Presty the DJ for Aug. 20

Today in 1965, the Rolling Stones released the song that would become their first number one hit, and yet Mick Jagger still claimed …

Today in 1967, the New York Times reported on a method of reducing the noise recording devices make during recording. The inventor, Ray Dolby, had pioneered the process for studio recordings, but the Times story mentioned its potential for home use.

Ray Dolby, by the way, is no known relation to the other Dolby …

Today in 1987, Lindsey Buckingham refused to go out on tour with Fleetwood Mac for its “Tango in the Night” album, perhaps thinking that the road would make him …

The band probably told him …

… but look who came back a few years later …

… only to be told don’t stop at the studio door.

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Aug. 20”

If stupidity is a sin, this writer is going to Hell

Alexander Hall reports so we don’t have to read:

Atlantic contributor Daniel Panneton declared that the Catholic rosary has become a “symbol” of religious radicalism.

The rosary is a string of beads or knots used by Catholics as they pray a sequence of prayers, but one writer warned they have taken on a far darker meaning in modern times. “Just as the AR-15 rifle has become a sacred object for Christian nationalists in general, the rosary has acquired a militaristic meaning for radical-traditional (or ‘rad trad’) Catholics,” Panneton claimed in the Sunday piece titled, “How the Rosary Became an Extremist Symbol.”

He added, “On this extremist fringe, rosary beads have been woven into a conspiratorial politics and absolutist gun culture. These armed radical traditionalists have taken up a spiritual notion that the rosary can be a weapon in the fight against evil and turned it into something dangerously literal.”

Panneton slammed an entire online ecosystem for disseminating imagery featuring Christian warriors both historical and modern, suggesting that “social-media pages are saturated with images of rosaries draped over firearms, warriors in prayer, Deus Vult (‘God wills it’) crusader memes, and exhortations for men to rise up and become Church Militants.”

He observed that rosary beads “provide an aide-mémoire for a sequence of devotional prayers, are a widely recognized symbol of Catholicism and a source of strength. And many take genuine sustenance from Catholic theology’s concept of the Church Militant and the tradition of regarding the rosary as a weapon against Satan.”

The Atlantic contributor gave a wide variety of examples of how the modern association between rosaries and fighting men has become marketable to a niche audience, noting that “radical-traditional Catholics sustain their own cottage industry of goods and services,” such as one store that “sells replicas of the rosaries issued to American soldiers during the First World War as ‘combat rosaries.'”

The Swiss Guard, who have been protecting the Vatican in their iconic 16th-century armor and uniforms for centuries, were also addressed, as Panneton recounted: “In 2016, the pontifical Swiss Guard accepted a donation of combat rosaries; during a ceremony at the Vatican, their commander described the gift as ‘the most powerful weapon that exists on the market.'”

He also called out a member of the clergy, stating that “Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix issued an apostolic exhortation calling for a renewal of traditional conceptions of Catholic masculinity titled ‘Into the Breach,’ which led the Knights of Columbus, an influential fraternal order, to produce a video series promoting Olmsted’s ideas.”

Warning that Catholics are a “growing contingent of Christian nationalism,” Panneton commented that “Catholic imagery now blends freely with staple alt-right memes that romanticize ancient Rome or idealize the traditional patriarchal family.” He also commented that as the divide between American Catholics and Protestants has waned, they have become “cemented in common causes such as hostility toward abortion-rights advocates.”

The most sarcastic comment:

Yes. The concern we face in this country is Catholics that attend church every week and have a rosary. It is not Antifa or other rioters from the left. It is not homelessness. It is not spiking crime rates. Everything bad in this country is caused by people practicing a religion that teaches forgiveness, not to judge, turn the other cheek, seek a higher purpose, etc.

Dan McLaughlin compares and contrasts:

It would be hard to find evidence more damning of the worldview of the editors of the Atlantic than the decision to run these two articles two days apart: Kaitlyn Tiffany on “The Right’s New Bogeyman: A mysterious pro-abortion-rights group is claiming credit for acts of vandalism around the country, and right-wing activists and politicians are eating it up” and Daniel Panneton on “How Extremist Gun Culture Co-Opted the Rosary: The AR-15 is a sacred object among Christian nationalists. Now ‘radical-traditional’ Catholics are bringing a sacrament of their own to the movement.” Read in combination, they perfectly encapsulate an asymmetrical threat assessment, in which “our” people are never really bad, but “their” people are to be viewed with constant suspicion. In this view, even actual terrorism by people on the cultural left is dangerous only because it helps conservatives politically, while even the slightest hint of association with the smallest number of extremist weirdos is enough to justify denouncing a core Catholic devotional prayer.

