Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with ISRAEL; fight against those who fight against ISRAEL!
Take hold of shield and buckler and rise for ISRAEL'S help! Draw the spear and javelin against ISRAEL'S pursuers!
Saturday, November 26, 2022
Weekend Jolt: A Lot of Thanks to Give
I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful, hearty Thanksgiving and are presently ...
I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful, hearty Thanksgiving and are presently basking in a restful post-meal fog ahead of Monday. I’ll keep it brief so you can bask on.
Here at National Review, we have had quite a few blessings to count in recent days, years, and decades. Perhaps inflation has driven you to set aside that extra item at the grocery store; still, you haven’t forgone your subscription. Perhaps you’re discouraged by the preponderance of unserious people in our politics; still, you’ve seen fit to stay in the fray. Perhaps you’re worried that America’s best days could be behind it; still, you’re supporting us in the hopes of preventing that from being so. Far from heeding a certain someone’s call for our “peaceful” demise, you’ve ensured that we have the resources, both material and spiritual, to thrive.
It’s humbling to have your expectations exceeded, time and time again, and we’ll endeavor to return the favor.
You know who you are. You're the popular GOP governor of a blue state who believes that, against all odds and in spite of all the laws of supply and demand, he's going to be nominated in 2024. You're the Trump appointee who served in the last administration for two or three years and who has for some reason come to think that he might be credible as a MAGA-without-the-baggage candidate. You're the morally decent Republican politician whose friends have convinced him that all it will take to transcend our current partisan trench warfare is a little integrity and a lot of pluck. You're the long-retired former party darling who falls asleep each night telling himself that if all the cards fall in the right place, you might squeak to the front of the pack and make it to the convention. And whatever you think is going to happen to you over the next couple of years, you're wrong.
Worse still, you're counterproductive. Clearly, you don't want Donald Trump to be president again, because if you did, you'd just say so. "I endorse Donald Trump," you'd announce, as early as possible. And then, having done that, you'd do your level best to wrangle a role as his VP or secretary of state or ambassador to France. Instead, you're planning on running against him — and enduring all that that entails — in the hope that you can stop him from returning to the White House. Which, frankly, is pretty stupid, because by running, you're actually making it far more likely that he'll be the nominee. Why? Well, because, again: You don't stand a chance. That "lane" your consultant has told you about is actually just 3 percent of the primary electorate. And while that isn't a huge problem in and of itself, once you add in the other ten or so Republican politicians operating under the same delusion as you, the non-Trump vote starts to become disastrously divided.
How do I know that? I know that because I can remember 2016, when 17 Republicans ran for the nomination and helped Trump win it with around 35 percent of the primary vote. Do you recall when Scott Walker saw what was happening, announced that he was dropping out, and said that he hoped others would follow him? And do you recall when nobody did? I do. Can that happen again? Sure, it can. And you're a perfect example of why. Nobody — nobody — is clamoring for you to run for president. The dangers of your doing so are abundantly obvious. And yet, inexplicably, you're still thinking of running.
The most American holiday and the most American sport — both of which are American inventions with only limited uptake overseas — are joined at the hip, from high school games in the morning to the NFL broadcasts that provide a daylong backdrop to family gatherings.
If Jennie Augusta Brownscombe, whose famous, highly idealized painting of the Pilgrims celebrating at Plymouth has done so much to define our image of the day, were to take up the topic of Thanksgiving again, she might be tempted to paint the Dallas Cowboys lining up for a third-and-five play at a packed AT&T Stadium.
Like the best traditions, the association of Thanksgiving and football arose organically, is very old, has a local element, and has layered memory atop memory down through the decades.
By now, it's almost pointless to ask why the holiday and football go together. The answer, more or less, is that it's almost always been thus.
Yale and Princeton put Thanksgiving football on the map beginning in 1876, when they played a game in the New York area (Yale won by a resounding 2–0). Soon enough, the annual game became an obsession that drew tens of thousands. By 1893, the New York Herald was writing: "In these times Thanksgiving Day is no longer a solemn festival to God for mercies given. It is a holiday granted by the state and the nation to see a game of football."
In his typically rigorous way, Dan McLaughlin takes a look at what independent voters did in the midterms:
It is easier to spot the problems with this picture than to come up with answers. We know that exit polls are likelier than pre-election polls to be accurate, but both have their flaws. Clearly, part of the difficulty is the variance among pollsters in defining "independent" voters, a group not easily defined by the voters themselves. Voter identification with a party is notoriously fluid and affected by the voters' feelings toward particular candidates and issue environments, a fact that has convinced me since 2012 to stop trying to use party-ID surveys to predict elections or to use the projected partisan composition of the electorate to critique pre-election polls.
We can, however, put forward some hypotheses. One is simply that a big chunk of this year's undecided voters broke hard against Republican candidates because several of those candidates were so bad. But that doesn't hold water for, say, Marco Rubio, an experienced politician who won a lopsided victory. Another is that Democrats managed to drive to the polls a fair number of voters who were not strong partisans but cared a lot about abortion. That, too, seems an inconsistent thesis: It doesn't explain why DeSantis and DeWine nonetheless did much better than their own state's Senate candidates with independents despite signing laws restricting abortion, and it would be more plausible if we saw a large surge in the youth vote, which we did not (young voters being the sort of people who might vote on one issue without feeling allied with either party). If turnout was the main explanation, it would also not suffice to explain how the polls as a whole were on the nose in North Carolina and if anything understated the Rubio and DeSantis wins in Florida.
We do know this much: Republicans will need a more rigorously considered answer if they intend to do better next time.
In a letter addressed today to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew and obtained by NR, Representatives James Comer (the presumptive next chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (the presumptive next chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee) asked that the company preserve documents and electronic records pertaining to certain sensitive practices allegedly undertaken by TikTok and ByteDance. Following a recent report that TikTok planned to track specific U.S. users' locations, the lawmakers are accusing the company of lying. "The social-media company is either misleading or providing false information to Congress about its data-sharing and privacy practices," Comer told NR. "Under no circumstances should Americans' private data be in the hands of the CCP."
As detailed in the letter, the allegation made by Comer and McMorris Rodgers stems from a briefing that TikTok made to a bipartisan group of congressional staffers on September 7. Specifically, the lawmakers cited new evidence that contradicted two assertions the company's employees made during that briefing: that TikTok doesn't track its users' online activity when the app is not open, and that employees in China cannot access specific U.S. users' locations.
Weeks after the briefing, in late September, Consumer Reportsrevealed that TikTok receives data on people who visit hundreds of organizations' websites, including those with ".gov," ".edu," and ".org" domains, via trackers called pixels. The Consumer Reports analysis found that the data that go to TikTok can include a user's IP address, as well as what that user clicks on and types. In a statement to Consumer Reports, TikTok had claimed that it uses the practice, which other tech companies also use, exclusively for advertising.
On the heels of the Consumer Reports story, last month, Forbes reported that a ByteDance team in China had planned to use the data TikTok collected to track the physical locations of specific U.S. users and thus "surveil individual American citizens," rather than using it exclusively for purposes of targeted advertising. Although Forbes could not confirm whether those plans were carried out, their existence undermines previous claims that TikTok has made about its data-privacy practices. The company's communications team subsequently assailed the Forbes report in a Twitter thread, stating that "TikTok does not collect precise GPS location information," seeming only to refute one specific allegation that the Forbes story did not make
I had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving with the future in-laws, who have a special affinity for The Beatles’ “In My Life” — as most who have listened to it do. It’s always resonant, but especially so around the holidays.