Category: Mark Steyn


Planet Of The Llamas

 

 

 

 

 

 

” On Thursday, I kept my weekly date on The Hugh Hewitt Show, just in time for the big news of the day:

  HUGH HEWITT: Now we’ve got a lot to cover. We’ve got to cover llamas, the Oscars and the Islamic State, not to mention Chris Christie, so I’ve got to go fast. Did you by chance watch the llama drama on Fox today?

  MARK STEYN: (laughing) Yeah, the llamas on the llam. You can joke, Hugh, but I think the llamapocalypse is upon us. I looked out in the yard, out of the window at the yard about 20 minutes ago, and there were just nine llamas there, and I thought that’s unusual for New Hampshire in winter. I just looked out the window now, and there’s 17 llamas between me and the car. So I think, you know, this is some Planet of the Llamas…

  HH: (laughing)

  MS: In the words of Charlton Heston, ‘Take your hands off me you damned, dirty llama.’ This is how it begins.

  We also discussed Dennis Miller’s observation that the Oscar statuette looks like Vladimir Putin, and Lady Gaga’s Academy performance of “The Sound Of Music”:

  MS: Well, I don’t think Lady Gaga is actually a bad singer of those kinds of songs. I rather regret that she got mixed up with Tony Bennett, because he’ll duet with anybody. I mean… he’s done a double CD with my plumber. I didn’t know it. My plumber was working in the room for 15 minutes, and Tony Bennett swung by, and they recorded seven numbers together. Tony Bennett releases three duet albums, in the course of this conversation, he’ll have released another duet album. You’ve probably done a duet album with Tony Bennett yourself, haven’t you? “

 

 

Read it all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O Beautiful, For Specious Guys…

 

 

 

 

 

 

” The US media have had a fit of the vapors over Rudy Giuliani’s suggestion that Barack Obama does not love America. As the Instapundit says, their reaction suggests that Giuliani hit a nerve.

  For my own part, I am way beyond that. By the way, I’m growing rather weary of the cheap comparisons of Obama with Neville Chamberlain. The British Prime Minister got the biggest issue of the day wrong. But no one ever doubted that he loved his country. That’s why, after his eviction from Downing Street, Churchill kept him on in his ministry as Lord President of the Council, and indeed made Chamberlain part of the five-man war cabinet and had him chair it during his frequent absences. When he died of cancer in October 1940, Churchill wept over his coffin.

  So please don’t insult Neville Chamberlain by comparing him to Obama. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, because conspiracies are generally a comforting illusion: the real problem with Obama is that the citizens of the global superpower twice elected him to office. Yet one way to look at the current “leader of the free world” is this: If he were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?

  For example, he has spent most of this week hosting an international conference on something called “violent extremism”. Whatever may be said of Munich, Chamberlain never hosted a three-day summit on “rearmament” in general whose entire purpose was to deny that “rearmament” and “Germany” were in any way connected. Yet that is exactly the message the United States government has just offered to the world – in between such eccentric side spectacles as Marie Harf, star of the hilarious new comedy Geopolitically Blonde, explaining her jobs-for-jihadis program, and the new hombre in charge of the planet’s mightiest military machine having his woman felt up on camera by Joe Biden. Now there’s a message to send to the misogynists of Burqastan about what happens when you let the missuses out of their body bags.”

 

 

Mr Steyn continues …

 

 

” But hey, what’s so odd about that? “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding,” says the President. You might think that Islam has been entirely irrelevant to “the fabric of our country” for its first two centuries, and you might further think that Islam, being self-segregating, tends not to weave itself into anybody’s fabric but instead tends to unravel it – as it’s doing in, say, Copenhagen, where 500 mourners turned up for the funeral of an ISIS-supporting Jew-hating anti-free-speech murderer.

  But President Obama knows better than you. So he organized a summit dedicated to creating and promoting a self-invented phantom enemy. Conveniently enough, the main problem with “violent extremists” is that its principal victims are Muslims. No, no, I don’t mean the thousands of Muslims being slaughtered, beheaded, burned alive, raped, sold into sex slavery, etc, etc, in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, and so on. The Muslims most at risk are right here in America. Just ask Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson:

  We in the administration and the government should give voice to the plight of Muslims living in this country and the discrimination that they face. And so I personally have committed to speak out about the situation that very often people in the Muslim community in this country face. The fact that there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world and the Islamic faith is one about peace and brotherhood.”

 

 

Read it all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Life Of Brian

 

 

 

” Next to the Iranian nuclear program or Putin’s neo-Soviet expansionism, the question of whether NBC News “managing editor” Brian Williams is a self-aggrandizing liar or a mentally ill fantasist is a relatively minor matter, notwithstanding that he is the very embodiment of the strange antiquated assumptions of network news – that because a chap looks like a 1950s department-store mannequin he’s your go-to guy for economic analysis and foreign policy.

  As to the subject at issue, my general view of “personal stories” (including my own) was summed up by Mel Brooks on stage a few decades back reminiscing about his life. After one especially uproarious anecdote, he said, “I swear every word is true. Well, no. The mildly funny stuff is true. The mezzo-mezzo stuff is mostly true. But the really funny stuff is entirely invented.” That formula applies to the dramatic stuff, too. As you tell a story over the years, as Brian Williams did with his RPG-hit-chopper shtick, it gets too honed, too sharp.

  Then too there is the phenomenon that creeps with age – when anecdotes you once told about other people mutate into anecdotes you tell about yourself. The first example of this I encountered, back when I was very young, was the great Royal Ballet choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton, who regaled me with a string of fascinating personal stories, all of which I discovered, upon returning home, had happened to Diaghilev or Massine or Ninette de Valois.

  But again: I can understand that. You were there. You were part of the scene. You knew the people. You laughed and smoked and danced with them. Why couldn’t it have been you who got off the devastatingly witty retort?

  But I find it harder to believe that a man can “accidentally” claim his helicopter has been hit by an RPG. You have to feel that to know what it’s like. And, if you’ve never felt it, how can you “accidentally” go around describing it to David Letterman on TV and Alec Baldwin on radio for years on end?

  Back in 2003, I was in Iraq just a few weeks after Brian Williams. As I mention in The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, I rented a car at Amman airport, drove through Jordan’s eastern desert, crossed the border and kept going. A little bit of it was scary, a lot of it was funny, relaxing, dull… As the years go by and I tell someone about the goofy guy I met gassing up in Ramadi, I have to stop myself and think, “No, wait. Was it Ramadi? Or Fallujah?” I’m sure, if you combed through a decade’s worth of radio interviews, you could find inconsistencies.”

 

Steyn is always Saturday’s must read 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mannahu Akbar!

 

 

 

” The other day I quoted this letter from Mindy Alter in The National Post:

  Mark Steyn reminds us of the similarities between jihadists and climate-change alarmists. Both are fanatical. Both hew to ideologies that brook no dissent or criticism. Both go ballistic — albeit in markedly different ways — when some “blasphemer” has the audacity to make withering fun of them and their orthodoxies. Most crucially, however, is the fact that both are control freaks who seek to micro-manage our lives, the climate-change alarmists via onerous environmental regulations, the jihadists via Sharia law.

  To which I responded:

  Oh, c’mon on, it’s not quite that bad: The Allahu Akbar crowd demand death for apostasy. So far the climate mullahs are only advocating prison terms for us apostates.

  I spoke too soon:

  Greenpeace Activist Calls For Climate Change ‘Deniers’ To Be Beheaded “

 

 

This is Saturday’s must-read post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re Gonna Need A Longer Motorcade…

 

 

 

 

 

” The broker America gets, the longer its presidential motorcade gets. If you don’t got it, flaunt it, baby! But President-in-Waiting Hillary Rodham Clinton is already giving out signals that a mere 40-car motorcade may no longer be enough. This week she gave a speech in Saskatoon, which is a town in Saskatchewan, which is a province of Canada. The speech was for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which is “under investigation from the United States for helping wealthy Americans offshore money in the bank’s Caribbean accounts to avoid paying federal taxes”. I’m on CIBC’s side on that one: By comparison with other western nations, Americans labor under a regime of ever tighter banking constraints that are a disgrace to a supposedly free people.

  So if she wants to cozy up to foreign banksters (as they say in Britain), you go, girl! Nevertheless:

  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a couple paid speeches in Canada yesterday. She was reportedly accompanied by 65 agents of the United States Secret Service to at least one of the events.

  The agents were presumably on hand to help keep the former first lady safe…

  It’s unclear what part, if any, of the security tab was picked up by Clinton — and what part was paid for by U.S. taxpayers. “

 

Read it all 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

—-

A Judenrein Europe

 

 

 

 

” Had they not died as part of the Charlie Hebdo killers’ final act, I wonder how much publicity the murders of Philippe Braham, Yohan Cohen, Yoav Hattab, and François-Michel Saada at a kosher grocery store would have attracted. An Islamic fanatic killed another quartet of Jews at the Jewish Museum in Brussels last spring, and it was a big story for a couple of days, and then faded away. Over the last decade, the Continent seems to have developed a certain psychological ease with the routine murder of Jews. What remains of Jewish communal life in Europe now takes place behind reinforced doors and barbed wire, and the actual extinction of an entire identity group’s presence is discussed as calmly as the long-range weather. Forty-five per cent of British Jews say Jews have no future in Britain, and 58 per cent says Jews have no future in Europe.

  European leaders like M Hollande insist they’re able to protect the Jewish community – or at least hold the remorseless picking-off of their members to manageable levels. The leader of the continent’s biggest Jewish group is disinclined to take such assurances:

 

  In a letter sent to interior ministries around Europe and obtained by Newsweek, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director general of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE) and the European Jewish Association (EJA) – the largest federation of Jewish organizations and communities in Europe – writes: “We hereby ask that gun licensing laws are reviewed with immediate effect to allow designated people in the Jewish communities and institutions to own weapons for the essential protection of their communities, as well as receiving the necessary training to protect their members from potential terror attacks.”

 

  The Jews are always the canaries in the coal mine, so they won’t be the last in Europe to discover that, when it matters, the state isn’t there for you. There is a memorable moment in Michel Houellebecq’s new novel Soumission, released the day of the Charlie Hebdo slaughter, in which the protagonist’s Jewish girlfriend Myriam decides it’s time to get the hell out of France and flee to Israel. And François says bleakly, “There is no Israel for me.” “

 

 

   Lacking the balls to do it themselves , the countries of Europe are subcontracting their latest attempts at the “Final Solution” to their Muslim immigrant citizens . Oh those “enlightened” Europeans … you cannot publish an image of the “prophet” Mohammad , but you can kill Jews with impunity … That’s certainly “progressive” …

As usual , read it all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#JeSuisCharlie – But You’re Not

 

 

 

 

 

” So much for national unity:

  Just a day after the Charlie Hebdo shooting left 12 dead and had politicians calling for the country to unite, a row between politicians broke out after the National Front were not invited to take part in Sunday’s rally for “national unity” in Paris.

  In the most recent national election in France, Marine Le Pen’s National Front won. So the national unity rally excludes the most popular national party. That seems likely to work.

  ~The French establishment is co-opting these brave men’s deaths for their own purposes, and for the most part the world’s media are helping them get away with it. I spent much of Thursday on TV and radio, and my irritation with the dismal #JeSuisCharlie campaign increased as the day wore on. The self-flattering evasiveness of all those cartoonists around the world offering lame variations of “the pen is mightier than the sword” was especially feeble. The cartoon at right, by Chimulus (Michel Faizant) of Le Nouvel Observateur, at least confronts the ugly truth of Wednesday morning, rather than tippy-toeing around it:

Mohammed publishes a comic strip on the death of Charb.

With plenty of boxes.

  The only problem? Chimulus drew that two years ago – December 31st 2012. This week, when his remarkably prescient cartoon came true, his courage deserted him.

  ~As to those TV and radio appearances, first up was with Joyce Kaufman at 850 WFTL in Florida, which you can hear by clicking here. It was a lively ride: as Scaramouche says, “Made my day.” “

 

 

   Read it all and treat yourself to a second helping of Mr Steyn’s blistering attacks on Western hypocrisy  , the opening of which is here:

 

 

” The French authorities killed three murderous savages yesterday. That was the only good news on a day in which a third hostage siege began in Montpellier. The bad news started at the top, with President Hollande’s statement after the Charlie Hebdo slaughter and the Kosher grocery siege:

Those who committed these acts have nothing to do with the Muslim religion.

  Yeah, right. I would use my standard line on these occasions – “Allahu Akbar” is Arabic for “Nothing to see here” – but it’s not quite as funny when the streets are full of cowards, phonies and opportunists waving candles and pencils and chanting “Je suis Charlie.” Because if you really were Charlie, if you really were one of the 17 Frenchmen and women slaughtered in the name of Allah in little more than 48 hours, you’d utterly despise a man who could stand up in public and utter those words.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tree-Ring Of The Fisherman

 

 

 

” I mentioned the other day Dr Judith Curry’s New Year predictions:

  In terms of global temperature, I expect the hiatus to continue at last another decade, but won’t pretend to predict year to year variations. In terms of U.S. politics, I expect the Republican dominated Senate to hold more congressional hearings related to climate/energy issues. I don’t expect much to be accomplished in the Paris UNFCCC meeting. And finally I predict that Michael Mann’s lawsuit against NRO/CEI/Steyn won’t be resolved in 2015.

  I’ll come back to that last one – personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mann’s suit against me lasts as long as “the hiatus” and then some. And I’ll return to the first one, too. But let’s start with that third one – the upcoming Paris meeting of the UNFCCC. When I first started seeing headlines about the Pope pushing for action on climate change, I assumed the College of Climate Cardinals had had a whip round and decided to buy Michael E Mann a funny hat and a big balcony to make up for the implosion of his self-conferred Nobel Prize. But no, this isn’t His Hockiness but His Holiness – the real, actual Pope:

  This March, following a visit to the Philippines, Pope Francis will publish an encyclical on the environment that insiders say will tackle the issue of global warming head on. Pope Francis is hoping to have some impact when world leaders meet to discuss climate change in Paris next year…

  So the pontiff wants to get a piece of the climate-change action. Do carbon offsets qualify for papal indulgences?”

 

Saturday’s must read

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alone For Christmas

 

 

 

 

” Il Foglio is my favorite Italian newspaper, and I especially like the way this editorial starts:

  Diceva il polemista canadese Mark Steyn che la nostra visione della globalizzazione si fonda su un equivoco. Non si tratta di essere contenti perché i monaci tibetani finalmente usano internet, piuttosto: “L’esempio di maggior successo della globalizzazione non sono Starbucks o McDonald’s, ma il wahabismo, un’oscura variante dell’islam praticata da pochi estremisti beduini che adesso la petrolricchezza saudita ha esportato in ogni angolo della terra – Waziristan, Indonesia, Caucaso, i Balcani, Amsterdam, Stoccolma, Toronto, Portland, Dearborn e Falls Church”.

  That’s something I said in an interview with them many years ago, paraphrasing a line from America Alone:

  When you look at it that way, the biggest globalization success story of recent years is not McDonald’s or Microsoft but Islamism: the Saudis took what was not so long ago a severe but peripheral strain of Islam practiced by Bedouins in the middle of a desert miles from anywhere and successfully exported it to Jakarta and Singapore and Alma Ata and Grozny and Sarajevo and Lyons and Bergen and Manchester and Ottawa and Dearborn and Falls Church…

  It’s some years now since America Alone came out (although, if you’re in need of a belated Christmas gift, personally autographed copies are exclusively available from the SteynOnline bookstore). But its thesis is more timely with every passing day. And in yet another holiday season where, from Australia to France to Canada, families who’d never given a thought to Islam have had to come to terms with empty seats round the Christmas table, it is a poor consolation to a dimestore Cassandra to find my supposedly “alarmist” book cited with reference to recent events. Here is Vincent Cooper, in The Commentator, on the ability of the Sydney sheikh and his ilk to wage war against the west from within:

  On the first anniversary of the July 7th London Tube bombings, the Times of London commissioned a poll of British Muslims. Here are the findings:

* 16 percent say that while the Tube bombings may have been wrong, the cause was right.

