National Review

  1. ‘Weariness, Frayed Tempers, and Forgetfulness’
    Clearwater, Fla. -- According to Google Maps, I’m 147 miles from the University of Florida in Gainesville, but that didn’t keep people here from being on edge as a white supremacist was prepared to speak there. A protester threw “at least one punch,” bloodying a man who was wearing a swastika emblem, according to the Miami Herald; but nothing like August’s violence in Charlottesville happened in the Sunshine State. As a surrounding county faced its state of emergency, people here seemed to take the incident as a prompt for an examination of conscience. At a morning Mass at the House of
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  2. Hit the History Books (and Movies), Americans!
    By and large, the two parties have very different performance routines they employ to build and sustain their voting coalitions. The GOP will tell you that the Democrats are a bunch of godless socialists who want to quash all individual initiative. Democrats will assure you that the GOP is a party of oligarchic theocrats who want to give all your money to the rich and make you go to church. Sometimes, though, the two parties sing a similar tune — inadvertently, of course. You may have to listen closely to notice, but when you do, it can be revealing. Consider, for instance,
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  3. Reducing Gun Violence: Suggestions That Do Not Involve Gun Control
    The violence that besieged a Las Vegas concert earlier this month is almost incomprehensible. Almost 60 died, and hundreds more were injured, as a deranged gunman rained bullets down on them from 32 stories up and 400 yards away. Following an incident such as this, there are always two questions we must ask. First, how could we have stopped this specific tragedy from happening? And second, how can we address the broader problem of American gun violence in a way that will be both effective and consistent with the Second Amendment? The first question is a difficult one this time. As of
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  4. Birth, the Great Equalizer
    You probably don’t recall that last Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of the third presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It was a depressing affair, and while watching I self-medicated with a reasonable quantity of Scotch. It turned out that this wasn’t the best decision — about an hour after the debate ended, my wife woke me up to tell me that she was in labor. Fortunately, we didn’t leave for the hospital for a few more hours. A few hours after that, my son, my firstborn, was on my lap, sticking his tongue out at me. I
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  5. An Update on Bill Browder
    His lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was tortured to death when a political prisoner of the Russian government. Now the Kremlin, eight years later, is accusing Browder himself of murdering Magnitsky. This is almost too revolting to comment on. The New York Times has the story, here. “Live not by lies,” Solzhenitsyn said. The Russian government is up to its ears in lies. I illustrated this in my recent piece about Yuri Dmitriev, who is trapped in the nightmare of the Russian judicial system. Two things have made the head spin today: the Kremlin’s new charge of murder; and the decision of the U.S. government
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  6. It’s Time for Bill O’Reilly To Be Weinsteined
    Over the weekend the New York Times published an extended scoop about Bill O’Reilly. It turns out that he recently settled yet another sexual harassment case, this time for a staggering $32 million. The allegations were deeply troubling. Here’s the Times: Although the deal has not been previously made public, the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, acknowledges that it was aware of the woman’s complaints about Mr. O’Reilly. They included allegations of repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her, according to the people briefed on the matter. (Emphasis
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  7. W. on Trump
    I give W. lot of points for sincerity for his attack on Trump and Trumpism. Where I think he was on strongest ground is his critique of how President Trump conducts himself and how it contributes to the degrading of our political culture. This, so far, is the worst aspect of Trump's presidency. There has been no budding authoritarianism and -- although one may be emerging on trade -- no meaningful ideological challenge to traditional conservatism. In fact, Trump has put points on the board on deregulation, religious liberty, immigration enforcement, and judges. But he has acted like Donald Trump,
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  8. General Kelly’s Speech, Revisited
    I know I keep on saying we should leave the condolence controversy behind and then keep on commenting on it, but I want to come back to Kelly’s speech. I think it should be studied in rhetoric classes -- it was that powerful -- but it did have a flaw. It seems pretty clear that he misremembered the nature of Representative Wilson’s comments at that event at the FBI building in Florida. When I listen to her speech, I hear a fairly standard talk by a politician at such an occasion, and one that did give the fallen FBI agents
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  9. Establishment Parties ‘Czech Out’ of Power
    The Czech Republic has joined a growing list of countries -- from Germany to Austria - where the traditional Left is losing to conservative populism. This weekend’s election gave anti–European Union billionaire Andrej Babis’s ANO (“Yes” in Czech) party 30 percent of the vote, a 19-point lead over the next largest party, the conservative Civic Democrats. Babis will almost certainly become prime minister in coalition with smaller parties. Babis has been called “the Czech Donald Trump,” and there are superficial similarities. A tycoon, he used his campaign to rail against corrupt elites and political correctness. Two weeks before the vote, it
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  10. Jimmy Carter’s Ex-Presidency Just Got a Whole Lot Better
    I'm not really serious about that, but Maureen Dowd has a notable interview with Carter, who -- perhaps because he is angling to be some sort of emissary to North Korea (a very bad idea) -- issues forth with opinions we don’t often hear from Democrats. He is forthright about the media’s anti-Trump frenzy: “I think the media have been harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about. I think they feel free to claim that Trump is mentally deranged and everything else without hesitation.” He has a common-sense position on NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem:
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  11. Why Is Bill Browder Banned from America?
