As Thanksgiving week begins, a couple of turkey nuggets...
~The President's drive-by amnesty for however many bazillion fine upstanding members of the Undocumented-American community is particularly revolting to those of us chumps who were suckered into going through what passes for the legal immigration process in this country. Over at Powerline, an immigration lawyer points out one of the consequences of Emperor Barack's proclamation:
That is to say, you must be a law-breaker to enjoy the protections of American law. If you're law-abiding, get lost. In my new book, I write about a perfectly lawful US resident called Deena Gilbey whose husband died on 9/11 helping evacuate fellow workers from the World Trade Center. Having breezily admitted to the country the persons who murdered her spouse, America's evil immigration bureaucracy then devoted untold effort to getting Mrs Gilbey and her children deported.
All western immigration systems are problematic, thanks mainly to chain migration. But, unlike Australia's or Canada's, America's now explicitly exists to favor the unskilled and ill-educated over high-value economic contributors. Or as Daniel Greenfield puts it:
Which priority Obama has now formalized, with catastrophic consequences. Last Thursday he didn't just proclaim himself king, he proclaimed the rest of you guys peasants. That's why it was necessary to do it a few days after the election - just to rub it in.
~Who doesn't love a heartwarming tale of environmentalists in love? This one comes from the wedding chapel at Corcoran state prison in California, where Charles Manson and his lovely bride will be joined in holy matrimony:
Awwww, it's not just heartwarming, it's planet-cooling!
I shall be in court (in my amicus capacity) at 9.30am at the DC Court of Appeals tomorrow for oral arguments between Big Climate's serial litigant Michael E Mann and my co-defendants National Review, Rand Simberg and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. I'm not a hotshot lawyer or anything, so it's unclear to me, if Dr Mann loses, whether he gets banged up in the big house or is merely out on probation with an electronic bracelet. Evidently, he's already worrying about it. So I'm sure he's heartened to know that an environmental activist can still put chicks behind bars. Maybe Jessica Alba can be his penpal.
On the other hand, if it all goes south for me, the chances of a denialist getting any babes behind bars seems pretty slim.
~While we're on the subject of Big Climate thuggery, why did Obama feel the need to rebuke Australia's Tony Abbott over climate policy while he was at the G20 summit Down Under? It is a basic rule between friendly nations that a guest does not insult his host. That's why, as Greg Sheridan reveals in The Australian, John Berry, America's ambassador in Canberra, advised the President not to give his speech. Yet he went ahead and gave it anyway - and, just to pile insult on insult, refused to provide the Australian Government with an advance copy of the speech and didn't bother acknowledging the presence in the audience of Sir Peter Cosgrove, Australia's Governor-General.
The Queen's representative and the highest-ranking Australian in the land would not have attended the speech had he known Obama was going to urinate all over Her Majesty's Government. The Prime Minister would have, quite rightly, advised Sir Peter not to be seen sitting through such a graceless provocation. But even such a basic courtesy Obama couldn't be bothered with.
I made a point to Hugh Hewitt the other day that in the end all governing systems in civilized countries depend on gentlemen honoring the codes and conventions. Obama says screw that - and, at home and abroad, is governed only by what he can get away with.
But hey, what's one more US ally to add to the mountain of the disaffected?
~What would Mark Twain have made of this? I'll have to mull that one over, but maybe I'll have an answer by December 8th, which is when the Mark Twain House is hosting me in Hartford, Connecticut. It's a great honor for me: as authors, Mark Steyn and Mark Twain don't have much in common, except that the latter is an over-zealous spellcheck correction for the former. But the honor is made even sweeter by the fact that my interviewer on stage that night will be the great Scott Simon from NPR's "Weekend Edition". How often do you get to see an NPR host and a Rush Limbaugh guest-host on stage together?
The fun starts at 7pm on Monday December 8th, and you can find more information and book tickets here.
In case you missed it, here's how the last seven days looked to Mark:
He started the week with a celebration of the only Number One song written in the presence of a dead body.
~On Monday, Steyn wondered why President Obama can't use social media as effectively as a bunch of Islamic State head-hackers.
~Mark is still in book-promoting mode for his latest bestseller The [Un]documented Mark Steyn. Early in the week, he presented a couple of wide-ranging interviews on everything from the dessertification of tea to a German lingerie ad's contribution to civilizational collapse.
~On Wednesday, Mark looked at the accelerating abandonment of free speech by the supposedly educated class in what became our most read piece of the week: "A world stripped of Contraries."
