Category: Mark Steyn


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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Day After Labor

 

 

 

 

 

” To all our American readers, Happy Labor Day! And to all our Canadian readers, Happy Labour Day! That’s what the day used to be about: putting the “u” in Labor. You can’t spell labour without you, and without you and your labour this planet would be a primitive state of nature, red in tooth and claw. Consider the words of Peter J McGuire, General Secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, proposing the very first Labor Day a mere century-and-a-third ago. The new day would be an occasion, he said, to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold”.

  What a crazy! All the grandeur we behold comes from man and his work? What fossil fuel is he inhaling? Today, rude nature is the state we aspire to, and you can’t even delve and carve a Keystone pipeline underneath it, out of sight. Labor itself, in the sense Mr McGuire used the term, is morally dubious among our elites, and, down at the other end, simply unknown. A statistic from my book After America, personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available from the SteynOnline bookstore and which help support my campaign against Nobel fraud Michael Mann’s rude nature, into which I hope to be carving a hearty “up yours”…

Whoops, sorry. Where was I? Ah, yes. A quote from After America:

  One fifth of British children are raised in homes in which no adult works. Just under 900,000 people have been off sick for over a decade, claiming “sick benefits”, week in, week out for ten years and counting.

  By 2012, one tenth of the adult population had done not a day’s work since Tony Blair took office on May 1st 1997 – a decade and a half earlier. In such households, the weekday ritual of rising, dressing, and leaving for gainful employment is entirely unknown. In Ferguson, Missouri, the “conversation”, as they say on MSNBC, is between the dependent class and the governing class that ministers to them and keeps them in line. If you’re a convenience store owner, your low-skilled service jobs are the only labor on offer, and, for your pains, you get burned and looted by the dependent class while your 911 calls go unanswered by the governing class, both of which you fund.

  Now there’s a glimpse of the world to come, for those who wish to ponder it. Of course, nothing dates quicker than the future, as I suggested in this Labour Day column from Canada’s National Post twelve years ago:

This Labour Day, I thought about the working class, the masses.

  No, honestly, I did. Okay, I was on the beach, but the folks around me lying on the sand had jobs they’ll be getting back to this morning. They worked. They would be classed as workers. But they’re not an homogeneous “working class”, they’re not conscripts in Karl Marx’s “masses”. The transformation of Labor Day, from a celebration of workers’ solidarity to a cook-out, is the perfect précis of the history of Anglo-American capitalism. “

 

 

As usual , read it all 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Punitive Bureaucracy’s Day Off

 

 

 

 

” I wrote two weeks ago about two New Hampshire teenagers having their bagpipes seized at the northern border by US Customs & Border Protection. This would be the same “border” “protection” agency that has turned the southern border into an express welfare check-in for any of the world’s seven billion people minded to show up there.

  My fellow Granite Staters – 17-year-old Campbell Webster and Eryk Bean, of Concord and Londonderry, New Hampshire – understood that if you go to a highland fling a couple of hours north in Quebec you’re now obligated to get your bagpipes approved by US Fish & Wildlife.

  Because that’s just the way it is in the Land of the Free.

  So Messrs Webster and Bean got their CITES certificate and presented it to the US CBP agent at the Vermont border crossing.

  Whereupon he promptly confiscated their bagpipes on the grounds that, yes, their US Fish & Wildlife CITES paperwork was valid, but it’s only valid at 28 ports of entry and this wasn’t one of them.

  Nor is any other US/Canadian land crossing. So, if you’re a piper in, say, Pittsburg, New Hampshire and you want to play in a competition in La Patrie, Quebec 20 minutes north, you have to drive four-to-five hours south to Logan Airport in Boston, fly to Montreal and drive two hours east to La Patrie.

  Because that’s just the way it is in the Land of the Free.

  When the CBP agent seized Messrs Webster and Bean’s bagpipes, he told them – with the characteristic insouciance of the thug bureaucracy – that they were “never going to see them again”. But thanks to the unwelcome publicity the Homeland Security mafiosi were forced to cough ‘em up.

  The two pipers are now heading to a competition in Scotland. So they’ll be flying back via Boston, which is one of those 28 valid ports of entry. They’ve called Fish & Wildlife to arrange for the mandatory “inspection” of the bagpipes upon landing at Logan Airport.

