Category: Mark Steyn


A Show Of Contempt, At Home And Abroad

 

 

World Says Obama Sucks

 

 

 

” Happy Easter, Happy Passover. On this Good Friday, we mark the tenth anniversary of Mel’s movie, and over the weekend we’ll have something with a lighter touch.

  Caroline Glick, my old colleague from The Jerusalem Post, has a column using a very Steynian word, “The Disappearance of America’s Will“:

  The most terrifying aspect of the collapse of US power worldwide is the US’s indifferent response to it.

  In Europe, in Asia, in the Middle East and beyond, America’s most dangerous foes are engaging in aggression and brinkmanship unseen in decades.

  That first sentence is very true. Thirteen years ago, the left hopped aboard the war-on-terror bandwagon for reasons of electoral self-preservation, and hopped off as soon as they could. But, after a decade of ineffectual thankless three-cups-of-tea transnational ersatz “nation-building” in Mesopotamia and the Hindu Kush, the right has largely checked out of global geopolitics, too. Whether the GOP nominates a compassionate amnesty guy like Jeb Bush or goes full Rand Paul, the world and its woes will not be much of a factor. Miss Glick again:

  The generation coming of age today is similarly uninterested in US global leadership.

  During the Cold War and in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the predominant view among American university students studying international affairs was that US world leadership is essential to ensure global stability and US national interests and values.

  Today this is no longer the case . It is because of this that the world is more likely than it has been since 1939 to experience a world war of catastrophic proportions.

  There is a direct correlation between the US elite’s preoccupation with social issues running the narrow and solipsistic gamut from gay marriage to transgender bathrooms to a phony war against women, and America’s inability to recognize the growing threats to the global order or understand why Americans should care about the world at all.

  If Putin closes down a transgender nightclub a week before the Special Olympics, he can get America’s attention. When he annexes neighboring states, not so much. Under Nato, the US has collective-security treaty obligations to the Baltic States, but if I were Estonian I wouldn’t bet on them. Not unless the Russians make the mistake of bombing a gay wedding in Tallinn.”

As always , read the whole thing from Mr Steyn who offers these words of wisdom …

” Around the planet, Russia’s neo-tsar, the Chinese Politburo, apocalyptic ayatollahs, Afghan goatherds and Benghazi jihad punks laugh at the very idea of American power, but on the home front, if your estranged wife failed to repay her college loan or you drink loose-leaf tea, you’ll get your door kicked down and be cowering in terror.”

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“The First Amendment Is Not An Area”

 

 

Bunkerville mentality: Dissident rancher Cliven Bundy walks past the Bureau of Land Management’s designated First Amendment Area in Bunkerville, Nevada. The land outside the orange fencing stretching as far as the eye can see is the federally designated Non-First Amendment Area

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Indeed. The “First Amendment Area” is supposed to be something called “the United States“. If the Bureau of Land Management gets to determine which sliver of turf you can exercise your right to freedom of expression in, then it isn’t freedom of expression at all, is it? I’m less impressed by the First Amendment then I used to be, mainly because I’m having to spend a half-decade in court and a seven-figure sum for the privilege of hearing some judge years down the line inform me that my 270-word blog post is, in fact, permitted under the US constitution. (If you’d like to help lessen the toll of that seven-figure sum, I’d be awfully grateful.) But even so it’s extraordinary that even twerp bureaucrats from the Department of Compliance feel comfortable setting up an “orange plastic pen” labeled “First Amendment Area”. If an anonymous pen-pusher in the permanent bureaucracy can confine the Bill of Rights to tiny enclaves where it will be entirely ineffectual, then there is no Bill of Rights.

  By the way, what’s depressing about this is, if the issue worked its way in front of a judges or judges, the genius jurists would undoubtedly rule that, while an 11-foot wide free-speech zone is too narrow an interpretation of the First Amendment, it would be acceptable if you widened it to 17 or 18 feet.

~ I was on The John Oakley Show in Toronto yesterday, and, noting my reference to Magna Carta, a handful of American listeners emailed to ask why I only mention laws eight centuries old. Yeah, I’ve noticed that, too – not just Magna Carta, but the Assize of Clarendon and the Charter of the Forest:

  In 1217, King Henry III signed the Charter of the Forest, which despite various amendments and replacement statutes remained in force in Britain for some three-quarters of a millennium, until the early Seventies. If Magna Carta is a landmark in its concept of individual rights, the Forest Charter played an equivalent role in advancing the concept of the commons, the public space. Repealing various restrictions by his predecessors, Henry III opened the royal forests to the freemen of England, granted extensive grazing and hunting rights, and eliminated the somewhat severe penalty of death for taking the king’s venison. The [National Park Service] have not yet fried anyone for taking King Barack’s deer, but it is somewhat sobering to reflect that an English peasant enjoyed more freedom on the sovereign’s land in the 13th century than a freeborn American does on “the people’s land” in the 21st century.

  And so, as happened to Japanese and European tourists at Yellowstone, you can be arrested for photographing the King’s deer. That’s why I quote this stuff: if a 13th century peasant enjoyed rights a 21st century American doesn’t, something’s gone badly wrong.”

Read the rest

Celebrate Conformity!

 

 

mozilla brendan eich

 

 

” On Wednesday, I wrote about the Mozilla CEO in trouble for a five-year-old donation to Proposition Eight, the successful California ballot measure that banned gay marriage – if only until America’s robed rulers declared the will of the people to be “unconstitutional”. Brandon Eich is a tech genius: Aside from co-founding Mozilla and creating Firefox, he also invented JavaScript. Apparently, the disgusting homophobic hatey-hatey-hateful belief that marriage is a sacrament between a man and a woman is not incompatible with knowing your way around a computer.

  Nevertheless, unlike Hollywood director Brett Ratner, Mr Eich declined to eat gay crow. And so yesterday he was fired. Mozilla’s chairwoman Mitchell Baker issued the usual tortured justification:

“Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech,” Baker said. “And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.”

  I heard a lot of this stuff during my free-speech battles in Canada. The country’s chief censor, the late Jennifer Lynch, QC, was willing to concede that free speech was certainly a right, but it was merely one in a whole range of competing rights – such as “equality” and “diversity” – that needed to be “balanced”. What the “balancing” boils down to is that you get fired if you are an apostate from the new progressive groupthink. Underneath the agonized prose, Mitchell Baker is a bare-knuckled thug.

~ It’s the thuggishness and bullying that ought to disgust people, even those who support gay marriage. My final appearances at National Review Online were a spat with my editor, Jason Lee Steorts, over “two jokes one can no longer tell on American television” that I quoted in a column on Phil Robertson’s suspension for “homophobia”. First, Bob Hope, touring the world in the year or so after the passage of the 1975 Consenting Adult Sex Bill:

“I’ve just flown in from California, where they’ve made homosexuality legal. I thought I’d get out before they make it compulsory.”

Second, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin on stage in Vegas throughout the Sixties and Seventies:

Frank: “How do you make a fruit cordial?”

Dino: “Be nice to him.”

 

 

 

As usual Steyn’s take is priceless and a do not miss read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twerking Your Way Through College

 

 

Miley Cyrus "Bangerz Tour" - Tour Opener - Vancouver, BC

 

 

 

” Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs has a new academic discipline for America’s scholars:

  The course, called The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender and Media, is a 251-level special topics course taught by Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology Carolyn Chernoff. The professor encourages students to look past the colon in her course title and see what the class is really about.

In the photograph at right, it’s actually not that difficult to see past the colon.

  Skidmore junior Layla Lakos, a sociology/philosophy major, first heard about the new Miley course on Facebook. Lakos laughed, but was intrigued all the same.

” You can study a lot of things based on Miley,” she said. “She represents how transient wealth and fame can be, and shows how possible it is to change your image.”

  One of the easiest ways to understand how transient wealth is is to invest a six-figure sum in Twerk State University. The Atlantic reports on “the least valuable colleges and majors in America“:

  The self-reported earnings of art majors from Murray State are so low that after two decades, a typical high school grad will have out-earned them by nearly $200,000. “

 

~ Since we’re talking about The Atlantic, a few years ago, back when I was the magazine’s obituarist, a New Hampshire neighbor of mine called me up and said they were considering mortgaging the family homestead because their daughter wanted to go to Columbia Journalism School. Her ambition was to be an editor at The Atlantic and, as I wrote for the magazine, they thought I might have some useful advice for her. I don’t have a degree from Columbia Journalism School or even Murray State University; I don’t have a high-school diploma. Apparently, that’s fine if you want to write a column for the magazine, but to copy-edit the same column, and to correct any Canadian spellings I may have slipped in, your parents need to mortgage the home your family’s lived in for the last two-and-a-quarter centuries.”

