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Mark Steyn

A Se'nnight of Steyn, September 15-21

Posting will be a little lighter than usual at SteynOnline as Mark continues to deal with family matters overseas. He will be back in America in plenty of time for An Evening With Mark Steyn to be hosted by the Center of the American Experiment in Minnesota. If you'd like to join Steyn live at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis on October 9th, you can find more details here.

In case you missed it, here's how the last seven days looked to Mark:

~He began the week with a double-spin salute to Sixties hitmaker Bob Crewe, who died this month: "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" and "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore".

~It was a very bad week for Big Climate alarmist and fraudulent Nobel Laureate Michael E Mann. Monday was the deadline for the filing of amicus briefs supporting Mann in his lawsuit against Steyn, National Review, Rand Simberg and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. No one filed any. Mann claims to be taking a stand for science, but science is evidently disinclined to take a stand for Mann. This was our most-read piece of the week.

~On Tuesday, apropos the Scottish referendum and a very prescient Steyn column from 1997, Mark dusted off some damning comments about the difference between ancient Scotland's daubed Bravehearts and today's fried Mars-hearts.

~Michael E Mann's very bad week continued on Wednesday with a disastrous Twitter Q&A and the implosion of his hashtag #AskDrMann, characterized by one Tweeter as "the Barbra Streisand effect on steroids". Mann's few remaining defenders blamed Steyn for "intimidating" the serial litigant.

~On Thursday Mark returned to The Hugh Hewitt Show to discuss current politics, but also continued his grim catalogue of the broader trend: the remorseless militarization of every aspect of American government - including Swat teams for hairdressing-license inspections.

~On Friday, with Scotland having declined to secede from the Union, Steyn put on his Notorious Demographic Bore hat to revisit the real problem with Scots nationalism: the dearth of Scots.

~At the weekend, we continued with our Scottish theme. Mark's Saturday film feature was an odd tale of love in the highlands - between Queen Victoria and her ghillie John Brown.

~Notwithstanding Michael E Mann's fiasco of a week, we're preparing for the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century, and to #AskDrMann to get on with discovery and deposition. Mark thanks SteynOnline readers for their generous support for his pushback against the climate mullahs via the Steyn store.

A new week at SteynOnline begins tonight with our Song of the Week.

September 21, 2014 at 8:32 am  |  Permalink

Highland Flung

After a couple of weeks overseas, I returned to The Hugh Hewitt Show for my weekly chit-chat with the maestro. Hugh was kind enough to mention my forthcoming appearance in Minneapolis, presented by the Center of the American Experiment live at Orchestra Hall on October 9th. You can get more info and book tickets here.

The Daily Caller was more interested in what I had to say to Hugh about Obama and ISIS:

"He wants to neutralize ISIS, not in terms of driving them from the map in the Middle East. He want to neutralize them as an issue in November," said the bestselling author. "He wants to seen to be appearing to do just enough to make ISIS go off the front pages."

"But other than that, he has absolutely no interest in driving a stake through them," said Steyn.

You can hear the audio here.

~In the end Scotland decided to stick with their Sassenach sugar daddy. Certain consequences will flow from that vote, which we will consider in the weeks ahead - not least the matter of how long the English can be denied a "nationalist movement" of the kind encouraged and deferred to among the Scots, Irish and Welsh. Meanwhile, Scotland's "First Minister" and the former future Father of his Country Alex Salmond has announced his intention to resign, but here at SteynOnline, in the morning after the wild Hogmanay the night before, we'll be waggling the sporran with some referendum-related entertainment this weekend.

A few days ago, we dusted off my prescient Sunday Telegraph column on Blairite devolution from 17 years ago. As a postscript to that, we're re-posting a companion piece from the archives, from January 2006. Mr Salmond arranged for 16- and 17-year-olds to get a vote in Thursday's referendum, for the obvious reason that, as with Quebecers in M Parizeau's referendum two decades back, young Scots trend more secessionist than their elders. Unfortunately, as in Quebec, there aren't enough of them. Here's what I wrote in The Daily Telegraph eight-and-a-half years ago:

Consider the following headline from The Scotsman the other week: "Teaching jobs in doubt as pensioners set to outnumber pupils by 2009."

This was a story by Peter MacMahon, the paper's "Scottish Government Editor", and it begins thus: "Scotland's demographic time bomb will explode in three years, when the number of pensioners north of the Border overtakes the number of children in school, the Executive has been warned."

