“The Clintons are like the Tudors of the Ozarks”

Jonah Goldberg on Hillary’s pay-to-play days as Secretary of State:

“It’s hard to boil down the Times’ deeply detailed account, but the broad brushstrokes are as follows: A Canadian business wanted to sell its uranium mines in Kazakhstan and the U.S. to a Russian state-run — i.e., Vladimir Putin–run — firm. I know what you’re thinking: What could go wrong?

“In order to grease the skids — allegedly, of course — Canadian uranium moguls Frank Giustra and Ian Telfer gave millions to the Clinton Foundation and arranged for $500,000 speech by Bill Clinton (whose speaking fees mysteriously skyrocketed after his wife became secretary of state), bankrolled by a Russian investment bank with interests in the deal.”

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“The Media’s Litmus Test”

Old reliable George Neumayr takes on the old and chronic problem of the American media, grown even worse in the Age of Obama:

“The media’s dissection of political arguments is primarily demagogic, turning not upon their intrinsic merits but upon whether or not they conform to “mainstream” expectations as defined by the media. Any position outside what it deems the mainstream is automatically invalid. In this mindless atmosphere, politics grows more and more narrow and dangerous. Objective reality becomes irrelevant to any discussion and politics is reduced to a chase for the latest poll and strategic deception.”

That is a mild way of putting it. I see the media as a huge, screaming propaganda apparatus. It’s more about enforcement than it is about information. It has been said before but let’s say it again: We live in a time when George Orwell’s “1984” is not a warning about the future but an operations manual for the present.

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New Paltz: An election for village mayor

Three of the candidates — Jason West, Sally Rhoads, and Tim Rogers — are three faces of the same political organism. The fourth candidate, Amy Cohen, is sui generis (as in a type unto herself) but not really cut out for this business.

This is an election where all sides of radical green opinion are fully represented, except perhaps for that of purified vegan fascism.

Let’s try a process of elimination.

Cohen is a businesswoman, who owns with her husband a downtown clothing shop called “Groovy Blueberry.” Apparently it thrives. Why she would want to be mayor is a mystery to me (despite her various explanations that she is in favor of everything good), but I see campaign pleas by her in which the terms “good vibes” and “it takes a village” are prominent, and I think that’s enough right there to earn her a hearty, “thank you, but we already have one alternate universe running on the New Paltz holodeck.”

Then there is West, the current mayor, who is the perfect storm of slob, performance artist, and unfortunate historical artifact. The last four years he has experienced the purgatorial suffering of hearing, and no doubt feeling, the hard fingertips of Mrs. Rhoads, as trustee, hammering her diktat into the tabletop, so I think it is to his credit that he needed only one mental health break during that time. (If I run into Jason in a suitable venue, I’ll stand him a drink, if he hasn’t had to forego that pleasure. Just to say “I saw that.”)

Next is Rhoads. I don’t want to be unkind. It behooves me to not be unkind. It would be reckless of me to be unkind. So I’ll stick with my favorite Sally Rhoads moment, the day I saw her — surely it was fire in her eyes — at the wheel of a station wagon that looked eight sizes too big for her as she hung a wild left off of North Front Street onto North Chestnut. She raced on toward Main, an Obama sticker on the rear bumper, and I said to myself, “that woman is fucking nuts.” And thus she will always be to me.

Finally there is Rogers, who tried the old “I’m bigger than this place” by having Zephyr Teachout come to town to endorse him. What that actually means is that he’s smaller than this place, which is getting pretty small. Rogers is also just a tad too generic in a town where the generics are starting to crowd out the funkys. He’s even more therapeutic in his tones than West, and is therefore perfect for the school board, where he already serves.

So, on the basis of his prolonged purgatorial torment, his resistance to the long running local civic fad of wanting the village merged back into the town, and what I believe (but do not know for a fact): That he treats the men down at the Department of Public Works with the respect they deserve, as flawed and truly vile as he is, it would be best to let West continue as mayor.

As for the two trustee spots, I would do Terry Dungan and Don Kerr both a big favor and let Jack Murphy and the other guy, Dennis Young, have those jobs. Not that I have anything against Jack or Young.

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“Then they left, carrying with them only a cellphone and a laptop”

This is new to me and I’m not ready to say anything about it. Have a look for yourself. See what you think.

David French:

“And, yes, there were the warnings. Don’t call your lawyer. Don’t talk to anyone about this. Don’t tell your friends. The kids watched — alarmed — as the school bus drove by, with the students inside watching the spectacle of uniformed police surrounding the house, carrying out the family’s belongings. Yet they were told they couldn’t tell anyone at school.”

