PowerLine -> Tragedy in Charlottesville prompts criticism of President Trump and The Week in Pictures: Googleplex Edition

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PowerLine -> Tragedy in Charlottesville prompts criticism of President Trump and The Week in Pictures: Googleplex Edition

Daily Digest

  • Tragedy in Charlottesville prompts criticism of President Trump
  • The Liberal Crackup
  • Green Weenie of the Week: Gilkisonism
  • (DHS) Magical mystery tour: Doing the work the Star Tribune won’t do (3)
  • The Week in Pictures: Googleplex Edition
Tragedy in Charlottesville prompts criticism of President Trump

Posted: 12 Aug 2017 04:08 PM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

I’ve been watching soccer all day (the first full match day of the 2017-18 Premier League season), so I’m just hearing the awful news about the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. As I’m sure nearly all of readers know, the violence erupted today when white nationalists trying to hold a rally clashed with protesters who objected to their rally.

The worst of the day’s injuries occurred after the rally dispersed, when a car plowed into counter-protesters, killing at least one person and injuring at least 19 others. As I write this, police officials haven’t determined that the driver acted with intent to kill or injure. However, there are indications from eye-witnesses that this may well have been the case. The driver has been taken into custody.

President Trump condemned the violence. Naturally, however, he’s being criticized by Democrats and their friends in the media. They say he didn’t tweet about the goings on in Charlottesville quickly enough. The New York Times sniffs that he “remained silent on the violence for most of the morning.” Maybe he was watching soccer.

On a more serious note, Trump has received criticism for not singling out the white nationalists for criticism. Instead of doing that, Trump said:

We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. It’s not Donald Trump, it’s not Barack Obama.

Trump then called for the “swift restoration of law and order” and for unity among Americans of “all races, creeds, and colors.”

I don’t see a problem here. By condemning all sides, the president clearly condemned the white nationalists.

David Duke, the white nationalist who led the demonstration, understood this. He lashed out at Trump for his remarks, a fact the New York Times neglects to note in its article about the criticism of the president.

Should Trump have included a denunciation of leftist hatred, bigotry, and violence? Absolutely. The “antifas” have been rioting and attacking peaceful protesters across America. Reportedly, there were some in Charlottesville, and they engaged in fighting.

If the driver of the car that killed and injured counter-protesters acted intentionally, he deserves special condemnation. However, at the time Trump spoke, the driver’s intent had not been determined.

It would be interesting to know whether the Democrats — e.g., Chuck Schumer — who are attacking Trump for not singling out white nationalists had anything to say about the left-wing thugs who rampaged through Washington, D.C. on the day of Trump’s inauguration, or about any other instances of thuggery by these anti-Trump radicals.

In any event, there is no event, no matter how tragic or how remote from the control of Donald Trump, that Democratic politicians and media hacks can’t convert into an attack on President Trump almost instantaneously.


The Liberal Crackup

Posted: 12 Aug 2017 11:45 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

The Wall Street Journal ran an excerpt from Mark Lilla’s new book, The Once and Future Liberal, coming out on Tuesday that we mentioned here yesterday. Here’s a link to the whole piece if you are a WSJ subscriber, but if not here are two of the better paragraphs in it:

As a teacher, I am increasingly struck by a difference between my conservative and progressive students. Contrary to the stereotype, the conservatives are far more likely to connect their engagements to a set of political ideas and principles. Young people on the left are much more inclined to say that they are engaged in politics as an X, concerned about other Xs and those issues touching on X-ness. And they are less and less comfortable with debate.

Over the past decade a new, and very revealing, locution has drifted from our universities into the media mainstream: Speaking as an X…This is not an anodyne phrase. It sets up a wall against any questions that come from a non-X perspective. Classroom conversations that once might have begun, I think A, and here is my argument, now take the form, Speaking as an X, I am offended that you claim B. What replaces argument, then, are taboos against unfamiliar ideas and contrary opinions.

