Author Archive: Ed Driscoll

CHRISTIAN TOTO: Why Hollywood Can’t Save Joe Biden This Time.

Reality can be the cruelest of mistresses.

This fact, one assumes, is not lost on Joe Biden.

Last month, the president’s public approval reached its lowest point in nearly two years. Biden’s approval rating among young Americans is particularly low.

His administration’s inability to connect with this crucial demographic spells trouble for the Democrats. The youth vote could prove to be a decisive factor in November.

Enter “Won’t PAC Down,” a new super PAC with a star-studded Hollywood lineup. The group’s mission? Rejuvenate Biden’s appeal among young voters.

Imagine writers and comedians from “Saturday Night Live” and “Parks and Recreation” joining forces with political strategists to inject some much-needed energy into Biden’s image.

Well, imagine no more.

Their primary goal is to make Biden appear humorous (no easy feat). They intend to achieve this by using a potent mix of comedy and insight designed specifically for Millennials and Gen Zers. Instead of banking on tired celebrity endorsements, they’re enlisting young writers, directors and producers to craft stories that resonate with youth culture.

But is the goal to actually get Biden to the finish line, or simply keep some positive media attention on him in the interim? As Charles Cooke writes:

In life, as in science, it can be useful to extrapolate, and here, in the summer of 2024, it comes time to do just that. It is by now near-universally acknowledged that Joe Biden is too old to perform his duties. It is less universally acknowledged that this has serious implications — the chief among which is that, for all the rococo pageantry that attends his reelection campaign, Joe Biden is not, in fact, running to be president of the United States.

I do not offer this observation in a conspiratorial tone. Joe Biden won the 2020 election legitimately; he is currently serving as the rightful occupant of his office; and he remains eligible to run again, to win again, to take office again, and to exercise all the levers of power that the Constitution would grant his office during a second term. Instead, I mean that Biden is operating as a stand-in, a widget, or a MacGuffin, whose primary purpose is to make it to November 5 of this year without expiring. Most candidates have plans for their coveted four years; Biden has none. He does not expect to be there, and the public agrees with his hunch.

Exit quote: “Biden is little more than a political instrument, to be played for the benefit of his team. Presently, Biden’s utility lies in his staying in the race. Twenty-three seconds after he has won, this will change. And, when it does, the reversal will be astonishing in both speed and scope.”

UPDATE: Finally, a Hollywood superstar emerges, who will do wonders to jump-start Biden’s image among centrist pro-military voters, and those who think his handlers have pushed him far to the left on environmental issues…: Jane Fonda to join Jill Biden at Reno appearance to engage senior voters.

BIDEN’S BRIDGE TO NOWHERE: Gaza Pier Gets Moved, But Will Anyone Use It Ever Again?

Periodic reminder the Gaza Pier is a stunt designed to buy votes in Michigan and to undermine Israel by boosting the narrative of a humanitarian crisis. It’s costing hundreds of millions of American taxpayer dollars and endangering the lives of US servicemembers. There’s not even a coherent defense of it. On the merits the Pier is unnecessary for getting aid into Gaza, because more than enough comes in through land, and would be ineffective even if it was necessary, because it’s a dumb way to move aid. The whole thing is just brazenly an electoral and geopolitical performance act.

Breitbart News got a hold of a video from the pier itself moving in the “rough seas.”

Morgan Murphy wrote in the Dailly Caller at the end of last month that the pier has a definite “Welcome Back, Carter!” feel to it: Joe Biden’s Gaza Pier Washed Away — Along With $320 Million In Taxpayer Dollars

This week President Joe Biden’s pier in Gaza washed away, and along with it, $320 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars.

That a temporary pier built in the open ocean broke up in a storm should not shock anyone who has ever looked at the sea or watched the Weather Channel. Sailors since the days of the Phoenician trireme have used the expression, “any port in a storm.” For that reason, most piers are built in ports, anchorages and harbors.

President Biden’s pier disaster is not unlike President Jimmy Carter’s “Operation Eagle Claw,” the botched attempt to rescue the Iranian hostages in the final months of his presidency. I would say let’s hope this latest military bungle is Biden’s final Jimmy Carter moment, but that’s unfair to the president from Plains, Georgia. President Carter deservedly had higher approval ratings than Biden at this point in his presidency.

Or as America’s Newspaper of Record suggested at the time:

BEHOLD THE MONSTER YOU CREATED:

Let us also not forget that you supported the Occupy takeovers of yester-decade. You supported the state rotunda takeovers by unionized thugs. You supported the BLM riots. You supported the CHAZ in Seattle and similar secessionist movements in other cities. You supported the attacks on churches and pregnancy centers after the Dobbs ruling. You supported the Stalinist show trial against Brett Kavanaugh, as well as the mob that tried to storm the Supreme Court to prevent his swearing-in.

You supported the attack by James Hodgkinson against Republican congressmen playing baseball. You supported the attack on Rand Paul by his neighbor. You supported the campus attacks against conservative speakers and activists. You supported every random street attack against anyone wearing a MAGA hat.

You supported every act of violence, censorship, social coercion, government repression, and outright insurrection so long as it was seen as beneficial to advancing your agenda and, more importantly, as long as it never affected you personally. These shock troops are disciples of the secular religion that you — yes, you, traditional liberals — have propagated for decades. With your winks and nods, you have taught them that trampling other people’s rights in pursuit of your cause du jour is both permissible and preferable.