So, when Jane’s Revenge takes public credit for firebombing crisis-pregnancy centers, this is how Tiffany reacts, quoting a comparison to “moral panic” over Antifa during the 2020 riots that cost $2 billion in damages and killed two dozen people:

Right-wing media outlets have provided ample coverage of this new threat, and anti-abortion politicians have demanded government action to address it. But the group’s practical significance remains in question. Just how meaningful is Jane’s Revenge? . . . Whoever is behind Jane’s Revenge, the group has become a prominent bogeyman on social media. . . .

Pro-abortion-rights activists have engaged in vandalism in recent weeks, and the blog posts associated with Jane’s Revenge are actively encouraging the behavior. But that does not imply the existence of a complex, coordinated campaign of violence.

In addition to downplaying Jane’s Revenge and its campaign of terror, Tiffany fails to contextualize it by omitting the activities of “Ruth Sent Us,” the group that published the home addresses of Supreme Court justices to direct protesters to their homes, as well as the assassination attempt on Justice Brett Kavanaugh by a pro-abortion fanatic.

Contrast how Panneton frames the Rosary. First, the Atlantic‘s subtitle hilariously refers to it as a “sacrament,” an error that can only be explained by having had zero Catholics review the article before publication. Even an ex-Catholic who made it through the third grade would have caught that one. There are seven sacraments, and the Rosary — a sequence of prayers dating to the medieval Church — is not one of them:

Just as the AR-15 rifle has become a sacred object for Christian nationalists in general, the rosary has acquired a militaristic meaning for radical-traditional (or “rad trad”) Catholics. On this extremist fringe, rosary beads have been woven into a conspiratorial politics and absolutist gun culture. These armed radical traditionalists have taken up a spiritual notion that the rosary can be a weapon in the fight against evil and turned it into something dangerously literal. Their social-media pages are saturated with images of rosaries draped over firearms, warriors in prayer, Deus Vult (“God wills it”) crusader memes, and exhortations for men to rise up and become Church Militants.

No examples are given of anything bad coming of any of this — and even Panneton has to concede that this is a far cry from the proper and traditional Catholic view of the Rosary. Of course, literally any idea or symbol can be put to a bad use by bad people — Satan himself, the Bible reminds us, can quote Scripture, too. Panneton warns darkly that “the pro-choice protests that followed the leaked early draft of the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade, led to a profusion of social-media posts on the far right fantasizing about killing activists,” yet somehow, he, too, fails to mention the actual violence emanating from the pro-Roe side — even Jane’s Revenge, just two days after the publication of Tiffany’s piece.

Somebody ought to tell Atlantic readers that firebombings and assassination attempts are worse than the Rosary. It does not seem that the editors of the magazine have the heart to be the ones to do it.

One wonders how the Atlantic writer would feel about an attempt to deprive the Atlantic of its First Amendment rights as the writer is trying to deprive Roman Catholics of their First Amendment rights.

One other thing: The sellers of the Rosaries that are mentioned report that their sales have ballooned since the Atlantic piece.

An alternative to Michels?

Most Wisconsin reporters probably wrote after the Aug. 9 primary that Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels will face Democratic incumbent Tony Evers and independent Joan Ellis Beglinger Nov. 8.

Which brings up a question: Who is Joan Ellis Beglinger?

 

Nurses are knowledge workers. We often encounter people at the most difficult times in their lives and deep human connections result.  There is no work I can imagine with a greater opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. My clinical practice was the care of the critically ill.  As a clinical nurse specialist, I worked with patients and families experiencing multi-system failure, which means the sickest of the sick.   A months-long stay in intensive care was not unusual. During my 10 years of clinical practice, I developed expertise in evaluating the patient, interpreting the situation from an extensive knowledge base, and managing a plan of care to achieve the best possible outcomes for the patient and family.  Critical thinking, problem solving and managing outcomes are hallmark skills of clinical nurses.

