Harvey Weinstein, Serial Rapist

October 11th, 2017

I had avoided writing on the Harvey Weinstein slimefest because everyone and their dog was on it, but the story has now morphed from “sleazy Hollywood studio exec and Democratic Party megadoner pressured women to watch him wank off” to “sleazy Hollywood studio exec and Democratic Party megadoner is actually a serial rapist.”

I was told by thirteen women that, between the nineteen-nineties and 2015, Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them, allegations that corroborate and overlap with the Times’s revelations, and also include far more serious claims.

Three women––among them [Italian film actress Asia] Argento and a former aspiring actress named Lucia Evans—told me that Weinstein raped them, allegations that include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex. Four women said that they experienced unwanted touching that could be classified as an assault. In an audio recording captured during a New York Police Department sting operation in 2015 and made public here for the first time, Weinstein admits to groping a Filipina-Italian model named Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, describing it as behavior he is “used to.” Four of the women I interviewed cited encounters in which Weinstein exposed himself or masturbated in front of them.

(Note: I’m not a big Ronan Farrow fan, since he made it to his current position in the world off family connections rather than hard work. But this piece seems to be a fair, first-rate work of actual journalism. Good job, kid.)

This is no longer “Weinstein needs to be fired from his own company [which has already happened], sued for millions of dollars and blackballed from working in Hollywood ever again,” this is “Harvey Weinstein needs to be put behind bars for a long, long time.”

That’s a big story. An even bigger story is how vast swathes of the media establishment was complicit in hiding his predatory behavior for decades.

But of course people knew about Harvey Weinstein. Like the New York Times, for instance. Sharon Waxman, a former reporter at the Times, writes in The Wrap how she had the story on Weinstein in 2004—and then he bullied the Times into dropping it. Matt Damon and Russell Crowe even called her directly to get her to back off the story. And Miramax was a major advertiser. Her editor at the Times, Jonathan Landman, asked her why it mattered. After all, he told Waxman, “he’s not a publicly elected official.”

Manhattan’s district attorney knew, too. In 2015, Weinstein’s lawyer donated $10,000 to the campaign of Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance after he declined to file sexual assault charges against the producer. Given the number of stories that have circulated for so long, Weinstein must have spread millions around New York, Los Angeles, and Europe to pay off lawyers and buy silence, including the silence of his victims.

That’s Cyrus Vance, Jr., son of Jimmy Carter’s Secretary of State. How strange that a Democrat District Attorney declined to pursue charges against the Democrat megadonor donating to his campaign. What are the odds?

The real issue, as [New York Magazine‘s Rebecca] Traister notes, was that “there were so many journalists on his payroll, working as consultants on movie projects, or as screenwriters, or for his magazine.” Traister is referring to Talk, the magazine Weinstein started at Miramax with Tina Brown. The catchword was “synergy”—magazine articles, turned into books, turned into movies, a supply chain of entertainment and information that was going to put these media titans in the middle of everything and make them all richer.

Traister and I worked at Talk together in the late ’90s. There were lots of talented journalists but it was still a mess. Outside of “synergy,” there was no idea driving the magazine, and Tina’s search for a vision was expensive. She spent lavishly on writers, art directors, photographers, and parties. Harvey got angry. Every time Tina went downtown to meet with him he screamed at her the whole time. He humiliated her. At least this was the story that went around the office every time she went down there, a story circulating through, and circulated by, several dozen journalists.

Or, to put it another way: More than 20 people in one magazine office alone all had the story about Harvey Weinstein’s “mistreatment” of women.

So why didn’t anyone write it? Not to take anything away from Jodi Kantor’s excellent New York Times piece, but the reality is that everyone had the story.

The reason no one wrote it is not because the press wanted to get Weinstein, but couldn’t prove the story. No, it’s because the press was protecting Weinstein.

Why wouldn’t they? He made terrific movies and he was a big mover in Democratic party politics, raising millions for local and national campaigns, including the Clintons. (Hillary, some readers will recall, was on the cover of Talk’s first issue.)

John Kennedy, Jr. tried to blend politics and entertainment with the magazine he founded, George. His basic insight was correct; but he misunderstood something crucial. And John John misunderstood it because he was, by all accounts, a good man.

You know the old joke about Washington: That it’s Hollywood for ugly people. Kennedy thought that this was unfair to Washington and that the people in the nation’s capital had the capacity for glamour, too.

But it turns out that the joke works in the opposite direction: Hollywood is for ugly people, too. That was Harvey Weinstein’s essential insight, and how he managed to combine the worlds of politics, entertainment, and media. They’re all repulsive—and I know they’re disgusting or else they wouldn’t be courting, of all people, me.

Thus his fortress was quarried from the misshapen material of human vanity, ambition, and greed. Writers and journalists—the intellectuals, in his mind—were nearly as contemptible as actors. They wouldn’t dream of crossing a guy who could turn them into culture heroes with a phone call. Hey, I just optioned your novel and I already know who’s going to make the movie. And oh yeah, please confirm that you don’t, like I think I may have heard, have a reporter looking into a story about me.

A friend reminds me that there was a period when Miramax bought the rights to every big story published in magazines throughout the city. Why mess with Weinstein when that big new female star you’re trying to wrangle for the June cover is headlining a Miramax release? Do you think that glossy magazine editor who threw the swankiest Oscar party in Hollywood was trying to “nail down” the Weinstein story? Right, just like the hundreds of journalists who were ferried across the river for the big party at the Statue of Liberty to celebrate the premiere of Talk—they were all there sipping champagne and sniffing coke with models in order to “nail down” the story about how their host was a rapist.

That’s why the story about Harvey Weinstein finally broke now. It’s because the media industry that once protected him has collapsed. The magazines that used to publish the stories Miramax optioned can’t afford to pay for the kind of reporting and storytelling that translates into screenplays. They’re broke because Facebook and Google have swallowed all the digital advertising money that was supposed to save the press as print advertising continued to tank.

Look at Vanity Fair, basically the in-house Miramax organ that Tina failed to make Talk: Condé Nast demanded massive staff cuts from Graydon Carter and he quit. He knows they’re going to turn his aspirational bible into a blog, a fate likely shared by most (if not all) of the Condé Nast books.

Si Newhouse, magazine publishing’s last Medici, died last week, and who knows what will happen to Condé now. There are no more journalists; there are just bloggers scrounging for the crumbs Silicon Valley leaves them. Who’s going to make a movie out of a Vox column? So what does anyone in today’s media ecosystem owe Harvey Weinstein? And besides, it’s good story, right? “Downfall of a media Mogul.” Maybe there’s even a movie in it.

Snip.

The other reason the Weinstein story came out now: Because the court over which Bill Clinton once presided, a court in which Weinstein was one part jester, one part exchequer, and one part executioner, no longer exists.

A thought experiment: Would the Weinstein story have been published if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency? No, and not because he is a big Democratic fundraiser. It’s because if the story was published during the course of a Hillary Clinton presidency, it wouldn’t have really been about Harvey Weinstein. Harvey would have been seen as a proxy for the president’s husband and it would have embarrassed the president, the first female president.

Bill Clinton offered get-out-of-jail-free cards to a whole army of sleazeballs, from Jeffrey Epstein to Harvey Weinstein to the foreign donors to the Clinton Global Initiative. The deal was simple: Pay up, genuflect, and get on with your existence. It was like a papacy selling indulgences, at the same time that everyone knew that the cardinals were up to no good.

So why all the “courage” in exposing Weinstein now? Simple. As John Nolte notes “Today Weinstein is widely regarded as past his prime. Numerous reports indicate that the 65-year-old is in deep financial trouble. Moreover, he has not produced a hit or come near Oscar gold in nearly five years, and his highest profiles offerings have all bombed.”

Hollywood and the media can finally tell the truth about Weinstein because he’s a has-been that can no longer help or hurt them.

