’t Hell: Keep A Weather Eye On This One, also, Lies By Politicians, And Why We Should Care About Politics
Victory Girls: Marching & Winning For Life
Volokh Conspiracy: Appellate Court Rejects “Cartoonist” Ted Rall’s Libel & Employment Claims Against The L.A. Times
Weasel Zippers: R. Lee Ermey Buried At Arlington, also, Letter From OMB Adds Insult To Injury For Pelosi, Others Grounded By Government Shutdown
Megan McArdle: The Late John Bogle’s Financial Product Was A Hit With Ordinary People
Mark Steyn: The Fevers Of Impeachment

Friday Fiction: 100 Word Challenge

Posted on | January 18, 2019 | No Comments

by Smitty

The 34th floor apartment adjacent the utility shaft, so power entering and heat exiting could be masked, waited.
At the proper moment, connectivity in the area was gone: the Cthulhu Taking Humanity Under Logical Hostage Ultimatum (CTHULHU) project went live.
Overwhelming global DNS servers in NOVA, Amazon us-east-1 region, Azure resources, and government agencies was trivial. Grabbing the NASDAQ, London, and Hong Kong markets, was just ripple effect for the Evil Metadata Pulse (EMP).
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, young Hezekiah Stoltzfus found his father plowing. “Verily, the English will cease to bedevil us about selling land for a data center, sir.”

via Darleen

‘This Tragic Epidemic’

Posted on | January 18, 2019 | No Comments

One of the things I used to do when I was on the campaign trail was to use my blog as a sort of notebook, where I’d pile up stuff during the day and then, in the evening, cannibalize this raw product to produce my American Spectator column. So after Thursday’s “Transgender Victimhood Narrative Update,” I realized this was column-worthy stuff:

After 24-year-old De’janay Lenorra Stanton was found fatally wounded last August on the South Side of Chicago, the story received nationwide attention. This was not because homicide is rare in Chicago, where 589 people were murdered in 2018, nor was the method of Stanton’s death — a single gunshot to the head — newsworthy in a city notorious for armed violence. Rather, what made this crime a subject of national attention was a matter of identity and presumed motive. Stanton’s murder highlighted “the urgent need to address the epidemic of violence against the transgender community across the U.S.,” declared Helen Parshall of the LGBT activist group Human Rights Campaign. “Stanton’s death marks the 18th known killing of a transgender or non-binary person this year,” Parshall wrote, bemoaning “this tragic epidemic” of anti-transgender violence.
This theme was reiterated in other coverage of Stanton’s death. “Transgender women face considerably high rates of violence in comparison to cisgender women, though that risk is even higher for trans women of color like De’janay,” Leila Ettachfini wrote on the feminist site Broadly, citing research by activist groups: “For many transgender women of color, the threat of violence is constant.”
Every time such a murder is reported, the media repeats and elaborates this message, as in the case of the recent murder of Dana Martin in Montgomery, Alabama, which was reported by the New York Times: “At least 26 transgender people were killed in 2018, the majority of them black transgender women, according to the Human Rights Campaign. In 2017, advocates reported at least 29 transgender people fatally shot or killed by other violent means.”
Police in Montgomery say they have no suspects in the murder of Martin, who was found shot death in a car Jan. 6, thus becoming “the first known transgender person killed this year in the United States.” A local LGBT activist told the Times that murders of “trans people of color are just happening more and more often and very little is being done about it.” This is self-evidently false, as even the statistics cited by activist groups indicate that the number of such crimes declined about 10% in the past year, despite the rhetoric about an “epidemic” of anti-transgender violence. As to the question of what is “being done about it,” the police in Montgomery, as in other cities, say they’re doing their best. There were more than 17,000 homicides in the United States in 2017, the most recent year for which Justice Department figures are available, and the reported number of transgender victims was a minuscule fraction of a single percentage point of those murders. No one should imagine, of course, that the liberal media and activist organizations have suddenly taken an interest in supporting the law enforcement community and urging them to bring criminals to justice. No, all the noise about an alleged “epidemic” of anti-transgender violence is about blaming President Trump. . . . 

