Author Archive: Ed Driscoll

HOSTAGE PARENTS, HARVARD ALUM ACTIVIST ADDRESS REPUBLICAN CONVENTION:

Shabbos Kestenbaum introduced himself as a past Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) supporter and lifelong Democrat, who has seen it as “my party” since registering at 18 . He still received some of the largest standing ovations Wednesday evening at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.

The proud Orthodox Jew and first-generation American, who is “the proud plaintiff suing Harvard University for its failure to combat antisemitism,” recently graduated from Harvard Divinity School.

The Democratic Party “has become ideologically poisoned, and it is this poison, it is this corruption, that is infecting far too many young Americans,” he told the crowd. “Far left antisemitic extremism has no virtue, and the radicalism on our campuses and on our streets has no moral legitimacy.”

Kestenbaum, who has been one of the most outspoken critics of Harvard since Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror attack in southern Israel, told JNS that the Trump campaign contacted him a few weeks ago. It asked if he would discuss his experiences and “how we’ve been really disappointed in the far left of the Democratic Party and the inability of the Democratic Party to stand strongly with the crucial ally in the Middle East, the State of Israel.”

Channeling a famous quote from Ronald Reagan, Kestenbaum told JNS, “I did not abandon the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party abandoned me, and I want to work from within.”

“I want to fix it, but I also recognize that in the short term, there are a lot of problems in my party,” he added.

‘Sick and tired’

At Harvard, Kestenbaum told the packed convention audience at the Fiserv Forum on Wednesday night, he came to study religion and found “not theology but a contempt for it.”

Within 24 hours of 1,200 Israeli and U.S. flags being installed on campus in Cambridge, Mass., the memorial for the victims on Oct. 7 was vandalized, he told the audience.

Related: From Kestenbaum at Tablet: Being a Jew at Harvard is way worse than you think: Harvard’s Golden Age Turns to Mud.

WALLS ARE CLOSING IN: Biden’s Favorite Cable Host Joe Scarborough Urges President to ‘Do the Right Thing’ as Pressure to Withdraw Mounts.

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough went on a lengthy tirade on Thursday morning urging President Joe Biden’s closest allies to help him “do the right thing,” indicating he should drop out of the presidential race without explicitly calling for it.

“This is not going to end well if it continues to drag out,” Scarborough said Thursday on Morning Joe, referencing the president’s debate flop and the steady stream of Democrats who have since come out publicly to call on him to withdraw from the ticket.

How odd — back in March Joe and Mika assured me that Joe is ever so “fit and trim:”

MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough defended President Joe Biden’s physical fitness on “Morning Joe” Monday, saying the president exercises regularly.

“You look at Joe Biden, he exercises every day,” Scarborough said. “You look how fit and trim he is.”

His conversation with co-anchor Mika Brzezinski then shifted to Biden’s walk, explaining some have become concerned over the president’s rigid stride.

“His doctor told us why that happens,” Brzezinski said. “That’s a condition he’s had for a while. Also, he has a stutter and he’s had it for decades.”

In February, Scarborough trashed special counsel Robert Hur’s report on Biden:

Scarborough attacked Special Counsel Robert Hur on “Morning Joe” Friday for saying in his report released Thursday that President Joe Biden has a “poor” memory.

Scarborough, a former Republican U.S. representative who is frequently outspoken against former President Donald Trump, said that Hur, “from Trump university,” was playing the role of a neurologist and a lawyer in the report. Hur concluded that Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified information but that criminal charges weren’t warranted.

“So bizarre. So many people immediately heard these random conclusions, irrelevant conclusions, politically charged, Trump-like ramblings,” Scarborough said on the program. “Why in the world would he put that in a report? His neurological assessment of Joe Biden and secondly why Merrick Garland would release garbage like that in the Justice Department.”

And at the start of June: ‘Morning Joe’ Skewers WSJ Over ‘Shocking’ Biden Mental Acuity Story.

UPDATE: Megyn Kelly: Morning Joe Hilariously Going Through Five Stages of Grief About Biden as Nominee, with Matt Taibbi (video).

