• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower

And – Crooked Dem America Made Crook Biden President Illegally

The Afghanistan Failure Proves America’s Regime Isn’t Fit To Lead

The Americans who died in Afghanistan won’t have done so in vain if we learn the long-term lesson here: the people who lead this country aren’t fit for the task.

By J.D. Vance at the Federalist:

For nearly 20 years, American men and women have gone to Afghanistan and performed heroically. But they were asked by our leaders to do an impossible task: to turn a mountain backwater into a thriving democracy. We lost our best and brightest in those mountains—men and women who would have started families, built businesses, and sustained communities.

My heart breaks that these dead may have died in vain. But they won’t if we learn the long-term lesson of Afghanistan: the people who lead this country aren’t fit for the task.

In this moment, it is tempting to focus on the short term. Undoubtedly, the Biden administration has failed miserably in the short term.

They telegraphed and delayed our departure date, maximizing the Taliban’s planning abilities, and they abandoned Afghanistan at the peak of Taliban fighting season. They allowed critical weapons technology to fall into the hands of the enemy.

Perhaps most inexplicably, they abandoned the most important airbase before they ensured safe passage for Americans leaving the country. This is why the world’s media is plastered with images of American planes taxiing down runways overrun with Afghans.

But this is not merely the consequence of seven months of disastrous Biden policy, it is the failure of the entire American regime. Every major institution in our country revealed itself as a farce.

Let’s start with U.S. generals. Over 20 years, we have spent $1 trillion and lost nearly 3,000 Americans. Our leaders told the American people that Afghanistan was slowly becoming a more peaceful, stable country. In June, Mark Milley, our nation’s highest-ranking military officer, warned of “white rage” in the U.S. military. In July, he assured our nation that Afghan security forces had the “capacity to sufficiently fight and defend their country.”

In reality, it turned out that the Afghan national army couldn’t withstand four weeks of Taliban assault. Why was Milley focused on fake problems like white rage as he failed to do the job we pay him for? And why won’t Milley face an ounce of consequence for so clearly failing at the job he was given?

The answer runs so much deeper than the Pentagon bureaucracy. Consider U.S. media. In November 2020, The Daily Caller reported that military leaders had lied to former President Trump about troop levels in the Middle East to prolong our conflicts there.

In a functioning country, this would be a national scandal, because it strikes at the heart of civilian control of our military. Corporate media instead focused on a fabricated story about President Trump doing nothing in the face of Russian bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan.

How did our leaders become so dumb that they ignore real scandals in favor of fabricated ones? Look no further than our universities. Americans spend trillions of dollars on education, and much of it goes to ensuring the people who call the shots aren’t wrong all the time.

At Yale University, where I went to law school, a cross-disciplinary “Grand Strategies” course exists to prevent future leaders from making terrible strategic blunders. I’m sure similar schools have similar courses. Yet the elites who train in these universities somehow persuaded themselves that a few miles of roads and women’s rights pamphlets would turn a nation of feuding tribes into a functioning democracy. How could anyone believe that?

A successful university system would teach that those who believe such nonsense are dangerous and should never get anywhere near power. Our universities instead take the bright young minds of America and train them to think the opposite. They increasingly encourage the type of intellectual conformity so prevalent among U.S. journalists, politicians, and, tragically, military generals.

Having told us for decades that we are “fighting the terrorists over there so we don’t have to fight them over here,” our leaders appear ready for a great bait-and-switch. We learn today that 30,000 unvetted Afghanis will be transported to U.S. military bases all over the world, including some in America. The Biden administration will doubtless push for hundreds of thousands more.

This will be justified by appeals to America’s sense of compassion: many of these Afghans helped us, we are told, now we must help them. But this is wrong on multiple levels.

First, for more than a decade, we have been helping the Afghans, not the other way around. The men who refused to fight for their own nation and let Kabul fall should not be rewarded with a first-class plane ticket to the United States.

Second, there are undoubtedly Afghans we should help, but we should reject the idea that the only way to help them is to resettle them in the United States. Joe Biden hasn’t spoken to the leader of Pakistan since his presidency began. Our closest ally in the region is Saudi Arabia. If we cannot appeal to these nations to resettle desperate Afghans, then our diplomatic efforts are as much a failure as our military ones.

Finally, let’s be honest with ourselves: do we really trust our government to properly vet thousands of people, given its recent failures in the region? The Biden administration can’t secure an airfield, and it won’t be able to properly vet thousands of refugees in this chaotic moment.

If we resettle tens of thousands of Afghans in the next year, there will doubtless be many good people among them. But there will be bad people too, and we cannot let our country become a refugee camp.

If we avoid that fate, and put our own citizens first, it will be no small miracle. But our people should not have to rely on miracles for good policy. That they do is evidence of a deep failure in American government and institutions.

What Afghanistan shows, not just over the last two chaotic months but over the last two tragic decades, is that the American regime is not fit to lead this country. That regime, unfortunately, operates independently of political leadership. It is the Pentagon bureaucracy that lies to our president about troop levels, the State Separtment that thinks the women of Afghanistan need gender studies programs more than security, the “top” universities that teach our elites to be stupid conformists, and the media that cover for these institutions instead of telling the truth about them.

We tried to change the regime in Afghanistan, and we failed. If there is a silver lining in that failure, it reveals that one regime in the world is desperately in need of change: America’s.J.D. Vance is a husband, father of two, and candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio. He is the author of “Hillbilly Elegy.”


Why Vote Republican?

By Brian C. Joondeph at American Thinker:

Frustration over the mostly feckless national Republican Party is nothing new. Those of us on the political right have few electoral options given our two-party system. In some elections, the choice is stark and easy, as when Reagan or Trump was at the top of the ticket. Other years saw names like McCain or Romney on the ticket and many of us held our noses voting Republican only because it was the better of two lousy choices.

The leftist agenda moves forward regardless of who is elected, at the presidential or congressional level, the only difference being the speed of decline. America is a runaway freight train, heading toward a cliff. When Democrats are in charge, it is pedal to the metal. With Republicans driving, the gas pedal is only partially pressed, with no effort to hit the brakes, save for rare bursts of a Reagan or Trump, and despite the opposition from their own party.

The current GOP is quite happy in the minority. They can whine and complain, with no actual responsibility or voice in legislation. Campaign donations are solicited with promises to reverse the leftist agenda, promises never kept, unlike the campaign contributions they collect.

Conservatives have no home in the current Washington, D.C. political machine. Conservatives are not a small fringe group like the Lincoln Project NeverTrumpers, but 80 million Americans who voted for the last and best hope to stop the runaway train before it crashes into the abyss of poverty and tyranny.

Over the past decade, Republicans controlled Congress, either completely or partially, in most years. The GOP controlled both houses of Congress during the last two years of Obama and the first two years of Trump, a total of four years. What did they accomplish?

Obamacare was never repealed, despite Republican campaign promises to do just that. Similar promises to defund Planned Parenthood were broken. Benghazi and Hillary Clinton’s emails were never seriously investigated, unlike endless investigations and impeachments over nonsensical and fabricated Trump Russia collusion, a legitimate request of Ukraine to investigate pay-to-play corruption involving Americans, or a so-called Capitol insurrection, which is looking more and more like an FBI-organized entrapment scheme.

Obama met little resistance from a Republican Congress. That was reserved for Trump. With the GOP controlling the White House and Congress during Trump’s first two years in office, what did Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell accomplish?

Credit where credit’s due to the Senate for confirming a bunch of what were thought to be conservative judges and Supreme Court justices. Too bad so many of them are acting like liberal activist jurists, due to cowardice, corruption, or compromise, but this phenomenon has plagued Republican-nominated jurists for decades.

Trump promised to build a border wall. Did Paul Ryan support it? Quite the opposite. While Spygate lies were gaslighted by the media and their Democrat congressional allies, few Republicans defended Trump or tried to stop the witch hunt.

Trump had scarce allies in Congress, names like Jim Jordan and Devin Nunes, but many detractors, even from his own party, names like Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Mitt Romney, and Lisa Murkowski. Did Bill Clinton or Barack Obama have similar critics within the Democrat congressional caucus? I don’t recall any.

Instead, Democrats circled the wagon to protect and support their party leaders, acting like snapping Dobermans when anyone dared criticize their president. Congressional Republicans obviously have no such loyalty, concerned only about being liked by the media and invited to criticize Trump and his supporters with Chuck Todd or Chris Wallace on a Sunday morning.

Where are we today? In the face of growing evidence of electoral fraud, theft of not only a presidential election but also of congressional seats, Republicans are silent. Why no support for election audits and a review of the convenient COVID-induced last-minute election rule changes?

If the election was as clean and fair as Democrats and many Republicans claim, why not prove it, if for no other reason than to shut up Mike Lindell, Sidney Powell, and Lin Wood? Instead, Republicans say nothing. Perhaps in their next reelection, vote counting will stop at 11 p.m. on election night and by morning their Democrat opponent will have the lead and the congressional or Senate seat.

Government agencies have mismanaged much of the COVID response, with flip-flopping recommendations and mandates, based more on politics than science, with no oversight from Congress. Who funds these agencies? A few, like Sens. Rand Paul or Ted Cruz, speak out, but where are the rest?

They sit silently as our Constitutional rights are slowly being eroded, under the mantra “follow the science,” not challenging the science when it is contradictory or nonsensical, saying nothing while opposing views are banned from social media and society in violation of the First Amendment.

When President Trump attempted to repeal Section 230 protections for social media tyrants, congressional Republicans chose not to support this. Perhaps campaign contributions from Google, Facebook, and Twitter were more important than protecting those who generally support Republicans from ending up suspended or banned from social media, including President Trump.

America’s national debt now far exceeds its GDP, the needle on America’s economic engine in the red zone, heading toward catastrophic failure. Democrats want to push the needle further under the guise of “infrastructure spending”, with little money going to actual infrastructure but instead to the Green New Deal and payoffs to other Democrat constituencies.

Where is Republican opposition? 18 Republican senators supported the infrastructure spending boondoggle. What happened to traditional Republican goals of reducing taxes, spending, and regulations? They and their families will be taken care of, but not those who voted for them, as inflation and higher taxes will double down on the ongoing misery from COVID mandates, masks, and lockdowns.

The southern border is wide open, millions of who-knows-who from who-knows-where crossing into America, bringing COVID and other diseases, some criminals happily released from their home country prisons to go to America, Biden’s agencies relocating them to a town near you. Where is Republican opposition?

Afghanistan is a mess, soon with a larger military presence than before the poorly executed troop withdrawal. American equipment and weaponry were left behind, now in the hands of the Taliban. How many American lives and hundreds of billions of tax dollars went to support another ignominious American military defeat? How soon until helicopters are evacuating the American embassy reminiscent of Saigon in 1975, as the Taliban use American weaponry to attack the embassy? Any Republican comments?

I could go on but why bother. It’s clear that Republicans are passively or actively supporting the Democrat agenda. Sure, they are not in power but when they were in power, they let Democrats run the show. So that excuse falls flat.

Face it, we have a uniparty, an elite ruling class that cares not a whit about ordinary Americans, regardless of their party affiliation.

We can cling to false prophets of devolution, indictments, and executions at Gitmo, Trump returning to office any day now, the mythical Durham report, and other fantasies that would be nice to see but are as likely as winning the lottery.

Or else vote them all out, primary the weak Republicans, even if it means electing a Democrat. To paraphrase Mrs. Clinton, “What difference does it make?” At least it’s a start.

If Republicans don’t wake up, they will be in a permanent minority. Rigged elections, backed up by flooding America, especially red states, with millions of illegal immigrants, voting legally or otherwise for Democrats, will turn the country a permanent shade of blue, making elections as relevant as they are in Cuba or North Korea. Yet even with Republicans in office that is the direction we are headed. Let’s hope we can turn this around before we pass the point of no return and enter an Orwellian world.

Brian C. Joondeph, MD, is a physician and writer. He is on sabbatical from social media.

Never Forget! Fascist Dem America Made Screwball Biden President! They Call Themselves “Democrats”!



This afternoon, Joe Biden tried to defend not only his decision to pull out of Afghanistan, but also the way his team carried it out. As to the former, Biden said, “American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.”

But Afghans were willing to fight against the Taliban and to die doing so. That’s why the Taliban was never able to take over major population centers, not even when the U.S. force diminished to somewhere between 2,500-3,500. All they required of us was that we maintain something like that level of commitment.

Moreover, if this is Biden’s rationale for the pullout, it’s inconsistent with what he has been saying about the situation. Biden famously said things wouldn’t deteriorate to the point where they resembled Vietnam. This prediction entails a scenario in which the Afghans would fight reasonably hard.

So which is it? Did we quit because we thought the Afghans could resist or did we quit because we should not help an army that isn’t willing to resist?

I say we quit because Biden decided we should without giving the matter much thought.

As for the way the disaster is playing out in Kabul, Biden again blamed the Afghans:

I know there are concerns about why we did not begin evacuating Afghan civilians sooner. Part of the answer is some of the Afghans did not want to leave earlier, still hopeful for their country. And part of it is because the Afghan government and its supporters discouraged us from organizing a mass exodus to avoid triggering, as they said, a crisis of confidence.

This implies that we at least got all of the Americans out safely. Did we? We’ll see.

As for the Afghans, Biden’s excuses were contradicted by No One Left Behind, an advocacy group for former interpreters. Its chairman said:

We adamantly disagree with the President’s assertion that some SIV [special immigrant visa] recipients wanted to stay in Afghanistan.

I believe him. For one thing, Biden is a liar. For another, it’s implausible to believe that an appreciable number of those who helped the U.S. to the point where they could receive the special visas wanted to hang around.

Biden might have been stupid enough to believe they had a future in Afghanistan, but I doubt many of the interpreters and others who helped us believed this.

Images and facts on the ground speak louder than words, and certainly louder than the utterances of someone like Joe Biden. If Biden thinks he can talk his way out of responsibility for this debacle, he’s likely to be disappointed.

Super Left Reviews The California Gubernatorial Situation!

California’s Recall Election Could Be a National Disaster

In a state with 40 million people, it’s entirely conceivable that a new governor could be “elected” with fewer than 2 million votes.

By Sasha AbramskyTwitter at The Nation:

The Dixie fire in Northern California has consumed half a million acres of forest and spewed smoke across the continent. But at the same time as this climate change-induced catastrophe wreaks havoc, there’s also a political five-alarm fire raging, still largely below the radar. So far, it hasn’t gotten quite the national attention it merits. But over the next month, the rest of the country will likely realize just how dangerous, and potentially transformative, this fire could be. It threatens to set off a national political explosion that could affect everything from congressional redistricting to pandemic responses to efforts to tackle climate change and maintain green energy and transport policies.

Earlier this week, gubernatorial recall election ballots started arriving in Californians’ mailboxes. Voters have until September 14 to send them back. Many will, of course, vote early. But many others either aren’t aware that the election is taking place or are confused about how the two-part ballot works.

“Many voters will miss the ballot or think it’s junk mail,” says Ludovic Blain, executive director of the California Donor Table, a group that channels resources into organizing and reaching out to minority voters in the state. “And it’s counterintuitive: To keep the governor, you have to vote ‘no.’”

California’s recall process is, from start to finish, an exercise in dysfunction. The rules are bizarre to the point of being illegitimate. The ballot presents voters with two choices: whether the sitting governor should be recalled, and, if he is, who should replace him. Because of the arcane rules, the sitting governor needs 50 percent to avoid being tossed out on his rear end, but whoever replaces him just needs more votes than anyone else on the second ballot.

A few months back, Newsom made the hubristic and selfish decision to block any and all high-profile Democratic contenders from putting their name on the second ballot. There are, however, nine lower-tier Democrats on the ballot, including a 29 -year-old YouTube influencer who is apparently leading the pack. But they are all political lightweights with no experience on California’s main stage. Newsom’s strategic gamble in keeping the second ballot effectively Democrat-free has opened up a window of opportunity for the GOP: Out of the more than two dozen Republicans on the ballot, there are five or six with a shot at victory. Each stands a fairly good chance of being elected with only about 15 to 20 percent of the vote, in an election in which few eligible voters appear likely to cast a vote in the first place.

Constitutional law experts such as Erwin Chemerinsky believe this whole process should immediately be ruled unconstitutional, since it distorts the will of the people beyond all recognition. There’s a strong likelihood that a popular Democratic governor, who won election in 2018 with 61.9 percent of the vote—more than 7.7 million votes—could win nearly 50 percent of the vote in 2021 only to be replaced by an unpopular Republican who wins barely one-third of that percentage. In a state with 40 million people, it’s entirely conceivable that a new governor could be “elected” with fewer than 2 million votes.

Realistically, though, however unfair it is, it’s unlikely that any court is going to put the kibosh on the election this late in the game. Which means that, over the next few weeks, Democrats have no choice but to fight like hell to protect their power in a state that they have taken for granted would generate one Democratic victory after another after another over the coming years.

That won’t be easy. Operating under the assumption that they’d defeat the recall in a cakewalk, Democrats neglected to build up a strong ground game over the past months. As a result, the front-runner on the second question on the recall ballot is Larry Elder, a far-right radio host from Los Angeles. His politics—opposition to mask mandates, hostility to Roe v. Wade, support for Donald Trump, a belief in abolishing the minimum wage—puts him on par with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, and places him miles to the right of the great majority of Californians.

If this election were held on a regular Election Day, with the mass of Californians engaged and aware of the process, Elder wouldn’t reach 30 percent of the vote. He’d be as hammered by Newsom as Trump was by Biden in the state. But this isn’t a regular election; it’s a sneak attack on the political process. The minoritarian GOP has identified the Achilles’ heel that could threaten Democratic rule in the state, by marshaling a conservative base to win an election that virtually no one is paying attention to.

Voter mobilization experts are increasingly worried that turnout will be shockingly low, with numbers more typical of a primary than a general election, and that such a low turnout will work to the benefit of conservatives. Analysis of who is likely to vote in the election shows that white voters will be overrepresented, while Black, Latino, and Asian American voters will be underrepresented.

In liberal regions of the state such as the Bay Area, there’s no evidence of a ground game by Democrats to mobilize voters; by contrast, in conservative regions, such as the Inland Empire, and in politically contested locales such as parts of the Central Valley, Orange County, and San Diego, pro-recall groups have hit the ground running for months now. They are building up not just an effective recall effort in those areas but also reinvigorating a long-dormant GOP infrastructure in critical congressional districts that the Democrats have to either seize or hold on to in 2022 in order to preserve a majority in the US House of Representatives.

Voter outreach groups are increasingly concerned that Newsom’s campaign, which is sitting on a roughly $60 million war chest, is making a critical strategic mistake. They worry that his team, powered by high-profile Bay Area consultants wedded to high-tech solutions to any and all political problems, is putting almost all of the campaign’s efforts into mass media and social media advertising blitzes and neglecting the ground game, especially when it comes to reaching out to low-income and nonwhite voters. They are deeply concerned that Newsom hasn’t learned the lesson of states like Georgia and Arizona in 2020, where it was the old-school knock-on-doors strategy that ultimately mobilized voters to come out and vote for Biden.

“There’s no sign they’re listening to us so far,” says Blain. California Donor Table has been pleading with the governor’s campaign to release millions of dollars for an on-the-ground surge. To date, that surge of activity hasn’t happened, leaving Donor Table, various trade unions, and other groups with a grassroots infrastructure in the Central Valley and elsewhere to try to plug the gap as best they can.

Recent polling has shown that Newsom’s once-secure lead has all but evaporated, and that among likely voters he is either hovering at or just below the 50 percent he needs to survive the vote. One poll earlier this week even showed a large lead for the pro-recall campaign. Among Latino voters—a vital part of the Democratic Party’s coalition, which has been hit brutally hard by the pandemic, rising crime rates, and the drought—support for the recall now outpaces opposition, according to a poll this month by Emerson College Polling.

“If the vote were held today, he’d lose,” Blain says of Newsom’s chances. “I think he doesn’t understand how much he needs the field campaign.” But Blain also believes there’s still a small window—a week to 10 days, as the mailed-out ballots reach Californians—to turn the election around through massive voter outreach efforts.

“There is time to right the boat,” says Blain, “but it’s within the next week or week and a half. The ballots are dropping now.

Sasha AbramskyTWITTERSasha Abramsky, who writes regularly for The Nation, is the author of several books, including Inside Obama’s BrainThe American Way of PovertyThe House of 20,000 BooksJumping at Shadows, and, most recently, Little Wonder: The Fabulous Story of Lottie Dod, the World’s First Female Sports Superstar. Subscribe to The Abramsky Report, a weekly, subscription-based political column, here.

Charming, But Evil!

The vanishing legacy of Barack Obama


He extended middle fingers in all directions: to his Vineyard neighbors, the rest of America, Biden, the hanger-on ex-staffers who’d stacked years of hundred-hour work weeks to build his ballyhooed career, the not quite A-listers bounced at the last minute for being not famous enough (sorry, Larry David and Conan O’Brien!), and so on. It’d be hard not to laugh imagining Axelrod reading that even “Real Housewife of Atlanta” Kim Fields got on the party list over him, except that Obama giving the shove-off to his most devoted (if also scummy and greedy) aides is also such a perfect metaphor for the way he slammed the door in the faces of the millions of ordinary voters who once so desperately believed in him.

Obviously, getting rich and not giving a shit anymore is the birthright of every American. But this wasn’t supposed to be in the script for Obama, whose remarkable heel turn has been obscured by the Trump years, which incidentally were at least partly his fault. The history books and the still-starstruck press will let him skate on this, but they shouldn’t.

Obama was set up to be the greatest of American heroes, but proved to be a common swindler and one of the great political liars of all time — he fooled us all. Moreover, his remarkably vacuous post-presidency is proving true everything Trump said in 2016 about the grasping Washington politicians whose only motives are personal enrichment, and who’d do anything, even attend his wedding, for a buck. Trump’s point was that he, Trump, was already swinishly rich, while politicians have only one thing to sell to get the upper class status they crave: us.

The Vanishing Legacy of Barack Obama

On the road from stirring symbol of hope and change to the Fat Elvis of neoliberalism, birthday-partying Barack Obama sold us all out

It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.

— Leo Tolstoy

“Even Scaled Back,” wrote Vanity Fair, “Barack Obama’s Birthday Bash Is the Event of the Season.” Not even the famed glossy Bible of the unapologetic rich seemed sure of whether to write Obama’s Birthday bash straight or as an Onion headline: what did the “Event of the Season” mean during a pandemic?

A former president flying half the world’s celebrities to spend three days in a maskless ring-kissing romp at a $12 million Martha’s Vineyard mansion, at a moment when only a federal eviction ban prevented the outbreak of a national homelessness crisis, was already an all-time “Fuck the Optics” news event, and that was before the curveball. Because of what even the New York Times called “growing concerns” over how gross the mega-party looked, not least for the Joe Biden administration burdened with asking the nation for sober sacrifice while his ex-boss raised the roof with movie stars in tropical shirts, advisers prevailed upon the 44th president to reconsider the bacchanal. But characteristically, hilariously, Obama didn’t cancel his party, he merely uninvited those he considered less important, who happened to be almost entirely his most trusted former aides.

Cast out, the Times said, were “the majority of former Obama administration officials… who generally credit themselves with helping create the Obama legacy,” including former top aide David Axelrod, who’d just called Obama an “apostle of hope” in the Washington Post and sat for a three-hour HBO documentary deep-throat of his ex-boss. Remaining on the list were celeb couples Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, as well as Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union, along with Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen, Questlove, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Don Cheadle, and other Fabulous People, who drank “top shelf liquor,” puffed stogies, and hit the links at the Vineyard Golf Club (membership fee: $350,000). An early report that Pearl Jam had been hired to perform was later refuted. Eddie Vedder would just be there, but not to play.

One attendee called it the “party of all parties,” while another added, “Y’all never seen Obama like this,” by which he might have meant Obama reportedly dancing as Trap Beckham, performing live, substituted “Prez” for “Bitch” in this classic:

It’s all about you
Girl tonight it’s about you…
Fuck it up if it’s your birthday bitch!