There’s talk that Weinstein could go to prison over the scandal. Well, I certainly hope so; last time I checked, rape was still a felony. Maybe he can share a cell with Anthony Weiner.

Now to finish with a few piquant tweets on the issue:

All other things being equal, I prefer to go through the day without thinking about Judi Dench’s ass.

Finally, if anyone in Hollywood knows of other serial rapists and sexual abusers (and you know Weinstein isn’t the only one; he may not even be the worst…), now would be a swell time to come forward before more women (and boys) are raped or sexually abused…

Was Las Vegas Shooter Just a Lunatic?

October 10th, 2017

It would be so much easier to explain the inexplicable if Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock had been a convert to the Islamic State.

After all, mass shootings in the name of radical Islam are a familiar phenomena. Then all the meticulous planning he put into his spree would be easy to explain as the usual modus operandi of Islamic terrorism.

Tiny problem: Right now there’s no hard evidence to support that theory. “As of now, Paddock appears to be more and more like a Jared Loughner, someone with severe mental problems who acted without political motive.”

Law enforcement officials increasingly believe Stephen Paddock, the gunman who killed and wounded concertgoers from a perch in a high-rise casino hotel last Sunday, had severe mental illness, ABC News reports.

Sources told ABC News that Paddock has been described in hundreds of interviews as standoff-sh, disconnected, and having difficulty establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships.

Authorities have still not found a definitive motive for the massacre.

“We still do not have a clear motive or reason why,” a frustrated Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said Friday. “We have looked at literally everything.”

Investigators have chased 1,000 leads and examined Paddock’s politics, his finances, any possible radicalization and his social behavior – typical investigative avenues that have helped uncover the motive in past shootings.

And nothing says “normal” quite like hiring $6,000 prostitutes to help act out your violent rape fantasies.

If Paddock had been acting for the Islamic State, we would have expected some sort of statement, such as a note or a shouted “Allah Akbar!” Those all still seem to be absent.

Sometimes a lone nut is actually a lone nut…

Islamic State Update: Hawija Falls, Final Push for Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor Fully Invested

October 9th, 2017

Quick update on the ongoing destruction of the Islamic State.

First, “Iraqi forces have driven Islamic State fighters from the northern city of Hawija, the militants’ final urban stronghold in Iraq, three years after they seized control of nearly a third of the country, the Iraqi government said Thursday.”

There’s still lots of fighting along the Euphrates, but the Islamic State doesn’t control any cities outside that region any more.

Second, the the final offensive against Islamic State holdouts in what remains of their territory in besieged Raqqa just began, with commanders of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces estimating that all of Raqqa will be liberated this week.

Third, like Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor has been completely cut off from the rest of the Islamic State by both SDF and Assad’s Syrian army. SDF also captured the Islamic State’s Deir ez-Zor headquarters.

(Pictures, as usual, from http://isis.liveuamap.com/.)

In western Syria, there are conflicting reports about the remaining Islamic State pocket near Hama there. The Syrian government claims it has destroyed the last elements of the Islamic State there, while the Islamic State claims that it is attacking and gaining ground from the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, the rival Islamist group in the Syrian civil war that incorporates former elements of the al-Nusra Front.

In 2014, the Islamic State took and ruled vast swathes of Iraq and Syria. Now they struggle to hold on to what few cities they still control, and soon will rule over nothing at all.

My Bumps, My Bumps, My AR-Stocky Humps

October 8th, 2017

Bump fire stocks (or just “bump stocks”) are replacement stocks for semiautomatic rifles that let the shooter simulate automatic by firing several shots without having to re-squeeze the trigger, are a hot topic in the news after Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock used them as part of his deadly rampage.

Unlike the overwhelming majority of our press corps, I had actually heard of bump stocks before the shooting, and seen videos like this, before the shooting:

Usually the NRA’s reaction to any call for gun control is “See you in Hell first!” However, their reaction to a call for bump stock regulation was quite different:

“In the aftermath of the evil and senseless attack in Las Vegas, the American people are looking for answers as to how future tragedies can be prevented. Unfortunately, the first response from some politicians has been to call for more gun control. Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks. This is a fact that has been proven time and again in countries across the world. In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved. Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law. The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations. In an increasingly dangerous world, the NRA remains focused on our mission: strengthening Americans’ Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves, their families and their communities. To that end, on behalf of our five million members across the country, we urge Congress to pass National Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which will allow law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence.”

So the NRA just signaled it’s willingness to sign on to a national gun control regulation. You better head out early, as the lines for the ski lodges of Gehenna are going to be out the door.

Of course, NRA support was contingent on getting national carry reciprocity in return, so watch congressional Democrats derail the deal, probably by tossing in the usual knee-jerk demands for for banning other “scary” gun part, higher capacity magazines, etc. Because NRA.

I’ve never fired a bump stock, and don’t know anyone who owns one. To get a better handle on this issue, I sent a few questions to old friend and master class shooter and trainer Karl Rehn about bump fire stocks.


1. My impression is that bump stocks are generally not well-regarded in the majority of the firearms community, and that they’re not allowed at the overwhelming majority of shooting ranges. Is that true? Do you allow bump stock firearms at any classes or events at KRTraining’s A-Zone range?

I’ve never had a student show up for a long gun class with a gun with a bump fire stock. They aren’t considered professional grade gear. You won’t find a SWAT team or a Navy SEAL or a professional shooting competitor using one.

I do not prohibit the use of bump stock equipped guns in my long gun classes. I’ve just never had anyone show up for a class wanting to use one. The drills we run in my long gun classes generally don’t involve firing more than 3 rounds at any target, and accuracy is part of the scoring for every drill.

2. Is it possible to rapid fire a bump stock equipped gun accurately, or is it a “spray and pray” weapon?

I haven’t used one. See answer #1. People serious about shooting quickly and accurately, or even just accurately, don’t use them.

3. What, if any, legitimate use cases are there for bump stock guns besides “having fun on your own land?”

It was originally invented as an aid for disabled shooters to operate a rifle more easily.

4. Besides the ill-conceived and ill-fated “Assault Weapons” ban, has the federal government ever attempted to regulate rifle stocks, or indeed anything beyond the receiver?

There has been considerable controversy and confusion associated with the ‘pistol brace’ which is sort of a stock that can be attached to pistols made from rifle lowers. See https://www.sigsauer.com/press-releases/atf-clarifies-ruling-pistol-stabilizing-braces/.

Will a bump stock ban have any impact on crime? Unlikely. If the shooter had not had the bump stock, could he have fired just as many rounds in the same time? Probably yes.


I would oppose a bump fire stock ban on general principles of federalism, and the fact that it won’t actually prevent any mass shootings, nor will they actually prevent new bump stocks, since bump stock designs are readily available for 3D printing.

That said, if you’re going to sacrifice any firearm component on the alter of appeasing mass hysteria, heavier regulations on bump fire stocks (which have always struck me as a quick and dirty hack) is probably the best option. Especially if we get national carry reciprocity in the bargain.

Brianna Wu’s “Husband” Makes An Ad

October 7th, 2017

In case you missed it, far-left anti-#GamerGate “activist” Brianna Wu (birth name: John Walker Flynt) is running for a U.S. congressional seat in Massachusetts.

And Wu’s “husband” make an ad for that campaign:

Many on the Internet say this is an appalling bad and amateurish ad that will harm the Wu campaign.

I disagree.

It is, indeed, appalling bad and amateurish, but that’s sort of the point. As the enduring appeal of the Sharknado film series, and the revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (both of which I’m a fan of) can attest, certain modern audiences love schlocky monster movies, and this video has the laughably bad quality that guarantees it will be shared on social media. Would a professional quality video promoting Wu get shared so widely? I think not.