You can read the rest at The American Spectator.




In The Mailbox: 01.17.19

Posted on | January 17, 2019 | 1 Comment

— compiled by Wombat-socho

EBL: Nancy Pelosi – Leaving On A Jet Plane?
Twitchy: Video Of Adam Schiff Getting Off Bus After Trump Cancels Dems’ Junket Wins Reactions It So Richly Deserves
Louder With Crowder: Poll Shows Trump Picking Up Support From Latinos – A LOT Of Support

Adam Piggott: The Real Problem With Masculinity
American Power: Can Dems Keep A “Big Tent” In 2020?
American Thinker: Today’s Democrats – Anti-Christian, Anti-Israel, & Anti-God
Animal Magnetism: Animal’s Daily Loony Shoes News
BattleSwarm: Judge To City Of Austin In Gun Lawsuit – BOOM!
CDR Salamander: Grow Or Harvest Critical Thinkers
Da Tech Guy: Can The President Build The Wall By Declaring An Emergency? also, If You Really Want To march To Save Womens’ Lives, Black Lives, And Jewish Lives
Don Surber: Trump Tells Pelosi She’s Grounded, also, A McChicken In Every Pot
Dustbury: Karma.exe
Fred On Everything: The White Man’s Burden – Reflections On The Custodial State
The Geller Report: Muslim Shot In Arizona Cop Ambush Plot Charged With Terrorism, also, Border Ranchers Say They’ve Found Prayer Rugs On Their Property
Hogewash: Team Kimberlin Post Of The Day, also, A View From The Far Side
Hollywood In Toto: Punisher Falls Back On Hollywood’s Go-To Villain
Joe For America: CA Lawmakers Pass 400% Gas Tax Increase, Give Themselves Free Cars & Gas
Legal Insurrection: Former Staffer Claims Rep. Barbara Lee Fired Her After Her Rape Allegation, also, German Army Catches Iranian Spy In Its Ranks
The PanAm Post: ELN Suspected In Deadly Police Academy Attack In Bogota
Power Line: Ilhan Omar Appointed To House Foreign Relations Committee, also, Loose Ends
Shark Tank: Rubio Protects Consumer Privacy With ADD Act
Shot In The Dark: Movie Rights Are Currently On The Table
The Political Hat: The Democrats’ Coming Assault On The Second Amendment
This Ain’t Hell: Passing Of A Code Talker, also, Thursdays Are For Cooking
Victory Girls: Ilhan Omar doubles Down On Vile Comments About Lindsey Graham
Volokh Conspiracy: Audio Of Recent Federalist Society Teleforum On Sanctuary Cities
Weasel Zippers: Illegal Alien Charged In Polk County FL With Child Rape, also, SPLC Slapped With Racketeering Suit
Megan McArdle: The Best Solution To Brexit? Leave, Good And Hard
Mark Steyn: There’ll Always Be An England (Brussels Permitting)

Transgender Victimhood Narrative Update

Posted on | January 17, 2019 | No Comments

Dana Martin, 31, was found shot to death in Alabama.

The New York Times has important news of nationwide significance:

