February 13, 2016

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Antonin Scalia left us wisdom in dissent.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“Movement is not necessarily progress. More important than your obligation to follow your conscience, or at least prior to it, is your obligation to form your conscience correctly. Nobody — remember this — neither Hitler, nor Lenin, nor any despot you could name, ever came forward with a proposal that read, ‘Now, let’s create a really oppressive and evil society.’ Hitler said, ‘Let’s take the means necessary to restore our national pride and civic order.’ And Lenin said, ‘Let’s take the means necessary to assure a fair distribution of the goods of the world.’

“In short, it is your responsibility, men and women of the class of 2010, not just to be zealous in the pursuit of your ideals, but to be sure that your ideals are the right ones. That is perhaps the hardest part of being a good human being: Good intentions are not enough. Being a good person begins with being a wise person. Then, when you follow your conscience, will you be headed in the right direction.”

—Excerpted from Justice Antonin Scalia’s commencement address at Langley High School, in Virginia, where his granddaughter was graduating in June of 2010.

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ROGER KIMBALL: RIP Antonin Scalia.

GOOD. Mitch McConnell: No new justice this year.

SCOTT OTT WILL BE LIVEBLOGGING TONIGHT’S GOP DEBATE AT PJM, where, as Glenn noted earlier, the stakes have been raised dramatically by today’s sad — and shocking — news.

UPDATE: “If Donald Trump wants to end this race tonight, he’ll vow that his first act as president will be appointing Ted Cruz to the Supreme Court,” Sean Davis of the Federalist tweets.

 

HMM: Disparity In Lifespans Of The Rich And Poor Is Growing. There used to be a big disparity between the lifespans of the rich and poor based on things like the ability to get enough to eat and to stay warm in winter. Now, however, it seems to be because the poor have more bad habits: “In recent decades, smoking, the single biggest cause of preventable death, has helped drive the disparity, said Andrew Fenelon, a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the rich and educated began to drop the habit, its deadly effects fell increasingly on poorer, uneducated people. Mr. Fenelon has calculated that smoking accounted for a third to a fifth of the gap in life expectancy between men with college degrees and men with only high school degrees. For women it was as much as a quarter. . . . More recently, the prescription drug epidemic has ravaged poor white communities, a problem that experts said would most likely exacerbate the trend of widening disparities. Limited access to health care accounts for surprisingly few premature deaths in America, researchers have found.”

Hypothesis: Giving the poor more money wouldn’t solve this problem, but would make it worse by subsidizing smoking, overeating, and substance abuse. The rich live longer because the habits that, on average, help them to be rich — self-discipline, etc. — also help them stay healthier. In other words, it’s another case of Reynolds’ Law.

Suggestion: Want people to live longer and be healthier? Make them work. Holding a job helps inhibit self-destructive behavior. The problem is, this approach offers insufficient opportunities for graft, or social fiddling.

SOMEBODY TELL BERNIE: Johan Norberg: How Laissez-Faire Made Sweden Rich.

WELL, THIS UPS THE STAKES: Senior U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia found dead at West Texas ranch. “Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead of apparent natural causes Saturday on a luxury resort in West Texas, federal officials said. Scalia, 79, was a guest at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a resort in the Big Bend region south of Marfa.”

The Senate Republicans, of course, should not allow the seat to be filled until after the election. Like in 1968. Are today’s Republicans, even in the majority, as brave as the GOP minority of 1968?

UPDATE: True.

Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 8.28.17 PM

JUSTICE SCALIA HAS DIED: No indication yet as to the cause of death. He was 79 years old.

Will the Republicans in the Senate have the fortitude to resist the inevitable far-left Obama replacement nominee? The Constitution literally hangs in the balance.

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MSNBC’S ANDREA MITCHELL WHINES ABOUT CRUZ CAMPAIGN AD: “Note Mitchell’s crocodile tears on behalf of Cruz, worrying that the ad might not play well in the Bible Belt: chutzpah in action. ‘A new level of lack of civility’? I know Mitchell is old enough to remember this exercise in Democrat civility,” Michael Walsh writes. Read the whole thing.

Related: From 2012, MSNBC’s Harris-Perry, Sharpton Make Excuses for Atrocious 2000 NAACP Ad Blaming GW Bush for James Byrd’s Death.

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LIFE UNDER PRESIDENT LIGHTBRINGER: If The CIA Apologizes For Lying About Torture, But Doesn’t Tell Anyone About The Apology, Does It Really Count?

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FUNNY, BUT THE INSTA-WIFE LOOKS NOTHING LIKE HER MOTHER: Proof every woman turns into her mother.

SPYING: Apple: Dear judge, please tell us if gov’t can compel us to unlock an iPhone; Lawyers: Federal prosecutors told us they will continue to invoke 18th-century law. “If Feng’s phone had iOS 8 or later installed—as 90 percent of iPhones do—this entire issue would likely be moot. Apple now enables full encryption by default, and the company specifically said the move happened ‘so it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.’”

CAN’T WE JUST FOG EVERYTHING WITH DDT? Prepare for ‘Guerrilla Warfare’ With Zika-Carrying Mosquitoes, Experts Warn.

NOW CAN WE HAVE SOMETHING AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL? Scott Walker signs civil service overhaul.

Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation Friday overhauling the state’s century-old system of merit hiring and firing, gaining the first legislative priority he set after calling off his presidential bid last year.

Inking the legislation at the offices of ManpowerGroup, Walker said the rewrite of the state’s civil service law would help the state keep the best possible employees and ensure that the state remains “efficient, effective and ultimately accountable to the people of Wisconsin.”

“This is really about bringing Wisconsin into the 21st century when it comes to recruitment and retention,” the Republican governor said.

Walker said the state needed to learn from the private sector hiring practices of companies like Manpower, a global human resources giant, and update its policies for hiring, overseeing and firing the 30,000 state workers affected by the changes.

Walker said the state is keeping its principles of hiring according to merit rather than politics, but is updating a system that had become too slow and inefficient.

It’s time to face up to the reality that the 19th Century notion of an apolitical professional civil service is dead. What we have now is a politicized monoculture in support of one party and one agenda.

FASTER, PLEASE: Supercapacitor On-a-Chip Now One Step Closer.

REVEALED: Plans For the Soviet Union’s 1960s Moon Base.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Amidst 32% Enrollment Decline, University Of Minnesota Funds $16 Million Law School Operating Deficit.

Wow. Plus: “Wippman recalled a sense of optimism as he started the job eight years ago amid robust enrollment and a seemingly thriving economy. ‘I thought, “What could possibly go wrong?”’ he told the regents. ‘I don’t ask this question anymore.’”

CHARLES MURRAY NAILS “TRUMPISM” – Buzz is growing about this superb analysis of the Trump phenomenon. But there are a couple of key factors Murray fails to develop sufficiently and a sad implication of his analysis that those of us who had roles in the Reagan Revolution have been lamenting for a long time:

First, most Americans still profess some level of belief in (mostly Protestant) Christianity, but only about a third make their faith a living factor in their understanding of public policy and voting patterns. This is why Trump gives lip service to “religion” but nobody has any reason whatsover to fear that he would establish a theocracy (unless perhaps he would be the object of its worship).

Second, Trump’s impatience with criticism and quick resort to personal insult are a fertile breeding ground for an American Napoleon promising order and “greatness” in return for authoritarian power that functions within a merely ceremonial constitutional structure.

Finally, if Murray is right, it’s time to admit that Reagan was the high-water mark of the conservative movement, which in the decades since has watched in growing frustration as the GOP leadership has, for the most part, talked about it endlessly but utterly failed to deliver on the unfinished balance of his principled agenda.

Thoughts?

IN THE MAIL: Edited by Mark Steyn, A Disgrace to the Profession.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1010.

LIFE IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: Predators on the Frontier: America’s rivals are probing U.S. defenses across the globe.

Revisionist powers are on the move. ‎From eastern Ukraine and the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea, large rivals of the United States are modernizing their military forces, grabbing strategic real estate, and threatening vulnerable U.S. allies. Their goal is not just to assert hegemony over their neighborhoods but to rearrange the global security order as we have known it since the end of the Second World War.

We first wrote about these emerging dynamics in 2010, and then in TAI in 2011. We argued three things. First, that revisionist powers were using a strategy of “probing”: a combination of assertive diplomacy and small but bold military actions to test the outer reaches of American power and in particular the resilience of frontier allies. Second, we argued that the small, exposed allies who were the targets of these probes were likely to respond by developing back-up options to U.S. security guarantees, whether through military self-help or accommodation. And third, we argued that that China and Russia were learning from one another’s probes in their respective regions, and that allies themselves were drawing conclusions about U.S. deterrence in their own neighborhood from how America handled similarly situated allies elsewhere.

Five years later, as we argue in a new book released this month, these dynamics have intensified dramatically. Revisionist powers are indeed probing the United States, but their methods have become bolder, more violent—and successful. Allies have grown more alert to this pressure, amid the steady whittling away of neighboring buffer zones, and have begun to pursue an array of self-help schemes ranging from arms build-ups to flirtations with the nearby revisionist power. It has become harder for the United States to isolate security crises to one region: Russia’s land-grabs in Eastern Europe provide both a model and distraction effect for China to accelerate its maritime claims in the South China Sea; Poland’s quest for U.S. strategic reassurance unnerves and spurs allies in the Persian Gulf and Western Pacific.

Well, when America is run by people who don’t believe in America, this is to be expected. It will not end well.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Rape accusers sue University of Tennessee for giving accused students due process. I think that’s something to be proud of, though this should all be handled by police, not university bureaucrats anyway.

HECKUVA JOB, ROGER GOODELL. Exclusive: Beyoncé’s Super Bowl poster boy for Black Lives Matter was ‘high on drugs’ then stabbed me and threatened to keep doing it — before he was gunned down by cops, reveals victim.

You went full radical chic at the Super Bowl, NFL. Never go full radical chic.