* 13 percent think that the four men who carried out the bombings should be regarded as martyrs.

* 7 percent agree that suicide attacks on civilians in the UK can be justified in some circumstances, rising to 16 percent for a military target.

  As the Canadian journalist Mark Steyn points out: “There are, officially, one million Muslims in London, half of them under twenty-five. If 7 percent think suicide attacks on civilians are justified, that’s 70,000 potential supporters in Britain’s capital city.” (Mark Steyn, America Alone) “

 

 

Read it all here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Kim’s World. We Just Live in It.

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Speaking of North Korea, we were subject to a denial-of-service attack yesterday. But from Iran. Who says there’s no axis of evil?

  At any rate, if you experienced difficulties with our home page and various other corners of the site, we apologize for the inconvenience. I’m happy to say, as we hit those last-minute Christmas shopping days, that the retail end of the SteynOnline cornucopia withstood the assault and remained open for Yuletide business. But there’s gonna be a lot more of this in the years ahead. And whether the Internet as we know it will survive is an open question.

  ~I’ve spent much of the last couple of days on the radio with some of my favorite interviewers. You can hear how my take on the Sony/Kim Jong-Un showdown developed as the scale of Hollywood’s capitulation became clear. Let’s start with Toronto’s Number One morning man, John Oakley. John and I also discussed the other big stories of the week – the jihadist-waiting-to-happen in Sydney and the slaughter of innocents in a Peshawar schoolhouse, Click below to listen: ” (see above)

  As I said to John, a movie about assassinating Kim Jong-Un is an example of Hollywood’s exquisitely calibrated “edginess”: They would have never greenlighted the same kind of schlocko comedy about anything involving a certain word beginning with “I” and ending with “-slam” because that can be deleterious to one’s life expectancy. But Kim was supposed to be the comedy dictator – the one it was safe to make jokes about. Now, as Scaramouche says, expect “a lot more faux-edgy lampooning of safe targets (ones who won’t fight back via the hacking of computers or heads) a la The Book of Mormon“. “

 

Read it all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emasculated And Enkindled

 

 

 

 

” The problem with a victim culture is that so many people want to join the ranks of victimhood that eventually you run short of oppressors. As I say in my new book (personally autographed copies of which make a Christmas gift your loved one will cherish forever), Elizabeth Warren is the whitest white since Frosty the Snowman fell in a vat of White-Out, but a dubious claim to be one 32nd Cherokee was enough to persuade Harvard Law School to promote her as their first “woman of color”. No wonder so many Democrats prefer her to Hillary: The first “woman of color” in the Oval Office! The first Cherokee!

  If you’re not fortunate enough to have a great-great-great-grandmother who’s listed as Cherokee in the online transcription of an 1894 marriage application, what do you do? Lena Dunham is an upper-middle-class child of white privilege who’s had a charmed life, but she’s a victim, too. According to her new memoir, she was raped by “Barry”, the token conservative at Oberlin. The real-life Barry the Conservative denies raping her, and Random House has been forced to issue a statement “regretting the confusion” and to cover his legal bills, which he’d been paying for by “crowd-funding”. The publisher couldn’t resist a parting sneer:

  We are offering to pay the fees Mr. Minc has billed his client to date. Our offer will allow Mr. Minc and his client to donate all of the crowd-funding raised to not-for-profit organizations assisting survivors of rape and sexual assault.

  Because even if Barry the Conservative never raped Lena Dunham, odds are he’s raped someone else, right? As Ann Coulter put it:

How about donating it to organizations that assist survivors of false rape accusations?

  Rather than an epidemic of campus rape, there seems to be some sort of psychological inversion of “white flight”, in which untold numbers feel the need to flee their bland middle-class suburbs and pitch up in edgier ghettos. You’ll have noticed the recent uptick in news of the transgendered – indeed, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, author of the now discredited University of Virginia gang-rape story, was previously reporting on the epidemic of trans rape (Ms Erdely appears to be the Rape Correspondent of Rolling Stone). I note there are some three times as many male-to-female transgenders as there are female-to-male. So all that “gender fluidity” is a vast net transfer from the male brutalizer sector to the female victim sector. At some point it would seem likely to become a flood. After all, it’s not so difficult to imagine, a fake gang-rape story or three down the line, elite universities requiring gender reassignment as a condition of continued male admission. In some sense, the swollen ranks of the transgendered seem to have intuited that the jig is up for guys. Might as well check out of the guy business entirely. I’m thinking of pitching Marvel Comics a new superhero group featuring a transwoman, an ambigender, a pangender, an intergender, a bigender and a 2-spirited called Ex-Men.

