Thursday, May 26, 2016
At NYT, "Peter Thiel, Tech Billionaire, Reveals Secret War With Gawker":
A billionaire Silicon Valley entrepreneur was outed as being gay by a media organization. His friends suffered at the hands of the same gossip site. Nearly a decade later, the entrepreneur secretly financed a lawsuit to try to put the media company out of business.More.
That is the back story to a legal case that had already grabbed headlines: The wrestler Hulk Hogan sued Gawker Media for invasion of privacy after it published a sex tape, and a Florida jury recently awarded the wrestler, whose real name is Terry Gene Bollea, $140 million.
What the jury did not know — nor the public — was that Mr. Hogan had a secret benefactor paying for the lawsuit, to the tune of about $10 million: Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and one of the earliest investors in Facebook.
A 2007 article published by Gawker, “Peter Thiel is totally gay, people,” and a series of articles about his friends and others that he said “ruined people’s lives for no reason” drove Mr. Thiel to mount a clandestine war against Gawker, funding a team of lawyers to find and help “victims” of the company’s coverage to mount cases against Gawker.
“It’s less about revenge and more about specific deterrence,” he said in his first interview since his identity was revealed. “I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest.”
Mr. Thiel said that Gawker published articles that were “very painful and paralyzing for people who were targeted.” He said, “I thought it was worth fighting back.”
Mr. Thiel added: “I can defend myself. Most of the people they attack are not people in my category. They usually attack less prominent, far less wealthy people that simply can’t defend themselves. He said that “even someone like Terry Bollea who is a millionaire and famous and a successful person didn’t quite have the resources to do this alone.”
Mr. Thiel said that he had decided several years ago to set in motion a plan to secretly fund multiple cases to try to cripple Gawker. “I didn’t really want to do anything,” he said. “I thought it would do more harm to me than good. One of my friends convinced me that if I didn’t do something, nobody would.”
The revelation that Mr. Thiel was covertly backing Mr. Bollea’s case as well as others has raised a series of new questions about the First Amendment as well as about the role of big money in the court system — specifically the emerging field of litigation finance, in which third parties like hedge funds and investment firms pay for other people’s lawsuits.
Roy D. Simon, a professor emeritus of legal ethics at Hofstra University School of Law, suggested that the practice has helped “level the playing field” by providing resources for people to mount cases against big institutions that would be impossible otherwise.
But he said there was a risk when a lawsuit was funded by a single person with a potential agenda. “I am troubled by Thiel,” Professor Simon said. “I guess that one guy is much more likely to have an agenda driven by revenge or personal dislike or wanting to prove a point.”
But other legal experts said that the mere fact of Mr. Thiel’s involvement did not change the case. And while there is no legal requirement that underwriters like Mr. Thiel reveal their involvement to the opposing side or the jury, it is considered fair game for lawyers to ask questions about financial backing — something that Gawker Media did on Wednesday in court as part of its efforts to overturn the Hogan judgment...
Plus, "Florida Judge Denies Gawker's Motion for New Trial in Hulk Hogan Case."
And still more, from Michelle Malkin:
Flashback to celebrate denial of Gawker retrial: Thnx, Hulk Hogan! Gawker Smear Machine Gets What It Deserves==> https://t.co/CxT7ExX7xG— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) May 25, 2016
Thiel's a Trump supporter, heh:
The only living Trump supporter in Silicon Valley | John Naughton https://t.co/gHAMwwOpXw— The Guardian (@guardian) May 22, 2016
And at Vogue Australia:
And at CBS News 2 Los Angeles:
Mother of Second DePaul Protester is Juanita Johnson, Who Serves as Chicago Police Department's Director of Administration
At Big Government, via Instapundit, "CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Meet Kayla Johnson, The DePaul Protester Who Took a Swing at Milo":
The second lead protester at last night’s event at DePaul University has been identified as Kayla Johnson, the daughter of Juanita Johnson, who serves as the Chicago Police Department’s Director of Administration.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Hillary Clinton has said for more than a year that her use of a private email server as Secretary of State violated no federal rules and posed no security risk. Only the gullible believed that, and now everyone has proof of her deceptions in a scathing report from State Department Inspector General Steve Linick.Still more.
