January 19, 2017

ACCORDING TO THE PRESS CONSENSUS, TRUMP IS AN IMPULSIVE GOOFBALL, but he came up with “Make America Great Again” after observing Romney’s defeat in 2012:

It happened on Nov. 7, 2012, the day after Mitt Romney lost what had been presumed to be a winnable race against President Obama. Republicans were spiraling into an identity crisis, one that had some wondering whether a GOP president would ever sit in the Oval Office again.

But on the 26th floor of a golden Manhattan tower that bears his name, Trump was coming to the conclusion that his own moment was at hand.

And in typical fashion, the first thing he thought about was how to brand it.

One after another, phrases popped into his head. “We Will Make America Great.” That one did not have the right ring. Then, “Make America Great.” But that sounded like a slight to the country.

And then, it hit him: “Make America Great Again.”

“I said, ‘That is so good.’ I wrote it down,” Trump recalled in an interview. “I went to my lawyers. I have a lot of lawyers in-house. We have many lawyers. I have got guys that handle this stuff. I said, ‘See if you can have this registered and trademarked.’ ”

Five days later, Trump signed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, in which he asked for exclusive rights to use “Make America Great Again” for “political action committee services, namely, promoting public awareness of political issues and fundraising in the field of politics.” He enclosed a $325 registration fee.

His was a vision that ran against the conventional wisdom of the time — in fact, it was “much the opposite,” Trump said.

To save itself, the Republican establishment was convinced, the GOP would have to sand off its edges, become kinder and more inclusive. “Make America Great Again” was divisive and backward-looking. It made no nod to diversity or civility or progress.

It sounded like a death wish.

But Trump had seen something different in the country, and in the daily lives of its struggling citizens.

This doesn’t sound like the behavior of an impulsive goofball.

January 18, 2017

KURT SCHLICHTER: And Now The Left’s War On Normal Americans Truly Begins.

Related: Progressives Destroyed Normalcy And Now They’re Shocked Trump Isn’t Normal. Choose the form of your Destructor. But I disagree with the thesis of this piece that people on the right should embrace civility and normalcy. Civility and normalcy are privileges that require a broad consensus. Conservatives have been utter failures at “conserving” these traits.

Here’s my take:

There’s an old joke about a boy who complains to his mother that his little sister keeps pulling his hair.

“Oh,” responds the mother, “she doesn’t know that it hurts.”

A few minutes later, the mother hears the girl scream and runs into the other room. “She knows now,” the boy explains.

There’s a lesson for Republicans in that old joke, if they’re smart enough to absorb it.

I think that Trump is smart enough. Go pull some hair.

BOB MCMANUS ON OBAMA’S LATEST: Why liberals just love to set terrorists free. “To wit, in Progressiveland, some lives matter more than others; that dead and maimed cops and unlucky bystanders matter less than justly convicted and incarcerated radicals — and that in the final analysis benevolent government is meant to stand with the bad guys.”

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HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Charlotte Law School To File Teach-Out Plan With ABA To Protect Students As School Shuts Down.

ALL THE PRESIDENT’S CRITICS: Trump vs. Media Is Much More Than Meets the Eye. It’s not just the mainstream media that (for a change) will be battling the White House. Tom Kuntz categorizes the new opponents in the Fourth Estate, including the “Red and New” libertarians already worrying about the Trump administration’s fondness for civil asset forfeiture.

JOURNALISM: When you read a science report claiming that 2016 was the hottest year on record, you might expect that you will get numbers. And you would be wrong. “Note to the New York Times: ‘trouncing’ and ‘blown past’ are phrases appropriate to sports reporting, not science reporting. Except that no sports reporter would dare write an article in which he never bothers to give you the score of the big game. . . . It’s almost like they’re hiding something. And that is indeed what we find.”

TLDR: Increase is one-hundredth of a degree. Margin of error is a tenth of a degree. So it’s all bullshit.

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WELL, THE TITLES WERE A REAL TURNOFF: Obama Administration Has Written 275 Briefing Papers For Trump Administration, Not Sure How Many Have Been Read.

Partial List:

How We Lost Iraq

How We Lost to ISIS

How We Lost to Iran

How We Lost The Philippines

How We Lost Syria

How We Lost Crimea

How We Lost Control of the Internet

How We Lost the OPM Data

Well, you get the idea.

I’D BRUSH OFF THAT SEXTANT, TOO: Russia Jammed Your Satellites? US Military Develops Undersea Network as Backup.

HE DOES A GOOD SHOW: Ratings Soar As Tucker Carlson Takes Over For Megyn Kelly. “Carlson averaged just under 3 million viewers for his first week of shows in Fox’s prime-time lineup, or 10 percent more than the 2.72 million viewers that Kelly averaged all of last year, the Nielsen company said.”

I’M SURE IT MUST: “Beer Yoga” Looks Even Weirder Than It Sounds.

Beer goes with everything.

BEN STEIN: The Assassination of Donald Trump: Except It’s Not Working. “The left will beat and beat and huff and puff. But it’s a different world now. Again… The people who elected Trump don’t remotely believe he’s a racist and they’re sick of hearing it anyway. This Trump guy. He’s not a sensitive soul like Nixon. He knows how pitifully jealous the media people are. He owes them nothing. He sneers at them. He’s moving them out of the White House. It’s brilliant. He’s making real the truth of now. The media are not good guys by and large. They’re jealous snobs.”

THE H.R. POLICY MANUAL WOULD FILL A LIBRARY: Psychologists say you should masturbate at work.

FLASHBACK: “Hillary is going to be very busy as President the next 4-8 years. Donald Trump is going to be very bitter. And the Republicans are just going to be gone. Good riddence.”

Plus:

While you’re busy talking about who’s the most unpopular President, can you spare a few moments to tell us which news organization has the least accurate polling?

With election polls, you are put to the test and capable of embarrassment in the end, and even so, you’re not too reliable. In this current popularity poll, no one can ever show you up. There’s no ultimate accounting when the people reveal how much they like or don’t like Donald Trump. You can say whatever you want in the form of numbers that are called a poll, but we know that you want to cripple the Trump presidency before it even begins. I consider the poll fake news.

And I realize that from your perspective I am one of those terrible people who have “come unmoored from a shared set of core facts.” I’m not hearing the call to adhere to the “knowable, hard, empirical truth.” But I can’t accept ABC News/Washington Post poll numbers as facts. It’s a fact that ABC News/Washington Post got the election polls wrong. I don’t want be moored to false facts.

Well, but real facts offer insufficient support to the narrative.

TODAY IN MILITARY HISTORY, 1942: FDR facetiously awards the Iron Cross to New York Daily News reporter John O’Donnell, for his frequent negative reporting on the war effort.

Trump needs to do this to one of the jerks at CNN. If CNN howls, tell’em Dem icon FDR did it.

I DUNNO, THAT’S NOT MY IMPRESSION: Running May Actually Be Good For Your Knees. I’m entirely prepared to believe that, as this study suggests, running reduces inflammatory substances. But I’m not sure that offsets the mechanical damage. At least, I sure seem to know a lot runners who’ve blown out knees.

I BELIEVE I LIKE THE CUT OF THIS TOM PRICE FELLOW’S JIB: Trump Health Secretary Pick’s Longtime Foes: Big Government and Insurance Companies.

THEY WILL MISS CIVIL SOCIETY ONCE THEY’VE DESTROYED IT: The Danger of Delegitimizing Trump.

RUSSELL BERMAN & CHARLES HILL: Ten Proposals On The Middle East For The New U.S. Administration.

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CAN WE TALK? Sex Is Communication at a Biological Level.

Evidence from animal research and clinical studies has led researchers to conclude seminal fluid – the fluid sperm are bathed in following ejaculation – plays an important role in fertility.

Seminal fluid contains small molecules that act as biological signals. Once deposited in the vagina and the cervix of a woman, these persuade the woman’s immune system to adopt a profile that tolerates (that is, recognises and accepts) sperm proteins known as “transplantation antigens”.

The tolerant profile matters if fertilisation takes place. Immune cells recognise the same transplantation antigens on the developing baby, and so support the process through which the embryo implants into the wall of the uterus and forms a healthy placenta and fetus.

So over time, repeated contact with the same male partner acts to stimulate and strengthen a tolerant immune response to his transplantation antigens. The immune system of a woman responds to her partner’s seminal fluid to progressively build the chances of creating a healthy pregnancy over at least several months of regular sex.

That healthy bodies engaging in a healthy activity leads to a healthy outcome should come as no surprise.

NEWS FROM A POST-ANTIBIOTIC WORLD: Drug-resistant ‘nightmare bacteria’ show worrisome ability to diversify and spread.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Law Schools Have Shed 1,460 Full-Time Faculty (16.1%) Since 2010.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Laser Weapons Will Turn Earth’s Atmosphere into Lenses, Deflector Shields.

CONGRESSMAN STEVE RUSSELL: U.S. military ‘completely broken’

Russell is an Army Ranger graduate who commanded infantry troops in Iraq. He retired as a lieutenant colonel.

He has been a foremost advocate for President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for defense secretary, retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis.

“We’ve got a military that is completely broken, completely broken,” Russell said.

He said the first step in turning things around is giving the defense secretary post to Mattis.

“Let’s get him in there and get our military repaired,” Russell said.

Military cuts need to be restored and ISIS needs to be wiped out, he said.

“My goodness, the most humane thing we can do with regard to ISIS is to win. Let’s eliminate them.”

Completely broken — or fundamentally transformed?

WHY TAKE CHANCES, I SAY: Live Longer By Eating Peppers?

STEPHEN HAYES: Obama’s Shameful Legacy.

There was a time, early in Barack Obama’s presidency, when it was considered outrageous to worry out loud that the new president might treat enemies better than allies, run down friends and elevate foes, show solidarity with anti-American leaders, maybe even release dangerous terrorists or sympathize with traitors.

And here we are.

Obama has accommodated leaders hostile to America, like Vladimir Putin in Russia and Bashar al-Assad in Syria. He strengthened a rogue regime in Iran and boosted despotic leaders in Cuba. At the same time, he chastised and isolated Israel and abandoned friendly governments in places like Afghanistan and Ukraine.

He’s freed from Guantanamo dozens of jihadists and high-ranking al Qaeda terrorists, including some who have promised to kill Americans upon their release, and he’s done this even as U.S. men and women in uniform and in the intelligence community fight and die to protect us from the threat that these enemies represent.

Read the whole thing.

NOW HE TELLS US:

weisberg

READER BOOK PLUG: From A.H. Lloyd, Battle Officer Wolf.

WELL, ASIDE FROM OBAMACARE: 7 of the Deepest Holes Humanity Ever Dug.

ARMOR, TARNISHED: Rep. Steve King: John Lewis trades on status as civil rights icon, hasn’t contributed since. Lewis was a hero 50 years ago. John McCain was a hero 50 years ago, too, but that hasn’t stopped Democrats from attacking him — including Lewis, who compared him to George Wallace.

FRACK, BABY, FRACK: IEA Sees Significant Gains in U.S. Shale Oil as Prices Rise.

Which, of course, will help put a lid on prices.

REPORT: 300,000 Small Business Jobs Lost Due to Obamacare.

I’m old enough to remember when ObamaCare was spurring startups and creating small business jobs.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: How to Prevent Another President Obama.

AMERICAN THINKER: Barack Obama’s Deplorable Race Relations Legacy.

ABOUT THAT WAGE GROWTH: Real Average Weekly Earnings Growth Plunges To Weakest In 30 Months.

TEARS THAT TASTE LIKE CHAMPAGNE TO AMERICA’S DEPLORABLES: Amid packing boxes and tears, staffers leaving White House.

I LOVE WHEN JOURNOS ACT LIKE THEY’RE GOING ON SAFARI IF THEY VENTURE MORE THAN 100 MILES INLAND: Not just ‘Trump’s America’: These journalists will spend 100 days digging into Appalachia.

You want to understand stuff? Go talk to Sen. Frank Niceley.

WHITES NOT WELCOME: ACLU Official Mocks Elderly White People, Tells Them They Have ‘Five Years Left’

Rialto, California, held a regularly scheduled city council meeting last Tuesday after a city councilman apologized for planning an event to discuss the possibility of Rialto becoming a “sanctuary city.”

Luis Nolasco, a community engagement and policy advocate for the ACLU of Southern California, stood up to speak at the city council meeting and attacked many of the white people present, saying they are not actual residents of Rialto.

Nolasco said, “This is my town.”

He said that the important part of the sanctuary city discussion is “who are the people we are talking about.”

The ACLU official said that “the people in this room are not representative of Rialto. Sorry to break it, but growing up here white people were the minority.”

“The reality is that black and Latinos are the majority of the city, and that is representative of the city, and that’s going to continue to be the case for future generations,” Nolasco, 26, added.

The city of Rialto is 72.4 percent Latino, according to a 2015 Census estimate.

“It’s kind of mean for me to say it but these people have probably like five years left,” Nolasco said while gesturing to the white attendees at the meeting. A video of the meeting shows that several of them were elderly.

Eliminationist rhetoric.

CONFIDENCE: British Consumers Keep Economy Humming Months After Brexit Vote.

British officials and most economists thought a vote to quit the European Union would persuade Britons to squirrel away more cash, causing growth in the wider economy to tail off. Some expected Britain might even tip into recession as uncertainty over the country’s future ties to its biggest trading partner paralyzed companies and households.

Instead, consumers embarked on a spending run in the second half of 2016 that underpinned a robust expansion. The International Monetary Fund said Monday it estimates the U.K. grew 2% for all of 2016, comfortably above its 1.6% growth forecast for the U.S.

This consumer resilience was unanticipated by economists, highlighting the difficulty of predicting how big, political surprises affect short-term growth.

It feels nice, getting the chance to win your country back.

CHRIS CILLIZZA: 10 years ago today Obama made a huge promise. He didn’t keep it.

Ten years ago today, then-Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois announced he was taking the first steps to run for president in 2008. In a three-minute video, he explained why — and what he hoped to accomplish.

It’s remarkable as a historic artifact — God bless YouTube! — but if you watch the whole thing (it’s only 187 seconds long!), you are reminded of the central reason Obama ran for president: to fix broken politics.

The big idea at the heart of Obama’s candidacy was that he — because of his background, proven résumé and the historic nature of his candidacy — was uniquely suited to solve the partisan gridlock that had seized our politics under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. That he could bring us all together through an appeal to our better angels and our shared values — and, in so doing, create a government that worked for all of us.

Another rube self-identifies.

THE LEFT’S WAR ON SCIENCE: Climate activists step up campaign to cut funding to science museums. Today’s target is the American Museum of Natural History in New York, which is being denounced for taking money from Rebekah Mercer and allowing her to serve on its board of trustees. The activists want her removed because she has also donated to the Trump campaign and to think tanks skeptical of climate alarmism.

As the Times article notes, there is absolutely no evidence that Mercer has had any influence on the museum’s climate-change exhibits. Far from downplaying the threat of climate change, the museum has hyped it. I’ve written about the faulty science in its alarmist exhibits, and Edward Rothstein has critiqued its apocalyptic sermonizing. But none of this matters to the green activists determined to shame and intimidate conservative philanthropists even if it means less money for science education:

“To politicize science is shameful; to politicize the institutions that are designed to foster greater learning is even worse,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said. The museum’s executives “should acknowledge that they have a healthy endowment — a steady stream of funding — and they should thank Ms. Mercer for her service and talk about a reasonable plan for her to resign,” he said.

The chutzpah is astonishing. The only ones politicizing science at the museum are Brune and the other witch-hunters quoted in the Times. One of them is Michael Mann of Penn State, the researcher who produced the infamous hockey-stick graph and has done even more to discredit climate science with his unhinged activism. As usual, the threats to science come from one direction: the left.

BILL CLINTON’S KOSOVO WAR ISN’T QUITE OVER: My latest Creators Syndicate column.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1350.

