June 30, 2016

Overnight Open Thread (6-30-2016)
— Maetenloch

Quote of the Day I

California's high-speed rail project increasingly looks like an expensive social science experiment to test just how long interest groups can keep money flowing to a doomed endeavor before elected officials finally decide to cancel it. What combination of sweet-sounding scenarios, streamlined mockups, ever-changing and mind-numbing technical detail, and audacious spin will keep the dream alive?

-- Virginia Postrel on California's high speed rail boondoggle

Quote of the Day II

My cousin called me from the States tonight to ask what the heck is going on over here. I suppose it's being reported that gangs of Hitler youth are roaming the streets beating up brown people. Or something. That's The Narrative and they're sticking to it - most of the papers, the pundits, even the police.

Whether there's been a real rise in racial conflicts, I have no idea. They say calls to the police abuse hotlines are way up, but most of the actual reports seem to be Rudeness in the First Degree or Really Hurtful T-Shirt Slogans.

-- Sweasel

Quote of the Day III

Beauty and laughter are pleasures, but they aren't just an escape from constant sorrow. They are real but otherworldly; we can't control their coming and going. They are glimpses of Ithaca, of the home we seek, of the fellowship which allows us to survive and prosper. That's why they are so important to our social order, and I have to assume it's why the Greeks put comedies at the heart of their civic life.

I've read that the writers who competed in the festivals of Dionysus had to compose four plays. The first three were tragedies, but the last had to be a comedy. According to this recipe tragedy occupies much of our time, but comedy has the last word. The two forms work together to celebrate the life force that Dionysus represents.

-- PowerLine reader Alon Griesinger

Quote of the Day IV

The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things - the beauty, the memory of our own past - are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.

-- C.S. Lewis

Daniel Hannan Spends Nine Minutes Smacking Down CNN Journalist Hack Christiane Amanpour

She asserts he said something he didn't and then keeps doubling down and he's having none it. Then she tries to throw some guilt-by-association at Hannan by making him answer for anti-immigrant graffiti that appeared on some wall somewhere.

In her very slight defense she may have gotten Hannan confused with Nigel Farage and started reading out Farage quotes but still what a shameless, obnoxious overrated hack. You can watch the whole thing here.

The Hellhole of Alresford: Tim Blair and Iowahawk Dogpile on a Hapless British Academic

Who happens to despise his pleasant home town of Alresford, England and everyone everywhere who supported Brexit. Also all the people who live in small backward hellish villages who probably should be destroyed for the greater good.

Alresford is my personal hell.

...We are not used to thinking that a place like this - a pleasant town with a pretty center - might actually be hell. There is almost no poverty and only the occasional act of violence. There are good schools, a range of shops, a heritage railway. In fact, it's somewhere that a lot of people, apparently, actively want to live .

But dig below the surface, and you will find the demons crawling.
And it is impossible to leave Alresford, because Alresford is not just a place: It is an ideology that infects your very soul. Let's call it "Alresfordism." It is an ideology of smallness, of contraction, of wanting to curl up in our own personal, financially secure hole and will everything amusing or interesting or exciting in the world away.

...All I can do is look out at the nature from the window of my room in Alresford. I'm from here, so I can't be sure whether or not this is just another type of nihilism, but I think: Well, if all this nature is bigger than us, then I want it be get even bigger. I want it to become so big that it will consume all of our smallnesses, invalidate them, smother them out. Not just Alresford. I want a demented, throbbing, fecund nature to overrun this whole country, to overturn the wretched consequences of the laws that we have, in our stupidity, set for ourselves.

Tim Blair notes that when Whyman isn't demanding nature's consumption of humankind and the destruction of Alresfords everywhere, he also writes about cupcakes.

hellholeal

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Mitt Romney: Hey, I'm Just Sayin', My Family Is Really Pushing Me to Run for President
— Ace

I think he's beginning to realize he could have run and he would have won.

“My wife and kids wanted me to run again this time,” Mr. Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, said this week at the “Aspen Ideas Festival.”

“I’ve got some kids — I got an email from one of my sons yesterday saying ‘you gotta get in, Dad — you gotta get in,’ ” he said.