This phenomenon, I submit, is why conservatives have the advantage out in the real world, and why conservatives are more likely to win political battles in the long run, despite the left’s near monopolistic control of academic, the media, popular entertainment, and corporate human resources departments.

Two further notes: What Lilla describes as having burst the bounds of academia into the media mainstream now also applies to large parts of corporate America. See Google. I’d love to see a study some time of how many graduates with degrees in Gender Studies or related politicized fields end up in corporate human resources department jobs, or consulting companies that put on “diversity” training seminars for corporate America.

Second, I’ll wait to read the whole book to see Lilla’s complete judgment, but one question the early excerpts raise is whether “progressive” students are in fact not liberals at all (and not actually in favor of progress for that matter: I saw Harvard’s Steven Pinker give a great lecture in June on the question “Why are ‘Progressives’ against progress?” He has a book coming out in March that will explore this question.) If it is the case that today’s so-called “progressives” are in fact anti-liberals, does it not require then that liberals go into explicit opposition to “progressivism,” and—horrors—ally with conservatives?


Green Weenie of the Week: Gilkisonism

Posted: 12 Aug 2017 09:18 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

Last week we noted in “Climate Shark Jumping” the musings of one John Gilkison at the website EV World, which is otherwise a site devoted to electricity technology innovations, but where Gilkison speculated on the death penalties to be handed out at the prospective climate criminal trials of 2029. The list of people to be executed included all of the usual suspects, including the Koch brothers naturally, even though Charles and David Koch will be over 100 years old in 2029.

What what do you know? Gilkison’s post seems to have been taken down at EV World. Wonder why? But not to worry: Gilkison has several other posts in a similar authoritarian mode still up at the site, and if Paul Ehrlich had to retire some day, Gilkison might as well take his place.

For example, take in Tikopia IV, which offers a schematic for a world government on a new planet after we have finished trashing this one. Here are some of the main features, with commentary:

1: This government would have to be declared to be a secular government run by science and data and not religion. In point of fact religious based views would have to be kept out of any law or rule making and all laws and rules would have to be peer reviewed.

2: The total population of the planet must be controlled and not be allowed to grow beyond a certain preset number (500 to 750 million people) assuming the new planet is much like Earth (similar land and ocean areas, and resources). All corporations are limited to 80 year terms and must behave or have their charters revoked.

Well, I can see some upside here. At least we could finally get rid of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc. But notice, as always, the authoritarian impulse to control the reproductive choices of individual human beings? And just how is that to be enforced? (See point 8 below for one problem with this.) And why the hostility toward individual conscience about things transcendent? Maybe Gilkison is just trying to make himself employable at Google or something.

5: Fractional reserve banking shall be closely controlled and the monetary system shall be based upon units of primary energy. The total money in the system shall be regulated to certain limits and not be allowed to grow beyond a point based upon per capita needs. Because of these limits the total amount of wealth accumulated by any one individual or entity shall be also regulated so that a basic guaranteed livable income is available to all regardless of their status.

6: High speed electric rail and maglev transportation shall be available to all around the planet. Personal transportation and trucking is to electric drive also. Airplane travel shall be reduced to the minimum necessary. Any liquid fuels shall be derived from biomass. ICE, turbines, and jet technology can only be used in limited application run with biomass fuels. Cars, trucks, bikes, motorcycles shall be electric drive in so far as practical. Some hybrid electric applications shall be allowed for range in certain situations.

I’m sure if we only put smart people like Gilkison in charge of all these variables everything will come out just fine. (Hayek, call your office.)

8: Everybody votes, in person, electronically, or otherwise. Fines shall be levied against anyone not voting without a valid reason (medical or other incapacity). Elections are funding from public sources and limited to a six week period.

But what if they vote for Donald Trump? Or vote against Gilkison’s policies? Suppose a majority vote that it wants to allow more people to have babies?

There’s more where this came from. A good representation of the apocalyptic authoritarian mind of environmentalism.


(DHS) Magical mystery tour: Doing the work the Star Tribune won’t do (3)

Posted: 12 Aug 2017 06:30 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

I set forth the chain of events that sparked my interest in the 2016 MSP International Airport tour for Somalis only in the post “(DHS) Magical mystery tour (and why I need a lawyer).” Last year I sought information from the Department of Homeland Security Office of Civil Rights (OCR) under the Freedom of Information Act. OCR provided a few heavily redacted pages and rebuffed the administrative law judge when he requested an explanation of the redactions.

Theresa Bevilacqua of Dorsey & Whitney’s Minneapolis office answered my plea for help. Theresa has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security Office of Civil Rights (OCR) on my behalf in federal court in Minneapolis. Thank you, Theresa.

I thought at the time the lawsuit was filed that the Star Tribune might take an interest. If asked about it, I had planned to respond that we are only doing the work the Star Tribune won’t do. However, the Star Tribune hasn’t asked.

Because the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official to whom I spoke last year directed me to OCR, I neglected to file a separate FOIA request with CBP. On Ms. Bevilacqua’s advice, I have now done so and CBP has formally responded. CBP has produced 29 redacted pages (posted below via Scribd) with claimed FOIA exemptions stamped over the redactions. An extremely helpful guide to FOIA exemptions is posted online here. I don’t think the cited FOIA exemptions apply, but we shall see. The CBP is also withholding 31 pages in their entirety. I have administratively appealed the CBP’s response to my FOIA request.

I attempted to follow up on CBP’s response to my FOIA request by email. CBP spokesman Kris Grogan told me by email: “Every year CBP conducts numerous events and programs around the country in which civic, religious and community leaders, as well as interested residents, are afforded an inside look at how CBP secures the border at and between ports of entries. CBP is committed to fostering a positive relationship within the communities we live and serve.”

I asked these follow-up questions of Mr. Grogan: Can you tell me what other groups receive annual tours of the secure areas at MSP Airport such as this one? How can I get myself invited? Do you have any reason to think that invitees who don’t pass vetting (such as the disinvited imam) don’t get information from the vetted guests?

I also asked these questions in a separate email: When did these annual tours begin at MSP? Did one take place this year? Does CBP or DHS conduct other such tours at airports around the United States? If so, what airports?

I told Grogan that I was “working on articles based on the information provided to date and ask for your prompt response to these basic questions or some indication that you decline to respond.”

Grogan has failed to respond in any manner. Stone-cold silence. Something tells me that they really don’t want us to know much of anything about what’s happening here.

Among the redactions in the documents provided are the names of every OCR and CBP officer on the email messages, the names of every Somali guest on the tour and the draft invitation. The documents even redact the name of the CBP Area Port Director, a name that is otherwise easily available — for example, here and here and here. The Area Port Director is Jennifer De La O.

We do have this, however, in an email from someone to someone dated January 13, 2016: “I hope you are staying warm. After much some [some] anticipation, the cold front reached us today. For the airport tour, February 18 would be great from our end. Would between 6pm-8pm work? This would accommodate prayer times well.”

2017-068244 JUL 19 2017 by Scott Johnson on Scribd


The Week in Pictures: Googleplex Edition

Posted: 12 Aug 2017 05:04 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

“Googleplex” used to mean a 10 followed by 100 zeros, but as of this week it is the new analog to “perplexed.” It will henceforth be used for liberal faceplants in the following way: “Man you must really be Googleplexed by that!” Meanwhile, although Google’s headquarters is also apparently known as the “Googleplex,” when rendered into numerical notation it will have to be 10-100.

Coming soon to a Google diversity seminar near you.

Barron Trump, Mike Pence, and their IT guy begin the attack on North Korea.

Headlines of the week:

What planet does the Puffington Host live on?


Women are the same as men. Except when they’re different.

Women are the same as men. Except when they’re different.

What is this thing?

Greatest back-to-school sale ever.

And finally. . .



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