The report obtained by news outlets Wednesday is ostensibly an audit of the email practices of five secretaries of State. But the majority of the report, and the most withering criticism, focuses on Mrs. Clinton. The IG concludes that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee broke federal record-keeping rules, never received permission for her off-grid server, ignored security concerns raised by other officials, and employed a staff that flouted the rules with the same disdain she did.
“Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary,” says the report. “At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.”
State still has never received emails from her private account for the first six weeks after she became Secretary, and the IG notes that it found (by other means) business-related emails that Mrs. Clinton did not include among the emails she has turned over.
The report says she has also stonewalled requests to obtain her server. And “through her counsel, Secretary Clinton declined [the IG’s] request for an interview.” Former Secretaries Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and current Secretary John Kerry all sat for interviews.
Mrs. Clinton’s staff abetted her bad practices. The report says the IG “learned of extensive use of personal email accounts by four immediate staff members (none of whom responded to the questionnaire). . . . The material consists of nearly 72,000 pages in hard copy and more than 7.5 gigabytes of electronic data. One of the staff submitted 9,585 emails spanning January 22, 2009 to February 24, 2013, averaging 9 emails per workday sent on a personal email account.”
The IG—who had better hire a food-taster—also found that Mrs. Clinton neither sought nor received permission for her private communications. The former Secretary also understood the security risks this posed because she was warned several times...
And at WaPo, via Memeorandum, "State Dept. inspector general report sharply criticizes Clinton's email practices."
At AoSHQ, "Is It Getting To Be About the Time When the #NeverTrumpers Should Go Radio Silent?":
When I flipped to hardcore anti-Trump myself a few months back, it was due to Trump's horrifying poll numbers and the grim probability he'd lose and we'd get 3-5 liberal justices. Enough to seal the Republic's fate.
Well, flash forward two months, and Trump isn't doing too badly in the polls. He might even have a decent shot at winning. [And] yet the "Principled Conservatives" who ought to be the most concerned about gifting the Supreme Court to the liberals for the next sixty years are blowing the subject off like it's just a big lark.
Please explain to me the continuing hardcore commitment to #NeverTrump.
1. Disliking the fact that the Upper Middle College Educated Class controlled the party for decades, and made a sport of ignoring the Working Class, but now the Working Class has reasserted itself and taken over and the members of the displaced Upper Middle College Educated Class just can't stand not being in a poll position any longer?
2. Showing off to one's liberal comrades that one isn't One Of That Kind of Conservative? That is, Virtue Signalling?
3. Attempting to save one's professional reputation? I get this one myself -- someone asked me why I was so anti-Trump, and I said the man was so vulgar, stupid, and crass that he made it necessary to oppose him simply to preserve one's professional standing.
So I get that idea. I get that idea an awful lot.
But we happen to be talking about the Republic at this point.
One of two people will be president in January -- Hillary Rodham Clinton, a sociopath who was a corrupt politician even before she entered politics (remember Whitewater? Her $100,000 cattles future trading) or Donald Trump.
What is the fear, here? That Donald Trump might be nearly as bad as Hillary Clinton certainly will be?
Name one issue on which Hillary Clinton is superior to Trump. The most I ever here is "We don't know what Trump will do, he could be just as bad as Hillary."
Oh? He could be that bad?
Look, Drew asked a while ago: What makes obviously liberal-cultural-values Republicans actually Republicans, apart from habit?
Maybe it's time for the great re-sorting to begin. It's time for actual Democrats, who are most comfortable with Democrats, and feel the most affinity for Democrats, to make their party allegiance official and simply declare for Hillary Clinton and join the Democratic Party.
Because I cannot see any "conservative" continuing to say "Oh yeah, I want to expand Dear Colleague directives to college and put more men in kangaroo court trials for hoax rapes just to show those Trump people how little I think of their ilk."
You don't have to get on Team Trump, and you don't have to love him. Trump did not suddenly become well-informed or virtuous simply because he won the nomination.
However, at the moment, he is the only plausible tool by which we can prevent President Hillary Clinton, and if that isn't enough to at least get you to bite your tongue or find some other interest (politics isn't especially interesting, you know; there are a thousand fields more interesting and rewarding), then you're not merely #NeverTrump, you're closer to #NeverReallyAConservative.
Believe me, if Trump tanks in the polls, or if some really terrible info comes out about him (which I think is fairly likely), I'll be the first guy explaining to the Trumpheads why we must pull the bathtub drain on Trump to save the Republic.