~On Thursday, Steyn addressed the beheading of another US citizen, and the President's disgraceful response to it.
~The big news at the end of the week was, in America, President Obama's proclamation of himself as a one-man legislative branch and, in Britain, that UKIP had won the Rochester & Strood by-election. Mark explained why the two events are part of the same story.
To mark the passing of director Mike Nichols, Steyn's Saturday movie date was a limousine-liberal valentine to Bill Clinton.
A new week at SteynOnline begins tonight with our Song of the Week.
Mark will be on the radio later this Thanksgiving week, and, just to sour his pumpkin pie, he'll be in Washington on Tuesday morning at the DC Court of Appeals for oral arguments in his co-defendants' case against fraudulent climate scientist and big-screen bad guy Michael E Mann. After two years in the choked toilet of DC justice, Mark hopes his own trial will proceed shortly thereafter. If you're in the vicinity of the courthouse, do swing by and say hello. If not, we hope you'll consider supporting Steyn's pushback against the Mannatollah and his fellow climate mullahs by considering a SteynOnline gift certificate or a book or CD from the Steyn store for your loved one this holiday season.
As for Mark's latest hit, The [Un]documented Mark Steyn continues to jostle with Tina Fey on the New York Times bestseller charts. It's available in America from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million, not to mention Costco, and from Indigo-Chapters, Amazon and McNally-Robinson in Canada. Or, for instant gratification, get it in eBook - in Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks.And, wherever you are on the planet, we're happy to ship you a personally autographed copy direct from the SteynOnline bookstore.
One of my favorite sections in The [Un]documented Mark Steyn (which I see is one of Politico's bestsellers this week) is entitled "Last Laughs", and deals with the ever more openly totalitarian ease with which everyone who matters in western society - from politicians to "educators" - is happy to ban opinions, attitudes, even jokes, all in the cause of regulating the new utopia. The more officially "tolerant" we become, the more intolerant we must be in enforcing it.
Older lefties can still just about pay lip-service to that apocryphal bit of Voltaire about disagreeing with what you say but fighting to the death for your right to say it - a line that used to appeal to the progressive's sense of self-inflating heroism. As I say in the book, nobody needs you to "fight to the death" for it: a mildly supportive Tweet every now and again would do. But among the leaders of tomorrow even these rote nods toward the "principle" of free speech ask too much. A fellow called Zach Traynor, exercising his "white privilege" from the cozily parochial confines of Dartmouth College, sums up what passes for current thinking:
And obviously everyone can agree on what constitutes "hateful" speech, can't they? Some right-thinking chap from the Ivy League (Jonathan Gruber, for example - he seems to be available) could put his thinking cap on and draw up the "architecture" for such prohibitions. And then some disinterested bureaucrats could create an agency (perhaps headed by Lois Lerner - she seems to be available) to administer the new prohibitions fairly. And obviously "America's deeply-held cultural norms and the power of the Internet and social media" would prevent the new regime getting out of hand - in the way that Canada's deeply-held cultural norms and the power of the Internet prevented it prosecuting stand-up comedians for putting down lesbian hecklers homophobically, and Britain's deeply-held cultural norms and the power of the Internet prevented it cracking down on a bloke making disrespectful Nelson Mandela jokes, and Denmark's deeply-held cultural norms and the power of the Internet prevented it charging Lars Hedegaard for some private observations made in the privacy of his home about Islam's treatment of women...
Oh, no, wait, all those deeply-held cultural norms didn't prevent any of that at all. You'd be surprised how non-deeply-held most cultural norms are once push comes to shove. This Zach Traynor chappie seems entirely unmoored from any himself. But perhaps I underestimate "the power of social media". After all, it seems to be doing a grand job in persuading Canadians and Americans and Aussies and Frenchmen to take up head-hacking for the Islamic State. So who knows what it might accomplish if one were able to harness its awesome power in the name of unambiguous good - ie, "the prohibition of unambiguously destructive, hateful speech."
Personally, I like hate. I don't mean I hate Zach Traynor, although I do despise him - as the pampered beneficiary of a glorious inheritance too dim to understand what he's betraying. But as the years go by I am inclined to take Blake's view. That's Blake Shelton, judge of TV's "The Voice" ...no, wait, I mean William Blake, obscure dead guy, who remarked:
Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion,Reason and Energy, Love and Hate are necessary to Human existence.