And the entire time, you told us that “this is what democracy looks like.”

You are who Lenin accurately referred to as “useful idiots.” But I’m not so sure that you still support what democracy “looks like,” now that it “looks like” it has reached your front yard. When they scream that they want to burn the entire country to the ground, they mean exactly that. The monster that you constructed, animated, fed, riled up, and let roam free to dispatch your political enemies is now peering through your bay window, staring at you with a ravenous look in its eyes that evinces neither “solidary” nor “inclusion” with you.

Frankenstein’s monster always comes home to his castle.

Like the New York Times deigning to report on Rev. Wright on September 24th 2008 and Hunter’s laptop in 2022, the Gray Lady’s Nicholas Kristof is finally noting that there might be an aura of a penumbra of an issue with his fellow leftists’ governing style: What Have We Liberals Done to the West Coast?

Why does Democratic Party governance seem less effective on the West Coast than on the East Coast?

Sometimes I wonder if the West is less serious about policy than the East and less focused on relying on the most rigorous evidence. There’s some evidence for that. But I’m not sure, for it’s also true that West Coast states have managed to innovate exceptionally well in some domains. Oregon pioneered “death with dignity” through physician-assisted suicide and led the way to vote by mail, an important step for democracy. California has some of the smartest gun safety laws in America, championed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. As a result, California has a firearms death rate 40 percent below the national average.

So my take is that the West Coast’s central problem is not so much that it’s unserious as that it’s infected with an ideological purity that is focused more on intentions than on oversight and outcomes.

I ran for governor in Oregon two years ago (I was ousted from the ballot by Oregon’s then-secretary of state, who said I didn’t meet the residency requirement). While running, I’d meet groups of liberal donors in Portland, as the city’s problems cast a shadow over all of us; we’d all be wondering nervously if our catalytic converters were in the process of being stolen. The undercurrent in such a liberal gathering would be the failures of Republicans — but Portland was one mess we couldn’t blame on Republicans, because there simply aren’t many Republicans in Portland. This was our liberal mess.

Politics always is part theater, but out West too often we settle for being performative rather than substantive.

For example, as a gesture to support trans kids, Oregon took money from the tight education budget to put tampons in boys’ restrooms in elementary schools — including boys’ restrooms in kindergartens.

“The inability of progressives, particularly in the Portland metro area, to deal with the nitty-gritty of governing and to get something done is just staggering,” Representative Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat who has been representing and championing Portland for more than half a century, told me. “People are much more interested in ideology than in actual results.”

Of course, leftists have been doing an excellent job running Manhattan into the ground since 2014. As Karol Markowicz asks in the New York Post: Protesters are harassing Jews every day in NYC, when will pols protect them?

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN! Stephen Moore: Biden Housing Scheme Could Ignite Another 2008 Mortgage Crisis.

Politicians in Washington have very short memories, so they repeat the same mistakes over and over.

It was only 17 years ago that the “subprime” mortgage crisis torpedoed the economy and sent the financial markets into the biggest tailspin since the Great Depression. Millions of Americans lost their jobs. One of the matches that lit that bonfire was Freddie Mac and its cousin, Fannie Mae, offering generous, taxpayer-guaranteed mortgage insurance to risky borrowers on loans with low down payments.

It all blew up in the faces of the taxpayers even though the Washington experts said the chances of these mortgages going bust and taxpayers taking a loss was less than one in a thousand.

The biggest taxpayer bailouts went not to the Wall Street banks and investment companies but to Fannie and Freddie.

Here we go again. The latest scheme by the Biden administration is to encourage families to borrow more money by using the equity in their home as collateral. Home equity loans are often very risky. If prices fall, home equity can become negative. There is nearly $18 trillion in home equity, and it’s one of the largest sources of savings and ownership for American families.

Now the Biden administration wants to encourage Americans to borrow even more at a time when credit card and auto debts are at an all-time high. If homes fall in value, families could slip underwater and default — just like during the subprime crisis.

As The Wall Street Journal points out, the other “likely losers” from this scam “would be taxpayers.” The evidence is indisputable from 2008 that the mortgages that ended in default were low-down-payment and low-equity loans.

Of course, if Biden times it right, it blows up early after his re-election, and the press will do their best to bury the result (and/or break out their FDR metaphors and “Depression Lust”). Or it blows up during the second Trump administration, and the press will assign him the blame.

Plus a related “Unexpectedly:” Consumer sentiment unexpectedly falls to lowest level in months.

WEIMER ON WEIMAR: Germany is descending into chaos – and it will take the rest of the eurozone down with it.

It is now little more than a “developing country”. Its stock market is a “junk shop” selling old tat. And its reputation as a place to do business has “never been so bad’. In the middle of the UK’s dismal election campaign, it would be easy to imagine that Britain was the country under discussion.

But Theodor Weimer, the head of the once mighty Deutsche Börse, was describing his native Germany. And he was absolutely right. After a series of catastrophic policy mistakes by centrist leaders, there is no way back for Germany – and its decline is only going to accelerate from here.

In a speech to Bavarian business leaders delivered back in April, but only made public when it was posted on YouTube this week, Weimer certainly didn’t mince his words. A country that prided itself on its efficiency, that saw itself as the engine of Europe and boasted of its formidable export machine was, as he put it, slipping to third world status.

The coalition government led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz was, he argued, a “catastrophe”, Germany was “economically on the way to becoming a developing country” and “one thing is clear: our reputation in the world has never been so bad”.