But we're not at that moment.
And at Reason, "Milo Yiannopoulos Assaulted by Crazy Student Protesters at DePaul, Cops Do Nothing" (via Memeorandum).
And more, via Twitter:
Holtschneider expresses disagreement with Milo Yiannopoulos, apologizes to College Republicans. https://t.co/g4qJS2ADo4— Kirsten Onsgard (@KirstenOnsgard) May 25, 2016
In 2012, the mountaineer Ralf Dujmovits captured a now-iconic photo of dozens of climbers ascending Everest in a virtual conga line. Ten people would die that year under clear skies, most because the large crowds meant that climbers were stuck in the high-altitude, low-oxygen “death zone” below the summit while waiting to ascend or descend. If a climber spends too much time there, the chances of succumbing to a fatal version of altitude sickness increases substantially. That appears to be what happened to at least three of the climbers who’ve died over the last several days.Well, maybe leftist virtue-signalling has something to do with it.
At WaPo, "Woman trying to prove ‘vegans can do anything’ among four dead on Mount Everest."
Plus, Xbox One 1TB Console - Limited Edition Halo 5: Guardians Bundle.
And, Delsey Luggage Helium Aero Expandable 19 Inch International Carry-On Spinner Suitcase.
More, from Victor Davis Hanson, The Savior Generals: How Five Great Commanders Saved Wars That Were Lost - From Ancient Greece to Iraq.
And, from Bing West, No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah, and The March Up: Taking Baghdad with the United States Marines.
BONUS: John Dower, War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War.
When idiotic vile leftists mount their soapboxes to oppose Trump, they're actually denouncing the great majority of the American people who like and admire him. This election genuinely is about the survival of America as we've known it.
The New York Times reports:
And from the letter, via Mediagazer:More than 400 writers sign petition protesting Donald Trump https://t.co/lYqknwZCF2 pic.twitter.com/tqK2AJB7wW— NYT National News (@NYTNational) May 25, 2016
Because, as writers, we are particularly aware of the many ways that language can be abused in the name of power;
Because we believe that any democracy worthy of the name rests on pluralism, welcomes principled disagreement, and achieves consensus through reasoned debate;
Because American history, despite periods of nativism and bigotry, has from the first been a grand experiment in bringing people of different backgrounds together, not pitting them against one another;
Because the history of dictatorship is the history of manipulation and division, demagoguery and lies;
Because the search for justice is predicated on a respect for the truth;
Because we believe that knowledge, experience, flexibility, and historical awareness are indispensable in a leader;
Because neither wealth nor celebrity qualifies anyone to speak for the United States, to lead its military, to maintain its alliances, or to represent its people;
Because the rise of a political candidate who deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society, who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities, demands, from each of us, an immediate and forceful response;
For all these reasons, we, the undersigned, as a matter of conscience, oppose, unequivocally, the candidacy of Donald J. Trump for the Presidency of the United States.
At CBS This Morning:
Frankly, the protests are only helping Donald Trump.
At CBS News 2 Los Angeles, "Authorities Hope to Avoid Repeat of Costa Mesa Chaos as Trump Returns to Orange County."
Hateful, terrible people.
Palo Alto's in the heart of Silicon Valley, where the left's iconic technology companies call home, especially Apple, Facebook, and Google.
Wealthy progressives, pushing their radical leftist ideology on the rest of us while living in the lap of luxury.
At Nerdwallet, "‘Wealthiest’ Cities: How Income, Home Values and Credit Limits Stack Up Around the U.S."
Hat Tip: O.C. Register, "Five Orange County cities ranked among nation's 20 wealthiest."
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Check out these tweets, from NBC's Jacob Rascon:
* "Watch: Dozens of extra officers brought in as Trump protesters break through barricades, chant 'shut it down!'"Plus, at Conservative Treehouse, "Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Supporters Turn Violent in New Mexico…"
* "Protesters try to break down doors to Trump Albequerque event, chased away by police. Protesters now throwing gates, bottles at officers."
* "Protesters outside Trump event now burning pro-Trump flags and signs, police line trying to push them back, officers now putting on masks."
* "Officers toss what appears to be tear gas, Trump protesters kick some of the canisters back at police. Officers also using pepper spray."
* "Watch: Protesters throw rocks at police, officers respond by tossing smoke canisters, using pepper spray."