THE FORWARD THINKING JOE BIDEN: “We’re make sure there’s access to affordable internet, just like in in Roosevelt’s time:”

Long before Biden’s brain was “cooked,” he was putting FDR on the television in 1929, in this classic 2008 gaffe with Katie Couric:

As Reason’s Jesse Walker responded back then at the absurdity of Joe’s line, “And if you owned an experimental TV set in 1929, you would have seen him. And you would have said to yourself, ‘Who is that guy? What happened to President Hoover?'”

But trust me, the man knows the era well — in fact, he’s still there:

HOW IT STARTED:

How it’s going: What an incredible cover! It tells its story brilliantly, because its photographer, the AP’s Evan Vucci, working purely on instinct, shot a perfectly composed photo in a split second, under the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

But.

On Monday, Democrat house organ Axios ran a column headlined, “How photographers view the photos of Trump’s assassination attempt.”

Zoom in: Multiple photographers worried privately in conversations with Axios that the images from the rally could turn into a kind of “photoganda,” with the Trump campaign using them to further their agenda despite the photographers’ intent of capturing a news event.

  • None would comment on the record for fear of losing future work.

  • A photo editor and photographer from a major news outlet said the “amount that publications have been using Evan’s photo is kind of free P.R. for Trump in a way, and its dangerous for media organizations to keep sharing that photo despite how good it is.”

And inevitably, Time magazine, which began in 1923 as a center-right publication, but since the mid-’60s has been just another small cog in the establishment left blob, lost its bottle. As a result, this is currently the much more watered-down planned cover.

The bland new cover won’t sell many commemorative issues of the type people like to keep in a drawer or on a bookshelf after a major historical event (see also: 9/11, Space Shuttle Challenger explosion, and JFK’s assassination), but Time feels it’s much more important to be Democratic party operatives than actually sell magazines. Not to mention, who wants to go through the hell of being pummeled by your fellow leftists on social media because you were perceived as helping the Bad Orange Man?

“THAT POOR SON OF A BITCH:” Biden Once Pitied an Older Politician Reluctant to Leave the Stage.

After one address, I believe in 1994, one of the lawmakers I pigeonholed was Sen. Joe Biden, who was then in his early 50s. I’d interviewed him a few times before, but certainly not enough to expect him to lower his guard. We chatted about President Bill Clinton’s speech. And then the topic turned to Biden’s ambition to become chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The then-holder of that office, Claiborne Pell, was in his late 70s and showing signs of the Parkinson’s disease that he’d later disclose.

I asked Biden if given Pell’s diminished capacity, he’d make a move to replace him. “That poor son of a bitch,” Biden replied. Pell was no longer up for the job, he told me, but like so many of his elderly colleagues, Pell couldn’t imagine a life outside Congress.

I was stunned by Biden’s comments. Not by his analysis of Pell, which was spot on. But what surprised me was Biden’s casual willingness to share candid thoughts with a reporter whom he didn’t know well and had no reason to trust. It was the type of indiscretion that has followed Biden to this day. In this case, it didn’t do any harm. I had no intention of writing about Pell. But it’s not every day a senator refers to a colleague with that kind of language, so the moment stayed with me.

For years after, and especially when he ran for president, I’d cite the Pell story when explaining to friends or others that Biden wasn’t a typical politician. His lack of discipline, I’d argue, was a sign he’s as close to a “regular guy” as you’ll ever get in a presidential candidate. To me, his refusal to be a robot with pre-programmed talking points was an appealing attribute.

Now that Biden himself has acknowledged that age is catching up to him, that moment takes on new meaning. Biden is now clinging to power when it’s obvious to all — except perhaps those related to him or dependent upon him for money and prestige — that he needs to step aside.

Add the Politico to the ever-growing list: All the Democrats who have called on Joe Biden to quit.

UPDATE: Add San Fran Nan to the list as well:

JIM TREACHER: Now We’ve Got Ear Truthers.

Now we know why Luke Skywalker vanished. He was kidnapped by BlueAnon.