ALTERNATE HEADLINE: SANDERS CAMPAIGN INVESTIGATED FOR ILLEGAL CONTRIBUTIONS!!!

Nah. You only get that treatment if you’re Dinesh D’Souza, and a Republican campaign.

THE ESTABLISHMENT WANTS TO PAINT HIM AS THE CANDIDATE OF LOSERS, BUT INSTEAD HE’S THE CANDIDATE OF PEOPLE WHO LOOK AT THE NEWS AND SAY “WHAT THE HELL?” The Unexpected Breadth of Donald Trump’s Appeal: In New Hampshire, he won working class men without college diplomas—and most every other demographic group.

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IT’S TIME FOR THE NRA TO CUT TED NUGENT LOOSE.

The Nuge went full Mel Gibson. Pro tip: Never go full Mel Gibson.

CENSORSHIP, UNITED AIRLINES STYLE, as spotted by Steve Hayward of Power Line:

VDARE is unquestionably controversial, and perhaps nativist, but by no means should it be classified as a “Militancy/Hate and Extremist” website. Seriously—a site that runs a review of a university press-published biography is blocked?  I wonder what other right-of-center websites are blocked by United?

Well, since Steve asked, in late October, Mark Steyn tweeted, “Hey, United. I’m on your plane right now using your WiFi, which bans my website: http://www.steynonline.com  Why?”

Adjust your travel plans accordingly.

THE BLACK ESTABLISHMENT chooses Hillary Clinton.

WRONG TIME? Albright: ‘Special place in hell’ comment came at ‘wrong time.’

Former secretary of State Madeline Albright is softening her controversial comment that there’s a “special place in hell for women who don’t help each other” in a New York Times opinion piece released Friday afternoon.

Albright has received significant criticism for making the remark while campaigning for Hillary Clinton. In the op-ed, Albright said she now understands that she “came across as condemning those who disagree with my political preferences.”

“I have spent much of my career as a diplomat. It is an occupation in which words and context matter a great deal. So one might assume I know better than to tell a large number of women to go to hell,” she writes.

“I absolutely believe what I said, that women should help one another, but this was the wrong context and the wrong time to use that line. I did not mean to argue that women should support a particular candidate based solely on gender.”

She added that she’s made the comment a number of times in the past because she believes that “in a society where women often feel pressured to tear one another down, our saving grace lies in our willingness to lift one another up.”

Funny, Madeleine, I don’t remember you doing that for Sarah Palin, or Carly Fiorina, or any other Republican women targeted by the Democrats.

SURPRISE! “RICHARD WINDSOR” IS A CLINTON FOUNDATION BOARD MEMBER: “Lisa Jackson, the former Environmental Protection Agency administrator who was caught using an email account under the pseudonym ‘Richard Windsor,’ sits on the board of the Clinton Foundation, the charity of Hillary Clinton, of HDR22@clintonemail.com fame.”

HE’S NO SCOTT WALKER. Time to Talk About John Kasich’s Biggest Failure as Ohio Governor: Union Reform.

IN THE 1930s, A FAMOUSLY “PROGRESSIVE,” GOVERNMENT-EXPANDING PRESIDENT SAID THIS ABOUT THE DEPRESSION:

Two courses were open to us. We might have done nothing. That would have been utter ruin. Instead, we met the situation with proposals to private business and to the Congress of the most gigantic program of economic defense and counterattack ever evolved in the history of the Republic. We put that program in action. Our measures have repelled these attacks of fear and panic. . . . We have used the credit of the Government to aid and protect our institutions, both public and private. We have provided methods and assurances that none suffer from hunger or cold amongst our people. We have instituted measures to assist our farmers and our homeowners. We have created vast agencies for employment.

Name that president — and then pass it along to Bernie Sanders.

(H/T: Arthur Kimes.)

 

DO THEY STINK ON ICE? Quote of the Day, Debbie Wasserman Schultz Downplays Worries That Her Base Is Revolting edition.

Flashback: Had it occurred to me at the time, I would have linked to Harry Reid openly declaring that his base stinks on ice to my post on Thursday on leftwing elites smearing rank-and-file Democrats.

URGH! A MUSIC WAR.* Team Jeb: Rubio is a phony on family values given some of the hip-hop he listens to.

Good thing Rubio doesn’t chum around with Satan and Aleister Crowley-endorsing heavy metal stars like..err…Jeb’s brother, George W. Bush.

* Classical reference.

CHANGE: West Virginia Is Now The 26th Right-To-Work State.

February 12, 2016

WELL, YES: The media’s blindness to Bernie’s socialist extremism is telling.

Remember, people on the right are “crazed” and “full of hate.” People on the left are “idealistic” and “full of passion.”

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: House ethics probe into Alan Grayson’s hedge-fund moonlighting.

CARRIE LUKAS: Euro-feminists in meltdown over immigrant rape. “Of course, there’s a way out for feminists: Refocus on the core principle of defending women’s equal rights and fair treatment. This requires recognizing that the West — including Western men — have actually come a long way in protecting women from physical harm and enabling their full participation in the public sphere.”