* "Protesters move away from Trump venue, take over nearby streets and intersections. Officers a block or so away."
* "Police on horseback push back protesters, many of whom tell me they're angry about Trump's rhetoric on immigration."
Watch, via AP, "Protesters Interrupt Trump Rally in Albuquerque: Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump rallied thousands of supporters during a stop in Albuquerque on Tuesday night as protesters tried to derail his speech..."
Also, at Politico, "The number of protesters [rioters] at the Trump rally was estimated in the hundreds..."
O'Reilly and Powers are going at it over the Charlotte Observer's editorial last week, "Taking the fear out of bathrooms.
Watch, via Fox News, "Transgender bathroom controversy continues: The O'Reilly Factor' reacts to a new editorial in The Charlotte Observer."
More, at CBS News 2 Los Angeles:
The Joint Chiefs of Staff estimated as many as 134,556 dead and missing Americans [in the event of a U.S. invasion of the Japanese mainland]. A study for the office of War Secretary Henry Stimson put the figure at 400,000 to 800,000 dead GIs, with Japanese fatalities reckoned between five and 10 million military personnel and civilians. In addition to combat casualties, the more than 27,000 American POWs held by Japan were subject to immediate execution should the United States invade.RTWT.
The nuclear attack on Hiroshima was terrible. All warfare is. The power unleashed by the splitting of the atom was monumental. But tragic as the bombing of Hiroshima was, it was also necessary. The alternative to Hiroshima would have been one of the bloodiest, if not the bloodiest, slaughter in human history. These facts were not far from my uncle’s mind on August 6, and they were near the surface of his consciousness in all the years after. He knew that his keen eye and steady hands helped spare untold lives on both sides of the conflict.
During the nearly 71 years since Hiroshima, the world has occasionally marched toward the nuclear abyss and wise men decided against the annihilation that attends the use of such weapons. Since then, the United States and other nations have reduced their stockpiles of nuclear warheads. God willing, wise men will continue to prevail if faced with the question of whether to use them.
These are the lessons the president should carry with him to Hiroshima. No apology is necessary for sparing Japan the unspeakable horror of an invasion to end the war. No contrition is needed for an act that preserved hundreds of thousands of lives...
I mentioned Matt McGorry the other day, here.
The whole "male feminism" thing is pretty hilarious, especially in that leftist dudes actually take it seriously.
So, who else to fisk the hell out these idiots than Robert Stacy McCain?
See, "On @MattMcGorry, @MeghanEMurphy and the ‘Male Feminist’ Problem."
And buy Robert's book, Sex Trouble: Essays on Radical Feminism and the War Against Human Nature.The ‘Male Feminist’ Problem https://t.co/ubwVsaQ6ZZ— FreeStacy (@Not_RSMcCain) May 23, 2016
cc @instapundit @jamestaranto @Nero @AsheSchow @deanesmay #tcot pic.twitter.com/d4chS8ZKPT
See, Meghan Murphy, on Twitter:
Hold on. There's more, from Penny White, at Feminist Current, "Why I no longer hate ‘TERFs’."
And the other day I came across Deep Green Resistance:
Deep Green Resistance has been accused of transphobia because we have a difference of opinion about the definition of gender.Postcards from the Oppression Olympics, you might say, heh.
DGR does not condone dehumanization or violence against anyone, including people who describe themselves as trans. Universal human rights are universal. DGR has a strong code of conduct against violence and abuse. Anyone who violates that code is no longer a member of DGR.
Disagreeing with someone, however, is not a form of violence. And we have a big disagreement.
Radical feminists are critical of gender itself. We are not gender reformists–we are gender abolitionists. Without the socially constructed gender roles that form the basis of patriarchy, all people would be free to dress, behave, and love others in whatever way they wished, no matter what kind of body they had.
Patriarchy is a caste system which takes humans who are born biologically male or female and turns them into the social classes called men and women. Male people are made into men by socialization into masculinity, which is defined by a psychology based on emotional numbness and a dichotomy of self and other. This is also the psychology required by soldiers, which is why we don’t think you can be a peace activist without being a feminist.
Female socialization in patriarchy is a process of psychologically constraining and breaking girls—otherwise known as “grooming”—to create a class of compliant victims. Femininity is a set of behaviors that are, in essence, ritualized submission.