He's not saying Hate is "good", only that it's "necessary to Human existence". The freedom to hate is part of what makes us human, and what makes us free, and therefore "without Contraries is no progression" - which is why those places most advanced toward Zach Traynor's utopia (American college campuses, say) seem most stagnant. I wouldn't necessarily want to argue that Jian Ghomeshi, the impeccably liberal, progressive CBC radio host of plonkingly correct attitudes Tweeting out his support for #EndViolenceAgainstWomenDay all year long while cheerfully punching their lights out in his apartment every night, is a testament to the strain of living under such a regime, but the strange, increasingly vicious urge to ban, silence, forbid, exile, obliterate even the mildest disagreeement that now characterizes "liberal" institutions such as the academy suggests that the formal proscription of "hate" only leads it to find other outlets. The world Traynor's generation is ushering in will be be bloodier than one of Mr Ghomeshi's dates.
~Speaking of The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, Jonathan van Maren has a word to say about my new book, and about the strength of some of those "deeply-held cultural norms":
~If that makes it sound heavier than you're in the mood for, hey, relax: The [Un]documented Mark Steyn is up with Lena Dunham, Russell Brand, Tina Fey and all the other cool kids on the New York Times Top Ten humor bestsellers. Ain't that a laugh? It's available in America from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million, not to mention Costco, and from Indigo-Chapters, Amazon and McNally-Robinson in Canada. Or you can be reading it within seconds - via Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks. And, wherever you are on the planet, we're happy to ship you a personally autographed copy of this year's perfect Christmas gift direct from the SteynOnline bookstore.
Kate McMillan contrasts the fawning media coverage from a couple of years back about Obama's brilliant use of social media with the revelation that over 60 per cent of Obamacare Facebook comments come from just 100 users. She adds:
This is true, and an important point. Almost every aspect of Obama's "cool" - from his peerless communication skills to his genius at cutting-edge social media - is totally bogus. His real genius is in pulling the wool over the media's eyes, and given that they walk into the room wearing back-to-front ski-masks that doesn't take much doing, either. For example, Jonathan Gruber couldn't get away with his contempt for the American people if he didn't also have a contempt for the American media. In the latter case at least, it's well deserved.
The real social media "winners" of our time, as I said on Rush a few months back, the Islamic State. They use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter et al far more effectively than Obama. They've used social media as a recruitment tool to attract thousands of western Muslims to grab their passports and head to Syria and Iraq. They've social media them as a way to mainstream beheading, to the point where people are taking it up in London, New York, and Moore, Oklahoma. And they've used social media to decapitate their hostages and entirely bypass that same "incurious, supportive media" which would otherwise be airbrushing them into "so-called extremists", as the BBC calls the Islamic State.
If Obama was so great at social media, wouldn't you think he'd be better at stopping these fellows having the run of the Internet? If you think "winning social media" means holding up a cardboard hashtag while putting on a pouty face, the Obama guys are geniuses. If you think it means using new media technology to accomplish your strategic goals, the Islamic State fellows are running rings round us.
~Speaking of "an incurious, supportive media", Steve Sailer draws my attention to this column from The Atlantic, in which Noah Gittell bemoans the fact that Christopher Nolan's film Interstellar isn't quite up to snuff as by-the-book climate-change propaganda:
Sometimes it helps actually to watch the movie that's been made rather than the one you think the guy should have made. It's not "a vague reference" to the Blight, but actually quite a thought-out explanation for it. As I wrote the other day:
It would have been easy to make the Blight something to do with "global warming" and get Gittell hailing it as the greatest thing since The Day After Tomorrow. And yet Nolan chose not to...
In one scene, he shows in the background, on a distant ridge line, a row of wind turbines.
In other words, this shrunken, impoverished, backward world appears to have done everything the Gittells want - and this is the result: a world in which wind turbines blow nothing but a ferocious, ravening, poisonous dust.
There are other clues, too: There is no livestock. Is everyone perforce vegetarian? There are no Blight-proof GM crops. Did they get banned?
As you know, my main interest in Christopher Nolan's film Interstellar is that the villain is a climate scientist called "Dr Mann". So I took my kids along to the film on Friday night, and concluded:
But this guy at The Atlantic, Noah Gittell, persists in seeing the film as some sort of metaphor for global warming that's a bit too elliptical for his tastes. As Steve Sailer says:
I used to write for The Atlantic, and one day the owner David Bradley took me to lunch in the Watergate building, which he owns. Over a cheeseburger, he told me that what he liked about my column was that a lot of the rest of the magazine was "earnest" and my stuff leavened the earnestness ...just enough - because, after all, a lot of the readers were earnest, too. But there's a big difference between being "earnest" and being as plonkingly unknowing as Mr Gittell is here.