Hamill makes a good point, though: Trump didn’t need that bandage on his ear before he was nearly murdered at a rally.

When Hamill alludes to the bandage being “not needed prior to tonight,” he’s referring to another element of the Ear Truther conspiracy theory: “Buh-buh-but Trump went golfing the next day!”

Well, no he didn’t. If you see a picture or video of Trump golfing, and somebody says it was taken the day after the assassination attempt, either they’re lying or they’ve fallen for a lie. (My pal Damin Toell has done a great job debunking this lunacy.)

It’s very important to a certain segment of Americans — let’s call them “Democrats” — to try to debunk the idea that Trump was almost assassinated.

Because that would make him a victim. And there’s nobody in the world liberals value more than a victim.

But how could that be? He’s Literally Hitler!

So this triggers cognitive dissonance inside their tiny little brains, and they need to find some way to relieve it. They go online and find somebody saying what they need to hear, and it makes them feel better, and they pass it on to other morons.

Including former GOP chairman Michael Steele, who is now a classic “Republican who never votes for other Republicans” talking head on MSNBC: MSNBC Pushes Debunked Conspiracy Theory that Trump Wasn’t Shot, Glass.

Despite the graphic photographic evidence from different angles showing former President Trump was missing chunks of his right ear after being shot in the head during a failed assassination attempt over the weekend, MSNBC host Michael Steele wasted oxygen during the network’s coverage of Night Two of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday to spew debunked fringe conspiracy theories claiming Trump wasn’t actually hit by a bullet.

“Where I am at this point, it’s been three days, going on four…and yet, we have not received a medical report from the hospital nor have we received a medical report from the campaign or from the Trump organization about the extent of the damage to his ear,” he decried.

Steele, who’s not a ballistics expert nor was he pro-gun rights in any meaningful way, bloviated about how “If he was shot by a high-caliber bullet, there should probably be very little ear there. And so we would like to know that.”

* * * * * * * *

He went on to falsely speculate that Trump may not have even been hit by a bullet: “Was it caused by a bullet as opposed to some reports from those on the scene, other reporters, saying that it was actually shards of glass from the teleprompter itself, not the bullet?”

One of the liberal media’s favorite fact-checkers, Snopes even debunked the nonsense Steele was peddling. “The assertion that glass, not a bullet, caused the injury is undercut by the fact that photographs show no damage to the teleprompters allegedly hit to produce the broken glass, by a New York Times photograph capturing a bullet passing by Trump’s ear,” they wrote. They cited Getty Images used by USA Today to show that both teleprompters were completely intact.

As Treacher writes, “even if Trump was hit by a piece of glass that was struck by a bullet, not the bullet itself, wouldn’t that mean… somebody shot a bullet at him?”

But then Steele himself is a minor player in the road to Trump: He sat by passively in 2009 while then-CNN host D. L. Hughley said that John McCain supporters ‘literally look like Nazi Germany,’ and in 2022, Steele called MAGA Republicans “lice, fleas, and blood-sucking ticks.”

THE END OF JOE BIDEN—AND THE DEMOCRATIC ESTABLISHMENT:

Democratic submission to hierarchy is astonishing. Biden has been in physical and mental decline for years. Gavin Newsom, governor of California, almost indecently lusts after the presidency. Yet Newsom must genuflect before the president and pledge allegiance to his cause. In name at least, Biden is boss. The rules of the game must be adhered to, without exception.

With Biden, the establishment was presented with a difficult challenge: it was reality itself that needed fixing. The president, we have seen, is an inarticulate speaker, has a bizarre personality, is notoriously thin-skinned and lacks humor and charm as a public person. Furthermore, his administration has been responsible for one disaster after another, at home and abroad. All that had to be fixed. The fictional replica of Biden required an equally fictional—and magnificent—record of achievement.

In an effort that has to be unparalleled in our history, every American institution, from the prestige press to the digital platforms, from academia to the entertainment world and very much including the federal bureaucracy, was recruited to portray President Biden as the second coming of Abraham Lincoln. He was said to be caring, empathetic, a totally normal Everyday Joe who bonded easily with racial minorities—but also serious about his duties, the dignified adult in the room, a reliable ally who would never be manipulated by Vladimir Putin. His administration had defeated the pandemic, saved the economy, embraced migrants of all races, ended a forever war in Afghanistan, and somehow protected Ukraine, Israel, and Hamas simultaneously. As for the president’s age, he was old but wise, sharp in private though a stutterer in public and surrounded by the best and brightest in any case.

Nothing like this had been seen before. For the Democrats in power to spin the truth was predictable. For the institutions of information and knowledge to debase themselves so completely on behalf of a political nonentity added to their crisis of authority by precipitating a depressing meltdown of integrity.

An alternate universe was invented and imposed on the American public. It was far more seamless and glimmering than reality. As in the Greek fable, the creators fell in love with their creation. Establishment elites moved their minds permanently to Bidenworld, where the boss was an energetic leader and his policies were always successful. Biden himself, one suspects, fused with his towering replica. The rest of us were told to ignore the evidence of our eyes and salute.

Biden’s actual appearances generated uncertainty and unease, but these were carefully staged and kept to a minimum. Here was the truth of the matter: Bidenworld functioned better without Biden. He was, in fact, its greatest obstacle, and would turn out to be the instrument of its destruction.

As Daniel Greenfield asked and answered last week (which seems like a lifetime ago, in terms of political news): Who’s Running the Country?

That network, which we occasionally call by wholly inadequate names like the “establishment” or “D.C. insiders” is the reason Biden is up again in 2024. And why he can’t be gotten rid of.

People who naively think that Obama is secretly running the Biden administration don’t understand the network or how it works. Obama took on Hillary when it was her ‘turn’ in 2008. He won and brokered a deal that moved the Democrat network further leftward. And he did the same thing again in 2020, bringing in Bernie Sanders’ people and Elizabeth Warren’s people (and his own people) so that the Biden administration is even more radical and extreme than his was.

But where did Obama come from? He came out of that network of radical activists, donors and government personnel now running the country. Obama is not a brilliant genius or one-man dynamo, he was a lazy and unoriginal activist lawyer, one of tens of thousands of Ivy Leaguers who join the political side of the network, who wanted to live out his egotistical ambitions.

And the leftist networks gave him the opportunity to do it in exchange for seeding it deeper across the Democrat Party, the government and the country. Then his time came.

Obama did not want Biden to succeed him. He pushed Biden out in favor of Hillary, and then tried to bring in a surprise candidate to run against him in 2020. But some things are sacred and not even Obama, especially once out of the White House, could take away Biden’s ‘turn’ twice.

It’s not really Biden’s ‘turn’ though. It’s the turn of the strategists, lobbyists, staffers, donors, allies and more nebulous figures known as ‘friends’ whom he accrued over the years. They’re invested in his success, and they’re profiting from it. And they won’t easily give it up.

Trying to replace Biden with Gavin Newsom (aside from the legal and logistical issues) would be a clash of two networks that would require either careful negotiations or outright civil war. It’s done all the time with primary rivals who become vice presidents or cabinet members, but displacing a sitting president who also won the nomination and has raised and spent a massive fortune would require a level of delicate negotiations akin to bringing peace to an African civil war.

Especially if that president is unstable, prone to fits of anger, and is insulated by the same political allies whose wealth and power depend on Biden winning a second term in office.

It’s not just about Jill and Hunter Biden. Joe Biden has tens of thousands of political mouths to feed. Money has been collected, favors promised, people have bought homes in D.C. bedroom communities, lobbyists have secured fat contracts and donors have opened up their wallets.

Replacing Biden with another candidate would upend much of D.C., put tens of billions of dollars in flux and create massive instability in this corrupt local economy. Much of D.C. would rather ride it out (especially since the campaign people will make just as much money if Biden loses) and preserve the integrity of the networks and the illicit pinkie swears that allow special interests to buy influence without having to worry if their man will suddenly be swapped out.