Seems straightforward enough: the country's demographic death spiral is accelerating faster than expected. And, as far as The Scotsman is concerned, the alarming thing about this development is that it could put cushy state teaching jobs "in doubt". For crying out loud, man, get a grip. It puts every job "in doubt". It puts the continued existence of your country "in doubt". And it means the Scottish National Party is going through the motions: nobody needs a Scottish nation if there are no more Scottish nationals. See you, Jimmeh? Not for much longer.

Indeed, the remarkable feature of contemporary Scottish nationalism is that it has achieved all the features of a failed nation state without achieving the status of a nation state. "Teaching jobs" are the least of it. And doubtless the unions will see to it that, even when there is only one wee scrawny bairn left in the whole of Scotland, platoons of teachers will still be manning abandoned elementary schools across the kingdom. The jobs-for-life public-sector employee stood on the burning deck whence all the boys had fled.

With half the annual births it had in the 1950s and a population on the brink of falling below five million, Scotland has become a minor member of the axis of extinction: Germany, Japan, Russia - once great nations now recording net population loss. In its general approach to economic reality, not to mention the physical health of its population, Scotland is closer to the Russian end of the picture than to the German-Japanese end.

Oh, and that ancient column comes with the obligatory Braveheart quote, too!

Where is the spirit of Mel McGibson in Braveheart? "Aye, fight and you may die. Run and you'll live…at least for a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin' to trade all the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take…OUR FREEDOM!"

But it's all more complicated than that. The modern Scot is prepared to fight - or, at any rate, strike - but only for the right to die in his bed on a government pension... Scotland is the canary in the United Kingdom's coal mine, but, given that three of the four component parts of the realm are mired in the same bloated, dead-end dependency culture, it would be foolish for the English to assume they won't get stuck with the bill for a Celtic fringe decaying into a long-term geriatric hospice. I doubt any Scot with an eye to electoral viability would want to run on anything that smacked of American conservatism, but surely they could at least learn something from Ireland, where, you will recall, Braveheart was filmed. They could have shot it in Scotland, but the Scots are too busy shooting themselves.

You can read that entire 2006 column here.

~It was a bad week for self-conferred Nobel Laureate Michael E Mann, starting on Monday with the remarkable fact that not a single person was willing to file an amicus brief in support of him and his deranged lawsuit, and continuing on Wednesday with the world's most hilarious hashtag debacle. Halls of Macadamia deftly encapsulates Mann's dilemma here, The Pointman waxes somewhat more luridly:

The blood's in the water, the Steyn shark is circling in and you're treading water on your lonesome ownsome. It's just a matter of time.

As flattered as I am by that scenario, I don't think that's actually what happened - anymore than did Greg Laden's great Twitter conspiracy masterminded by yours truly. I've been busy with rather distressing family matters thousands of miles from Penn State these last two weeks, and in no position to mastermind any conspiracy. And even on a good day I lack the command of "social media" that the lads at ISIS have.

No, what really happened can be figured out by reading all those questions at #AskDrMann: They're remarkably well informed about Mann's shenanigans. That's to say, too many people now know that the public identity he invented for himself - world-renowned scientist whose hockey stick has been endorsed by NOAA, Lord Oxburgh, the British Government and the Nobel Prize Committee - is a crock from top to toe. Even more telling than the hostile questions was the near total absence of friendly ones: People who support the climate-change "consensus" increasingly understand that there is something malodorous about Dr Mann that (as I put it, channeling Lady Macbeth, in my countersuit to his complaint) "all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten".

I gather Mann is off to speak in Bristol (in England, the non-secessionist bit of the UK) on Monday, where no doubt he'll be assured of a warmer welcome.

We press onward - to discovery, deposition and trial. Thanks for your continuing support.

September 19, 2014 at 11:32 pm  |  Permalink

Descent into Barberism

I often joke with my hairdresser Amanda about the number of state permits she requires for the privilege of cutting my hair. As I point out on page 49 of After America (personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available, etc):

In the Fifties, one in twenty members of the workforce needed government permission in order to do his job. Today, it's one in three.

That's tyrannous - which is bad enough, albeit not unique to America: The entire developed world has massively expanded the hyper-regulatory state. But only in America does the Department of Paperwork command lethal force:

On August 19, 2010, two inspectors from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) visited the Strictly Skillz Barbershop in Orlando and found everything in order: All of the barbers working there were properly licensed, and all of the work stations complied with state regulations. Two days later, even though no violations had been discovered and even though the DBPR is authorized to conduct such inspections only once every two years, the inspectors called again, this time accompanied by "between eight and ten officers, including narcotics agents," who "rushed into" the barbershop "like [a] SWAT team." Some of them wore masks and bulletproof vests and had their guns drawn. Meanwhile, police cars blocked off the parking lot.