When you yammer about a nonexistent “rape culture” at home, and then import millions from a genuine rape culture, it’s not likely to go well. And you can’t acknowledge anything good about Western men, or that would defeat the entire purpose of feminism, which is to cow and silence Western men.

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DIVERSITY IS OUR STRENGTH: Protesters cheer on ‘refugee attack’ suspects. “Around 100 people spent Friday morning gathered outside a Swedish court where a group of men planning a violent attack at refugee housing were appearing. The protest delayed detention hearings for the 14 suspects linked to an an alleged plan to target refugees living in asylum housing on a campsite in Nynäshamn, a small town in a rural area south of Stockholm.”

ARMY OF DAVIDS, EARTHQUAKE EDITION: Developed by UC-Berkeley scientists, the MyShake Android app uses crowdsourcing to detect earthquakes. From the LAT report:

The cellphone MyShake app would not replace the USGS’ early warning system, Allen said. Smartphones will never be as effective as hundreds of sophisticated earthquake sensor stations installed underground to detect the first subtle signs that an earthquake has begun.

Still, a successful smartphone app, woven into the USGS system, could make the overall warning network even faster in California, Oregon and Washington state, he said. And it would enable the technology to be used in other areas of the world with few or no earthquake sensors.

“Nepal has almost no seismic stations. But they have 6 million smartphones. There are 600,000 smartphones in Kathmandu alone,” Allen said. “So if we can get MyShake working, then we could potentially be providing early warning in Kathmandu.”

Related, ICYMI, my report on the use of smart phone apps and crowdsourcing to collect economic data, especially in less-developed countries.

THE CUTENESS AWAKENS: The epic Calvin And Hobbes meets The Force Awakens mashup continues.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Rational design of protein architectures not found in nature.

IF THEY’RE GOING TO DO TO SEX WHAT THEY’VE DONE TO FACEBOOK AND TWITTER — RUIN THE USER EXPERIENCE IN SUPPORT OF MONETIZATION AND SOCIAL CONTROL — I’LL PASS, THANKS: Silicon Valley Wants to Disrupt Orgasms—With Science!

NO MORE GILMORE-MANIA, ALAS: Jim Gilmore (R-VA) ends campaign for president.

DAMN IT FEELS GOOD TO BE A CLINTON!

“Senator Cruz, this might be my favorite political ad of all time,” Jim Geraghty writes, though he asks if the ad works “if you haven’t seen the Office Space scene? Is it funny enough to watch Hillary and her aides destroying her server?” I think the message comes through loud and clear even if you’ve never seen Office Space — though the copier destroying scene is probably the film’s most viral* clip.

* Explanation of the 21st century usage of this word in case Hillary is reading.

UPDATE: Democrat operatives with bylines “Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd were appalled by a new Ted Cruz commercial attacking Hillary Clinton, labeling it ‘vicious’ and ‘rough.’” Because they’re all about sensitive feelings and safe spaces at MSNBC.

SO TRUMP IS A WHITE OBAMA?: Reihan Salam has column in Slate (he is also an executive editor of National Review, btw), “I Can’t Hate Donald Trump: I Do Hate Republicans Who’ve Enabled His Remarkable Popularity.”  The thesis seems to be that Trump is essentially a “white Obama” whose campaign is a dog whistle for working class whites:

I can’t bring myself to hate Donald Trump. Part of this is a quirk of biography. Like a lot of native New Yorkers around my age, I find his outer-borough accent so comfortingly familiar that I can’t help but smile whenever I hear his voice, even when he’s saying something outrageously offensive. To a certain kind of smart, scrappy, lower-middle-class New York youth in the ’80s and ’90s, Trump was the living embodiment of gaudy success—a kind of mash-up of Santa Claus, Scrooge McDuck, and Vito Corleone. . . .

Trump is strongest not in the metropolitan corners of America, where he’s spent most of his life. Rather, his strongholds are the mostly overlooked sections of the South, Appalachia, and the rural and semi-rural North. . . .

Many have been struck by the overwhelming whiteness of Trump’s campaign, not least the small number of self-identified “white nationalists” who’ve rallied around his campaign. I would argue that the Trump coalition illustrates how whiteness as a category is so expansive as to be almost meaningless. The Scots-Irish or “American” whites who see Trump as their champion are profoundly different from the metropolitan whites who dominate the upper echelons of U.S. society—so much so that the convention of lumping them together as “white” detracts far more from our understanding of how they fit into our society than it adds to it. J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, a forthcoming book on the place of Appalachian whites in modern America, estimates that roughly one-quarter of whites belong to the Scots-Irish tribe that has embraced Trump. If we were to separate out these Americans as a race or ethnicity unto themselves, Vance writes, we would finds rates of poverty and substance abuse that would shock our national conscience. But we don’t generally collect detailed statistics on the Scots-Irish. . . .