  We are all ex-men now. The sadly misnamed Cavalier Daily of Charlottesville has a highly non-cavalier story about how “Jackie”, the “victim” of the University of Virginia “gang” “rape”, is owed a debt of gratitude for “pulling back the curtain on rape“: “

 

As usual Mr Steyn is Saturday’s Must-Read

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Inertia

 

 

” I’ve borrowed Kathy Shaidle’s headline because I think that sums up John Derbyshire’s column better than the one he and his editors chose: “The Impotent Eagle.” It’s not that we are incapable of doing anything, it’s that we can’t rouse ourselves to do anything.

  John was my colleague at National Review for many years, where I regarded him as a gloomier version of me, and he regarded me as a hopeless Pollyanna. Nevertheless, much of what he writes today will be familiar to readers of both After America and The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, personally autographed copies of which make kind and thoughtful Christmas presents and really aren’t as suicidally depressing as you might think. Derb’s mournful refrain was taken from a throwaway line a correspondent made re immigration:

Replied my friend:

‘I think that withdrawing birthright citizenship from the children of illegals would be a good move, and highly appropriate. I don’t see why we couldn’t do it going forward. But of course we won’t, because we can’t do anything.’

It was that closing phrase that stuck in my mind. We can’t do anything. It’s so damn true.

   John focuses on the big headlines: the Afghan war… immigration… law enforcement in Ferguson… America can’t win wars, enforce its borders, prevent looting. He could have added a bazillion others: build a flood barrier that prevents one measly not-so-Superstorm Sandy ruining people’s lives for years after… replace the dingy decrepit dump of LaGuardia with an airport that isn’t a total embarrassment to one of the world’s great cities… upgrade the most primitive bank cards in the developed world… stiffen Republican spines to come up with plans for debt reduction that kick in before the middle of the century…

  But I’m increasingly struck by how “we can’t do anything” applies to all the small stuff, too. If you’ve ever spent hours on the phone going round in circles with your health insurer over some nothing little thing, you’ll be aware that “we can’t do anything” is not a monopoly of the big geopolitical strategists. The whole joint seems to be seizing up, and it bothers me. Americans now have less health-care freedom and less banking freedom than many Continental Europeans. But let’s not get all comparative about this. In absolute terms – and certainly in comparison with the America that was – too much of daily life has become over-complicated and over-regulated and over-sclerotic, and too many people are content to string along with it. “

 

Mr Steyn’s piece is , of course , the mandatory read of the day 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Steyn

Fruits Of The Poisonous Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

” I spent Black Friday behind the Golden EIB Microphone sitting in for Rush on America’s Number One radio show. It was a fun ride today and we discussed many things – from immigration to ISIS to impeachment – but we also talked about a man from the Colorado town of Fruitvale (seriously), who’s been charged with a felony for threatening two police officers with a banana:

Anyway, the big takeaway from this is it’s now illegal to point a banana at law enforcement. As Harry Belafonte sang:

Come, Mister Copper Man
Take down me banana
Sheriff come
And me wan’ go home.

A few more moments from the show can be found here.

~There may have been a bit more music from me on the show than anyone was in the mood for. But, if you’re interested, my version of Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever” and “The Way You Look Tonight” in French are from my new CD Goldfinger, and the disco version of “A Marshmallow World” is on Jessica’s and my Christmas album Making Spirits Bright.

~If you’re wondering about that Mark Twain event I mentioned on the show today, it’s on Monday December 8th in Hartford, Connecticut just across the street from the Mark Twain House. Your local Rush station WTIC is one of the co-presenters of the event, and NPR’s Scott Simon will be quizzing me. You can find full details and reserve tickets here. “

 

Read it all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elections Matter?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

” “Elections matter,” declared President Obama in his 2012 victory speech. “Elections matter,” he reiterated shortly before the 2014 midterms.

  But it turns out they don’t. Not to him. You gotta hand it to the guy: It would be hard to devise a more open expression of contempt for the will of the people than what he’s just done. An election was held. His party lost, badly. And, without waiting for the new guys even to take their seats, in the so-called “lame-duck session” (an unnecessary carbuncular proceduralism most developed nations manage to do without), the President tells the – oh, what’s the word? – “citizenry”, “Hey, thanks for taking the trouble to drive to the polling station the other day. Leave your name at the desk and if we need you for cheering extras at my photo-op we’ll get back to you.” You can change legislators. Meanwhile, he’ll change the legislation.

  I’m getting weary of the monarchical comparisons, which are a bit of an insult to real monarchs. The Obama model seems to owe more to Judge Dredd, the popular comic-book figure with the power to arrest, convict, sentence and execute as he does what’s necessary to bring hope and change to a dystopian megalopolis. Likewise, President Dredd: “He is the Law, and you’d better believe it!” A contempt for the people and for constitutional and legal restraints is what ties the President’s actions on Thursday night to Eric Holder’s corrupt justice department to Lois Lerner’s corrupt revenue agency to Jonathan Gruber’s corrupt health commissariat (merely to skim the surface of the most recent additions to the unending Obama-scandals document dump).

  To express common-or-garden contempt for the will of the people, Obama could have simply repealed another handful of inconvenient paragraphs from Obamacare or made Lois Lerner Attorney-General, but the form of contempt he chose is especially exquisite: “legalizing” millions of foreign law-breakers and setting them on the path to US citizenship. The chief of state has heard the voice of the people and his message to them is: “Yeah, whatever, I can always get another people. Hey, here comes five million or so right now, plus another ten million in chain-migration relatives down the road…” “

 

Saturday’s must read

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gruber Uber Alles

 

 

 

” The Blaze’s Benjamin Weingarten interviewed Mark about his new book The [Un]documented Mark Steyn. Along the way they also discussed Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber, whose smug, confident contempt for the people Steyn suggests is the acme of liberal technocrat condescension. Lots of other subjects, big and small, are covered in this conversation. We think you’ll enjoy it. Just click below to listen: “

Give a listen

Big Climate Flops Out

 

 

 

 

 

” I wouldn’t be surprised if Tom Steyer, Big Climate’s Daddy Warmbucks, woke up this morning with the all-time worst dose of “climate depression“. Sample headline:

Tom Steyer Spent $74 Million on the Election. He Didn’t Get Much to Show for It.

  He blew through that $74 million in order to make “climate change” the winning wedge issue for beleaguered Democrats. How’d that work out?

  Colorado was a prime battleground for Steyer’s Super PAC and other environmentalist groups, but Gardner bested Udall by a 4.2 percent margin on Tuesday.

  Udall was one of the few vulnerable Senate Democratic incumbents who refused to publicly back the Keystone XL pipeline, opposition to which was Steyer’s litmus test for his sizable financial support… Steyer’s Super PAC poured money into the Colorado Senate race, the bulk of which was used to attack Gardner.

  NextGen Climate Action, one of the election cycle’s most active and well-funded Super PACs, spent more than $5.5 million in the race, nearly 15 percent of all outside spending on Udall’s behalf.

The group had 68 staffers working in the state.

Wow. Sixty-eight staffers just in Colorado! Maybe Tom Steyer could redeploy them to Michael E Mann’s legal team in the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century. Or at least buy him a couple new hashtags. Dr Mann today:

How much does it cost to buy the U.S. Senate? $1Billion, apparently. #KochMachine “

Saturday’s must read from Mr Steyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Documented vs Undocumented

 

 

 

 

 

 

” The eminent historian Max Hastings and I have not always seen eye to eye. (Example:

  I have spent a lifetime resisting my father’s prejudice, that men who affect beards should be regarded with the gravest suspicion. Yet every time I read the rantings of Mark Steyn about what he perceives as decadent European hostility towards the US, I have to fight down an ignoble sensation that daddy was right.

  He didn’t fight it down that hard.)

  Be that as it may, Sir Max is spot on in this poignant opening:

All over the world, from Vimy Ridge and El Alamein to Rangoon and Rorke’s Drift, stand memorials to British war dead, most of them places of pilgrimage for descendants and tourists.

  Future travellers, however, will find no such proud relic at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. When the Army lowered the Union flag there on Sunday, our memorial — etched with hundreds of names of the fallen — had been dismantled and flown home.

  Had it remained in war-torn Helmand province, it seemed certain to face desecration and destruction. There could be no more vivid manifestation of the failure of Britain’s Afghan mission.

  In my new book, The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, there is a section called “September 12th”. Beginning with my first sight of “Ground Zero”, it’s a series of snapshots that chart over the years the remorseless evaporation of western will, descending bumpily in its latter stretch through our reliance on drones, the disgrace of Benghazi, and some thoughts from me on the man at the Trebil border crossing between Jordan and Iraq – contrasting the US soldier who glanced at my Canadian passport when I crossed a few weeks after the fall of Saddam with the Islamic State goon who occupies the post today. That’s a profound image of total defeat. But so too are those last soldiers dismantling the British war memorial. As I wrote two-and-a-half years ago:

  In the last couple of months, two prominent politicians of different nations visiting their troops on the ground have used the same image to me for Western military bases: crusader forts. Behind the fortifications, a mini-West has been built in a cheerless land: There are Coke machines and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Safely back within the gates, a man can climb out of the full RoboCop and stop pretending he enjoys three cups of tea with the duplicitous warlords, drug barons, and pederasts who pass for Afghanistan’s ruling class. The visiting Western dignitary is cautiously shuttled through outer and inner perimeters, and reminded that even here there are areas he would be ill-advised to venture unaccompanied, and tries to banish memories of his first tour all those years ago when aides still twittered optimistically about the possibility of a photo op at a girls’ schoolroom in Jalalabad or an Internet start-up in Kabul. “

 

As usual , this is Saturday’s Must Read post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crying “Lone Wolf”

 

 

Steyn No Such Thing As Lone Wolf

 

 

 

” The guy who took a hatchet to a New York policeman was apparently a “lone wolf”, just like the guy who took a double-barreled shotgun to a Canadian soldier was a “lone-wolf”. Earlier today, I swung by Varney & Co on Fox Business to discuss the umpteenth member of Local 473 of the Amalgamated Union of Lone Wolves:

” This term ‘lone wolf’ is a cop-out…the idea that they somehow have to have a membership card in Islamic State or in al Qaeda for it to be official, fully-credentialed terror, like getting a hairdresser’s license in New York State is completely preposterous” he stated.