 

 

Make this your mandatory Saturday morning read … Mr Steyn is spot on , as usual .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Charge Of The Lightweight Brigade

 

http://lh3.ggpht.com/-9I6dvFADeQQ/UxNnQDp3DcI/AAAAAAABHJM/Yos0pMcH0Zc/putin-owns-obama-russia-syria-standoff-over_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800

 

 

 

” I heard the “leader of the free world” on the radio this morning speaking from the White House on Russia’s annexation of the Crimea. President Obama’s big thought was about the “choices that the Russian government has made”. It was delivered in the condescending tone of a grade-school guidance counselor lecturing Little Vladdy on the “bad choices” he kept making, and what’s more “choices that have been rejected by…” Stand well back! “…the international community”.

  Other than that, the President announced he was imposing “sanctions” for more individuals in the Russian government thinking of visiting Disneyland or opening a savings account with the First National Bank of Dead Cactus Junction. If you’re one of those so named and your wife’s hassling you for a weekend of shopping on Madison Avenue or Rodeo Drive, tough: Obama’s put you on the No-Shop list. For anybody in the Kremlin who still bothers watching US government press conferences, the only real danger from American “pressure” is that you may die laughing.

Daniel Henninger begins his Wall Street Journal column this week as follows:

  By the time the second World Trade Center tower collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001, the whole world was watching it. We may assume that Vladimir Putin was watching. Mr. Putin, a quick calculator of political realities, would see that someone was going to get hit for this, and hit hard.

  He was right of course. The Bush presidency became a war presidency that day, and it pounded and pursued the Islamic fundamentalists of al Qaeda without let-up or apology.

   During that time, it was reported that Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer in East Germany, deeply regretted the fall of the Soviet Union’s empire and despised the Americans who caused it to fall. But no one cared what Mr. Putin thought then.

That’s true. “
 

Read it all , as usual and see what a difference an administration makes …

Islam And The Rest Of Us

 

 

 

” A couple of days ago, you’ll recall, we featured current controversies over a metal cross retrieved from the rubble at Ground Zero, and a roadside cross marking a fatal accident in Lake Elsinore, California. American Atheists and the American Humanist Association are suing over both outrageous provocations.

  On the other hand, as far as I’m aware, American atheists and humanists have no plans to bring any separation-of-church-and-state suits against the City of Minneapolis, for its observance at City Hall last month of “Hijab Day“. Female members of the city council wore the hijab, as did the Chief of Police, Janeé Harteau, a lesbian who recently married her “favorite sergeant“, Holly Keegel. I have no idea what Sgt Keegel wore for Hijab Day. Maybe she went as the Grand Mufti.

  Hijab Day grows a little bigger around the world each year. Its purpose is to enable the rest of us to show our support for women who choose to go covered. In reality, for most Muslim women around the world, the choice is made for them – by men. In Afghanistan under the Taliban, women were forbidden by law from ever feeling sunlight on their faces. Maybe most of them would have “chosen” not to feel it anyway, but we’ll never know, will we? And in the west young Muslimas who decline their fathers’ and husbands’ choices do so at their own peril:

  Why aren’t Noor Almaleki and Aasiya Hassan as famous as Matthew Shepard? They weren’t in up-country villages in the Pakistani tribal lands. They were Americans – and they died because they wanted to live as American women. “

 

 

Read it all

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Honor Of CPAC – Where The Action Is

 

 

 

 

” We’re told that the presidency is important because the head guy gets to appoint, if he’s lucky, a couple of Supreme Court judges. But they’re playing catch-up to the culture, too. In 1986, in a concurrence to a majority opinion, the Chief Justice of the United States declared that “there is no such thing as a fundamental right to commit homosexual sodomy”. A blink of an eye, and his successors are discovering fundamental rights to commit homosexual marriage. What happened in between? Jurisprudentially nothing: Everything Chief Justice Burger said back in the Eighties – about Common Law, Blackstone’s “crime against nature”, “the legislative authority of the State” – still applies. Except it doesn’t. Because the culture – from school guidance counselors to sitcom characters to Oscar hosts – moved on, and so even America’s Regency of Jurists was obliged to get with the beat. Because to say today what the Chief Justice of the United States said 28 years ago would be to render oneself unfit for public office.”