When Barack Obama first emerged on the political scene, he excited voters who saw in him a reflection of their own experiences. His mixed ancestry, his upbringing as the son of an intellectually curious and at times very poor single mother, and his experience of upward mobility through higher education—all of these experiences resonated with Americans who’d had similar journeys, and who felt validated by Obama’s narrative.

Trump and Obama are almost as different as one American can be from another. Nevertheless, Trump has built a gut-level connection that is no less formidable, and with an entirely different set of Americans. . . .

I’m not sure what makes Salam think that Americans of “Scots-Irish” descent are poor Appalachian hillbillies with substance abuse problems. This odd racial stereotyping aside, Salam is simply wrong that Trump’s primary support emerges from poor, uneducated whites, an unsupportable myth I’ve written about before that keeps getting repeated by the GOPe and Democrats alike.

More importantly, I hardly think that a platform of issues that are important to all Americans–national security, jobs, immigration (all of which are intimately related)–is fairly characterized as a racial dog whistle, unless one believes that these issues are particularly “white” (or more specifically,
“Scots-Irish”) issues.

Salam’s column suggests to me that while elites may abhor finding themselves in political association with the unwashed masses (i.e., working class whites), they can’t seem to help themselves because like the masses, there’s something about Trump that they can’t help but like. It suggests that Trump’s political umbrella is (at least potentially) larger than many have acknowledged. Could it also be that Trump holds the potential to unite, rather than divide? Only time will tell.

ANDREW KLAVAN: Porn Star Scuttles My Political Career!

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NBC NEWS: VICTIMS NOT TOLD OF ‘SWEETHEART DEAL’ FOR JEFFREY EPSTEIN.

That’s so odd — CTL-F “Clinton” brings zero returns in the article text. Unexpectedly!

(Via John Nolte.)

HILLARY’S SECURITY DISEASE INFECTS REST OF STATE DEPARTMENT, TOO: Foggy Bottom’s Bureau of Energy Resources was created during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. The bureau’s purpose was to be the department’s heartbeat for energy diplomacy and security issues. But Katie Watson of the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group says State’s Inspector General found an amazing level of disregard for keeping sensitive and classified information out of the wrong hands. The laxity is so widespread in the bureau that nobody checks if secured government equipment is being taken out of the office at the end of the day.

THERE WAS A TIME WHEN THIS WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN A POSITIVE REVIEW: The Mercedes-AMG S65 Coupe Perfectly Encapsulates the Seven Deadly Sins: Something wicked this way comes. A turn in Lucifer’s personal ride.

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SURE, THAT’S A PROVEN FORMULA FOR PREVENTING BAD BEHAVIOR: University Of Texas Wants To Run Itself Like the NFL.

SHIKHA DALMIA: What To Do About Flint? Evacuate The Residents And Turn it Into a Landfill for Liberal Good Intentions; Liberals simply won’t quit blaming privatization for the government-made disaster. Well, it’s not like they can blame unaccountable public employees. That would threaten the whole feedlot.

ADVICE FOR PARENTS OF SMALL CHILDREN: Don’t Be Afraid Of Dirt.

Dr. Maya Shetreat-Klein has a message for the parents of small children: Don’t be afraid of dirt.

She is a firm believer in the idea that children in Westernized countries today grow up in a world that can be too sanitized. They spend less time outdoors exploring nature and more time in front of screens than they did two decades ago. They eat foods that are heavily processed. Many do not know what it’s like to taste fresh, seasonally grown foods plucked from a garden with nutrient-rich soil.

Dr. Shetreat-Klein, a pediatric neurologist in New York and an instructor at New York Medical College, explores these themes in a new book, “The Dirt Cure: Growing Healthy Kids With Food Straight from Soil.” The book delves into research that suggests that spending time around farms, parks and other green spaces can benefit children in surprising ways, protecting against allergies, enhancing immune function and potentially even improving attention span and academic performance.

Outside play and dirt are good for kids.

21ST CENTURY HEADLINES: Exoskeleton Makes Robotic Roach Flexibly Squishy.

ANDREW McCARTHY: Huma Abedin and the Tangled Clinton Web.

She’s had a rough month — give her a hug!

IF, THAT IS, THEY’RE STILL AROUND BY SUMMER: Twitter Is Gearing Up To Interfere In The Election.

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JUST FRESH MEAT FOR THE A-10s: Watch a Russian Tank Battalion in Full Attack Mode.

USA TODAY EDITORIALIZES ON HILLARY AND WALL STREET: It’s hard to recast yourself as a populist after you’ve fed at the trough.

KAMALA HARRIS: The Next Obama? She’s got more of a record than he had, and it’s pretty bad.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Sanders and Trump are selling magic.

Take Sanders’ New Hampshire victory speech. It promised the moon: college education, free; universal health care, free; world peace, also free because we won’t be “the policeman of the world” (mythical Sunni armies will presumably be doing that for us). Plus a guaranteed $15 minimum wage. All to be achieved by taxing the rich. Who can be against a “speculation” tax (whatever that means)?

So with Trump. Leave it to him. Jobs will flow back in a rush from China, from Japan, from Mexico, from everywhere. Universal health care, with Obamacare replaced by “something terrific.” Veterans finally taken care of. Drugs stopped cold at the border. Indeed, an end to drug addiction itself. Victory upon victory of every kind….

Sanders’ magic potion is socialism; Trump’s is Trump.

Someone should write a book about how that works.

MOST ASTUTE TAKEAWAY FROM DEM DEBATE: Black Lives Don’t Matter to Clinton and Sanders–Only Black Votes. The self-proclaimed “Conservative Black Chick,” Crystal Wright, has an oped in The Telegraph that documents the vomit-inducing racial pandering of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton during last night’s Democrats’ debate:

Sanders’ solution to his black and brown problem is to break bread with Sharpton in Harlem. The good Reverend Al, who hasn’t given a sermon since I can recall, never met a racial riot or protest he didn’t want to incite.

How insulting to black people that Sanders thinks all he has to do is meet with a buffoon like Sharpton to secure the black vote. As I wrote in my new book Con JobDemocrats “don’t grant blacks permission to be free-thinking individuals”. We’re merely supposed to follow the orders of a profiteer like Sharpton.

Not that Sanders is any better than Clinton, who in 2008 spoke in a “black” accent at a campaign event at a black church in Charleston. Democrats in general take the black vote for granted and insult blacks as political dummies. . . .

The fact is Hillary will say and do anything to get elected and black votes matter to Hillary more than black lives ever will. It’s outrageous for any black American to vote for Hillary. They’d be voting for their demise. . . .

What’s so sad is the black vote can be won or bought so easily with these optical illusions from Democrats like Hillary and Bernice. No other race in America but blacks votes solidly for one party and allows themselves to be politically manipulated like stuff animals. . . .

There is a high price to be paid for leaving the Democrats’ plantation. Just ask Rep. Mia Love, Sen. Tim Scott, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, or any other prominent Republican black person.

Hillary and Bernie are overtly pandering to make sure that rank-and-file blacks remain firmly rooted to the plantation, picking Democrats’ divisive, dependent, racially-tinged cotton ad infinitum.

THE REPUBLICANS SHOULD TALK ABOUT THIS: Jonathan Macey: The Rise Of Crony Capitalism. “We may think that corruption is a problem of poor nations, but there is a great deal of crony capitalism in the United States. . . . A strong, independent judiciary is thought by scholars to be an antidote to both wholesale and retail crony capitalism. Evidence of this is somewhat mixed. The U.S. boasts a legitimately strong and independent judiciary, but crony capitalism certainly exists in this country, and appears to be on the rise.”

This could be a big issue for the GOP. Hillary can’t talk about crony capitalism because she’s neck-deep in it, and Bernie can’t talk about it because that would be a tacit admission that non-crony capitalism might be okay.

I SHOULD NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT BY ACCIDENT, BUT WITH THE STRONG SUPPORT OF FACULTY AND ADMINISTRATORS: Liberal intolerance is on the rise on America’s college campuses. I hope that, at the state and federal levels, we’ll see legislation protecting free speech on campus — and providing accountability for universities, and university employees, who suppress it or allow it to be suppressed.

Related: At St. John’s University, Violence And Threats Over A Trump Sticker.

DON’T DO STUPID SH*T: U.S. Allies Now Fighting CIA-Backed Rebels

Iraqi militias who once fought ISIS with U.S. help are now working with Russian and Iranian forces to crush American-backed rebels in the strategic Syrian city of Aleppo, two defense officials have told The Daily Beast.

At least three Shia militias involved in successful battles against ISIS in Iraq—the Badr Brigade, Kata’ib Hezbollah, and the League of the Righteous—have acknowledged taking casualties in fighting in south and southeast Aleppo province. U.S. defense officials confirmed to The Daily Beast that they believe “at least one” unit of the Badr Brigade is fighting in southern Aleppo alongside other Iraqi militia groups. Those groups are backed by Russian airpower and Iranian troops—and all of whom are bolstering President Bashar al Assad’s Syrian Arab Army.

It’s almost as if nobody over there trusts us anymore.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1009.

HILLARY’S NEVADA PROBLEM: Jon Ralston explains to Chris Cillizza.

I don’t consider those polls reliable or recent. The Clinton folks are saying it could be close and distorting Nevada’s demographics (suddenly we are as white as Iowa and New Hampshire!) because they are worried about the Bernie surge. And I think they should be. Team Clinton has an infrastructure advantage, and its staff here is first-rate and knows the state. Some worked here in ’08. They also arrived six months before Team Sanders, whose folks do not know the state nearly as well. But he is outspending her on TV — this may be changing — and same-day registration on Feb. 20 may allow a lot of new, Sanders voters to change the course of the election. Hillary knew a long time ago she would need a firewall in Nevada; that’s why she set up here so early. The firewall isn’t breached yet, but it may be buckling soon.

Clinton is relying on outsized support from minority voters in Nevada and South Carolina to put a stop to the Sanders Surge, but all may not be proceeding as she has foreseen.