~Speaking of Doctor Fraudpants, what's the real Michael E Mann up to? Over at Anthony Watts' site:
Indeed, he did. In this case, Lord Monckton explores the fairly obvious contradiction between Mann's court filing, wherein he claims an "overly simplified" graph is "absolutely nothing to do with Dr Mann", and Mann's website, where the self-same "overly simplified" graph is listed among his published works. I wrote about this two months ago under the headline "Michael E Mann Repudiates His Own Hockey Stick":
It is well past time for the Court to rebuke Mann's counsel for the serial falsehoods in their pleadings. I will be interested to see if the DC Court of Appeals takes up this point when Mann stands before them on November 25th.
Out and about promoting my new book The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, I had a jolly time on "Louder With Crowder" - hosted by Steven Crowder, with whom I appeared on stage in Chicago recently. Mr Crowder was born in Michigan, but grew up in Montreal, so part of our conversation dwelt on the psychologically complicated relationship between Canadians and the United States. We also discussed the chapter in my book on coffee-house culture, and I said a few words about tea as well.
You can hear the full show, including an appearance by the fine novelist Andrew Klavan, here. It's a laugh. I show up an hour in, but the whole thing is a fun listen. As Steven puts it:
~I was in somewhat more somber mode for my interview at The Blaze with Benjamin Weingarten:
The interview was recorded before the latest beheading of a US citizen - Peter Kassig - but it's pretty much on the money: Obama was at pains to ensure us that chopping a guy's head off "represents no faith, least of all the Muslim faith".
"Least of all"?
Bonus insult: The President takes poor Mr Kassig's enforced submission to Islam as a genuine conversion.
But, as with Steven Crowder, I took one of the ostensibly minor subjects of my book, and explained why I thought it was of broader significance:
It's a wide-ranging interview. Benjamin summarizes it thus:
Phew. You can listen to the whole thing here.
~As for the book itself, The [Un]documented Mark Steyn is currently jostling with Tina Fey on the New York Times bestseller charts. It's available in America from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million, not to mention Costco, and from Indigo-Chapters, Amazon and McNally-Robinson in Canada. Or you can be reading it within seconds - via Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks. And, wherever you are on the planet, we're happy to ship you a personally autographed copy of this year's perfect Christmas gift direct from the SteynOnline bookstore.
In case you missed it, here's how the last seven days looked to Mark:
The week began with Steyn marking the 25th anniversary of the "fall" of the Berlin Wall.
~On Monday, just ahead of Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth, Mark considered the "poppy hijab" and the new security-ringed Cenotaph ceremonies in what became our most-read piece of the week: "Remembrance, Delusion and Usurpation."
~Tuesday was, variously, Veterans Day, Remembrance Day or Armistice Day. Steyn marked the occasion with a song for the season, and some thoughts on war and remembrance. At the Cenotaph in Toronto, things did not go so smoothly.
~On Thursday, Steyn returned to The Hugh Hewitt Show to discuss Obama's post-Constitutional order, and the exquisite liberal condescension of Jonathan Gruber.
~It was a good week for Pongo Award winner and fraudulent climate scientist Michael E Mann. He turns out to be the big-screen villain in the new blockbuster Interstellar. On Friday, Mark took his kids to see the movie. We haven't yet sold the movie rights for the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century, but Mark continues to prepare for Dr Mann's deposition and discovery. He thanks all those readers who've supported his case by buying SteynOnline gift certificates and patronizing the Steyn store.
A new week at SteynOnline begins tonight with our Song of the Week.
As for Mark's new book, The [Un]documented Mark Steyn is currently jostling with Tina Fey on the New York Times bestseller charts. It's available in America from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million, not to mention Costco, and from Indigo-Chapters, Amazon and McNally-Robinson in Canada. Or, for instant gratification, get it in eBook - in Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks.And, wherever you are on the planet, we're happy to ship you a personally autographed copy direct from the SteynOnline bookstore.