The officers ordered all the customers to leave, announcing that the shop was "closed down indefinitely." They handcuffed the owner, Brian Berry, and two barbers who rented chairs from him, then proceeded to search the work stations and a storage room. They demanded the barbers' driver's licenses and checked for outstanding warrants. One of the inspectors, Amanda Fields, asked for the same paperwork she had seen two days earlier, going through the motions of verifying (again) that the barbers were not cutting hair without a license (a second-degree misdemeanor). Finding no regulatory violations or contraband, the officers released Berry and the others after about an hour.

What sort of lunatic handcuffs a barber in order to check his license is valid? The gauleiter in question is Inspector Amanda Fields of Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation - and, in a sane world, she'd be the one in handcuffs. But, as far as I can tell, she still has her job. Judge Rosenbaum's opinion for the US 11th Circuit is unusually vivid:

It was a scene right out of a Hollywood movie. On August 21, 2010, after more than a month of planning, teams from the Orange County Sheriff's Office descended on multiple target locations. They blocked the entrances and exits to the parking lots so no one could leave and no one could enter. With some team members dressed in ballistic vests and masks, and with guns drawn, the deputies rushed into their target destinations, handcuffed the stunned occupants — and demanded to see their barbers' licenses. The Orange County Sheriff's Office was providing muscle for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation's administrative inspection of barbershops to discover licensing violations.

We first held nineteen years ago that conducting a run-of-the-mill administrative inspection as though it is a criminal raid, when no indication exists that safety will be threatened by the inspection, violates clearly established Fourth Amendment rights. See Swint v. City of Wadley , 51 F.3d 988 (11th Cir. 1995). We reaffirmed that principle in 2007 when we held that other deputies of the very same Orange County Sheriff's Office who participated in a similar warrantless criminal raid under the guise of executing an administrative inspection were not entitled to qualified immunity. See Bruce v. Beary , 498 F.3d 1232 (11th Cir. 2007). Today,we repeat that same message once again. We hope that the third time will be the charm.

I would doubt it. Amanda Fields and her chums feel no shame about what they did - which is the real problem. If a constable does not instinctively understand that there is something wrong - and, indeed, profoundly wicked - about a "license inspection" that involves handcuffing the barber, he's unlikely to be unduly disturbed by the possibility of a judicial slapdown four years hence, assuming that the rubes he's cuffing are savvy enough to take it that far. For a sense of the esprit of the Florida regulatory environment, consider the words of one officer to barber Reginald Trammon:

When Trammon argued to one of the officers that he had done nothing wrong, the officer responded, " It's a pretty big book, I'm pretty sure I can find something in here to take you to jail for."

Indeed. As Laura Rosen Cohen comments:

Let's recap a few basics.

The police are YOUR employees.

Your employees are pointing loaded guns at you and raiding your homes in military style.

That's a problem.

Where's the so-called "party of small government" on this? Because, whatever else may be said about a regime that dispatches a Swat team to check barbering licenses, small government it's not. You can't complain about big, bloated, out-of-control government, and then make an exception when Hair Team Six wants to check Kelli-Sue's curling permit.

~The results of the Scottish independence referendum are due in a few hours. I said a few words on the subject here, and dusted off a rather prescient 17-year-old column of mine here, and added a postscript on contemporary Scottish identity here. On Wednesday's John Oakley show in Toronto, I said my best guess would be a narrow victory for the "no" side, which would be just enough to make the issue a permanent and destabilizing feature of British political life, as Quebec's secessionist shakedown operation is for Canada.

September 18, 2014 at 11:20 pm  |  Permalink

Och Aye the Now!

As a postscript to my comments on Thursday's referendum and my Sunday Telegraph column from 17 years ago, a commenter over at Lucianne.com has turned up some throwaway observations of mine on contemporary Scotland:

The Scots are almost everywhere you go – every corner on the planet, anything that's worth it, doesn't matter whether you're talking about banks in Hong Kong or rubber plantations in Malaya or the Canadian Pacific Railway, everywhere you go on the planet was built by Scots. And you go back to contemporary Scotland now, and they're this pathetic, feeble, passive economic swamp of dependency – parts of Glasgow, male life expectancy…they all sit around eating fried Mars bars all day, and life expectancy is getting down to West African rates in certain wards of Glasgow. So if you're someone who knows the Scottish diaspora, all that great stuff they did around the planet, and you go back to Scotland, you think, 'What the hell happened?' Well, what happened is government. What happened is welfare.