No, it was much worse before — as Glenn has insta-quipped, “We have the worst political class in our history. The Germans, at least, can say that’s not true for them. . . .”

Speaking of which, as seen in the Power Line Week in Pictures:

(Via Small Dead Animals, under the well-deserved headline, “Schadenfreude.”)

ANALYSIS: ABSOLUTELY TRUE. America Thrives at the Interstate Exit. Buc-ee’s is about as pure a distillation of American capitalism as there has ever been.

Every manner of commercial snack known to man is sold at Buc-ee’s, from Funyuns to Snickers bars. But that isn’t significant.

What is significant is the Beaver Nuggets, perhaps the world’s best caramel corn sold in embarrassingly large bags. Or the more than 20 different flavors of beef jerky, available in delicatessen-style displays along the back wall (the Mesquite Peppered jerky and the Cherry Maple jerky were the two I fell in love with).

But the Buc-ee’s brisket tacos might just be the greatest convenience-store food ever invented.

All of the employees smile, hustle, and joke with the customers. There’s a Black Friday rush atmosphere to the place, and yet there is no line at the checkout counters, every single one of which is manned by a cashier who works efficiently and enthusiastically — and for a reason: Buc-ee’s pays their employees exceptionally well. A sign at the gas pumps advertises $18-an-hour wages for the lowest positions, up to $200,000 per year or more for a store manager.

It’s a capitalistic shangri-la. No better shrine to productive, happy prosperity has ever graced our beautiful planet. It’s a place that utterly trumps, somewhat hilariously so, all of the grifting and griping of the American Left.

There are no social problems at Buc-ee’s. Beef jerky knows no race, and brisket tacos know no gender. Beaver nuggets and fried pecans have no politics. And if you believe any of this harms the planet, we laugh at your derangement.

Greta Thunberg might just be fed to the beaver if she were ever to complain about a Buc-ee’s.

It might sound stupid to say it: this is about as close to heaven as roadside commerce can get.

Flashback: Episode Five of the Babylon Bee’s series from 2022, on a California couple moving to Texas, where Steve and Timpani discover that you can immanentize the eschaton:

DON’T SUGARCOAT IT FORBES, TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL: The Acolyte Episode 3 Review: One Of The Most Disappointing Star Wars Episodes Ever Made.

I have no words.

I do have a theory, however. Imposters have taken over Star Wars (and lots of other popular genre properties, from The Witcher to True Detective). Maybe they’re fans, maybe they’re not but they’re certainly masquerading as good storytellers. And they think they know best, making whatever changes they see fit to “make it their own”.

As Game Of Thrones author George R.R. Martin wrote recently:

Everywhere you look, there are more screenwriters and producers eager to take great stories and “make them their own.” It does not seem to matter whether the source material was written by Stan Lee, Charles Dickens, Ian Fleming, Roald Dahl, Ursula K. Le Guin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mark Twain, Raymond Chandler, Jane Austen, or… well, anyone. No matter how major a writer it is, no matter how great the book, there always seems to be someone on hand who thinks he can do better, eager to take the story and “improve” on it. “The book is the book, the film is the film,” they will tell you, as if they were saying something profound. Then they make the story their own.

They never make it better, though. Nine hundred ninety-nine times out of a thousand, they make it worse.

Amen, brother.

I’d say that Star Wars deserves better stewards, but George Lucas didn’t do a very good job of that himself in the later years. In fact, The Acolyte keeps reminding me of the prequel trilogy in all the worst ways.

The Critical Drinker adds that with episode three, “I’m Done And So Is Star Wars:”

The Acolyte represents their ultimate vision for this franchise. It’s the perfect distillation of everything Disney and the so-called creatives that Lucasfilm want to inject into George Lucas’s vision and they’re not going to stop. Kathleen Kennedy recently bemoaned all the criticism that she and women like Leslye Headland have taken for their creative decisions, because the predominantly male fan base just can’t seem to recognize their genius.

Well, congratulations Kathy! Because that seems to be a problem that you’ve gradually solved with every new show and movie that you’ve produced: If there’s no fans left at all, then there’s no toxic male fans left either, genius! So in that respect at least I guess you’ve kind of won by default. Congratulations — Star Wars is all yours now, and this here is your prize: an empire of dust, a franchise in ruins, and really I hope it was all worth it. I hope it was worth the billions of dollars you’ve blown on failed projects over the years. I hope it was worth provoking the contempt, and finally the apathy of millions of Star Wars fans that have just chosen to walk away. I hope it was worth it to have a legacy of absolute failure.

Near the end of Julie Salamon’s brilliant 1991 book, The Devil’s Candy, Brian DePalma and others involved in the stillborn movie adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s epochal 1987 novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, begin to realize that they’ve produced a dog, and no amount PR hype or post-production massaging in the editing bay is going to save them once the film is released to the general public:

It was common practice for Hollywood studios to hold a special preview just for “the community” shortly before a movie opened. These “industry screenings” were frequently followed by a party and had the appearance of a gala. A giant searchlight outside the theater sent flashes into the sky, and paparazzi would wait outside in hopes of spotting a major celebrity, or a minor one. How well the evening would pay off for the paparazzi depended on the buzz preceding a picture – the early word-of-mouth. If the word was good, there would be plenty of high-level studio executives, major dealmakers, and stars to choose from. However, when the buzz was bad, the “industry” was suddenly populated by secretaries, junior agents, and minor actors – people who’d been handed invitations by their bosses, and people who were happy to be invited anywhere at all.

* * * * * * * *

Two days before the party it had hit De Palma for the first time: he might have directed a disaster.

Exit question: Do those who assembled The Acolyte have similar feelings, or as the quote above from George R.R. Martin implies, do they blame the public for not understanding the breadth of their sheer genius and talent?

VDH: The Left Knows Leftism Doesn’t Work.

All of the left’s once-grandiose ideas of packing the Supreme Court, ending the filibuster, admitting two new states to win four more liberal senators, and destroying the Electoral College have little public support and will go nowhere. Corporations like Disney, Target, and Anheuser-Busch have all begun backtracking on their money-losing, market-share-eroding woke/DEI agendas.

Universities are terrified that their endowment income is either static or in decline, given a rising drop-off in public and alumni giving. They know their race-based, non-meritocratic admissions and hiring are increasingly destroying their brand names. To accommodate their new non-meritocratic student bodies, they have variously inflated their grades to the point of parody, watered down work requirements, or introduced gut courses—and as a result, they are quickly losing their once-coveted prestige. Some campuses are already reinstating the SAT and ACT requirements that were thrown out in 2020-21 in the hysteria that followed the death of George Floyd. Harvard and Stanford aren’t boasting that the erasure of the SAT created a more competitive student body and raised standards to new levels.

The twin ideas of foreign-funded Middle-Eastern-studies centers and of admitting tens of thousands of affluent, full-tuition-paying Middle-Eastern students led to institutionalized anti-Semitism on campus and eliminationist rhetoric right out the old Klan playbook. The appeasement by university presidencies only whets the appetites of those who unlawfully occupy, vandalize, deface, and disrupt. Their pro-terrorist chants and emblems are bleeding the universities of billions of dollars in lost donations.

In short, the policies that the left has given us over the last years—hyperinflation, spiking staple and gas prices, racial and tribal chauvinism, dangerous streets, an emasculated and politicized military, and wars abroad—did not work, and are now being masked to retain power, put on hold, or even reversed.

Way back during the 2004 election, Ann Coulter quipped that “both parties run for office as conservatives. Once they have fooled the voters and are safely in office, Republicans sometimes double-cross the voters. Democrats always do.”

In January of 2008, the San Francisco Chronicle’s editors were smart enough (in a Machiavellian sense) to protect Obama when, as a candidate, in order to get to Hillary’s left, he openly proposed bankrupting coal plants. They understood their role as Democratic party activists with bylines meant burying Obama’s Kinsley-style gaffe rather than making it the lead headline on the front page.

But Obama opened the floodgates, and their hatred of Trump gave the left the excuse to really let their freak flags fly during the last eight years. (No wonder they’re hoping we forget the events of 2020.) During the 2020 election cycle, Biden’s handlers simultaneously tried to pose him as the last moderate left in the Democratic party, while allowing him to openly boast of the chaos his administration would cause to energy and immigration if he were elected.

Once that reality ensued, as with the election results in Europe last week, the American left know that the clock may be running down on their current obsessions – but it’s a very long way back these days if they want to rhetorically pivot to the center once again.

WHY ARE LEFTIST MONOPOLIES SUCH CESSPITS OF ANTISEMITISM? The anti-Semitism row rocking Hollywood.

Fast-forward almost three years and the museum’s attempt to repair things has, if anything, made it worse. The exhibition, in a small, dimly-lit corner on the third floor, opened last month and its framing has fuelled accusations of anti-Semitism at a time of heightened sensitivity.

Jack Warner is described as “brash and irreverent” and a “womaniser” who was “frugal” when he built his studio with his brothers; Harry Cohn, the co-founder of Columbia Pictures, is labelled a “tyrant and predator” who “modelled his office after Italian dictator Benito Mussolini”; Carl Laemmle of Universal is noted for his “nepotism”.

Al Jolson, the Lithuanian-born actor, starred in 1927’s The Jazz Singer, which was notable for being the first major release to have sound synchronised with its pictures. Yet along with this brief description, the museum makes a point of the film’s use of blackface, which made it guilty of “perpetuating a century-long tradition in the United States that caricatures and dehumanises black people”.

Thus began yet another culture war in Tinseltown. Los Angeles magazine says that the exhibition “relegated Hollywood’s Jewish founders to the ghetto” and this week a group of more than 300 Hollywood luminaries – including Friends star David Schwimmer, TV writer Amy Sherman-Palladino and Lawrence Bender, Quentin Tarantino’s producer — circulated an open letter under the banner of United Jewish Writers to criticise the use of anti-Semitic tropes.

“Using the words ‘tyrant’, ‘oppressive’, ‘womaniser’, ‘predator’, ‘offensive’, ‘racial oppression’, ‘nepotism’, and ‘prejudices’, it is the only section of the museum that vilifies those it purports to celebrate,” the letter reads. “While we acknowledge the value in confronting Hollywood’s problematic past, the despicable double standard of the Jewish Founders exhibit, blaming only the Jews for that problematic past, is unacceptable and, whether intentional or not, anti-Semitic.” The group also urged the museum to honour the Jewish men “with the same respect and enthusiasm granted to those celebrated throughout the rest of the museum”.

* * * * * * * * *

Neal Gabler, the author of An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood, said: “You have to understand that Hollywood in its very inception was formed out of a fear that its founders – and those who maintained the industry – would be identified as Jews.”

In the 1998 A&E documentary version of Gabler’s excellent 1989 book,  the narrator (actor R.H. Thomson) notes that after being unable to break the monopoly that east coast-based Thomas Edison had on moviemaking at the start of the 20th century, the largely Jewish immigrants who created what we now call Hollywood went west, both for the excellent weather that allowed them to film outdoors throughout most of the year, and for the freedom to build, as Gabler dubbed it in his title, “An Empire of their Own,” far from Edison’s (often anti-Semitic) control. Eventually, with 75 percent of the American public going to the movies at least once a week between the wars.

Today, thanks to the hangover from the covid lockdowns, and a by-and-large unwatchable product produced by Hollywood, that number is far lower. It’s an industry that apparently despises its founding fathers — but then, the left, driven by what Roger Scruton called “the culture of repudiation,” hates the real founding fathers as well. And as we’ve seen, even before the riots of 2020, controlling how the past is viewed is a huge part of the “Woke” project on both coasts.

Or to put it another way:

GOODER AND HARDER CALIFORNIA: “I hold a million cards in your game of woke victimology poker, and when I leave California maybe you’ve lost your f***ing mind:”

Celebrity fitness trainer Jillian Michaels says she moved away from California because its move to the left got ‘too crazy’ for her.

Michaels moved with her wife DeShanna Marie Minuto and adopted kids Lukensia, 14, and Phoenix, 12, from Los Angeles, where she grew up, to Miami in June 2021.

She previously said the last straw was when her home was broken into by an intruder with ‘duct tape and a video camera’ who was let out of jail due to Covid.

Michaels frequently blames Governor Gavin Newsom for what she doesn’t like about California, and expanded on that theme on Sage Steele’s podcast.

The former reality TV star is the latest in a line of celebrities including Elon Musk and Sean Hannity to move from liberal-leaning states like New York and California to Republican-run ones like Florida and Texas that have no state income tax.

During the interview, Michaels told Steele:

California got too crazy for me. This is my parting line: I grew up here I’m a woman. I’m a gay woman. My mom’s a Jew. My dad’s an Arab. I have a black kid. And believe it or not, my son is half Latin even though he doesn’t look like it.

I hold a million cards in your game of woke victimology poker, and when I leave California maybe you’ve lost your f***ing mind. Just maybe! Like, when you have me running from home, maybe it’s gone waaay too far!

Steele: What was the line?

Michaels:  What was it? Girl there’s not enough time! And you know, I actually take this line from Bill [Maher] and Elon Musk, and they’re like I actually haven’t changed, the world around me is shifting and I haven’t moved.

So, some of these laws that are passing here, are absolutely f***ing mindboggling. In relation to crime, [and] protecting our kids. We’re decriminalizing everything, which arguably I would probably be okay with but we’re not regulating any of it.

So it’s like, okay you’re going to decriminalize sex work, but only so women can legally loiter on the streets. Not to keep them safe, not to have them pay taxes, not to make them, you know, regularly check for STDs, not to take away the pimps out of the equation. If you made that argument to me, I’d be like, well yes, of course! I mean, I could be liberal, I could go there with you, I grew up this way.

But [then] when it’s like what we’re going to do is we’re going to pass a law for LGBTQ rights, so that 24-year-old men can sleep with 14-year-old boys and not have to register as a sex offender, ‘cause it’s just not fair to the gays. I’m like What? What?! I don’t know if you saw that one, I think it was early 2020 when they passed that law. So I was like, if a 24 year old man touches my 14-year-old son, oh, I I will get a gun and take matters into my own hands. Are you f***ing kidding?

At the PJM Mothership, Steve Green adds: You Won’t Believe Who California Is ‘Too Woke’ for Now.

One big way the state had gone too far for Michaels is children being given “off-label cancer drugs to irreparably change their body,” as she put it.

“If my son came to me and said, ‘Mom’ — or my daughter — ‘I think I’m trans’. I’d say okay, you want to dress this way, You want me to call you whatever the heck you want… fine, explore it. I love you… but we’re not changing your body until it’s fully developed. I’m sorry. Conversation’s over.”

According to the Daily Mail, last week Michaels even “enthusiastically celebrated the American College of Pediatricians calling on other medical groups to stop promoting puberty blockers, hormone drugs and gender surgery to children.”

Michaels’ parenting methods and beliefs might not be yours or mine, but there’s no doubt that she’s a caring, protective mom — and that being a good mom was becoming impossible in Gavin Newsom’s California.

Curiously, as Steve writes, “Michaels and her family live happily in Ron DeSantis’s Florida, even though the Mainstream Media assures me that the governor recently signed legislation making it legal there to hunt gays for sport.”

Full interview here:

Related: And speaking of California getting even crazier: L.A. Removes ‘No U-Turn’ Signs Because They Are Homophobic.

In their ever-expanding efforts to wipe out all vestiges of common sense, Los Angeles is removing ‘No U-Turn” signs from a gay neighborhood because, supposedly, they were put up to deter gays from cruising for sex on the streets.

I do not know nor care about the history behind the signs. There is a rational basis for wanting to prevent anybody from cruising for anonymous sex on the streets. Having people walk the streets advertising their availability for sexual encounters in cars is not only disgusting but damaging to the health of any community. Whether they are gay, straight, bi, or goats is hardly the point.