Steyn added that the rhetoric of “lone wolf” terrorists allows those who do not want to admit that radical Islam is a problem to brush off terror as isolated incidents, saying “all jihad is local. That actually suits them, to say, ‘oh no this is just some mentally ill guy in Ottawa and this is another guy who’s a bit goofy in New York and there’s no connection between the two.’ Because otherwise you have to treat it like your other big story. You have to treat it like ideological Ebola and you have to stop the infection…

 

 

This , as usual , is Saturday’s Must Read

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protocol Theatre

 

Slice 2

 

 

 

 

” Thomas Frieden has now got his Protocol Ali routine down pat:

  Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said during a telephone press briefing Wednesday that you cannot get Ebola by sitting next to someone on a bus, but that infected or exposed persons should not ride public transportation because they could transmit the disease to someone else.

  Gotcha. You can’t get Ebola on a bus or a plane, you can only give it. Good to know. Thanks, Doc.

  The Centers for Disease Control is one of those elite federal agencies that people hitherto assumed was, so to speak, immune to the pathologies of less glamorous government bureaucracies. It turns out it’s the DMV with test tubes – just the usual “Sorry? Did we say you need two copies of the green form? We meant you need three copies of the pink form” routine with extra lethality. The Protocols of the Elders of Druid Hills have proved to be boundlessly mutable and mostly honored in the breach:

~Don’t worry, the Protocols are in place – except that Thomas Duncan, the original Ebola patient, was left in an open area of the Dallas emergency room for hours and the medical staff treating him did not have protective clothing for the first two days.

~Don’t worry, they did eventually get fully sealed, protective clothing – well, except for their necks, which remained exposed.

~Don’t worry, exposed medical staff aren’t supposed to fly – except that Nurse Amber Vinson got on a flight to Cleveland with a fever.

~Well, okay, but that was totally in breach of the Protocols – except that Nurse Vinson called the CDC to check and they said, “Sure, get on the plane. What’s the worst that can happen? And make sure you share the bag of mini-pretzels…”

~Well, okay, but the next time Nurse Vinson got a flight, everyone followed the Protocols and wore hazmat suits – except for the guy with the clipboard, who works for the CDC and so can’t be expected to know all this Protocol stuff… “

 

Read on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heads We Lose

 

 

 

 

” As ISIS prepares to take the Turkish border city of Kobani, the new Caliphate’s use of social media as a promotional tool (which is rather more effective than, say, the Democrats’ or Justin Trudeau’s) has begun to inspire what Obama would presumably call the jihad’s junior “junior varsity” teams:

  Boko Haram, the extremist Islamic group, reportedly beheaded seven people Monday in Nigeria in revenge attacks, which were described by one resident as the way butchers “slaughter goats.”

  From the report, you might get the impression that that’s a figure of speech. But it’s literally true. At the end of my piece on the beheading by an infidel-hating Muslim Oklahoman of his female colleague Colleen Hufford, I wrote:

  It is not a pleasant way to die, in part because it requires more expertise than you might think. A decade ago, a young lady in my employ emailed a backgrounder on the subject to me in my room at the Grand Hyatt in Amman the night before I set off on my motoring tour of Iraq. If you’re lucky, your killer will insert the knife from the side, the sharp edge pointing to your front. One skilled thrust forward will cut the jugular, the carotid artery, the esophagus – and it will all be over in seconds. On the evidence of their social media videos, the ISIS boys are not that good: They go in from the front, blade facing backward, sawing back and forth for minutes on end. “

 

 

Today’s Must Read

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ebola Yes, Bagpipes No

 

 

 

 

” Thomas Eric Duncan has the distinction of being America’s Patient Zero – the first but not the last person to develop Ebola symptoms in the United States.

  Is he a US citizen? No, he’s Liberian.

  Is he a resident of the United States? No, he landed at Washington’s Dulles Airport on September 20th, in order to visit his sister and having quit his job in Monrovia a few weeks earlier.

  So he’s a single unemployed man with relatives in the US and no compelling reason to return to his native land. That alone is supposed to be cause for immigration scrutiny.

  In addition, visitors from Liberia have the fifth highest “visa overstay rate” in the United States. That’s to say, they understand very clearly that all that matters is getting in. Once you’re in, they’ll never get you out.

  And, of course, Liberia is one of the hottest spots of Ebola’s West African “hot zone”. It’s been all over the front pages, except apparently in The US Customs & Border Protection Staff Newsletter, where it rated a solitary “News In Brief” item at the foot of page 37.

  Just to give you an example of how hard-assed the boneheads of America’s immigration bureaucracy can be when they want to:

  The legendary Gord Sinclair, longtime news director of CJAD in Montreal, had a ski place near Jay in northern Vermont, and he invited his engineer on the show to come down and visit him. “What’s the purpose of your visit?” asked the agent at the small rural border post.

” Oh, just a relaxing weekend at my boss’ place,” said Gord’s colleague affably, and then chortled, “although I don’t know if it’ll be that relaxing. He’ll probably have me out in the yard chopping wood all day.”

  So the immigration agent refused him entry on the grounds that he would be working illegally in the United States.”

 

Nobody ridicules government incompetence and idiocy as well as Mark Steyn , read it all 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winning Heads And Minds

 

 

Mr Alton Nolen … aka Jah’Keem Yisrael

 

 

” Moore is a municipality that lies between Norman, where a dear friend of mine lives, and Oklahoma City, which I know reasonably well. I can’t claim to know Moore other than to drive through, but I do remember the water tower emblazoned with “Moore – Home of Toby Keith”. Can’t get more American than that, can you?