 

Spot on as usual … read it all

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Quote Ever Uttered By Anyone Exonerates Michael E Mann

 

Cartoon by Josh

 

” The cartoon at right is by Josh via Watts Up With That. Sadly, Josh seems unaware that, per the letter from Michael E Mann’s lawyer Peter J Fontaine (appended as the final page to my Answer to Mann’s Amended Complaint), unauthorized use of Dr Mann’s facial features “infringes on various copyrights” that Dr Mann has taken out on his nose, eyeballs, ear lobes, etc. If you must engage in caricature, draw a cartoon of Hillary Clinton, Justin Bieber or one of the other seven billion people on the planet whose visage does not enjoy the unique protection under US law that Dr Mann’s does. It is not clear from Counselor Fontaine’s letter whether the bare-chestedness of Josh’s cartoon additionally “infringes on various copyrights” in Dr Mann’s nipples, but that seems the way to bet.

  The title of the picture – “Mann of Rigor” – alludes to the Nobel fantasist’s equally fantastic claims to have been “exonerated” by four separate British investigations. Having demolished the UK end of Mann’s false assertions, the invaluable Steve McIntyre now moves on to the US inquiries, starting with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of the Inspector General’s report. The NOAA comes under the Department of Commerce, and, in the “Dr Mann is Exonerated” section of Mann’s court pleading, is referenced on page 26:

  In the course of its inquiry, the department examined all of the CRU e-mails, including the November 16, 1999 e-mail referenced above in which Professor Jones used the words “trick” and “hide the decline.”52 The department found “no evidence” of inappropriate manipulation of data.53

As Steve McIntyre demonstrates, almost every word of the above paragraph is false:”

 

Continue reading Mr Steyn’s post .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New Tribalism

 

 

 

” Julie Burchill, my old boss at The Modern Review many years ago, has a bracing column in this week’s Speccieon the difference between the left she grew up with and the left today:

  While working-class left-wing political activism was always about fighting the powerful, treating people how you would wish to be treated and believing that we’re all basically the same, modern, non-working-class left-wing politics is about… other stuff. Class guilt, sexual kinks, personal prejudice and repressed lust for power.

  That’s why, as Kathy Shaidle observes here, the concept of free speech is no longer widely accepted. If you believe in “treating people how you would wish to be treated”, then it’s natural to accord them the same rights of freedom of expression that you yourself wish to exercise. But, if you believe (as I discussed with Steve Madely on the radio yesterday) that what matters is what identity group you belong to (the New Tribalism), then it’s natural to demand that members of non-approved groups should not be permitted to make their case.”

 

Today’s must read … Gee and it was only one administration ago when the Left claimed “Dissent Is The Highest Form Of Patriotism” … Remember ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

America Takes Early Retirement

 

 

” Faced with the Congressional Budget Office’s determination that Obamacare would cost 2.5 million full-time jobs, the Obama Administration has declared that that’s not a bug, it’s a feature: “Full-time jobs”? Who needs that? With “free” health care, Americans will also be free to dump the daily grind of a steady job with benefits and finally write that opera they’ve always wanted to compose. Obamacare is “liberating“, declared The New York Times. At last Americans will be free to “choose” whether they want to spend their days working or writing poetry or cooing multicultural dirges to their children. It’s all about “choice”. I’m pro-choice and I vote lie around the house all day watching TV.

