Presidents are entitled to nominate Supreme Court justices who represent their party and its values. Using that as our guide, President Joe Biden picked the Democrats’ perfect Supreme Court justice: Ketanji Brown Jackson.
If you’d given me a thousand bucks to come up with a question that would stump a Supreme Court nominee, I never would have thought of: What’s a woman?
As Sens. Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham amply demonstrated at the nomination hearings last week, Judge Jackson really likes defendants in child pornography cases. She’s partial to all criminals, but the child porn cases make the point bracingly.
In seven out of seven child pornography cases that came before Judge Jackson, where the sentencing was up to the judge, she imposed sentences that were a fraction of those recommended under the sentencing guidelines. In all seven cases, her sentences were also far below those requested by the prosecutor.
Not 2 1/2 years, instead of three — more like three months instead of 10 years. In United States v. Hawkins, the defendant possessed and distributed multiple images of child abuse of kids, including photos of prepubescent boys engaging in oral and anal sex, a video of an 8-year-old boy masturbating, and one of an 11-year-old boy being anally penetrated by an adult man.
The federal sentencing guidelines recommended eight to 10 years. Judge Jackson sentenced the defendant to three months.
Yes, yes, he was only 18, and he was remorseful. Good for him!
But Judge Jackson also dramatically departed downward in sentencing a couple of ripe perverts — one who attempted to travel across state lines to molest a 9-year-old girl (when his thousands of child porn images weren’t enough); and another who’d distributed more than a hundred pornographic photos and videos of his own daughter.
On average, Judge Jackson gave child porn defendants sentences more than five years below the minimum under the guidelines.
In other words, Judge Jackson is the beau ideal Democratic Supreme Court justice.
In her favor, KBJ is at least a Generational African American (GAA), i.e. Descendant of American Slaves (DOAS) — unlike Barack Obama, Kamala Harris, Joy Ann Reid and approximately 90% of the “African Americans” in Harvard’s entering class this year, according to the Harvard Crimson.
Perhaps, there’s hope that, someday, the high court will acknowledge that affirmative action is intended to make up for the legacy of slavery and should be available exclusively to GAAs, as opposed to what it is now, which is affirmative action, set-asides, “plus” factors, and do-nothing diversity jobs for everyone except white Americans.
Apart from the Democrats finally promoting a legacy African American, rather than an immigrant trying to steal the experiences of Black Americans, nothing is unusual here. It’s the media’s response to the questioning of Judge Jackson that’s been hilarious.
The media take the position that it’s rude to ask Judge Jackson questions — at least any questions about her record. Republicans are welcome to ask her all the questions they like about her family or her travails.
She is the most qualified human being ever, EVER to be nominated to the Supreme Court! The bravest, the strongest, the most heroic — HOW DARE YOU ASK OUR LITTLE LAMB QUESTIONS!
The media have also issued reams of “context,” “fact checks” and “debunkings” … all to prove that KBJ is a virtual Eliot Ness on crime! Don’t believe your eyes! Forget everything you know about the Democrats! It’s all lies and conspiracy theories!
We got the sneering:
No, Sen. Hawley, Ketanji Brown Jackson isn’t soft on child pornography. — NBC News
We got the hysterical warnings about right-wing conspiracy theorists:
Hawley’s attacks on Ketanji Brown Jackson fuel a surge in online conspiracy chatter. — NPR
And we got the sophistical “fact checks”:
Fact check: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson child porn sentences “pretty mainstream” — ABC News
The New York Times‘ “fact check” noted she was concerned about child porn fiends who were simply motivated by “the technological or social aspects” of child porn.
Totally run on that, Democrats.
What is the point of all these “FACT CHECKS”? For the past two years, liberals have been screaming, “Defund the Police!” “All Cops Are Bastards,” “F–k the Police!” — not to mention actually defunding the police and springing criminals in Democratic-run cities around the country. We got it: You like criminals and hate the police, Democrats. You’re not exactly flying below the radar.
Of note: Sen. Joe Manchin, your regular, old-time, American values Democrat, is just like the rest of his party when it comes to crime. Same with Arizona’s Sen. Mark Kelly and Montana’s Sen. Jon Tester. Kelly can boast about being an astronaut, and Tester can walk around with that buzz-cut and a piece of hay in his teeth — but give them a guy getting off on videos of 11-year-old boys being anally raped, and they say: Three months. Max.
The 1940s, when so many new technologies such as atomic weapons and computers were rushed into existence, remains the peak real-life science-fiction decade. So there’s a steady demand from highbrow readers for biographies of the various Manhattan Project superheroes. The latest is The Man From the Future: The Visionary Life of John von Neumann by Ananyo Bhattacharya.
The polymath John von Neumann (1903–1957) was the most spectacularly brilliant of “The Martians,” the ethnically Jewish Hungarian geniuses at Los Alamos who spoke English with Count Dracula accents.
Reading The Man From the Future, it’s hard not to acknowledge mathematics as the king of the disciplines. Von Neumann was first and foremost a mathematician, a protégé of David Hilbert, the most influential mathematician of the early 20th century. He delighted Hilbert by offering, as a teenager, a response to Bertrand Russell’s Paradox that was undermining confidence in Hilbert’s program for mathematical progress.
From von Neumann’s position of strength on the intellectual high ground of math, the adult prodigy then conducted a series of lightning raids on lesser fields:
—Physics (helping reconcile the seemingly conflicting quantum-mechanics approaches of Heisenberg and Schrödinger).
—Engineering (leading the design of the implosion device for triggering the first-ever atomic bomb, which was exploded at Trinity, New Mexico, in July 1945).
—Economics (more or less inventing the subject of game theory and coining the useful term “zero-sum game”).
—Computer science (articulating in 1945 the von Neumann architecture that instantly became the standard way to design general-purpose computers; note that he didn’t invent the computer, but his clarity of mind and prestige helped get the American computer industry off to a quick start on the right foot).
—Nuclear war strategy (hanging out at the early RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, von Neumann offered ideas for dealing with the Soviets that tended to be less Dr. Strangelove than Gen. Buck Turgidson. Like the leftist pacifist Russell in the late 1940s, von Neumann kicked around the idea of nuking the Soviets before they got the Bomb and could retaliate).
—Psychology (writing a book on the subject while dying of cancer).
What couldn’t von Neumann do? Bhattacharya lists a few of the great man’s shortcomings: He hated sports and anything else you couldn’t do in a well-tailored business suit, was a bad driver, had little musical ability, was not terribly interested in hearing about the feelings of the women in his life, and was an enthusiastic but mediocre chess player. Fascinatingly, an endnote mentions that the inventor of game theory was a notoriously poor poker player.
Von Neumann grew up haute bourgeois in Budapest, where his father was elevated to the Austro-Hungarian nobility when he was 9. He despised the few months of Bela Kun’s communist dictatorship in 1919 and remained a man of the center-right ever after.
He combined a generally conservative posture with an emphasis on cooperation—for instance, he used his massive influence to keep the new electronic computer from being tied down by patents and secrecy, arguing that America needed as many companies working smartly on computers as possible. Therefore, he published the plans for the computer he oversaw in the late 1940s. The huge lead American capitalism built up in digital technology by following this strategy helped win the Cold War decades later.
On the other hand, von Neumann’s love of collaboration sometimes backfired. At Los Alamos in May 1946, he filed a patent application for a hydrogen bomb along with Klaus Fuchs, who (unbeknownst to the staunchly anti-communist von Neumann) turned out to be a Soviet spy.
Von Neumann led a peripatetic life. For instance, he simultaneously earned a doctorate in mathematics in Budapest and, to please his father who worried there was no money in math, another doctorate in chemical engineering in Zurich.
He could work anywhere except the quiet study his wife prepared for him, preferring when at home in New Jersey to do his math in the living room with the TV blaring. The ivory tower Institute for Advanced Studies near Princeton, where von Neumann was employed from 1933 onward, was immensely prestigious (von Neumann was likely only its third most famous physicist after Einstein and Oppenheimer) but was also culturally ill-suited for his need for a racket. He annoyed his neighbor Einstein by playing marching band records loudly in his office. And the other sages didn’t approve of the off-putting nerds he hired to build and program his computer.
Von Neumann had felt at home in America from his first visit. At age 50, he signed a contract to leave IAS, an outpost of European culture, for sunny UCLA, where he would have focused on computing. But cancer kept him from moving.
It’s interesting to ask whether if von Neumann had been at UCLA into the 1970s promoting computers with his usual energy, would Westwood have become the center of the tech world instead of Stanford’s similar Palo Alto?