ROGER SIMON DISCOVERS THE REAL REASON JOHN LEWIS AND COMPANY BOYCOTT THE INAUGURATION.

THE OBAMA LEGACY IN ONE CHART:

race-relations

Full story here, with most of the trend lines going in the wrong direction.

Obama himself remains personally — but inexplicably — popular.

MARC THIESSEN: Yes, Trump can make Mexico pay for the border wall. Here’s how. Or he could just tax remittances.

NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT: Maxine Waters’ Daughter Profits From Lucrative Campaign Operation.

Karen Waters has been on the payroll of her mother’s campaign committee, Citizens for Waters, since 2006. She has pulled in more than $600,000 for her services since that time.

Karen is in charge of endorsement mailers, known as “slate mailers,” for her mother’s campaign. The slate mailer operation has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for Waters’ federal campaign committee in recent years.

In order to appear on a Waters’ slate mailer, candidates for political office must pay Citizens for Waters from their own political committees. If a candidate does not directly pay Waters’ campaign committee, they must credit their own campaigns with in-kind contributions from Waters.

The mailers are sent to almost 200,000 constituents in the South Central Los Angeles area, where Waters holds considerable sway. The mailers consist of an “official sample ballot” with quotes from Waters about candidates and measures she supports.

Waters’ campaign received more than 20 payments totaling $297,500 for slate mailer endorsements in 2016.

It would appear that Karen Waters is running a smooth and profitable pay-to-play operation for her mother.

NIALL FERGUSON: Donald Trump’s New World Order: What A Kissinger-Inspired Foreign Policy Might Look Like.

Donald Trump therefore enters the Oval Office with an underestimated advantage. Obama’s foreign policy has been a failure, most obviously in the Middle East, where the smoldering ruin that is Syria—not to mention Iraq and Libya—attests to the fundamental naivety of his approach, dating all the way back to the 2009 Cairo speech. The President came to believe he had an ingenious strategy to establish geopolitical balance between Sunni and Shi’a. But by treating America’s Arab friends with open disdain, while cutting a nuclear deal with Iran that has left Tehran free to wage proxy wars across the region, Obama has achieved not peace but a fractal geometry of conflict and a frightening, possibly nuclear, arms race. At the same time, he has allowed Russia to become a major player in the Middle East for the first time since Kissinger squeezed the Soviets out of Egypt in the 1972-79 period. The death toll in the Syrian war now approaches half a million; who knows how much higher it will rise between now and Inauguration Day?

Meanwhile, global terrorism has surged under Obama. Of the past 16 years, the worst year for terrorism was 2014, with 93 countries experiencing an attack and 32,765 people killed. 2015 was the second worst, with 29,376 deaths. Last year, four radical Islamic groups were responsible for 74 per cent of all deaths from terrorism: ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda.9 In this context, the President’s claims to be succeeding against what he euphemistically calls “violent extremism” are absurd. Much opprobrium has been heaped on Donald Trump in the course of the past year. But there was much that was true in his underreported August 15 foreign policy speech on the subject of Islamic extremism and the failure of the Obama Administration to defeat it.10

The “Obama Doctrine” has failed in Europe, too, where English voters opted to leave the EU in defiance of the President’s threats, and where the German leadership he recently praised has delivered, first, an unnecessarily protracted financial crisis in the European periphery and, second, a disastrous influx to the core of migrants, some but not all of them refugees from a region that Europe had intervened in just enough to exacerbate its instability. The President has also failed in eastern Europe, where not only has Ukraine been invaded and Crimea annexed, but also Hungary and now Poland have opted to deviate sharply from the President’s liberal “arc of history.” Finally, his foreign policy has failed in Asia, where little remains of the much-vaunted pivot. “If you look at how we’ve operated in the South China Sea,” the President boasted in an interview published in March, “we have been able to mobilize most of Asia to isolate China in ways that have surprised China, frankly, and have very much served our interest in strengthening our alliances.”11 The new President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, apparently did not receive this memorandum. In October he went to Beijing’s Great Hall of the People to announce his “separation from the United States.”

All of this means that merely by changing Obama’s foreign policy President Trump is likely to achieve at least some success.

Ouch.

RUSSIA AND TURKEY LAUNCH JOINT AIR STRIKES AGAINST THE ISLAMIC STATE: The Islamic State is a common enemy. Erdogan and Putin, however, have different political goals and different allies. Some of their different allies are the other guy’s enemies. So stay tuned.

TOP SECRET NO MORE: CIA publishes its history, nearly 13 million pages of documents online.

“Access to this historically significant collection is no longer limited by geography,” said Joseph Lambert, the CIA’s information management director in a press release.

The agency hoped in October 2016 to have the archive publicly available online by the end of 2017, according to a source with knowledge of the agency’s effort. The work was labor intensive, but the agency was able to complete this ahead of schedule as a result of significant advancements in technology and data management.

The archive touches on the CIA extensive history as an organization, from its inception up through the 1990s.

“None of this is cherry-picked,” said CIA spokesperson Heather Fritz Horniak. “It’s the full history. It’s good and bads.”

Here’s the link.

ARMOR SNOW PLOW: One of the more interesting photos in StrategyPage’s Battle of the Bulge photo series. Members of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (82nd Airborne Division) advance through a forest — riding on and following a Sherman tank.

THE PARDON PARADE: Anti-American Spies and Terrorists.

There is so much outrage over President Obama’s commutation of the 35-year espionage sentence imposed on treasonous American soldier Bradley Manning (a/k/a “Chelsea”), that his commutation last night of unrepentant terrorist Oscar Lopez-Rivera is just beginning to attract attention. Lopez-Rivera is an FALN leader who was serving a combined 70 years in prison sentences for the Puerto Rican communist organization’s terrorist war against the United States and his multiple attempts to escape from custody.

The FALN carried out 130 attacks in the United States. Beyond the damage done, they resulted in six murders, including a lunch-hour bombing at Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan in January 1975, as recounted by Joe Connor, whose father was one of four men killed in the attack.

Is it Friday yet?

TRUMP’S AMERICA: JUST LIKE NAZI GERMANY BECAUSE OF . . . FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUESTS?

PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD: So I just got this letter from Trump’s transition team:

On January 16, 2017, CNN broadcast a story by Manu Raju, titled “First on CNN: Trump’s Cabinet pick invested in company, then introduced a bill to help it”, which omitted facts and drew conclusions in an effort to attack President-Elect Donald Trump’s designee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Tom Price.

The facts were available to CNN through House Financial Disclosure Filings. Dr. Price’s position on the Comprehensive Joint Replacement demonstration, which date back to fall 2015, is also a matter of public record.

The facts are:

• Dr. Tom Price has a diversified portfolio with Morgan Stanley in a broker-directed account. The portfolio includes both health care and non-health care related stocks.
• Dr. Price’s Morgan Stanley financial advisor designed his portfolio and directed all trades in the account. Pursuant to the arrangement with Morgan Stanley, the financial advisor, and not Dr. Price, has the discretion to decide which securities to buy and sell in his account.
• Dr. Price’s financial advisor periodically rebalances his portfolio to ensure proper diversification. On March 17, 2016, Morgan Stanley undertook a comprehensive rebalancing of Dr. Price’s portfolio. In the course of that rebalancing, the advisor purchased 26 shares of Zimmer Biomet, worth $2,697.74, on behalf of Dr. Price.
• Dr. Price learned of the purchase of Zimmer Biomet on April 4, 2016, when his financial advisor sent him a list of trades to be disclosed on his House Periodic Transaction Report (PTR).
• Dr. Price submitted the PTR reflecting the March trades on April 15, 2016.
• Dr. Price began work on his legislative effort to delay the comprehensive joint replacement demonstration project in 2015 in order to preserve treatment options for patients. He sent a Dear Colleague letter regarding this effort on September 21, 2015.

The Presidential Transition Team requests that CNN retract this blatantly false story.

Here’s more from The Daily Caller’s Richard Pollock.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Fourth graders in Michigan banned from watching Trump inauguration speech.

JOSS WHEDON MORPHED INTO WARREN MEARS SO SLOWLY I HARDLY NOTICED: Joss Whedon Wants ‘A Rhino to F**k Speaker Ryan to Death’

GOT MEDIA SKILLS? LOOKING FOR A JOB? The University of Tennessee College of Law invites applications for the position of Director of Communications.

ANDREW MCCARTHY: The Damage Done to America by Manning… and Obama.

The degree to which Obama has wielded executive power in favor of America’s enemies and against his own political opponents and scapegoats is breathtaking. The treasonous Manning gets an 80 percent shave off his sentence. Now we learn Oscar Lopez-Rivera, an unrepentant FALN terrorist convicted of waging war against the United States, has also had his sentence commuted. Taliban commanders are released, replenishing our jihadist enemies even as they continue prosecuting a terrorist war against our troops and allies, in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, a deserter who may, at least indirectly, have caused the deaths of American soldiers. Iran is enriched and empowered with tens of billions of dollars – including ransom cash – and a mammoth nuclear energy program (with the certainty that it will yield a nuclear weapons stockpile) even as it remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism calling for “death to America.”

But if you are Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative Obama critic, the Justice Department inflates an administrative violation into multiple felonies and aggressively advocates (thankfully, without success) for a stiff prison sentence. If you are a tea party group gearing up to fight Obama’s re-election, here comes the IRS. If you are “anti-Muslim video producer” Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and Obama needs a scapegoat for his derelictions in Benghazi, you end up in the slammer. If you are a deep-pocketed financial institution that Obama wants to make the culprit for the government-driven financial meltdown, or to raid so the radical left’s legion of “community organizers” can be funded, prepare to pony up a 9- or 10-figure “settlement.” If you are a police department, be ready to be scandalized as a practitioner of racially malicious enforcement. If you are Israel, brace for the “international outlaw” smear.

Look at the way Obama treats America’s friends and compare it to the way he treats America’s enemies, and it’s obvious that Obama’s interests and America’s only rarely coincide.

Good riddance.

TAXES ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: House lawmaker’s chief of staff gets prison time for not paying taxes.

The chief of staff to Mississippi Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson was sentenced to four months in prison for failing to file an individual income tax return for five years, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Issac Lanier Avant of Arlington, Va., will serve his time in a nonstandard manner, putting in 30 days first then serving every weekend in prison for 12 months – the total of which is four months. Avant will then spend one year on probation and have to pay $149,962 to the Internal Revenue Service in restitution. It’s unclear whether he will remain a top aide to Thompson.

Avant has worked in the House of Representatives as a chief of staff for 15 years. In December 2006, he was given the additional role of Democratic staff director for the House Homeland Security Committee. He did not file taxes from 2009 to 2013 when he earned more than $165,000. In total, the IRS lost $153,522, according to the Justice statement.

His federal income taxes were not withheld those years because he had improperly submitted a form to his employer in 2005 claiming he was exempt.

Uh huh.

Duck Hunter Blasts Drone In Utah.

Aerial cinematographer James Allred wanted to get some beauty shots of steam rising from the surface of a lake hear his Utah home on January 6th, but instead, his brand-new DJI Inspire 2 drone was damaged by shots fired by a duck hunter upset about his activities.

The hunter now faces criminal mischief charges, and possibly more.

The website Digital Circuit reports that the temperature was -18 when Allred started flying the drone. He thought it was behaving erratically, so he landed the aircraft and waited for things to warm up a bit. The drone is only rated down to -4 fahrenheit. When he resumed flight … still below that threshold, the link between the aircraft and the controller was lost, he said.

It stopped over the duck hunter, who got annoyed and opened fire on the aircraft. He took three shots, and hit the drone up to 28 times.

Somehow the aircraft continued to fly. Allred recovered his drone, and called the sheriff.

It seems to me the only thing the hunter is guilty of is meting out a little rough justice to a negligent drone pilot.

QUESTION ASKED: Is the great American road trip ending?

You don’t have to be a futurist to connect the dots. Once autonomous driving technology is proven, it’ll be in every car. It’s not hard to imagine that motorists will soon secure sizable insurance discounts for letting the onboard computer do all the driving.

From there, you can envision a not-too-distant future in which you can’t even drive your own car to your vacation destination. So long, great American road trip. That sensation of steering your own vehicle down the road, of feeling the asphalt under your own tires, will be history.

“Technology is poised to disrupt the automotive industry,” says Amit Jain, director of strategic planning for Verizon Telematics. “And that means the way people interact with cars on a daily basis will dramatically change.”

Being behind the wheel is being in control of your own destiny — so it’s easy now to see it being mandated out of existence.

JOHN MCGINNIS: Our Laws Should Encourage Business Leaders To Become Cabinet Secretaries.

One of the best disruptions of Donald Trump has been his decision to nominate many officials to the Cabinet who have been enormously successful in business. Such appointees have run major organizations and thus can use their substantial management experience to impose order on the sprawling government bureaucracy. They also bring the perspective of business into the heart of government. A commercial republic can thrive only if, from time to time, officials set about lifting off the dead weights that democratic practices tend to place on the economy.

It is thus disheartening, if not surprising, that many Democrats in the Senate now want to eliminate most of the tax law that facilitates the transition of business people to government. This law permits appointees to an administration to defer their capital gains on the stock they must sell to avoid conflict of interest. It thus encourages wealthy individuals to take government posts, because otherwise they would face an unpalatable choice: Pay a huge capital gains bill or hold on to stock that would create conflicts of interest in their new positions. The legislation greatly aids in eliminating conflicts of interest, because in exchange for the tax deferral, appointees must put their money in treasuries or index funds.

Thus, it is not an interest in good government, but in insular government that is behind the push to change this law.One of the most striking aspects of the modern left-liberal agenda is the effort to create a politics run by and for the symbolic class—people who talk or write for a living. This impetus is most obviously demonstrated by the interest in campaign finance reform. Such reform does not touch the very substantial influence of the media or of the academy on the long term shape of politics, groups almost entirely on the left side of the political spectrum. But campaign finance reform would curtail the capacity of those who create and improve our material world from using their own resources to rent the media and get their own views out the public.

The attempt to gut this sensible tax provision is yet another part of the effort to protect the power of symbolic class and make it harder for the sensibility of business to infuse government.

Nothing in the performance record of the “symbolic class” suggests that we gain from putting more power in its hands.

ALINSKY, YOU MAGNIFICENT BASTARD, I READ YOUR BOOK: DisruptJ20 Dramatically Scales Back Plans to Sabotage Inauguration After Project Veritas Sting.

BRE PAYTON: Stop Pretending The Obama Administration Was ‘Scandal Free.’

So. Much. Spin. It’s almost as if Obama realizes that his legacy — which is comprised largely of executive orders that can easily be undone under a new president — is toast. To suggest an enduring legacy his team wants folks to fixate on his “scandal-free” administration because President-elect Donald Trump has said he plans to tear up the Iran nuclear deal and will work with Congress to repeal Obama’s signature health care law, effectively erasing two of Obama’s largest “accomplishments.”

The real scandal is that by and large, Obama is allowed to get away with it.

SMART DIPLOMACY: It’s Obama, Not Trump, Who Snuggled Up To Putin: Broader aims on Middle East realignment led the outgoing president’s efforts at two-track diplomacy. One track was misdirection. The other handed the region to Russia and Iran.

Is Donald Trump a Russian secret agent? Did he pay FSB hookers to pee on the bed the Obamas slept in at the Ritz in Moscow, overlooking the Kremlin? It’s silly season, so any drunk on a fat oppo-research expense account can write down any crazy foolishness they want and Buzzfeed will let you decide if it’s true because that, as Buzzfeed’s editor, Ben Smith, solemnly explained to The New York Times, is where American journalism is at in 2017. Duly noted, Buzzfeed. Enjoy the golden showers.

What’s being obscured by this grotesquerie is the origin and the actual substance of U.S. foreign policy toward Russia, which in turn affects the lives of hundreds of millions of people living in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, and elsewhere. Or, to put it another way: Is Donald Trump likely to continue the policies of his predecessor, which set the Middle East on fire and led to 500,000 deaths in Syria, and to Putin biting off large chunks of the sovereign nation of Ukraine? Or is he likely to reverse those policies? Or can he, even if he wanted to?

The single-mindedness with which the White House and the remnants of the Clinton campaign have pursued the idea that Donald Trump is a pawn of Vladimir Putin is not based on silly stories about peeing prostitutes or secret computer servers that connect the Trump organization to the Kremlin. Rather, it’s an attempt to manufacture more smoke to obscure the reality of Obama’s own determination to collaborate with a hostile Russian leader in Syria, and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Obama had “more flexibility” after the election in 2012, and he used it.

HARDER, PLEASE: Hungary set to turn screws on Soros-backed NGOs.

Hungarian NGOs have long felt the heat under strongman Prime Minister Viktor Orban — but they now fear that, emboldened by Donald Trump’s victory, the right-wing premier will turn the screws even tighter.

First in line may be groups backed by Hungarian-born billionaire financier George Soros, whose foundation once funded the Oxford studies of a young Orban more than 25 years ago.

Last week the deputy head of Orban’s ruling party Fidesz, in power since 2010, said that non-governmental organisations should be “cleaned out of here”.

Szilard Nemeth said that criticism of government policies by “fake” civil organisations set up to “influence politics” by Soros and others was “impermissible”.

The remarks triggered alarm among beleaguered NGOs, many of which — in the absence of a credible political opposition — have long attacked Orban’s sweeping revamp of state institutions and hardline anti-immigration stance.

“This is a new level of NGO-bashing,” said Marta Pardavi, co-head of the Hungarian branch of the Helsinki Committee, a human rights group that provides free advice to asylum-seekers.

Nemeth name-checked the body as potential targets along with civil rights group TASZ and corruption watchdog Transparency International.

‘Tis a pity they can’t both lose.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Teachers Protest “Discipline Reform.”

Under pressure to reduce racial disparities in suspensions and expulsions, schools are turning to “restorative justice” programs that encourage offenders to discuss their actions and make amends.

Earlier this year, Indianapolis and New York City teachers complained about poorly implemented “restorative justice” programs, reported Emmanuel Felton in Ed Week. Now, teachers in Fresno and Des Moines are saying new discipline policies are making it harder to teach.

“As Fresno Unified officials were praising McLane High School’s restorative justice program” at a conference, “teachers at the school were circulating a petition that says those same strategies have led to an unsafe campus plagued with fights and disruptions,” reports the Fresno Bee.

You don’t have these problems when you homeschool.

January 17, 2017

OUCH:

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But what lesson will people on the right take from this observation? Will they perhaps conclude that great accumulated fortunes — from Ford, to Rockefeller, to Zuckerberg to Gates — tend to be used for lefty social experimentation? Will that affect their views of economic policy? Or will they just conclude that lefties are hypocrites?

AT AMAZON, deals in Amazon Instant Video. Why be bored?

Plus, deals in Dining and Entertaining.

And you can browse releases in Science Fiction and Fantasy.

CAN YOU IMAGINE THEM SENDING THIS TO BARACK OBAMA, WHO NEEDED TO HEAR IT JUST AS MUCH? An open letter to Trump from the US press corps. No, no you can’t. And that’s because they rolled over for Obama.

JOSEPH KENNEDY III: Democrats, Heal Thyselves.

U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, breaking ranks with other Democrats who are trashing President-elect Donald Trump and boycotting his inaugural, is imploring his party’s rank and file to figure out why middle American voters went Republican in November.

“Somewhere along the way, we lost their trust. We have to get it back,” Kennedy said tonight, departing from many in his party who have sought to cast blame for the loss elsewhere.

Kennedy rallied roughly 160 Democrats in a high school cafeteria in deep-blue Newton, giving a brief outline of what he sees as the future of his party.

An important step, he said, is to find out why people voted for Trump, rather than reacting to everything he posts on Twitter.

“The danger with going down that road is that it risks distracting us from what the core message was on November 7 and November 8,” Kennedy said. “For some reason this time, they decided to trust Donald Trump with their vote.”

He said liberal voters need to find common ground with Trump supporters, and said berating them for their decision is the wrong way to win them back. “Folks, we lost their trust and being mortified and mystified about their vote doesn’t bring it back,” he said.

Good advice that is likely to be ignored.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, TAKING-SIDES EDITION: So I’m pretty sure that this UCLALawWATCH thing is official. It’s “a project to track incidents of harassment or violence following the election of Donald Trump.” I feel certain that it’s not about protecting abused Trump supporters on campus. . . .

EMPHASIS ON THE “FAKE” AND “CORRUPT.” How Fake Outrage Fuels the Corrupt Center Left. “In spite of the fact that this behavior lost them the White House and both houses of Congress, the center left of the Democratic Party continues to rely on manufactured outrage based on misleading claims in order to distract the public from its corruption and rally support from its base. During the 2016 election, whenever there was an opportunity to create an outrage campaign based on an isolated event, the center left exploited it regardless of the facts.”

LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY UPDATE: Women’s March Waffles on Sex-Worker Rights, Disinvites Women Who Oppose Abortion: The Women’s March claims to be for anyone “who believes women’s rights are human rights.” And yet… “That’s right: anything less than complete agreement about abortion and the group doesn’t even want you participating in the rally. Nevermind if you’re with the group on any or all of its myriad other principles—identify as pro-choice (but against sex-worker rights) or the cool girls don’t want to sit with you.”

Modern feminism morphed into Mean Girls so gradually I barely even noticed. Oh, who am I kidding? It was always Mean Girls.

THE PIRACY THREAT: A world tour.

Sample:

There’s no easy solution to the recurring piracy in the Strait of Malacca. Pirates usually function on the margins of society, trying to get a cut of the good life in situations where there aren’t many options. This is usually in areas where state control is weakest or absent, in failing and “flailed” states. A flailing state is something like Nigeria, Indonesia, or the Philippines, where the government is managing to keep things together but is faced with serious problems with regions that are sometimes out of control.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS: WAR BY OTHER MEANS. “It is not by chance that the most fervent defenders of PC in the United States are called ‘social justice warriors,’ for behind their claims lies a permanent war.”

HAMILTON OR MADISON?: Statisticians helped identify the likely author of 12 disputed Federalist Papers.

ANALYSIS: TRUE.

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REMEMBER, ONLY TRAINED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS CAN BE TRUSTED WITH FIREARMS: Contra Costa deputy arrested for allegedly firing gun at party.

ASHE SCHOW: 10 questions for Betsy DeVos about the mood on campus. “If recent outrage from the left is any indication, DeVos may receive questions on these topics from the point of view that due process rights are a hindrance to campus justice and free-speech protections foster hate speech.” Freedom is slavery.

UPDATE: Um, you do understand that this is Trump’s position, too, right?

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EH, WHEN HE’S RIGHT, HE’S RIGHT:

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Yes, we have smartphones and Twitter now. No, that’s not as good as flying cars and Mars bases.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Looser rules on beer sales to take effect in Pennsylvania.

THAT NUMBER IS MEANINGLESS, OF COURSE, AS ARE REFERENCES TO THE EARTH ECONOMY. THE REAL VALUE OF ALL THAT METAL IS WHAT YOU CAN BUILD WITH IT IN SPACE: NASA to explore asteroid made of $10,000 quadrillion worth of metal.

WAIT, WHAT? Not everybody that goes to the gym wants to lose weight.

BUT OF COURSE: Obama Commutes Bulk of Chelsea Manning’s Sentence.

FIT, SECURE, AND UNINDOCTRINATED IS NO WAY TO GO THROUGH LIFE, SON: Colleges Ramp Up Assault on Masculinity for Spring Semester.

BECAUSE NOT EVERY TRANSITION OF POWER CAN BE AS PEACEFUL AND PRO-FEMINIST AS THE IRANIAN REVOLUTION: “There’s an old joke about what happens when you cross a postmodernist academic and the Godfather: You get an offer you can’t understand,” Steve Hayward quips at Power Line:

To which might be added today, who needs Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, about to close after 146 years, when you’ve got liberals beclowning themselves nonstop for free. (I suspect there’s a connection between these two things.)

This comes to mind with today’s story about what is the most hilarious planned liberal protest against Trump on inauguration day. I’ll just let Inside Higher Ed tell you without embellishment:

Anthropologists and other scholars plan read-in of Michel Foucault to mark inauguration of Donald Trump

Because hey, not every transition of power can be as peaceful and pro-feminist as the 1979 Iranian revolution – which Foucault supported. Or as the lefties at Truth-out pondered in September, “Why Did Foucault Disregard Iranian Feminists in His Support for Khomeini?”

Afary and Anderson observe that, while many progressives and leftists — both in Iran and elsewhere — favored the Revolution against the Shah but could not countenance the notion of an Islamic Republic replacing such despotism, Foucault was less critical toward Khomeini and the possibility of clerical rule. The authors argue that Foucault’s attitude in this sense — rather than signify some aberration or lapse in judgment — indeed follows from his post-structuralist political theorizing, which rejects the Enlightenment and despairs at the historical possibility of emancipation. As such, Foucault and the Iranian Revolution serves as an important warning for Western radicals and intellectuals vis-à-vis revolutionary movements, anti-imperialism and political authoritarianism in the rest of the world. Moreover, it raises questions about the liberatory potential of post-structuralism, detailing how that tendency’s preeminent spokesperson so clearly betrayed Iran’s workers, women, LGBTQ citizens, dissidents and religious and ethnic minorities by romanticizing what French leftist Maxime Rodinson refers to as “a type of archaic fascism.”

Which neatly sums up what we could we expect on Friday from those on the left not organizing read-ins of postmodern philosophy, come to think of it.

FIGHTING CHANGE: New York driver groups push for a ban on autonomous cars.

THIS IS CNN: Does Trump’s diversity effort consist of “mediocre Negroes”?

WHAT ABOUT BOB? Earlier today Glenn asked, “Is anybody keeping track of Robert Creamer, Jan Schakowsky’s (D-IL) husband, who ginned up violence at Trump rallies on behalf of Hillary’s campaign?”

The only thing I could find is a week-old Breitbart item headlined, “Disgraced Democrat Operative Robert Creamer in Front Row of Obama Farewell Speech.

So it’s a safe bet that, whatever he might be up to, it has the unofficial sanction of Barack Obama.

I THINK A LOT OF IT DEPENDS ON THE JOBS: Robots Will Devour Jobs More Slowly Than You Think.