There’s a glorious moment in the life of a certain kind of politician, when either because their careers are over, or because they’re so untouchable politically that it doesn’t matter anymore, that they finally get to remove the public mask, no pun intended. This Covid bash was Barack Obama’s “Fuck it!” moment.

He extended middle fingers in all directions: to his Vineyard neighbors, the rest of America, Biden, the hanger-on ex-staffers who’d stacked years of hundred-hour work weeks to build his ballyhooed career, the not quite A-listers bounced at the last minute for being not famous enough (sorry, Larry David and Conan O’Brien!), and so on. It’d be hard not to laugh imagining Axelrod reading that even “Real Housewife of Atlanta” Kim Fields got on the party list over him, except that Obama giving the shove-off to his most devoted (if also scummy and greedy) aides is also such a perfect metaphor for the way he slammed the door in the faces of the millions of ordinary voters who once so desperately believed in him.

Obviously, getting rich and not giving a shit anymore is the birthright of every American. But this wasn’t supposed to be in the script for Obama, whose remarkable heel turn has been obscured by the Trump years, which incidentally were at least partly his fault. The history books and the still-starstruck press will let him skate on this, but they shouldn’t.

Obama was set up to be the greatest of American heroes, but proved to be a common swindler and one of the great political liars of all time — he fooled us all. Moreover, his remarkably vacuous post-presidency is proving true everything Trump said in 2016 about the grasping Washington politicians whose only motives are personal enrichment, and who’d do anything, even attend his wedding, for a buck. Trump’s point was that he, Trump, was already swinishly rich, while politicians have only one thing to sell to get the upper class status they crave: us.

Obama did that. He sold us out, and it’s time to start talking about the role he played in bringing about the hopeless cynical mess that is modern America.

America, The Disgraceful!



It is probably too much to expect that there will be accountability for the debacle in Afghanistan–we have a Democratic president, after all. But we can still hope.

The British press is unsparing. From the London Times:

The almost overnight withdrawal of the vast bulk of American troops last month, followed by their counterparts from other Nato countries, set the stage for the collapse of the demoralised Afghan forces.

The Afghan air force has struggled to keep its fleet maintained after the disappearance of civilian contractors employed to do so, while Afghan army commanders report being forced to surrender outposts after running out of food and ammunition.

The Taliban claimed this morning to have seized Bagram air base outside Kabul, from which American troops departed en masse and unannounced on July 4, leaving behind vehicles, equipment, weapons and ammunition.


Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative chairman of the Commons defence select committee, described the Taliban’s advance as “completely humiliating for the West.”

“We assembled the most incredible, technologically advanced alliance the world has ever seen and we are being defeated by an insurgency that’s armed simply with AK47s and RPGs,” he said.

“This will be the biggest own goal made by the West so far this century. The humanitarian disaster that is about to unfold will be catastrophic, the migration challenges will be huge, and of course don’t forget that we will see further terrorist attacks. I would not be surprised if we see another attack on the scale of 9/11, almost to bookend what happened 20 years ago, as a poke in the face to the western alliance to show how fruitless our efforts have been over the last two decades.”

From the Telegraph:

The Taliban on Sunday night completed a lightning takeover of Afghanistan as thousands of Britons and Americans scrambled to flee the country.
In the wake of the Taliban’s victory, Western governments were forced to rapidly accelerate plans to evacuate thousands of citizens amid fears they could become trapped.
In scenes reminiscent of the evacuation of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam war, the skies over the city were filled with US helicopters ferrying staff from the US embassy to the airport.

The US ambassador to Afghanistan fled Kabul on Sunday, spotted in the airport with the country’s flag. The French ambassador also left the city, tweeting footage of his escape by air.

No word on whether they managed to get the Pride flag out of the embassy before the Taliban closed in.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=powerlineUS&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1400060130243362816&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.powerlineblog.com%2Farchives%2F2021%2F08%2Faccountability-for-afghanistan.php&sessionId=532f68eecc18344b4f4970875da27df186431ce1&siteScreenName=powerlineUS&theme=light&widgetsVersion=1890d59c%3A1627936082797&width=550px

One country that isn’t withdrawing its people is Russia. They expect to get along just fine with the Taliban.

I and many others argued years ago that we should withdraw from Afghanistan, but not this way–suddenly, leaving the Afghan army without air support, with thousands of Americans and many more loyal Afghans still in the country, with no plan to extract them. What Joe Biden and his administration have done is lunacy. I don’t see how anyone can argue with Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations:https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=powerlineUS&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-2&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1426911976421199877&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.powerlineblog.com%2Farchives%2F2021%2F08%2Faccountability-for-afghanistan.php&sessionId=532f68eecc18344b4f4970875da27df186431ce1&siteScreenName=powerlineUS&theme=light&widgetsVersion=1890d59c%3A1627936082797&width=550px

Speaking of Joe Biden, where is he? Camp David.

It certainly does. The White House says that Biden will address the country on the Afghan crisis some time in the next few days. The delay is easy to understand. What Biden will be able to get away with saying depends on events. Which is to say, it depends on the Taliban.

Intelligent, Charming, Talkative, Winsome GOP American, LARRY ELDER, FIGHTS TO BECOME GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA!

California gubernatorial hopeful Larry Elder speaks to supporters in Norwalk, Calif., on July 13, 2021. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo)VIEWPOINTS

Elder Ignores Mainstream Media in First Online Press Conference

Roger L. Simon August 15, 2021 Updated: August 15, 2021biggersmallerPrint


Who’d a thunk it?

Neither the Los Angeles Times nor Politico (both of whom had multiple reporters) and a host of other mainstream media suspects, including the Associated Press, got to ask a single question Friday at Larry Elder’s first online Zoom press conference for the California gubernatorial recall.

The likes of the Bay Area Yu Channel, the Sing Tao Daily and Lynn Ku of KTSF did.

If you enjoy seeing MSM stuffed shirts being upended, it was quite a hoot. A reporter from the LAT—I won’t name him out of a courtesy he didn’t seem to have himself—was throwing a tantrum in the Zoom chat room due to his receiving a lack of attention.

And if you sense a pro-Asian bias in all this, you are obviously correct and it was obviously deliberate on the part of the Elder campaign. These seemingly small Asian outlets—considering the size of California’s Asian community, they could be quite big in actuality—were given the only opportunities to ask questions.

And their questions were quite substantive.

It was rather like the reverse of a White House press conference, particularly during the Trump era, when question after question from CNN et al was of the “When did you stop beating your wife?” nature.

Normally I abhor identity politics, but if a major population group in California—Asians are 14.7 percent of the state, while blacks are but 5.8 percent, according to the 2018 census— has been getting the short end of the proverbial stick, it is those Asian-Americans.

This is true in two areas especially—education where they have been the victims of negative discrimination for doing so well in school while being restricted in college admissions, and in the growing issue of street violence where they have been among the groups most subject to attack.

The first of these areas is pretty well known, having been the subject of lawsuits and so forth, but the reality of the second has been largely hidden by the mainstream media because most of this violence is black on Asian.

The MSM, not surprisingly, doesn’t want to talk about that. Elder, uniquely positioned to do so, did, during the press conference and, I would assume, elsewhere. As he put it, nothing changes if you don’t tell the truth.

That the Elder campaign is going strong for the Asian vote is not entirely surprising. For many years the GOP inexplicably ignored this group, which offered a natural opportunity given the number of small business people in that community, but recently have woken up to it, particularly in California’s Orange County where the Republicans had renewed success in the 2020 Congressional election.

The Elder campaign, however, appears to be focusing on Asians to a yet higher degree, giving them priority in this first of what we were told will be several virtual press conferences. (I suspect Hispanics will be next, since polling suggests Larry has growing popularity in that community as well.)

Underscoring the Asian emphasis of this first conference, the host was Wing Ma, a highly-intelligent, longtime conservative activist and writer who worked with me some years ago at PJ Media and is now Elder’s communications director.

The speaker introducing Elder was Betty Chu, the fiery (to say the least) octogenarian former mayor of Monterey Park, a working-class bastion in East Los Angeles.

