Presty the DJ for Aug. 8

Two anniversaries today demonstrate the fickle nature of the pop charts. This is the number one song today in 1960:

Three years later, the Kingsmen released “Louie Louie.” Some radio stations refused to play it because they claimed it was obscene. Which is ridiculous, because the lyrics were not obscene, merely incomprehensible:

Today in 1969, while the Beatles were wrapping up work on “Abbey Road,” they shot the album cover:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Aug. 8”

How to make Milwaukee even worse

Vicki McKenna passes on this from retired Milwaukee police detective Steve Spingola:

Metropolitan Milwaukee is a land of makers and doers. At 5:30 a.m., the local interstate freeways are crowded with commuters en route to manufacture, construct, package and ship things. Southeastern Wisconsin is not Madison, Berkeley, Portland or Seattle; yet, anti-police activists have made inroads by bullying, intimidating or taking control of municipal common councils and police civilian review boards. Now, the mob is coming for two exemplary minority law enforcement professionals for simply doing their jobs.

Milwaukee Police Chief Al Morales is the idyllic leader of a big city police department. A life-long resident of Milwaukee, Morales rose through the ranks, making his mark as a homicide detective in one of the most dangerous cities in America. In 2002, a 20-year-old criminal defendant, just found guilty of homicide by a jury, disarmed a bailiff of a firearm in open court. Morales, who chaired the trial with an assistant district attorney, shot and killed the man in what he described as “an out of body experience.”

The major reason Chief Morales is so well respected by the officers he commands is his courage under fire. The son of Mexican immigrants, he has walked-the-walk. In Milwaukee, Al Morales is the one person standing in the way of the mob. Mayor Tom Barrett and leadership are an oxymoron. The Milwaukee Common Council, once a bastion of police support, has come to view the city’s criminal element as an emerging political constituency.

In early June, when a group of protestors attempted to walk onto the high-rise Hoan Bridge, also known as Interstate 794, during rush hour, non-peaceful protestors scuffled with officers. Milwaukee police deployed tear gas to disburse the unlawful assembly. Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, a man who has no law enforcement training, ripped Morales and the MPD’s Major Incident Response Team. In comments to the media, Hamilton said police should consider the motivations of protestors and, then, ignore the laws the so-called peaceful protestors driving on sidewalks, urinating on homes, throwing objects at police, and detonating fireworks, are trampling.

Morales, vis-a-vis his assistant chief, Michael Brunson, took issue with the Common Council’s depiction of events. “We have had five police vehicles struck by gunfire,” Brunson noted, and “forty-three business were looted on the first day alone.”

It was, however, when Chief Morales crossed the politically incorrect Rubicon that his job was suddenly in jeopardy. The day after the Hoan Bridge incident, Morales compared the physical and verbal attacks on his officers to the death of Christ. “Two thousand years ago, an angry mob came before people and said crucify that man…Law enforcement throughout our nation, law enforcement is being crucified.”

The references to God and service became too much for some on the secular progressive left. Milwaukee’s Fire and Police Commission soon issued a list of eleven directives to Morales. If these edicts are not fulfilled, Morales could be removed for insubordination. One of the directives demands Milwaukee police no longer use chemical irritants against protests of any kind. This directive caused several law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin to rescind an offer to provide officers for the mid-August Democratic National Convention.

Ironically, Morales isn’t the only minority officer under fire from those demanding racial justice. Wauwatosa — a suburb just to the west of Milwaukee — has a police department considered the gold standard in Wisconsin. One of the department’s officers, Joseph Mensah, has shot and killed three people of color in the last five years.

The first two shootings were ruled justifiable by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office, as well as the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. In the third shooting, which occurred February, a 17-year-0ld at a shopping mall pointed a gun with a thirty-one round magazine at an officer and discharged a round. Officer Mensah returned fire and killed the shooter. The incident was captured on officers’ body cameras. Yet five months have passed without the district attorney’s office doing what a fifth-grader could do: watch the video and find the shooting justifiable.

And now the mob is coming to crucify Mensah. In mid-July, the Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission (PFC) suspended Mensah, even though Chief Barry Weber has not filed a single complaint against the officer. Officer Mensah has stated publicly that anti-police agitators have listed the addresses of his family and friends on the Web, and protestors have gathered outside the homes of PFC members.

Even more troubling is the Milwaukee media’s coverage of Mensah, which, on only one occasion prior to Officer Mensah’s suspension, noted that the officer himself is African-American. The anti-police journalists in the local media apparently saw no value in this critical detail. To the mob and its supporters, the narrative of a rogue officer on the lookout to shoot people of color was too powerful to undermine.

