Wednesday, May 9, 2018


When the premise is faulty, everything that follows is fruit of the poisonous tree.

Following up on the frenzied efforts of former SOS John Kerry to save the JCPOA while flouting the Logan Act, former President Obama released a three-page statement attempting a bullet-pointed (as opposed to missile-pointed, one supposes) rebuttal to the policy implications of President Trump’s withdrawal from the “Iran Deal”.

Whether Obama’s long-winded protest was a) “burial in paperwork” or b) an informed argument remains irrelevant.  Rather, it was another attempt to obfuscate the unsupported premise of the JCPOA: specifically, it never was the mechanism for ensuring that Iran never gets possession of a nuclear weapon as presented by its creators and cheerleaders.

In fact, the JCPOA was crafted in such a way to give all the advantage and rewards to the Iranians for a promise that could never be enforced.  Furthermore, both the crafters of the deal and its supporters are on record about the actual ultimate purpose of the JCPOA, and a lot of room has been left to interpret that its ultimate aims are even more nefarious than they let on.

Consider the statement from Julia Frifield, Obama’s assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, in 2015:  “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and it is not a signed document”.  Ostensibly well-meaning literati argue as if the JCPOA should or ought to be binding, rather that whether or not it actually is; pace Bret Stephens, who’s less charitable toward the deal and its crafters, “It’s questionable whether the deal has any legal force at all.”  

Consider the New York Times, champion of both Obama and the JCPOA, lamenting the cancellation of “the lifeline offered by the 2015 nuclear deal, which was supposed to alleviate pressure on Iran’s economy and crack open the barriers to the West”, indicating that the ostensible corrective purpose of the JCPOA—keeping Iran from going militarily nuclear—was always tangential at best; the primary driver of the JCPOA was to rehabilitate the Islamic Republic whether or not its behavior changed.  

(Or, in classic Obamanian terms, the Hope that it would Change.)

Consider how Obama and JCPOA cheerleaders have lamented that “no one will take America and its commitments at their word”, when he and then Secretary of State Clinton unilaterally cancelled a 2004 written understanding between President George W. Bush and Israel PM Ariel Sharon vis a vis settlements and the territories.

Consider how, many times Obama felt compelled to mention the 1953 CIA backed coup in Iran that reinstalled the Shah.  In his 2009 Grovel in Cairo, Obama felt compelled to mention Iran’s “democratically elected government” (an arguable assertion, but one can also consider that Hitler and Hamas were also democratically elected), and that “No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons…any nation – including Iran – should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power.”  In July 2015, as part of the sales push for the JCPOA, Obama sat down with NYT eminence Thomas Friedman and repeated the self-flagellating litany.  

While Obama considered the US responsible for the Islamization of Iran and therefore in debt enough to them to at least allow for the opportunity to nuclearize “peacefully”, if not militarily, as penance for 1953, it didn’t go unnoticed that Obama's apologies were directed to the theofascist rulers of the Islamic Republic rather than the Iranian people.

In fact the Iranians had a short-lived attempt at a post-coup liberal democracy which was killed by the Ayatollah and his minions in a takeover that mirrored Bolshevism. This should cancel out any American responsibility for Iran’s political self-destruction, as well as indicate how thin any line is between “civilian” and “military” in that country, particularly as long as the current regime runs the Islamic Republic.

Therefore, for at least as long as the regime hasn’t changed, why should Iran be allowed any nuclear materials at all, even one centrifuge, no matter how slow and outdated?  One Congressional Democrat pooh-poohed concerned about cheating by claiming “they can’t remove the trail” of removed illicit material—but why wouldn’t the Iranians claim that the “trail” was left from the “permitted” radioactive material?  To paraphrase Yasser Arafat, what makes one think that Iranians wouldn’t lie for a cause they would kill for?  Considering the zeal with which the Obama/Kerry cabal pursued this deal at the cost of “letting Hezbollah off the hook” and suppressing our own pursuit of drug traffickers—what makes one think they wouldn’t cover up for Iranian lies as well as their own? 