As a hospital administrator I no longer directly cared for patients.  In nearly 30 years of administrative practice, I developed a clear understanding that my job was to create the conditions for the organization to produce exceptional outcomes.  That meant positioning those who do the organization’s work, day in and day out, with the information, skills, resources and authority they needed to do their best work.  At St. Mary’s in Madison, where I was the Vice President for Patient Care and Chief Nurse Executive for 22 years, we consistently produced exceptional results that were in the top tier of the nation and included clinical outcomes, patient and family satisfaction, employee and physician engagement and financial performance.

The governor is the CEO of the state.  It is a huge bureaucracy with a multi-billion dollar budget and thousands of employees.  An effective governor will manage the bureaucracy in a way that protects the freedom of citizens to live the lives they want to live.  I will have a great deal to learn about the specific workings of state government, as would any CEO taking a position in a new organization, but the skills I have acquired over nearly 30 years are readily transferable.

Many of us have turned away from career politicians and political parties because they rarely produce the results that are important to us.  Producing outcomes requires skill that is acquired from both education and experience. My track record is long, public and objectively measurable.  Candidates in this race will tell you about all of the great things they are going to do for you. The single greatest predictor of future performance is past performance. Competence is not what we are capable of doing.  Competence is what we have actually accomplished.  I have the competence to lead. …

I am often asked why I am running as an Independent candidate for governor.  Some are concerned that without the political machinery and big money backing of the major parties, a candidate doesn’t have a chance.  Looking back, this argument would seem to have merit.  I’m here to argue that now is the time for the right independent candidate to defy history, and the odds, because so many of us have had enough of politicians who are not doing the work of the people.

The major political parties have disqualified themselves from our trust and our support.  Their focus is on maintaining and increasing power rather than governing.  We have seen cycle after cycle, despite their claim to differing governing philosophies, it doesn’t really matter which party is in power.  As you become familiar with who I am and how I will govern, I am confident you will understand why I cannot affiliate myself with a political party. The corruption of our political system is one of the biggest issues we face.  John Adams warned early in the formation of our republic, “When the legislature is corrupted, the people are undone.”

It’s understandable if you feel uneasy about casting your vote for an independent candidate.  As you get to know me, if you find you feel good about the person I am, the values I hold, and the leadership skills I bring to the governorship, I hope you will decide to support getting back to the fundamentals that made our country the greatest in the world.

According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 40% of Americans identify themselves as Independents.  I believe many of us have rejected party membership because of their abysmal failure to produce for us.  We have the great privilege and power of self-determination in this country.  Our votes, in the end, will determine who leads.  It’s in our hands.

So what does Beglinger want to do? She lists her priorities:

As Governor I will:

  • Make it clear to my administration that we exist to serve, not to impede.

  • Minimize the burden of taxes and regulations. Spending in my administration will be tied to results.

  • Require government agencies to be timely and responsive with permitting and other essential services.

  • Promote self-sufficiency.

  • Promote energy independence.

  • Reject the “climate crisis” agenda. Its burdensome regulations will destroy businesses and crush our citizens. New sources of energy will come from human ingenuity, not government coercion.

  • Work to restore responsible management of our natural resources, including fish and game, which are so important to our economy and tourism.

She also claims she will “protect the constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms” and “keep our focus where it belongs. We do not have a ‘gun violence’ problem in Wisconsin; we have a murder problem.” On schools she says she will “tie our investments in education to measurable results” and “work for parental choice that includes the public money spent per student going to any setting – public, private, or home – that produces results.” And she says she will “work to eliminate controversial, divisive social theories from our public schools.”

Beglinger’s other views can be found here, including one on my line of work:

 

Our founders understood that a free and honest press is critical to a free society. They must be our watchdogs of truth. Dishonest career politicians and corrupt political parties would pose a far lesser threat if we had real investigative reporting and journalistic integrity. Instead, we have a media that pushes a political agenda and is complicit in the dishonesty of government officials.