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Judge Permits Expansion of Lawsuit to Probe Hillary's Secret Meetings With Donors
— Ace

They suspect, almost certainly correctly, that Hillary kept her meetings with donors off her official calendars so that she could never be asked about them -- if there's no record of a meeting, it's hard to subpoena information related to it. This is of a piece with her secret email system -- you can't subpoena an email system whose existence has been kept a secret.

But a judge is allowing an expansion of Judicial Watch's lawsuit into Hillary's donor meetings.

Weather prediction: a downpour of "I can't recalls" and a high-pressure system of incomplete memory with a 90% chance of perjury.

A federal judge has ordered the State Department to hand over records detailing Hillary Clinton's schedules during 14 overseas trips as secretary of state amid speculation that Clinton kept meetings with donors to her family's foundations off her official calendar.

In a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Citizens United, the court moved to compel the State Department to produce emails sent to and from Lona Valmoro, a Clinton aide, regarding overseas trips where unreported donor activity was suspected.

The conservative group had obtained correspondence from the State Department that suggested Clinton may have met with donors to the Clinton Foundation while on diplomatic trips.

Meanwhile, the Drunkard Empress made damn sure no one would ever see the emails she chose to delete.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin said in a legal proceeding that Clinton did not want the private emails that she mixed in with State Department emails on her private computer server to be accessible to "anybody," according to transcripts released Wednesday.

Abedin's comments provided new insight into the highly unusual decision by the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate to operate a private email server in her basement to conduct government business when she served as secretary of state.

Abedin also said under oath that she was not aware whether Clinton personally deleted any emails during her tenure as secretary.

Abedin told lawyers for the conservative group Judicial Watch in a deposition that she could not recall whether she or Clinton discussed with any State Department officials Clinton's use of her server exclusively for government business. Abedin, who was Clinton's deputy chief of staff at the State Department, now works with Clinton's presidential campaign and often travels with the candidate. Abedin used an email account on Clinton's server occasionally for government business, although Abedin also used a government address.

"I assumed it was OK to do," she testified.

Boy that early-onset Alzheimer's is a growing problem among the Clinton Camp, isn't it? It's as if she's a vector of the syndrome and infects everyone around her.

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Finally: Ash Carter Announces End to Military's Ban on Transgender Recruits
— Ace

Now, you have nothing to worry about from ISIS, which isn't an "existential threat" and whose monthly slaughters of innocents just shows how feeble and desperate they are, but you should know that if the US military does not begin enlisting transgenders, it would be a bleeding gutwound to the Constitution and our ever-evolving values.

The Pentagon said Thursday it was ending the ban on transgender people being able to serve openly in the U.S. military.

The announcement -- which removes one of the last barriers to military service by any individual -- was made by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who had been studying the issue for almost a year. The decision comes as the military has witnessed major changes in the role of women and the inclusion of gays, lesbians and bisexual service members in recent years.

"The Defense Department and the military need to avail ourselves of all talent possible in order to remain what we are now -- the finest fighting force the world has ever known," Carter said Thursday at the Pentagon.

The big winner? Bradley "Chelsea" Manning, the Rosa Parks of zir generation.

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Wonderful: Celebrity President Might Buy Into NBA Team When His Retirement Is Official
— Ace

This disease will linger for a long time.

What an asshole.

President Barack Obama’s second term in office is almost complete, leaving many to wonder what he will do when he leaves office in January. It appears the 44th President might be taking his talents to the NBA.

Press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday that Obama, an unabashed sports fan, has “discussed” joining an ownership group for an NBA franchise. But Earnest also added that Obama would move forward only “under the right circumstances.”

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Judicial Watch: Law Enforcement Sources Tell Us a Gun Used in the Paris Massacre Came from Phoenix, Home of Obama's Fast and Furious Program
— Ace

Now, you have to be careful with how they phrase things here.

They don't say the gun came from the Fast and Furious program -- just that it came from the area where the Fast and Furious program was in operation.

However, Judicial Watch alleges the government behaved strangely to cover up this gun's provenance.

