Here’s an abbreviated list of [Bill Bennett’s] books:

And here’s just a few things that I would have thought the author of these books would find disqualifying for a president of the United States and de facto standard-bearer of conservatism.

Now, Bill has criticized some of these things, he just doesn’t think they add up to anything that justifies trying to keep this guy from taking over the GOP or the country. And, bear in mind, I haven’t even talked about Trump’s policies.”

(Jonah Golberg, Invasion of the Body-Snatchers)

May 18, 2024

Transing the gay away

[T]he entire category of gay kids has been abolished by, yes, gay groups. Gay kids are now conflated with entirely different groups: children who believe they are the opposite sex, straight kids who call themselves queer,” an entirely new category of human beings called nonbinaries,” and a few hundred new orientations” and genders” — including eunuchs! All of these kids are now deemed gender diverse,” essentially living the same LGBTQIA+” life, defined as being queer and subverting any and all cultural and social norms. Homosexuality? It has effectively evaporated into gender diversity.”

The last thing a gay boy needs to be told is that he might actually be a girl inside — and that might be the source of all his troubles. It’s psychologically brutalizing and scarring.

… It’s the deepest, oldest homophobic trope: that gay boys aren’t really boys. And it is now being deployed by gender theorists as gleefully as it once was by bigots.

… The overwhelming majority of detransitioners are gay men and lesbians who were persuaded they were trans in childhood. In the old days, sorting through these feelings just required growing up — no need to make a decision until you’re an adult — and every decision was reversible. In the age of affirmation-only” and gender-affirming care,” all this becomes ever more fraught as kids are required to make a decision against a pubertal clock. And this is not a hypothetical. We know it has happened; we know it is happening. For many gender-dysphoric children, there is no doubt that gender-affirming care” is literally transing the gay away.

Andrew Sullivan

May 17, 2024

Even for Trump-era Republicans, a cattle call outside a criminal courthouse for the purpose of helping Trump evade his gag order is so tremendously undignified that one feels a physical urge to turn away from it.

The GOP has adopted the Chinese model of governance,” economist Patrick Chovanec said of the spectacle. One divine ruler surrounded by a bunch of eunuchs.” I won’t belabor this column with another ramble about the emasculation of Republican men under Trump except to say that watching them put on daddy’s clothes for their big-boy outing in the city is an unusually garish example.

To apologize, to show remorse, to seek forgiveness is the essence of weakness: That’s Trump, and Trumpism. That a person who treats remorse as a failing of character would become the great political idol of conservative Christians, whose faith sacralizes remorse and repentance, is one of the most disgusting political developments in modern American history. And it helps explain why Speaker Mike Johnson’s cameo outside the courthouse this week felt especially loathsome. It’s not (just) that Johnson is the highest-ranking Republican in government. It’s that he purports to be a serious Christian and yet there he was, extolling Trump’s remorselessness—in a matter involving adultery with a porn star, no less.

Nick Cattogio

May 17, 2024

Stop and smell the sewage

A man is known by the company he keeps. And of the many sordid ways Mr. Trump sets himself apart, his crew of henchmen is a doozy. Several have been slouching back into the limelight of late, underscoring just what kind of ethics-’n-integrity we’d get in Trump II.

Michael Cohen deserves top billing with his juicy court appearances this week, as Mr. Trump’s former fixer shared the nitty-gritty of how to keep your boss’s alleged extramarital encounters from blowing up a presidential campaign. But then there’s Steve Bannon, who just suffered another setback in his ongoing legal drama. Rudy Giuliani lost a gig. And Paul Manafort — talk about a blast from the past! — hit a snag while trying to wriggle his way back into the political arena.

Revisiting these guys and their antics is like stumbling across a hinky septic tank. You want to get clear of the stench as swiftly as possible. But it is important to stop and smell the sewage. With Mr. Trump having been out of office for a few years, it is all too easy for people to lapse into nostalgia and forget the degree to which he surrounds himself with grifters, thugs and skeezeballs.

Michelle Cottle

May 16, 2024

As loathsome as the Republican nominee is, American politics doesn’t want for profoundly loathsome figures. You might have to reach very far into dark fantasy to find someone so repulsive that you’d prefer to be governed by Trump than by that person, but it can be done. Meditate on these three words: President Alex Jones.

The Never Trump” club would empty out mighty quickly if we were facing that, I suspect.

Nick Cattogio

Point taken. Charles Manson may be gone, but Alex Jones isn’t.

May 15, 2024

… when your chief means of signalling rebellion against the staid, venal world of adulthood is buying products marketed to you and manufactured by that very same adult world, the relation between rebellion and conformity is ambivalent at best. … it’s this underlying drive that explains the protean quality of the Omnicause, and its seemingly endless ability to ingest new causes and transcend new contradictions. The Protestant tradition — and especially the Puritan one — always repudiated religious authority in pursuit of religious purity. And the same mix of idealism and secession persists to this day in secularised form, in the ritual of adolescent rebellion” incubated by 20th-century American marketeers and granted idealistic form today as youth activism”. The myth of the West” is that you aren’t Westerning properly unless you’re seceding from something, and what powers the West” — really, America and its provinces — in its restlessness is this impulse to keep seceding until you find the purer society you were seeking. At the smaller scale, the myth of the American teenager is that you aren’t teenagering properly unless you’re rebelling against something and pursuing something higher. Each American teenager is thus the West” in miniature, complete with the modern West’s baked-in will to consumerism.

Mary Harrington

May 15, 2024

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health commissioned a systematic review of existing research on cross-sex medical treatments in 2020, but found little to no evidence” supporting these treatments for children and adolescents, according to newly unearthed emails.

May 15, 2024

Between his financial problems, his erratic temperament, his contacts with foreigners, and his oft-stated hostility to the deep state,” writes Tom Nichols, Trump wouldn’t have a prayer of obtaining a security clearance without the American people, in their infinite wisdom, electing him to an office in which he’s in charge of clearances himself.

Nick Catoggio, The Transactional Radical

May 15, 2024

Sometimes, a reductio ad Hitlerum is a warranted wake-up call.

April 30, 2024

Why are they saying this where they’re saying it?

National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke has a question for the pro-Palestinian student protesters continuing their encampment on Columbia University’s campus: Why, exactly, are these protests happening at all?” he asked. By this, I don’t mean, What is it that the protesters are saying?’ I know that. By this, I mean, Why is it that they are saying it where they are saying it?’ The faculty at Columbia is not in charge of Israel or the Israeli military; it does not set American foreign policy; and it did not contrive any of the historical or geopolitical questions that underpin the broader fight. I daresay that there are students at Columbia who, for whatever reason, are vexed by the state of the world, but to take this out on their fellow students and the staff at their school makes no more sense than to take it out on the staff at Pedro’s Deli. The two things do not, in any meaningful way, even come close to intersecting. … Sometimes, silence really is golden—even if you’re a discontented college student who has just discovered that life isn’t fair.”

April 30, 2024

At the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday, Joe Biden joked that age is an issue in the election, because I’m a grown man running against a six-year-old.” (New York Post)

The Free Press

April 29, 2024

A consortium of television networks yesterday released a joint statement inviting President Joe Biden and his presumptive opponent, Donald Trump, to debate on their platforms: There is simply no substitute for the candidates debating with each other, and before the American people, their visions for the future of our nation.”

President Biden’s spokesperson should answer like this: The Constitution is not debatable. The president does not participate in forums with a person under criminal indictment for his attempt to overthrow the Constitution.”

Until tried and convicted, Trump must be regarded as innocent in the eyes of the law.

But the political system has eyes of its own. No doubt exists about what Trump did, or why, or what his actions meant. Trump lost an election, then incited a violent mob to attack the Capitol. He hoped that the insurrectionists would terrorize, kidnap, or even kill his own vice president in order to stop the ceremony to formalize the victory of Biden and his vice president, Kamala Harris. By disrupting the ceremony, Trump schemed to cast the election’s result to the House of Representatives, where Republican voting strength might proclaim him president in place of the lawful winner. Many people were badly injured by Trump’s violent plan, and some died as a result.

David Frum

April 17, 2024

In case you hadn’t heard, the sentient world is waking up to the horror of what transgender madness has done to some thousands of children. The emblem of this is the Cass Report in Great Britain. I’ve read much about it, but nothing that so captures the essence as this:

Instead of taking narrow claims of dysphoria at face value, Cass adopts a holistic approach, arguing that such statements must be considered within the context of poor mental health and emotional distress among the broader adolescent population.”

Nina Power, The Trans Reckoning is Here. Considering the context doesn’t mean ignoring, but exploring all possibilities before doing something radical.

April 16, 2024

I just heard the story of a candidate who was furious with his estranged wife for not posing for a family photo with the kids. I can’t say more for fear of too precisely identifying the situation, in which wife and children are quite innocent and don’t need the hassle.

Our six primary candidates for governor aren’t much better, although their badness differs from his.

Politics is so phony it makes me want to puke. Well, actually, it makes me want to post.

April 16, 2024

Antichrist is another Christ. That’s what Trump invites his supporters to think of him. From a video clip:

Michael C. Bender, The Church of Trump: How He’s Infusing Christianity Into His Movement

April 4, 2024

Open a King James Bible and read Daniel chapter 8 with a dictionary and you cannot help but see that he is the prophesied king of the west who at the time of the end” will fulfill the prophecy in making his nation very great.” (Daniel 8:9)

Blurb for Bible Prophecy & Trump: Daniel Prophesied of a Goat Stubborn King of the West that will Make His Nation Great in the End Times Then the Unthinkable Occurs Over 150 End Time Prophecies

Wanna bet I can’t? I’m increasingly convinced that Trump’s an antichrist.” Just think about the self-aggrandizing crap he pulled during Holy Week 2024.

April 1, 2024

Consistent Folly

Whether this Bible is an example of Christian nationalism I will leave to others. It is at least an example of Christian syncretism, a linking of certain myths about American exceptionalism and the Christian faith. This is the American church’s consistent folly: thinking that we are the protagonists in a story that began long before us and whose main character is in fact the Almighty.

Esau McCaulley

April 1, 2024

Trump looting the GOP

One might assume that a presidential nominee who generates as much devotion as Mr. Trump would be a financial boon to his party. One would be wrong. With Mr. Trump, everything is about Mr. Trump … While the Republican base may be smitten with Mr. Trump, plenty of big-money donors are skittish about bankrolling his nonsense. The former president has been scrambling to close the gap, leering at potential funders as if they were contestants at the Miss Universe pageant.

Michelle Cottle, Trump Is Financially Ruining the Republican Party

I haven’t seen gullibility like today’s GOP since Harlem stood by its man Adam Clayton Powell.

April 1, 2024

Covering all the bases

President Biden issues some manner of Easter Proclamation Sunday.

He took care of the Transgender Day of Visibility Proclamation on Friday.

I’m so confused. What am I supposed to celebrate today?

April 1, 2024

Is this really deep, or is it deeply silly?

March 30, 2024

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