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March 25, 2019

ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE: The Media Has Done Irreparable Damage To The Country: Journalists used fears over Russia and anger over Trump to try to reverse the results of a legitimate election.

Brave firefighters, running forward with buckets of gasoline. And toxic waste.

IF MY SCHADENBONER LASTS MUCH LONGER I’M GOING TO NEED TO SEE A DOCTOR: CNN analyst Mark Geragos said to be Avenatti’s alleged co-conspirator.

THEIR JOURNEY TO THE SERVICES SIDE IS COMPLETE: The Old Apple is dead. Long live the New Apple?

TIME AND PAST TIME:

Related:

Flashback, March 2017: “Hypothesis: The spying-on-Trump thing is worse than we even imagine, and once it was clear Hillary had lost and it would inevitably come out, the Trump/Russia collusion talking point was created as a distraction.”

ASTEROIDS GALAXY TOUR: NASA May Send a Smallsat Mission to the Giant Asteroid Pallas.

Maybe this will be the Golden Age.

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Plus, deals on Power and Hand Tools.

YOU GET A RAISE, AND YOU GET A RAISE: Kamala “Oprah” Harris and How Much to Pay Teachers

ANALYSIS: TRUE. The Real Threat to Our Republic: The Democratic Party. “They don’t care about rules, just winning.”

DID TRUMP REALLY DO ALL THAT?, Victor Davis Hanson asks:

Peggy Noonan, apparently like many, believes that Trump’s occasional callousness and crassness are unprecedented. And they have so befouled the political landscape that he has spawned rude and crude leftwing imitators. The result allegedly is the vile language of the “mean girls” such as the anti-Semitism and foul speech of Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib:

I think we all know where this started, the political brutishness, the ignoring of traditions and norms. Donald Trump is both origin and rationale . . . The mean girls of Congress have learned at his knee. They have taken their tactics from him. They claim to be his reluctant imitators but I think they admire his ferocity. They have a taste for it, and a talent.

Collective Amnesia
With all due respect, I don’t think we “all” know that this started with Trump, however crass he can be. Rather, we know all too well the political landscape a decade before Trump.

Do we recall the recent deranged talk of 2004-8 from the Democratic Party, the popular culture, and the media—or the relative passivity of the wounded Bush administration in response to such venom?

The DNC-MSM doesn’t – it’s been well known for both its collective and selective amnesia for decades.

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: No Russian Collusion, But the #Resistance Won’t Stop Hollering — They would rather believe the president of the United States is a traitor than admit they were wrong about something.

GODSPEED: Trickiest U.S. Missile Defense Test Is Finally Ready to Launch.

The Missile Defense Agency intends on Monday to fire two interceptors tipped with the latest Raytheon Co. warheads within seconds of each other in a test that hasn’t been publicly announced. The first interceptor would attempt to crash into a dummy target representing an incoming intercontinental ballistic missile. The second would use its sensors to detect another ICBM or other countermeasures.

Monday’s action would be first missile defense test since a successful one in May 2017. The system also scored an interception in June 2014 after two that failed in 2010.

Mark Wright, a spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency, said in an email said he had “nothing to announce at this time.”

The $36 billion system of Boeing Co.-managed radar, command links and 44 ground-based interceptors in California and Alaska is designed to defeat a missile attack. The Pentagon is requesting $9.4 billion in fiscal 2020 for the agency’s programs, including $1.4 billion for the ground-based segment — an increase from the $9.36 billion previously planned.

Missile defense is cheap compared to the damage a nuclear-tipped missile could do.

THERE’S SOMEONE FOR EVERYONE: Pete Buttigieg Is Picking Up A Following In Iowa.

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PAYBACK: McCarthy demands Schiff step down as intel chairman.

“[Schiff] owes the American public an apology,” McCarthy said. “Schiff has met the standard that he has imposed on other members of Congress of when they should step back from their positions. He has exceeded that standard, and there is no question he should step down from the Intel chairmanship.”

The GOP offensive comes as Schiff is forging ahead with a renewed congressional investigation of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia. His committee is slated to publicly interview on Wednesday Trump associate Felix Sater about his efforts to strike a deal for a Trump Tower Moscow during the 2016 campaign. On Thursday, the committee has a second Russia-focused hearing on how the Kremlin used oligarchs and their money to influence U.S. politics in 2016.

Democrats are privately raising concerns that Americans won’t have the stomach for a new, heavily politicized Trump-Russia probe, and Republicans are seizing the momentum from the Mueller findings to lash out at Schiff. Top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway called for Schiff to resign immediately. And Donald Trump Jr. — who bristled over Schiff’s question’s after a closed-door interview with the House Intelligence Committee in 2017 — tormented him on Twitter.

It’s Politico, so the “Republicans pounce!” angle is more reflexive than anything.

BRENT BOZELL: AFTER MUELLER REPORT, ‘I DON’T KNOW HOW CNN EVER RECOVERS.’

Predicting what will be coming, the MRC President [told Fox Business’ Stuart Varney], “I don’t know how CNN undoes the damage, because they not going to stop. They’re going to continue this. Are they going to say, ‘Oops! For two years we were wrong in our slandering of the President?’ They’re never going to do it.”

Exit quote:

“Half of me wants to burst out laughing. The other half of me wants to look seriously at American journalism and look at the damage these people have done to that institution. I don’t know how they repair it. I don’t know how some networks ever come back. I don’t know how Jim Acosta can ever be seen on television without people laughing at them. He’s ruined. Brian Stelter at CNN, Chuck Todd of NBC. These people are never going to be believed again.”

To be fair, I never thought CNN recovered from inviting young human shields to shill for Obamacare in 2009, serving cake on air in honor of the Obama stimulus in 2010, Candy Crowley sabotaging Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential debate, or this “Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia” moment in 2008, which greatly helped to smooth Obama’s path to election:

Just think of CNN as Democratic Party operatives with bylines, and their actions all make sense.

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THE ANSWER IS NOT 42, BUT IT’S CLOSE: After Multiple Reports About New Zealanders Turning In Guns, Guess How Many Actually Did It?

21ST CENTURY HEADLINES: To rival Amazon, UPS enters healthcare—with doorstep nurse delivery.

NEW SOCIALIST “IT GIRL” CONTINUES TO HAVE UNPAID TAXES ON HER DIVIDENDS: Ocasio-Cortez still hasn’t paid tax bill from failed business venture.

UPDATE from Charlie: Only a week and this is appropriate again: Raise Your Own Damn Taxes

MAKE AMERICA GREAT (AND DRESS DOWN) AGAIN: Men Ditch Suits, and Retailers Struggle to Adapt.

Business casual becomes more prevalent and even more casual in tight labor markets, as management attempts to keep workers happy.

DETERRENCE: U.S. Bombers Are Flying Over Europe, Baiting the Russian Bear.

PIERS MORGAN (!): The Russia collusion hoax was a disgraceful fake news witch-hunt that shames all of Trump’s deranged enemies in the media, the FBI and Hollywood and has probably ensured their worst nightmare – his re-election.

UPDATE: From the comments:

Consequences/revelations from the Mueller report

1. No more waiting because Trump looks vulnerable at home by North Korea, China, even Germany. There will be a scramble for deals over the next year.

2. America’s institutions were robust enough put down a coup attempt by the prior president and deep infesters of the national security apparatus.

3. Doubling down by Democrats to overturn those institutions, the Electoral College. The professors will double down on their indoctrination at status universities to turn their acolytes against the US constitutional republican form of government

#3 for sure.

HOTTEST OF HOT TAKES: “Trump Owes Mueller an apology.”

While the Washington Post has since changed their headline this morning to the much more neutral “Robert Mueller, a real-life Atticus Finch*,” the headline is still visible in Google’s cache — and in the article’s URL.

(Via Allahpundit, who tweets, “There was a headline at WaPo this morning (now changed) that ‘Trump owes Mueller an apology,’ in case you’re wondering who’s leading the ‘take’ horserace.”)

* Wait, does the headline writer mean that as a compliment? The left has been very busy smearing the reputation of the famous fictitious attorney recently.

VIDEO: Lindsey Graham 2.0 is out for blood.

UPDATE: Heh.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Trump Russia Collusion Treason Was All Just Another Elite Lie.

Plus:

CHRISTIAN TOTO: Can Comedy Recover from Russia Conspiracy Hoax?

Night after night, show after show, the notion that the U.S. president colluded with a foreign government flavored the monologues.

Don’t forget how “Saturday Night Live” carried the Russia collusion torch, too. The show hired Robert De Niro, an avowed Trump hater, to play Robert Mueller investigating the president’s alleged Russian ties. The purpose was clear: the president was one report away from going to the hoosegow.

The women of “SNL” even sang “All I Want for Christmas Is Mueller” just a few weeks back.

And, as we all just learned, it wasn’t true. No Russia collusion. Period. Full stop.

Click over for examples of the New Funny.

Comedy was never pretty, but it sure has gotten ugly.

THE BACKSTREETS OF SERFDOM: BBC Goons Go Door-to-Door Demanding ‘TV License’ Fees to Pay for Their Biased News.

The BBC’s handling of their license fees is not at all creepy and Orwellian.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Mueller report: Collusion by the news media, not Donald Trump, but don’t expect apologies. “The irony, of course, is that while purporting to worry about Russian interference in American politics, by advancing this story the press was actually doing Putin’s work, sowing division and confusion through the American polity. As former Clinton pollster Mark Penn tweeted, we wasted two years, thirty million dollars, and a lot of institutional credibility at the FBI and Department of Justice over ‘a false story of Russia collusion based on oppo research that was always unsubstantiated and preposterous.’ . . . We may someday need a press we can trust. But I hope not, because we certainly don’t have one.”

THE HITS KEEP COMING:

MARGARET SULLIVAN DOUBLES DOWN ON STUPID: Serious journalists should be proud of — not bullied over — their Russia reporting.

Nobody ought to be bullied, but Sullivan has gone Full Stelter. And everyone knows you never go Full Stelter.

HARSH BUT FAIR:

HARMLESS OR HARMFUL?: Congressional Democrats have now re-introduced the proposed “Do No Harm” Act, which would limit the reach of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I am not against clarifying the federal RFRA in some respects, but Progressives have made it clear that when religious freedom and anti-discrimination laws come into conflict, anti-discrimination laws should win hands down every time. That can’t be right.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a report on the conflict between religious freedom and anti-discrimination laws a while ago (e.g. should a baker have to bake a special cake for a same-sex wedding?). The body of the report was reasonably fair. But the individual Commissioner statements revealed a strong bias on the part of the Progressive majority toward religion (and especially toward the Christian religion). It was eye opening for me. The then-Chair of the Commission wrote this:

“The phrases “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.”

Religious liberty was never intended to give one religion dominion over others, or a veto power over the civil rights and civil liberties of others. However, today, as in the past, religion is being used as both a weapon and a shield by those seeking to deny others equality. In our nation’s past religion has been used to justify slavery and later, Jim Crow laws. We now see “religious liberty” arguments sneaking their way back into our political and constitutional discourse (just like the concept of “states rights”) in an effort to undermine the rights of some Americans. This generation of Americans must stand up and speak out to ensure that religion never again be twisted to deny others the full promise of America.”

That was his whole statement; he obviously didn’t see any of the issues as close. I responded as best as I could. If you read my Commissioner statement, you may notice it was written in waves. The first page responds to the original staff-written part of the report, the next few pages responds to “Finding & Recommendations” adopted by the Commissioners themselves (over my objections), but the bulk of it responds to the over-the-top Statements of my fellow Commissioners.

I regard many of these issues as hard.  My colleagues didn’t seem to think so.

RICK MORAN: The Most Epic Media Failure in U.S. History. “How did the institution of American journalism fail so utterly to get it right?”

Easy. They meant to.

THEY CAN GRIEVE AS MUCH AS THEY WANT SO LONG AS I CAN MOCK THEM AS MUCH AS I WANT: Van Jones: We gotta let Democrats and the Left “grieve” over Trump’s exoneration on collusion.

Plus: “I think Van hit the nail on the head. Democrats are so hell-bent on being anti-Trump that they’re becoming anti-American on this. Look, at the end of the day after this investigation — look, when you have the head of this probe and the head of this investigation telling us that — the client here — that there was no collusion and no obstruction, then he’s exonerated. Why can’t the Democrats just acknowledge that fact?”

Also: “So far, it looks like Democrats are stuck between anger and denial on the Kubler-Ross progression of grief: anger and denial. It’s too bad, because the fact that we had a clean election in 2016 should be a relief to Americans … and probably is to most of us.”

Related:

Plus:

WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL? San Antonio Bans Chick-fil-A from Its Airport for Seven Years. “Excluding in the name of ‘inclusiveness’.”

BOSTON HERALD EDITORIAL: Time To Investigate The Investigators.

There is no collusion and there never was. But this is no time to celebrate. The very idea that Trump was working with the Russians was very possibly invented to open Trump up to investigation, and it worked.

The Democrats have been saying that the truth must come to light for two years, now. Let us oblige them. The president has been dogged by this entire situation..

Was the “Russia Dossier” used to get the ball rolling? There is evidence to suggest it.

Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr and Peter Strzok should be at the center of a new probe to determine whether members of the United States intelligence services took part in an effort to compromise the duly elected president of the United States.

Democrats and the media will show little interest in such an investigation but that is of no matter. History will outlive the activists on CNN and it is our responsibility to shed light on the motives behind the machinations to undermine a duly elected president.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

PTSD IN THE CIVIL WAR: Dr. A. A. Nofi reviews Heavy Laden: Union Veterans, Psychological Illness, and Suicide, by Larry M. Logue and Peter Blanck.

Veterans of the Civil War were perhaps the first to draw attention to the possible psychological consequences of combat. At the time, veterans with psychological problems, including criminality, alcoholism and addiction, violent behavior, and suicide were attributed to “nervous trouble”, “nostalgia”, “soldier’s heart”, and other vaguely defined conditions which are now known as post-traumatic stress disorder.

The review is brief but informative. Dr. Nofi adds that the book is “an important read for students of veterans affairs…” Historical context is always valuable,

GOOD TO KNOW: Why F-22s, F-35 and New B-21 Bombers Should All Be Feared.

While there is broad agreement that these newer air defenses do make it harder for stealth platforms to remain fully undetected, there are a variety of reasons why actually destroying a stealth platform – and completing the entire “kill chain” – will remain extremely difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish, according to a former 3-Star Air Force weapons developer.

“Bi-static radar can help detect low observable aircraft. However, to intercept a stealth aircraft requires transfer of detection from a large acquisition radar to a much smaller interceptor radar either on an aircraft or a missile that can track—or maintain continuous “lock-on” of the low observable aircraft. When you transfer track from an acquisition radar to a weapons interceptor necessary to engage at longer ranges than the stealth aircraft can detect and fire at the interceptor, that dramatically reduces the probability of the stealth aircraft being engaged. Detection is not what it is all about, you have an entire kill chain where every element must be successful to intercept and destroy a low-observable aircraft,” Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula, Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, told Warrior Maven in an interview

Deptula explained that moving beyond a ground-based radar with a very large aperture to a much smaller “engagement” radar presents substantial challenges for attackers.

Stealth has become the automotive safety of military aerospace: It’s the minimum you have to provide to play with the big boys.

SNOW DUST-OFF: Another photo snapped during winter exercises in Alaska. And winter it is. Paratroopers with 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment (Airborne), 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division huddle over a mock casualty as a UH-60 helicopter lands. Photo taken Feb. 20, 2019.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Trump’s fight for campus justice is only beginning. “It’s going to be fun to watch the critics on the left turn themselves in circles about this. These were the people who 50 years ago defended free-speech rights on campus when professors were asked to sign loyalty oaths. That’s against the First Amendment, they said. But when the shoe is on the other foot, when the same people became deans and professors, they turned around to silence conservative voices. Now I’m waiting to hear them tell us that there’s a First Amendment problem with Trump’s executive order, that if you take the time to understand things through the proper social justice prism, the First Amendment really bans free speech.”

You won’t have to wait long.

OH: In Istanbul, Erdogan Remakes Taksim Square, a Symbol of Secular Turkey. “The skeleton of a large new mosque has risen up on the west side of Istanbul’s Taksim Square in the last year, dwarfing the monument to the secular Turkish republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and commanding the public space.”

JULIE KELLY: NeverTrump’s Complicity in Trump-Russia Collusion Hoax. “What the Trump-Russia collusion hoax has laid bare is that so many of the people who Republicans trusted and respected for two decades were undeserving.”

SKYNET SMILES: Shocking ‘Terminator-like’ liquid metal developed by scientists.

SHARIA LAW: This Iranian Lawyer Saved My Life. Now We Must Save Hers.

The lawyer who saved my life was just sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes in Iran.

I first met Nasrin Sotoudeh — an internationally renowned human rights lawyer, and our country’s foremost campaigner for women’s rights and against child executions — when I was being harassed and violently intimidated by Iran’s intelligence services. My crime? I had removed my headscarf in public and put the video online, in protest of Iran’s forced hijab law and the stifling control over women’s bodies and choices that it represents.

I finally felt empowered, being part of this White Wednesday movement in Iran, where every Wednesday women would courageously defy the regime in removing their headscarves, or wearing a white shawl in support of those who did, and which quickly grew into a near daily event. I was an ordinary woman, partaking in an extraordinary movement.

For this, I would go on to be arrested a total of three times last year. I was beaten and brutalized in prison, my only breaks from the psychological torture of solitary confinement. It was the most frightening experience of my life — not just the pain — but that I felt so alone, suffering in solitude.

Read the whole thing.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Mueller report: Collusion by the news media, not Donald Trump, but don’t expect apologies. “The irony, of course, is that while purporting to worry about Russian interference in American politics, by advancing this story the press was actually doing Putin’s work, sowing division and confusion through the American polity. As former Clinton pollster Mark Penn tweeted, we wasted two years, thirty million dollars, and a lot of institutional credibility at the FBI and Department of Justice over ‘a false story of Russia collusion based on oppo research that was always unsubstantiated and preposterous.’ . . . We may someday need a press we can trust. But I hope not, because we certainly don’t have one.”

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Collusion narrative go boom. “The constitution protects American citizens against government-backed fishing expeditions that investigate until they find a crime. Despite this forensic colonoscopy, the Mueller investigation cleared Trump and his associates of the constant, hyped-up RUSSIAN collusion the Democrats and the media have been barking about for years.”

THE MEDIA’S DISGRACE: “Never has so little come of so many screaming chyrons. Every mini-scooplet was played up like major news, and if you went on air and said that collusion was unlikely and we should wait for the evidence, you were often treated like you were in the tank for Trump. The last two years have been a disgrace, and no one should forget it.”

Related: Conclusion of Mueller Probe Raises Anew Criticisms of Coverage:

The cable news networks, particularly CNN and MSNBC, have added hundreds of hours of discussion about the topic, too.

The story undoubtedly was an important factor in shaping voters’ perceptions before the 2018 midterm election, in which Democrats won control of the House.

But the conclusion of the inquiry has put a question once hazily debated into sharp focus: Did the mainstream news media mislead?

“Liberal journalists expected Mueller to build a case for scandalous collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government,” said Tim Graham, director of media analysis for the conservative Media Research Center. Noting Mueller’s broad findings, he said, “So now it’s apparent the news channels merely channeled their wishful thinking. They had a grand denouement in mind, and it didn’t happen. They mocked Trump for saying ‘no collusion,’ and that ended up being the truth. . . . The voters should feel punked, swindled.”

Yep. Because they were. And now they’ll have to face this: ‘No collusion!’ goes from a defiant mantra to a rallying cry for Trump’s reelection.

UPDATE:

WHEN YOU’VE LOST THE SAN JOSE MERCURYIs the Bay Area pushing people to the breaking point?

PHASE TWO: Kimberley Strassel: Mueller Is Done. Now Probe the Real Scandal: Americans deserve a full accounting of the missteps of Comey and the FBI.

This is more than an exoneration. It’s a searing indictment of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as a reminder of the need to know the story behind the bureau’s corrosive investigation.

Mr. Mueller’s report likely doesn’t put it that way, but it’s the logical conclusion of his no-collusion finding. The FBI unleashed its powers on a candidate for the office of the U.S. presidency, an astonishing first. It did so on the incredible grounds that the campaign had conspired to aid a foreign government. And it used the most aggressive tools in its arsenal—surveillance of U.S. citizens, secret subpoenas of phone records and documents, even human informants.

The wreckage is everywhere. The nation has been engulfed in conspiracy theories for years. A presidency was hemmed in by the threat of a special counsel. Citizens have gone to jail not for conspiracy, but for after-the-fact interactions with Mr. Mueller’s team. Dozens more have spent enormous amounts of money and time defending their reputations.

None of this should ever have happened absent highly compelling evidence—from the start—of wrongdoing. Yet from what we know, the FBI operated on the basis of an overheard conversation of third-tier campaign aide George Papadopoulos, as well as a wild “dossier” financed by the rival presidential campaign. Mr. Mueller’s no-collusion finding amounts to a judgment that there never was any evidence. The Papadopoulos claim was thin, the dossier a fabrication.

Which is all the more reason Americans now deserve a full accounting of the missteps of former FBI Director James Comey and his team—in part so that this never happens again. That includes the following: What “evidence” did the FBI have in totality? What efforts did the bureau take to verify it? Did it corroborate anything before launching its probe? What role did political players play? How aware was the FBI that it was being gulled into a dirty-trick operation, and if so, how did it justify proceeding? How intrusive were the FBI methods? And who was harmed?

