Programming note: Tomorrow, Thursday, I'll be conducting another Clubland Q&A taking questions from Mark Steyn Club members live around the planet. The fun starts at 1pm North American Eastern/5pm GMT/6pm British Summer Time, but do check local listings.
~Anthony Fauci appears to have perjured himself in his touchy exchange with Senator Rand Paul regarding whether or not his agency funded "gain-of-function" Coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Alas, the court eunuchs of the US media couldn't be less interested in the story, so Fauci is still taken seriously when he warns about the irresponsibility of going unmasked to crowded sports events - as opposed to the irresponsibility of outsourcing gain-of-function to a politicized science lab under Communist control and with the security protocols of the average dentist's office.
Nevertheless, we are edging month by month towards what would once have been a remarkable reality: The official version proclaimed by Fauci and Peter Daszak and The Lancet (this is a natural virus that leapt from bats to humans) and was ruthlessly imposed to the exclusion of all other theories by the Big Tech commissars has less merit to it than that of Chairman Xi and his apparatchiks, who have insisted since last spring that the Yanks are to blame for it all.
The ChiComs are cunning; they are not complete arses, as almost all our leaders are. Four-and-a-half million people are dead of this thing, and at a certain point it will suit the Politburo to announce that something went badly wrong in Wuhan and their running-dog scientists got corrupted by American money, and that the original super-spreader was Anthony Fauci.
Which it looks increasingly like he was.
~Surprise, surprise! After three weeks of trolling about "Taliban 2.0", the new regime in Afghanistan turns out to be, as I said last week, "an 'inclusive' government encompassing both mullahs with full beards and mullahs with three-quarter-length beards". Or as The New York Times puts it:
Taliban Appoint Stalwarts to Top Government Posts
Stalwart? Yes, the memo's gone out from Lamestream Media Central. My old chums at The Irish Times:
Taliban Name New Afghanistan Cabinet That Rewards Stalwarts
One man's stalwart is another man's mass murderer. For example, the new Interior Minister is Sirajuddin Haqqani, whose main experience of the Afghan interior is the last twenty years he's spent blowing various bits of it sky-high. Mr Haqqani is on the FBI's Most Wanted list with a $10 million bounty on his head. Just in case you feel the bloated, hollow, flailing non-superpower isn't enough of a global laughingstock, the G-men add this caution:
SHOULD BE CONSIDERED ARMED AND DANGEROUS
I'll say. He's armed with $85 billions' worth of American weaponry. On the other hand, that ten mil in reward money still seems to be up for grabs, so feel free to call 1-800-FED-WANKERS and tell the Bureau Mr Haqqani can be reached at the Ministry of the Interior, Service Road, Kabul. You'll probably have to leave a message, because all the crack agents are out in California faking up next week's white-supremacist kidnapping plot against Governor Newsom.
~The "negotiations" in Doha about a "broad-based government" based on broads were always a joke. As I wrote a decade back, during the Iran nuclear jaw-jaw in Geneva, once the west enters into negotiations, the overwhelming priority becomes ensuring negotiations keep going: the talking is the point. Grasping this simple essential, the Taliban used the Doha negotiations for a "coalition" government as a convenient cover to put in place their plans for a totally non-coalition government. As the BBC's Yalda Hakim wondered to an interviewee this morning, "Do you think the Taliban do not understand what 'inclusion" means?"
Oh, I think they understand very well. It is noticeable that the frontmen they had in Doha all turn out to be rather unimportant: thus, Mullah Baradar, who was granted at least one one-on-one conversation with Trump, has been rewarded with the relatively piffling job of one of multiple "deputy prime ministers". The house-trained mullahs were in Qatar to string along the State Department rubes; the blood-drenched "stalwarts" were waiting in the wings.
Taqqiya. Works every time.
On the other hand, without formally occupying a square foot of Washington, the Taliban have successfully exported all their nuttiest ideas to the west. So, having taken two decades to lose to firebreathing imams, we are denied even the consolation of going back to all our 1990s hoots and jeers about the weirdbeards.
Remember the way it was? Boy, those stone-age loons, demolishing any statues that pre-date their own ideology:
On Wednesday, the state of Virginia removed the 12-ton statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee more than 130 years after it was installed in Richmond.
Well, okay, but can you believe those wacky Talibs ban dancing?
BREAKING: Effective Sept. 20 @TheWECHU announcing:
-Indoor dancing at weddings will be prohibited except for the bride and groom
America topples statues, Canada bans dancing, Australia pepper-sprays girls who show their faces outside their homes: It's one big Talibanny world!
~See you Thursday for our Clubland Q&A: Anyone anywhere around the planet can listen; membership is required only to ask a question. We opened The Mark Steyn Club well over four years ago, and I'm thrilled by all those SteynOnline aficionados across the globe - from Fargo to Fiji, Vancouver to Vanuatu, Surrey to the Solomon Islands - who've signed up to be a part of it. With exterior pleasures still canceled across much of the map (shows, pubs, sports, movies, restaurants) those in search of strictly in-home diversions can find more information about our Club here - and, if you've a pal who might be partial to this sort of thing, don't forget our special Gift Membership.