And thinking this will “harm Wu’s campaign” assumes Wu’s campaign might succeed in getting Wu elected to congress in the first place. That was never going to happen. Indeed, I’m already on record as encouraging the Wu campaign to suck money away from Democratic candidates that might actually have a chance of winning. No, Wu’s campaign is all about keeping Brianna Wu in the public eye as some sort of social justice warrior totem, and the money-making opportunities (paltry though they may be) that status enables.

So let this video be seen far and wide throughout the land!

LinkSwarm for October 6, 2017

October 6th, 2017

Welcome to October! Enjoy your complimentary LinkSwarm:

  • Imran Awan’s lawyer said the House Democrats he worked for asked him to falsify spending reports:

    House Democrats ordered the systematic falsification of records showing how they spend their taxpayer-provided office budgets, according to lawyers for two former House information technology (IT) aides.

    It’s a remarkable accusation that pits sitting lawmakers against the former aides, Imran Awan, his brothers Abid and Jamal, and his wife Hina Alvi. Imran was arrested in July while trying to board a flight to Pakistan, and then indicted on four counts of bank fraud involving moving money to that country. Imran and Hina, who was also indicted, face a court date Friday.

    One of Imran’s lawyers, Aaron Page, acknowledged the invoicing discrepancy Aug. 21, telling The Daily Caller News Foundation, “This is just how things have been done for forever. This is what experienced members of Congress expect: to expedite things, they adjust the pricing.”

    If members or senior staff instructed IT aides to misrepresent how budgets were spent, that could potentially explain why officials have not charged the Awans with crimes related to procurement, even a full year after House authorities gathered documentation showing invoices that claimed expensive technological items cost $499 instead of their true price: potentially an open-and-shut violation.

    Garden-variety Democratic graft is probably the least worrisome lawbreaking the Awan ring could have been up to…

  • How the NFL protests are going to get Donald Trump reelected:

    now believe that the left will re-elect Trump. The ruction over NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem illustrates the point.

    The left has talked itself into believing that Trump’s alleged appeals to white racism were what put him over the top.

    More astute psephologists have pointed out that the actual difference was made by people in industrial states who previously had voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, but switched to Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Hard to attribute those decisions to white racism.

    Nevertheless, the left now interprets all of Trump’s actions through the prism of perceived appeals to white racism. If Trump were to tweet, “It’s a lovely day in Washington,” the left would denounce it as a dog whistle to white supremacists.

    Which brings us to the NFL ruction. Players began kneeling during the national anthem reportedly to protest what they regard as racial injustice in the United States. Trump denounced them in Trumpian fashion.

    According to the left, since the players were protesting racial injustice, Trump was endorsing racial injustice by criticizing them. There goes that dog whistle!

    o most Americans, that’s nuts.

    I’m not much of a flag waver. And I’ve never really understood why sporting events begin with the playing of the national anthem. Doesn’t seem a particularly apposite occasion for a display of patriotic fidelity.

    But it is part of American tradition. And traditions matter.

    You don’t have to be a racist to find galling the spectacle of pampered athletics, making millions of dollars playing a game, hosted in taxpayer-subsidized stadiums, benefiting from an antitrust exemption, ostentatiously exempting themselves from the traditional display of fidelity to our country.

    The argument by some that the protest isn’t really about the flag and national anthem rings hollow. If you do it during the national anthem, it is about the flag and the national anthem.

    Snip.

    Generally speaking, white Middle Americans aren’t racists. They don’t long for a return to Jim Crow. They’re just sick of having identity and grievance politics thrown in their faces all the time.

    If the left continues to tell Middle Americans they are racists, Trump will be re-elected.