One should only conclude that the entire premise of the JCPOA was to provide political cover for the Obama/Kerry cabal and its cheerleaders for what they considered Iran’s inevitable if not entitled nuclearization.

In a classic sketch lampooning the 1938 Munich agreement, John Cleese (as PM Chamberlain) holds the infamous “piece of paper”, annnouncing as the wind blows it away “I have in my hand a piece of…Shit!"  

The JCPOS wasn’t worth even that much.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018


Among other prounouncements that were guaranteed to enflame those with propensities to suffer from “microaggressions” during his administration, George W. Bush once made reference to a “soft bigotry of low expectations” (a phrase penned by Michael Gerson) regarding what others might have assumed to be the cultural prerogatives of certain subgroups even if said exercising prerogatives were considered reprehensible in and by other cultures.

There’s another more subtle soft bigotry currently being employed in mainstream circles that hasn’t been as cleverly and accurately labeled, heretofore be tagged “sterotroping”. 

(“Bignorance" was the other, actually original, option, but it was already taken and defined in a completely different context; “stereotrope” doesn’t have a definition according to Google, and the domain expired a month ago.  Plus, “stereotroping” bears a remote resemblance to “stromtrooping”, hopefully uncomfortable enough for the tropers and troopers.)

Stereotroping has three particular features: stereotyping entire cultural subgroups based on one member’s behavior, portraying a gross ignorance of the basics of that culture; attempting to enforce that false definition in the face of readily available evidence to the contrary; and denying the ostensibly offended subgroup the opportunity to reclaim its self-definition.

The first two aren’t unusual regarding almost any subgroup considered to some extent to be a “protected class”, irrespective of whether that designation is a salient one.   The third has been rather endemic to critics of Jews and Judaism.  (Oftentimes, what makes the third element so trenchant is that the barbs are tossed from within: the enemies are erstwhile Jews lobbing the barbs from within.  Specific examples like the JVP and Richard Falk come to mind.)

Two recent incidents that bear this out might provide a glimmer of hope that incidences of stereotroping toward Jews might be punished in the public sphere with the same level of punition that offenses leveled at other subgroups are punished.

The first is Carey Purcell’s stereotrope-laden lament about dating Jewish men, which invited an almost immediate ferocious backlash of ridicule from almost all corners of the Twitterverse, leaving her defenders few and far between; when her editor weighed in defense of running the piece, she similarly invited ridicule.

Was this level of dogpiling disproportionate?  Possibly; however, the value of the backlash serving as a cautionary tale outweighed the immediate probative value of the actual response to the actual offense: people will be more careful, even if ever so slightly.   Consider Ms. Purcell’s likely career prospects, forever be defined by this piece and the backlash, almost as the UVa fabrication in Rolling Stone indeilbly defines the career of author Sabrina Erdely.  Erdely, who won numerous journalism awards before her credibility was permanently shredded by the UVa piece, was made of much baser clay than Purcell and still has few options other than under the radar freelancing.  

(Purcell apologists might opine that she is no less redeemable than Judith Miller, forever remembered for the WMD reports at the NYT.  Consider, however, that Miller was scapegoated by the MSM and eventually found a home on the other side at Fox News.  Purcell would have to do one of two things to resurrect her career, neither being likely:  as she does not yet harbor a personal level of Judeomisia to go full on far-right  bigot and sign up with the truly Jew hater blogosphere.  If she tried to play the #MeToo card and join the intersectional movement, she might be as forcefully ejected from that movement as Kevin Spacey was when he tried to “come out” after his harassment career came to light, if the almost universal ridicule Purcell got from even the left is any indication.)

The second incident—comparably minor, but still noteworthy—was ESPN host Stephen A. Smith’s comment that top QB prospect Josh Rosen, "according to my sources, would prefer to be in New York. He’s Jewish, there’s a stronger Jewish community, he’d rather be in the New York market than the Cleveland market, blah blah blah. We don’t know, but it’s some of the things that we’ve heard.” 