But this is California, which decriminalized street walking and even allowed residential neighborhoods to be taken over by prostitutes advertising their wares on the streets.

So Los Angeles is removing (some) U-Turn signs for homophobia, and Oakland is removing (some) traffic lights and replacing them with stop signs because the homeless are stealing the copper wire that powers them and/or tapping into their electricity supplies. Hey, remember that Welcome Wagon program we mentioned periodically from time to time? Might politicians in red states want to jump-start that idea again sometime soon?

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN: Watch: IDF uses trebuchet to launch flaming projectile at Hezbollah.

The Israeli military has used a medieval-style trebuchet to lob incendiaries across the northern border into Lebanon.

A video that first emerged on social media on Thursday appeared to show Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers loading the wooden siege engine with flaming projectiles and launching them into Lebanese plantations.

The military responded that the use of the contraption was “a local initiative and not a tool that is widely used”, reported Israeli state broadcaster KAN News.

The ancient artillery weapon was used during the Middle Ages in sieges of castles and other fortified locations.

In this case, the device may have been used to clear dense vegetation in the border area which could help the army prevent terrorists infiltrating Israel, suggested Emanuel Fabian, the Times of Israel military correspondent, who initially posted the video.

Or perhaps, there is a simpler reason:

OUT ON A LIMB: Time to retire the ‘far right’ slur.

As the EU establishment struggles to make sense of last week’s revolt in the European elections, one thing is clear: our outdated vocabulary is not up to the task of describing today’s political landscape.

Gains for France’s National Rally, Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) have been described as a ‘far-right surge’ in newspapers and TV reports, not just across Europe but around the world. Even before the election results came in, labels like far right and extreme right were bouncing off commentators’ keyboards. All agree that the far right is on the rise and ordinary people need to worry. This is Europe’s ‘Trump moment’, explained Politico. Some go further. Marine Le Pen’s National Rally is described as ‘neo-fascist’, while academics calmly ask if the AfD is the new Nazi Party. ‘Fascism has arrived’, declared French author Emilia Roig when the election results became clear. Yet with almost a quarter of Europe’s voters having backed a party branded ‘far right’, it is worth asking how accurate this label is and what purpose it now serves.

As Jonah Goldberg wrote in 2014, “This is a very old story:”

Joseph Stalin championed the idea that all of his political opponents should be dubbed fascists, including many of his fellow Bolsheviks, such as Leon Trotsky (whom Stalin had assassinated), and much of the Red Army’s officer corps (whom he had executed), and countless Ukrainians (whom he had liquidated). Stalin insisted that even mentioning the man-made – i.e., Stalin-made — Ukranian famine was evidence you were an agent of the Nazis.

Under Stalin’s “theory of social fascism,” any socialist, social-democratic, or progressive group or party not loyal to him had to be called fascist. Hence, for a while Moscow insisted that FDR and even Norman Thomas (head of the Socialist Party of America) were fascists.

Ultimately, Communist propagandists and their allied intellectuals would reflexively blame fascism for everything, regardless of the facts. That’s what prompted George Orwell to remark that “the word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable.’”

Elsewhere in Europe, Jonathan Tobin proffers “Notes from the safest place in Europe for Jews:”

As I discovered in conversations with both liberal and Orthodox Jews, as well as non-Jews, the Jewish community in Budapest feels safe in a way that is not the case in London, Paris or Berlin. When you visit Hungary, no one tells you not to wear kippahs or Jewish stars in public. Orthodox Jews are not an uncommon sight on the streets of the Hungarian capital and act as if they have no fear of being attacked for their beliefs.

Meanwhile, the Hungarian government is easily the Jewish state’s best friend in Europe. As knowledgeable sources have made clear to me, Budapest is Jerusalem’s only reliable ally within the European Union, always ready to disrupt the E.U. Commission’s quest for consensus on behalf of its consistent anti-Israel agenda, sometimes displaying more willingness to fight supporters of the Palestinians than the Israelis themselves.

Speaking of those who hate Jews: The far right is not what threatens Europe most.

Voters have eyes and ears, they are aware of what has unfolded in Europe in recent months. It is not far-right students calling for the destruction of Israel; it was not members from Marine Le Pen’s party who were questioned by police on charges of “apology for [Hamas] terrorism;” it was not a right-wing Spanish member who tweeted soon after the October 7 attack: “Today and always with Palestine;” it was not a right -wing mayor in Brussels trying to prevent democratically elected politicians speaking at a conference because he objected to their views; it was not a Swedish right-wing member who recently attended a conference linked with Hamas.

Europe does indeed feel like it might be returning to “the darkest pages of our history;” but it’s not the right which is responsible for many of the most troubling recent events: it is a toxic alliance of elements of the progressive left and their Islamist allies.

The man who was shot dead in France last month as he set fire to a synagogue was an Algerian; and the man jailed for life last week for killing a pensioner in Hartlepool, “for the people of Gaza,” was a Moroccan.

It is Islamofascism that frightens many Europeans today: teachers murdered because they showed images of the Prophet; girls beaten unconscious because they don’t wear a headscarf; men stabbed to death because of their sexuality or because they drank alcohol.

Meanwhile in America, Brandon Morse writes: Congratulations, You’re Far Right…and So Is Your Democrat Friend.