Fortunately, Officer Mensah is fighting back. As of this writing, supporters at his GoFundMe page have raised nearly $70,000 for his ensuing legal battle. And Chief Al Morales isn’t going down without a fight, either. Yet, if the mob can bully, threaten and intimidate in a metropolitan area of the makers and doers — the kind of people that make America tick – they will be empowered to use the same tactics across the country.

The vehicular hypocrite

The Detroit News reports about this ad:

In the course of “vetting” a vice presidential running mate, U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden might have accidentally spilled General Motors’ future product plans.

In an 80-second campaignspot posted on Biden’s Twitter account Wednesday, Biden surprises by not talking about politics but cars, and his love of the Corvette and the American car market. In it, he says, “They tell me” that GM is making an all-electric version of its iconic sports car that will go 200 mph.

Turns out there are plans. Someone familiar with Corvette production at its Bowling Green Assembly in Kentucky confirmed to the Free Press there is a plan for an all-electric version of the Corvette, but the timing and its maximum speed are unknown.

The electric version is likely at least two years or more out, the person said, noting it will follow GM’s performance versions of the car due to market over the next year. The person declined to be named because there was no authorization to speak to the media.

GM spokesman Jim Cain,when asked about an electric Corvette,said company policy is to decline to discuss future products.

But GM has said it will have an all-electric lineup across its brands one day, with Cadillac being the lead brand for that technology. Cadillac’s boss has said the brand lineup will be nearly all-electric by 2030. 

GM did not plant any tip about an all-electric variant of the Corvette in Biden’s ear, said Jeannine Ginivan, GM spokeswoman. 

“I don’t know who ‘they’ are who told him that, but we don’t have any news about any new electric Corvette,” Ginivan said, reiterating that GM does not discuss future product. “We are excited about the line of vehicles we have coming. We have the GMC Hummer electric pickup and tonight the Lyriq (SUV) reveal.”

And exactly who is going to be able to afford a $200,000 electric Corvette? Maybe Biden, who has, like many politicians, gotten curiously rich (at least $9 million in net worth) while he was in, then since he left, office. Not normal people, who should be reluctant to purchase one anyway given GM’s bad record with new tech:

Biden is a Corvette owner, as Fox News reports:

Joe Biden is looking to rev up his presidential campaign by getting behind the wheel of his 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray to ‘vette’ himself for office.

The presumptive Democratic nominee has released a new ad promoting American manufacturing that features the classic green convertible. …

Biden is the original owner of the car, which was a wedding gift from his father, who worked at a Chevrolet dealership. During his time as vice president, he often lamented that he wasn’t allowed to drive it due to security concerns.

Biden did manage to take the sports car for a spin for an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage just before the 2016 presidential election, but at a secure facility rather than on the road. Biden told Leno that he’d once driven it 160 mph, but his 327-cubic inch model had an official top speed closer to 130 mph.

In the new video, which appears to have been shot along the drive to his Wilmington, Del., estate, Biden says the car brings back memories of his father and his late son Beau.

He rhetorically asks, “How can American-made vehicles no longer be out there?”

According to the Automotive News Data Center, over 10 million vehicles were manufactured in the U.S. in 2019.

“I believe we can own the 21st-century market again by moving to electric vehicles,” Biden continued.

He then says that “they” tell me that they’re making an electric Corvette that can go 200 mph.

Chevrolet has not confirmed plans for such a vehicle, however Maryland-based Genovation sells a Corvette converted to run on electricity that holds the top speed record for street-legal electric cars at 210.2 mph.

The Genovation GXE costs $750,000, plus the price of the donor car it is based on.

I guess my $200,000 estimate is too low. My bad.

Biden’s ad didn’t tell you this, but Issues & Insights did:

Joe Biden’s $2 trillion climate change plan, released this week, was described by one liberal outlet as “the Green New Deal, minus the crazy.” We beg to differ. Just look at Biden’s plan to eliminate the internal combustion engine.

Biden says that on his first day in office, he will develop “rigorous new fuel economy standards aimed at ensuring 100% of new sales for light- and medium-duty vehicles will be zero emissions.”

He hasn’t said exactly when he wants new cars to be all-electric, but House Democrats have already established a timetable. Their new climate change plan calls for mandating 100% “clean” vehicles by 2035.

Keep in mind that as of today, plug-in electrics account for 0.5% of cars on the road, and made up less than 2% of new vehicles sold in 2019. And that’s despite massive public subsidies that have cost taxpayers $5 billion in credits to — mostly wealthy — EV buyers.