Here are some examples of big issues, beyond COVID-19, that we all need to understand so we can responsibly exercise our right to self-governance.  A watchdog media would be all over them:

  • The 2,702-page Infrastructure bill and the 2,135-page “Build Back Better” bill are designed to radically change our country. They include massive expansions of social programs including Medicare, childcare, and paid family leave; billions for climate change; changes in immigration; and much more government intrusion into our lives. What else is in these bills?  The media acts as the government’s mouthpiece by reporting the bills are popular with the people and are paid for.  The Congressional Budget Office puts the price tag of “Build Back Better” at nearly $5T and says it will add nearly $3T to the deficit. Lies.

  • $20 Billion flowed into Wisconsin under the umbrella of COVID Relief. Where has it gone? What outcomes, if any, have been produced?

  • Migrants are flowing illegally across our southern border in record numbers. Who are they? Where are they?

  • Law enforcement is under attack and our criminal justice system is failing.  Crime is on the rise. Murder and mass stealing are everyday occurrences. The massacre at the Waukesha Christmas parade brought it home in our own backyard. Public safety takes a back seat to fantasies about criminals.  The pandemic is blamed for crime.

  • The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released 2020-2021 report cards for our schools. Low proficiency rates in reading and math don’t prevent a grade of “meets” or “exceeds expectations” for poor performing districts. The media passes on a deep dive into how creative math makes failure look good.

Our freedom is seriously threatened when the media fail us. Until they prove themselves trustworthy, we must turn them off and tune them out. Go to the primary source when possible so you can evaluate for yourself what is true. Think critically and resist acting on emotion.

As your governor, I will always tell the truth. I won’t sign any bill until its contents have been fully communicated to the citizens. I will go around a dishonest media directly to the people. Doing what’s right means standing alone when you must. I’ve done that many times and will do it again while we await the re-emergence of journalistic integrity.

So far, so good. It appears as though Beglinger learned some of the right things from Donald Trump. She seems more conservative than Michels in several areas, for that matter. (Michels has failed to prove that more money needs to be spent on transportation, has not proposed how to pay for that besides the gas tax whose increase he once endorsed, and has said nothing about the need to de-pork the bloated state Department of Transportation.) Perhaps she will be seen as a conservative alternative to Michels for those who don’t like how Michels’ supporters treated supporters of Rebecca Kleefisch (and are utterly clueless about how that’s being viewed among conservative-leaning voters).

One of Beglinger’s appeals probably is the fact she’s not establishment GOP. The GOP and the Democratic Party are part of the larger Incumbent Party, which is interested only in perpetuating its own power. Neither Michels nor the GOP has, for instance, endorsed a Taxpayer Bill of Rights-like constitutional mechanism to permanently limit the growth of government in Wisconsin. (Had Wisconsin had a TABOR-like mechanism since the late 1970s, state government would be half the size it is today.) Politicians do not want to do things to reduce their own power.

Beglinger’s problem is that she doesn’t have the level of independent wealth (think GOP supporter Diane Hendricks, one of the too-few really rich people in Wisconsin) needed to fund an independent campaign. The fact she got 7 percent in the latest Marquette Law School poll doesn’t make her a serious contender, but one should assume every vote Beglinger gets makes the low-T governor more likely to win.

Michels has been slow, and his supporters have done nothing, to patch up the splits between supporters of the first- and second-place finishers in the primary. Some GOP-leaning voters might look at the unlikelihood of the GOP losing control of the Legislature and decide that a vote for Beglinger, unlikely as she is to win, might be better than a vote for someone who seems unlikely to win and has questionable conservative credentials.

 

 

Cheney after Tuesday

I have some history with the Cheney family because I met Richlard Cheney, the former Wyoming Congressman and vice president, back in 1994. I attended the Green Bay Rotary Club Free Enterprise Dinner, where Cheney spoke. I had a pleasant conversation with him for a couple minutes afterward, including our own UW–Madison connections (his doctoral studies and my bachelor’s degree).

Six years later, when George W. Bush got the Republican nomination for president, he picked Cheney to head his vice presidential search, which concluded with Bush picking … Cheney. Six interminable months later, when the 2000 presidential election finally ended, I could say that I knew the vice president. And for the next eight years, when Democrats cast Cheney as the Darth Vader to Bush’s Grand Moff Tarkin, I could say that I knew the secret president.

The one thing no one ever called Cheney was a RINO, which makes the whole kerfuffle over his daughter, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R–Wyoming), who had a 92.9 percent Republican voting record, ironic to say the least. The Wall Street Journal seems the only media outlet capable of a measured, objective look at Liz Cheney:

Liz Cheney lost her Republican primary in Wyoming Tuesday because she bravely stood up to the stolen-election falsehoods of Donald Trump. Liz Cheney lost the primary because she alienated too many Republicans by making common cause with Democrats like Rep. Adam Schiff.

Both statements can be true, and in our view both explain why Ms. Cheney lost decisively in a conservative state that had elected her three times and sent her father to Congress more times than that.

Mr. Trump targeted Ms. Cheney for defeat as he did the other nine Republicans who voted to impeach him after his disgraceful behavior on Jan. 6, 2021. He now has his revenge, as eight of them have lost or retired from Congress, but Republicans shouldn’t be so pleased.

Ms. Cheney is a conservative by any measure and she has the courage of her convictions. A party that can’t tolerate Ms. Cheney and others for voting their consciences after the ransacking of the Capitol by a Trump-inspired mob is narrowing its political and moral appeal. She represents a not inconsiderable number of GOP voters who can’t abide Mr. Trump.

Yet we don’t believe most of the Republicans who voted for Ms. Cheney’s opponent were dismissing the riot as a mere political protest or cheering on Mr. Trump. They were rejecting the strategy of the Democrats and the media to tar the entire GOP as rioters and fanatics.

Ms. Cheney associated herself closely with that effort by her leadership role on the House Jan. 6 special committee. She didn’t publicly object when the committee leaked text messages of Ginni Thomas to attack her husband, Justice Clarence Thomas. She agreed to subpoena sitting Members of Congress in a gross breach of political norms.

She is also the leading committee voice urging the Justice Department to prosecute Mr. Trump as a criminal for his behavior that day, though the committee still hasn’t provided evidence that Mr. Trump had any direct ties to the rioters. You won’t persuade many Republican voters by calling their party “very sick,” as Ms. Cheney did in early August.

GOP voters can hate what happened on Jan. 6 but also dislike the tactics of a committee that excluded Republicans who might have cross-examined witnesses. We warned that Speaker Nancy Pelosi would hurt the credibility of the committee by blocking Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s appointees, and the public’s view of its work has predictably split along party lines. One result has been to cost Ms. Cheney her seat in Congress.

***

Ms. Cheney’s concession speech suggests her mission in politics now is to prevent Mr. Trump from becoming President again. One option is running for the White House herself. She’d have little chance at the GOP nomination. But her goal may be to prosecute the political case against Mr. Trump in such a way that opens the door to other candidates.

If Mr. Trump is the GOP nominee, Ms. Cheney could attempt a third-party run, though she says she won’t change parties. Third parties haven’t won since Lincoln and the GOP in 1860, but Ross Perot arguably cost George H.W. Bush the White House in 1992.

All of this points to the problem Republicans continue to have as long as Mr. Trump is the dominant party figure. He is toxic to a majority of voters even as he retains the fervent support of tens of millions. That voter divide cost him re-election in 2020, as enough Republicans in key states voted GOP for Congress but Joe Biden for President. That evidence is clear in the county and Congressional district returns.

This is why Democrats are doing their best to put Mr. Trump front and center in the 2022 campaign—with the Jan. 6 committee extending into the fall, and the continuing civil and criminal investigations in Georgia, New York and Washington, D.C. Democrats may hate Mr. Trump but they also believe he will help them retain power despite their manifest policy and governance failures. Liz Cheney lost in Wyoming, but her revenge may be a divided GOP that loses again in 2024.

Presty the DJ for Aug. 18

How can two songs be the number one song in the country today in 1956? Do a Google search for the words “B side”:

(Those songs, by the way, were the first Elvis recorded with his fantastic backup singers, the Jordanaires.)

Today in 1962, the Beatles made their debut with their new drummer, Ringo Starr, following a two-hour rehearsal.

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Aug. 18”

Vos vs. Gableman

David Blaska:

One of Tommy Thompson’s former staff members relates how the governor backed him into a wardrobe closet at an event that had gone wrong and growled, “You are so fired!” Tommy fired and rehired the same aide twice that day.

Ronald Reagan retired his Bedtime for Bonzo image for all time when — seven months into his presidency — he fired air traffic controllers for illegally striking and endangering public safety. The man meant business!