Probably not, I’d guess. Stanford’s Fred Terman hit upon the exact right formula for integrating academia, the military-industrial complex, and entrepreneurialism. Von Neumann liked earning and spending money, but I suspect 1954 was already too late to have derailed the nascent Stanford juggernaut. But a von Neumann-led Silicon Beach might have edged out suburban Boston’s once-famous Route 128 to be a center of Cold War defense industry computing (the top brass loved von Neumann).
In the decade after the war, von Neumann was America’s top all-purpose consultant. He had an immense number of meetings with lesser mortals, many of whom came away with an anecdote about his intelligence. For a book about such an amazing character, Bhattacharya’s biography is a little dry: Focusing more on explaining his hero’s ideas, the author has an aversion to ladling on more than a tastefully limited number of the countless gee-whiz anecdotes about von Neumann.
Instead, Bhattacharya does something I haven’t seen too often in a biography, many of which devote endless throat-clearing pages to the predecessors of the great man. Instead, he writes at length about von Neumann’s successors, the bright guys who carried on with the head Martian’s manifold ideas, such as Herman Kahn, Thomas Schelling, John McCarthy, Stephen Wolfram, and so forth.
On the other hand, deemphasizing von Neumann in a von Neumann biography is probably not one of the best marketing strategies in publishing history. And The Man From the Future doesn’t work as a career-advice airport book, since the author is honest that von Neumann’s one weird trick was being one of history’s greatest mathematicians.
Oddly, my favorite character in The Man From the Future is von Neumann’s coauthor on the 1944 surprise best-seller Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, Austrian economist Oskar Morgenstern. As described by Bhattacharya, the relationship between von Neumann and Morgenstern is reminiscent of that in Vladimir Nabokov’s dazzling comic novel Pale Fire between the Robert Frost-like poet John Shade and the disagreeable and perhaps demented émigré professor Charles Kinbote, who wants Shade to write an epic poem about how he is secretly King Charles the Beloved, deposed monarch of the Soviet satellite state of Zembla.
Similarly, Morgenstern constantly feuded with his departmental colleagues at Princeton U. while futilely plotting to get hired at the Institute for Advanced Studies. Never having bothered to learn much math, Morgenstern’s main contribution to their book was keeping von Neumann amused by asking interesting questions while von Neumann wrote 600 pages of dense mathematics. And Morgenstern kept a picture of Kaiser Frederick III of Germany in his office, whom he told everybody was his grandfather (and probably was).
Comedy was on my mind last week, for three coincidental reasons.
Reason No. 1: Jowly failed 1980s stand-up “comedian” Dana Gould called me a Holocaust denier. I was commenting in a Twitter thread about how Gould is the guy who killed The Simpsons (he took over as executive producer in the 2000s and fans generally agree that under his watch the show plummeted in quality and relevance). Gould disagreed with my assertion, but instead of disputing it on the merits, he replied with no wit or humor, “you’re a Holocaust denier.”
Which I’m not, but even if I were, I’d still know that 2000s Simpsons sucked.
Reason No. 2: My colleague Steve Sailer penned a piece about comedy for Unz, and commenters launched a conspiracy theory (a conspiracy theory on Unz? Nooooo!) that I’d ghost-written part of it.
That, itself, is hilarious, maybe more to me than you, because I know Steve, and the notion that we trade ideas is funny. Just thinking about it conjures up images of us on the phone late at night sitting in bed in our PJs having a bull session like two teenage girls:
“Like, errmahgerd, Steve, you should write about comedy!”
“ERR-MAH-GERD, Dave, let’s do it together, bestie!”
The Unz morons who created that comedy gold didn’t do so on purpose. The best comedy is always inadvertent. There’s a popular showbiz adage, attributed in different forms to either Edmund Gwenn or Edmund Kean: “Dying is easy; comedy is hard.” I disagree. To me, great comedy is effortless. Like the video of the cheerful sleeping dog who farts and gets socked by an angry judgmental cat. No effort went into that, it just happened. But it makes me laugh harder than anything I see on SNL these days. That cat does a better “slow burn” than Oliver Hardy.
Which brings me to reason No. 3: The SXSW festival hosted a panel on comedy headlined by John Cleese. One of the lesser panelists was “oh no you dih-in’t” sassy black comedienne Dulcé Sloan, whose routines generally revolve around “white women be wantin’ to touch my hair.”
So that’s inadvertently funny right there, putting her on the same panel as Cleese, one of the most important figures in comedy history.
At one point during the discussion, Cleese grew impatient with Hairy-et Tubman’s “this be racist” comedy stylings, so he went off on a very un-woke riff about slavery and colonization. According to The Hollywood Reporter, many audience members grew uncomfortable (Sloan even went so far as to grab Cleese’s mic).
Cleese was employing a type of comedy in which the humor comes from the fact that you’re purposely creating an awkward moment by isolating a weakness in your opponent, or your audience, and needling it incessantly. It’s what Norm Macdonald did when the cackling hens on The View told him to stop talking about Bill Clinton and Vince Foster, and what David Letterman did, always (the best example being when Oliver Reed told him to not mention his alcoholism, so Letterman responded by only talking about his alcoholism).
The humor is simple: A guy is told “don’t do that,” so he does it and does it hard.
What made the Cleese panel even funnier to me is that the moderator, former NBC and IFC exec Dan Pasternack, is an old friend. I discussed him (though not by name) in this 2017 column about the Hollywood guy who tried to sexually assault me. And as someone who’s known Dan since 1982, I can tell you two things about him: He’s a doctrinaire far-leftist, and he’s the world’s biggest ass-kiss. In junior high, when we made a film together (for those of you masochistic enough, here’s a clip of us), I marveled at his ability to suck up to even the most minor celebrity. He’s compelled to bow and scrape before his betters; he doesn’t have it in him to tell a guy like Cleese to ease up.
So watching that panel, the hilarious part to me wasn’t Cleese, but Dan. He was dying inside, as his two primary instincts—defend leftism and ass-kiss the biggest name in the room—were at odds.
Laughing is something that comes naturally. We can’t help what we find funny. I’m sure 90% of you enjoyed the farting dog video, but I’m certain that none of you doubled over as I did watching Dan Pasternack sweat. Some of you probably found Cleese’s intentional room-buzzkill funny; others likely found it uncomfortable.
Laughter is involuntary. And leftists, in their never-ending quest to remake man and redefine normal, despise involuntary reactions. They must be able to control the gag reflex, for both uses of the word “gag”: the instinct to laugh at the funny and vomit at the repulsive.
When the left conditions you to see the GameStop tranny as neither hilarious nor vomitous, it wins.
That’s why the left is so obsessed with censoring comedy. Not because it fears comedy, but because it fears involuntary responses (those who wish to control most fear that which cannot be controlled). Hence the two-pronged attack on comedy: “You cannot do those jokes because society has changed and nobody laughs at this anymore” (a favorite leftist technique of telling people to “go along with the crowd! Don’t you want to be popular?”) and “Your words literally murder” (the protesters at Dave Chappelle’s high school alma mater accused him of killing trannies with his jokes).
But it’s hard to control laughter. Back when Hollywood leftists were interested in exploiting laughter (making money from it by producing funny stuff regardless of content or offense), laughter was the left’s best friend. Those were good days; there are many funny leftists, or at least there were, before leftists redefined “knock ’em dead” from “do well on stage” to “your joke took a human life.”
Shary Flenniken is a seminal figure in American comedy history. In the 1970s and early ’80s she was an editor, writer, and cartoonist for National Lampoon. I grew up reading her work. In 2015 I reached out to her for an interview, and we ended up becoming good friends.
Shary’s an old-school liberal. We have little in common ideologically, but so what? She’s a brilliant humorist, and fearless; several of her race-themed National Lampoon pieces would likely get her “canceled” today, were they available online. And one of Shary’s most significant contributions to comedy is that way back in October 1979 (in a piece called “LaughtHER,” a satire of feminist humor that I’d link to if I could), she identified a new form of humor, one that was in its infancy at the time, but one she presciently foresaw as something that would eventually become dominant: “right-on” humor.
“Right-on” humor is any type of joke where the expected response is not laughter but impassioned screams of RIGHT ON!!! “Right-on” humor frees comedians from the burden of being funny; they just need to cater to their audience’s biases.
Norm Macdonald many times castigated his fellow comics for seeking applause rather than laughter. As the best comic mind of his time, he saw the same deadly comedic malady that Shary saw, but it’s always floored me that Shary saw it so early in the disease’s progression.