    Vladimir Putin keeps putting William Browder on Interpol’s wanted list, or trying to. As far as I’m concerned, these attempts are the equivalent of medals of freedom. Remember who Browder is: He is the financier whose lawyer was Sergei Magnitsky, who became a prisoner of the Russian state and was tortured to death -- real slow. Thereafter, Browder dedicated himself to the cause of justice in Russia. “My grandfather was the biggest Communist in America, and I was the biggest capitalist in Russia,” he likes to say. His grandfather was indeed Earl Browder, the head of the CPUSA. His father was Felix
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  12. Schisms and Isms
    On Thursday, George W. Bush gave a remarkable speech, enunciating what may be thought of as a pre-Trump conservatism. He said, for example, “Our security and prosperity are only found in wise, sustained, global engagement.” Let me pause for a language note: I’m always griping about the misplacement of “only.” It ruins sentence after sentence. “Only,” in the above statement, should go between “found” and “in.” But back to the main point. GWB asked what I regard as the key question: “How do we begin to encourage a new, 21st-century American consensus on behalf of democratic freedom and free markets?” It really should
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  13. This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism-October 22
    1992 — Liberal judicial activists promote racial quotas and impede the death penalty, so why not use racial quotas to paralyze implementation of the death penalty? Justice Brennan had tried the trick in 1987 (in McCleskey v. Kemp), but, with only the support of Justices Marshall, Blackmun, and Stevens, had fallen short. The Supreme Court, in an opinion by Justice Powell, broadly rejected the claim that general statistical disparities in implementation of the death penalty can establish intentional discrimination in violation of the federal Equal Protection Clause. Undeterred, in Foster v. State Florida chief justice (and, later, Eleventh Circuit judge) Rosemary
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  14. Tax Cuts . . . And?
    ‘If you’re a Republican and you don’t want to simplify the tax code and cut taxes, what good are you to anybody?” So inquires Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina. What good are you if you do? House Republicans and Senate Republicans were at an impasse on Friday after the Senate produced its budget document. The House, led by Representative Diane Black (R., Tenn.), who chairs the Budget Committee, wanted at least $200 billion in cuts from so-called mandatory spending (mostly meaning entitlements); the Senate wanted to give President Donald Trump his “MASSIVE” (the president is fond of capital letters)
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  15. Arias, Scandals, Analysis, and Rants
    On Friday, I recorded podcasts with two formidable women -- very different from each other, but each brilliant, and a leader in her field. My QandA is with Angela Gheorghiu, here. She is a Romanian soprano, and one of the starriest, and most controversial, opera singers in the world. She is also a great interviewee -- a journalist’s dream, really. Very blunt, for one thing, and often very funny. I did a piece on her in 2012, here. For this QandA, Gheorghiu was in Palermo and I in New York. She has a new album, Eternamente, which is stocked with verismo arias.
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