“John Doe investigations alter typical criminal procedure in two important ways: First, they remove grand juries from the investigative process, replacing the ordinary citizens of a grand jury with a supervising judge. Second, they can include strict secrecy requirements not just on the prosecution but also on the targets of the investigation. In practice, this means that, while the prosecution cannot make public comments about the investigation, it can take public actions indicating criminal suspicion (such as raiding businesses and homes in full view of the community) while preventing the targets of the raids from defending against or even discussing the prosecution’s claims.”

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“Romantic revolutionary?” That’s it?

Victor Davis Hanson is getting warmer, though six years is a long time to get only this far. But, then, it is dangerous territory. If you are actually making the case that a President of the United States is an orthodox Marxist, however, you ought not stop at “Revolutionary Romance.”

Stopping there you miss the pure malice involved and wind up attributing major geopolitical delinquencies to wearing rose-colored glasses:

“Moammar Qaddafi was a monster and a thug. But in fear both of radical Islamists and of the implications for Libya of the Western military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, and eager to have Western knowhow rehabilitate his ailing oil and gas industry, he had reached out to the West and ceased his support for international terrorists. But ridding Libya of the cartoonish and geriatric Qaddafi and allowing it to be overrun by stern revolutionary Islamists was again in tune with Obama’s rose-colored view of the Middle East.”

How would I revise that? I would say that Qaddafi was eliminated, given a death sentence, precisely because he had been cooperating with the West. Now Libya is again a major training facility for terrorists, like in the good old days of the 1970s and 1980s, when Qaddafi was a Soviet client. That was when he was a major terror sponsor.

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Me and yard work. A love-hate relationship. Yesterday it was love until, while blissfully sawing smaller branches off the old oak, I went after a major limb. Waterloo time. This was the limb about which “as hard as oak” was coined. My hand saw was not the tool for the job. I’m way up at the top of the ladder sawin’ at this thing, and I was up their eight times at least, and it was like iron. When I finally get through it, I’m holding on to it. It’s a beast.

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New Paltz: Suitable for framing

Ran into Stewart’s earlier to get some cash. I had a plan. Get cash. Then go get pizza. Then go home and eat the pizza. Optional was getting a copy of the Che Paltz Jackwagon-Courier,* our weekly. But when I saw those lovely oval head shots of the four mayoral candidates on the front page, I was helpless. I bought.

The photos are, as the title of this entry says, suitable for framing. In a drawer somewhere I have a frame about the right size for one of them (maybe the winner), with a photo of the late Frank Patricolo in it. That sat on the mantelpiece for a few years — we had picked it up at Frank’s memorial — until I said to Madam Vandam, “We didn’t really know Frank, did we?” “No, we didn’t,” she said. So we retired his photo. It was time.

The interviews with the candidates inside the paper are not up to the standard of the photos. It’s the usual student council stuff. But it’s not like you get anything more than that up the food chain. If anything, these people are less full of shit than presidential candidates. Certainly less full of shit than a Schumer, so I won’t pick on them for what they have offered in good faith. More or less.

That’s about it. I will mention that I was a bit disappointed with my old interlocutor Terence Ward’s article on the proposed fire district. He buried the lead in the fourth paragraph that a fire district is yet another local government with its own taxing authority, run by an elected commission. We have five local governments already: village, town, school district, county, and the college. (SUNY is an imperial city unto itself, with plenty of claims on but no accountability to local citizens.) I’m with those who think that the current arrangement where the village runs the fire department works fine if everyone involved behaves like an adult. Another government with another elected governing body with taxing authority is not what this place needs.

Everyone understands that, right?

* aka the New Paltz Times.

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The question has been called. Is it sexist to call Hillary “Hillary?” (Like I give a flying pig fart.)

The very best name for her was coined by Billy Beck: Field Marshal Rodham. (Bill was “The Lying Bastard.”)

It covers much of her limitless possibility. (How can something cover “much” of something that is “limitless?” That’s the mystery here. Love it. Live it.)

For the record, I don’t see her being the Party nominee for 2016. The Obamas will not allow it. They have other plans. In fact, the only thing worse than Hillary is who the Obamas will put in her place. I have an idea about who that will be.

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The joy of the curse of owning controversial views

If you hold an unconventional or controversial view long enough, you tend to forget that it is controversial. For instance, even though most people don’t give much thought to Communism these days (it’s controversial to even think about it, apparently), saying that someone calling himself a Communist is at least twice as ugly as calling himself a Nazi is a controversial view. Its advantage is that it is true. There are many reasons why it is true (start with Lenin and Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot and you’ve lapped the Nazis several times, but that’s just the low-hanging fruit in that debate). The controversy reaches fullness when you assess Communists as scum. Communists are scum, worse scum even than white supremacist neo-Nazis with swastikas tattooed on their shaved heads.