  Unfortunately, the official Fish & Wildlife bagpipes inspector is taking a day off that day – she’s visiting her Auntie Mabel, having a seaweed wrap at the spa, whatever. So she won’t be available to inspect the pipes. So she’s told them they’ll have to drive back to New Hampshire and then drive back to Logan the following day for the Fish & Wildlife bagpipes inspection. So she’s taking a day off on Wednesday, and the bagpipers will have to take a day off on Thursday – just to comply with the diktats of the Department of Paperwork.

  Because that’s just the way it is in the Land of the Free. “

 

 

 

You can’t make this stuff up . As always Mr Steyn is today’s required reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cigars, But Not Close

 

 

 

 

 

” The “narrative” of Ferguson, Missouri changed somewhat today. But, amid the confusion, the blundering stupidity of the city’s police department remains consistent.

  This morning the Police Chief, Thomas Jackson, released security-camera shots of the late Michael Brown apparently stealing a five-dollar box of cigarillos from a convenience store. So the 18-year old shot dead by Chief Jackson’s officer was no longer a “gentle giant” en route to college but just another crappy third-rate violent teen n’er-do-well.

  This afternoon, the chief gave a second press conference. Why would he do that? Well, he’d somehow managed to create the impression in his first press conference that the officer who killed Mr Brown was responding to the robbery. In fact, that was not the case. The Ferguson policeman was unaware that Brown was a robbery suspect at the time he encountered him and shot him dead. Which is presumably why Chief Jackson was leaned on to give his second press conference and tidy up the mess from the first. So we have an officer who sees two young men, unwanted for any crime, walking down the middle of the street and stops his cruiser. Three minutes later one of them is dead.

  On the other hand, Jackson further confused matters by suggesting that he noticed Brown had cigars in his hand and might be the suspect.

  It’s important, when something goes wrong, to be clear about what it is that’s at issue. Talking up Michael Brown as this season’s Trayvonesque angel of peace and scholarship was foolish, and looting stores in his saintly memory even worse. But this week’s pictures from Ferguson, such as the one above, ought to be profoundly disquieting to those Americans of a non-looting bent. “

 

Mr Steyn addresses the mess that is Ferguson , Missouri . Read it all .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Home Front

 

 

 

 

” On Friday, writing about the four-hour detention by US Customs & Border Protection of a troop of Iowa boy scouts, I put it this way:

  American life is bifurcating into the undocumented and the overdocumented. On the southern border, the bazillions of US laws are meaningless – proof of identity, medical tests, none of it matters. And the less it matters on the Rio Grande the more the zealots on the 49th Parallel will take apart your car if they think you’ve got a Kinder egg in there. Anyone who thinks that attitude can be confined to the border and not work its way deep into the rest of American life is deluded.

  Thirteen years ago, I opposed the creation of the “Department of Homeland Security” – on the classic Thatcherite ground that if you create a bureaucracy to deal with a problem you’ll never be rid of it. I had expected the usual “mission creep” but that term barely covers what’s happened in the last decade. There is no “homeland security”: At the southern border, the homeland is wide open, and ICE and the Border Patrol, which (like CBP) are both part of DHS, are actively colluding in homeland insecurity.

  Meanwhile, Homeland Security “agents” busy themselves raiding the Foxy Lady strip club in Brockton, Massachusetts, because the foxy ladies were giving away knock-off Red Sox or Patriots merchandise with every two lap dances, and dispatching six vehicles to a home in Statesville, North Carolina to seize an imported Land Rover that doesn’t meet EPA emissions standards.”

 

 

As usual Mr Steyn is the day’s must read 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exchange You Can Believe In

 

 

 

 

” Just because American influence has vanished abroad and American sovereignty has been surrendered at the southern border doesn’t mean that back in Washington all the old Obama scandals aren’t still rumbling on, delightfully unspoilt by progress.

  For example, the latest Obamacare exemption has just been proclaimed by King Barack’s Lord Privy Seal of Approval: Residents of American territories (Guam, the US Virgin Islands, etc) have been graciously released by His Majesty from compliance with the law. That’s another four-and-a-half million or so people in the express lane to Exemptistan. I was just getting up to speed on this when the latest court decision on Obamacare came down. And I was just getting up to speed on that when another Obamacare decision came down.