MILO 1, SCREAMING CAMPUS GARBAGE BABIES 0: The fight for ‘tolerance’ at Rutgers hits a new low.

We feel bad for the janitors who had to clean up after the latest low from Rutgers University’s champions of tolerance.

To disrupt a guest’s speech, a dozen kids smeared themselves in fake blood — splattering other students and much of the room in the process — while shouting “black lives matter” and other deep slogans before storming out.

Several dozen more protesters remained, to keep up the harassment (“This man represents hatred”) throughout.

Fine, the speaker was a bit of a flamethrower — Milo Yiannopoulos, an often-rude writer for Breitbart News. But he has his own multicultural bones, as a gay Brit.

The school paper, The Daily Targum, chatted with a lead protester. “Freedom of speech is a responsibility,” junior Nyuma Waggeh explained. “You should use your privilege to be responsible for one another.”

That’s it: Shows how precious the “privilege” is by shouting down another group’s invited guest and making a big mess for someone else to clean up.

Shouting down opponents and leaving messes for others to clean up is the essence of leftism.

WHEN THE MONEY-SPIGOT DRIES UP IT’S HARD TO BUY PEOPLE’S LOYALTY: The Biggest Reason To Fear Economic Trouble In China:

China has been working to instill more patriotic values in its students, the New York Times reports. . . .

This story points to the biggest reason to fear economic trouble in China: not the gloom and doom from outside analysts, but the mounting evidence that the Chinese government is in some sort of panic about the loyalty of its citizens. We’ve had the purge, we’ve had trouble for foreigners, we’ve had crackdowns on human rights NGOs and Christians, and the propaganda at last week’s New Year’s Eve celebrations was noticeably shriller than usual.

Meanwhile, the people who know China’s situation the best, who have access to inside information that the rest of us don’t, have been giving pretty clear signals that they are terrified of unrest. And while the accelerating capital flight from China has a lot to do with the economy, it is another sign that insiders want out for other reasons, too.

Something big seems to be happening in China, and the increasingly desperate attempts by the regime to assert power suggest that the people who run the country are losing their confidence in the future. Even more than collapsing equity prices or a volatile currency, the political situation in China should make everyone very, very worried.

I’d be interested to know what our own ruling class is doing.

GOODNIGHT WESTERN CIVILIZATION, IT’S BEEN FUN! Whole Foods to open in-store tattoo parlors to appeal to millennials.

HILLARYCO’S NEW LINE — BERNIE’S RACIST! Black Congressional Leader Says Bernie Sanders Has a ‘Very Troubling’ Record.

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RUSSIA AND TURKEY EDGE CLOSER TO WAR IN SYRIA:

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has implied that Turkey will take action after the capture of the town of Azez in Syria, a strategic corridor between Aleppo and Turkey for rebel groups, by Syrian regime troops backed by Russian airstrikes.

Speaking to reporters en route to Turkey from the Netherlands, Davutoğlu said that he had told German Chancellor Angela Merkel of the need to stop Russia in Syria in order to prevent further influxes of refugees to Turkey and Europe from the region, the Hürriyet daily reported on Friday. When asked whether Turkey will take action to reopen the corridor to Aleppo, Davutoğlu said, “Wait for the next few days and you will have the answer,” daily Hürriyet reported on Friday.

It’s difficult to know in these moments whether to draw a red line, hand out a reset button, or tweet a clever new hash tag.

HARRY REID: BILL CLINTON STILL ‘KNOWS HOW TO FEEL OUR PAIN.’

Well, there’s plenty of it in the country, based on Hillary and Bernie’s debate remarks last night.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG: John Schindler: Mounting Evidence Putin Will Ignite WWIII. By letting Putin get away with whatever he likes in Syria, Obama has created a deeply dangerous situation.

Relations between Russia and Turkey have been dismal since late November, when a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian bomber on the border with Syria, killing its pilot. That began a war of words between Moscow and Ankara that ought to concern everyone, since the former has several thousand nuclear weapons and the latter is a member of NATO.

Kremlin propaganda against Ankara has increased of late, setting the stage for further confrontation. As I explained here last week, Russian media outlets initially blamed the Sinai crash of Metrojet 9268 last autumn on the Islamic State, an atrocity which killed 224 innocents, nearly all of them Russians—a quite plausible claim. However, the Kremlin has abruptly shifted course and now blames the mass murder on Turkish ultranationalist terrorists, without any evidence provided to support that explosive assertion.

Where things may be going between Russia and Turkey, ancient enemies who have warred many times over the centuries, was evidenced this week, when the Kremlin announced large-scale surprise military exercises in the regions of the country that are close to Turkey. Troops were moved to full combat readiness, the last stage before a shooting war, with Sergei Shoygu, the Russian defense minister, announcing on TV: “We began our surprise check of the military preparedness in the Southwest strategic direction.”

That would be the direction of Turkey. These snap exercises involve the Southern Military District and the navy’s Black Sea Fleet, which are deeply involved in Russia’s not-so-secret secret war in eastern Ukraine. However, they also involve the navy’s Caspian Sea flotilla, which is nowhere near Ukraine.

Well, we’ve got John Kerry and Barack Obama standing between us and World War III, so . . . Duck and Cover!

A USED BOOKSTORE IN BERKELEY:

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ANDREW MALCOLM: Dem debate: Fierce grilling except for emails, FBI, Top Secret, Benghazi, debt and….

Of the 16,000 words uttered by Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and moderators Gwen Ifil and Judy Woodruff, not one of them concerned Clinton’s deepening email scandal. Not one mention of the words email, e-mail, private server or FBI.

Not a single media question or opponent mention of the huge legal cloud hanging over the party’s presumptive nominee. Nor of the ongoing FBI investigation into unauthorized use of her unsecured private email server for government business, including loose handling of Top Secret documents endangering national security intelligence-gathering and covert operations.

Not any reference to the State Department Inspector General’s subpoena to the Clinton Foundation exploring possible connections between foreign government donations possibly trying to curry favor during Clinton’s four-year tenure as Obama’s secretary of State.

Oh, and not a single word either about Benghazi, the murder of four Americans there, the phony video excuse, the lack of rescue or reinforcement attempts and any Clinton responsibility for the well-documented poor consulate security. Nothing on tax or entitlement reforms. National debt.

A complete pass for Hillary Clinton. Whoosh! Home free. Other than that, it was a serious grilling about being female, admiring Obama, taxing the rich more, free stuff and other liberal issues.

It’s as if Judy Woodruff, Gwen Ifill, and PBS were just trying to help the Democrats or something.

ELIJAH CUMMINGS TRIES TO FLY COVER FOR THE IRS, JIM JORDAN SHOOTS HIM DOWN:

“The problem now is that our committee is in a mindset where we are just trying to get the IRS,” Cummings said.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio.), chairman of the Oversight subcommittee on administrative rules, fired back.

“We’re not trying to get the IRS. The IRS was trying to get conservative Americans who were exercising their First Amendment, free speech right,” he said. “Twenty-three hearings is a pretty small price to pay when you’re trying to protect fundamental liberties in the Constitution, for goodness sake.”

Jordan said the hearings are warranted because the IRS has engaged in a pattern of destroying records and documents.

If they did nothing wrong, why are so many hard drives “mysteriously” crashing and disappearing?

WHY OBAMA SAYS ‘THAT’S NOT WHO WE ARE’: “Calling people un-American, or challenging their love for America, thus runs afoul of liberal lore and Obama’s own rhetorical code. So he reaches for a subtle phrase with less baggage. ‘That’s not who we are’ implicitly accuses political opponents of being apart from the American ideal, of being ‘other.’”

At least until next year, when there’s a good chance the left will believe that dissent is patriotic once again. (Despite that whole “last refuge of a scoundrel” thing they concurrently believe.)

Related: 14 Times Barack Obama’s Rhetoric Made Politics Less Civil.

OUCH: John Lewis on Sanders’ Civil Rights Activism: ‘I Never Saw Him.’

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., hit Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders’ past activism during the civil rights movement while throwing his support behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Lewis was participating in a press conference on Thursday announcing that the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee was endorsing Clinton. In response to a question from Roll Call about Sanders’ previous work on civil rights, Lewis, a civil rights leader who chaired the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and spoke at the 1963 March on Washington, said he did not work with Sanders.

“I never saw him. I never met him,” Lewis said. “I was involved in the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery and directed the Voter Education Project for six years. But I met Hillary Clinton. I met President Clinton.”

Lewis’ remarks contrast with Sanders’ frequent highlighting of his record on civil rights. Sanders’ campaign website bio shows him as an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at the University of Chicago to see Martin Luther King — and incidentally, Lewis — speak in 1963.

Wait, Bill and Hillary were at Selma? Weren’t they kind of young? And wasn’t Hillary a Goldwater Girl then? My dad was at Selma and he never mentioned Bill and Hillary being there. And he would.

Related: John Lewis said he knew the Clintons in the civil rights era, but he didn’t always make that claim.

APPARENTLY WE SHOULD GET ON A BOAT* AND LEAVE AMERICA ASAP, John Podhoretz writes in the New York Post, after watching last night’s Hillary-Bernie debate:

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were essentially auditioning last night for the role of Snake Plissken. Do you remember Snake Plissken? He was the eyepatch-wearing hero of “Escape from New York,” the 1981 science-fiction picture in which Manhattan has become a prison and Snake Plissken is the only guy who can find the way out.

Only the America from which they want to liberate us is Barack Obama’s America. Oh, they don’t say as much. Hillary blames the Koch brothers. Bernie blames millionaires and billionaires and the campaign-finance system. They both blame the Republicans.

But let’s face it: It’s Obama’s world. They and we are all just living in it.

And what a world. “There is,” Sanders said, “massive despair all over this country.” Wages low. Millions in prison.

Bernie and Hillary are both admitting what a wretched failure Obama has been as president. Why would America want to give his party another four years?

* Or perhaps a starship, based on Hillary’s retro-futuristic final frontier-ready togs last night.