Elder spoke for fifteen minutes or so and was his usual fluent self, evidencing a solid grasp of the issues confronting the state and—perhaps with the exception of the wild fires, although those now are engulfing most of the West—the country.

First and foremost, as it is for many of us now in the era of critical race theory, was education, not only the erasure of the hideous CRT but the opening up of school choice, which Elder has espoused for many years.

Also, top of his agenda would be a state of emergency to deal with the homeless problem. Elder, since I have been listening to him, has tilted to the libertarian but is now veering pragmatic on this issue because it is so extreme.

He further dealt with the escalating—and rather frightening given the district attorneys in San Francisco and Los Angeles—California (and nationwide) crime problem. He is for building more prisons rather than letting violent criminals out, a safety-first approach in an increasingly dangerous world.

Elder demonstrated a wide breadth of knowledge, answering the questions in considerable detail. We live in a peculiar time in which the talk show host often has a better command of the issues than most politicians due to the demands of their profession—all those call-ins (Who was more knowledgeable than Rush?).

It is highly unlikely that Gavin Newsom would want to debate Elder, but can Elder win against what will surely be a tsunami of Democratic money already underway? For the Democrats the loss of California would be an unmitigated and completely unanticipated disaster that could have a ripple effect across the country.

I am no Nostradamus (neither was Nostradamus, if you look it up) and, for the moment must go with that guru of gurus, Yogi Berra: “Predictions are difficult—especially about the future.”

But I will certainly be on Elder’s next Zoom press conference (though I will be unlikely to ask a question. It’s far more interesting, not just in the Zen sense, to listen and learn.).

I will, however, bite the bullet—even to constantly wearing a mask while dodging excrement in the streets— and go out at the end of the month for a few days to the state I fled now several years ago, California. I would like to see up close and personal what is happening. But I can’t guarantee I will have any special insights. California, like the story of the elephant felt by a blind man, is so big your results, and fate, depend on where you touch the beast.

Nevertheless, although it’s been a while, I still want to believe I can find my way around, at least in LA.  More then.

Larry Elder is a contributor to The Epoch Times.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.Roger L. Simon Roger L. SimonRoger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, co-founder of PJMedia, and now, editor-at-large for The Epoch Times. His most recent books are “The GOAT” (fiction) and “I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already” (nonfiction). He can be found on Parler as @rogerlsimon.



The Humanities and Us

Don’t listen to today’s narcissistic academics—the West’s cultural inheritance is indispensable.Heather Mac DonaldWinter 2014 OtherEducationThe Social OrderArts and Culture

In 2011, the University of California at Los Angeles decimated its English major. Such a development may seem insignificant, compared with, say, the federal takeover of health care. It is not. What happened at UCLA is part of a momentous shift in our culture that bears on our relationship to the past—and to civilization itself.

Until 2011, students majoring in English at UCLA had to take one course in Chaucer, two in Shakespeare, and one in Milton—the cornerstones of English literature. Following a revolt of the junior faculty, however, during which it was announced that Shakespeare was part of the “Empire,” UCLA junked these individual author requirements and replaced them with a mandate that all English majors take a total of three courses in the following four areas: Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Sexuality Studies; Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies; genre studies, interdisciplinary studies, and critical theory; or creative writing. In other words, the UCLA faculty was now officially indifferent as to whether an English major had ever read a word of Chaucer, Milton, or Shakespeare, but was determined to expose students, according to the course catalog, to “alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race, and class.”

Such defenestrations have happened elsewhere, of course, and long before 2011. But the UCLA coup was particularly significant because the school’s English department was one of the last champions of the historically informed study of great literature, uncorrupted by an ideological overlay. Precisely for that reason, it was the most popular English major in the country, enrolling a whopping 1,400 undergraduates.

Let’s compare what the UCLA student has lost and what he has gained. Here’s Oberon addressing Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

Once I sat upon a promontory

And heard a mermaid on a dolphin’s back

Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath

That the rude sea grew civil at her song

And certain stars shot madly from their spheres

To hear the seamaid’s music

To which UCLA’s junior English faculty respond: Ho-hum. Here’s the description of a University of California postcolonial studies research grant: The “theoretical, temporal, and spatial intersections of postcoloniality and postsocialism will arrive at a novel approach to race, gender, and sexuality in present-day geopolitics.” To which UCLA’s junior English faculty respond: That’s more like it!

Other readers and listeners have not been so obtuse in their literary judgments. Consider the response of a nineteenth-century Frenchman exposed to Shakespeare for the first time. In early 1827, a troupe of British actors arrived in Paris to perform six Shakespeare plays. The young composer Hector Berlioz was in the audience at the Théâtre de l’Odéon and, like most spectators, read along with the English language performances in a French prose translation. Berlioz later recalled the moment in his Mémoires:


Shakespeare, coming upon me unawares, struck me like a thunderbolt. The lightning flash of that sublime discovery opened before me at a stroke the whole heaven of art, illuminating it to its remotest depths. . . .

But the shock was too strong, and it was long before I recovered from it. . . . As I came out of Hamlet, shaken to the depths by the experience, I vowed not to expose myself a second time to the flame of Shakespeare’s genius.

This resolution proved fleeting:


Next day the playbills announced Romeo and Juliet.

After Denmark’s somber clouds and icy winds, to be exposed to the fiery sun and balmy nights of Italy, to witness the drama of that passion swift as thought, burning as lava, radiantly pure as an angel’s glance, . . . was more than I could bear. By the third act, scarcely able to breathe—it was as though an iron hand had gripped me by the heart—I knew that I was lost.

Berlioz’s reaction was typical. Alexandre Dumas, also in the audience, wrote that Shakespeare arrived in France with the “freshness of Adam’s first sight of Eden.” Fellow attendees Eugène Delacroix, Victor Hugo, and Théophile Gautier, along with Berlioz and Dumas, would create works inspired by those seminal evenings. The Bard’s electrifying combination of profound human insight and linguistic glory would continue catapulting across national borders to influence poets, painters, and composers the world over, as no other writer has done.

Yet the UCLA English department—like so many others—is more concerned that its students encounter race, gender, and disability studies than that they plunge headlong into the overflowing riches of actual English literature—whether Milton, Wordsworth, Thackeray, George Eliot, or dozens of other great artists closer to our own day. How is this possible? The UCLA coup represents the characteristic academic traits of our time: narcissism, an obsession with victimhood, and a relentless determination to reduce the stunning complexity of the past to the shallow categories of identity and class politics. Sitting atop an entire civilization of aesthetic wonders, the contemporary academic wants only to study oppression, preferably his own, defined reductively according to gonads and melanin. Course catalogs today babble monotonously of group identity. UCLA’s undergraduates can take courses in Women of Color in the U.S.; Women and Gender in the Caribbean; Chicana Feminism; Studies in Queer Literatures and Cultures; and Feminist and Queer Theory.

Today’s professoriate claims to be interested in “difference,” or, to use an even more up-to-date term, “alterity.” But this is a fraud. The contemporary academic seeks only to confirm his own worldview and the political imperatives of the moment in whatever he studies. The 2014 Modern Language Association conference, for example, the annual gathering of America’s literature (not social work) faculty, will address “embodiment, poverty, climate, activism, reparation, and the condition of being unequally governed . . . to expose key sites of vulnerability and assess possibilities for change.”

It was not always so. The humanist tradition was founded not on narcissism but on the all-consuming desire to engage with the genius and radical difference of the past. The fourteenth-century Florentine poet Francesco Petrarch triggered the explosion of knowledge known today as Renaissance humanism with his discovery of Livy’s monumental history of Rome and the letters of Cicero, the Roman statesman whose orations, with their crystalline Latin style, would inspire such philosophers of republicanism as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.Fourteenth-century Florentine poet Petrarch so loved the classical authors that he imagined conversations with them.PRIVATE COLLECTION/KEN WELSH/THE BRIDGEMAN ART LIBRARYFourteenth-century Florentine poet Petrarch so loved the classical authors that he imagined conversations with them.

But Petrarch didn’t want just to read the ancients; he wanted to converse with them as well. So he penned heartfelt letters in Latin to Virgil, Seneca, Horace, and Homer, among others, informing them of the fate of their writings and of Rome itself. After rebuking Cicero for the vindictiveness revealed in his letters, Petrarch repented and wrote him again: “I fear that my last letter has offended you. . . . But I feel I know you as intimately as if I had always lived with you.”