  • “The media and the NFL did not know what hit them. I do. They hit themselves. Hard.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Pew confirms: Democrats are the extremists.
  • “Senior law enforcement officials from the United States, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras announced here today criminal charges against more than 3,800 MS-13 and 18th Street gang members in the United States and Central America in a coordinated law enforcement action known as Operation Regional Shield.”
  • ICE nabs 498 criminal illegal aliens in “sanctuary cities.”
  • Under President Donald Trump, illegal alien deportations have roughly tripled. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • How Donald Trump’s election caused the mainstream media to drop their masks of objectivity:

    The forces that brought Trump to power are alien to the experience of the men and women who populate newsrooms, his supporters unlike their colleagues, friends, and neighbors, his agenda anathema to the catechism of social liberalism, his career and business empire complex and murky and sensational. Little surprise that journalists reacted to his election with a combination of panic, fear, disgust, fascination, exhilaration, and the self-affirming belief that they remain the last line of defense against an emerging American autocracy. Who has time for dispassionate analysis, for methodical research and reporting, when the president’s very being is an assault on one’s conception of self, when nothing less than the future of the country is at stake? Especially when the depletion of veteran editors, the relative youth and inexperience of political and congressional reporters, and the proliferation of social media, with its hot takes and quips, its groupthink and instant gratification, makes the transition from inquiry to indignation all too easy.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Reason is really high on President Trump’s nomination of Justice Don Willett to the 5th Circuit court. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “The media is missing the Republican takeover in New England.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Difficulties in nursing home evacuations: having to punch people.
  • Michael Totten wonders why Turkey is still in NATO.
  • Catalonia might declare independence from Spain.
  • North Korean ship carrying 30,000 rocket launchers seized in Egypt. Biggest surprise? They had been purchased by the Egyptian military in defiance of UN sanctions…
  • Houston still has not resumed jury trials since Harvey wiped out two criminal justice buildings.
  • Democrat mega-donor [Harvey] Weinstein accused of sexual harassment.” [Cue Instapundit] Why are Democrat-dominated industries like Hollywood such cesspits of sexism?
  • What do women who worked in the editorial department of Playboy think about their time there? That it was the best job they ever had.
  • Latest #BlackLivesMatter chant: “Liberalism Is White Supremacy .” Also: “The revolution will not uphold the Constitution.” Way to get ordinary Americans on your side! (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • How the Chicago Sun-Times bought a bar to to document local political corruption. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Houstonian’s rich neighbors aren’t wild about the the working Sherman tank in front of his house. I saw good for him. I also wonder why Fox declined to call it a Sherman rather than the more generic “World War II” tank.
  • Wisconsin gets court pushback in its illegal war against bakers.
  • Netcraft confirms it: Slashdot turns 20. CowboyNeal is now old enough to be Florida Man…
  • Gun Control as Charlie Brown’s Football

    October 5th, 2017

    Following the Las Vegas shooting, we were treated to the same weary parade of liberal Democrats making the exact same noises they make after every shooting:

    “Now is the time for a national dialog and common sense gun laws. And by ‘dialog,’ I mean that Republicans shut up and let us shame them into voting for gun control. And by ‘common sense’ I mean ‘complete civilian disarmament of the sane and law-abiding.'”

    There was the ritual denunciation of the NRA. “Column after column is fired off about how much the National Rifle Association donates to congressional candidates (spoiler: it’s not much, about 200K a year). For every breathless declaration that the NRA has blood on their hands, it’s worth noting more journalists have committed mass shootings in this country than NRA members.”

    And don’t forget the four or five national media reports in which basic firearms details are so obviously and egregiously wrong that any knowledgeable gun owner could have spotted the error.

    Let me know where I can buy some of those “automatic rounds.” Ace of Spades has similar thoughts on that piece, including slamming them for this obvious lie about gun experts: “Those who are knowledgeable often don’t want to talk on the record.” Sayeth Ace:

    Are you fucking kidding me with that? You have 100 conservative gun expert bloggers and reporters trying to explain to you the difference between semi-auto action and full auto action (and revolver action, etc.) every time a fucking gun crime occurs, and you put your hands over your ears and say “My ears are hurting” like that childish retard on MSNBC.

    Every single time. This is not our first go-round on this, Media Gun Control Experts. It’s not even our hundredth go-round.