We see nothing in the creation of gender to celebrate or embrace. Patriarchy is a corrupt and brutal arrangement of power, and we want to see it dismantled so that the category of gender no longer exists. This is also our position on race and class. The categories are not natural: they only exist because hierarchical systems of power create them (see, for instance, Audrey Smedley’s book Race in North America). We want a world of justice and equality, where the material conditions that currently create race, class, and gender have been forever overcome.
Patriarchy facilitates the mining of female bodies for the benefit of men – for male sexual gratification, for cheap labor, and for reproduction. To take but one example, there are entire villages in India where all the women only have one kidney. Why? Because their husbands have sold the other one. Gender is not a feeling—it’s a human rights abuse against an entire class of people, “people called women.”
We are not “transphobic.” We do, however, have a disagreement about what gender is. Genderists think that gender is natural, a product of biology. Radical feminists think gender is social, a product of male supremacy. Genderists think gender is an identity, an internal set of feelings people might have. Radical feminists think gender is a caste system, a set of material conditions into which one is born. Genderists think gender is a binary. Radical feminists think gender is a hierarchy, with men on top. Some genderists claim that gender is “fluid.” Radical feminists point out that there is nothing fluid about having your husband sell your kidney. So, yes, we have some big disagreements.
Radical feminists also believe that women have the right to define their boundaries and decide who is allowed in their space. We believe all oppressed groups have that right. We have been called transphobic because the women of DGR do not want men—people born male and socialized into masculinity—in women-only spaces. DGR stands with women in that decision.
So, actually, this nasty stuff is now a thing, the putrid effluence of the far-right fever swamp of neo-reaction and identitarianism. It remains to be seen how generally widespread is the phenomenon. Some folks speculated that a few trolls were running the whole show, opening new accounts as fast as others were suspended, and using lists of prominent conservative Jews on the "Never Trump" bandwagon. I have no idea. Whatever the case, it's nasty and besmirches all the good things Donald Trump's bringing to the political system.
"This is how fascism comes to America, not with jackboots & salutes but with a television huckster." Robert Kagan https://t.co/9C8rBqyLbR— Jonathan Weisman (@jonathanweisman) May 19, 2016
When is Trump going to condemn his backers' anti-Semitic attacks on journalists Jonathan Weisman,Julia Ioffe & more https://t.co/ER6CNQSIQC— Steven Greenhouse (@greenhousenyt) May 21, 2016
In any case, there's more from Claire Berlinski, at Ricochet, "American Anti-Semitism Breaks My Heart."
And from Jamie Kirchick, at Commentary, "Trump’s Terrifying Online Brigades":
When the journalist Julia Ioffe published a profile of Melania Trump for GQ, she had reason to expect that supporters of the presumptive GOP presidential nominee would be disappointed by its portrayal of Donald Trump’s third wife. “Her journey to marrying The Donald is like a fairy tale, or a too-crazy-to-believe rom-com,” Ioffe revealed. “It’s a story full of naked ambition, stunning beauty, a shockingly Trump-like dad, and even some family secrets.” What Ioffe, who is Jewish, did not expect was a torrent of anti-Semitic abuse and death threats.More.
On Twitter, the candidate’s anonymous backers superimposed images of Ioffe’s face over those of concentration camp inmates. On her voicemail, they left recordings of Hitler speeches. “This is not a heavily critical article. There is nothing in it that is untrue,” Ioffe told the Guardian. “If this is how Trump supporters swing into action, what happens when the press looks into corrupt dealings, for example, or is critical of his policies?”
It’s a good question. For any journalist or political figure who has been remotely critical of Donald Trump over the past year, Ioffe’s treatment came as no surprise. It was hardly news that his backers would traffic in this sort of filth—all the more so if the critic is Jewish, a woman, gay, or not white. Of course, crudity has always existed in American political life, on a bipartisan basis. But there is something new in the pervasive and relentless nastiness of Trump’s supporters, especially as they represent themselves online. While it’s certainly true that most of Trump’s supporters are neither racists nor anti-Semites, it appears to be the case that all of the racists and anti-Semites in this country (and many beyond) support Trump.