  Colleen Hufford was born in 1960. Life is full of grim twists and cruel vicissitudes, but in mid-20th century America it would not have occurred to anyone that one needed to worry about going to work and being beheaded by a colleague. Yet that’s what happened to Ms Hufford on Thursday: She turned up for her job at at the Vaughan Foods food processing plant in Moore, and Alton Alexander Nolen decapitated her.

  Why would he do that? Well, as the initial reports were at pains to assure us, it’s nothing to do with terrorism. That’s true, in the sense that Mr Nolen is not a card-carrying member of an officially credentialed state-recognized terrorism-provider such as ISIS or al-Qaeda. It’s true in the sense that he’s not on any official US Department of Homeland Security terror watch list, because, under the geniuses running American national security, that honor is reserved for my fellow Hillsdale cruiser Steve Hayes. And, of course, it’s also true in the sense that Mr Nolen is a recent convert to Islam and, as David Cameron and Barack Obama and many others are ever more eager to emphasize, terrorism is nothing to do with Islam. Mr Nolen had the Muslim greeting “As-salamu Alaikum” – “Peace be upon you” – tattooed upon his abdomen. And he’d tried, without success, to persuade his co-workers at Vaughan Foods to convert to Islam. So he wasn’t just mildly Islamic in the nothing-to-do-with-terrorism sense, he was super-Islamic in the really-totally-no-terrorism-to-see-here sense.

  So Colleen Hufford’s death was, as Jim Hoft put it, just “a random workplace beheading“. Indeed, many commenters at KOCO-TV seem more outraged by the mentioning of Mr Nolen’s religion than by the beheading:

Truth is, Islam has nothing to do with it. And Christians are far from innocent.

What does his religion have to do with this tragedy???

What does his religious faith have to do with this story?

Why would you even through in anything about terrorism in this story? The writer of this story is a true DUMBASS! “

 

 

As always Mr Steyn’s column is today’s Must Read

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Descent Into Barberism

 

 

 

 

 

” I often joke with my hairdresser Amanda about the number of state permits she requires for the privilege of cutting my hair. As I point out on page 49 of After America (personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available, etc):

  In the Fifties, one in twenty members of the workforce needed government permission in order to do his job. Today, it’s one in three.

  That’s tyrannous – which is bad enough, albeit not unique to America: The entire developed world has massively expanded the hyper-regulatory state. But only in America does the Department of Paperwork command lethal force:

  On August 19, 2010, two inspectors from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) visited the Strictly Skillz Barbershop in Orlando and found everything in order: All of the barbers working there were properly licensed, and all of the work stations complied with state regulations. Two days later, even though no violations had been discovered and even though the DBPR is authorized to conduct such inspections only once every two years, the inspectors called again, this time accompanied by “between eight and ten officers, including narcotics agents,” who “rushed into” the barbershop “like [a] SWAT team.” Some of them wore masks and bulletproof vests and had their guns drawn. Meanwhile, police cars blocked off the parking lot.

  The officers ordered all the customers to leave, announcing that the shop was “closed down indefinitely.” They handcuffed the owner, Brian Berry, and two barbers who rented chairs from him, then proceeded to search the work stations and a storage room. They demanded the barbers’ driver’s licenses and checked for outstanding warrants. One of the inspectors, Amanda Fields, asked for the same paperwork she had seen two days earlier, going through the motions of verifying (again) that the barbers were not cutting hair without a license (a second-degree misdemeanor). Finding no regulatory violations or contraband, the officers released Berry and the others after about an hour. “

 

 

As usual , read the whole thing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obama’s Lead From Behind Method Results In A

“Coalition of the Unwilling”

 

 

 

 

” I was overseas when Obama gave his momentous Isis address, but figured I could pretty much guess how things would go. Despite being the greatest orator of the last thousand years, he’s a complete bust at selling anything but himself, as comprehensively demonstrated in his first couple of years: see his rhetorical efforts on behalf of ObamaCare, or Massachusetts Senate candidate Martha Coakley, or Chicago’s Olympics bid. When it comes to war, he suffers from an additional burden: before he can persuade anybody else, he first has to persuade himself. And he can’t do it. So he gave the usual listless performance of a surly actor who resents the part he’s been given. It’s not just the accumulation of equivocations and qualifications – the “Islamic State” is not Islamic, our war with them is not a war, there’ll be no boots on the ground except the exotic footwear of a vast unspecified coalition – but something more basic: What he mainly communicates is that he doesn’t mean it.

  That’s what the jihadist militias now in control of Tripoli understood about his “leading from behind”. That’s what Putin grasped about Obama’s “red line” in Syria. And that’s what any Isis member who took time out of his beheading schedule to watch the President on CNN International will have taken away from this week’s speech.

  As for the “coalition”, they seem to intuit that, with a leader leading from this far behind, you want to stand even further back. From the mellifluously named Jacaranda FM:

  Turkey will refuse to allow a US-led coalition to attack jihadists in neighboring Iraq and Syria from its air bases, nor will it take part in combat operations against militants, a government official told AFP Thursday.

So much for the only Nato member to border Isis. What of the other Atlantic allies?

  Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told journalists on Friday that Germany will not take part in US-led air strikes against Islamic extremists Isis in Syria. “

 

 

Saturday’s must read

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,111 other followers