I think I originally extemporized that analysis in an interview with Benjamin Weingarten at The Blaze. But it happens to be true. There's a big difference between Braveheart and Fried Mars-hearts.

~Tomorrow morning, Wednesday, I'll be back with the great John Oakley, Toronto's Number One morning man, live on AM640 at 8.30am Eastern.

~I'll be returning to Minneapolis for the first time in some years on Thursday October 9th for An Evening With Mark Steyn presented by the Center of the American Experiment at Orchestra Hall. For more info and to book tickets, please click here.

September 16, 2014 at 2:19 pm  |  Permalink

A Se'nnight of Steyn, September 8-14

Posting will be a little lighter than usual at SteynOnline as Mark continues to deal with a family emergency. In case you missed it, here's how the last seven days looked to him:

~On Monday we began the week with Obama, Putin and a Steyn I-told-you-so moment.

~Tuesday marked one month till Mark returns to Minneapolis for An Evening With Mark Steyn to be hosted by the Center of the American Experiment. If you'd like to join Mark live at Orchestra Hall on October 9th, you can find more details here.

~On Wednesday the President gave his big speech on ISIS and announced what Steyn called his grand Coalition of the Unwilling.

~Thursday was the 13th anniversary of 9/11. Mark marked the occasion with a celebration of "God Bless America".

~On Friday Mark brought readers up to date on the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century with what became our most-read piece of the week, "Michael E Mann Repudiates His Own Hockey Stick" - on the latest fraudulent claims in Dr Mann's legal pleadings. Fortunately, SteynOnline readers have continued to support Mark's pushback against Mann and the other Big Climate thugs through their generous support of the Steyn store. We will continue to expose Mann's lies in the run-up to trial.

~At the weekend, Mark's Saturday film feature was the perfect date movie - if you had a date in Nuremberg 80 years ago: Triumph Of The Will.

A new week at SteynOnline begins tonight with our Song of the Week.

September 14, 2014 at 8:47 am  |  Permalink

Kicking Sand in Obama's Face

Obama on August 29th:

We are not taking military action to solve the Ukrainian problem... It is not in the cards for us to see a military confrontation between Russia and the United States in this region. Keep in mind, however, that I'm about to go to a NATO conference. Ukraine is not a member of NATO, but a number of those states that are close by are. And we take our Article Five commitments to defend each other very seriously.

Steyn on August 29th:

If you were the Estonian government, would you actually be reassured by that? And if you were Putin, if you were Putin sitting in the Kremlin, and you just wanted to mess with Obama, wouldn't you be slightly ever-so-tempted just to invade Estonia, just to see whether Obama follows through on that Article Five thing?

Putin on September 5th:

On Friday morning, less than 48 hours after President Obama delivered a speech in Estonia warning that Russian aggression against Estonia could trigger war with the US and NATO, Russian security forces have seized an officer with Estonia's state security bureau at gunpoint and taken him into Russia.

From Benghazi to the Baltic, the world has the measure of Obama. The only people who don't are America's besotted, parochial elite and the deluded electorate who made this man "leader of the free world".

September 8, 2014 at 4:56 am  |  Permalink

A Se'nnight of Steyn, September 1-7

Posting will be a little light at SteynOnline as Mark continues to deal with a family emergency. In case you missed it, here's how the last seven days looked to him:

We began the week with one of our most popular Songs of the Week of all time, "Over The Rainbow".

~Monday was Labor Day or Labour Day in the US and Canada, and Mark marked the occasion with some thoughts on the world after work.

~On Tuesday Steyn guest-hosted America's Number One radio show, The Rush Limbaugh Show. It was a strange blend of geopolitical big-picture foreign policy, and marginalia on duck genitalia.

~Mark returned to the Golden EIB Microphone on Wednesday, to discuss everything from missing jets in Libya to missing marbles in US security bureaucracy.

~Many Minnesota listeners were interested to hear about An Evening With Mark Steyn to be hosted by the Center of the American Experiment on October 9th. You can find more details here.

~There were further developments in the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century that Steyn considered in what became our most-read piece of the week, "When Science Is Settled - By Government". We're more grateful than ever to the many readers who've continued to support Mark's pushback against the climate mullahs by buying our exclusive trial merchandise, SteynOnline gift certificates and other products via the Steyn store. Mark has asked the court to expedite discovery and deposition of global warm-monger Michael E Mann.