An Alabama woman has become the first known transgender person killed this year in the United States.
Dana Martin, 31, identified by advocacy groups as a black transgender woman, was found shot to death in a vehicle in Montgomery, Ala., on [Jan. 6].
Ms. Martin, who lived in Hope Hull, Ala., about nine miles southwest of Montgomery, was well-known in the transgender community of Birmingham and Montgomery, said Meta Ellis, the director of Montgomery Pride United, an L.G.B.T. advocacy organization in Alabama.
“Our community is devastated because the murders going on especially of trans people of color — are just happening more and more often and very little is being done about it,” she said. . . .
It is still unclear why Ms. Martin was killed.
There have not been any arrests in the case and there aren’t any suspects or known motives, said Capt. Regina Duckett of the Montgomery Police Department, which is investigating the crime.
“At this point, the circumstances of Dana Martin’s homicide are unknown,” Captain Duckett said on Friday. “The death is confirmed as a criminal homicide.”
Ms. Martin’s body was discovered when the police and fire medics responded to a vehicle crash on Brewer Road on Sunday around 11 p.m., the police said. Emergency workers found Ms. Martin in the vehicle, which was in the ditch line. Ms. Martin, the driver, had a fatal gunshot wound, the police said, and it appeared as if the shooting had occurred near the vehicle.
Based on their review of legal documents and a forensic examination, the police did not identify Ms. Martin as a woman in their news release, Captain Duckett said.
How a homicide victim identifies is “a personal matter that becomes relevant to our investigation only if it is determined to be a reason the victim was killed,” Captain Duckett added.
In Alabama, changing gender identity on a driver’s license requires gender-affirming surgery, Ms. Ellis said, something many transgender people don’t find necessary or are unable to afford.
At least 26 transgender people were killed in 2018, the majority of them black transgender women, according to the Human Rights Campaign. In 2017, advocates reported at least 29 transgender people fatally shot or killed by other violent means.

Notice that this business of the national media reporting the annual number of transgender murders began with the inauguration of Donald Trump as president. This is a crucial aspect of the Transgender Victimhood Narrative, i.e., the suggestion that Trump’s election signified the onset of a “climate of hate” which is to blame for violence against “transgender women of color” and other “marginalized communities”:

Many people have asked if the current regressive political climate legitimized by the language and policies of the Trump administration and others could be contributing to the rise of hate violence. Our answer is yes. . . . Over and over, President Donald Trump and his administration have attempted to erase, demonize and discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community.

This week, CNN provided a fresh update on the “climate of hate” theme:

Despite an all-time high in trans-visibility, with celebrities such as Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox now mainstream media stars, violence against the community is getting worse, community advocates say. . . .
Activists say anti-trans rhetoric stigmatizes the community and raises the risk of violence. . . .
Tillery, of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, feels that Trump has created a “really scary time for the whole LGBTQ community.”
“Every week, there is another news event that is equally triggering and terrifying, that leaves people not knowing where they can be safe. They are left with an uncertain future in this country,” Tillery said. “When you dehumanize people and try to erase them completely from existence, it emboldens those who hate this community, and no one is really stopping them, aside from the community rising up.”

Thus, the murder of Dana Martin is not just another unsolved crime, it’s part of the anti-Trump political narrative, which makes it a subject considered worthy of national media coverage. However, analysis will show that (a) there has not really been a “surge” of violent crime against transgender people, and (b) none of these killings have been inspired by Trump or by “anti-trans rhetoric.”

After the media began promoting this theme two years ago, I repeatedly debunked the Transgender Victimhood Narrative:

What anyone may discover, by careful examination of news accounts, is that most of the victims of “anti-transgender violence” were drug addicts or working as prostitutes, and were killed in circumstances related to their habitual association with the criminal subculture. The activists who compile the inventory of these homicides are just counting numbers of victims, and the national media generally fail to do follow-up reporting when suspects are arrested and the motives for these crimes determined. The obvious reason for this absence of follow-up reporting is that the facts do not corroborate the media’s “climate of hate” theme.


Consider the case of 24-year-old Dejanay Stanton. After Stanton was found shot to death on the South Side of Chicago last year, the pro-LGBT activist group Human Rights Campaign said that this homicide showed the “urgent need to address the epidemic of violence against the transgender community across the U.S.” But an arrest was recently made in the case and I think everyone will agree that this news is not helpful for the Transgender Victimhood Narrative:

A 17-year-old boy accused of fatally shooting a transgender woman last year in a secluded area on the South Side was ordered held without bail Sunday.
Tremon T. Hill was charged with first-degree murder in the Aug. 13 slaying of Dejanay Stanton, a 24-year-old trans woman escort he was in a sexual relationship with, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.
Stanton received a text from Hill the morning of her killing asking her to meet him in a lot in the 4000 block of South Calumet Avenue in Bronzeville, Assistant State’s Attorney Britt Steinberg said at a bail hearing Sunday in the Leighton Criminal Court Building.
Just after 11 a.m., Hill is alleged to have shot Stanton in the head and left her lying on the ground outside of her car, which was left with its doors open and a purse and cellphone inside, according to Steinberg. Police responded to a ShotSpotter alert at that location and found Stanton, who died minutes later, Steinberg said.
Text messages between Hill and Stanton revealed that their alleged sexual relationship began in July, when they arranged to meet at a South Side hotel after Hill indicated he was 18-years-old, Steinberg said.
The pair continued communicating, sending each other more than 400 messages, in which Hill allegedly expressed he was interested in having sex with Stanton but not with a transgender person, Steinberg said.
Over multiple texts, Hill urged Stanton to delete photos of him from her phone, which she later did, Steinberg said. Hill also told Stanton that their sexual relationship had caused him to become suicidal, Steinberg said.

Chicago authorities have not released a mug shot of Tremon Hill, “a lanky Phillips High School student who . . . played on the school’s basketball team,” but it seems highly unlikely that he is a Trump supporter influenced by “anti-trans rhetoric,” as activists might wish us to believe. And I suspect that the national media will ignore this latest development in the Dejanay Stanton case, because hooking up with high-school boys is not exactly helpful for the Transgender Victimhood Narrative.

(Hat-tip: Kirby McCain on Twitter.) 




Caroline Calloway and the ‘Creativity Workshop’ Influencer Tour From Hell

Posted on | January 17, 2019 | No Comments

Caroline Calloway spending Daddy’s money in Europe, 2013.

In November, Glamour magazine announced that it would cease print publication and it’s not just the downward trend in print publications in general that is to blame. What has happened is that the fashion industry increasingly promotes its products via marketing arrangements with so-called “digital influencers,” which is a fancy term for pretty girls with lots of Instagram followers. Parlaying a popular Instagram feed (and maybe also a YouTube channel) into a lucrative income is a matter of “branding,” and one of the most popular “brands” of recent years is a young woman named Caroline Calloway. She comes from money. Her parents sent her to an elite boarding school in New Hampshire, and she attended New York University ($69,984 a year, including room and board). In 2013, at age 21, she spent the summer traveling in Europe, meeting good-looking Italian guys, and posting what she hashtagged #adventuregram photos with long storytelling captions. and then in the fall, she went to Cambridge University in England, studying art history and — ZOOM! — she soared to Instagram superstardom.

Evidently, there are lots of girls on Instagram who wish Daddy had enough money to send them to Cambridge where, in addition to “studying art history” (ahem) Miss Calloway got herself a dreamy British boyfriend named Oscar and had all kinds of #adventuregram moments that she chronicled for her growing digital audience.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Miss Calloway is not, nor will she ever be, a historian of art or anything else. She’s a no-talent spoiled rich girl who might be taking orders in a truck-stop diner were it not for Daddy’s money. But her tales of romance at Cambridge were enormously popular with her loyal fangirls on Instagram, and so Miss Calloway had a brainstorm — a book! And believe it or not, in 2015 a publisher offered her a $500,000 contract for a memoir on the basis of a 100-page proposal which her New York agent called “brilliant.”

What kind of “memoir” does a 24-year-old rich girl write?

Answer: We’ll never know, because Miss Calloway failed to deliver the manuscript, which meant she had to return the advance and — oops! — I guess Daddy’s not that rich, because she was left owing $100,000 to the publisher. That was summer 2017, after Miss Calloway had finished “studying art history” (ahem) and moved in with her boyfriend Oscar in London. She then began attempting to market herself as a “digital influencer,” apparently with not much success — certainly not enough success to pay back the $100,000 she owed the publisher. Finally, this past December, having lost Oscar and moved back to New York, Miss Calloway announced she would be doing a “Creativity Workshop” tour:

Topics to be covered included ‘Creativity — How to cultivate it, how to nurture it, and how to express it in a way that is true to who you are insdie’, ‘the basics of establishing style, crafting jokes, reading like a writer, and how to balance entertaining your audiencce with expressing yourself’, build a brand on Instagram by using my brand as a case study and explaining how I conceptualized, how I grew it, and why it works’, and ‘how to begin architecting a life that feels really full and genuine and rich and beautiful for you.’ All the spelling mistakes are hers.