  Earlier today the District of Columbia Circuit Court announced that the federal health-care “exchange” was illegal on the grounds that Congress had only legislated for state health-care “exchanges”. For non-American readers, I suppose I should make an effort at explaining what an “exchange” is, but Lord Almighty, it’s a pain. A year ago, “exchange” was something to do with stocks or taking that purple sweater back to the store after Christmas. But by the fall it was the latest exciting jargon-barnacle to encrust to the hulk of American health care: “co-pay”, “HSA”, “Cobra”, “donut hole”, etc, etc – and now “exchange”. Here’s how the District of Columbia Circuit Court explains it:

  Section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code, enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA or the Act), makes tax credits available as a form of subsidy to individuals who purchase health insurance through marketplaces—known as “American Health Benefit Exchanges,” or “Exchanges” for short—that are “established by the State under section 1311″ of the Act. 26 U.S.C. § 36B(c)(2)(A)(i). On its face, this provision authorizes tax credits for insurance purchased on an Exchange established by one of the fifty states or the District of Columbia. See 42 U.S.C. § 18024(d). “

 

 

 

Read it all

 

 

” In March 2010, almost four-and-a-half years ago, when the Democrats were attempting to pass Obamacare by the parliamentary legerdemain of “deeming” an unpassed bill to have passed, I wrote:

  Whatever is “deemed” to have passed in the next few days doesn’t end the debate but begins it. If you’re sick of talking about health care, move to Tahiti, because in the U.S. we’re going to be talking about it until the end of time, or at least until the Iranians nuke Cleveland. 

  And so it has proved – in part because in a post-constitutional, post-legal America the law of the land is whatever King Barack “deems” it to be. Welcome to the American Deem. “Health care reform” reform, now and forever. “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nationalization Of Childhood

 

 

 

 

” ~When I was a kid and watched sci-fi movies set in a futuristic dystopia where individuals are mere chattels of an unseen all-powerful government and enduring human relationships are banned and the progeny of transient sexual encounters are the property of the state, I always found the caper less interesting than the unseen backstory: How did they get there from here? From free western societies to a bunch of glassy-eyed drones wandering around in identikit variety-show catsuits in a land where technology has advanced but liberty has retreated: how’d that happen?

  Well, the current Planet of the Apes prequels have also figured out that’s the most interesting part of the story. (I liked Rise of… immensely, Dawn not so much, but it would be a foolish man who would attempt to compete with Steve Sailer’s brilliant analysis. If American monodailies weren’t determined to die as the most boring papers in the English-speaking world, The New York Times would hire Mr Sailer as their movie critic.)

  But who needs to go to the multiplex when the prequel to all those glassy-eyed serf dystopias is taking place on the news pages? Megan McArdle writes today about the spate of American mommies charged with and, indeed, jailed for leaving their pre-teen children unsupervised. For example, NBC reports from Connecticut:

  Police arrived at 60 Middle Street in Bristol to find the girl alone in the car with the windows rolled up. She was alert and responsive and told officers she had asked to stay in the car while her mom ran inside, according to police.

  Police said the outside temperature was about 85 degrees and the car’s interior “was not excessively hot.”

  The girl’s mother, 30-year-old Christina Williams, was issued a misdemeanor summons for leaving a child unsupervised in a motor vehicle.”

 

Read it all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Steyn

The Challenges Of Diversity

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Texas Governor Rick Perry is being criticized for declining to greet President Obama at Austin-Bergstrom Airport tomorrow when Air Force One touches down and the bazillion-car motorcade takes off for some vital Democrat fundraisers. Perry instead would like a substantive meeting to discuss the foreign invasion currently ongoing at Texas’ southern border, but Obama doesn’t do substantive meetings, and in any case, as the principal facilitator of the southern invasion, any discussions between him and Perry probably ought to be conducted under the auspices of the UN at the Hague or in Vienna or some such. Maybe Putin or Assad could mediate.

  Obama made a conscious decision to, in effect, dissolve the southern border, and, quite reasonably enough, the “unaccompanied minors” of Latin America opted to take him at his word. One of his party’s most senior figures, and the woman who if things go well for them in November will be Speaker of the House and second in line of succession to the presidency, explicitly refuses to recognize the international boundary. Down there for a photo-op the other day, Nancy Pelosi declared: “This is a community with a border going through it.” It’s bogus, so why get hung up on tedious legalistic nonsense like “frontiers”? “

 

 

It doesn’t take long for Mr Steyn to get to the heart of the matter , in his own inimitable way , of course …

 

 

” Mr Obama and Ms Pelosi apparently see themselves as leaders of some post-Westphalian entity wherein the political elite use the Third World to reconfigure the citizenry to something more to their taste. But, having voluntarily liquidated US sovereignty at the southern border, in what sense then is Obama President of the United States? Why should the head of a sovereign state that’s renounced its sovereignty still expect to be entitled to all the perks thereof – like fawning governors greeting him at the airport? “

 

 

As usual , you would be remiss if you failed to read it all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Steyn

Boots On The Ground

 

 

 

 

 

” I mentioned this 2002 column of mine last week in connection with the Saudi Ambassador’s idiosyncratic response to it. But it seems appropriate to give it a full-blown rerun today, Thursday, as the US footie team – or “soccer”, as they call it here – prepares for its samba-sultry rendezvous with destiny and a rematch with Germany, the team that did for them 12 years ago.

  I’d been thinking that this time round there was more interest in the World Cup than back then. But then I went on John Oakley’s show yesterday morning and the soccer banter ahead of my appearance reminded me that even Canada has an entirely different level of engagement with the sport. At any rate, that’s what caught my fancy three World Cups ago, when the American team looked at one point in danger of making it to the semi-finals, and maybe beyond, despite total lack of public interest – while in England and Ireland there were millions of fans in search of a team. This essay is anthologized in The Face Of The Tigerpersonally autographed copies of which are exclusively available from the SteynOnline bookstore, and proceeds of which go towards my pushback against “hockey stick” warm-monger Michael E Mann and the Big Climate enforcers:

  And so the dream dies. The boys gave it their best, they played well, but it wasn’t to be. They’re out of the World Cup, to the bitter disappointment of their supporters.

  I refer, of course, to the United States team, the first in World Cup history with more players than fans. Across America yesterday, all nine of them gathered in bars to watch the big match, only to find that the other patrons preferred to see the Golden Girls re-run dubbed into Spanish on Channel 173 or the last half of Plastering Idol on the Sheetrock Channel. Twiddling my own dial in New Hampshire, I couldn’t find the game on anywhere except a French-language station from Quebec.”

 

Read the rest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helicopters On The Roof

 

 

From London's Daily Mail, the embryo Caliphate arises

 

 

” In May 2011, in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria wrote a column headlined “Al Qaeda Is Over“:

 

  The truth is this is a huge, devastating blow to al Qaeda, which had already been crippled by the Arab Spring. It is not an exaggeration to say that this is the end of al Qaeda in any meaningful sense of the word.

  Al Qaeda is not an organization that commands massive resources. It doesn’t have a big army. It doesn’t have vast reservoirs of funds that it can direct easily across the world.

 

  Zakaria is famously a confidant of Obama’s, but there are limits to the horse manure even devoted courtiers swallow. Three years on, just one malign al-Qaeda progeny, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, now commands more territory than ever – from Aleppo in western Syria to the gates of Baghdad. It has all the tanks and weaponry abandoned by the Iraqi “army” we trained. It has control of the northern oil fields, the cash reserves of the second largest city in Iraq, and is now “the world’s richest terrorist group“.

  Meanwhile, the White House has apparently canceled its cable subscription and daily newspaper. On Tuesday, as half-a-million Iraqis were fleeing Mosul, Administration flacks were talking up Hillary’s Greatest Hits:

 

  Earnest was asked by a reporter at the daily press conference to describe Clinton’s accomplishments while she was Secretary of State.

“Ending the war in Iraq and winding down in a responsible fashion the war in Afghanistan, and doing that after the success of our our efforts to dismantle and destroyed Al-Qaida core that had established a base of operations in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Earnest answered.

 

  Obama and Clinton ended the war in Iraq by losing it. They “pivoted” from Iraq to Afghanistan, and wound up losing both. Hillary crowed over Gaddafi’s corpse – “We came, we saw, he died” – and then sat by as her ambassador and best friend “Chris” was devoured by the mob: He died, she sat by, we’re gone. The Arab Spring that Zakaria claims “crippled” al-Qaeda delivered Egypt to the Muslim Brotherhood and a military coup, Tunisia to soft Islamists, Libya to ever harder Islamists, and much of Syria and Iraq to jihadists too hardcore for “mainstream” al-Qaeda.

Events are moving fast on the ground. As I said on Fox News on Tuesday night:

 

  In Iraq, the al Qaeda flag flies in Fallujah on buildings American troops built. And as we have just heard, al Qaeda has taken hold of Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, earlier today. “

 

 

Read about Obama/Clinton/Kerry’s latest foreign policy triumph here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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