Which is mighty suspicious.

This isn't a fact, just a possibility. At least at this point.

I'm sure the media will get right on this.

One of the guns used in the November 13, 2015 Paris terrorist attacks came from Phoenix, Arizona where the Obama administration allowed criminals to buy thousands of weapons illegally in a deadly and futile “gun-walking” operation known as “Fast and Furious.”

A Report of Investigation (ROI) filed by a case agent in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) tracked the gun used in the Paris attacks to a Phoenix gun owner who sold it illegally, “off book,” Judicial Watch’s law enforcement sources confirm. Federal agents tracing the firearm also found the Phoenix gun owner to be in possession of an unregistered fully automatic weapon, according to law enforcement officials with firsthand knowledge of the investigation.

The investigative follow up of the Paris weapon consisted of tracking a paper trail using a 4473 form, which documents a gun’s ownership history by, among other things, using serial numbers. The Phoenix gun owner that the weapon was traced back to was found to have at least two federal firearms violations—for selling one weapon illegally and possessing an unregistered automatic—but no enforcement or prosecutorial action was taken against the individual. Instead, ATF leaders went out of their way to keep the information under the radar and ensure that the gun owner’s identity was “kept quiet,” according to law enforcement sources involved with the case. “Agents were told, in the process of taking the fully auto, not to anger the seller to prevent him from going public,” a veteran law enforcement official told Judicial Watch.

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Republican-Controlled House Schedules Vote on Gun Control Measure For Next Week
— Ace

This is why I laugh at people who say things like "I can't vote for Trump; I'm a principled conservative.".

The House will vote on a counter-terrorism package that will include a provision to prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns, Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., told Republicans on a conference call Thursday, according to a source on the call.

The House, when it returns next week from its July 4 recess, will also vote on a mental health bill , sponsored by Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, Ryan told his House colleagues.

...

On the call, Ryan said it common sense that suspects on terror watch lists not be able to buy guns, but he wants to be sure that any provision protects due process for people who may mistakenly be added to such lists.

Now in theory, there's absolutely nothing wrong with a bill that blocks suspected terrorists from buying guns -- so long as there are strong due process safeguards, and that people have the right to challenge the finding and have a lawyer paid for by the state. (You shouldn't go bankrupt trying to get your name off a list you were added to with no due process standards, other than a bureaucrat's say-so.)

But of course the Democrats would never agree to any true safeguards -- their strategy is to always demand more than Republicans will/can give. It is a key election strategy that they not have any law the Republicans buy into. they want the election issue. They don't give a shit if terrorists have guns or not. They want to win the House, and they'll murder American citizens with their own hands for a better chance at that.

They really just want something else to point at when Republicans bring up their miserable record on combating terrorism. Oh, I mean combating violent extremism and/or man-made disasters.

And meanwhile, the Republicans will keep chasing the Democrats -- watering down procedural protections until they vanish altogether.

The Democrats either want no law or at all, or a complete surrender by the Republicans which will demoralize GOP voters while showing Democrat voters that Democrats can show they're "tough" enough to burn the Constitution in their quest for power.

I just can't see the Republicans doing anything here but embarrassing themselves and further alienating their base. They're patsies, and always will be.

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Rasmussen: Trump 43, Clinton 39
— Ace

Outlier, or real?

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Mid-Morning Open Thread [CBD]
— Open Blogger


vermeer-670-girl-with-a-pearl-earring_custom.jpg

Girl With Pearl Earring
Johannes Vermeer

Everyone has seen this one. It's beautiful and mysterious, and photos do not do it justice. I saw it in The Hague, at a small museum called Mauritshuis, and it is spectacular. And the museum, really just a big house, is amazing. Amsterdam is a dump, so if you are there just grab a train and head to The Hague for a few hours in one of the best museums in the world. Don't worry...The Hague has a coffeeshop or two. more...

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June 29, 2016

Overnight Open Thread (6-29-2016)
— Maetenloch

Quote of the Day I

Moreover, charity given as of right, for that is what the welfare state does, favors the undeserving more than the deserving, in so far as the undeserving have a capacity and even talent for generating more neediness than the deserving. (They also tend to be more vocal in their demands.)

The welfare state in fact dissolves the very notion of desert, because there is no requirement that a beneficiary prove he deserves what he is legally entitled to. And where what is given is given as of right, not only will a recipient feel no gratitude for it, but it must be given without compassion-that is, without regard to any individual's actual situation. In the welfare state, the notion of a specially deserving case is prohibited, for it implies a distinction between the deserving and the undeserving.

-- Theodore Dalrymple

Quote of the Day II

Before there was American exceptionalism there was British exceptionalism - in both cases, based on the idea that freedom is the unique mission of the English-speaking peoples.

It need not be put in such exclusionary terms. I would be very happy if many more countries regarded themselves as having a proprietary national interest in liberty. (The French think they do, but they don't.) At the very least, we should do what we can to preserve or re-establish that idea where it has a long history.

-- Robert Tracinski in UK After Brexit

Quote of the Day III - Life in the EU Edition

The French economy is stagnant. GDP growth for the latest quarter was 0.6%. Over the past decade, growth has rarely risen above 1%. The unemployment rate is over 10% and the youth unemployment is 25%. Clearly tax and regulatory reform, including more labor flexibility, are needed to encourage employers to hire.

As an example of the difficulty of firing workers, a French court this week ruled that Société Générale rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel, who lost $5.5 billion of the bank's assets in 2008 and almost caused its bankruptcy, had been unfairly dismissed. Société Générale was ordered to pay Kerviel $511,000 because it decided he was dismissed "without cause."

Quote of the Day IV - Yada Yada Edition

What gets reported is "Well, me and my girlfriends met at Lisa's apartment to pre- game. I had a beer and a shot there. Then we went to This Bar and That Bar and I had three shots at the first place and an Appletini at the second place plus this guy gave me half his beer. So, we were dancing and then Lisa and Cindy left. So the guy who gave me half his beer said we should go to This Other Bar to meet his friend and we did. And I had two shots and then he bought me this mixed drink. I don't remember what it was called or what was in it. And then I had another beer and we danced and I remember we were making out at one point in the bathroom and I gave him a blow job. Then I remember we left This Other bar-"

Needle scratch. Wait a minute. You gave him oral sex?

"Well, yeah."

-- From Bookworm's post on Alcohol and "Rape" Culture on America's College Campuses

And Then There Was One - The Last of the Doolittle Raiders

doolittleraid23 lastdoolittleraide1
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Democrat Party Platform: Prosecute Those Who Deny Global Warming
— Ace

Not remotely fascist.

Democratic operatives responsible for creating their party’s platform this year have unanimously adopted a provision calling for the Department of Justice to investigate companies who disagree with Democrats on global warming science.

A panel of Democrats voted Friday to approve a final draft of the party’s platform to promote “Progressive Democratic Values,” which apparently includes investigating energy companies who “misled” shareholders about global warming.

I realize many people dislike Donald Trump intensely, but I continue to be baffled by those who obsess over his admittedly enormous flaws while remaining blissfully silent about the flaws of Hillary -- or the Democrats' not-even-hiding-it-any-longer embrace of totalitarianism.

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Huma Abedin Testifies: Hillary's Determination to Use a Subpoena-Proof Invisible Email System Interfered With Her Ability to Do Her Job
— Ace

Remember, everyone: the official reason Hillary says she set up her own server was for "convenience."

Top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin testified Tuesday that the private email server Clinton chose to use for both personal and government communications may have hindered the former secretary of state's ability to do her job.

Citing an instance in which Clinton missed a call from a foreign minister because aides did not receive her emails on the matter, Abedin testified that the private email arrangement might have interfered with Clinton's ability to carry out her duties.

"So she wasn't able to do her job, do what she needed to do," Abedin said of the incident.

The former deputy chief of staff to Clinton was deposed Tuesday by conservative watchdog Judicial Watch in its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit over Abedin's personnel records....

Although Clinton claimed in March 2015 and many times since to have used private email in order to consolidate her communications on a single device, Abedin confirmed reports that Clinton had used multiple devices to access her emails.