The radicalism, in particular, is so bad that even moderate Democrats have thrown their hands up in disgust at what their party has become. They’re all Ronald Reagan now, grumbling that they never left the party, the party left them, and it wasn’t a slow drift either. The Democrat Party, and indeed the mainstream left, slammed down the pedal and sprayed gravel and smoke all over everyone as it sped to its extremist positions.

You now have Democrats proclaiming they’ll be voting for Donald Trump in November as they angrily curse the Democrat Party for being what it is.

To hear the left tell it, however, they never changed. Democrats claim they represent all that is good and lovely in the world. They stand for “love,” and “equality,” and “inclusion,” and common sense this and fairness that.

Terms and conditions apply. Many will enter, few will win.

Zooming out, however, we can see what the political spectrum has turned into thanks to the left’s radically leftward shift. Everything that isn’t them is now “far-right.” You can see this phrase used constantly in the media when discussing anything that looks to the right of their extremist sentiments.

The Rabbit Hole on X had a very useful infographic that I think sums up the modern political dynamic very well.

Exit question: Conquest’s Third Law states “The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.” Does that explain all of the crybullies throwing soup at treasured artwork and glueing themselves to roads?

In other words: Why greens were the biggest losers in the EU elections. “The reason why European voters have turned away from the green agenda over the past five years is not hard to fathom. It’s because during that time the impoverishing, immiserating reality of Net Zero has really started to hit home. The EU’s much trumpeted Green Deal, committing member states to various decarbonising rules and targets, has started to feel less like ‘a man on the moon moment’ and more like a boot on Europe’s neck.”

MELTDOWN: SPLC Terminates a Quarter of Staff, ‘Decimates’ Three Departments, Union Claims:

The far-left smear factory the Southern Poverty Law Center reportedly terminated a quarter of its staff Wednesday, weakening and perhaps eliminating two of its departments amid a restructure that heavily hit its union members.

The SPLC “gutted its staff by a quarter,” the organization’s union posted on X. (Yes, this nonprofit organization has its own labor union. If staff get tired of protesting Alliance Defending Freedom, they can protest management, instead.) The SPLC told more than 60 union members, including five union stewards and the union’s chair, that they would be losing their jobs.

“We are devastated for our union and our colleagues,” the union posted.

Related:

IT’S COME TO THIS: Passenger Pulled Off Of Plane For Having Too Much To Drink Offers Cops Sex To Avoid Arrest.

Officers were called to the airport about a flight attendant who had been assaulted by a passenger.  When they boarded the plane, they found a woman who appeared to be intoxicated.  She had been moved to the front of the plane and was slumped over in her mom’s lap with zip-tie handcuffs on.

Officers were able to get her off of the plane with the use of a wheelchair.  Her mom admitted that her daughter had several drinks throughout the day.  She had a couple of shots before boarding and was packing several mini-bottles of booze on the plane.

While the woman’s mom was being interviewed, she was busy going from being upset with the officers to flirting with them.  She apologized, threatened to fight them, then said, “So what I’m going to do is, I’m going to make out with you.”

From there, the woman gets a lot more graphic.  She seems to think that offering up some services to the officers is going to help her avoid the inevitable trip to jail.

Stories like this are why we can’t have nice things: Oh God, What If Congress Bans Drinking on Airplanes?

As anyone who has traveled by plane in the last decade can attest, one of the few—perhaps only—things that make modern commercial flying tolerable is a strong onboard libation. For those lucky enough to travel internationally, the booze is sometimes even free. But could this last vestige of mile-high sanity be snatched from us like a water bottle at an airport security checkpoint?

While they would have been amazed at the concept of man-made flight, the Founding Fathers would not approve: How drunk were the Founding Fathers? Revolutionary-era Americans could drink you under the table.

Well, maybe not Steve. But they could definitely give the rest of us a run for our money.

JAMES LILEKS’ WEDNESDAY REVIEW OF MODERN THOUGHT:

I was reading stories today about the protest in Lafayette square, and the spray-painting of the statues.

It doesn’t even merit discussing, really. It’s the norm. Right? The reason they don’t go to jail for defacing the statuary at Lafayette Square is because the authorities, however you define them here, don’t want them arrested. We’re not even talking about shoving them in the Paddy Wagon (sorry, insensitive) and taking them down to cool it in the clink for a while before getting a lecture and a tut-tut finger-wagging admonition. At this point you wish they’d get at least that.

Oh, it’s a manpower issue. Oh, the Park Police were outmanned. They didn’t want to escalate. You know full well that if literal actual brownshirts showed up wearing double Xs from the Chaplin movie there would be a National Conversation about this, right? But we’ve had the national conversation, in 2020, and it consisted of “affronts to statuary are revered expressions of justified anger over injustice, and the conversation is now over.”

The other story that twins nicely: the kids arrested for peeling out on a pride flag painted on a street. As this LBGTQEtc site notes, “The scooter gang could serve up to five years in jail under the new law.”

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN):

It’s allegely satire.

THIS JUST IN: The Economist Took a Close Look at the NYT’s Bestseller List and Found What Conservatives Long Suspected.

Books that are not bestsellers have it worse, according to The Economist. A book that ranks in the bottom five of Publishers Weekly rankings will on average place five spots lower on the Times’ list, the analysis concluded.

Michael Knowles, a conservative commentator, is author of the 2021 book “Speechless: Controlling Words, Controlling Minds.”

In its first week, it sold 17,587 copies — good for first place on Publishers Weekly’s list. The book recorded robust sales in the weeks that followed.