Yes. This was an effort to overturn a legitimate election through underhanded means.

Related:

Flashback, March 2017: “Hypothesis: The spying-on-Trump thing is worse than we even imagine, and once it was clear Hillary had lost and it would inevitably come out, the Trump/Russia collusion talking point was created as a distraction.”

REPORT: Russian air force planes land in Venezuela carrying troops.

Two Russian air force planes landed at Venezuela’s main airport on Saturday carrying a Russian defense official and nearly 100 troops, according to media reports, amid strengthening ties between Caracas and Moscow.

A flight-tracking website showed that two planes left from a Russian military airport bound for Caracas on Friday, and another flight-tracking site showed that one plane left Caracas on Sunday.

That comes three months after the two nations held military exercises on Venezuelan soil that President Nicolas Maduro called a sign of strengthening relations, but which Washington criticized as Russian encroachment in the region.

Reporter Javier Mayorca wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the first plane carried Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of the ground forces, adding the second was a cargo plane carrying 35 tonnes of material.

An Ilyushin IL-62 passenger jet and an Antonov AN-124 military cargo plane left for Caracas on Friday from Russian military airport Chkalovsky, stopping along the way in Syria, according to flight-tracking website Flightradar24.

The cargo plane left Caracas on Sunday afternoon, according to Adsbexchange, another flight-tracking site.

The flights carried officials who arrived to “exchange consultations,” wrote Russian government-owned news agency Sputnik, which quoted an unnamed source at the Russian embassy.

FLASHBACK: US Secretary of State John Kerry Says “The Monroe Doctrine Is Over.”

Heckuva job, Johnny.

SEEN ON FACEBOOK:

… when arriving at the pearly Gates of Heaven, a young social justice warrior was told by Saint Peter that he could ask any question.
“Saint Peter, what I really want to know, is what was the collusion between Trump and Russia?”
“My son, there was no collusion by Trump, just between Hil-”
“Wow. The conspiracy goes higher than I realized.”

Heh.

TENN. CONGRESSMAN MARK GREEN: Democrats, Join Trump Against Russian Aggression: His administration has been tough on Moscow’s meddling, both in U.S. elections and abroad.

Mr. Mueller did indict 13 Russian nationals for offenses related to election meddling. We know Moscow spent money on Facebook ads designed to exploit America’s divisions, targeting voters on both sides of the aisle. And Mr. Trump and the Republicans have responded. Under legislation enacted by a Republican Congress, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Russian oligarchs and intelligence agencies.

Beyond the meddling, Mr. Trump has slammed Russia with bold moves designed to weaken Mr. Putin on the world’s stage. This administration imposed sanctions on Russia for violating nonproliferation laws by supporting weapons programs in Iran, Syria and North Korea. The Trump administration also issued more sanctions in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine and its continuing occupation of Crimea. In 2017, the administration expelled 60 Russian intelligence officers and ordered multiple Russian consulates to close after Russia used a military-grade chemical weapon in the U.K. Mr. Trump even blocked Mr. Putin’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which could generate hundreds of millions of dollars for Russia if it goes ahead.

These tough actions have had an effect. Between January and July 2018, the Russian ruble declined 9% against the U.S. dollar. Russia’s Economic Development Ministry expects its economy to grow only 1.3% in 2019. The U.S. economy grew 2.9% in 2018 and is headed for another strong year.

In 2017, Mr. Trump supplied Ukraine with weapons so it could defend itself against Russian attacks. Remember, it was President Obama who stood idly as Russia invaded Crimea in 2014. Under the Trump administration, the U.S. has also engaged in hard-fought battles with Russian mercenaries in Syria.

In a sense, Russia succeeded in its mission to stoke division and fear within America. Some top Democrats have played right into Moscow’s hands by pursuing endless partisan investigations. If Democrats care about thwarting Russian meddling and aggression, they will disavow their conspiracy theory that our president is Mr. Putin’s puppet, and stop wasting taxpayer money peddling disproved collusion narratives. Instead, they can support this administration’s efforts to stand tall against the consistent threat Russia poses to America’s national security.

As Walter Russell Mead wrote in 2017:

If Trump were the Manchurian candidate that people keep wanting to believe that he is, here are some of the things he’d be doing:

Limiting fracking as much as he possibly could
Blocking oil and gas pipelines
Opening negotiations for major nuclear arms reductions
Cutting U.S. military spending
Trying to tamp down tensions with Russia’s ally Iran

That Trump is planning to do precisely the opposite of these things may or may not be good policy for the United States, but anybody who thinks this is a Russia appeasement policy has been drinking way too much joy juice.

Obama actually did all of these things, and none of the liberal media now up in arms about Trump ever called Obama a Russian puppet; instead, they preferred to see a brave, farsighted and courageous statesman. Trump does none of these things and has embarked on a course that will inexorably weaken Russia’s position in the world, and the media, suddenly flushing eight years of Russia dovishness down the memory hole, now sounds the warning that Trump’s Russia policy is treasonously soft.

Think of them as Democratic operatives with bylines, and no particular loyalty to the country’s best interests, and you won’t go far wrong.

But remember while America’s political class is focused on Russia, Chinese influence is running wild. That’s not an accident.

JOHN FUND: The reaction to the nomination of Stephen Moore.

READINESS: Navy Needs More Dry Docks for Repairs, Says First-Ever Maintenance Report.

“First-ever maintenance report” is all-too revealing.

PUNCH BACK TWICE AS HARD:

He could add salt to the wound by simultaneously ordering the FBI to record all interviews in the future, instead of relying on those shady 302 forms.