Clearly, consumers are not that interested in plug-ins, which is why Biden and his fellow Democrats want to force electric cars on everyone in the name of climate change.

Aside from fuel economy mandates, Biden also wants to extend and expand the EV tax credit, pump federal money into charging stations, and create a new “cash for clunkers” program for those who trade in a gasoline-powered car for a plug-in.

The cost of all this? Who knows. Aside from the $2 trillion price tag that Biden put on his entire Green New Deal plan, he hasn’t broken down his EV mandate scheme. But Sen. Chuck Schumer has already proposed a cash-for-clunkers plan, which would cost $454 billion over a decade.

And for all this, the electric car mandate will have a negligible impact on CO2 emissions and zero impact on the climate.

For one thing, the CO2 advantage of electric cars is vastly oversold. These are not “zero emissions” vehicles. They simply change the source of the emissions from the car to power plants — most of them powered by coal and natural gas.

A study by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found that when you factor in CO2 emissions from electricity production, the average plug-in produces as much CO2 over its lifetime as a gas-powered car that gets 55 miles per gallon.

The CO2 advantage of electric cars diminishes even more when you consider the entire lifecycle of the vehicle, including the environmental impact of mining required to manufacture the batteries. A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that CO2 emissions from manufacturing electric cars was 68% higher than gas-powered cars.

When you add it up, the impact on the climate is zero. A report from the Manhattan Institute notes that even if every car on the road were replaced with electric vehicles by 2050, “the resulting reduction in CO2 emissions would be less than 500 million tons per year.” That reduction, it says “will have no measurable impact on world climate.”

The rest of Biden’s environmental plan is equally untethered from reality. Take his proposal to have all the nation’s electricity produced by “clean” fuels by 2035.

Today, 20% of electricity comes from renewable sources. The Energy Information Administration says that based on current trends, that will increase to 32% by 2035 and 38% by 2050.

That’s a long way from 100%.

Plus, a fifth of today’s renewable energy comes from hydroelectric power, which has been declining as a source of energy in part because environmentalists hate dams. Another 43% comes from biomass, which environmentalists also consider dirty.

As the Natural Resources Defense Council put it, “biomass energy damages our climate and air, our forests, and our communities while the industry hides behind veils of misinformation.

That leaves solar and wind, which are massive land hogs. Proposed solar plants in Virginia would eat up 490 square miles of land — which would be like covering all of Los Angeles in solar panels. A single 50 turbine wind farm requires 23 square miles, notes Real Clear Investigations. Both energy sources are uneconomical without generous government subsidies.

Then there’s Biden’s promise that the entire U.S. economy will produce zero carbon emissions by 2050.

When the Heritage Foundation tried to calculate the economic impact of the carbon taxes needed to cut CO2 emissions by just more than half, it crashed their economic model.

The Green New Deal was never about saving the planet. It’s always been about the left’s desire to gain control of every aspect of our economy and our lives. Biden’s version might be a modestly watered-down version of the one proposed by socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but it’s hardly any less crazy.

Biden’s party believes people shouldn’t own vehicles, period, but should ride mass transit like good little communists, particularly since if Biden is elected president you will be poorer, not richer, in income and rights. So the electric Corvette convertible is a fantasy, and not just in Biden’s mind.


The school war

Jay Weber:

Ladies and gentlemen — Senate leader Scott Fitzgerald was genius, [Tuesday], as he laid down a marker on school reopening with the Governor.

This was genius and important move.

This came after Tony Evers told reporters he has no secret plan to close the schools …

And that comes — after we republicans and conservatives insisted this could be his next step. And it is. If he can pull it off. Trust me.

Gov. Evers has had WEAC and the five largest teachers’ unions in the state pressuring him for two weeks now- to force all classes on-line in fall. Not just in public schools- which are the schools these putrid unions represent-

But also private and parochial schools. The unions want to keep the schools closed to play cheap political games and help the democrats keep a blanket on the economy….until trump is voted out …

But they also don’t want to risk parents pulling their kids out of public schools and sending them somewhere else —  or — or — this is the bigger risk for the unions —

They don’t want a bunch of bad publicity and a PR war as the private and parochial kids go to school as normal in fall and thrive … as none of the kids get sick and the nanny-state worries are debunked.

Imagine if — by election day — if one set of schools was in nearly full operation and the kids were thriving and healthy and back with their friends and teachers…as MPS, Kenosha, and a bunch of the public schools had stayed closed and were still doing half-assed distance learning on line?

What a PR nightmare that would be for our public schools and the local school board members who are that’s what these union leaders are really worried about: if they are going to help out the democrat party and keep the public schools closed-they want assurances that their brand won’t be tarnished any more than it already is.

And so that is why the unions are pressuring Tony Evers to close all schools in fall and Gov. Evers was the state DPI head forever-and owes his entire adult career to the teachers unions.

They even shoveled over half a million dollars into his run for Governor.

And so — of course-Tony Evers is inclined to close down the schools … and i am certain … is planning to. And the issue has now gotten tangled up in his statewide mask mandate … which some Republicans want to repeal … and others don’t.

But as I said Monday — when i laid out both Fitz and Vos’s thinking —

One thing they are unified on is — if Gov. Evers moves to close down the schools via executive order — they will immediately reconvene the legislature and block that move.

This is a given-according to what Fitz and Vos have told me over the last few days. Gov. Evers will not get away with closing all WI schools via executive order and that’s the hill to die on, if it comes to that.

Not the mask order.

So — this had reporters asking Gov. Evers yesterday: do you plan to close down the schools?

To which he replied. Quote … I have no secret plan.

Okay … but that’s not a yes or no answer … to the question.

And so it is important to lay down the marker. As Fitz did. Because Tony Evers has lied to us … or ‘changed his mind’ … numerous times before and on the covid-19 issue alone.

Remember — Gov Evers said he had no plans to implement a state-wide shelter-in-place order … and then … less than a week later, he did it.

Evers said he had no plans to extend that lockdown order and then he did.

Evers said he had no plan to close the schools in spring when covid-19 hit and then he did.

And of course — for weeks — Gov. Evers said he had no plan to issue a statewide mask mandate- right up to the moment that he did it.

So Tony Evers has lied, or at least ‘changed his mind’, several times now. On covid-19 alone.

Evers said he had no authority to postpone the April 7 election. And then he attempted to.

And so — when he trotted out this claim on having no plan to close the schools-it was great that Scott Fitzgerald pushed back. Fitzgerald put out a statement a short while later, saying:

“I appreciate the governor’s statements that support in-person instruction, but actions speak louder than words. Earlier this spring, the governor flip-flopped on whether to issue a stay-at-home order. He flip-flopped on whether to move the April 7th Election,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m fearful that he will cave to pressures from liberal groups and backtrack once again.”

This seems like a minor thing. It’s not.

By issuing that statement, Scott Fitzgerald got statewide coverage and drew all sorts of attention to what the governor said … that it otherwise wouldn’t have received.

It is now — officially noted — that Governor Evers said he wasn’t going to close down Wisconsin’s schools in one fell swoop.

Everyone heard it — or heard about it.

And that is a very good strategic move, given that we know —

We know — the teachers unions have been exerting so much pressure on Tony Evers that he will do their bidding if he has an opening.

One of the arguments against having republicans challenge the mask mandate is — it gives Gov. Evers a way to scapegoat them as he closes down the schools.

The scenario is simple: the GOP forces repeal of the mask mandate … so Evers’ team watches the covid-19 numbers and waits for the next slight uptick between now and Labor Day.

And then says, see? See? Those damn republicans! Their repeal of the mask mandate has led to a new spread and now the governor has no choice but to close the schools. Blame it on them. Evil republicans.

I tell yah — this is what Evers and his evil handlers would wait for if the GOP repeals this mask mandate.

Evers needs the opening. The excuse. To shut down schools. That’s all he needs and the GOP shouldn’t offer themselves up as a convenient one.

In fact — if they allow the mask mandate to stay in place, and then Evers closes schools anyway, yet again, the Republicans will have the high ground.

They will be able to say: look, we let the illegal mask mandate stand, in part, so that we could get the kids safely back to school. But if you are going to close the schools anyway, then we’ll vote to block both items.

That’s how the Republicans should play this.

They already have Evers in a bit of a box when it comes to trying to close down the schools now — but Fitz planted a flag yesterday that everyone in Wisconsin could see:he got Evers ‘on record’ in every newspaper and TV station in Wisconsin: say what now, governor?You promise not to close schools?

Can you say that into the microphone for posterity, sir?

That’s what Fitz’s action was. It makes it far more difficult for Evers to simply ‘change his mind’ in a week or two and order all schools closed in service to his union masters.

And as for this idea that parents are worried about covid-19.

The left wing blogs are pushing this idea that parents are afraid to send their kids to school and the GOP and trump will be harmed by forcing this —

Bull plop.

All of these districts are taking parental surveys. And even in MPS, most parents said get my kid back to class. I think it was about a 60/40 mix.

And every poll i have seen out of every suburban district puts it at about 70/30 or better.

West Bend just polled their district.7 in ten parents said they want their kid back in school.

I believe Waukesha’s ratio was about the same.

Hey — in Waunakee — which is near Madison — the school board just reversed itself on an ‘all virtual’ opening after parents complained.

In the school district where I live, 80 percent of parents, who were surveyed twice, want their kids in school buildings.

And as local people of good will agonize over this decision on whether to reopen schools … the top democrats and union heads know the health risks are all bologna.


They know this is all about politics.

Some unions aren’t even really trying to keep it a secret. We have seen the LA, NY, and Chicago teachers unions all play extortion games that have nothing to do with covid-19.

They have reopening demands such as: we won’t reopen schools until the police are defunded. Until charter schools are outlawed. Until low income rents and mortgages are canceled and forgiven.

In Chicago: we won’t go back to class until the history curriculum is scrapped.

Honestly. This is a coordinated effort between the teachers union and Dem state lawmakers: we need to cancel history class because it only teaches about old white men, and their greatness. So … if you want the public school teachers back in class …

It’s extortion and has nothing to do with covid-19. The teachers unions are using covid-19 and our children’s education-as a political weapon.

And few things are more putrid.

This is truly awful, unconscionable stuff, people.

I don’t particularly have confidence in legislative GOP leadership. People have also forgotten that the state Supreme Court decision overturning Safer at Home specifically excluded schools, and indeed school buildings stayed closed through the end of the 2019–20 school year. So I’m not sure if Evers did close schools a reversal is legally likely.


Biden the COVID coward

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

Whatever was left of an in-person 2020 Democratic National Convention evaporated Wednesday as organizers announced Joe Biden won’t be traveling to Milwaukee to give his presidential acceptance speech.

And neither will any of the other speakers who will address the Aug. 17-20 convention.

With the coronavirus pandemic paralyzing modern politics, Democrats will hold a virtual convention.

Biden will accept the party’s presidential nomination from his home state of Delaware.

Organizers said in a statement that there had been ongoing consultation with public officials and experts. The decision on speakers not traveling to Milwaukee was made “in order to prevent risking the health of our host community as well as the convention’s production teams, security officials, community partners, media and others necessary to orchestrate the event.”

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said: “From the very beginning of this pandemic, we put the health and safety of the American people first. We followed the science, listened to doctors and public health experts, and we continued making adjustments to our plans in order to protect lives. That’s the kind of steady and responsible leadership America deserves. And that’s the leadership Joe Biden will bring to the White House.”

While the political logic of picking Milwaukee rested heavily on the urgency Democrats faced in winning back Wisconsin in 2020, the Biden decision is one more blow to the idea that this convention could provide an electoral boost specific to Wisconsin.

It also raises the stakes for the fall campaign as both Biden and President Donald Trump are targeting Wisconsin’s electoral votes.

Biden hasn’t campaigned in person in Wisconsin at all this year, although he has made several virtual campaign appearances aimed at voters here. In 2018, he appeared in Wisconsin on behalf of Democratic candidates.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton campaigned here during the primaries but did not make an appearance during the general election.

That doesn’t say much good about this state’s COVID-19 response under Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, does it? It does seem to render moot the question of whether Evers’ mask order will apply to the DNC, though.

As for hidin’ Biden, Michael Goodwin writes:

On Aug. 4, 2016, Clinton led Trump by nearly 7 points in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls. That same metric now has Biden up by 7.4 points.

With apologies to Yogi Berra, if Biden isn’t careful, America could wake up in November with that déjà vu feeling all over again.

Just as military generals prepare to fight the last war, political consultants are prone to repeat the same errors that led to defeat before. The big one here is that Biden can play it safe, stay in his basement bunker, and take the oath next January.

For example, Biden has answered questions from the press just twice this summer, and the media obliged him with softball questions. It is notable that Chris Wallace of Fox News, a notoriously tough interview, recently grilled President Trump on his Sunday show, and then followed with an invitation to Biden that was promptly rejected.

The most fanciful part of the hidin’ Biden fantasies is the newest — that he can skip the debates and still get elected. I don’t see how that works.

For one thing, if there is anything voters, and Trump, can smell, it’s fear. And the mere entertaining of the idea that Biden could break with tradition that goes back nearly half a century and take a pass on face-to-face showdowns with his opponent may masquerade as strategy, but it is a sign of fear, plain and simple.

It is the fear that Biden will be unmasked as mentally unfit to be president. His deficiencies are not a secret to those who know him, and general-election voters have a right to see them clearly before they make their final choice for the presidency.

So far, Biden’s team hasn’t suggested he won’t debate Trump, but it is almost certainly something they have thought about. It’s even possible they have given a silent approval to the media Praetorian Guard floating the trial balloon to see if it flies. As of now, it’s still flying, unmolested by any hostile fire from other top Democrats. Where are Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi? Where is the Democratic National Committee? Where is Barack Obama on this one?

Their silence shows they, too, want to know if the no-show ruse will work. After all, they, too, must suspect that Biden cannot go for three 90-minute encounters with Trump and emerge intact.

Think what that means: It means the Biden campaign and the entire establishment of the Democratic Party are prepared to foist an impaired man into the Oval Office, uncertain that he can fulfill his duties. Trump Derangement Syndrome has done some strange things to people, but this one takes the cake.

In reality, if it became widely understood among independent voters that the insiders wanted Biden to skip the debates because they knew he wasn’t up to them, that would almost certainly lead to a Trump victory. Put it this way: Why would anyone who isn’t mad with Trump hatred vote for an opponent whose most intimate associates know he can’t do the job?

Although the first televised presidential debate is the most famous — the one between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960 — it wasn’t until 1976, when President Gerald Ford met challenger Jimmy Carter, that debates cemented themselves as a fall requirement. For the last two decades, there have been three each cycle, and one more between running mates.

Some have been enormously consequential, but most matter because they establish a baseline test of competence and readiness. With the coronavirus wreaking havoc on this year’s party conventions, the acceptance speeches by Trump and Biden will lose some of their excitement, giving their debates added significance.

If Biden doesn’t show, that will be conclusive proof that he’s not capable of being president.


Presty the DJ for Aug. 6

Today in 1965, the Beatles sought “Help” in purchasing an album:

Two years later, Beatles manager Brian Epstein tried to help quell the worldwide furor over John Lennon’s “bigger than Jesus” comment:

“The quote which John Lennon made to a London columnist has been quoted and misrepresented entirely out of context of the article, which was in fact highly complimentary to Lennon as a person. … Lennon didn’t mean to boast about the Beatles’ fame. He meant to point out that the Beatles’ effect appeared to be a more immediate one upon, certainly, the younger generation. John is deeply concerned and regrets that people with certain religious beliefs should have been offended.”

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Aug. 6”

Number 2? How?

Megan Fox takes an interesting concept but, as you will read, fails on a few levels:

If you are, like me, stuck in a state where coronavirus restrictions have turned your life upside down, bankrupted your business, and traumatized your kids, and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, you might be considering a big relocation. There are plenty of states that are retaining liberty in spite of the Chinese flu virus that has a 99% recovery rate. If you are considering fleeing your state for a new one, then look into the following five states that scored the highest in a data-collection study by the financial site WalletHub, showing which states have the fewest coronavirus restrictions. (Please note that coronavirus restrictions change daily. It is possible that by the time this is published one or more of these guidelines will have changed so verify before you pick up and move.)

Presty the DJ for Aug. 5

First, a non-rock anniversary: Today is the 95th anniversary of the first broadcasted baseball game, on KDKA in Pittsburgh: Harold Arlen described Pittsburgh’s 8–0 win over Philadelphia.

Speaking of Philadelphia … today in 1957, ABC-TV picked up WFIL-TV’s “American Bandstand” …

… though ABC interrupted it in the middle for “The Mickey Mouse Club.”

Today in 1966, the Beatles recorded “Yellow Submarine” …

… and “Eleanor Rigby” …

… while also releasing their “Revolver” album.

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Aug. 5”

The 2021 or 2025 GOP

Jonah Goldberg:

You may have noticed that I’ve largely tried to stay out of the whole “Burn it Down” versus—um, what is the other side called? “Mend it, don’t end it?” Naw. Well whatever, the anti-burn-it-down camp. 

I’d call it the Frenchist camp, after my colleague David French who rejects the burn-it-down position. But “Frenchist” is already taken by Trumpists and Trump-adjacent intellectuals to describe socially conservative classical liberalism and a politics of decency (though they think it describes the cowardly capitulation to cultural Marxists who want your children to be taught by illegal immigrant drag queens). 

As well-argued as I think David’s position is, and as much as I agree with most of it, I actually think the best argument for why the burn-it-all-down folks are wrong comes from my friend and our former National Reviewcolleague Ramesh Ponnuru. Read the whole piece, but the gist of his argument is: It won’t work. Problems without solutions aren’t really problems, James Burnham said. This is a very hard concept for people to grasp—and in some realms of life, that’s a good thing. The faith that seemingly insurmountable obstacles are actually surmountable is how the airplane was invented. 

But in politics, the refusal to understand there’s no solution—or at least no immediate solution—to inconvenient facts of life leads to an enormous waste of time, resources and cable TV “debates.” 

Let me put it this way: Even if the burn-it-down folks are right that the ideal option would be to raze the current GOP and build it anew, they can’t do it. (Indeed, it’s funny: Anti-Trump conservatives have spent three years being told we don’t matter, and many of us have said we’re okay with that. But now suddenly we’re debating—as if it were a real possibility—whether or not we should tear down the existing GOP and redesign it on our terms.)

And sometimes if you can’t succeed, the worst thing you can do is try. Say I’m in a boat with Steve Hayes, far from both shore and medical assistance. Now, suppose Steve has appendicitis. We know the best solution is to remove his appendix. Well, possibly the worst thing I could do is bust out my Swiss Army knife and start cutting away at his abdomen in search of his appendix. Even if I found it, I wouldn’t know how to remove it, never mind sew him back up. Better to leave it in there and figure out the best possible way to get help. 

To the extent that the Lincoln Project folks have the power to do anything to Republicans, most of the Republicans they can actually take down aren’t the Trumpiest ones. They’re the least Trumpy. Indeed, the fact that they’re the least Trumpy is the reason they hate them the most. It’s analogous to the way hardcore leftists hate moderate liberals so much. When two camps agree on a lot of first principles, deviation and compromise are seen as acts of cowardice or betrayal. Everyone knows that Sen. Susan Collins isn’t a Trump stooge, which is why her concessions to Trumpism enrage the fiercest Trump opponents the most (including me, sometimes). On a psychological level, you expect more from people who you think should know better. And because she’s a fairly liberal Republican from a liberal state, she can be hurt by the charge of being a Trump stooge in ways that, say, Tom Cotton or Rand Paul can’t. So that’s why the Lincoln Project is running ads calling her a “Trump Stooge.”

Let’s say they succeed in getting rid of Collins and those like her. Will that make the GOP more or less Trumpy? The answer is more. The GOP is on path to becoming a rump party for a while, no matter what. I don’t really see why anyone would want to see it be run by the most Trumpy Republicans—except, that is, for Democrats. 

Indeed, part of Ramesh’s argument is that the divide among  “NeverTrumpers”—a term I dislike—is really an ideological dispute masquerading as a tactical one. Those who basically agree with Democrats on issues like gun control, abortion, and high taxes are going to be more comfortable with unified Democratic control of government. They use “Trumpism” as a Trojan Horse to smuggle in ideological assumptions.   

Ramesh writes:

Whether Republicans will move away from Trumpism depends on what that word means—and the term resists precise definition. The journalist Ronald Brownstein predicts a Trumpist party after Trump’s presidency, but he thinks any Republican who wants 500,000 legal immigrants a year instead of 1 million is a Trumpist. So is anyone who calls for a harder line with China. (Which would seem to make Joe Biden a Trumpist, too.)

One of the least persuasive arguments against Trump’s GOP from the left and chunks of the anti-Trump right is when they point out often senator-so-and-so votes X percent of the time for the “Trump agenda.” The vast majority of these votes are for things that Republican senators would have voted for under a president Rubio or Cruz. In other words, that stuff isn’t “Trumpism.” I mean, should Republicans not have voted for Neil Gorsuch, just to send a message to Trump? Their voters wanted them to vote for Gorsuch. 

I get the argument that they lent political support to Trump’s “record of accomplishment” by voting “with” him, but I just don’t buy the argument that elected Republicans shouldn’t vote like traditional conservative Republicans just because it might benefit Trump. 

Moreover, as I’ve written countless times, Trumpism isn’t an ideology, despite many desperate and often embarrassing attempts to make it one. It’s a psychological phenomenon that begins with the president’s own deformed psychology and extends outward like a radiation cloud, mutating all those not immune to its seductive Eldritch energies. Today’s GOP and much of rightwing media is a vast Rube Goldberg (no relation) machine powered by a hyperactive hamster with improbable fur, spinning a wheel as it runs after its own reflection in a mirror. That hamster is Donald Trump’s id.