"It was not her practice to do so, but when her system on her BlackBerry went down, there was a period where I know she did use her email on her iPad for maybe a week or two, if I remember correctly," she said.

Meanwhile, AG Loretta Lynch talked with Hillary Clinton's husband for a half hour on an airport tarmac, privately.

What did the AG talk about with the husband of the woman her FBI is investigating for espionage?

Yoga routines, she claims -- she swears they talked "a great deal" about personal stuff, like about grandchildren.

"Our conversation was a great deal about grandchildren, it was primarily social about our travels and he mentioned golf he played in Phoenix," said Lynch Tuesday afternoon while speaking at the Phoenix Police Department.


Note that Hillary claimed the emails she deleted involved her granddaughter.

This seems to be the go-to lie this bunch favors-- "The American Rubes like Families, so we'll claim all our corrupt communications have to do with babies and puppies!!!"

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James Cameron: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Was Just the Same Crap We've Seen Six Times Before
— Ace

He's a friend of George Lucas, and that friendship causes him to claim insane things, like hinting that he thought the prequels were good, or at least sported an innovative visual style.

But he's right that we've seen all this crap before.

Cameron started out nicely, complimenting the Star Wars directors, before unleashing his criticisms of The Force Awakens.

He said: “George Lucas is a friend of mine, and he and I were having a good conversation the other day about it.

“I don’t want to say too much about the film. I also have a lot of respect for J.J. Abrams, and I want to see where they’re taking it next."

However he didn't leave it there...

He continued: "I have to say that I felt that George's group of six films had more innovative visual imagination.

"This film was more of a retrenchment to things you had seen before and characters you have seen before and it took a few baby steps forward with new characters.

"So for me, the jury's out. I want to see where they’re going with it."

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Staff Sergeant David Johnathan Thatcher RIP. [CBD]
— Open Blogger

Doolittle Raid funeral.jpg

From the Daily Mail....

Lieutenant Colonel Dick Cole, center, salutes his final comrade of the Doolittle bombing mission Staff Sergeant David Thatcher, gunner-engineer aboard the Ruptured Duck which crash landed off the coast of China.

These men were giants, and will be forgotten only if we forget them. They deserve to live forever in our hearts and minds....

[Hat Tip: some guy named DrewM]


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John Kerry: ISIS' Constant Slaughters of Innocents Just Prove How Badly They're Losing
— Ace

This has the whiff of Hitler ordering non-existent divisions to attack Russia.

Apparently Obama's, Hillary's, and Kerry's plan is to show how much we're #Winning by allowing them to murder us at whim.

Secretary of State John Kerry faced swift criticism Wednesday for suggesting the terror attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport was evidence the Islamic State is getting "desperate" -- an assessment one top Republican official said "defies reality."

Kerry made the remarks late Tuesday at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado,
referring to ISIS by the name Daesh.

I think Greg Gutfeld noted how absolutely perfect that was -- so many cliches in one moment.


Crediting coalition efforts, Kerry said it's been over a year since the group launched a "full-scale military offensive."

But they've taken more territory than they can comfortably hold -- why would they launch new offensives during a period that would naturally be used for consolidation?

"Now, yes, you can bomb an airport, you can blow yourself up. That's the tragedy. Daesh and others like it know that we have to get it right 24/7/365. They have to get it right for ten minutes or one hour. So it's a very different scale,” Kerry said. "And if you're desperate and if you know you're losing, and you know you want to give up your life, then obviously you can do some harm.”

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, slammed the secretary’s assessment.

"They've said they're on the run for many years, and they're not," McCaul told Fox News Wednesday morning. "I think the airstrikes have ramped up external operations … This is an unprecedented pace of terror in modern times. And so to say they’re on the run … absolutely defies reality."

Underscoring Kerry’s questionable characterization was news Wednesday that Islamic State militants were pushing back U.S.-trained Syrian rebels in a battle for control of a town on the Iraqi border.

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Quinnipiac: Clinton 45, Trump 41
— Ace

A 4-point deficit is better than what we've seen lately.

But it's also still losing.