In theory, this doesn’t even approach the level of offense and/or stereotyping that Purcell engaged in, and there have certainly been more actual moments of offense to Jews in the sports world recently, from Chargers radio color man Hank Bauer’s one-game suspension for aiming a “Jews are miserly” joke at his play-by-play announcer (for which he was sincerely penitent) to the antisemitic Twitterverse weighing in on Ryan Braun’s 65-game PED suspension.  Plus, as of now, Smith’s co-host Max Kellerman doesn’t seem to have weighed in on the statement, and Kellerman is trustworthy when it comes to these issues: he once uttered the immortal adage, on the air: “There are no self-hating Jews.  There ARE Jewish antisemites." 

Smith should be made aware of a few things, even if sotto voce and off camera, that might make him more sensitive to why his rant resembles stereotyping: he added a bit of a conspiratorial cast, which is an oft-used tactic in the arsenal of Jew-baiters; and he implied—even if inadvertently—that the was something illegitimate about his ostensible desire to join a jewish community, as if granting that desire would be grossly unfair to the Browns.  

Smith could also be reminded that Blue Jays GM Gordon Ash traded Shawn Green to the Dodgers after taking into account Green’s desire for a larger Jewish community.  As far as Cleveland having a Jewish community—and the fact that the Cavs once had a very prominent proudly Jewish coach—I’ll let the Jews in Cleveland do the reminding.

Friday, March 30, 2018

A Postmodern Children’s Crusade: or, Hogging the Narrative

It appears that every recent incident of mass shooting in the US ostensibly brings the country closer to that Isaiac eschatological moment where the Second Amendment will go the way of other insults to the Constitution enshrined in the document, analogous—however tenuously—to slavery and Prohibition.

The Parkland massacre could have been that moment.  The spectacle of teenagers in pain taking on the perceived “gun culture” and ostensible “Gun Lobby” might have served as an effective, and credible, opening salvo in the battle for moral high ground.

Then they immediately blew it. 

Not that they didn’t do it without help, or even initially willingly: the public appearance onstage with Sheriff Scott Israel proved right away that the outrage directed at the NRA was already selective, once his Broward County department was proven to have been malevolently incompetent on several levels regarding both departmental policy towards student criminality leading up to the massacre and the Keystone Kops-like bungled response in real time.

Then, in executing the walkout—which in and of itself resembled more a scene from Rock And Roll High School rather than On The Waterfront—the public association with certain forces and personages promoting the intersectionalitarian agenda further confirmed suspicions that this was now a postmodern Children’s Crusade that was either influenced by a not atypical teenage ADHD, or coopted by less-than-well-meaning “adults” with a whole different set of political interests.

Ryan Petty—father of a Parkland victim—further gave the lie to the notion that this postmodern Children’s Crusade was now driven less by a specific issue but more millennial social media protocol.  Petty instead proved how one could make a tangible and practical legislative difference by lobbying discreetly in Tallahassee for said changes, without necessarily having to publicly declare for a side in the culture wars first.

There is a Talmudic principle that states—loosely translated—“you gather too much, you gather nothing”.   No matter who is ultimately responsible for Hogging this narrative, it has been turned from a salient issue—how to prevent school shootings—into another cultural battle far beyond even Constitutional implications.  As a result, a ton of ground in the narrative battle has now been ceded back to the allies of the NRA who might ascribe to a loose analog of ostensibly right wing intersectional imperatives; specifically, the declared movement for disarmament now openly allies with terrorsplainers and others who have no problems with exempting SJWs and other revolutionists from disarming, thereby invalidating any further discussion of or reference to the Second Amendment irrespective of the debates around its history and proper application.

Finally, there have been complaints emerging from some quarters that criticizing these kids is unfair because, after all, they’re just kids.  No one should be subject to online threats and/or harassment regardless of age, but no one who engages thorny issues in a public forum and employs ad hominem attacks in said fora must prepare to get as good as they give, again regardless of age, and not complain about it.  Limits are appropriate; “blankets bans” are unsupportable.

Sort of like the Second Amendment.

There might be one life lesson that the high schools that encouraged these kids to walk out of haven’t taught them yet, one especially pertinent in the age of social media and which might yet justify preserving some of public education resources threatened by Betsy DeVos’ DOE:

Don’t dish it out if you ain’t gonna do the dishes.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Nuts And Bolts of Bolton Making 'em Nuts (and other stories)

In 1970 the eminent sociologist Peter Berger penned the influential “On the Obsolescence of the Concept of Honor”, concluding that “the ethical test of any future institution and the codes of honor they entail will be whether they succeed in [] stabilizing the discoveries of human dignity [.]”

Not long after, in 1971, the Harvard behaviorist B.F. Skinner published “Beyond Freedom and Dignity”, in which Skinner argued that that “entrenched belief in free will and the moral autonomy of the individual (which Skinner referred to as "dignity") hinder[ed]” prospects of the effective use of scientifically-based behavior modification.

More recently, the appointments of former Bush administration officials John Bolton and Gina Haspel to Cabinet-level positions in the Trump Administration and the recent declassification of the 2007 Israeli operation that wiped out Syria’s nascent nuclear reactor brought questions of honor and dignity to the fore once again.  The Cabinet appointments revived debates about the ethics and legalities of "enhanced interrogation" and the assumed unequivocal concomitant affronts to human dignity; one of the explanations for Israel’s operational opacity a decade ago was tied to the “honor culture” of the Middle East: as former IDF spokesman Peter Lerner wrote, “[b]y not disrespecting and publicly humiliating Assad, Israel played a game of chess that ensured victory, destroyed the reactor, and prevented a regional fall out.”

What might be deduced from these events is that the concepts of both honor and dignity have been distorted far beyond their actual meanings, and have been employed by both well-meaning and less-than-well-meaning actors in what might might be nothing less than a political form of gaslighting: that one is duty bound to afford honor and dignity to adversaries that have eschewed those concepts, while insisting that one is unequally bound to the concepts’ true definition.

In fact, the “honor” that Berger discusses--tied, in a Burkean sense, to the stability of institutions--resembles much less the era of Cervantes referred to in "Obsolescence" more than it does the “diss culture” imported from the Scotch-Irish Highlands to the American South as detailed most memorably by Fox Butterfield’s examination of the Boskets (and, in a lesser sense, the critical—if subtly so—attitude toward the culture depicted in The Offspring’s 1994 hit “Come Out And Play”.)  Cultures so "honor"-bound should not be considered the least bit worthy of preservation.

Additionally, while Skinner would have like nothing more than to obsolesce both honor and dignity in favor of effective “cultural engineering”, his definitions of dignity was nevertheless both accurate and precise.  Ironically, a possibly "Skinnerian" approach to interrogation might allow more for maintaining the integrity of "dignity", as opposed to more conservative if holistic notions of "moral repugnance" that might indicate for a more right of center based discomfort with the use of aggressive interrogative techniques.  A response in defense of aggressive interrogation then becomes that much more bipartisan.

There are those who complain that Bolton’s and Haspel’s appointments highlight the failure to reckon with failings of the Bush administration and their ostensible cavalier attitude towards “enhanced interrogations”, which also are assumed to be “torture” that ipso facto “violate standards of humanity”.  They are correct about the delayed reckoning, but for reasons in direct opposition to theirs: despite the efforts of John Yoo and others, the ethics and efficacy of clinically applied enhanced interrogation techniques were never appropriately delineated, partly because of reflexive "repugnance", partly because of the stupidity of Abu Ghraib and the ensuing fallout.