That is what “it’s his turn” really means.

It all feels so late-period Soviet, as VDH wrote last week: Our Brezhnev, Our Pravda, Our Soviet Union…

UPDATE:

MORE: Prior to Biden’s covid announcement, he “met in Las Vegas Wednesday with Jeffrey Katzenberg, the film producer and a top campaign adviser, who conveyed a warning: The president’s donors’ patience is wearing thin, and their cash soon will, too.”

GREAT MOMENTS IN BURYING THE LEDE: Ex-CIA Analyst Worked for South Korea in Exchange for Louis Vuitton Handbag: Prosecutors.

A former senior official of the White House National Security Council who also once worked as an analyst for the CIA has been indicted on criminal charges accusing her of working as an agent for the government of South Korea allegedly in exchange for luxury gifts including designer handbags.

Sue Mi Terry, the wife of Washington Post columnist Max Boot, was charged with failing to register as a foreign agent and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act, according to an indictment made public Tuesday in Manhattan federal court. Prosecutors allege that Terry promoted South Korea’s policy positions, disclosed nonpublic U.S. government information to South Korean intelligence officers, and facilitated access for South Korean government officials to their American counterparts.

Max Boot, eh?

WHY DOES BIDEN BELIEVE THAT A “BLACK JOB” COMES WITH A GLASS CEILING?

And why is Joe shouting so much, when he has microphones and thousands of watts of amplification to carry his voice to every person in the hall?

UPDATE:

Well, fiery, but “mostly” peaceful:

More: “Anyway…”

WILLIAM OTIS: Q: Why can’t we just turn down the heat? A: Because the people who turned it up have nothing else to run on.

Jonathan Turley has a good take on it in his piece here, titled, “The attempted assassination of Trump is not nearly as surprising as it should be.” Turley notes that the Left’s screeching has included:

…claims that Trump was set to kill democracy, unleash “death squads” and make homosexuals and reporters “disappear.”

President Biden has stoked this rage rhetoric. In 2022, Biden held his controversial speech before Independence Hall where he denounced Trump supporters as enemies of the people. Biden recently referenced the speech and has embraced the claims that this could be our last democratic election….

While most people reject the hyperbolic claims, others take them as true. They believe that homosexuals are going to be “disappeared” as claimed on ABC’s “The View” or that the Trump “death squads” are now green lighted by a conservative Supreme Court, as claimed by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow….

I guess this was the reason that Brett Kavanaugh, a conservative Supreme Court Justice, himself needed to be “disappeared” — an actual murder attempt by a pro-abortion zealot that, oddly, we seem to be hearing zero about just now.

As soon as Trump was elected, unhinged rage became the norm as with Kathy Griffin featuring herself holding the bloody severed head of Trump.

Just recently, another celebrity, actress Lea DeLaria, begged Biden to “blow [Trump] up” after the recent presidential immunity decision. DeLaria explained that “this is a **** war. This is a war now, and we are fighting for our **** country. And these a**holes are going to take it away. They’re going to take it away.”

These are the people — they and their buddies one office down the hall at MSNBC or CNN or the WaPo — who are setting new world records for sanctimony in telling the rest of us to turn down the heat.

And it’s not all that new a development — like today’s Trump haters, Harry Truman also apparently had received special temporal dispensation from Mike Godwin to violate his law and go full Springtime for Hitler on Thomas Dewey, the liberal Republican governor of New York — because “Liberty!” was suddenly on the ballot if the big government Democrat didn’t win his election bid:

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Secret Service Director Allegedly Didn’t Want to Put Snipers on a Sloped Roof.

“That building in particular has a sloped roof at its highest point. And so, you know, there’s a safety factor that would be considered there that we wouldn’t want to put somebody up on a sloped roof,” she said. “And so, you know, the decision was made to secure the building, from inside.”

Talk about a genuine Mission: Impossible!

UPDATE: It speaks volumes about how far the credibility of our institutions has fallen in recent years that this question would even be asked:

ANOTHER UPDATE (FROM GLENN):