Petrarch was hardly the only Renaissance scholar to feel so immediate a bond with the classical authors. In 1416, the Florentine clerk Poggio Bracciolini discovered the most important Roman treatise on rhetoric moldering in a monastery library outside Constance, a find of such value that a companion exclaimed: “Oh wondrous treasure, oh unexpected joy!” Bracciolini thought of himself as rescuing a still-living being. The treatise’s author, Quintillian, would have “perished shortly if we hadn’t brought him aid in the nick of time,” Bracciolini wrote to a friend in Verona. “There is not the slightest doubt that that man, so brilliant, genteel, tasteful, refined, and pleasant, could not longer have endured the squalor of that place and the cruelty of those jailors.”

This burning drive to recover a lost culture propelled the Renaissance humanists into remote castles and monasteries across Europe to search for long-forgotten manuscripts. Despite their rapport with their Greek and Roman ancestors, they were no historical naïfs. The humanists were well aware, unlike their medieval predecessors, of the chasm between their present and the classical past, as exemplified most painfully in the fallen state of medieval Latin. It was precisely to overcome the effects of time on historical sources that they developed the seminal methods of modern scholarship.

The knowledge that many ancient texts were forever lost filled these scholars with despair. Nevertheless, they exulted in their growing repossession of classical learning, for which they felt, in Emerson’s words, a canine appetite. In François Rabelais’s exuberant Gargantua stories from the 1530s, the giant Gargantua sends off his son to study in Paris, joyfully conjuring up the languages—Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Chaldean, and Arabic—that he expects him to master, as well as the vast range of history, law, natural history, and philosophy. “In short,” he concludes, “let me find you a perfect abyss of knowledge.”Rabelais's Gargantua (overlooking Paris) exulted in the possession of classical learning.THE GRANGER COLLECTION, NYCRabelais’s Gargantua (overlooking Paris) exulted in the possession of classical learning.

This constant, sophisticated dialogue between past and present would become a defining feature of Western civilization, prompting the evolution of such radical ideas as constitutional government and giving birth to arts and architecture of polyphonic complexity. And it became the primary mission of the universities to transmit knowledge of the past, as well as—eventually—to serve as seedbeds for new knowledge.

Compare the humanists’ hunger for learning with the resentment of a Columbia University undergraduate who had been required by the school’s freshman core curriculum to study Mozart. She happens to be black, but her views are widely shared, to borrow a phrase, “across gender, sexuality, race, and class.”

“Why did I have to listen in music humanities to this Mozart?” she groused in a discussion of the curriculum reported by David Denby in his book on Columbia’s core. “My problem with the core is that it upholds the premises of white supremacy and racism. It’s a racist core. Who is this Mozart, this Haydn, these superior white men? There are no women, no people of color.” These are not the idiosyncratic thoughts of one disgruntled student; they represent the dominant ideology in the humanities today. Columbia not only failed to disabuse the student of such parochialism; it is also all but certain that some of its faculty strengthened her in her close-mindedness, despite the school’s admirable commitment to its beleaguered core.

Of course, the absurd game of reducing all expression to gender or race politics is particularly ludicrous when it comes to music—but the charge of Eurocentrism is even more preposterously leveled against Mozart, who makes a Muslim pasha the only truly noble character in his opera The Abduction from the Seraglio, and whose Sarastro in The Magic Flute appeals to a universal humanity.

W. E. B. Du Bois would have been stunned to learn how narrow is the contemporary multiculturalist’s self-definition and sphere of interest. Du Bois, living during America’s darkest period of hate, nevertheless heartbreakingly affirmed in 1903 his intellectual and spiritual affinity with all of Western civilization: “I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm in arm with Balzac and Dumas. . . . I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension.”

This Petrarchan intimacy with the past is precisely what is missing from the humanities today, and its antithesis—shallow narcissism—has now leaped out of the campus and into the arts world at large. Directors in Europe and the U.S. are dragooning poor defenseless operas to serve as mouthpieces for their own hobbyhorses. These egotistical stage directors wrench centuries-old works into the present and force them to ape the political and sexual obsessions of today’s cultural elite. Audiences can expect to see lots of nudity and kinky sex on stage, as well as cell phones, Big Macs, and snide put-downs of American capitalism. Mozart’s aristocratic seducer, Don Giovanni, is infallibly a charmless, drug-addicted lout wallowing in the detritus of consumer culture and surrounded by sluts, psychopaths, and slobs (see “The Abduction of Opera,” Summer 2007).

The official excuse for such mutilation is that a work can only be “relevant” to a modern audience if it is tricked out in modern garb and forced to speak, however incoherently, of modern concerns. As the director of the Frankfurt opera declared, no one should care what Handel wanted in his operas; what matters is “what interests us . . . what we want.”

Actually, the only thing that matters is what Handel, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky wanted. It is their artistic genius that allows us to enter worlds radically different from our own and expand our understanding of what it is to be human. The revisionist director, like the contemporary academic, detests any values, such as nobility, grandeur, or sexual decorum, that differ from his own, and will shamelessly rewrite an opera’s plot to eliminate them. But in an era of twerking and drunken hookups, there is much to be gained by experiencing, if only for a few hours, a courtly ethic where desire can be expressed by the slightest inclination of a hand or an almost imperceptible darkening of the voice.

As for the visual arts, artists learned their craft for centuries by lovingly studying and copying the masters. No more. Today’s would-be artist need only stage his own predictable politics to claim artist status, a view that has given us such current performance pieces as the publicly performed loss of anal virginity at a London art school or a video-recorded use of a cement sex toy at the San Francisco Art Institute.Delacroix depicts Hamlet standing over Polonius's corpse.GIANNI DAGLI ORTI/THE ART ARCHIVE AT ART RESOURCE, NYDelacroix depicts Hamlet standing over Polonius’s corpse.

There is, in other words, much bad news today about the humanist impulse. What we rarely hear is the good news: thanks to enlightened philanthropy, the enduring lure of beauty, and, yes, market forces, the humanist impulse is thriving in many places beyond the university.

The most important classical music development of our time is a direct rebirth of the Renaissance spirit: a loose group of performers known as the “early-music” movement is determined to re-create how music from the baroque and classical eras was originally performed. Like the Renaissance scholars who realized that the classical texts that had come down to them had been corrupted by errors, these musicians believe that twentieth-century performance styles veered drastically from how baroque music was intended to be played. The results have been a revelation, releasing submerged dance rhythms and resurrecting long-forgotten composers—such as Hasse, Porpora, and Steffani—who urgently deserve to be heard again (see “Classical Music’s New Golden Age,” Summer 2010).

But even those musicians not seeking the holy grail of authentic period performance are driven by the same humanist reverence for past genius. At the 2013 Texas State International Piano Festival (that despised Red State hosts many such festivals), an 11-year-old Asian-American pianist (and violinist) proudly recounted that her first piano instructor boasted a teaching lineage stretching back to Haydn. “I was so excited to learn that. I respect Haydn so much,” she told the NPR program From the Top, apparently untroubled by Haydn’s lamentable white-male status and thinking of him, like Petrarch of Cicero, as an almost-contemporary.

Regarding the visual arts, New Yorkers are particularly fortunate: many of New York’s museums still present the best of human creation, untainted by identity politics. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, former director Philippe de Montebello consciously fought off pressures for trendy relevance; his successor, Thomas Campbell, has so far preserved de Montebello’s magnificent legacy. (See “The Met’s Triumphant Democratic Elitism,” Winter 2001.) The Frick’s and the Morgan’s commitment to standards and taste is almost terrifyingly superb. Even the Brooklyn Museum of Art, which has flailed of late, can still triumph: its 2013 John Singer Sargent watercolor show was the exhibit of the year, flooding the galleries with Sargent’s jewel colors, blinding light, and lush sensuality, and accompanied by a catalog of sound and empathetic scholarship.The Brooklyn Museum recently celebrated John Singer Sargent's sublime watercolors.SCALA/WHITE IMAGES/ART RESOURCE, NYThe Brooklyn Museum recently celebrated John Singer Sargent’s sublime watercolors.