So explains Kayleigh Donaldson, a Scottish journalist who has observed Miss Calloway’s online antics long enough to despise her quite thoroughly. Miss Calloway announced in December that her “Creativity Workshop” tour — to which she sold tickets for $165 — would begin in January. Yeah, lots of advanced planning there:

Calloway started selling tickets for her nationwide tour, with locations in Boston, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Austin, Charlotte and DC, before she had booked venues. Any event manager will tell you that rule number one is to make sure you have a location confirmed before you start selling tickets to it.

Many things — many, many things — went predictably and disastrously wrong with this doomed “Creativity Workshop” tour plan. The New York event this past Saturday will, apparently, be the first and last stop of her “tour.” Ticket-holders to previously announced dates in other cities have reportedly gotten refunds.

So what’s the lesson here? Kayleigh Donaldson concludes:

No, Calloway is not the worst scammer on the internet. Plenty of people have been quick to tell me they don’t think she’s a real scammer, just an incompetent dolt who got in way over her head. But I’m not sure that option is much better. All the warning signs were there and she powered through because there was money to be made. She harnessed that fan devotion for profit based on skills she did not possess and services she could not provide, and anyone who dissented from that loyalty was ‘inauthentic’. . . .
Being incompetent is not charming. Scamming people out of hundreds of dollars for the chance to be ‘real’ with an influencer is not good business. Other people’s work and emotions are not yours to appropriate as part of a brand.
Caroline Calloway is merely the sloppiest and most obviously incompetent version of the influencer economy run amok. She has had every opportunity handed to her, including a book deal that would be life-changing for most, but she had no intention of following through. The workshop tour merely exposes how unprepared and unwilling to learn she is for such experiences. Calloway’s main problem is that she doesn’t want to be an artist or a storyteller or a writer: she wants to have made art, to have told stories, to have been a writer, to have taught, and so on. But that requires work, research, planning, sacrifice, and an acute understanding that not everything you do will be successful or worthy of celebration. She has nothing to offer but is selling everything.

Miss Calloway is 27 now. She’s no longer the fresh-faced girl posting #adventuregram photos and spending Daddy’s money on an extended vacation “studying art history” in Cambridge. She’s got hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers but has yet to succeed in monetizing her “brand” because she’s unwilling to do any actual work.

Like, you land a $500,000 book contact — half a million dollars! — at age 24, and you can’t deliver the manuscript? Why? Because you were too busy “studying art history” and hanging out with Oscar? Or was it because you realized that your shallow life wasn’t really interesting enough to merit a “memoir”? But if somebody’s willing to pay you $500,000 for it, maybe you could fake it? For $500,000 I could write all kinds of wild stuff, maybe even the True Story of the Kentucky Fried Chicken Robbery, although otherwise I’d have to invoke my Fifth Amendment rights on advice of my Samoan lawyer.

Probably nobody wants to read any stories of my drug-addled adolescence outrunning the Austell, Georgia, police in a 1973 Volkswagen Beetle, but for $500,000? Yeah, how soon do you need that story, Mister Publisher Man? For a half-million bucks, I’m gonna make it good. But first, I’d have to hire a cute little “editorial assistant” and set up a writing office in Key West, so I could really concentrate on my work.

No, it’s never gonna happen, and not just because anyone who knows me would warn the publisher that I’m far too irresponsible to be trusted with $500,000. No matter how interesting my youthful misadventures were, publishers nowadays only want “memoirs” by girls fresh out of college with lots of followers on Instagram and YouTube, because that’s where the marketing analysts tell them the money is. Anyway . . .


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Now that I’m a digital influencer, who’s up for a “creativity workshop”?


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