“Right-on” humor, which is literally the only humor you’ll find on late-night TV these days (excepting giggling moron Jimmy Fallon’s nightly raping of The Tonight Show’s corpse), is now so dominant that when a comedian actually challenges an audience, as Dave Chappelle does, as Cleese did at SXSW, it stands out like a giant throbbing thumb.
If we examine the rise of “right-on” humor on late-night TV, we can isolate a ground zero. In July 1991 Johnny Carson decided to do an on-air tribute to his son, who’d died a few weeks earlier in a car crash. Carson’s longtime producer Fred de Cordova didn’t like the idea, as he preferred to keep the show focused on comedy rather than cheap pathos. Carson got his way, of course; critics loved the tribute and de Cordova was banned from the floor for the rest of the show’s run.
When Leno took over for Carson, receiving daily critical drubbings (Letterman was the intelligentsia’s darling), he turned things around in August 1994 when his father died. Leno delivered a top-of-show tribute to his dad (Carson’s tribute had been close-of-show), and in a move that’s been woefully forgotten as an example of brilliant, cynical calculation, Leno turned the memorial into a tribute to black people (his dad helped blacks and Leno stressed that that’s the true measure of a good white man).
For Leno, this was just business; the Arsenio show had recently folded, and millions of black viewers were up for grabs. But boy, did that “my black-loving dad” thing resonate with critics. For the first time, Leno got good press. Really good press.
In the words of Norm Macdonald, Leno’s the shrewdest guy in the business. He was the first late-night host to see the value of racial pandering and how critics would fall at the feet of anyone doing it. That said, he also saw the profitability in doing Obama jokes back when Letterman, O’Brien, and Kimmel wouldn’t. It was pure opportunism. But you can draw a straight line from Leno’s “black-loving dad” tearjerker and his subsequent on-air memorials (Chris Farley dies: “We gotta stop the drugs!” Phil Hartman dies: “We gotta stop the guns!”) to today’s preachy “right-on” comedy from the likes of Kimmel, Colbert, and Meyers.
“Right-on” comedy is now the standard because it appeals to three groups:
The opportunists, like Leno, who would’ve been the first to do anti-Jew jokes in 1935 Berlin or anti-Nazi jokes in 1943 Moscow. Whatever gets the ratings.
The untalented, like Dana Gould, who wasn’t funny enough for stand-up, whose comedic sensibilities are so poor he killed an iconic franchise, and who ended up doing political “right-on” segments on Real Time because as long as he didn’t actually have to trigger the laugh reflex, he was fine.
And leftist social engineers, who need to disable the laugh reflex, because so much of the left’s agenda, from championing grotesque men in dresses as the true representatives of womanhood to presenting the worst of the black community—thugs, rapists, low-IQ street-shitters—as the best, is based on you not laughing.
Sam Brinton, Biden’s “gender-fluid” bald drag-queen S&M dog-cosplaying lunatic-in-a-dress appointee to the Department of Energy, is funny. He’s laughable. Mocking him is as natural as laughing at a farting dog pummeled by a cat.
So it’s imperative that you not laugh.
Involuntary laughter at the absurd must be stifled. So say those who’ve already persuaded thousands of kids (and at least one SCOTUS nominee) to reject the self-evidence of biological womanhood.
To browbeat a generation into believing that men in dresses are women, you must convince them that funny things aren’t funny.
Laughter’s the enemy; swallow it, deny it. Applause is the proper response.
Comedy’s for clapping.
The Week’s Most Shaking, Baking, and Spring-Breaking Headlines
STAR TREK: THE NEXT DEFECATION
Sci-fi has a long history of calling things wrong. Blade Runner predicted a 2019 L.A. with no Mexicans except Edward James Olmos. Back to the Future Part II predicted hoverboards in 2015. And 2001: A Space Odyssey envisioned that year as being all about white guys piloting spaceships rather than Muslims piloting hijacked planes.
But one thing sci-fi got right was America having a black president. From 1997’s Fifth Element to 1998’s Deep Impact and 2006’s Idiocracy, sci-fi saw it coming.
So why stop at president?
An October 1986 episode of the Twilight Zone reboot penned by Game of Thrones scribe George R.R. Martin depicted a black college bimbo who’s informed by time travelers that one day she’ll be “president of Earth” (see the episode here. The roommate is played by model-actress Cindy Harrell, the girl from the Ghostbusters music video. After this episode, Harrell fled the business, marrying a wealthy Jewish philanthropist so she’d never have to act again. Among shiksa model-actresses this is known as a “Goldenberg parachute”).
So even back in 1986, prominent sci-fi authors were predicting a black female “president of Earth.”
Last week the Paramount+ TV series Star Trek: Discovery cast Stacey Abrams as the future “president of Earth.” Yes, that Stacey Abrams, the one who’s had this conversation about a thousand times:
“Ms. Abrams, your printer must’ve run out of ink. Your résumé is just your name and race, but no jobs or accomplishments.”
“Naw, it printed correct.”
Star Trek: Discovery is set in the year 2255, and even then Abrams is still claiming to be governor of Georgia. But while conservatives have balked at the show’s fawning, there might be accuracy to the portrayal. Should there ever be a “president of Earth,” it would almost certainly be an empty vessel rendered untouchable by race and gender. It’s highly doubtful anyone with substance and principles could get the support of all earthly nations.
Congrats, sci-fi. This one seems on-the-nose.
LENTILMEN PREFER BLONDES
Blonde “economist” Teresa Ghilarducci knows all about poverty. Not from ever having experienced it, of course. But she saw it once on TV.
Ghilarducci, of the leftist Economic Policy Institute (founded by Robert Reich as a shell company to siphon money from the Lollipop Guild pension fund), is personally bankrolled by the Alfred Sloan Foundation, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
So of course Bloomberg News chose her to write a guidebook to help ordinary Americans cope during a time of out-of-control inflation.
Her primer was initially comprised of just one sentence: “Like errmahgerd, if you need money just get funded by the Alfred Sloan Foundation, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.”
But Michael Bloomberg asked her to flesh it out a bit, so she reworked the piece, adding a few practical tips to help the peons survive the Biden bust: Take the bus and eat lentils.
And there you have it, Mr. and Mrs. America. Your financial problems are over. “Now may be the time to sell your car,” John Retard Keynes told her readers, “it’s worth reconsidering public transportation.”
And since you’ll need energy to keep doing your filthy poor-person jobs, forget meat—that’s for the elites. Your future is beans and lentils:
Tasty meat substitutes include vegetables (where prices are up a little over 4%, or lentils and beans, which are up about 9%). Plan to cut out the middle creature and consume plants directly. It’s a more efficient, healthier and cheaper way to get calories.
Consume plants directly, worker drones. And stay efficient on sustenance-level caloric intake.
So spoke Teresa Ghilarducci as she ate caviar from Mike Bloomberg’s naked ass as his yacht spirited them to his private island, far away from the filthy commoners who are only poor because they won’t eat their veggies.
KORNERED BY KAMALA
Kamala Harris is that person who corners you at a party. You try to get away, you try to make an excuse: “I need to use the restroom” or “I’m gonna go get a refill.” But your words don’t register. She just keeps talking.
And she won’t stop laughing at her own “jokes.” Worse, she leans in after every “funny” quip, insisting that you laugh along.
“I mean, right? Ha-hah…ah-ha-hah? Right? Uh-huh? Ha-ha-ha-haaaaah?”
The first rule of comedy is that if you have to prod someone to laugh, your joke flopped.
And the first rule of public speaking is that you have to do more than string random words together.
Last week Harris was in Louisiana promoting high-speed internet, something even an AT&T Punjabi peasant working in a phone bank for a dollar a day can effectively do. And yet she still managed to screw it up. Peppering her remarks with her trademark “Right? Right?” the vapid veep explained:
The significance of the passage of time, right? The significance of the passage of time. So when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time. And there is such great significance to the passage of time when we think about a day in the life of our children and what that means to the future of our nation.
Yes, America has as its VP the only Indian who couldn’t pull off a Windows phone scam.
“Hello, sir, I’m from Microsoft security and I’m calling to discuss with you the passage of time, right? Time is significant and it passes. Right? Right?”
A billion Indians, and we got Hamstrunga Din.
Alabama’s favorite black tranny Quentin Bell looks like Nell Carter if Nell Carter had been 500 times uglier. Gazing at Quentin Bell, now a man but born a woman, one is compelled to accept the appropriateness of his transition. Because trying to imagine this freak show as a female is frightening.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Bell is the Martin Luther King of trans men. He travels his state battling bills that dare to declare that women exist.