  I wouldn’t disagree with the new Democrat conventional wisdom that many people would, if they could, choose not to work. In many American families, two adults with college degrees work full-time to live as well as one provider with a high-school diploma did in the 1950s. Nevertheless, the government is not offering “choice” but dependency. To endorse the proposition, Politico hired a near parodic character who “works” as Professor of Leisure Studies at the University of Iowa to pen an editorial headlined, “Why Do Republicans Want Us To Work All The Time?” “

 

As regular readers know … Read the whole thing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, We Can (Say That)

 

 

” I’ve always been in favor of freedom of expression, but lately I’ve become a free-speech absolutist. It takes all sorts to make a world and I’ve met a lot of them over the years, and I can stand pretty much anything anyone says about anything — until someone says to me, “You can’t say that.” At which point my inclination is to punch his lights out. I do this not just because I’m a violent psychopath with a hair-trigger temper, but to make the important point that in societies where you’re not free to speak your mind — to argue and debate — the only way to express disagreement is through violence.

  But the Shut-up-he-explained Party is making great strides in the free world, too. The Latina actress Maria Conchita Alonso was recently fired from a San Francisco production of The Vagina Monologues because she made the mistake of appearing in a commercial for a Tea Party political candidate. “We really can’t have her in the show,” the producer Eliana Lopez told KPIX-TV. Which would be an Oscar-winning line if she were appearing in a George Clooney movie about blacklisted screenwriters in the 1950s.”

 

Read it all at SteynOnLine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changing His Tune Pete Seeger, 1919-2014

 

 

 

 

 

” Just a few weeks ago, Pete Seeger featured over at our Song of the Week department for his quite discreditable role in the intellectual-property heist of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight“. Seeger lived long enough to go down and join the Occupy Wall Street protesters a year or two back. I believe he sang “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” to them, although “Where Have All The Showers Gone?” might have been more appropriate with that crowd. He died on Monday at the age of 94. Here’s what I wrote about him upon the occasion of his 90th birthday:

  This week marks not only the first hundred days of King Barack’s reign and the 30th anniversary of Mrs Thatcher’s arrival in Downing Street, but also the 90th birthday of Pete Seeger. The celebrations of Mr Seeger’s tenth decade are extensive. If he seems a remote figure from the pop culture back catalogue, not so fast: He played at the Obama inauguration. Which, when you think about it, is quite something.

  One must congratulate the old banjo-picker on making it to four score and ten, which is a lot older than many “dissenting artists” made it to under the regimes he’s admired over the years. Two years ago in The New York Sun, you’ll recall, Ron Radosh had a notable scoop: Hold the front page! Stop the presses! Grizzled Leftie Icon Repudiates…

  Who? Castro? Chávez? Al-Qaeda?

  Whoa, let’s not rush to judgment. No, the big story was: Grizzled Leftie Icon Repudiates . . . Stalin.

  A couple of months earlier, there’d been some documentary or other “celebrating” the “spirit” of Pete Seeger, the folkie colossus, with contributions from the usual suspects – Joan Baez, Bruce Springsteen, one or more Dixie Chicks, two-thirds of Peter, Paul and Mary, etc. Mr Radosh had also been interviewed but his remarks about Seeger’s lifelong support of Stalinism had not made the final cut. No surprise there. In such circumstances, the rule is to hail someone for his “activism” and “commitment” and “passion” without getting hung up on the specifics of what exactly he’s actively and passionately committing to.”

 

 

As usual read the whole thing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trial, And Error   

 

 

Mann Vs Steyn

 

 

 

” On Tuesday morning, January 21st, I filed a motion with respect to Dr Michael Mann’s defamation suit against me,National Review, Rand Simberg, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. I did so because I felt the procedural fiasco the case has been reduced to since last July 10th thanks to the incompetence of the previous judge, Natalia Combs Greene, required what I called “an act of jurisprudential hygiene” from the new judge, Frederick Weisberg. Unfortunately, the DC Superior Court seems disinclined to clean up its act. I appreciate that, to those who followed the fun and frolics of my free speech battles in Canada five years ago, the tedious procedural codswallop of the Mann case has been eye-glazing and butt-numbing. But that’s apparently how they do things in America. Still, at the risk of rendering even the loyalist reader comatose, let me précis the most recent developments:

  On December 19th, the Appeals Court ruled that appeals relating to Dr Mann’s original complaint were moot. (Bear with me, it gets much more boring yet.) The implication of this was that we would be getting a fresh hearing on the amended complaint with what Judge Weisberg had promised on October 9th would be “a new set of eyes”. Whatever the state of His Honor’s eyeballs, I never got a look at them – because on Wednesday evening, January 22nd, he denied Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss (along with my Motion to Vacate) without benefit of a hearing. So it looks like the Scopes Monkey Trial of the 21st century is on. Book your tickets now! “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dolly Birds Of The Hindu Kush

 

 

 

 

” A few weeks back, I wrote:

  At this point, Americans sigh wearily and shrug, “Afghanistan, the graveyard of empire,” or sneer, “If they want to live in a seventh-century s***hole, f*** ‘em.” But neither assertion is true. Do five minutes’ googling, and you’ll find images from the Sixties and early Seventies of women in skirts above the knee listening to the latest Beatles releases in Kabul record stores.

  Dangerous Minds has now assembled a collection of these photographs – not just Kabul coeds and teenyboppers but scientific researchers, too – from the Seventies, Sixties and Fifties, and they’re well worth taking a look at, if only to understand the totality of our failure there.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Like A Version Of Titanic Where First Class Cheers For The Iceberg

 

 

” Yes, yes, just to get the obligatory ‘of courses’ out of the way up front: of course ‘weather’ is not the same as ‘climate’; and of course the thickest iciest ice on record could well be evidence of ‘global warming’, just as 40-and-sunny and a 35-below blizzard and 12 degrees and partly cloudy with occasional showers are all apparently manifestations of ‘climate change’; and of course the global warm-mongers are entirely sincere in their belief that the massive carbon footprint of their rescue operation can be offset by the planting of wall-to-wall trees the length and breadth of Australia, Britain, America and continental Europe.

  But still: you’d have to have a heart as cold and unmovable as Commonwealth Bay ice not to be howling with laughter at the exquisite symbolic perfection of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition ‘stuck in our own experiment’, as they put it. I confess I was hoping it might all drag on a bit longer and the cultists of the ecopalypse would find themselves drawing straws as to which of their number would be first on the roasting spit. On Douglas Mawson’s original voyage, he and his surviving comrade wound up having to eat their dogs. I’m not sure there were any on this expedition, so they’d probably have to make do with the Guardian reporters. Forced to wait a year to be rescued, Sir Douglas later recalled, ‘Several of my toes commenced to blacken and fester near the tips.’ Now there’s a man who’s serious about reducing his footprint.

  But alas, eating one’s shipmates and watching one’s extremities drop off one by one is not a part of today’s high-end eco-doom tourism. Instead, the ice-locked warmists uploaded chipper selfies to YouTube, as well as a self-composed New Year singalong of such hearty un-self-awareness that it enraged even such party-line climate alarmists as Andrew Revkin, the plonkingly earnest enviro-blogger of the New York Times. A mere six weeks ago, pumping out the usual boosterism, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that, had Captain Scott picked his team as carefully as Professor Chris Turney, he would have survived. Sadly, we’ll never know — although I’ll bet Captain Oates would have been doing his ‘I am going out. I may be some time’ line about eight bars into that New Year number.”

 

 

The rescue of the icebound Global Warmists as only Mark Steyn could portray it . READ THE WHOLE THING .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Steyn’s Brilliant (And Funny) Critique Of Multiculturalism

 

 

Not exactly comedy , but funny , in a sad kind of way . Steyn is always a joy … to watch , to read and to listen to .

Saturday Steyn

Heading South

 

 

 

” Whether or not Nelson Mandela was emblematic of the new South Africa, his memorial service certainly was. Thamsanqa Jantjie, the lovable laugh-a-minute sign-language fraud who stood alongside President Obama gesticulating meaninglessly to the delight of all, was exposed in the days that followed as a far darker character. A violent schizophrenic charged over the years with burglary, rape, kidnapping, and murder, he was also a member of a “necklacing” gang — necklacing being the practice of placing a gasoline-filled tire over the head of the victim and setting it alight.

  Nevertheless, Mr. Jantjie was merely the ne plus ultra of the South African state’s shambolic security operation for the service. My fellow congregants at National Review have been arguing in recent weeks over whether Mandela was a great man (Deroy Murdock) or a Commie terrorist (Andrew McCarthy) or on balance a mild disappointment (Conrad Black). But beyond such assessments is the daily reality that a lot of things in South Africa simply don’t function anymore. As revealing as Mr. Jantjie’s extensive and violent criminal background is the fact that the National Prosecuting Authority cannot reliably state which offenses he has been convicted of, and, for the one crime for which he seems definitively to have been sentenced, whether in fact he served the sentence.”