This applies as well, with full force, when one uses the academic terms for a Communist: Marxist or Marxist-Leninist, two terms that are sufficient for handling nearly anyone who identifies with Communism as an ideology, if you want to avoid using the word Communist. It’s the same thing in all but rare cases and it comes with all of the implications.

Let’s leave it there for now. The moths who are drawn to and flit around the cold Marxist flame, but don’t grasp the sickness of the ideology, will have to wait.

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Freeman Dyson interview

Carbon dioxide increase is increasing vegetation. That impact is clear, according to Dyson.

The interview begins at about 3:20. Skip to there if you want to avoid a lot of blather between the hosts.

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Doc Hanson on the daunting challenges of the thought police

Living in Stalinpaltz, I’m confident that the thought police can run a sweep here with little fear of hitting a den of oppositionists. The regime of political correctness is so complete that it can be updated as fast as new regulations can flow into the Twitter account of a recognized authority (Rachel Maddow? Or is her vast power and influence on the wane already? I can’t keep up). But there are burdens out there, and VDH provides a rundown:

“Money complicates thought policing as well. The CEO of Apple is outraged at the thought crimes of Indiana pizza-parlor owners who offer his trillion-dollar company no chance of lucre — but he is not outraged at the concretely homophobic culture of the Middle East or the religious intolerance of China, which are hooked on i-products. Are theoretical sins worse than actual ones?”

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The ‘Mad Men’ exit strategy

The final seven episodes of Mad Men have been promoted as the end of the greatest television drama of all time. That’s not an empty boast. If it isn’t the best, it’s very close. Deadwood, The Sopranos, and what else would be the competition? Hard to say. Ray Donovan has time to prove itself. Homeland has been more intriguing since the Brody character has left. Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison is as good as Jon Hamm as Don Draper, and that is a compliment to both of them.

Actors are rarely as impressive as the characters they play. Hamm seems just ordinary as Hamm. But as Draper he is the mid-century (20th) American in grand detail. Broken but unbreakable. Shameless but noble. Thick but brilliant. Confused but clear-headed. Ordinary but enigmatic.

The cast of ad men and women characters who are Mad Men, the ads they create and the products and companies they represent, are the strivers and strivings of a consumer culture that loved its buying and selling. Madison Avenue conducted the orchestra. The ad business itself is vile but illuminating, aggressive but complacent, disturbing but reassuring. Fast and at a stand still.

Draper is perfect for it because he is a man (Dick Whitman) living inside someone else’s identity (the real Draper, killed in Korea). He is detached from who he really is and was and has become a passenger on a dead man’s ghost ship. This vitalizes him and makes him more alive.

In the first half of this final season, which was aired last year, Draper’s agency attempted to dump him. He was sent to the Siberia of paid leave with a hint not to come back. When he showed up at the invitation of Roger Sterling to resume work (Sterling did not clear it first with the other partners) he was treated like a leper. He swallowed his pride — as few could or would in such a situation — and worked his way back to the top.

The drama of the late 1960s and now early 70s was probably the existentialist moment in America. Draper is its Meursault and the consummate mad man because he is so sane, at the center of his mad life.

Yes, so far, I think, it is the greatest television drama of all time.

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Follow up

Mike Soja follows up on Kevin Williamson’s article “The War on the Private Mind.” Mike’s take is the best thing written by anyone, let’s say, this year, and gets to the core of the matter.

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For the children

Eleven Atlanta teachers and school administrators each face 20 years in prison after being convicted of changing test scores for money.

“Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard brought charges against 35 educators under racketeering (RICO) statutes, which are usually used against mobsters.”

It’s impossible, of course, that this kind of thing is happening all over the country. Educators aren’t mobsters. Well, they don’t dress like mobsters.

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“The War on the Private Mind”

Kevin Williamson, today at National Review, nutshells the moral panic of the Left and its real goals:

“The people who have hijacked the name “liberal” — the étatists — always win when social questions are decided by the state rather than in private life, because the expansion of the state, and the consequent diminution of private life, is their principal objective. The self-styled progressive sets himself in rhetorical opposition to Big Business, but the corporate manager often suffers from the same fatal conceit as the economic étatist — an unthinking, inhumane preference for uniformity, consistency, regimentation, and conformity. It is no surprise to see Apple and Walmart joining forces here against the private mind. There is a reason that the atmosphere and protocols of the corporate human-resources office are a great deal like those of the junior-high vice-principal’s office: All reeducation facilities have a little something in common.”

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“Not to persuade or convince…but to humiliate”

“Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.” — Theodore Dalrymple in an interview with Jamie Glazov at Frontpage.
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