None of this accomplishment can be taken for granted; leadership is crucial, and it can turn in an instant. New York’s music press has been baying for the Metropolitan Opera to give over the house completely to revisionist opera directing. Yet New York audiences, unlike those in Europe, can still see productions that take the composer’s intention as their lodestar, however much such fidelity enrages the commentariat.

The demand side for the humanities is also robust. The Great Courses Company has been making a nice profit selling recorded lectures on such topics as Virgil’s Aeneid, the Enlightenment, and the Civil War to adults who rightly feel shortchanged by their college education (see “Great Courses, Great Profits,” Summer 2011). Publishing has capitalized on this thirst for knowledge as well. The success of Myron Magnet’s wonderful new book, The Founders at Home, like that of other recent serious studies aimed at a broad readership, proves that the public’s appetite for urbane explorations of American history is boundless.

Yet though the humanist spirit is chugging along nicely outside the university, the university remains its natural home, from which it should not be in exile. We have bestowed on the faculty the best job in the world: freed from the pressures of economic competition, professors are actually paid to spend their days wandering among the most sublime creations of mankind. All we ask of them in return is that they sell their wares to ignorant undergraduates. Every fall, insistent voices should rise from the faculty lounges and academic departments saying: here is greatness, and this is your best opportunity to absorb it. Here is Aeschylus, whose hypnotic choruses bear witness to dark forces more unsettling than you can yet fathom. Here is Mark Twain, Hapsburg Vienna, and the Saint Matthew Passion. Here is the drama of Western civilization, out of whose constantly battling ideas there emerged unprecedented individual freedom and unimagined scientific progress.

Instead, the professoriate is tongue-tied when it comes to promoting the wonders of its patrimony. These privileged cowards can’t even summon the guts to prescribe the course work that every student must complete in order to be considered educated. Need it be said? Students don’t know anything. That’s why they’re in college, and they certainly don’t know enough to select courses that will give them the rudiments of culture. The transcripts that result from the professoriate’s abdication of its intellectual responsibility are not a pretty sight, featuring as many movie and video courses as a student can stuff into each semester.

When the academy is forced to explain the value of the humanities, the language that it uses is pathetically insipid. You may have heard the defense du jour, tossed out en route to the next gender studies conference. The humanities, we are told, teach “critical thinking.” Is this a joke? These are the same people who write sentences like this: “Total presence breaks on the univocal predication of the exterior absolute the absolute existent (of that of which it is not possible to univocally predicate an outside, while the equivocal predication of the outside of the absolute exterior is possible of that of which the reality so predicated is not the reality. . . . of the self).”And we’re supposed to believe that they can think? Moreover, the sciences provide critical thinking skills as well—far more rigorous ones, in fact, than the hackneyed deconstructions of advertising that the left-wing academy usually means by critical thinking.

It is no wonder, then, that we have been hearing of late that the humanities are in crisis. A recent Harvard report, cochaired by the school’s premier postcolonial studies theorist, Homi Bhabha, lamented that 57 percent of incoming Harvard students who initially declare interest in a humanities major eventually change concentrations. Why may that be? Imagine an intending lit major who is assigned something by Professor Bhabha: “If the problematic ‘closure’ of textuality questions the totalization of national culture. . . .” How soon before that student concludes that a psychology major is more up his alley?

No, the only true justification for the humanities is that they provide the thing that Faust sold his soul for: knowledge. It is knowledge of a particular kind, concerning what men have done and created over the ages. The American Founders drew on an astonishingly wide range of historical sources and an appropriately jaundiced view of human nature to craft the world’s most stable and free republic. They invoked lessons learned from the Greek city-states, the Carolingian Dynasty, and the Ottoman Empire in the Constitution’s defense. And they assumed that the new nation’s citizens would themselves be versed in history and political philosophy. Indeed, a closer knowledge among the electorate of Hobbes and the fragility of social order might have prevented the more brazen social experiments that we’ve undergone in recent years. Ignorance of the intellectual trajectory that led to the rule of law and the West’s astounding prosperity puts those achievements at risk.

But humanistic learning is also an end in itself. It is simply better to have escaped one’s narrow, petty self and entered minds far more subtle and vast than one’s own than never to have done so. The Renaissance philosopher Marsilio Ficino said that a man lives as many millennia as are embraced by his knowledge of history. One could add: a man lives as many different lives as are embraced by his encounters with literature, music, and all the humanities and arts. These forms of expression allow us to see and feel things that we would otherwise never experience—society on a nineteenth-century Russian feudal estate, for example, or the perfect crystalline brooks and mossy shades of pastoral poetry, or the exquisite languor of a Chopin nocturne.

Ultimately, humanistic study is the loving duty we owe those artists and thinkers whose works so transform us. It keeps them alive, as well as us, as Petrarch and Poggio Bracciolini understood. The academic narcissist, insensate to beauty and nobility, knows none of this.

And as politics in Washington and elsewhere grows increasingly unmoored from reality, humanist wisdom provides us with one final consolation: there is no greater lesson from the past than the intractability of human folly.

Heather Mac Donald is a contributing editor of City Journal and the John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Her article was adapted from her 2013 Wriston Lecture.

Nancy Pelosi Has Never Been All Here Or There!

Nancy Pelosi released a statement on Afghanistan – it didn’t go well

KAREN TOWNSEND Aug 15, 2021 6:31 PM ET Share Tweet

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement on Afghanistan from her home in San Francisco. We noticed it when a small part of it was quoted on Twitter by a Congressional reporter. To say that her statement is both cringeworthy and remarkably naive is an understatement.

Here’s a tweet that caught my attention as I scrolled through Twitter this morning:https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1426715588509016067&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fhotair.com%2Fkaren-townsend%2F2021%2F08%2F15%2Fnancy-pelosi-released-a-statement-on-afghanistan-it-didnt-go-well-n408984&sessionId=e598daa33da04670cc815d0c69662db5dde26fd0&siteScreenName=hotairblog&theme=light&widgetsVersion=1890d59c%3A1627936082797&width=550px

Even for San Fran Nan, that is embarrassingly myopic. Did Pelosi think that warning the Taliban that “the world is watching” would motivate them into less brutal behavior? After twenty years, does she not understand that the Taliban specifically act to shock the world? Their actions are done to literally terrorize the civilized world. They cannot be shamed about anything.

I think our friend Guy Benson speaks for us all.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-1&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1426931499228667917&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fhotair.com%2Fkaren-townsend%2F2021%2F08%2F15%2Fnancy-pelosi-released-a-statement-on-afghanistan-it-didnt-go-well-n408984&sessionId=e598daa33da04670cc815d0c69662db5dde26fd0&siteScreenName=hotairblog&theme=light&widgetsVersion=1890d59c%3A1627936082797&width=550px

So, read Pelosi’s full statement and then we can discuss it.

“The President is to be commended for the clarity of purpose of his statement on Afghanistan and the actions he has taken.

“The Taliban must know that the world is watching its actions. We are deeply concerned about reports regarding the Taliban’s brutal treatment of all Afghans, especially women and girls. The U.S., the international community and the Afghan government must do everything we can to protect women and girls from inhumane treatment by the Taliban.

“Any political settlement that the Afghans pursue to avert bloodshed must include having women at the table. The fate of women and girls in Afghanistan is critical to the future of Afghanistan. As we strive to assist women, we must recognize that their voices are important, and all must listen to them for solutions, respectful of their culture. There is bipartisan support to assist the women and girls of Afghanistan. One of the successes of U.S.- NATO cooperation in Afghanistan was the progress made by women and girls. We must all continue to work together to ensure that is not eroded.

“Once again, I want to acknowledge the clarity of purpose of President Biden’s statement and the wisdom of his actions. Congress shares the President’s concern for Afghans who have assisted U.S. efforts in country, and we passed Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) legislation to provide for their relocation on a strong, bipartisan basis.

“Most of all, we join the President in acknowledging the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and their families.”