To take but one of countless examples, one of the most active pro-Trump Twitter accounts, with 27,000 followers, goes by the handle @Ricky_Vaughn99. Unlike many of his Internet brothers-in-arms, who utilize the likenesses of obscure interwar European fascists and nationalists as their avatars, this troll features the visage of actor Charlie Sheen from the film Major League. What he lacks in visible nostalgia for the Third Reich, @Ricky_Vaughn99 makes up for in his concern about “#whitegenocide,” interpreted as any sign of nonwhite racial advancement. “The Trump presidency will probably be bad for neocon jews, bad for liberal jews, but good for jews who are believers in the nation-state and American nationalism,” he told Armin Rosen, of Tablet magazine, via Twitter. Contrary to most Americans, @Ricky_Vaughn99 thrills at Trump’s every insult, derogatory comment, and affront. On his Twitter profile, he describes himself as a “free speech activist,” an identifier defiantly adopted as a mark of resistance against an alleged campaign by “SJWs” (social-justice warriors) to circumscribe the freedom of white men.
“Free speech activist” is a curiously prevalent appellation on the medium of Twitter for members of the “alt-right,” short for “alternative right,” a populist movement that has been emboldened and bolstered by the fortunes of the Trump campaign. Existing largely on the Internet, which makes the size of its following difficult to gauge, the alt-right is proudly ethno-nationalist, protectionist, isolationist, and culturally traditionalist. It takes intellectual guidance from publications and websites like American Renaissance, Radix Journal, Occidental Observer, Taki’s Magazine, and, increasingly, the popular news website Breitbart.com.
It was at Breitbart that, in March, an extensive article appeared defending the alt-right. While “establishment” conservative institutions and intellectuals have criticized the alt-right as little more than a bunch of gussied-up white supremacists, authors Milo Yiannopoulos and Allum Bokhari explained that these arbiters of good conservative taste have the alt-right all wrong. Praising the “youthful energy” and “taboo-defying rhetoric” of alt-right writers and activists, the two Breitbart columnists led readers through a sort of ideological safari, applying their own taxonomy to the various types of personalities who comprise this “dangerously bright” movement.
Their “Guide to the Alt Right” is a prolix defense of juvenile racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and other assorted bigotries as much-needed “provocation” to the enervated conservative movement. One might quickly object that when so much of the alt-right’s rhetoric consists of terms like “peak negro,” “Niggertech,” and “ovenworthy” (the latter meaning “anything that would be substantially improved by immediate incineration”), it becomes difficult to know where the “taboo-defying rhetoric” and intellectual “provocation” end and where the monstrousness begins.
Lest anyone take offense at these and other memes popularized by the dregs of the Internet (such as the cartoon of a hook-nosed Jewish caricature named “Shlomo Shekelburg” who cries, “Remember the 6 trillion, goyim!”) Yiannopoulos and Bokhari reassure their readers that the alt-right is harmless, the cheek of its younger cohort no different than that of the “60’s kids” who “shocked their parents with promiscuity, long hair and rock’n’roll.” Besides, the movement’s “true motivations,” they tell us, are “not racism, the restoration of monarchy or traditional gender roles, but lulz.” (“Lulz” is the Internet term to define the mocking laughter that arises from purposefully shocking someone else’s sense of decorum.)
Yiannopolous and Bokhari insist that the alt-right “is best defined by what it stands against rather than what it stands for.” This makes it the perfect intellectual base of the Trump campaign. Building walls, banning Muslims, “bombing the shit” out of people—there is nothing aspirational or positive about Trump, other than his vague and windy promise to “Make America Great Again.” In this important sense, Trump is truly an anomalous phenomenon, as he has replaced the perennially optimistic message of the American presidential campaign with something more suitable to Venezuela. Though we all have reason to be annoyed by the cultural resurgence of political correctness, the alt-right remedy is the oratorical inverse of the problem they claim they despise. Social-justice warriors needlessly shut down debate and proscribe certain words and ideas to assuage the feelings of allegedly vulnerable minority groups; the alt-right needlessly flings around racial epithets and Der Stürmer cartoons purely to transgress accepted social codes. And that’s only the most charitable explanation for their behavior, assuming as it does that they don’t “really” mean what they say.
