Programming note: Tonight, Monday, I'll be joining Tucker Carlson live across America at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific. If you're in the vicinity of the receiving apparatus, I hope you'll tune in.
~I said my piece on the end of the "Russia" investigation over the weekend, but before the release of the Attorney General's summary letter. On "Russia" and collusion, it is total victory for Trump. True, it took Mueller two years to reach a conclusion he could have made at the end of the first month. but that, alas, is the way of US "justice" in general. On his second conclusion - did Trump obstruct justice? - Mueller professes agnosticism, which is pathetic and weaselly, but again all too typical. Philosophically speaking, it is an interesting question whether one can obstruct justice in a matter for which there is no underlying crime. But in the America of investigation-without-end that will be sufficient pretext for House Democrats to launch unending investigations of whether Trump obstructed his exoneration in the last unending investigation.
~To return to where we left things a week ago, with a dying man and the toll of church bells in the post-Christian west:
'A church without faithful,' they seemed to be saying, 'in a city without God.'
Jacinta Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand and "the world's youngest female head of government", once worked for Tony Blair, and one would like to think she has learned from the master. For her fellow PM, tragedy was an opportunity: After the Princess of Wales' fatal car crash, George Stephanopoulos enthused to Christopher Hitchens, "Tony Blair's handling this really well. This is his Oklahoma City." As Hitchens remarked, "This is the way these people think."
But it's not clear to me that Ms Ardern is thinking at all. Because some mass murders are more significant than others, it was inevitable that the Christchurch slaughter would be seized upon to justify the banning of guns and speech - and not just in New Zealand. In Ottawa, the fallen Peter Pan PM is attempting to distract from his corruption scandal by raising the possibility of resurrecting the "hate speech" law I helped get repealed by the Canadian Parliament in 2013. But Ms Ardern is taking virtue-signaling to a whole new level: She has significantly raised the bar for every Islamopanderer in the chancelleries of the west - and the people seem to like it, at least according to the NZBC, where I heard some purported reporter the other day pronounce: "She hasn't put a foot wrong."
But did she put a head wrong? There it is at top right in a hijab. It is a curious image. Last year, when Alyssa Milano and fellow liberal sisters protested the new patriarchy to be ushered in by Brett Kavanaugh, they did so in costumes from "The Handmaid's Tale":
Apparently it's bad to force women into red robes and white coverings, but black robes and black coverings are totally cool - nothing patriarchal about them at all; in fact, the likes of Ms Ardern seem to get a kick out of it. Black isn't the new red.
Ms Ardern also ordered the nationwide broadcasting of the Muslim call to prayer, which apparently she can do, just as the Speaker of the legislature a couple of months back axed Jesus from the daily parliamentary prayer.
Meanwhile, to the list of discredited alt-right white supremacists such as Jesus and Chelsea Clinton, we must now add Jordan Peterson, whose book on "twelve rules" for life has been banned post-Christchurch by Whitcoulls, New Zealand's equivalent of Barnes & Noble. I don't believe Islam is terribly bothered by Professor Peterson one way or the other, but the left is - and so, in a touch of that Blairite opportunism mentioned above, they're happy to use one phobia (Islamo) to take out the most reviled exemplar of another (trans). Watch my interview with him while you still can.
Incidentally, if Jesus is too non-inclusive for the New Zealand Parliament, shouldn't we be changing the name of Christchurch to Mahmoudmosque?
~Aside from a few unctuous taqiyya types like Oxford professor Tariq Ramadan (now in a French gaol awaiting trial for raping two women), how many actual Muslims do the ostentatious virtue-signalers actually know? Kathy Shaidle drew my attention to the "Candid Camera" episode below. I don't know of either of the protagonists, but that's no reflection on them - I'm Mister Squaresville, and they're hip and happening. But Jim Jefferies is apparently a big name in both his native Australia and Hollywood, and has just started his third season on Comedy Central. He invited on to the show a so-called "anti-Islamic activist" Avi Yemini. Mr Yemini set two conditions, but, suspecting Mr Jefferies would break them anyway, took the precaution of secretly recording it anyway.
Which was a very prudent thing to do. Jefferies did indeed break both conditions, sat on the tape for months, and then used it in response to the Christchurch massacre. He also took Mr Yemini's answers and matched them up to entirely different questions.
So far that's just business as usual with the bad-faith bookers of Comedy Central. But listen to what happens next: Jim Jefferies, who plays an impeccably progressive anti-Islamophobe on TV, suddenly starts badmouthing Islam and Muslims himself - and indeed their fecundity, as if he's just some knuckle-dragging nutter who picked up a secondhand copy of America Alone. Click below to watch:
Kathy Shaidle suggests that deep down many so-called lefties agree with the right on Islam; they just object to anybody saying it in public. I would say that's particularly true of the showbiz crowd. I remember pointing that out to a very well-known West End playwright and Labour Party supporter a decade or so back as we stood at the back of the theatre just before curtain up, and he expressed regret for my descent into Islamic obsession. He'd drawn a youngish crowd that night, which he took as a good sign. "See any hijabs?" I replied. "As London Islamizes, the pool of potential theatregoers shrinks." He took the point. At some level, nobody in his line of work can avoid taking it, aside from special pleaders on BBC arts show ever ready to hail new breakthroughs in Sharia stand-up or burqa ballet. If you're an actor or a musician or a comic, you can't stand on the stage night after night and not notice the contrast between the demographic distribution in the auditorium and that of the street outside - that Mohammed for all his sterling qualities is disinclined to take his four wives for an evening of Oscar Wilde or Brahms and Liszt ...or Jim Jefferies. At a certain level, it appears that Mr Jefferies understands that, and once in a while, in contrast to the anodyne pap of "edgy" comedy that has so enriched him, actually says what he really feels.
Whether that's compatible with a gig at Comedy Central I leave to others.
~We had a busy weekend at SteynOnline, starting with my column on the late-breaking Friday news that Robert Mueller's "Russia" investigation was over. In honor of today's EU Talent Day our Saturday movie date celebrated various EU talents in EuroTrip, and our Sunday song selection contemplated one of the loveliest Silver Age operetta tunes, the Merry Widow Waltz. If legal matters cause our content to get a little more fitful in the days ahead, I hope you'll want to catch up with one or three of the foregoing.
If you enjoy the time you spend round these parts and you'd like to take it to the next level, there's always The Mark Steyn Club - and, even better, a full week on the second annual Mark Steyn Club Cruise, which will be sailing from Vancouver through Alaska's beautiful Inside Passage this September with Dennis Miller, Michele Bachmann and more. We'd love to have you with us, but cabins are going extremely fast.
I'll see you on the telly with Tucker tonight, live across America at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific.