Articles of Note

The New Republic

Earlier this month, Justin Amash, the libertarian representative of Michigan’s Third congressional district, announced that he was leaving the Republican Party, his political home of the last ten years. In an article published July 4 in The Washington Post—Independence Day, get it?—Amash framed his decision as a classic pox-on-both-houses jeremiad, with the headline declaring: “Our politics is in a partisan death spiral. That’s why I’m leaving the GOP.” But there were enough clues sprinkled throughout to gesture at Amash’s real motivation: that he had worn out his welcome in a party that had long distrusted him and has now been almost wholly captured by Donald Trump.

“Justin Amash and the Libertarian Future” at The New Republic

Splice Today

As a new right-wing made itself known by ham-fisted, 4chan-influenced trolling, the faux-respectable rantings of white nationalist Richard Spencer, the fever dream election of Donald Trump, his press secretary Sean Spicer on the Holocaust, and how at least Adolf Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons, the question of who possess a hatred of Jewish people took on new-old importance.

For many years, and not entirely baselessly, British conspiracy theorist and author David Icke has been accused of being anti-Semitic. Not because, like Spencer, he puts on blatantly white nationalist conferences and gets punched into meme stardom. No, Icke, 64, is best known as the person who popularized the notion—believed by four percent of respondents to a 2013 Public Policy Polling survey—that reptilian space aliens control much of our world. Reptilians are thought to be the true identities of prominent people including the British royal family, the Clintons, the Bushes, anyone named Rothschild, and, for some reason, country singer and actor Kris Kristofferson.

“Where David Icke Stands in Trump’s America” at Splice Today

Interview with Sheriff Joe Arpaio at the 2016 Republican National Convention


It’s July, and the sheriff has just finished a halting speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland that lasted six minutes. In it, he praised Donald Trump for being a rare exception of a man who promises to be just as tough on illegal immigration as he is. Arpaio prides himself on having started the entire national conversation about illegal immigration and he was a birther long before Trump was.

After his speech, I search the RNC floor. I finally bump into Arpaio right where he was supposed to be: the Arizona delegation.

Arpaio is a popular item. Interviewers impatiently jostle for his attention, along with those who simply want to pay him tribute. As we talk, Fox News pundits Kimberly Guilfoyle and Bret Baier come up to greet him, with Baier calling him “Sheriff Joe” like a small boy fawning over a real, Western hero. Guilfoyle, a hard-ass former prosecutor who co-hosts right-wing chat fests Outnumbered and The Five, kisses him on the cheek.

“The Second Most Important Election This Year Will Be in Arizona” at (via Wayback machine)

It’s Tuesday night and Donald Trump has just gone from presumptive contender to confirmed nominee. Many people in Cleveland are still dazed about it, but none of those people include Milo Yiannopoulos, the swooning Trump fan and contentious, openly gay Breitbart editor who is throwing his own celebratory party in a ballroom less than a mile from the Quicken Loans Arena. The party is called “Wake Up,” as in gays should wake up to the threat of Islamic terrorism. Earlier in the evening, an overflow of people, including protesters, crowded outside the ballroom, hungry to get in. By the time I arrive at a quarter past midnight, however, Yiannopoulos has already spoken, as has Pamela Geller, the notorious critic of Islam.


I crane my neck between two tall men and a trashcan to yell at the host. “Milo! Do you want to talk to Playboy?” I shout. I get his attention after a second try and am beckoned into his presence. He’s wearing a shiny bracelet, sunglasses and a tank top sporting a rainbow flag-adorned gun and the words “We shoot back.” His hair appears to be freshly peroxided blonde. He shines under the fluorescent lights.

At first, he assumes I am the interview organizer, not the actual journalist, but immediately apologizes. With at least 100 men waiting to be blessed by his holy, politically incorrect self—were there any other women here?—Yiannopoulos offers me a whole nine minutes of conversation, which amazes his fans. A 40-something man from Detroit, who came to Cleveland solely for Yiannopoulos’ party, half jokes that this is one event where women shouldn’t be allowed to cut in front of men. It’s hard to see if the awe I get from winning so much of Yiannopolous’s attention is because of his alleged sexism or merely because his fans are happy to earn even a moment of his time.

“It’s wonderful news for gay people. Donald Trump is obviously the most pro-gay candidate in American electoral history,” Yiannopoulos says about the night’s events. “Hillary Clinton is funded by people who murder homosexuals. She has shown no indication of stemming the tide of Islamic immigration, or stopping our mollycoddling and pandering to Islam. These things are direct threats. Not just to culture, but to the lives of gay people in America. Donald Trump is the only person who has shown any indication—out of anybody who ran for president this year—that he is going to be tough enough to stop it. His speech after Orlando was magnificent.”

“So when you say tough enough, what do you want him to do?” I ask.

“Close the walls,” he responds firmly.

“Inside Milo Yiannopoulos’s Very Gay RNC Party, a Night of Fear and Fawning” at (Via Wayback Machine)

Spiked Online

The right’s young straw men and women – those whining, rioting college students – do exist. But current self-proclaimed champions of free speech and expression are just as much of an embarrassment.

Just look at Milo Yiannopoulos, and his now-cancelled Free Speech Week at Berkeley, which became ‘the most expensive photo-op ever’. These people care more about attention than principle.

So what’s a true advocate for the marketplace of ideas to do? Where are the principled protesters? Whoop, whoop. Look to the Juggalos.

The Juggalos are the devoted fans of the Insane Clown Posse, a hip-hop duo founded in Detroit in 1989. Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope were childhood friends who loved wrestling and hip-hop. They decided to change their half-assed crew name from the Inner City Posse, and gave birth to a movement.

‘The Juggalos’ Fight for Freedom” at spiked online

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Testimony before the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service

Dear Chairman Heck and members of the Commission:

I appreciate being asked to offer my perspective on the question of whether any kind of national service should be mandatory for Americans.
I am a working journalist and editor. I have more than seven years studying and writing on two issues — criminal justice and foreign policy. Both of those topics have an application to the question of today, because they relate to peace, choices, freedom, and punishment. Namely
mandatory national service does not support peace, it certainly does not involve freedom or choice, and it is a punishment for a crime not committed.

So it is with great respect that I intend to spend my time describing why the answer to “should service be mandatory” is no.

Testimony before the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service

Testimony before the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service (televised on C-Span)

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