    Actual gun owners and experts are begging to explain the basics to you — but you won’t listen. Instead, you babble on ignorantly about “automatic rounds” and the modifications you need to make to your gun to get it to fire these exotic bullets.

    These rank stupidities get corrected again and again, but major media organizations still don’t bother to give their reporters the training or fact checkers necessary to catch these obvious errors. It’s as though they wear their ignorance on their sleeve as a badge of virtue signaling honor.

    But all this is off my central point: Why do Democrats persist in pursuing the exact same strategies when it is obvious they’ve not convinced voters any previous time before?

    Indeed, the Democrats’ most fervent advocacy for gun control comes during the same period when Democrats where hemorrhaging seats to Republicans. Gun control isn’t the only issue that’s made them unpopular everywhere but urban centers, but it’s certainly a contributing factor.

    So why do Democrats keep pursuing the same strategies over and over again even though they not only aren’t working, but seem to be counterproductive?

    Maybe complete civilian disarmament is the Democratic Party’s core value, and they feel a compulsion to spout it akin to a fervent Christian’s drive to “give witness” by reciting the gospel to unbelievers.

    Like Charlie Brown, Democrats just can’t keep themselves from trying to kick the gun control football, even though they must know by now that the scene ends with them lying on the ground in pain and humiliation.

    A smattering of other related gun pieces

  • 538 writer: “I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.”
  • Mass shootings are a poor lens through which to view violence involving guns.
  • Larry Correia slams Elizbeth Moon for her foolish, ill-argued opposition to suppressors. I’m friends with Elizabeth, but Correia has the far better argument here.
  • Paglia on Hugh Hefner and Modern Feminism

    October 4th, 2017

    Pretty much every Paglia interview is worth reading, and this one right after the death of Hugh Hefner is no exception.

    Q: So let me just ask: Was Hugh Hefner a misogynist?

    A: Absolutely not! The central theme of my wing of pro-sex feminism is that all celebrations of the sexual human body are positive. Second-wave feminism went off the rails when it was totally unable to deal with erotic imagery, which has been a central feature of the entire history of Western art ever since Greek nudes.

    Snip.

    I have always taken the position that the men’s magazines — from the glossiest and most sophisticated to the rawest and raunchiest — represent the brute reality of sexuality. Pornography is not a distortion. It is not a sexist twisting of the facts of life but a kind of peephole into the roiling, primitive animal energies that are at the heart of sexual attraction and desire.

    Snip.

    Gloria Steinem, Susan Faludi, all of those relentlessly ideological feminists are people who have wandered away from traditional religion and made a certain rabid type of feminist rhetoric their religion. And their fanaticism has poisoned the public image of feminism and driven ordinary, mainstream citizens away from feminism. It’s outrageous.

    I hugely admired the early role that Steinem played in second-wave feminism because she was very good as a spokesperson in the 1970s. She had a very soothing manner that made it seem perfectly reasonable for people to adopt feminist principles. She normalized the image of feminism when there were a lot of crazy feminists running around (like Valerie Solanas, who shot Andy Warhol). That was Steinem’s great contribution, as far as I’m concerned. Also, I credit her for co-founding Ms. magazine and thereby contributing that very useful word, Ms., to the English language, which allows us to refer to a woman without signaling her marital status. I think that’s a tremendous accomplishment.

    But aside from that, Steinem is basically a socialite who always hid her early dependence on men in the social scene in New York. And as a Democrat, I also blame her for having turned feminism into a covert adjunct of the Democratic party. I have always felt that feminism should transcend party politics and be a big tent welcoming women of faith and of all views into it. Also, I hold against Steinem her utter, shameless hypocrisy during the Bill Clinton scandal. After promoting sexual harassment guidelines, which I had also supported since the 1980s, Steinem waved away one of the worst cases of sexual harassment violation that can ever be imagined — the gigantic gap of power between the President of the United States and an intern! All of a sudden, oh, no, it was all fine, it was “private.” What rubbish! That hypocrisy by partisan feminist leaders really destroyed feminism for a long time. So now feminism has rebounded, but unfortunately it’s a particularly virulent brand of feminism that’s way too reminiscent of the MacKinnon-Dworkin sex hysteria of the 1980s.