 

 

Failure all around , as only Mr Steyn can point out .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Steyn

Sharia’s Protector

 

 

” Stoning is making something of a comeback in the world’s legal codes — in October the Sultan of Brunei announced plans to put it on his books. Nevertheless, Kabul has the unique distinction of proposing to introduce the practice on America’s watch. Afghanistan is an American protectorate; its kleptocrat president is an American client, kept alive these last twelve years only by American arms. The Afghan campaign is this nation’s longest war — and our longest un-won war: That’s to say, nowadays we can’t even lose in under a decade. I used to say that, 24 hours after the last Western soldier leaves Afghanistan, it will be as if we were never there. But it’s already as if we were never there: The last Christian church in the country was razed to the ground in 2010.

  At this point, Americans sigh wearily and shrug, “Afghanistan, the graveyard of empire,” or sneer, “If they want to live in a seventh-century s***hole, f*** ‘em.” But neither assertion is true. Do five minutes’ googling, and you’ll find images from the Sixties and early Seventies of women in skirts above the knee listening to the latest Beatles releases in Kabul record stores. True, a stone’s throw (so to speak) from the capital, King Zahir’s relatively benign reign was not always in evidence. But, even so, if it’s too much to undo the barbarism of centuries, why could the supposed superpower not even return the country to the fitful civilization of the disco era? The American imperium has lasted over twice as long as the Taliban’s rule — and yet, unlike them, we left no trace.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Christmas without the Christmas feast? In this much requested column from The Sunday Telegraph, Mark profiles the big bird:

 

 

 

 

” As Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s classic “Turkey Lurkey Time” puts it:

  Let us make a wish and may all our wishes come true
A snowy blowy Christmas
A mistletoey Christmas
A Turkey Lurkey Christmas to you…

  But in the British Christmas there’s not much snow outside of Richard Curtis movies, and in these days of sexual harassment suits and orientational diversity the mistletoe is an imperilled tradition. So that leaves the turkey, which doesn’t so much lurk as squat over the Brit Christmas, its poultry penumbra casting a pall over the season. As Bacharach and David urge:

  Ev’rybody gather round the table
Eat all the turkey you are able…

  Easier said than done. From my side of the Atlantic, where Christmas is a one-day holiday called “Christmas Day”, the interminable two-week British Christmas seems to have been fixed by some EU health agency as the safest minimum time in which to polish off the big bootiful British butterball, as the vast carcass slowly shrivels from Christmas Day through Boxing Day, Christmas Bank Holiday Tuesday, Hogmanay, the first Hogmonday after Hogtuesday, until the last relatives leave and you can put your feet up and enjoy a nice decaf turkey latte.

Indeed, one cannot help noticing that the traditional Christmas delicacy seems to have fused with Britain’s vaguely parodic approach to the holiday season. “Turkey” means a large North American gallinaceous bird but also, in American showbusiness vernacular, a flop. Yet these days the latter usage is far more prevalent in Britain. The last time I spent the holiday season in the auld sod I motored down from London to the country on Christmas Eve and, instead of jingly versions of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “Winter Wonderland”, every single radio station from Thames Valley Supergold to Clwyd FM had some sour disc-jockey counting down “Your All-Time Worst Christmas Turkeys”. “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Steyn On ‘Duck Dynasty’ Controversy: Gay Lobby Enforcing ‘Ideological Compliance’

 

 

Steyn On Phil

” The syndicated columnist likened Robertson’s suspension from his A&E television program to something out of post-World War II Eastern Europe under Communist rule.

“ This is one of the biggest stories of our time – the strange need by the bureau of gay compliance or whatever the gay lobby group is calling itself these days and similar groups to enforce the most tedious ideological compliance,” he said. “It’s like something out of Milan Kundera’s Eastern European novel about post-war communist Europe, The Joke, where you make one little comment and your life is over. And we’re getting to that stage.” “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Age Of Intolerance

 

 

 

” Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, in his career-detonating interview with GQ, gave a rather thoughtful vernacular exegesis of the Bible’s line on sin, while carefully insisting that he and other Christians are obligated to love all sinners and leave it to the Almighty to adjudicate the competing charms of drunkards, fornicators, and homosexuals. Nevertheless, GLAAD — “the gatekeepers of politically correct gayness” as the (gay) novelist Bret Easton Ellis sneered — saw their opportunity and seized it. By taking out TV’s leading cable star, they would teach an important lesson pour encourager les autres — that espousing conventional Christian morality, even off-air, is incompatible with American celebrity.