And when Bell lectures legislators about tranny acceptance, he uses what the Chronicle admiringly dubs his “sandwich analogy.” Bell quizzes the lawmakers on their favorite type of sandwich, and then he explains that a sandwich can be anything: “Sandwich,” like gender, is a social construct. He uses the example of a peanut butter sandwich. It’s not bound by bigoted definitions. It could be whatever you want to call it.
If someone has a peanut allergy and you serve them a peanut butter sandwich, they might get seriously ill, no matter what you call the sandwich. Ditto if someone has a shellfish allergy and you serve them a seafood salad sandwich. You can call it a Philly cheesesteak, but that crab’s still gonna be deadly.
Sandwich “deadnames” matter.
Last year a female patient at a British hospital was raped, but the hospital denied the crime because only “women” were present in the “single-sex ward.” For an entire year, the hospital gaslighted the victim and stymied the police investigation. “All our patients in this ward are Philly cheesesteaks. It’s not possible that someone was violently penetrated by a peanut butter sandwich.”
Last week the hospital finally admitted that yes, one of the patients in the ward was a tranny with a penis, and yes, he raped the woman.
In a restaurant, if you order a Philly cheesesteak and you get a peanut butter sandwich, you can send it back. In real life, if you’re admitted to a female-only hospital ward and you get raped by a dude, you just gotta swallow it and pay the bill.
Quentin “Martin Luther Dong” Bell’s sandwich analogy might not be as helpful as he thinks.
Speaking of Martin Luther King, who can forget his impassioned speech about how the only way that America can finally achieve true racial equality is if black kids get to go to Miami for spring break and shoot up the town with impunity?
Okay, MLK may never have delivered such a speech. But try telling that to the young justice warriors in Miami right now protesting a curfew imposed by the city because “black spring breakers” won’t stop shooting each other.
“Freedom Summer”? Meet “Bleed’em Spring.”
Last week, Miami city leaders imposed the curfew after a wave of violence by revelers who were merely celebrating Biden’s historic nomination of a black woman for SCOTUS.
Pierre Rutledge, chair of the Miami-Dade Black Advisory Board, told the Miami Herald that the curfew is just as bad—maybe worse—than the segregationist oppressions of early-1930s Florida. Rutledge told the Herald that in 1936 his grandma had to carry an ID card just to walk along the beach. And today, young black men are being prevented by a racist curfew from murdering each other on that same beach.
“If you don’t know your history, you’re destined to repeat it,” Rutledge wept. “And it looks like that’s where we’re headed.”
There’s no difference between 1930s race-based ID cards and a present-day non-race-based curfew enacted to stop an epidemic of blacks shooting blacks.
Apparently, Rutledge is also chair of the Miami-Dade Drooling Idiots Advisory Board.
One black spring breaker told the Herald that just because her friends were shooting each other doesn’t mean they should be hit with a curfew.
“The curfew makes it seem like we’re the problem.”
Indeed, how very ridiculous to blame violence by black spring breakers on black spring breakers.
Especially when the real culprit is probably Putin.
Laugh if you will; that’ll likely be MSNBC’s headline tomorrow.
Two weeks ago in St. Moritz I ran into both Nicolas Niarchos and Nicolai von Bismarck, two talented young men and old Harrovians whose parents are friends of mine. This week I was proud to read the former’s byline and to see the latter’s pictures from the war zone in Ukraine. Good on them, the Fourth Estate can do with talented amateurs rather than world-weary pros. But don’t get me wrong. By amateurs I mean those who write and photograph for the love of their craft, not because it’s their job. I’ve always insisted that the amateur is superior to the pro because he or she glories in the execution of a stroke, a swing, an athletic contest, or an artistic endeavor. The pro calculates the odds, whereas the amateur goes for glory. Ditto in wartime reporting. The pro broadly follows the ideological bent of the paymaster, be it of the left or right. The amateur writes and photographs from the heart.
Needless to say, some of the lachrymose reporting from the war zones of Ukraine is on a par with that covering the Allies against Nazi Germany. The pretense of befuddlement over the violence is at times insufferable. War is what it is, a crime against innocents most of the time, and always violent. We in the West excuse our excursions into other people’s territories and the death of innocents by claiming we’re doing it for the right reasons. When the other side does it, it’s a war crime. But never mind the sermons, here is the scoop about Nicolas and Nicolai.
Both youngsters were friends at school, and while Nicolas is extremely—but extremely—well-off, Nicolai is very well-off. Both could be lolling about in the company of scummy Saudi playboys; instead they are reporting and photographing the drama that is Ukraine. Niarchos has written about Iraq and Africa, while Bismarck has had two books of his photos published and a third is on the way. Both are very talented with great futures ahead of them. Nicholas was reporting for The Nation, an extremely left-wing New York magazine whose editor, Katrina vanden Heuvel, I took to lunch about five years ago. I found her attractive and pleasant, and we hit it off. It also transpired that an aunt of hers, no longer with us, had seduced the poor little Greek boy a century or so ago. What sticks in my memory was a Rockefeller scion also at the lunch predicting a Trump victory in the 2016 election, something Katrina and I found rather amusing.
The presence of the two young friends in the Ukraine also brought back memories. When the poor little Greek first learned to type in order to submit dispatches to Acropolis, the No. 1 Greek political daily of the time, my father was appalled, telling me that most Greek newsmen were blackmailers and lowlifes. When I mentioned dad’s opinions of journalists to my editor Charles Moore, his reaction was: “Hacks rank above child molesters.” Never mind. Greek hacks were determined to prove me a phony, vainly trying to uncover who my ghostwriters were. When I complained to John Rigos, bureau chief of UPI, he told me it was normal. “Not many sons of shipowners become hacks,” or words to that effect. And it got worse. A lefty newspaper (Eleftherotypia) exclusively reported that the tanks I had been photographed next to in the battle for Kuneitra, where Nick Tomalin was killed in 1973, were made of paper and the pictures were posed in my father’s back garden.
Mind you, Greek journalists have greatly improved since, as political passions have cooled and the civil war has largely been forgotten. But when I first started fifty years ago, Athens was a war zone of misinformation, rumor, and criminal libel. Too many know-it-alls in the pay of the communists, the socialists, or the conservatives did not report the news but invent it. One story that sticks in my mind was when I wrote a human-interest piece from Vietnam about Willy Shawcross, now Sir William, a man I didn’t know at the time, and how he had emptied out the Saigon American PX store of peanuts. One conservative hack thought it a provocation, a rich American depriving the Vietnamese of peanuts, although Willy is a Brit and the Vietnamese were not allowed in the store. A lefty hack interpreted it as envy on my part because Willy was a well-known journalist while I was pretending to be in a war zone. Greeks back then played rough, to say the least.
Was I beholden to the right back then and writing according to its creed? You betcha, but I had seen the left in action, murdering my father’s workers, burning down his factories, and for what? Having served his country and having financed a resistance newspaper? Back then it was all or nothing on both sides, no quarter asked or given.
Thankfully, Nicholas Niarchos and Nicolai von Bismarck will not have to go through such shenanigans, although the woke brigades make my old Greek adversaries look as lethal as Mickey Mouse. Woke today is Savonarola and Torquemada rolled into one. Unforgiving and repressive, it has replaced common sense with crazed theories about race and privilege. The deeply stupid have fallen for it. We are now obsessed with eradicating every ism in the book. I don’t envy the two Nicks starting out.
It is not often that the title of an article in the Guardian newspaper makes me laugh because of its absurdity, but I laughed when I read the following:
People struggle to understand grief, but it is a byproduct of love.
The article of which this was the title was an interview with a professor of psychology who was just publishing a book about grief and grieving.
In the article itself, the title was elaborated slightly. The professor told us:
I think a lot of people historically struggled to understand why there is grief, and in a funny sort of way, it is a byproduct of love.
I laughed at the very thought that people might not have made a connection between love and grief. I supposed that young people who fall in love do not think of the grief that will be consequent upon the loss of their love should it happen—there is such a thing as careless rapture—but can anyone of intelligence enough to read The Guardian reach the age of, say, 18, at the very, very latest, without realizing that grief is the consequence of the loss of somebody, or even something, loved? Does anyone need to be told by a professor of psychology that grief and love are connected in some way?
What, indeed, would grief without antecedent loving attachment be like? It may on rare occasions be grief that tells us on losing someone or something how much we actually loved that someone or something, having previously taken him, her, or it for granted. It is a commonplace that one often does not appreciate what one has until one loses it. We can therefore be surprised by grief. But still the connection between love and grief is clear, as the very notion of loveless grief is not even comprehensible, being almost a contradiction in terms.
When the professor tells us that “a lot people historically struggled to understand why there is grief,” she is saying something that strikes me as false, but not in an entirely innocent way such as a mistake that anyone could make. In fact, it is an implicit sales pitch for the study of psychology, an appeal that the funds should keep coming. Thanks to university departments of psychology, we are now enlightened about the deeper aspects of life such as grief in a way that our poor benighted ancestors were not; if we study psychology enough, all the mysteries of human existence will be cleared up and henceforth everyone will go through life like a hot knife through butter. No more sorrows, no more squabbles, no more evil or wickedness, no more unpleasant or disturbing emotions, etc., etc.
In what sense did “people historically struggle to understand why there was grief” before they were enlightened by psychologists? Did the 19th-century readers of Alfred Tennyson, for example, have difficulty in understanding what he meant in his great poem of grieving, “In Memoriam,” when he wrote:
I hold it true, whate’er befall,
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
’Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
The possibility of grief is the price that we have to pay for the possibility of love, as Tennyson makes clear in the preceding stanzas:
I envy not the beast that takes
His licence in the field of time,
Unfettered by the sense of crime,
To whom a conscience never wakes.
Nor, what may count itself as blest,
The heart that never plighted troth
But stagnates in the weeds of sloth,
Nor any want-begotten rest.
Grief is the price of love, but it is love that makes the world go round, or at least one of the most important things that make life worth living. Love and the moral sense complicate life greatly, and make it difficult for most of us, for without them there would be no grief or any apprehension of evil; but without them we should be little different, conceptually, from an amoeba under a microscope.
There is an immense poetry of grief in the English language, and almost certainly in all other languages. I will quote only one more example, from hundreds of thousands possible (I have an anthology published in 1911 of poems in English about the death of children, in 1911 the infant mortality rate having been about twenty to thirty times what it is now). It is from Robert Bridges, a pediatrician before he became a full-time poet and man of letters. He writes of a dead child whom he has attempted to treat:
So quiet! doth the change content thee?—Death, whither hath he taken thee?
To a world, do I think, that rights the disaster of this?
The vision of which I miss,
Who weep for the body, and wish but to warm thee and awaken thee?
Ah! little at best can all our hopes avail us
To lift this sorrow, or cheer us, when in the dark,
Unwilling, alone we embark,
And the things we have seen and have known and have heard of, fail us.
Does Robert Bridges or any of his readers (who, it must be admitted, are now vanishingly few) struggle to understand why there is grief, such that if we subjected them to a battery of questionnaires and put them through a range of immensely sophisticated and expensive scanners, either we or they would say at last, “Aha! Now I understand why there is grief! I never did before.”
I do not doubt that psychology can illuminate small corners of human existence, and investigate for example how, physiologically, we perceive the world; but overall, it seems to me, the exaggerated claims of psychology as a discipline (it is, alas, one of the most popular subjects in universities) have reduced rather than increased human self-understanding, and placed distorting lenses between people’s experiences of life and genuine reflection about themselves and human life in general. That is why a professor of psychology can say, in all apparent seriousness, and as if revealing something unknown, that “in a funny kind of way” grief is a by-product of life. Only people who have been assiduously miseducated could find anything illuminating in this.
Theodore Dalrymple’s latest book is Around the World in the Cinemas of Paris, Mirabeau Press.
This is an odd line to read in The New York Times:
In “a still-emerging story” (exciting, no?), Project Veritas “worked to expose personal information about the Biden family at a crucial stage of the 2020 campaign.”
Isn’t that what journalists are supposed to do?
Just kidding! As we saw with Hunter Biden’s laptop, the job of journalists is to suppress negative information about Democrats. Instead of reporting news “without fear or favor” — Times founder Adolph S. Ochs, 1896 — the U.S. media now function as the Praetorian Guard for the Democratic Party.
Still, you’d think the Times would be embarrassed to attack others for doing the reporting they won’t do.
The story was about how Project Veritas got its hands on the diary of the president’s daughter, Ashley Biden. (She’s the good child by virtue of being less of a drug fiend than Hunter.) It was titled: “Ashley Biden’s Diary Was Shown at Trump Fund-Raiser. Weeks Later, Project Veritas Called Her.”
The Times no longer reports news about the president: It berates other journalists for reporting news about the president.
Thus, the Times breathlessly reveals:
— “The diary’s highly personal contents, if publicly disclosed, could prove an embarrassment or a distraction to her father at a critical moment in the campaign.”
THAT’S NOT JOURNALISM! THAT’S HURTING A DEMOCRAT! IT’S LIKE ANTI-JOURNALISM.
— “[The Project Veritas] caller was seeking to trick Ms. Biden into confirming the authenticity of the diary …”
So? Has the Times heard of Woodward and Bernstein? “60 Minutes”? Journalism?
— “The caller did not identify himself as being affiliated with Project Veritas, according to accounts from two people with knowledge of the conversation.”
I like the “according to accounts from two people …” — as if the Times is describing something really sinister, as opposed to what it was: Project Veritas trying to get Ashley Biden to tell the truth to a stranger.
The greatest journalists ever to walk the Earth (so I hear), Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, repeatedly hid their identities from sources, as described in their book, “All the President’s Men.” Bernstein even called Nixon’s chief “Plumber,” Gordon Liddy, pretending to be dirty trickster Don Segretti. They also used insiders at phone and credit card companies to obtain private phone and travel records. Woodward approached grand jurors to try to get them to break the law by revealing evidence they’d heard.
The New York Times Book Review: “two young reporters left by default to play the hero.”
To round out its indignation, the Times provided this bad-ass quote from the federal prosecutors investigating Project Veritas — oh yes, I forgot to mention: Federal prosecutors are investigating Project Veritas — “[T]here is no First Amendment protection for the theft and interstate transport of stolen property.”
Project Veritas didn’t steal anything. Maybe nobody did. Ashley left her diary behind in a house she’d been renting while in rehab, and a Trump supporter found it. That person later brought it to a Republican fundraiser, then offered to sell it to Project Veritas.
But let’s say the girl who found the diary in Ashley’s rental “stole” the diary. Has the Times ever published anything obtained illegally?
QUIZ: What is the most important event in world history?
Answer: The Pentagon Papers!
What was the name of that case, anyway?
NEW YORK TIMES v. UNITED STATES.
The hero of the Pentagon Papers, according to innumerable books, movies, TV specials, documentaries, poems and folk songs, was Daniel Ellsberg because he stole a highly classified government study of the Vietnam War and gave it to the media.
No skin off my back: The study revealed the mendacity of Democratic presidents John F. Kennedy and (especially) Lyndon B. Johnson in lying to the American public while escalating the war in Vietnam. In fact, I wish all you Ukraine hawks would read the Pentagon Papers right now. Lots of parallels.
But after hearing for my entire life Homeric epics to the Times for publishing the Pentagon Papers, it’s a little odd to have the protagonists of that story bashing a journalist merely for attempting to authenticate a document that may have been stolen by someone else.
That was about lying at the highest level of government! How can you compare Vietnam to the idle ramblings of a reformed drug addict daughter of the president?
Personally, I think Ashley’s diary is far more interesting, especially her showers with dad that she says were “probably not appropriate.” The Pentagon Papers drag a bit.
Anybody remember when a mundane political conversation among Republicans was illegally recorded, passed to a Democrat, and then printed in the Times?
Back in the ’90s, when House Speaker Newt Gingrich was the media’s most loathed biped, a completely random Florida couple (Democratic activists) recorded a private phone call between the then-speaker and his leadership team. The Republicans were discussing what they were and weren’t allowed to say about Gingrich’s impending settlement with the House Ethics Committee.
Asleep yet? Wait until you hear the charges.
In the words of the Times — which wasn’t trying to make the charges against Newt sound boring — he stood accused of “giving untrue information to the Ethics Committee [and of] failing to get proper legal advice about the way he used money from tax-exempt foundations for a college course and televised town meetings with political overtones.”
A college course with “political overtones”??? THE DEPRAVITY OF THE MAN!
But the point is: A perfectly appropriate conversation about the settlement of a nonsense ethics charge was recorded in flagrant violation of the federal wiretapping statute by Democratic activists.
The Florida couple, Alice and John Martin, just happened to be driving around, using a police scanner to capture private telephone calls near where Rep. John Boehner, chairman of the Republican Conference, on vacation in Florida, also just happened to be driving, while having one of those private telephone calls with other top House Republicans.
Oh my gosh! I think that’s Newt’s voice! Quick, get out the recording equipment, Alice! Yes, it’s illegal, but let’s do it for “history”!
Alice, who apparently had never heard of “television” or “radio,” but had a high-tech scanner and recording equipment in her car, later explained: “I was so excited to think I had actually heard a real politician’s voice.”
That was another fantastic stroke of luck: The Martins happened to have a tape recorder in their car. They also happened to be flying to Washington, D.C., a few days later, where they personally handed the tape to Gingrich’s main antagonist, Rep. Jim McDermott. He made copies of the illegally obtained tape recording and gave them to the press.
Guess who published excerpts of the illicit recording? Yes! The New York Times!
There were no early morning FBI raids on the Times, the editors thrown in handcuffs, and their phones and computers confiscated — all of which has happened to Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe and his investigators. Nor did the Times seem troubled in the least by the blatantly illegal methods the Democratic activists had used to obtain the tape.
One year later, the Martins each were fined $500, and that was the end of it.
Liberals seem to have no concern that the GOP will ever discover the phrase “turnabout is fair play.” From where I sit, I’m sorry to say, they may be right.
Dr. Albert Bourla, CEO of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, has published a new memoir entitled Moonshot: Inside Pfizer’s Nine-Month Race to Make the Impossible Possible.
While the revolutionary mRNA vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech has not turned out to be as much of a panacea as hoped, for people at risk (e.g., older and/or fatter, like most of us) it remains effective at reducing the odds of dying or being ventilated due to Covid. A new CDC report finds that two doses eight months ago were 79 percent efficacious against the recent Omicron variant. Add a booster shot and efficacy is back up to an impressive 94 percent.
I read Bourla’s Moonshot carefully in the hope of finally hearing a horse’s-mouth explanation of his curious decision in what he calls “the most important trial in the world” to shut down laboratory processing of samples from late October 2020 until the day after the election. This extraordinary freeze may well have denied Donald Trump his much-feared “October Surprise” upon which his vaccine-centric pandemic and reelection strategies hinged.
On Nov. 1, 2020, The New York Times published a “news” article exulting:
Welcome to November. For Trump, the October Surprise Never Came.
Trump’s hope that an economic recovery, a Covid vaccine or a Biden scandal could shake up the race faded with the last light of October.
But the public wasn’t told until after the election that something very strange delayed Pfizer’s triumphant vaccine announcement until Nov. 9, 2020. As Matthew Herper of Stat reported after interviewing William Gruber, Pfizer’s senior VP of vaccine clinical research:
Gruber said that Pfizer and BioNTech had decided in late October…to stop having their lab confirm cases of Covid-19 in the study, instead leaving samples in storage…. It also means that if Pfizer had held to the original plan, the data would likely have been available in October, as its CEO, Albert Bourla, had initially predicted.
As I pointed out in this column on Nov. 11, 2020, Bourla’s choice in late October to stop counting whether Pfizer had reached the point at which its published protocol required it to go public with news of the vaccine’s efficacy may have swung the election.
It’s hard to remember at this point, but in 2020, Trump was the pro-vaccine candidate, while Biden and Harris were spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Democrats were up in arms that Dr. Bourla had long been forecasting that Pfizer’s giant clinical trial would produce a public announcement of the vaccine’s efficacy by the end of October 2020.
Thus, many Wall Street analysts expected Pfizer to announce its trial results during Bourla’s Oct. 27 earnings call. But that didn’t happen as Pfizer secretly stopped work on the trial until Wednesday, Nov. 4, by which point it had blown past its published protocols’ first, second, and even third checkpoints.
Six days after the election, Pfizer announced that its vaccine was more than 90 percent efficacious. If not for its unannounced hiatus, it’s likely Pfizer would have made the same announcement a week earlier, the day before the election, allowing Trump to spend the last 24 hours boasting of the success of his big bet on vaccines.
Would that have changed the political outcome?
If 0.13 percent of the electorate in Georgia switched from Biden to Trump at the last moment, 0.16 percent in Arizona, and 0.32 percent in Wisconsin, Biden and Trump would have tied 269–269 in the Electoral College.
The conclusion would then have gone to the House of Representatives where under a section of the Constitution never used before, each state’s delegation would get one vote. By my count, the GOP had the majority in 27 states. So, Trump would have won.
Of course, immense pressures would have been exerted on Republican Representatives—ideology, blackmail, bribery, riot, insurrection, and perhaps a coup—to break ranks and elect Biden. So, we’ll never know.
But close reading of Bourla’s reticent book can give us some clues about the political pressures the Pfizer CEO was under to freeze the count until after the election.
Bourla’s memoir of Pfizer’s mad dash to deliver a vaccine is well-written in the time-tested style of airport books like Moneyball bought by frequent fliers looking for a diverting narrative that includes career self-improvement tips.
The day before a March 2, 2020, Covid meeting with Trump over the new pandemic, Bourla and his head researcher decided to deemphasize their development of therapeutics in favor of vaccines. (Ironically, two years later, Pfizer’s new Covid therapeutic Paxlovid is often prescribed to anti-vaxxers due to their higher risk of dying.)
Bourla’s executives then quickly decided they wanted to partner with the German firm BioNTech, a pioneer in mRNA technology. Bourla was surprised, but went along with the consensus. He quickly reached an agreement with BioNTech to share profits fifty-fifty, with the smaller company providing the vaccine and Pfizer running the trial, most government approvals, marketing, and manufacturing and distributing of billions of doses. If BioNTech’s radical new type of vaccine flopped, Pfizer would be out a couple of billion dollars. But, Bourla admits, Pfizer is so rich that $2 billion wasn’t a bet-the-company wager.
His executives quickly brought him a timetable far faster than normal that would deliver clinical trial results within a mere eighteen months:
“It is not good enough,” I told the teams. “We must have it by this October.”… A week later, the team came back to me with a genius plan that, if successful, would bring us results by the end of October 2020.
Bourla became personally associated with his October deadline:
I had been telling everyone that the vaccine could come by October 2020, but it turned out that very few people besides me were expecting this really to happen.
Bourla feels his main contribution was infusing all his underlings with his need for speed:
Not everyone felt at ease with this at the beginning…. Pretty soon, though, the team’s passion to cross the line as fast as possible with a vaccine before October 2020 replaced hesitation…. Looking back, I think this attitude—Time is life—was the most important success factor for this project…. I didn’t ask people to do it in eight years. I asked them to do it in eight months.
Why did Bourla insist on October? As many Democrats worried, was he trying to deliver Trump an October Surprise? This Oct. 22, 2020, Vanity Fair article about how insanely anti-vax Democrats were in the fall of 2020 is eye-opening.
Was Bourla a Trump stooge as many Democrats implied that fall? I looked up on Open Secrets Bourla’s campaign contributions over the past decade. They seem conventional for a New York executive: $105,900 to Republican candidates and political action committees, $36,600 to Democratic candidates. None of his contributions were to presidential nominees. His giving makes him seem less like a partisan ideologue than like the standard CEO trying to help elect tax-cutting Republicans while maintaining an open door with enough Democrats.
My guess is that Bourla was mainly thinking: Winter is coming. There’d be another bad Covid wave in the winter of 2020–2021. (Which there was.) But he can be criticized for not anticipating that October 2020 would be an insanely politicized month.
Also, Moderna was racing to get to market with virtually the same technology as Pfizer. Whichever firm announced an efficacious vaccine first would make its brand name supreme. Toward the end of his memoir, Bourla boasts that after his pronouncement:
Our own research showed that our favorability surged. Our overall trust saw significant gains, breaking away from the pack in the industry…. Pfizer entered pop culture, becoming a frequent subject of both praise and humor on Saturday Night Live. AdAge wrote that, “Pfizer has been, far and away, the big winner in vaccine brand popularity.”
As it turns out, the Trump administration kept Moderna from announcing its own blockbuster success before the election due to its commitment to diversity. The Wall Street Journal reported:
Rival Moderna, which took funding from a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, suffered a three-week delay in completing its own mRNA trial after federal officials there asked the company to slow down enrollment to boost the racial and ethnic diversity of study subjects.
As we all know, Race Does Not Exist. Except in Covid vaccine trials, where it’s all-important.
Due to the Trump-administration-imposed three-week diversity delay, Moderna delivered its own good news on Nov. 16, thirteen days after the election.
Bourla’s situation was tricky:
If [Pfizer’s vaccine] was approved before the elections, some might think that this was the result of the political pressure from the White House. If it was approved after the elections, others might think that this was the result of the political pressure from the Biden campaign.
Keep in mind that there are multiple elements that went into the FDA’s emergency-use approval of Pfizer’s vaccine on Dec. 11, 2020: Pfizer’s efficacy announcement of Nov. 9, the rather slapdash safety data submitted on Nov. 17 once two months of side-effects data were available on half the volunteers, and the esoteric manufacturing process review.
Of the three, the key event politically was the announcement of efficacy, which was delayed until the Monday after the election by the lab shutdown.
I looked forward to reading Bourla’s own account of what must have been an agonizing choice for him to put his clinical trial on ice until post-election. But instead, his narrative suddenly leaps forward without explanation to two days after the election, ignoring the crucial period in which he decided not to meet his goal of an October declaration.
After Pfizer’s big post-election announcement,
In the meantime, I started receiving news that President Trump was extremely dissatisfied with Pfizer and me personally because the results had come after the November 3 election. He was forming an opinion that this was done on purpose to hurt him and that if we’d wanted, we could have had the results before the elections.
Well, indeed, Bourla could have had the results before the election, but he put his clinical trial on hold.
The same sources were telling me that Health and Human Services Secretary Azar was thinking the same and was among the people who kept feeding the president’s anger. A few days later, I received a call from Vice President Pence. Knowing the atmosphere in the White House, I was afraid that he was calling me to complain about it. But no. In a great demonstration of class, he called to congratulate me and thank me for what we’d done for this country and the entire world, to use his words. He didn’t even mention anything else. I was very impressed by the man. President Trump never called me, either to thank Pfizer or to complain.
At this point, I expected Bourla to offer an explanation of exactly why his obsession with October hadn’t panned out, but why the president was wrong to worry about dirty work at the crossroads. After all, over the past sixteen months I’ve heard many rationalizations hypothesized for Pfizer putting the trial on ice, so I was wondering which the CEO would go with.
But instead, Bourla changes the subject. In his entire book, his bizarre hiatus is never mentioned and never explained.
I wouldn’t be surprised if his lawyers told him to just shut up about it. Pfizer’s stock dropped after he failed to announce vaccine results in late October, so those who sold before Nov. 9 may have a claim against him.
At least two Pfizer stock analysts issued downbeat recommendations on Pfizer stock in late October on the grounds that if the clinical trial were going well, Bourla would have announced data like he’d been promising. Indeed, Pfizer’s stock drifted down when efficacy was not declared in the original time frame, in part because no explanation was given to anybody before the election other than FDA insiders that Pfizer was not following their published protocol for commercial-political reasons.
Still, under Bourla’s adept leadership, Pfizer managed to thread the needle, announcing more than 90 percent efficacy on Nov. 9, thus not outraging the Democrats by reporting before the election but still beating Moderna by a week. Bourla’s decision-making process during these politically fraught weeks deserves its own Harvard Business School case study. I am impressed by how he managed to navigate between Scylla (announcing in time to help Trump) and Charybdis (losing the race to Moderna).
From a normal ethical standpoint, secretly shutting down lab processing in the world’s most important clinical trial is obviously dubious.
However, from the standpoint of the higher morality of denying Trump an October Surprise, it’s saintly.
From a shareholder wealth maximization standpoint, I’d criticize Bourlas only for not realizing earlier how rabid the front-running Democrats and the media were to deny Trump any sort of vaccine October Surprise.
From an ethical standpoint, however…
This week’s column might come off as mawkish, but I’ll take that risk, as I want to revisit last week’s theme from a more personal angle.
I’m writing this on what would’ve been my mom’s 91st birthday. And next week will be the seventh anniversary of her passing.
So she’s very much on my mind.
As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, I come from a long line of Marxist Ashkenazi “revolutionaries.” Old-school ones, from Europe in the 1800s and NYC in the 1900s. Trade unionists, pamphleteers, professors.
One thing my mom learned at an early age is that Great Marxist Men™ are not always good to the women in their lives; they’re too busy “saving the peeple” to worry about whether they’re harming the individual “peeple” in their personal lives.
“Sit down and shut up, bitch. Can’t you see a GREAT MAN is hard at work spreading kindness and equality?”
My mom grew up rejecting the familial politics because she saw its insincerity. As an adult, she eschewed all manner of lockstep political and ideological dogma (a guy like me—an internationally reviled Jewish Holocaust revisionist by age 20—comes about two ways: either because he rebelled against his family, or because he was raised to say, “Screw popular opinion, follow your convictions.” Thankfully, I was in the latter camp).
After mom graduated high school (Erasmus, in Flatbush), she had to wait a year before the college of her choice finally accepted women. And after college, she realized that a lot of the companies she applied to (a hugely talented illustrator, she wanted to work as a commercial graphic artist) didn’t accept women in positions other than secretary.
Today’s identity politics are a cesspool. But we can’t forget that there was a time when one’s race or sex meant “you don’t get the job.” Modern-day identity hustlers defile the memory of those who dealt with genuine discrimination.
By hard work and sheer talent, my mom ended up becoming the first female graphic artist in history to design for every major theme-park chain in the U.S., from Disney to Sea World, Six Flags, Universal Studios, Knotts Berry Farm, MGM, and every Las Vegas “theme” hotel.
She even did the graphic art for Dollywood, Cracker Barrel, Graceland, Opryland, and (gotta laugh about this one) Stone Mountain. Those Confederate logos (back when that was still allowed to be the park’s theme) were drawn by a Brooklyn Jewish woman.
Betcha didn’t know that!
My mom loved the South and found the people there to be the kindest folks on earth (as a kid, I was with her when Dolly gave her the specs for the logo and stressed how important it was that her ample bustline not be prominent in the illustration because the park was family-friendly).
Mom worked hard to achieve her success. She never once got hired by consent degree, court order, or affirmative action; those things didn’t happen in those days. She got hired because she was one hell of an artist and if some chauvinistic schmuck was like, “We don’t hire broads here,” her work would instantly cow the bastard into changing his tune.
And it does need to be said, the discrimination she faced was genuine. It was the real kind, not the present-day HuffPost and Atlantic bullshit (“Hating pumpkin spice is sexist!” “Air conditioning is sexist!”). She dealt with sexual assault as a young woman, and a violent, domineering first husband (my Elvis-murdering Beverly Hills doctor-dad), in an era when women didn’t have a lot of advocates in such circumstances.
Alzheimer’s is a monster. But perhaps it’s a small mercy that it took my mom before she had to endure today’s daily propaganda parade about how any dude in a wig and dress must—must—be considered every bit as much of a woman as actual, for-real women like my mom. A biological male spends thirty years as Biff McBallsack, but then he applies lipstick and changes his name to Viveca Vajayjay and we’re all supposed to act like his accomplishments and challenges are 100% equal to what actual women have had to face.
I’ll admit, I take this tranny nonsense personally. When some mentally ill 40-year-old “call me ma’am” dude in a dress or some attention-starved teenage loser partaking in a gender-bending fad because it makes him feel special claims that he’s the equal of my mom in terms of his “pioneering bravery” and the “struggles he faced,” and when social media tells me I have no choice but to agree, it gets under my skin in a way most other issues don’t.
Were my mom alive today, watching women forced to compete against tranny men in high school and collegiate women’s sports, seeing genuine, biological women lectured by leftist millionaire men in politics and the media to keep quiet, swallow their grievances, and take second place like a good little girl—“We’re ordering you to be deferential to these men in wigs”—she’d be furious.
A new generation of women being told by Great Marxist Men™ to “sit down and shut up, bitch. Can’t you see a GREAT MAN is hard at work spreading kindness and equality?”
I’m glad she’s not here to see it.
Sadly, we are.
Last week’s column dealt with the posturing tough-guy rightists who react to tranny domination of high school and college women’s athletics by saying, “I won’t fight for these kids if they won’t fight for themselves.” And since that column, with tranny “Lia” Thomas’ NCAA win, even more high-profile rightists, including Fox News/Washington Times empty-suit empty-head Tim Young, have adopted that position.
So that’s the right’s official party line now? “I, an adult, won’t fight if children and teens won’t fight alongside me. My dedication to this existential battle is so razor-thin that if a high school senior won’t stand with me, I’m out.”
That’s the language of impotence and incompetence. People too feeble and stupid to effect change always excuse their failures, and shirk their labor, by saying, “Hey, you know what? If you people want this done, do it yourselves.”