HARSH BUT FAIR: “Jeb Bush is to Republican politics what the little mechanical moles are to the arcade game Whack-A-Mole; an annoyance that bursts forth according to some malevolent algorithm and the faster you beat it down the quicker it pops back up.”

Go away, Jeb. Nobody wants to hear what you have to say.

MAXINE MELTDOWN: ‘This is not the end of anything!’

I don’t doubt that, although it’s certainly the end of anything legitimate — stipulating for argument’s sake there was anything legitimate about the investigation to begin with.

More from Mad Maxine:

“This is the— well, it’s the end of the report and the investigation by Mueller. But those of us who chair these committees have a responsibility to continue with our oversight,” Waters said.

“There’s so much that, uh, needs to be, you know, taken a look at at this point,” she claimed,” and so it’s not the end of everything.”

All the Democrats have to do is not act crazy, and they can’t even manage that.

NEW SOCIALIST “IT GIRL” CONTINUES TO PAY DIVIDENDS: AOC Is Really Mad Cocaine Mitch Called Her Bluff and Will Vote on the Green New Deal. “I wish a journalist would ask AOC why she wrote legislation if she didn’t want it voted on.”

IS DATING HARDER FOR MEN, OR FOR WOMEN? It’s a trick question:

The ones who have it the easiest are men.

The ones who have it the hardest are also men.

It’s just that they’re two distinct groups of men.

Like it has been the case throughout history, the individuals at both the apex of the socioeconomic food chain as well as at the very bottom, are males.

Yep. Likewise, more CEOs and homeless are both disproportionately male, but only one imbalance seems to arouse society’s indignation.

BRIAN STELTER: Trump Made Me Do It!

Video at the link, but the transcript is far more watchable:

Let me take this on. Partisans on the right are already claiming the end of the Mueller probe vindicates all of their prior positions. They are saying the media, the evil media, was wrong all along.

Donald Trump Jr. is tweeting out messages like this: “#CollusionTruthers.” Accusing the press of pushing a narrative against his dad. Junior is making a rookie mistake. Mueller’s assignment was to get to the truth about Russian interference.

Now, did many commentators and Democratic politicians allege collusion? Yes.

Did many journalists ask about it? Yes.

There is a giant difference between asking and telling. The job of the nation’s news media is to ask, to question all sides to scrutinize and report on opposing points of view and only take the side of truth and decency.

In other words: We didn’t fall for anything, push a false narrative, work to delegitimize a presidential election, or cover for Hillary Clinton’s very real security lapses. No, we were just asking questions. Bravely, one presumes.

And here’s the kicker:

The president’s kids and friends on Fox should be able to tell the difference between agenda-driven columnists and journalists trying to report. There is a big difference. There is difference between news and opinion.

Would that his bosses and coworkers at CNN understood the difference.

SARAH HOYT’S SHOCKED FACE IS IN THE SHOP FOR MAINTENANCE FOLLOWING THE MUELLER REPORT: Look Who’s Holding Secret Fundraisers with Islamic Groups Tied to Terror. “And the winner is…Rep. Ilhan Omar.”

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Mueller report: Collusion by the news media, not Donald Trump, but don’t expect apologies. “The irony, of course, is that while purporting to worry about Russian interference in American politics, by advancing this story the press was actually doing Putin’s work, sowing division and confusion through the American polity. As former Clinton pollster Mark Penn tweeted, we wasted two years, thirty million dollars, and a lot of institutional credibility at the FBI and Department of Justice over ‘a false story of Russia collusion based on oppo research that was always unsubstantiated and preposterous.'”

JOEL KOTKIN: Understanding the appeal of democratic socialism is the key to defeating it.

In their race to save an unpopular president and their lack of a positive agenda, many Republicans and conservatives increasingly identify the rise of “democratic socialism” as their ultimate, if you will, Trump card. Given the fact that most Americans, particularly older ones, still favor capitalism and are less than enthusiastic about expanding federal power, this approach might work.

But conservatives, in or out of the White House, underestimate the intrinsic appeal of the resurgence of neo-Marxism at their own peril. Already more Democrats have a favorable view of socialism than capitalism. Some millennials — soon to be the nation’s largest voting bloc — even see neo-Marxism as “hip” and even “sexy.” . . .

With rampant inequality and shrinking middle class, the case for socialism should be stronger than any time since the Depression; many, if not most Americans, certainly would not object to taxing the uber-wealthy much more. But socialism’s leading messengers, reared in the ideological hot-houses of elite universities, also constitute the wealthiest and whitest of America’s political tribes.

Not surprisingly the neo-socialists carry attitudes ill-suited for capitalizing, as did Donald Trump, on the mass middle and working class disaffection. All too often they adopt the intersectional, and sometimes openly anti-American, agenda incubated throughout our culture and educational system. Their obsessions with racial redress, including reparations and open borders, seemed ill-suited to winning over most working class voters, something that more seasoned socialists, like Bernie Sanders, recognize.

Read the whole thing. I’ll just note that you can’t be a champion of the working class and also back open borders. This is why, traditionally, labor unions were anti-immigration.

Plus: “Those on the right, with all their fulsome defense of capitalism, need to be reminded that free markets need to create increased opportunity as well as the better living conditions. Our increasingly hierarchal, and feudal, capitalism all too often fails this test. My fellow capitalists, please remember that only a broadly inclusive version of capitalism can exorcise the ghost of socialism.” I agree, which is why we need to break up tech monopolies that can’t realistically be described as “free market” entities.

Related: Capitalism Saved Sweden.

It is important to refute, using simple and widely available empirical evidence, the claim that Sweden is “socialist.” It is not. In fact, Sweden is one of the most robustly capitalist nations on earth.

By socialism, I mean a system that relies on state ownership and control of the means of production, state direction of production decisions, and direct state control of education and employment decisions of individuals. If one does not mean those things, then that would require a little more thinking about what “socialism” means. If by “socialism” you mean prosperity and rule of law, then you are confused.

Sweden does have an extensive welfare state, though as its population becomes more diverse, support for that apparatus is declining.

“BUILD A WALL,” SAY OREGON, NEVADA, AND ARIZONA: A surprising number of Bay Area residents say they will likely move away in the next few years.

March 24, 2019

ADRIANA COHEN: Time to ban the collusion conspiracy theorists. “So now what? For starters, Twitter, Facebook, Google and other Silicon Valley tech companies should remove all Russian collusion conspiracy theorists from their platforms. After all, social media networks didn’t hesitate to ban Alex Jones of Infowars and others for spreading misinformation and/or conspiracy theories, so why not ban House Majority Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Hillary Clinton, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Schiff, Eric Swalwell, John Brennan, Beto O’ Rourke and scores of media hacks who’ve all done the same? And what about Google? Will it continue to allow search results that yield now-debunked conspiracy theories surrounding Russian collusion and the Trump campaign? Or will they do the right thing and scrub misinformation and lies to stop the hoax from perpetuating? Knowing how stacked Silicon Valley is against conservatives, don’t hold your breath.”

AT AMAZON, releases in Mystery, Thriller & Suspense.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Mueller report: Collusion by the news media, not Donald Trump, but don’t expect apologies. “The irony, of course, is that while purporting to worry about Russian interference in American politics, by advancing this story the press was actually doing Putin’s work, sowing division and confusion through the American polity. As former Clinton pollster Mark Penn tweeted, we wasted two years, thirty million dollars, and a lot of institutional credibility at the FBI and Department of Justice over ‘a false story of Russia collusion based on oppo research that was always unsubstantiated and preposterous.'”

UPDATE: CNN says Trump ‘exonerated’, MSNBC says Trump ‘vindicated.’

REMEMBER, BRENNAN WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AN INTELLIGENCE EXPERT:

BETO’S ROLE IS AS COMIC RELIEF, AND HE PLAYS IT WELL:

[WILFORD BRIMLEY VOICE] MR. TRUMP, ARE YOU THAT SMART? NEVER MIND, YOU AIN’T GONNA TELL ME THAT, ARE YOU?

I suspect it’s going to turn out that Trump was doing more than tweeting throughout all this, and that it reflected a strategy that has now paid off. But Republicans — including NeverTrumpers still capable of some degree of rationality, if such exist — should ask themselves what other Republican candidate in 2016 could have withstood this sort of assault. As with the Kavanaugh character assassination attempts, I think the answer will be damn few. Maybe Ted Cruz, but nobody else really comes to mind. And, say, Mitt Romney? It is to laugh. We got Trump because of a media/political environment that only Trump could survive and flourish in.

And note that the past week has been a bad one for Trump’s enemies in general: Higher education is facing its biggest scandal ever, the SPLC is folding, the Democrats are split over anti-semitism and more or less open Marxism. . . . Stay tuned. It’s going to get interesting.

UPDATE: Battenfeld: Great job, Democrats, media … you’re on your way to re-electing Trump.

ANOTHER UPDATE: “It is a complete rout for Democrats and the media.”

Related: ” I can’t resist a moment of triumph. . . . I think it has been a foregone conclusion for a while that Mueller would acknowledge there was no collusion, because 1) there was no collusion, 2) the charges Mueller brought against Trump underlings and associates did not involve collusion, and 3) the meeting with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya proved there was no collusion, since had the Trump campaign been conspiring with Russian officials, there would have been no reason to meet with an obscure lawyer who claimed to have (but did not have) dirt on Hillary. (That meeting, by the way, appears to have been a setup by the Clinton campaign, since Veselnitskaya was in the United States on a matter in which she was working with Glenn Simpson, and she met with Simpson both before and after her brief meeting with Donald Trump, Jr.)”

Flashback, March 2017: “Hypothesis: The spying-on-Trump thing is worse than we even imagine, and once it was clear Hillary had lost and it would inevitably come out, the Trump/Russia collusion talking point was created as a distraction.”

MORE: From the comments: “The unions and some companies can make the economy tank. Get ready for it.” They’ll be playing into his hands if they do.

OPEN THREAD: How was your weekend?

THE END OF HOPE:

And, of course:

Plus, a reminder that civic literacy is no part of modern journalism.

And, for comic relief, Rachel “Russia” Maddow:

Flashback, January 2017: Russians! Under my bed! Trump wasn’t even in office yet, but I think this column holds up pretty well.

Reminder:

Also:

HAVE A CHE REBEL SPIRIT ENERGY DRINK!: It’s rebelicious.

I SUPPOSE PEOPLE WOULD FROWN ON CALLING IT “KID MODE:” Tesla’s ‘dog Mode’ Keeps Pets Cool While The Car Is Off.

#JOURNALISM:

Think of them as Democratic party operatives with bylines — and no concern for the welfare of their country — and you won’t go far wrong.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Mueller report: Collusion by the news media, not Donald Trump, but don’t expect apologies. “The irony, of course, is that while purporting to worry about Russian interference in American politics, by advancing this story the press was actually doing Putin’s work, sowing division and confusion through the American polity. As former Clinton pollster Mark Penn tweeted, we wasted two years, thirty million dollars, and a lot of institutional credibility at the FBI and Department of Justice over ‘a false story of Russia collusion based on oppo research that was always unsubstantiated and preposterous.'”

UPDATE: CNN says Trump ‘exonerated’, MSNBC says Trump ‘vindicated.’

Related: One of the times I’m on the same page as Glenn Greenwald:

ANOTHER UPDATE:

HMM: How to Rein In Powerful Companies Without Ruining the US Tech Industry. I don’t think I agree with this approach, but it’s interesting that the discussion is shifting from whether to how.

AT AMAZON, save in Patio Lawn and Garden.

Plus, Spring Deals on Major Appliances.

UNLESS YOU’RE A DEMOCRAT. THEN YOU’RE DISAPPOINTED THAT AMERICA DOESN’T HAVE A TRAITOR/RUSSIAN STOOGE AS PRESIDENT. AG Barr’s Letter Contains Unambiguously Good News for the U.S. “Instead, Americans should feel even greater confidence in the legitimacy of the 2016 election. They should reject — once and for all — the lurid conspiracy theories that have dominated parts of the internet and gained entirely too much purchase in the broader media. And critically, they should trust Mueller’s conclusion. Remember how Trump’s defenders repeatedly and loudly noted that Mueller staffed his team with Democratic lawyers? Well, this is their report.”

UPDATE: Hmm:

Plus: Andrew McCarthy: After Mueller’s Exoneration of Trump, Full Disclosure. “Well, if we’re going to have disclosure, fine. But let’s have full disclosure: Mueller’s report in addition to the FISA applications; the memoranda pertinent to the opening and continuation of the investigation; the testimony in secret hearings; the scope memorandum Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein issued on August 2, 2017, after failing to cite a crime when he appointed Mueller — let’s have all of it.”

Flashback, March 2017: “Hypothesis: The spying-on-Trump thing is worse than we even imagine, and once it was clear Hillary had lost and it would inevitably come out, the Trump/Russia collusion talking point was created as a distraction.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Why Obama and Hillary need to be probed.

CRUSHINGLY SAD: A second Parkland School shooting student has committed suicide. I can’t help but wonder why the press hasn’t interviewed David Hogg. He leveraged this tragedy into popular acclaim, a book deal and a Harvard admission, but I have to ask why he wasn’t as focused on helping his classmates as he seems to be on his political ambitions.
Oh, of course, it’s Donald Trump’s fault.

 

ANN ALTHOUSE ON TODAY’S #JOURNALISM: How any good news for Trump will be reported — the rule is quite clear. “I’m seeing 2 big examples of how the media are reporting good news for Trump this weekend. It’s really embarrassing for them because the 2 stories are very big and very good for Trump and, in both, the same move is made to turn it into something negative and ominous.”

They’ve been lying to their readers and viewers for over two years. Now they have to let them down gently. It’s called cooling out the mark.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: FOID (Firearm Owners Identification Card) Ruled Unconstitutional In Illinois. “Of course Illinois is appealing, and I assume that some judge or judges will eventually find in the state’s favor, but if this goes to the United States Supreme Court we have a shot at winning.”

IT’S ALMOST WORTH TURNING ON MSNBC TO SEE HOW THEY’RE TAKING THIS: Sarah Sanders Celebrates ‘Complete Exoneration’ of President Trump.

BREAKING: Mueller Report: No Collusion.

Moments ago, Attorney General William Barr released the “principal conclusions” of the Mueller report to members of Congress. According to the letter, “The special counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

In other words: there was no Russian collusion.

“Sarah Sanders Celebrates ‘Complete Exoneration’ of President Trump,” Matt Margolis writes at the PJ mothership.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, on the other side of aisle, Jeff Toobin tells CNN, “Total vindication of the president and his staff.”

And “MSNBC’s Katy Tur, with a blank look on her face, says regarding the Mueller report: ‘This vindicates the President on collusion.’”

As Sean Davis of the Federalist tweets, “Hands up, don’t shoot. Trump’s a Russian spy. Kavanaugh ran a secret gang rape cartel. Covington kids assaulted a vet. Never forget that these lies — and yes, they were outright lies — were deliberately peddled by all the same people for all the same reasons.”

HOW A TENNESSEE TOWN SAVED AN AIRPLANE THAT NEVER FLEW: Nearly two decades of work by residents and preservationists saved an iconic plane-shaped gas station outside Knoxville, Tennessee.

Around 1930, Elmer and Henry Nickle built the airplane as a novelty gasoline service station. The pumps sat underneath its wing. Neither one of them was a pilot; reportedly, Elmer just liked planes—but the Nickles were savvy businessmen hoping to capitalize on the business of automobile travel.

In the ʼ30s, automobiles became more affordable and highways began to stretch across America, making car travel a feasible and fashionable option for tourism and adventure. This created a demand for on-the-go gasoline dispensing. (Previously, drivers would buy fuel somewhere like a hardware store and pour it themselves.) Scores of mom-and-pop roadside gasoline service stations—or, in this case, brother-and-brother—competed to fill those tanks, and owners had to do what they could to attract traffic. So Elmer and Henry collaborated with engineer Wayne L. Smith to design their station in the shape of an airplane.

The article doesn’t mention it, but plane looks much like Charles Lindbergh’s iconic 1927 Atlantic-crossing “Spirit of St. Louis” – except quite a bit bigger. I assume that styling was intentional.