One of Donald Trump’s greatest accomplishments (among many) was firing FBI director James Comey. Trump had perfected firing under-achieving apprentices on his reality TV show. Recently, Florida Gov. DeSantis fired the district attorney who vowed not to enforce state law. Good leaders fire poor performers. We have our own list. (When will the Uvalde TX school police chief be fired?)

Our only regret is that Vos didn’t give Mike Gableman the heave-ho on camera like Trump used to do on The Apprentice. The public has been denied the image of Gableman at the bus stop holding a cardboard box. Instead of an honest investigator, Gableman was always a partisan Stolen Election mythologizer. Like the Queen of Hearts, he was verdict first, evidence later.

Which makes him a martyred hero to too many Republican dupes like like N.J. and D.G. here in Dane County WI. Willing and eager dupes. They and the like-(un)minded gave Timothy Ramthun a round of applause at Saturday’s Dane County Lincoln-Reagan dinner 08-13-22. (Except from that one guy at Table 3.) A nominee who would have lost to the tooth fairy.

Ramthun ran for the Republican nomination for governor promising to decertify the the last presidential election in violation of state statute and constitution — and practicality.

The name “Robin Vos” went unspoken Saturday at the Concourse Hotel, lest dinner rolls be thrown. The man himself elicited a fierce booing at the Republican state convention this past May for explaining that neither he nor Tim Ramthun is above the law. Survived a vote of no confidence. Barely hung onto his Assembly seat last week in the Republican primary with 51.3% of the vote. Find where, oh ye self-proclaimed constitutional conservatives, elections can be “decertified.” Especially in the absence of any actual — you know — evidence. How many voters will you disenfranchise because they dropped their ballots into boxes authorized by their local and state election officials in order to get the result you want? How do you know they all voted “wrong?”

Blaska’s Bottom Line: Our Republican party is in deep, dark doo doo if it thinks Robin Vos is the enemy. The Speaker has been Lord Voldemort to Wisconsin’s Democrat(ic) governor. Why would the leader chosen by 61 Republicans elected around the state put in the fix to keep Joe Biden in the White House? It doesn’t make sense.

The FBI and its media toadies

Non-conservative Matt Taibbi:

CNN Newsroom anchor Jim Acosta, famed for being the WWE version of a media tough guy during the Trump years, curled up like a kitten last weekend when interviewing Phil Mudd, onetime head of the FBI’s National Security Branch. Also a former CIA man, Mudd is now an Acosta colleague, a “senior intelligence analyst” on the CNN payroll.

“You know, there are real consequences,” said Acosta, “when people go out and trash the integrity of the FBI…”

It was less question than invitation, and Mudd jumped at it. The FBI man seethed that even if you’re upset about the raid of Donald Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago, if you think state police can deal with the Iranians, the Russians, the Chinese, white collar crime, mortgage fraud and cyber-porn involving kids, you suck.

“If you say defund the FBI,” he went on, “let your kid be abused by an adult!”

“Yeah,” said Acosta. “It doesn’t add up.”

Mudd — who’s supposed to be both retired from law enforcement and a member of the media now — then went on about how difficult things are for FBI agents now that the unredacted warrant was out, releasing names and robbing agents of their birthright anonymity just as “our kids are going back to school.”

“Yeah…” said Acosta again. “They want to intimidate people in law enforcement.”

As they spoke, CNN flashed a graphic of mean things people said online about the FBI last week, like “kill all feds.” Acosta noted, as if spontaneously, that this reminded him of the atmosphere before January 6th (I thought of the “kill all cops” memes, but what do I know?) before asking Mudd if he was worried about another “spasm” of “domestic terrorism. Mudd said yes, America is filled with extremists like the ones “abroad,” and “I think we’re going to see a catastrophic event” like January 6th.

Watching, I found myself wondering, “What is this?” There was no pretense of separateness between the CNN employees, and the spot’s purpose appeared to be to let a senior CIA/FBI counterintelligence official whine about the reaction to the Trump raid, stoke fear, and compare Americans to al-Qaeda. It felt less like news than something out of a dystopian novel like Fahrenheit 451 or We, and this is essentially on air round the clock. Dollars to doughnuts, if you turn on cable right now, you will find, somewhere, a former intelligence official yammering at you through your telescreen.

We’re a week into one of the biggest stories of our time, and the feds and media have spent most every minute acting as an unembarrassed unified front. One after another, national security “analysts” lined up to give breathless, hyperbolic, and and eerily synchronized commentary about the Mar-a-Lago raid. If the message on day 1 was about how they “must have” probable cause of a crime, that was the word up and down the dial. If by the weekend it was “I’ve never seen this level of threat,” you heard that in more or less the same words from the likes of Mudd, McCabe, and others on multiple channels. What’s the public supposed to see, other than an American analog to China Central TV or Rossiya-1, when they tuned in to all this? …

Presty the DJ for Aug. 17

The Beatles were never known for having wild concerts. (Other than their fans, that is.)

Today in 1960, the Beatles played their first of 48 appearances at the Indra Club in Hamburg, West Germany. The Indra Club’s owner asked the Beatles to put on a “mach shau.” The Beatles responded by reportedly screaming, shouting, leaping around the stage, and playing lying on the floor of the club. John Lennon reportedly made a stage appearance wearing only his underwear, and also wore a toilet seat around his neck on stage. As they say, Sei vorsichtig mit deinen Wünschen.

Four years later, the council of Glasgow, Scotland, required that men who had Beatles haircuts would have to wear swimming caps in city pools, because men’s hair was clogging the pool filters.

Today in 1968, the Doors had their only number one album, “Waiting for the Sun”:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Aug. 17”

The stakes Nov. 8

William Otis:

I’ve been following politics for more than 50 years. Never has it been as corrupted and depressing as it is now. It’s almost as bad as what used to be known as journalism.

We have two major parties, and the next President is going to come from one of them. At this moment, the leading candidates for their respective party’s nominations are Joe Biden and Donald Trump. I seriously doubt that Biden will actually run again and I’m quite sure that, for the good of the country, Trump shouldn’t.

Biden is just too old and it shows. But even if he were younger, the chances of his renomination are slim because, to be blunt, he looks like a loser and the Democrats know it. I’ve noted his dismal and massively unpopular record before: A cowardly and precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan a year ago today, one that cost American lives and made that country once more a Taliban and terrorist stronghold; a major war in Europe our “diplomacy” failed to avert; an increasingly aggressive and dangerous China with its sights on Taiwan; inflation at a 40-year high and visiting itself on your pocketbook in ways so ubiquitous and relentless the press can’t fuzz it over; supply chain shortages in everything from semi-conductors to baby formula; race huckstering and racial antagonism getting stoked as Biden looks on (or abets); murder surging across the country to levels we haven’t seen since the last century; an illegal immigration crisis at the southern border the Administration sort of acknowledges but seems unable or unwilling to staunch; and drug overdose deaths at levels (over 100,000 last year) unseen in American history.

Biden is just too old and too weak to lead the country or to withstand having his party taken over by what we see now. Not to put too fine a point on it, what is that exactly? It’s a Democratic Party that has become a consortium of relentlessly dishonest, anti-American, pro-criminal, race-huckstering, Woke-hugging coastal elitists who think American history, to the skimpy extent they know it or care to know it, is nothing but the vileness of slavery with a few footnotes.

It’s a commonplace that a country cannot long survive being run by people who hate it. The fact that America is in the shape it’s in after just a year and a half of Democratic rule is no happenstance. The predominant thinking in the Democratic Party is that America is a stain on the world and has it coming — indeed, has had it coming for a long time. Our current dismal state is, therefore, not bad luck. It’s exactly what you’d expect this poisonous view of America (or “Amerika,” as they like to say when they think no one’s looking) would seek to produce.

So the answer is the Republicans, right? Well, yes and no. “Yes” in the sense that it’s the only major party left, and one of the two of them is going to be holding power (a viable independent third party is a pipe dream and isn’t going to happen). “No” in the sense that the likely Republican nominee, Donald Trump, is constitutionally incapable (in more than one sense) of responsibly exercising of the powers of the office.

I’m not going to go through the long list of Trump’s accomplishments for the country, nor the about equally long list of his personal and character defects that make him unfit for public service (and make him the endlessly talking gift that, to the Democrats’ rapture and delight, keeps on giving — and talking).