~At the weekend, with the 13th anniversary of 9/11 approaching, Mark looked at the eerie cinematic pre-echoes of September 11th.

A new week at SteynOnline begins tonight with our Song of the Week.

September 7, 2014 at 11:09 am  |  Permalink

Training Freeborn Peoples to be a Compliant Herd

Thanks for the kind and unkind words about my stint behind the Golden EIB Microphone on The Rush Limbaugh Show this week. You can sample a few moments from Wednesday's show here - with respect to hashtag foreign policy, missing Libyan jets and Ferguson, Missouri.

~Many listeners wanted to know more about my forthcoming Minneapolis appearance, courtesy of the Center of the American Experiment. It's on October 9th at Orchestra Hall, and you can get tickets and more information here.

~A family emergency may keep posting a little light over the next couple of days. I've just passed through airport "security" and was impressed to find it vindictive, petty and totalitarian even by normal TSA standards - all in all more than confirming my conclusion on the radio that the principal purpose of security theatre is to train formerly free people to behave as a bovine compliant herd.

September 3, 2014 at 8:20 pm  |  Permalink

If It Corks Like a Duck...

I had a grand time guest-hosting for Rush on America's Number One radio show. You can sample a few moments from the show - or, for Rush 24/7 subscribers, the full three hours - here. It was a strange blend of geopolitical foreign-policy big-picture strategy and, er, duck genitalia. In the grim roll call of America's retreat from the world, almost two years after the sacking of the US diplomatic facility in Benghazi and the murder of its ambassador, the Libyan embassy itself has also fallen:

The US Embassy in Tripoli is now in the hands of the jihad boys. They're all diving into the pool at the compound and posting pictures of it on social media. It turns out the fellows that like to chop your head off know how to use YouTube, Facebook and Twitter better than Obama and all the cool kids he's got surrounding him in his Oval Office team. That's what it's come to: He's not even a good tweeter.

As for the duck genitalia, that's something the United States Government is studying with your tax dollars. Apparently, the female duck has a vagina that is a clockwise corkscrew, and the male duck has a penis that is a counterclockwise corkscrew - which prompted one caller to observe that Obama is trying to insert is counterclockwise foreign policy into a clockwise corkscrew of a world. At any rate, HR chipped in with the following quatrain (author unknown):

There once was a man with a corkscrew penis
Who searched o'er the world for a corkscrew Venus
But alas when he found one, oh such dread
For the corkscrew Venus had a left-hand thread.

Words to ponder.

HR, Mr Snerdley and I will be back for Wednesday's Rush Limbaugh Show, with three of live substitute-host-level excellence in broadcasting direct from Ice Station EIB starting at 12 noon Eastern.

September 2, 2014 at 6:21 pm  |  Permalink

A Se'nnight of Steyn, August 25-31

A Happy Labor Day or Labour Day weekend, according to taste, to our American and Canadian readers. In case you missed it, here's the last seven days as seen by Mark:

We began the week with a rollicking song for the 75th anniversary of The Wizard Of Oz.

~Our Monday Mark looked at the latest US corporation to vote with its feet, as Burger King declines to have it Obama's way and decamps to Canada to "have it your eh?".

~On Tuesday Steyn checked in with Hannity on Fox News to discuss the President's penetrating insight that ISIS was merely the junior varsity team of jihad. As Mark saw it, the only JV player on the geopolitical court is Obama.

~On Wednesday, in what became our most-read piece of the week, we noted that the peer-reviewed climate science has now caught up with Steyn, and a throwaway observation he made five years ago. With the Mann vs Steyn trial of the century approaching, Mark is very grateful to all who've helped support his pushback against the increasingly isolated Big Climate alarmists via the Steyn store. He is preparing to depose self-conferred Nobel Laureate Michael Mann.

~On Thursday, Steyn returned to The Hugh Hewitt Show to discuss the sandy-suited Obama's disarming disclosure that the United States has no strategy.

~On Friday, Mark considered one of the most horrifying stories of the week - the failure and collusion of politicians, police and child "protection" agencies in the sexual "grooming" of 1,400 girls by Muslim rape gangs in the Yorkshire town of Rotherham.

~To end the week, Mark paid tribute to the great actor (of Brighton Rock and Jurassic Park) and director (of Gandhi and A Bridge Too Far) Richard Attenborough.

A new week at SteynOnline begins tonight with our Song of the Week. After Labor Day, Mark returns to the Golden EIB Microphone to guest-host for Rush on America's Number One radio show, live coast to coast on Tuesday and Wednesday.

August 31, 2014 at 8:43 am  |  Permalink

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