If Trumpism were an ideology, there would be a consistency to the Trump presidency that could be explained by a coherent ideological program. On a few issues, like trade and immigration, that’s possible. But even these ideological commitments have little explanatory or predictive power when compared to what comes with understanding Trump’s irritable mental gestures, intellectual laziness, cavernous appetite for attention and praise, and the manifest incompetence they all produce. The people who say anti-Trump conservatives need to rally around the president ask much of people who care little and nothing of a president who—daily—undermines himself and their cause with a superhuman determination to step on his own Johnson on an international stage. Endorsements from every NeverTrumper would carry a fraction of the weight a week of competence and dignity in office by Trump would. But they demand nothing from him, and everything from those who refuse to lie on his behalf. 

Indeed, the bulk of my contempt for Republican politicians—and conservative commentators —these days is reserved for those who cater to this definition of Trumpism at the expense of their principles, both ideological and civic. Mike Pompeo’s refusal to reject postponing the election yesterday is all I need to know about the guy. Any radio host or scribbler who celebrates Trump’s genius, character, or statesmanship has revealed themselves to either be in the fanservice business while doing party work by proxy or—in the rare cases they’re sincere—members of a cult of personality. I’m sick of hearing how radiant the emperor’s new clothes are. 

Much of that garbage will go away with Trump, thank God. But I think it will go away faster if the GOP isn’t simply reduced to the Matt Gaetz crowd. 

Dear Prudence

But you know what? Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there’s a genius to the Lincoln Project’s effort to, like the hero of the old Adventures of Letterman cartoon, put a “T” in front of the coming rump party. Maybe giving the Democrats control of the Senate and the ability to get rid of the legislative filibuster is the best path to reviving conservatism. I honestly don’t see it, and since I’m being honest, I don’t put a lot of stock—any, really—in the idea that Jon Weaver and Steve Schmidt are the Top Men we need to usher in a new GOP.  

But there are sincere conservatives who take this view—Charlie Sykes, George Will, and Bill Kristol come to mind—and if they could fashion such a thing I’d be open to it. But I don’t think they can. 

Which is to say that at least among actual conservatives, and to the extent this debate matters at all, it is a prudential question. “Prudence,” Edmund Burke wrote, “is not only the first in rank of the virtues political and moral, but she is the director, the regulator, the standard of them all.” I have significant prudential disagreements with Bill, but I am unaware of any significant ideological ones. You can be a conservative and vote for Donald Trump or a straight Republican ticket. You can also be a conservative and vote a straight Democratic ticket. There’s nothing in conservatism that says conservatives can’t be wrong on tactical questions. 

Which gets me to why I’ve been reluctant to weigh in on this stuff. I’ve spent a lot of time condemning the tendency to confuse partisanship for ideological purity. So much of this debate is really a NeverTrumper version of what I’ve criticized in Trumpers. Liz Cheney, we’re told, isn’t a real conservative because she hasn’t been sufficiently loyal to Trump. That’s nonsense on stilts. Every day, people call me a RINO and a “lib” as if the terms were interchangeable. You know who is—or was—a real RINO? Pat Buchanan. His (misguided, by my lights) version of conservatism mattered a hell of a lot more to him than party loyalty, which is why he arguably cost George H.W. Bush a second term (he certainly tried to). Is Buchanan a “lib?” So many of the Trumpers proved themselves to be CINOs whenever the choice came to siding with Trump or with the positions they long held. 

Now some NeverTrumpers come along and say that you’re not a “True Conservative” unless you vote straight Democrat. If I rejected the argument that conservatives mustvote for the Republican nominee in 2016, I’m hard pressed to understand why I must now vote for Democrats in 2020 to prove my bona fides. And it’s not just voting, which I don’t care much about. The same argument for what I should be doing as a writer is now coming at me from the NeverTrump side. For almost four years, I’ve been told that it is my duty to make the best case for the GOP or the worst case against the Democrats. And for that entire time, I’ve said, “That’s not my job.” I honestly don’t see what’s changed. 

This isn’t a black and white thing, either. Prudence enters into it. I write about politics for a living. It is impossible to do that without trying to influence the debate and taking a side in various controversies. If there was a bill in Congress to legalize pedophilia, I’d write a column saying, “Call your congressman and tell them to vote no on the Jeffrey Epstein Act.” But I’m not going to write as if my job is to make the best case for a political party or a faction determined to replace it. And one reason I won’t is that I don’t think it’s prudentially necessary. Despite the perpetual effort to turn every presidential election into an existential crisis, I don’t see one. If I did, maybe I would write accordingly. But I’m not going to try to rally the passengers on Flight 93 if I don’t think the plane is being hijacked. To do so would be to join a partisan marketing campaign masquerading as a conservative crusade, which I have no interest in. Similarly, I have no interest making the same argument, just in reverse. Even if Steve Schmidt, the Cicero of MSNBC, thinks I have to.