    Read the whole thing.

    Las Vegas Shooting Follow-Up

    October 3rd, 2017

    Nothing about the Las Vegas shooting makes sense:

    Legally-owned fully-automatic weapons have been used in three crimes since 1934.

    So, a person who’s “not a gun guy” has either expended untold thousands of dollars to legally purchase fully-automatic weapons, somehow found them on the black market, or purchased and substantially modified multiple semi-automatic weapons — and did so with enough competence to create a sustained rate of fire. This same person also spent substantial sums purchasing just the right hotel room to maximize casualties. I cannot think of a single other mass shooter who went to this level of expense and planning in the entire history of the United States.

    Snip.

    He was the multimillionaire son of a notorious bank robber. He had no known history of mental illness, there’s no record of radical politics, and he had no criminal history. It looks like his first crime was the worst mass murder in American history, and ISIS is still trying to take credit for his attack. These facts are unique, to say the least.

    Add to that the fact that [Stephen] Paddock owned multiple homes and two planes, which doesn’t exactly fit the spree-killer profile. Also, age 64 is quite old for an active shooter, but not unprecedented.

    Most older active shooters seem to be acting on some sort of workplace grudge. Jose Mendez, 68, shot up his printing shop, while Biswanath Halder, 62, apparently had a grudge against someone in the Case Western Reserve University computer lab. John Chester Ashley (a Baptist Decon!) shot up a law office after his divorce case. John Suchan Chong shot up the Christian retreat where he worked as a handyman.

    Alburn Edward Blake, who was 60 when he shot up a Wendy’s, might be the closest comparison shooter. But Blake already had a long history of weird behavior and mental instability (like legally marrying a women who he had never met and who wasn’t present during the ceremony).

    The Islamic State continues to claim Paddock as one of their own:

    “Responding to the call of [Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi] to target the states of the Crusader alliance, and after careful observation of gatherings of the Crusaders in the US city of Las Vegas, one of the soldiers of the caliphate (Abu Abd al-Bar al-Amriki, may Allah accept him) lay hidden armed with machine guns and various ammunition in a hotel overlooking a concert,” it said.

    “He opened fire on their gathering, leaving 600 killed and injured, until his ammunition was finished and he departed as a martyr.:

    Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, immediately called both for more gun control, as well as defeating a bill under consideration to make suppressors more readily available for shooters. This piece explains why that position is bunk. “An automatic weapon creates so much heat that it rapidly deteriorates the effectiveness of sound suppression (or simply melts it).”

    Indeed, it’s part of the usual liberal push for disarming law-abiding citizens. “They are interested not merely in stopping mass shootings, but limiting gun ownership.”

    If Paddock wasn’t working for the Islamic State, and absent some reason showing up in his autopsy (ala Charles Joseph Whitman’s brain tumor), his motivation for meticulously planning and perpetrating the largest mass shooting in American history (with a death toll at 59 as of this writing) seems unfathomable.

    Over 50 Dead From Active Shooter in Las Vegas

    October 2nd, 2017

    An active shooter attacked a country music concert from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas, leaving over 50 dead. Shooter has been identified as “64-year-old Stephen Paddock,” a local, and has been confirmed dead. Police also have his girlfriend/companion/whatever in custody.

    Video and witnesses indicate he was firing some sort of fully automatic weapon.

    The MO fits the jihadi profile, and the Islamic State called on followers to attack Las Vegas months ago, but Paddock appears to be a 64-year old white guy, which doesn’t fit the usual pattern.

    Developing…

    Update: Family said shooter had no religious or political affiliation.

    Update 2: Islamic State claims he’s a recent convert to Islam.

    Update 3: Death till 58, FBI says not international terrorism involved, Islamic State doubles down on Paddock being one of theirs, he was reportedly a high-stakes gambler, and his father was a bank robber on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list.