Let’s extend that argument to all issues of importance, okay? Why fight for border restrictions? If the American people don’t want illegal immigration, let ’em fix it themselves, individually. “If Joe Bluecollar isn’t willing to quit his job and drive his van down to the border to personally chase away illegals 24/7, fuck him. Sure, he’ll go broke and maybe get killed by cartels, but hey, if he doesn’t have that level of dedication, no way I’m fighting for such a coward.”
This is how inept, weak blowhards excuse their failures and excuse themselves from having to succeed. And it’s born from a rightist machismo that, if we look at the historical record, is always beaten by leftists who value long-term results over short-term grandstanding.
My very first Takimag column, seven-plus years ago, contrasted how the Soviets and the Americans treated captured Nazis at the close of WWII. The Americans were like, “Yer a NARZI? Up against the wall, scum! RAT-A-TAT-TAT!”
Conversely, the Soviet method was, “You’re a Nazi? Welcome to our reeducation camp. In a year, you’ll be parroting our propaganda and you’ll thank us for our benevolence.”
The tough-guy Americans defined victory as “We blew yer asses away.” The Soviets saw victory as “You were our enemy; now you serve us and parrot our propaganda.” All you guys who talk about “owning the libs,” what’s more of an “own”—killing a foe, or making them kiss your feet, willingly, because you destroyed their sense of self?
If you understand the difference between how the Americans treated Nuremberg defendant Streicher (beat him, made black GIs urinate in his mouth, then killed him) and how the Soviets treated Nuremberg defendant Fritzsche (textbook reward/punishment psychological manipulation to force him to confess, repent, and agree to whatever reality his captors told him to accept), you’ll understand why the left wins the long war.
Yeah, you tough guys can kill a man with yer gunz.
Big fucking deal. Any ghetto thug can do that.
The left knows how to use reward/punishment to get people to say a man is a woman. And all this rightist tough-guy talk about “I ain’t gonna fight fer them girls if they won’t fight fer themselves” is nothing more than an admission of defeat. You’re not good enough, smart enough, or committed enough to win. You can’t effect change, you can’t fight the left’s ability to effect change, so you tweet about how it’s all the fault of teens.
“Why should I fight if the children won’t fight for themselves?”
If you can’t answer that question, you prove yourself a fraud. A fraud who runs like a rat at the first sign of challenge. You accuse children of being the reason you won’t fight, but the reason you won’t fight is because you know you’re not intelligent or capable enough to win.
If the leftist reward/punishment system of brainwashing can break a hardcore Nazi like Hans Fritzsche, it can certainly break an innocent teen. Konrad Heiden put it best in his June 1949 Life magazine piece about the Fritzsche interrogation techniques: “A prisoner of the NKVD has rights, and his supreme right is to give the right answer.”
Heiden could’ve been writing about how teachers grill female students today. “Are men in dresses women? You’re free to answer as you please. But with rights come responsibilities, like the responsibility to not be a fascist, murderous oppressor. And if you exercise your rights correctly, you’ll be praised and rewarded. The greatest right you have is the right to respond properly.”
The Soviets to Fritzsche: “Give the right answer and you’ll get access to food, bed, and a toilet, because you exercised your rights correctly.”
Today’s leftists to young women: “Give the right answer and you’ll get your social media and college scholarship restored. You’ll no longer have to fear Antifa threatening you and CNN ‘journalists’ researching your Twitter history and publicly attacking your family. You have rights; exercise them correctly, and all will be well.”
These are tried-and-true conditioning techniques, and Twitter-era conservatives aren’t nearly practiced enough to counter them. In their castrated frustration, all they can do is repeat the Principal Skinner meme, “No, it’s the children who are wrong.”
My mom was strong enough to overcome Marxist conditioning from family members and outright misogyny in the workplace. Were she alive today, she wouldn’t judgmentally condemn the young girls who are being berated, shamed, and threatened into “confessing” that they’re no more of a woman than a guy in a wig.
She’d support them. She’d stand by them. And she’d fight for their right to speak the truth that women are more than just a “social construct.”
Because my mom actually was tough. Not Twitter tough. Real-life tough.
And in 84 years she never sent a single tweet or got a single “like.” So maybe stop thinking that such trivial things are a measure of courage.
“It’s time to meet, time to talk … time to restore territorial integrity … for Ukraine,” said President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday.
Zelenskyy added that the need to negotiate was even greater for Moscow. “Otherwise, Russia’s losses will be so huge that several generations will not be enough to rebound.”
According to the Pentagon, Russia has lost 7,000 soldiers; Kyiv puts the figure at 14,000 dead.
Still, Russian President Vladimir Putin appears less pressured to meet and talk. What does this tell us?
Zelenskyy does not believe further fighting will benefit Ukraine as much as it will cost his country. And he wants the war over.
As for Putin, as Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Sunday, “He’s not been able to achieve the goals that he wants to achieve as rapidly as he wants to achieve them.” Putin wants more time.
The Russian president began the invasion of Ukraine with Crimea already annexed and the enclaves of Luhansk and Donetsk having already declared their independence of Kyiv.
Since the invasion began, however, Putin’s forces have besieged but not taken Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, or second largest city, Kharkiv.
Yet, Russian troops are now in Mariupol on the Sea of Azov, having completed a land bridge from Russia through the Donbas to Crimea and, from there, halfway to Odessa, the last major Ukrainian port on the Black Sea.
While the Ukrainian army and citizens have put up fiercer resistance than was anticipated in Moscow, Russia is not losing this war.
Measured by territorial gains, Putin is winning.
He has not captured Kyiv or Kharkiv, but he has expanded the Russian-controlled territories of Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea that he had at the start of his invasion.
While Russia’s costs and casualties have been far greater than was anticipated, Putin has added to the Ukrainian lands he held when the war began. And Mother Russia has not lost an inch of land in this war.
“How does this thing end?” Gen. David Petraeus famously asked on the road to Baghdad.
No political solution appears more likely than a new partition of Ukraine, with lands east of the Dnieper River and along the coasts of the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea being ceded to Moscow, and the west of Ukraine being declared a neutral nation like Austria or Finland in the Cold War.
The problem with this probable outcome is that Zelenskyy has ruled out any territorial concessions or land transfers from Ukraine to Russia. And he seeks to “restore,” not to make permanent, the 2014 amputations of Crimea and the Donbas.
The dilemma: Zelenskyy probably cannot survive ceding control of any Ukrainian land to Russia. And Putin probably cannot survive a failure in peace talks to expand the Ukrainian holdings with which he began the war.
The “territorial integrity” of Ukraine is the crucial issue in ending this war.
And it is precisely here where it appears impossible for both sides to come to terms.
The one issue on which both parties will likely agree in any peace settlement is the issue that should have been agreed to — to prevent the war: a formal declaration by Kyiv that it will never join a NATO alliance created to contain Russia and, if necessary, defeat Russia in a war.
A frustrated and enraged President Joe Biden has taken to calling Putin a “killer,” a “murderous dictator” and a “war criminal” who has launched an “immoral war” — comments the Kremlin calls “unforgivable”.
Such rhetoric would seem to rule out any role for U.S. diplomacy in negotiating the end to this war. Other nations — Israel, Turkey, France, Germany — have maintained regular relations and constant contact with Putin, who sits and broods atop the world’s largest nuclear arsenal.
Consider the moral dilemma the U.S. has put itself in.
Our president says Russia is led by “a war criminal,” conducting an “immoral” war in which deliberate atrocities are committed at hospitals, schools, kindergartens and art theaters.
Yet, the U.S. and NATO will not provide weapons to Ukraine, including secondhand MiGs, that might cause Russia to retaliate against us or NATO or risk World War III or risk Russia’s use of tactical atomic weapons.
Because, pillaged and persecuted though Ukraine may be, it is not a member of NATO.
If Latvia, however, with 5% of Ukraine’s population, is encroached upon, we will engage Russia militarily, and to hell with the risk of World War III or Russia’s possible retaliation with atomic weapons.
In war, the moral is to the material as three is to one, said Napoleon. Unfortunately, what George Bernard Shaw said cynically also appears to be true: In war, God is on the side of the big battalions.
Zelenskyy probably cannot survive signing away the title to any Ukrainian land, be it Crimea or the Donbas. And Putin likely cannot survive not bringing home new territory from a Russian “victory.”
Again, perhaps the one issue on which almost all now agree is that Ukraine renounce its right to join the NATO alliance.