But what about that element of the alt-right that actually does have a political agenda beyond annoying its adversaries? The primary alt-right constituency, according to Yiannopolous and Bokhari, consists of “natural conservatives,” largely white, male, middle-class Americans “who are unapologetically embracing a new identity politics that prioritizes the interests of their own demographic.” These voters are “conservative” not so much in the American sense as in the European one; they show no interest whatsoever in the GOP’s traditional free-market economic agenda of trade, low taxes, and flexible labor regulations, preferring instead a strongman leader promising trade protectionism, entitlement expansion, and the assertion of white male privilege.
Illiberalism is sweeping the globe. Coming from left or right—and, as evidenced in this country by Trump and socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, often converging in that place where extremes meet—political leaders and movements across the democratic world are advocating economic and ethnic nationalism, the closing of borders, the imposition of trade barriers, the dissolution of multilateral alliances, and accommodation with dictatorships. Our politics are becoming darker, our peoples more susceptible to the promises of demagogues, and the rise of an explicitly anti-democratic, pro-authoritarian right seems more possible in America than ever before...
Note, though, that leftist anti-Semitism is far-and-away more widespread and heavily institutionalized than anything we've seen so far with the Trump trolls. The British Labour Party is currently mainstreaming anti-Semitic hatred on a scale that's shocked the United Kingdom. There's nothing remotely like this in terms of core establishment Jew-hated among folks on the so-called alt-right. Still, it's a terrible development and I expect that Trump himself is going to repudiate it forcefully as his campaign gears up for the GOP convention, especially considering major Jewish figures --- like Sheldon Adelson --- are primed to be significant sources of campaign finance for the Republican ticket, and Adelson's camp is said to be working in the background on Trump's upcoming visit to Israel. So, expect a major smackdown against the Trump trolls at the top levels of the campaign. Let the Democrats and British leftists stew in the bilge of anti-Zionist hatred. Conservatives must repudiate it root and branch.
It's not about civil rights. It's about political and ideological power. And the country's going to be even more bitterly divided as a result.
At NYT, "Public Is Divided Over Transgender Bathroom Issue, Poll Shows":
Like I've Been Saying. Now There's Data: Public Is Divided Over #Transgender Bathrooms, Poll Shows. #Gender https://t.co/R2kOCunqyd— Donald Douglas (@AmPowerBlog) May 20, 2016
Wow. 6/10 Americans want state & local govts to decide transgender school bathroom policies, according to NYT poll. https://t.co/Gg7P8fA6ed— Kelsey Harkness (@kelseyjharkness) May 20, 2016
The public is sharply divided along age, party and education lines over whether transgender people should be allowed to use public bathrooms that match their gender identity rather than their gender at birth, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.More.
While less than a majority, 46 percent of Americans say they think that transgender people should be allowed to use only public restrooms corresponding to their gender at birth. A smaller number, 41 percent, think transgender people should be allowed to use the restroom that matches the gender they identify with.
Democrats, college graduates and those under the age of 45 are more supportive of allowing for gender identity in bathroom choice, while their counterparts take the opposite stance.
The nationwide poll was conducted after President Obama issued a directive to public schools last week outlining ways to avoid discrimination against transgender students. The Obama administration contends that the issue is a federal civil rights question, while some states, such as North Carolina, say it is an issue for individual states to decide.
Nearly six in 10 Americans say they think decisions about which bathroom transgender students can use in public schools should be left to individual state or local governments to decide. While a slim 51 percent majority of Democrats think it is a federal issue, more than three-quarters of Republicans say the matter should be decided at the state or local level.
While the public narrowly disagrees with Mr. Obama’s stance on transgender rights and the restroom policy, his overall job approval rating, at 50 percent, is at its highest level in more than three years. His approval rating briefly rose after his re-election in November 2012.
Also, a summary of the data, at Newsmax:
* 46 percent believe transgender people should be allowed to use bathrooms based on their birth gender;
* 41 percent believe transgender people should be allowed to use bathrooms based on their gender identity.
CBS News reports breaking down the results by party lines and political beliefs, the poll finds:
* 65 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of conservatives believe transgender people should use bathrooms based on their birth gender;
* 60 percent of Democrats, 71 percent of liberals believe transgender people should use the bathroom of their gender identity.
Another question in the poll addressed whether federal government or state and local governments should be in charge of the bathroom issue:
* 57 percent believe state and local governments should decide;
* 35 percent believe the federal government should decide.
By party lines, according to the CBS News report:
* 77 percent of Republicans believe the decision should be left to state and local governments;
* 42 percent of Democrats believe state and local governments should decide;
* 57 percent of independent voters believe state and local governments should decide.
Fifty-one percent of Democrats favor the federal government deciding, while 31 percent of independent voters believe it should be up to the federal government. Comparatively, only 18 percent of Republicans favor the federal government weighing in on bathroom choice.
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That's wonderful she having a baby too!
From Maria Lipman, at Foreign Affairs, "Inside the Kremlin’s Crackdown":
In December 2015, the Russian antigraft activist Alexey Navalny released a documentary in which he exposed the corrupt business dealings of the children of Yuri Chaika, Russia’s prosecutor general—the top law enforcement official in the country. In the film, Navalny accuses Chaika’s son Artem of “continuously exploit[ing] the protection that his father, the prosecutor general of the Russian Federation, gives him to extort from and steal other people’s companies.” Artem owns a five-star hotel in Greece with his father’s deputy’s ex-wife, who, according to Navalny, maintains close business ties with the wives of violent gang members in southern Russia. The film includes scenes from the inauguration of the hotel, a grand celebration attended by Russian politicians, businessmen, and pop stars. The documentary also details Artem’s involvement in a predatory takeover of a Siberian shipping company in 2002; after speaking out against Artem, the company’s former manager was found hanged.More.
The film has garnered more than 4.6 million views online. In a survey conducted by the Levada Center, an independent Russian polling and research organization, some 80 percent of those who had watched the film or heard about it said they thought Navalny’s allegations “appeared true” or were “fully credible.” Shortly after the film’s release, the Russian documentary film festival ArtDocFest awarded it a special prize, and Dmitry Gudkov, a federal lawmaker, filed a request with the Russian Investigative Committee, the Russian equivalent of the FBI, asking for an investigation into Navalny’s allegations.
The characters in this story—a whistleblower, an independent film festival, and an antiestablishment lawmaker—seem to contradict the West’s image of President Vladimir Putin’s Russia as unforgiving and authoritarian. Yet this is only part of the tale.
The rest is that the Kremlin has persecuted Navalny for years. He has been repeatedly prosecuted on what have appeared to be trumped-up embezzlement charges. He has spent months under house arrest, and although he is not currently imprisoned, he remains on a suspended sentence. His brother, who was named Navalny’s codefendant in a sham embezzlement case, has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison, and several of Navalny’s coworkers have been threatened or forced to flee Russia.
Navalny’s film went viral on the Internet, but Russia’s state-controlled national television largely ignored it. Chaika dismissed it as a political attack backed by an American businessman. And Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, when asked about the film, said its allegations were “of no interest to us whatsoever,” as they concerned Chaika’s children, not the prosecutor general himself. Yet in Russia, few believe that Artem became a rich business tycoon simply because he is a talented entrepreneur. An ascent like his takes a special kind of protection, one that his father likely provided. In fact, in 2011, when Artem’s name surfaced repeatedly in connection with an investigation of underground casinos in the Moscow region, which operated under the protection of local prosecutors, the case ended with no indictments—apparently thanks to his father’s influence.
Gudkov, for his part, has become a one-man opposition. Of the 450 members of the Duma, Russia’s parliament, he is the only one who does not pledge full allegiance to Putin. But after reading his request, the Investigative Committee decided to transfer the case to the office of the prosecutor general—that is, to Chaika himself—effectively burying it. No matter how solid the allegations against Chaika’s family may be, the Kremlin simply will not rely on the accusations of a liberal activist to hold them to account.
Since the start of Putin’s third term in 2012, the Kremlin has grown increasingly intolerant of political and civic activism. But as the economist Sergei Guriev and the political scientist Daniel Treisman wrote in 2015, “new authoritarian” regimes, such as Putin’s, “can survive while employing relatively little violence against the public.” Instead, they rely on manipulation and intimidation, cultivating a sense that opposing the Kremlin is not just dangerous but also pointless.
So far, these tactics have served the Kremlin well. Now, however, Russia’s ongoing economic decline may present an obstacle. The combination of a drop in oil prices and a shortage of investment has already led to a decrease in living standards; unemployment is also likely to rise. This makes it tempting to predict that Putin’s regime will soon unravel, but it remains impossible to tell when or how or what will come next...
ADDED: "It's over! Bikini model Daphne Joy 'has split up with singer Jason Derulo' after dating for seven months."