History

Herbert Meyer, RIP

Featured image Very sad news this evening of the passing of Herbert Meyer, one of the genuine heroes of the Cold War for his service in the CIA under President Reagan. It was Meyer who, in a famous memo to Reagan in November 1983 when things were very tense with our intermediate-range missile deployments in Europe, wrote: “if present trends continue, we are going to win the Cold War.” Over eight vivid »

Joe Biden mangles the past

Featured image William Faulkner wrote: “The past is never dead; it’s not even past.” The past certainly isn’t past for Joe Biden. He can’t stop talking about it. One suspects he’s still living in the distant past. The latest example is his over-the-top statement comparing the election of President Trump to the assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. Biden stated: I think what’s happening now is, I think that Donald »

Yelling “Fire” in a Crowded River: The Cuyahoga Story at 50

Featured image As mentioned in our podcast with Jonathan Adler yesterday, today is the 50th anniversary of the infamous Cuyahoga River fire in Cleveland. The fire continues to be a prominent and compelling image of man’s relationship to the environment. Immortalized in song (Randy Newman’s “Burn On” and R.E.M’s “Cuyahoga”), and fodder for countless Cleveland-bashing jokes from standup comics, the incongruously short-lived fire (it was put out in about 20 minutes, causing »

Yad Vashem schools AOC

Featured image Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seems to be among the intellectual leaders of the Democratic Party despite, or on account of, the near daily demonstration of her nescience. I don’t think she can safely be ignored. She recently opined: “The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border and that is exactly what they are: concentration camps.” Israel’s Yad Vashem doesn’t wade into American politics, but it made an exception in »

VDH recommends

Featured image While the academic study of military history is in a state of sickness unto death in the academy, it lives because of its popularity with the American people. In his terrific essay “Why study war,” Victor Davis Hanson observes: The university’s aversion to the study of war certainly doesn’t reflect public lack of interest in the subject. Students love old-fashioned war classes on those rare occasions when they’re offered, usually »

Shadow Strike

Featured image The Tikvah Fund has posted an intensely interesting podcast with Jerusalem Post editor Yaakov Katz here; I have embedded it below. Katz is the author of Shadow Strike, a new and deeply reported account of Israel’s strike on Syria’s nuclear reactor in 2007. The story remains of current interest in various aspects. Tikvah introduces the podcast as follows: On September 6, 2007, shortly after midnight, Israeli fighters advanced on Deir »

Colin Powell’s self-serving distortion of Balkan history

Featured image In his 1995 autobiography, Colin Powell tried to justify America’s refusal to intervene in the Balkan Wars by claiming that these wars were driven by “ancient hatreds” in a “thousand year-old hornet’s nest.” I’d call this a misreading of history, except that Powell probably was not reading history. Maybe he picked up this trope at a cocktail party. In any case, the clash between Croats and Serbs in the 1990s »

Quiz for the Day

Featured image As I was preparing my class notes for today (topic: How to Understand the Declaration of Independence), I realized that we are nigh upon the 200th anniversary of an obscure but fascinating court case out of Maryland in 1819—fascinating not simply for the closing argument, but for who made it. The case involved a Methodist minister named Jacob Gruber who had delivered an abolitionist sermon to an audience of some »

Dartmouth Celebrates a Dark Moment (with comment by Paul)

Featured image Dartmouth News reports that the college is celebrating an event that happened 50 years ago, on June 7, 1969: As part of the yearlong 250th anniversary commemoration, Dartmouth is revisiting various turning points in its history. On Friday, the clock turns back 50 years to the afternoon of May 7, 1969, when students who opposed the Vietnam War occupied the Parkhurst administration building. Paul and I, both Communists at the »

The Pathetic Joe Biden

Featured image I suppose the headline for this entry might need to become a regular Power Line series between now and election day. It was as predictable as the sunrise that Biden’s long-time support of the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for elective abortion, would crumple under pressure from the Abortion Absolutists who now control Democratic Party dogma. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that he crumpled so quickly. Get used »

Trump commemorates D-Day

Featured image This morning President Trump commemorated the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied northern France by Allied forces. Trump joined French President Emmanuel Macron in honoring the attending veterans of the battle and their fallen colleagues at the site of the invasion just above the beaches of Normandy. I have posted the text of the president’s eloquent and moving speech below the video, which really has to be seen. »

The ordeal of Omaha Beach

Featured image Reader Patti Kruse wrote us a few years ago asking us to persist in our annual remembrance of the D-Day landings on the Normandy beaches. “My dad landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day,” she told us. “He was one of the fortunate ones, as he was never physically injured and managed to survive from D-Day all the way through the Battle of the Bulge and V-E Day. He rarely spoke »

David Garrow explains

Featured image Historian and Spectator USA Life & Arts editor Dominic Green interviews historian David Garrow on his most recent findings deriving from recently disclosed documents reflecting the FBI’s surveillance of Martin Luther King. I have embedded the podcast below. In his related Spectator USA column, Green asks whether media outlets including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic, and the Guardian suppressed and/or disparaged Garrow’s »

Edmund Morris, RIP

Featured image When I interviewed Michael Deaver, one of Ronald Reagan’s senior aides from his days as governor and into his second presidential term, in the course of writing my two-volume Age of Reagan book project, he confessed that recommending Edmund Morris be Reagan’s official biographer was the second-biggest mistake he ever made in Reagan’s service. Immediately your mind will run to the obvious question, which I duly asked: What was your biggest »

America’s honor

Featured image In observance of Memorial Day 2007 the Wall Street Journal published a brilliant column by Peter Collier to mark the occasion. The column remains timely and is accessible online here. I don’t think we’ll read or hear anything more thoughtful or appropriate to the occasion today. With the kind permission of Peter himself, here it is: Once we knew who and what to honor on Memorial Day: those who had »

17 years: 17 thoughts

Featured image It was 17 years ago this weekend — 17 years ago today, I think, but maybe tomorrow — that John Hinderaker went to Blogger and set up Power Line. On Memorial Day that weekend he gave me a call and invited me to contribute. We’ve moved on from Blogger, but we’re still here. Survival has its charms; many sites have come and gone or gone off the deep end over »

The Power Line Show, Ep. 125: The Antidote to Howard Zinn? “Land of Hope” with Wilfred McClay

Featured image Lo and behold, I opened up this morning’s Wall Street Journal to see a weekend interview with this week’s guest, historian Wilfred M. McClay of the University of Oklahoma, about his brand new book Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story. In the course of our conversation, we cover not only what’s wrong (but also partly right) about Howard Zinn, but how Bill got the audacious idea »