If one examines just a few isolated techniques—prolonged standing positions, sensory deprivations and/or overloads, cultural humiliations (e.g. interrogation by females), and even waterboarding—the notion that any of these are especially “cruel and unusual” and/or “direct affronts to human dignity” are well-nigh laughable.  As long as any form of warfare is conducted with the use of firearms and high explosives; as long as there is a penal system in its current form; as long as capital punishment is legal—there are so many more obvious direct affronts to human dignity that ostensible insults portended by the aforementioned interrogative techniques pale in comparison. 

Furthermore, the notion that these techniques shouldn’t even be attempted because they “won’t work” rest on two specific fallacies.  The first is historical: the Enlightenment figures (Beccaria foremost among them) who proffered the notion that all a torture victim wants is for the pain to cease--and will therefore say anything to stop it--were referring mostly to cases of ecclesiastical torture, the object of which was to coerce certain metaphysical statements that could never be objectively confirmed.  Conversely, contemporary “victims”  involved in and informed about specific, verifiable activity universally determined to be especially heinous according to standards that are anything but theological might actually be motivated to speak truthfully under pain of extreme discomfort, to avoid further punishment for a proven false assertion given under duress.

The second fallacy might be more difficult to counter directly, because there are always ethical issues involved with the scientific study of humans; an ethical method of gauging the effectiveness of a clinically applied, more humane aggressive interrogation technique is, for lack of a better term, a minefield.  Yet, Betty Ford once said that Roe got abortion out of the back alleys and into hospitals where it belonged; enhanced interrogation could benefit from a clinical setting, likely where military sciences are studied.

To determine eligibility for interrogation, a need for a very high bar would be called for, analogous to suggestions that capital punishment would require guilt beyond any doubt rather than reasonable doubt.  It might be plausible that, even if certain techniques were eventually found to be technically legal, the standard of proof might yet be too high to apply them in practice; still, the mere threat of having these techniques on the books would serve as another possible counter to threats to the public order.

It should also be noted that the clinical and limited application of these techniques should serve as an effective rejoinder to those inclined to complain about these techniques serving as an effective recruiting tool for terrorists while possibly “making us like them”.  The ostensible plausibility of that assertion far outpaces its actual validity, for several reasons.  

First, no one is motivated to take up terrorism in that part of the world when the motivation is to redress the violation of Western standards of human rights, which are not regarded as the least bit relevant.  The images of “torture” might possibly be any extra catalyst toward attitude hardening, but they are hardly ever a salient motivator when theofascist heretomisia is societally ingrained.

Second, while the preciously unfettered use of all sorts of techniques my have presented a PR problem which might be too thorny to solve—because it might preclude clinical study and application—it further points to the civilizational differences between the West and its enemies: the West will always take these concepts into account; their enemies will not; the difference will therefore always be present.

Finally, it bears mentioning that it isn’t the terrorists or their facilitators who actually believe that the analog is credible; a, if not the, major reasons they employ terrorism as a tactic is due to a  wholesale rejection of any Western moral standard.  However, Western multicultural intersectionalitarians who are either nonjudgmental of or outright sympathetic to the ostensible grievances and tactics of terrorists are at best inconsistent, and at worst hypocritical, when they attempt to draw the analog that would “make us like them”.  

A clinical application of enhanced interrogation under heavily scrutinized conditions as a defensive tactic should further give the lie to the attempted "we'll be just like them!!!" analog, especially when at least some of the fault-finders would be hard pressed to disavow any empathy for honor culture.  In fact, those who force the analog should be repeatedly and maybe publicly challenged to support aggressive military activity that would facilitate the kind of civilizational makeover that might be as warranted for contemporary honor cultures as they were for Germany and Japan in 1945.

By extension, it should be noted that in Israel’s—and Lerner’s—case, no criticism is warranted for taking Middle Eastern “honor culture” into account when planning for action against and subsequent responses from sworn mortal enemies of the Jewish State and people.  As one small political entity—no matter how influential beyond its size and numbers—Israel is not to be held responsible for the “hearts and minds” of nefarious entrenched cultural tendencies that pervade its neighborhood; the fact that they have to deal with what’s there does not mean that they condone the culture in the least.  

The irony is, what is considered to be one of the worst—if not THE worst—humiliations in the Middle East is suffering any type of perceived defeat and/or subjugation to Jews; overturning “honor culture” in the most poetic sense would call for said culture to be made over BY Jews.  However, as logistics--at the very least--for the most part prevent that, the work will need to be done by the “bigger kids on the block”, while others pressure honor culture’s erstwhile enablers to choose sides, even at the point of painful coercion.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Omerta Presidency

The news that a 2005 photograph of Barack Obama and Louis Farrakhan was buried at the behest of a senior member of the CBC until now, has, predictably, not hit the mainstream media like a bombshell, giving further credence to notions that “objective” journalism not only has its collective thumb on the scales but might be directly responsible for perpetuating the “darkness” in which it fears democracy is doomed to die.

Never mind that certain other more blatantly partisan publications only consider the good Reverend to be “controversial” at worst.  

Or that photographer Askia Muhammad must have remembered how his NOI colleagues promised to “make an example” out of Milton Coleman for reporting Jesse Jackson’s “Hymietown” remarks in 1984.  

Or that Obama’s 2008 statements regarding Farrakhan—“I did not solicit his support; I can’t say to somebody that he can’t say that he thinks I’m a good guy”—sound vaguely like Trump’s statements about David Duke, only more disingenuous because Trump never met with supremacists, and Obama did.

On one hand, anyone who made any use of the “birther” conspiracy—whether or not they actually bought into it, or just cynically used it as political ploy—should be kicking themselves, because this photograph might have been the ultimate nip-in-the-bud career ender even in a pre-YouTube age.  It would have been much easier to sully Obama’s image and reputation with Farrakhan, a national bigot, that it proved to be with a not yet nationally known figure like Jeremiah Wright, therefore leaving Obama enough wiggle room during the 2008 campaign.

The shame of it is that more reasonable conservative publications still seem to be going out of their way to opine that Obama certainly doesn’t personally hold by Farrakhan’s views.  With all due respect to their staying classy about this, they could be a little more forceful in legitimately sullying both the reputation and historical legacy of the very premises of the Obama Presidency.  At the very least they could point out that Farrakhan’s repudiations of Obama (unlike Rev. Wright, who was more circumspect about Obama “abandoning” him), was a rebuffed attempt at political prostitution of the worst sort,  like Bill piping out Hillary to Putin and the Russians through uranium deals on behalf of the Clinton Foundation, only to have Putin run off with Trump.  (At least Bill walked away with half a million.)

The irony of it is that now Hillary might be kicking herself very hard for not pushing her contacts in the DNC and CBC for finding what would have been the Holy Grail of oppo research: it would have killed what ended up being her first non-coronation; apparently the Clintons weren’t liked that much even back then.   And now she can’t say anything, because the last thing she can afford to do as an already tenuously tolerated member of the “resistance” is cast aspersions at the first Black President of the United States.  She can’t tarnish his legacy without destroying hers.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

#MeToo Isn’t Going Anywhere

Two things might be inferred from the fallout surrounding what Caitlin Flanagan called “The Humiliation of Aziz Ansari.”

First: Ansari’s “apology” and subsequent self-identification with #MeToo fell somewhere in between Al Franken’s apology tour and Kevin Spacey’s fiercely rebuffed attempt to out himself.  Also, as Ansari has made his career criticizing the kind of behavior he allegedly engaged in, it makes him now somewhat of a Hollywood Jimmy Swaggart.   Ansari isn’t Harvey Weinstein, but he set himself up for this, irrespective of the legalities.