On my regular radio date with Hugh Hewitt, we discussed much of the current political scene, including the President's threat of unilateral amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants:
The Democratic Party is increasingly comfortable operating in a post-Constitutional landscape:
We end with a glimpse of what might have been - a new singing senator (not of the Larry Craig variety). You can find the entire interview here.
The Blaze's Benjamin Weingarten interviewed Mark about his new book The [Un]documented Mark Steyn. Along the way they also discussed Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber, whose smug, confident contempt for the people Steyn suggests is the acme of liberal technocrat condescension. Lots of other subjects, big and small, are covered in this conversation. We think you'll enjoy it. Just click below to listen:
~The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, a Top Five bestseller in Poughkeepsie, is available across America from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million, not to mention Costco, and from Indigo-Chapters, Amazon and McNally-Robinson in Canada. Or, for instant gratification, get it in eBook - in Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks. And, wherever you are on the planet (see satisfied customer Brett Farrell above), we're happy to ship you a personally autographed copy direct from the SteynOnline bookstore.
This morning I started the day with Chris Stigall on Philadelphia's WPHT - The Big Talker, as I still think of it. It was a jolly back and forth, although it's no secret that WPHT-wise my dream gig would be to guest-host for Sid Mark. Anyway, you can hear Chris and me chewing over immigration and other matters here.
Later today I'll be on the radio across America with Hugh Hewitt and then Alan Colmes. Full details at right.
~Further to last night's exciting news that serial litigant Michael E Mann - always the bridesmaid never the bride when they're handing out Nobels - has been honored with the Pongo Award, Roger L Simon breaks down the climate cultists:
If you'd like to help my pushback against Big Climate, please see here.
But probably not Big Arm, Montana, whence Amazon reviewer Ed Kugler declares, "Didn't care for it at all." Maybe I can ask Chief Commissar of Permissible Opinions Michael E Mann to get Mr Kugler banned for life.
Outside the Greater Poughkeepsie area, my book is available across America from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million, not to mention Costco, and from Indigo-Chapters, Amazon and McNally-Robinson in Canada. Or, for instant gratification, get it in eBook - in Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks.And, wherever you are on the planet, we're happy to ship you a personally autographed copy direct from the SteynOnline bookstore.
This morning, Wednesday, I started the day with Toronto's Number One morning man John Oakley, live on AM640. John began with an appalling soundbite from Councillor Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, speaking at the city's Remembrance Day observances and flubbing the names and ranks of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, the two Canadian soldiers murdered by Muslim fanatics last month. Afterwards, she compounded her carelessness by sloughing it off with "Sh*t happens."
Right. In Flanders fields, sh*t happens. At the Cenotaph in Toronto, this particular sh*t didn't need to happen, and it happened only because Councillor Ramkhalawansingh, on a day to remember our soldiers, couldn't be bothered to remember.
This stuff shouldn't be difficult, unless you're a thoughtless twerp winging it. Yesterday, 75 years after it was dedicated by King George VI, and three weeks after the killing of Corporal Cirillo, HRH The Princess Royal and the Governor General, David Johnston, re-dedicated the National War Memorial in Ottawa. Their words were simple, solemn, and bore the weight of the occasion:
After chewing over Councillor Ramkhalawansingh, John and I moved on to discuss Remembrance Day more generally, and Obama, Putin et al at the big Asia-Pacific shindig. Click below to listen:
~John mentioned my piece on the heavy security at Remembrance Day services, in the wake of the murderous assault in Ottawa and the plot to stab the Queen in London. It included this picture of the Royal Gurkha Rifles at the Cenotaph in Whitehall:
Reader Bruce Gentner writes from Down Under to draw a more general lesson:
That was also true at the Cenotaph in Ottawa. The barbarian who shot Corporal Cirillo had a loaded gun. The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders did not, as is customary on ceremonial duty. Now the Ottawa Police dispatches officers from its SWAT team to guard the soldiers. Bruce continues:
There is something unsettling about the sight of soldiers being guarded by heavily armed policemen. I hope it's not becoming a habit.
~Tomorrow, Thursday, I'll be south of the border with Chris Stigall on WPHT The Big Talker in Philadelphia, live just after 8am Eastern. I'll close out the day with my weekly date on The Hugh Hewitt Show at 6pm Eastern/3pm Pacific and then a reunion with my old pal Alan Colmes coast to coast at 7pm Eastern. Full details of all my telly and radio appearances can be found in the On The Air box at right.
© 2014 Mark Steyn Enterprises (US) Inc. All rights reserved.