While Trump is surprisingly close in Pennsylvania, a new battleground poll shows him well behind in six other swing states.

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Mid-Morning Open Thread [CBD]
— Open Blogger


Daughters of Odessa.jpg

Daughters Of Odessa (Martyrs of Modernism)
Frederick Hart

From the linked article by Tom Wolfe about the artist:

The hot-blooded boy's passion, as Hart developed his vision of the Creation, could not be consummated by Woman alone. He fell in love with God. For Hart, the process began with his at first purely pragmatic research into the biblical story of the Creation in the Book of Genesis. He had been baptized in the Presbyterian Church, and he was working for the Episcopal Church at the Washington National Cathedral. But by the 1970's, neither of these proper, old-line, in-town Protestant faiths offered the strong wine a boy who was in love with God was looking for. He became a Roman Catholic and began to regard his talent as a charisma, a gift from God. He dedicated his work to the idealization of possibilities God offered man.
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June 28, 2016

Overnight Open Thread (6-28-2016)
— Maetenloch

Hoo Boy: Special Snowflake Intern Gets Fired After Delivering a Petition to Employer For a Less Strict Dress Code

This is what happens when a university snowflake encounters the corporate world.

Now as foolish as the girl was this is really a failure of her educators and parents. She was only repeating what she had been trained to do and rewarded for all during her snowflake education. She truly did not see that she had no standing to complain and that her narcissistic activism would be disapproved of so strongly. And from her letter in the article it doesn't appear that she has learned very much from the experience either.

But of course young people have always been a bit self-focused and prone to do all the stupid, foolish things that young people are wont to do though the exact menu of which stupid, idiotic things are chosen from varies from generation to generation. So I'm not surprised that there was a person like the letter-writer making a fuss over the dress code the way she did. Usually people like this just get severely embarrassed or let go and all the other newbies have a smirk at their foolishness and also learn a lesson from the example.

But what stands out here to me is that all but one of the interns signed the petition. Which means that all the signers ran the petition-signing scenario through their future-world consequence prediction machine and decided that yes - this will work out great! This common high level of unfounded self-esteem mixed with a complete unfamiliarity with how the real world actually works may be a unique trait of young millennials that is over and beyond all the traditional youthful stupidities. (thanks to Gabe for the link)

Triumphant Nigel Farage Speaks Before a Contentious, Booing European Parliament

EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker to Nigel Farage: 'Why are you here?'

Farage responds:

"Isn't it funny? When I came here 17 years ago and I said that I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain out of the European Union, you all laughed at me. Well, I have to say, you're not laughing now, are you?"

"I know that virtually none of you have ever done a proper job in your lives or worked in business or worked in trade or indeed ever created a job. But listen, just listen,"

Greg Gutfeld: Brexit's babies: Why the Leavers won and the losers can't stop crying

How did this lead to Brexit? I have a theory.  Philosophers who are way smarter than me have studied this perplexing priority  -- that despite leading moral lives we tend to care more about a small problem in our vicinity (my roof is leaking), than a larger problem far away (a mudslide kills hundreds).

Even more, research shows that the larger the suffering, the less we react. Meaning our heartstrings will be pulled harder by the photo of one starving child - than many children equally in pain. It's weird but true. We care less when there is more.

What we are seeing with Brexit is a play on this weird reflex.  Because a starlet once lived in London, this compels her to express an oh-so-brave stance against Brexit (even though a week ago she might have thought Brexit was a laxative). Yet, has she said anything about Venezuela, or Syria, or Afghanistan, or the Taliban?  I must have missed it.

My point: it's no longer a comparison between one starving child and many, it's a choice between exercising one's moral superiority in a risk-free environment (let's go on Twitter and call pro-Brexit people racist or dumb) - and calling out real horror (islamists chucking gays off bridges and buildings).

This moral cowardice as expressed by the most well-known of earthlings is what led to Brexit.  Brexit wasn't just evidence of a natural concern over one's well being in the face of rising Islamism amidst the European Union's lax immigration policy, it's also a big middle finger (or two "middle" fingers, if you're British) to those who cannot prioritize injustice, or evil.
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