Second: like all “revolutions” [pace Flangan’s description], #MeToo might eat itself; not for nothing did Flanagan  “assume[] that on the basis of intersectionality and all that, they’d stay laser focused on college-educated white men for another few months”.   One can ask whether she meant that the movement risked caricaturing itself by falling into intersectionality, or whether she believes it should fall under that rubric; either way, not only has this revolution not “jumped the shark”, but it might even become the shark.

These are not necessarily unwelcome developments.

Female sexuality has been penalized long enough.  Aggressive male sexuality shouldn’t be criminalized, but it should no longer be either whitewashed or encouraged.  Certainly Flanagan shouldn’t be complaining that “destroy[ing] careers [] is now the punishment for every kind of male sexual misconduct”; there is misconduct that isn’t criminal but isn’t just “disappointing” which  certainly should be enough to end anyone’s career, even neglecting the aforementioned reasons why Ansari’s exile would be especially appropriate.

Additionally, why are #MeToo’ers pulling punches about men being afraid to hire women if this keeps up?  Since when are jobs about assuaging sexual tension, especially in men?  Is every office supposed to look like Cage & Fish?  Is every male boss going to turn into Mike Pence?  In fact, there is a twofold case of low-expectation soft-bigotry here.  The first, the fallback assumption and near acceptance of “boys will be boys” makes all men out to be predators with the office as an inevitable love nest.  [Maybe we can blame Helen Gurley Brown for that.] The second harks back to Flanagan’s intersectional dilemma: the fact that Ansari actually is college-educated and a probably rich celebrity [even if he isn’t white] notwithstanding, is Flanagan suggesting that anyone other than “college-educated white men” should get a pass?  

Talk about “disappointing”.

There is also no reason to fear a “sex panic”.  In the past some radical feminists were decried as the “New Victorians”: occasional declarations from eminences such as Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin equating all heterosex with rape made that notion salient.  This movement just wants to make men behave.  Is that too much to ask?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Multiple Offsetting Fouls: Foul III--Gun-spiracies?

This writer has opined elsewhere that no one should offer an opinion regarding the 2nd amendment until they've read Adam Winkler's Gun Fight, Michael Waldman's The Second Amendment: A Biography [this one should especially required reading for ostensible "originalists"], or anything/everything Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry has written on the subject. However, one particular conspiracy being proferred in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre reminded me of something I learned in my yeshiva days: the Sabbatical gatherer of wood executed in Numbers 15:36 is identified as such by his own daughters [as Zelophchad] in 27:3, the theory being that he sacrificed himself so that the rest of the Children of Israel would take the Sabbath seriously.

Forget for a second that there are those saying that Stephen Paddock was a patsy [THAT might be more reminiscent of Christopher Hitchens' travels in Pakistan after 9/11, where he encountered people who praised Osama bin Laden for bringing down the Twin Towers, while saying at the same time of course he didn't, it was the Mossad]. Mark Steyn--whose writings I usually admire to a point--seems to have gone overboard by giving any credence to this particular theory: "[Paddock] wished to telegraph to America in graphic form the hard irrefutable evidence that guns and gun ownership, and the ease of gun purchase in America are an evil and must be controlled." This reminded me of the aforementioned lesson of Zelophchad, at which point I reminded myself that, as his daughters note, "he died because of his own sin"; he didn't take others and innocents with him.

Additionally, another generally admirable pundit, Peggy Noonan, seemed to present gun rights as so fundamentally linked to a whole array of legitimate conservative concerns that she started to sound like a conservative hybrid of a Linda Sarsour intersectionalist and a Karen Armstrong-style apologist; almost as if, despite herself, upholding the Obamanian "clinging to guns and religion". [Then again, the "2nd amendment people" might not have appreciated her going on the air with Mika and saying "I never think it’s the wrong time to talk about gun control."]

Rule of thumb for conservatives: when you start to even sound apologetically intersectional or intersectionally apologetic, stand athwart yourself and yell "Stop!!!"

[I would try suggesting not shooting yourself in the foot, but "2nd amendment people" would rebuff me by arguing that the gun is protected. Didn't work for Plaxico Burress, though.]