Let’s take it from the top. Pelosi begins with “commending” Biden for his statement on Afghanistan and the actions he has taken. What clarity? Joe Biden hasn’t provided clarity on any topic for the last seven months, much less on this topic. He said this would not be like leaving Vietnam. He said there would be no Saigon-like airlifts of Americans. He said the U.S. would maintain an embassy in Kabul. He said Kabul would not fall. And, he said the Taliban would not overrun the country any time soon. He was wrong on everything. In just a matter of days, the Taliban has arrived in Kabul and has run off the U.S. ambassador. According to reports on Sunday morning political shows today, Americans are being processed at the airport for departure. This, the Biden administration hopes, will be completed by the end of the month. I hope they live that long.
Pelosi says the world is watching the Taliban and its actions. Yes, Nancy, that is what they want. The Taliban wants us to see their actions. They wish to humiliate America and Joe Biden as much as possible on the world stage. This is what victory looks like for the Taliban. Grandma Nancy scolding them to behave themselves is laughable. A woman her age shouldn’t be so naive about terrorists.
Next Pelosi goes into insisting there are “women at the table” during political settlements. Is she kidding? That isn’t how this is going to work. Women are not human beings in the eyes of the Taliban. Again, where has she been for the last 20 years? We tried to help them and built schools so little girls could go to school. Women were taught about entrepreneurship and started small businesses out of their homes. Laura Bush was mocked for her attempts at helping the women of Afghanistan and her focus on opportunities for them. Women in Afghanistan will go back to living as though they are in the Stone Age. The same is true for their daughters.

Last, Pelosi once again praises Biden. She offers a few words of support for Afghanis who supported us in their country, and then she acknowledges the sacrifices of our military.

This statement is so bad it begged for mocking on social media. If Pelosi can’t do better than this, she should just sit this one out. Clearly, she only released the statement to prop up bumbling Joe.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-2&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1426874202469150720&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fhotair.com%2Fkaren-townsend%2F2021%2F08%2F15%2Fnancy-pelosi-released-a-statement-on-afghanistan-it-didnt-go-well-n408984&sessionId=e598daa33da04670cc815d0c69662db5dde26fd0&siteScreenName=hotairblog&theme=light&widgetsVersion=1890d59c%3A1627936082797&width=550pxhttps://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-3&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1426725463511162882&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fhotair.com%2Fkaren-townsend%2F2021%2F08%2F15%2Fnancy-pelosi-released-a-statement-on-afghanistan-it-didnt-go-well-n408984&sessionId=e598daa33da04670cc815d0c69662db5dde26fd0&siteScreenName=hotairblog&theme=light&widgetsVersion=1890d59c%3A1627936082797&width=550pxhttps://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-4&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1426740307064918016&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fhotair.com%2Fkaren-townsend%2F2021%2F08%2F15%2Fnancy-pelosi-released-a-statement-on-afghanistan-it-didnt-go-well-n408984&sessionId=e598daa33da04670cc815d0c69662db5dde26fd0&siteScreenName=hotairblog&theme=light&widgetsVersion=1890d59c%3A1627936082797&width=550px

I’ll end with this clip that will live on forever. It reminds us that Biden has been historically wrong about foreign policy for his entire political career, though Democrats tout his expertise. Biden didn’t even want Obama to take the opportunity to kill Osama bin Laden when SEAL Team 6 took him out. It was always going to be tough to leave Afghanistan, though it has to be done. Biden made it a lot worse of a humanitarian crisis than it had to be. No amount of spinning from Nancy Pelosi is going to make it better.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-5&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1426710333264179214&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fhotair.com%2Fkaren-townsend%2F2021%2F08%2F15%2Fnancy-pelosi-released-a-statement-on-afghanistan-it-didnt-go-well-n408984&sessionId=e598daa33da04670cc815d0c69662db5dde26fd0&siteScreenName=hotairblog&theme=light&widgetsVersion=1890d59c%3A1627936082797&width=550px

A Thought About What Today’s American Children Should Be Learning!

What Children Should Be Learning

Wilfred M. McClay & Kathleen O’Toole  

Graham told Biden attacks on Hunter didn’t satisfy Trump supporters: reportTim Tebow had an even worse block than the one that went viral in his…

School boards across the nation have learned firsthand the old saying: Never get between a mother bear and her cub. Or rather, never let a politicized curriculum come between a mom and her children.a close up of a flag© Thinkstock

The voices of angry parents at school-board meetings across the country are unmistakable signs of a crisis in American education. These concerned parents are waking up to the growing influence in our schools of destructive ideas, such as the demand that our young people learn to divide the world between oppressors and victims, rather than embracing the noble ideals of individual dignity, opportunity, and responsibility.https://www.dianomi.com/smartads.epl?id=3533

Parents are appalled by the reduction of American history to an endless exercise in identity politics and moral accusation. They fear that the study of the American past — rather than providing the young with a sense of something larger than themselves — has become something deeply negative: a way of separating us from our past and a weapon used to sow shame and resentment, and even hatred and despair, in the hearts of tomorrow’s citizens.

This is a recipe for disaster. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Good, honest curriculum is not only possible; it’s come to pass.

Yes, the proper study of American history should be truthful. But being truthful about America doesn’t just mean telling the truth about our failures. It also means telling the truth about our successes. It means telling the truth about the promise of American life, which is as radiant as ever.

Such a program of study should convey both the boldness of America’s founding and the immense challenge of fully realizing it. It should teach the young that the good things we enjoy required suffering and labor, the blood and sweat of those who came before. They deserve our gratitude. They deserve to be known by us.

It also should expand our hearts and minds, helping us imagine what it is like to live in a world very different from our own. It should deepen our sense of life’s moral complexity, as we wrestle with the fact that even our heroes have had terrible flaws. Above all else, it should shape young Americans into informed citizens, patriots who believe that an appreciation of the past can illuminate our path forward. The study of history should seek to draw us together in respectful unity, rather than harden our divisions into implacable enmity.

The great majority of teachers still seek to do these good things. Their task has become increasingly difficult, however, owing to the ill-considered directives coming down from their superiors, and the unbalanced textbooks and supplementary materials they are constrained to work with.

Fortunately, help is on the way, in the form of emerging curricular resources that will make their work both easier and more rewarding. And, because the need is so great, there’s little doubt many such efforts are in the making. May a thousand such flowers bloom! Indeed, several of these programs are available now or will be completed soon, and they deserve special attention. This month, Hillsdale College launched its ambitious 1776 Curriculum. The Hillsdale curriculum recognizes the American story as an ongoing quest to live up to the principles set forward in the Declaration of Independence. Rich with original documents and historic speeches, it guides students toward fundamental questions of what it means to live a good life and build a virtuous and flourishing society. Free to download, with materials for testing and student evaluation, it will be invaluable to teachers in all grades and settings, including homeschoolers.

Equally impressive, but with a different focus, is the curriculum developed by 1776 Unites, the creation of Robert L. Woodson Sr., the renowned African-American community activist. Disturbed by the ideological politicization of our study of the past, and especially by the damaging lessons that young people take away from it, Woodson has developed a downloadable high-school curriculum that highlights stories celebrating black achievement, rejecting victimhood culture, and showcasing black Americans who prospered by embracing the nation’s founding ideals.

Finally, there is the comprehensive curriculum being produced by American Achievement Testing, which has employed a team of distinguished historians to devise fresh and original materials based on the best historical scholarship. As with the other two curricula, AAT’s materials seek to find a balance between criticism and appreciation, while providing teachers with detailed instructional support for the presentation of complex historical concepts.

A good American-history curriculum will not seek to sanitize our nation’s story. But it will maintain a search for balance, for the whole truth about America, and a dedication to the needs of the next generation of citizens. Without a shared memory built upon a solid foundation of common knowledge, we will cease to be a country. We won’t be able to pass on the factual lessons to our children or continue the honorable and essential effort of realizing an ever-more perfect and self-governing union.

Thomas Jefferson warned many years ago that we cannot ignore the need for such education if we are to continue enjoying the blessings of liberty and self-government. The time for change is now, and thankfully, the tools are at hand. There are reasons to be hopeful.

Wilfred M. McClay is a professor at Hillsdale College and author of Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story. Kathleen O’Toole is assistant provost of K–12 education at Hillsdale College and a former K–12 headmaster.