Toxic Nation: After Ramadi, USA Shows Itself to be the Worst Kind of Friend

Memorial Day, Arlington, America - 25 May 2015

On the fall of Ramadi, Ash Carter, the U.S. secretary of defense, had this to say on CNN: “What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. They were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force, and yet they failed to fight.” A few days earlier, Martin Dempsey, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made a similar point to a group of reporters in Brussels: “The ISF was not driven out of Ramadi. They drove out of Ramadi.”

These remarks constitute the latest evolution of administration talking points on our failing campaign against the Islamic State. 

Mike Judge Isn’t Here to Push Your Agenda

Mike Judge / AP

Jaime Weinman has a column up at MacLean’s looking at the work of Mike Judge (Office SpaceKing of the Hill) with the headline “Does satire need to be progressive?” He was kind enough to ping me for my thoughts on Judge’s political temperament; as I told him, at least as far as his work goes, I kind of doubt he’s a down-the-line Democrat or Republican. Instead, he has always struck me as someone who is deeply skeptical of claims to authority, whether that authority is assumed by bureaucratic bumblers or political know-it-alls trying to tell everyone else how to live. If I had to guess, I’d assume he’s probably some variety of leave-me-alone libertarian.

Three Movies Leaving (and One Coming to) Netflix You Should Watch


I suggested last time that this feature might be a regular thing. “Semi-sorta-regular” will have to do. And I thought I’d switch it up: There are a couple of movies I really enjoy leaving Netflix June 1, so I wanted to highlight those instead of what’s coming to the service. But time’s running short! If only there were a three-day weekend coming during which you could have killed some time by watching them.

(I really didn’t plan this well, did I? Maybe next time.)

Hillary and Osama

Hillary al-Clinton.

I’ve long suspected that Hillary Clinton’s 2016 agenda would be inspired by terrorists. These two headlines speak for themselves, folks.

The True Message of ‘Tomorrowland’ (Spoilers)


This is the latest in a series of posts in which I argue that a movie’s true lesson is the opposite of its more obvious lesson. Previous installments include “Elysium is actually an anti-Obamacare parable,” “Star Trek Into Darkness is pro-drone strike,” and “Godzilla: The Anti-Global-Warming-Alarmism Blockbuster.” This week, we’ll discuss Tomorrowland (review here). Spoilers for that movie below.

No, seriously, I’m going to discuss the whole last 20 minutes of the film. Lots of spoilers. Here, enjoy this picture of grizzled George Clooney in order to keep you from seeing the spoilers in case you accidentally clicked on the story with “spoilers” in the headline and then kept reading despite the spoiler warning in the first paragraph and a second spoiler warning in this graf. I don’t want you babies crying about spoilers.

Clinton Foundation Donors Are Having a Bad Week


It’s been a bad week for donors to the Clinton Foundation, the so-called charitable organization run by members of the Clinton political dynasty. Clinton Foundation donors who are currently dealing with adversity include:

Forgiveness in the Age of Outrage

'Say what you want about Mel Gibson, but the son of a bitch knows story structure' / AP

There are a pair of complementary pieces running on ideologically opposite sites today about who we choose to forgive and why: The Federalist highlights the entertainment industry’s seeming inability to forgive Mel Gibson while the New Republic asks “Why won’t Twitter forgive Suey Park.” Gibson, you may remember, had a whole series of problems in the mid-to-late oughts—most famous was the time he called a female police officer “sugar tits” and suggested that the Jews are to blame for the world’s problems, but then there was that whole, weird, possibly-physically-abusive-toward-his-girlfriend thing—while Park is most famous for the #CancelColbert campaign, during which she attempted to whip up an outrage mob to get someone fired for making a (not at all) racist joke that Park thought was racist.

Here’s Mark Hemingway on Gibson and Robert Downey Jr.: