27 Nov 2015

San Francisco’s History and its Disastrous Impact on American Politics and Culture

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Michael Anton, in the current Claremont Review of Books, has an absolutely brilliant, must-read article which identifies the peculiar historical relationship between San Francisco’s Barbary Coast outlaw culture and American haute bourgeois culture’s contemporary decadence all of which is closely connected to the incongruous American alliance between big wealth and the revolutionary left.

Contemporary liberalism exists to redistribute wealth, which in turn has, historically, sought to fend off, mock, and discredit liberalism. In the rare cases when these tactics fail, wealth makes the minimum necessary concessions to ensure its own survival against the Left’s relentless envy and resentment.

But for a decade or two now, the rich haven’t needed to make much of an effort because they’ve managed to beguile liberals in much the same way that Tom Sawyer tricked his friends into whitewashing the fence. Rather than clamoring to redistribute wealth, liberalism now gratefully accepts whatever crumbs wealth deigns to bestow—and in return treats wealth with the obsequious deference of a court eunuch.

How this happened—and especially its San Francisco pedigree—I hope to explain. It’s long been a truism that California is the political and cultural bellwether for the nation. But this particular export remains underappreciated.

For the moment, though, it’s enough to recognize that both the rich and the Left—and above all the rich Left—have a clear interest in obscuring and even denying their arrangement: the Left because they need the culture’s rhetorical guns trained rightward in order to maintain their grip on power; the rich to deflect scrutiny and envy from themselves. Politicians decline to stoke populist outrage against this partnership because the rich pay them not to and because, in a democracy, they must court the Left for reasons not dissimilar to Willie Sutton’s rationale for robbing banks. Sutton, though, couldn’t count bankers as backers or allies. Today’s Democratic Party, by contrast, enjoys near universal support not just from Wall Street but from the 1% in every industry, save Big Oil and Big Pharma.

Drop everything and read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

27 Nov 2015

Worse than Yale’s Silliman College Shrieking Girl

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I haven’t got a lot of respect for Princeton President Christopher Eisengruber’s principles or integrity, but I do admire his self-restraint. I would never have been able to listen to the young lady’s diatribe in the second video without correcting her.

The finger-snapping accompanying all the insolent assertions and demands becomes downright sinister at times. It kind of reminded me of jungle drumbeats or the threatening rattling of spears as the tribe of angry natives menaces the British district officer in one of those 1930s Sanders of the River movies.

26 Nov 2015

White House Pardoned Turkey Defects to ISIS

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senior U.S. officials are literally calling “fowl” after the Thanksgiving turkey pardoned by President Obama publicly defected to the Middle Eastern terrorist group ISIS.

Popcorn the Turkey, now calling himself Babakurn al-Turki, was pardoned from the dinner table only yesterday by President Obama in a public ceremony at the White House. Normally the pardoned bird is sent along with its competitor to live out its remaining days at Morven Park’s Turkey Hill in Leesburg, Virginia.

However, U.S. officials have now admitted that al-Turki instead hijacked an Osprey out of Andrews Air Force Base in nearby Maryland and flew like a bat out of hell to Syria.

A group of senior intelligence officials and ornithologists with birds-eye surveillance of the war-torn country have suggested he is nesting in Raqqah or across the northern border in another neighboring country.

Al-Turki, who was originally raised as an animist before converting to Islam, has already appeared in several propaganda clips and tweets for ISIS, gobbling anti-American rhetoric and leaving furious American officials grousing.

Read the whole thing.

26 Nov 2015


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Mike Franc, at Human Events in 2005, identified the real reason for celebration at the first Thanksgiving.

Writing in his diary of the dire economic straits and self-destructive behavior that consumed his fellow Puritans shortly after their arrival, Governor William Bradford painted a picture of destitute settlers selling their clothes and bed coverings for food while others “became servants to the Indians,” cutting wood and fetching water in exchange for “a capful of corn.” The most desperate among them starved, with Bradford recounting how one settler, in gathering shellfish along the shore, “was so weak … he stuck fast in the mud and was found dead in the place.”

The colony’s leaders identified the source of their problem as a particularly vile form of what Bradford called “communism.” Property in Plymouth Colony, he observed, was communally owned and cultivated. This system (“taking away of property and bringing [it] into a commonwealth”) bred “confusion and discontent” and “retarded much employment that would have been to [the settlers’] benefit and comfort.”

Just how did the Pilgrims solve the problem of famine? In addition to receiving help from the local Indians in farming, they decided allow the private ownership of individual plots of land.

On the brink of extermination, the Colony’s leaders changed course and allotted a parcel of land to each settler, hoping the private ownership of farmland would encourage self-sufficiency and lead to the cultivation of more corn and other foodstuffs.

As Adam Smith would have predicted, this new system worked famously. “This had very good success,” Bradford reported, “for it made all hands very industrious.” In fact, “much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been” and productivity increased. “Women,” for example, “went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn.”

The famine that nearly wiped out the Pilgrims in 1623 gave way to a period of agricultural abundance that enabled the Massachusetts settlers to set down permanent roots in the New World, prosper, and play an indispensable role in the ultimate success of the American experiment.

A profoundly religious man, Bradford saw the hand of God in the Pilgrims’ economic recovery. Their success, he observed, “may well evince the vanity of that conceit…that the taking away of property… would make [men] happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.” Bradford surmised, “God in his wisdom saw another course fitter for them.”

The real story of Thanksgiving is the triumph of capitalism and individualism over collectivism and socialism, which is the summation of the story of America.

26 Nov 2015

A Proclamation

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As published in the Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789

26 Nov 2015

The Real Meaning of Thanksgiving

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Hat tip to VA Viper.

26 Nov 2015

What’s Cooking, Vladimir?

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25 Nov 2015

Putin’s Thanksgiving Dinner

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25 Nov 2015

Pretty Nearly There

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A British 17-pounder round lodged in a block of armor from a Tiger I, which it failed to completely penetrate.

25 Nov 2015

Lucky Us, We Are Allied to Islamist Turkey

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Syrian rebels blow up Russian rescue helicopter with TOW missile.

The ecstatic ululations of “Allahu Akbar!” make my blood boil, and here we find ourselves, allied with Turkey which just shot down a Russian fighter in defense of Islamist insurgents.

But, as Walter Russell Mead points out, if we don’t stand by Turkey, who ever is going to believe we will stand by the Baltic States or Poland and the rest of Central Europe or do anything meaningful to stop Russia swallowing Ukraine?

The rapid deterioration of global order took an ugly turn this morning and we all moved a little closer to the abyss: Two Turkish F-16s have shot down what appears to be a Russian Su-24 bomber near the Syrian border. Two Russian pilots parachuted out of the plane as it went down in flames. One pilot was captured by Turkmen fighters in Latakia province, with early reports indicating the second pilot did not survive the ordeal. Turkey is claiming the bomber was warned ten times about being in Turkish airspace before it was shot down. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has called for a special consultation with Turkey’s NATO allies.
The facts of the case aren’t clear as I write. The Kremlin is calling it a “very serious incident” but said it was still studying the specifics. Russia’s initial spin appeared to be that the plane was brought down by fire from the ground, but that story is not likely to hold for long given that Turkey is insisting it did the shooting. The plane was “exclusively over Syrian territory throughout its entire flight”, Russia’s foreign ministry maintained. “This is recorded by objective controls.” Turkey, however, has released a radar trace of the incident purporting to show that the plane had crossed into Turkish airspace over the province of Hatay.

Russia has been flying missions over Latakia province since it began combat operation in Syria at the very end of September, and has by some accounts upped their intensity since Russia fingered ISIS as the party responsible for the downing of its civilian airliner over the Sinai. ISIS is not known to be operating in Latakia, however, and just yesterday, Prime Minister Davutoglu had said that Turkey would “not hesitate” to act on Syrian soil to protect the Turkmen people. (The Syrian Turkmen minority is one of many groups scattered between China and Bulgaria who speak a Turkic language and share cultural and historical roots with the Turks of Turkey.)

Regardless of the facts of this case, the root cause of the problem is continued aggressive Russian activity in and around Turkish airspace. That aggression was bound to cause problems at some point. Whether Russia or Turkey is more to blame with respect to this particular situation, overall there is no doubt that Russia is the country that bears the political responsibility for the incident.

It’s now critical that Russia not be allowed to intimidate or pressure Turkey over the episode. That means NATO support. Turkey, unlike Georgia and Ukraine, is a full-fledged NATO member, and failing to stand behind it threatens to unravel the alliance. Putin’s number one goal, we must remember, is to break NATO—or at minimum to show that it is a paper tiger.


Turkey’s Intelligence Chief on Sunday explicitly defended ISIS and the Islamic Revolution.

Ankara— Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, known by the MİT acronym, has drawn a lot of attention and criticism for his controversial comments about ISIS.

Mr. Hakan Fidan, Turkish President’s staunchest ally, condemned Russian military intervention in Syria, accusing Moscow of trying to ‘smother’ Syria’s Islamist revolution and serious breach of United Nations law.

“ISIS is a reality and we have to accept that we cannot eradicate a well-organized and popular establishment such as the Islamic State; therefore I urge my western colleagues to revise their mindset about Islamic political currents, put aside their cynical mentalité and thwart Vladimir Putin’s plans to crush Syrian Islamist revolutionaries,” – Anadolu News Agency quoted Mr. Fidan as saying on Sunday.


A more cheerful perspective comes from an anonymous Facebook friend who is apparently some sort of US spook, and who is very hostile personally to Russian intervention in Syria:

Never forget that Turkey’s army is 3X larger than Russia’s, is better trained and equipped, has far better air support, and that they have access to 60 nuclear weapons held for them in a U.S. bunker at Incirlik.

And then there’s this: Turkey is a member of NATO, has been forever, and has as much right to invoke Article 5 as do Germany, France, UK or the US.

Putin was warned, explicitly, by dozens of us that the risks of a shoot down like yesterday’s were “very high” when he put his foot in the shitpile. He didn’t listen.

He should have paid closer attention.

25 Nov 2015

“The Flowers and Candles are Here to Protect Us”

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Some douchebag plays John Lennon’s “Imagine” on a piano with a Peace Sign outside Paris’s Bataclan Theater.

Kathy Shaidle, at Taki Mag, tells us just how grossed out she was by some of the popular reaction to the Islamic Terrorist attacks in Paris.

The French hate America because you saved their asses during World War II while they were screwing German officers and pretending to be in the Resistance. They never stop bitching about Coca-Cola colonialism and America’s tacky, shallow, plastic “culture”—yet they’ve nevertheless embraced one of the Anglosphere’s most embarrassing exports: those “makeshift memorials” that have been de rigueur mortis since the death of Diana.

Except, as Taki’s own Gavin McInnes reported, Parisians added weird stuff to their stupid piles of flowers, like a poster of the Doors’ Jim Morrison (?) with his eyes blacked out (!). …

“Why Paris is doomed, in one image,” I blogged, in a post that went viral: “Outside the Jewish-owned Bataclan, this guy (a) played ‘Imagine’ on a piano with (b) a peace sign on it, which he’d transported to the site (c) on a bicycle.

“Couldn’t that at least have been—I rack my brain—(a) ‘Rock the Casbah’ on a guitar with (b) a Star of David on it, next to your (c) Hummer or something?”

A disgusted Mark Steyn added (which is why he makes the big bucks):

“When Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941, did everyone coo because somebody dragged along a piano to the naval base and played a hit song from 1896?”

We were also ordered to be deeply moved or else by this immigrant father’s assurance to his little boy that they were safe from “the bad men.”

“They might have guns,” the father tells him, “but we have flowers.”

“But flowers don’t do anything,” his son replies, rightly.

The boy is gently corrected:

“The flowers and candles are here to protect us.”


25 Nov 2015

“How to Talk to Your Pansy Marxist Nephew at Thanksgiving”

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Advice on family differences from Uncle Strickland:

This kid, my nephew, will never admit to being a communist, it’s always this “moderate independent” crap. But his Facebook feed is full of Bernie Sandinista, if you know what I mean, and he recently tweeted some gibberish about riding the bus in Czechoslovakia and identifying as a “human being” instead of what he is, an American. He’s been a “student” at some Ivy League circlejerk for the better part of a decade. I think he’s 29, who the hell even cares? If he’s the future, this country’s digging its own grave and I’m glad I won’t be there when it finally kicks the bucket.

24 Nov 2015

Turkish-Russian Flightpaths

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24 Nov 2015

Turkey v. Russia

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Now that Turkey has brought down a Russian fighter, and Vladimir Putin is promising retaliation, just in time! Daniel Greenfield has whipped up a short guide intended to help US progressives decide whom it is they should be rooting for.

Hello progressives,

This morning you’re probably wondering why there’s something about Turkey shooting down a Russian plane in the news. Why is this story taking up valuable space in your news feed and taking away time from reading about how stupid Donald Trump and Ben Carson are, or how yoga is cultural genocide or how oppressed Yale students are? And didn’t Obama already fix the Syrian Civil War with a hashtag?

You’re probably worrying over which side is the progressive one in the Turkey-Russia spat.

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