I voted for Trump twice and was his nominee for a body in the judicial branch, the US Sentencing Commission. I defended him for years as his behavior sank lower and lower — ask any of his five chiefs of staff, or Jeff Sessions, or Bill Barr, or Betsy DeVos or a host of others. But he has at least one characteristic that makes it unambiguously imperative that he not be re-nominated.

He doesn’t care about law. I doubt he knows much of it or wants to. This would be bad enough in a nominee for any public office, but is terminal in a nominee for the office whose central constitutional duty is to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

Last week he took the Fifth, for cryin’ out loud. But — in a turn of events as revealing as it is depressing — our expectations of him are now at the point that we barely noticed.

When I became aware of civic life during the Eisenhower administration, the notion that the President — or a once and perhaps future President — would take the Fifth simply did not exist. Dwight Eisenhower take the Fifth??? Now, with the Donald Trump we have come to know, it barely gets mentioned.

And then there’s the search at his Florida estate. Let’s assume arguendo that the search was politically motivated, excessive in force and scope, without precedent, grossly incendiary, and essentially part of the Democratic Party’s use of the organs of government to scourge its opponents. Very likely all of that is true to some extent, perhaps a large extent. But what did we learn in its aftermath?

We learned, for one thing, that the federal government had spent months seeking presidential records Trump just packed up and took with him when he left the White House. Fifteen boxes of them that we know of so far. They weren’t his property and he had no right to them, classified or not. Under the Presidential Records Act, they were government property. But he decided he wanted them, so off they went.

Question: Presidential Records Act or not, when do you learn that you don’t walk off with mounds of stuff that doesn’t belong to you?

Answer: By about first grade.

But Trump walked off with them anyway. And yes, it may well be true that other presidents took papers they shouldn’t have and had no right to. But the question is, do we want America’s chief executive to be saying, as is now being said in Trump’s behalf, “But everybody does it!

When I said that to my parents, the certain result was getting sent to my room. And I was maybe eight or nine. If that sort of excuse-making, and the mindset that produces it, doesn’t go over in grade school, should we want it — indeed, should we tolerate even thinking about it — in the White House?

The question answers itself. Trump’s obliviousness to law, and his easy acceptance if not pugilistic embrace of that obliviousness, is disqualifying per se. And this would be true even if the Republican Party did not have a bevy of high quality potential nominees who would carry forward most if not all of Trump’s substantive policies without the consistently reckless and lawless coloration. Candidates who would — how should I say this? — make America great again.

Which brings me to the point of this entry (with apologies and thanks to the readers who have been patient enough to stick with me).

The point is to ask what’s really behind the Mar-a-Lago search, and the January 6 Committee, and the grand juries, and the growing prospect of a Trump prosecution. I doubt it’s to put Trump in jail, even for as much as a big segment of the Democratic Party would love to see that happen. Indeed, I doubt there’s going to be a federal prosecution at all.

Here’s the deal. All these moves against Trump will continue, for months at least and probably into 2024. There will be leaks galore. There will be press speculation every day, much of it passed off as “news,” see, e.g., Russiagate There will be dozens of interviews with now-disillusioned Republicans. Liz Cheney will get an anchor spot on CNN to do nightly updates with Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok. There will be a boatload of panels with “legal experts” (i.e., Democratic operatives who went to law school at some point) about where things are headed.

They say that the process is the punishment — but here, it’s much, much more than the punishment. It’s the strategy to return the Democrats to power in 2024 despite their record. The point of the exercise is to see that their record is not the center of the electorate’s attention and that Donald Trump’s is. The Democrats almost surely cannot win running as the incumbents they are, so the plan is to make Trump the quasi-incumbent and run against him, having used every operation in the book to stockpile negatives for the campaign.

Somewhere down the road, when the Democrats feel they’ve obtained about as much mileage as they’re going to get out of this strategy, we’ll see the kicker: A sober and serious Joe Biden will announce from the Oval Office that, at his direction, in order to promote coming together and national unity, that despite the mountain of evidence the Justice Department has uncovered — evidence that’s easily enough to support indicting Mr. Trump — he has ordered that no prosecution is to take place. Healing, dontcha know.

If I’m lucky, my assessment about what’s really going on will prove more cynical than prophetic. But I regret to say that I tend not to be that lucky.