  Some of my comrades, who really should know better, wonder why, instead of insisting Robertson be defenestrated, GLAAD wouldn’t rather “start a conversation.” But, if you don’t need to, why bother? Most Christian opponents of gay marriage oppose gay marriage; they don’t oppose the right of gays to advocate it. Yet thug groups like GLAAD increasingly oppose the right of Christians even to argue their corner. It’s quicker and more effective to silence them.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Steyn

Low Comedy Amid Soaring Rhetoric

 

” But the star of the show was undoubtedly Thamsanqa Jantjie, the sign-language interpreter who stood alongside the world’s leaders and translated their eulogies for the deaf. Unfortunately, he translated them into total gibberish, reduced by the time of President Obama’s appearance to making random hand gestures, as who has not felt the urge to do during the great man’s speeches. Mr. Jantjie has now pleaded in mitigation that he was having a sudden hallucination because he is a violent schizophrenic. It has not been established whether he is, in fact, a violent schizophrenic, or, as with his claim to be a sign-language interpreter, merely purporting to be one. Asked how often he has been violent, he replied, somewhat cryptically, “A lot.” “

 

Not To Be Missed

 

 

See Also :  Mandela memorial sign language interpreter reportedly once faced charges of murder, rape, kidnapping, and theft

 

 

 

 

Those Who Can’t, Govern

 

 

 

 

” What does Dan Pfeiffer know of this thing called “the private sector”? To say there is less private-sector experience in the Obama administration than in any other of the last century hardly begins to convey the particular pool of smarts on which this president has drawn. Nearly 60 percent of Eisenhower’s cabinet appointments had private-sector experience; Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes scored well over 50; FDR and Truman smack on 50/50; in Obama’s cabinet, fewer than 10 percent have real-world business experience. None of Obamacare’s begetters have ever created anything — certainly not a dime of real wealth.

  Instead, we have government by people who read Thomas L. Friedman and use words like “interconnectedness” and give commencement addresses where they rave about how our world is changing so fast — and assume that just being glibly au courant is a substitute for being able to do, make, build. There are lessons here beyond the abysmal failure of one misconceived government program, lessons about what our esteemed (if not terminally self-esteemed) elites value as “smart,” and about the perils of rule by a poseur technocracy. As for Obama, he’s not Jay-Z, nor even Justin Bieber: He can’t sing, or dance, or create a government bureaucracy that functions any more efficiently than a Soviet supermarket. He broke the lifelong rule that had served him so well — “Don’t just do something. Stand there” — and for the first time in his life did something, terribly. It will bear his name forever.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Post-Work Economy

 

 

 

” “Work” and “purpose” are intimately connected: Researchers at the University of Michigan, for example, found that welfare payments make one unhappier than a modest income honestly earned and used to provide for one’s family. “It drains too much of the life from life,” said Charles Murray in a speech in 2009. “And that statement applies as much to the lives of janitors — even more to the lives of janitors — as it does to the lives of CEOs.” Self-reliance — “work” — is intimately connected to human dignity — “purpose.”

  So what does every initiative of the Obama era have in common? Obamacare, Obamaphones, Social Security disability expansion, 50 million people on food stamps . . . The assumption is that mass, multi-generational dependency is now a permanent feature of life. A coastal elite will devise ever smarter and slicker trinkets, and pretty much everyone else will be a member of either the dependency class or the vast bureaucracy that ministers to them. And, if you’re wondering why every Big Government program assumes you’re a feeble child, that’s because a citizenry without “work and purpose” is ultimately incompatible with liberty. The elites think a smart society will be wealthy enough to relieve the masses from the need to work. In reality, it would be neo-feudal, but with fatter, sicker peasants. It wouldn’t just be “economic inequality,” but a far more profound kind, and seething with resentments. “

 

 

Must read , as usual

 

Illustration by Chip Bok

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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