Nonetheless, it failed to crack the Times’ bestseller list.

“The New York Times has a view of an acceptable kind of conservative,” Knowles told The Economist.

Ari Fleischer, who was White House press secretary during the George W. Bush administration, is author of the 2022 book “Suppression, Deception, Snobbery and Bias.”

The book reached as high as number six on Publishers Weekly’s list of bestselling non-fiction works in the summer of 2022.

But the book was nowhere to be found on the Times’ list.

“It’s bang-your-head-against-the-wall frustrating,” Fleischer told The Economist.

Back in the summer of 2008, the New York Sun reported: Encounter Books Crosses Times Off Mailing List.

Encounter Books, the conservative publishing house run by Roger Kimball, will no longer send review copies to the New York Times. In an amusing and much-discussed item posted to the company’s Encounter Intelligence Web log, Mr. Kimball explained that the Times has “studiously” ignored almost all of his titles, and so if it plans to review any in the future, it will have to buy them like any other reader.

In a phone interview with The New York Sun, Mr. Kimball said he doesn’t think his decision will jeopardize the financial health of his company; if anything, it might serve as a “wake-up call” to Times Book Review Editor Sam Tanenhaus, whom Mr. Kimball describes as a “moderate left-wing opportunist” responsible for perpetuating the “travesty” that has become of a once justly celebrated organ of cultural criticism. The Times is now a clearinghouse of “press releases emanating from the p.c. seats of established opinion” and “metrosexual lifestyle stuff,” Mr. Kimball said. (Mr. Tanenhaus did not return The Sun’s phone call for comment.)

When he was named the editor of the Times Book Review in 2004, many believed that Mr. Tanenhaus would be sympathetic to the intellectual right, Mr. Kimball noted, citing Mr. Tanenhaus’s well-received biography of Whittaker Chambers. And yet, throughout his tenure as the head of the Sunday books section, Mr. Kimball charged, Mr. Tanenhaus has assigned those few conservative books the paper has covered to reviewers who seem to have their own axes to grind, and who appear to have little interest in giving the books an objective reading.

* * * * * * * * *

Others books that sold well but which were conspicuously absent from the Times’ bestseller list include “A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America,” by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and “American Playbook: A Guide to Winning Back the Country from the Democrats,” by commentator Clay Travis.

As I wrote in 2015, after the Times’ memory holed Ted Cruz’s book, despite first week sales that would put him at number three on their list, “In early 2009, at the peak of the left’s ‘We Are Socialists Now’ shiny Obama unicorn fever, Tanenhaus, then still editor of the Times’ book review section, infamously published a thin screed titled The Death of Conservatism. About five minutes later, the Tea Party emerged, and by the end of 2010, thanks in large part to the all-Democrat Obamacare bill, the GOP recaptured the House, in 2014 the Senate, and currently 31 states have Republican governors and the GOP controls numerous state legislatures.”

Based on the Gray Lady’s performance in 2020, Tanenhaus would likely seem far too fair and balanced for the current iteration of the newspaper.

MARK JUDGE: The Crisis at the WaPo Has a Remedy.

The Devil’s Triangle was not reviewed in The Washington Post. I was not contacted for a profile, even though the Post had spent 2018 hunting  me down, going through my high school yearbook, and cross-examining everyone I ever dated. Finally, Kathleen Parker had enough. Yet even after her rebuke to her own colleagues, The Washington Post would not touch my book,

I relive all of this because the Post has just published a massive deep dive in its new leadership and its continual financial woes. Without getting into the deep weeds of the story here are the basics: the Post has new British leadership because owner Jeff Bezos is tired of burning through $100 million a year to prop up left-wing propaganda that nobody reads. The Post staff are not happy about the new editors.

This is the same staff that hunted me like an animal and now crud [sic—Ed] as if my revelatory, damning book does not exist.

Would Woodward and Bernstein ignore The Devil’s Triangle? They would not. If would be unthinkable to them.

Do I want to sell books? Of course. Do I tend to relive the trauma of 2018 to the point where friends are telling me to move on? I do. I also have survived after an ordeal that kills most people via a GoFundMe. I take all the criticism and try to honestly reflect on it.

That’s the second benchmark I’ve seen laid down for measuring if there will be any actual change at the WaPo. This was the first:

I’d love to be wrong, but I’m doubtful either will happen.

UPDATE: Inmates are running the newsroom asylums.

Perhaps it simply is a case of foreign British editors coming into American newsrooms without the perspective of race and gender narratives. Both Will Lewis of the Washington Post and Emma Tucker of the Wall Street Journal are of British origin (through no fault of their own); perhaps they were hired specifically to quash these petulant rebellions within their own establishments, obsessed with race-based coverage of every newsworthy event under the sun.

One thing remains, however, that until that day comes, these newsrooms will still be run like liberal arts college campuses. There might even be a few tent encampments in the main lobby of the buildings. If the worst thing Tucker and Lewis are accused of is being out of touch with what their inmates demand, then perhaps the answer is not to cater, cave and apologize. Perhaps the answer is to stand firm — and tell them no.

As Kurt Schlichter tweeted in 2018 when the crybully staffers at the Atlantic melted down when Kevin Williamson was hired and Jeffrey Goldberg demonstrated that the inmates were running his asylum, too:

Thus foreshadowing “The Atlantic’s Nervous Breakdown,” and the nervous breakdown of much of the rest of the MSM.