October 24, 2016

DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO WITH VIDEO STRAIGHT OUT OF 1984: Clinton lectured State Dept. staff on cybersecurity in 2010 video.  Now I’m going to have nightmares.

REMEMBER, REMEMBER, IT’S NOT ALL THIS NOVEMBER:  In 2018 Dems Will Be Defending 24 Senate Seats (5 In Red States, 6 More In Purple States), The GOP Will Defend 10. Sorry, Democrats: The GOP isn’t dead yet.

WHAT A REVOLTING DEVELOPMENT: Clinton Ally Aided Campaign of FBI Official’s Wife.

OURS WILL PROBABLY NOT IMPRESS FUTURE GENERATIONS, EITHER: The beauty routine of a Victorian woman was anything but glamorous.

WHAT AN AMAZING COINCIDENCE: You don’t suppose she also has some swamp land in Florida she’d sell at a low, low price? Porn star launched sex shop one day before Trump allegations.


DEVIATIONISM WILL NOT BE TOLERATED: Tim Burton is Right About Hollywood Media Bias.

CHILDREN’S CHORES NEED DEFENDING? In Defense of Chores.  Though to be fair, I raised my sons according to my principles.  I neither believed they should get paid for nothing, nor did I believe they should do chores without pay.  So instead of an allowance we had a table of prices.  Cheap, because they were unskilled labor (very.) And if one of them had a fat bank account by 10 and the other didn’t, well, that was none of my business.  The lesson seems to have gone home for both of them.  They work hard for what they want.

October 23, 2016

YEAH, BUT EVEN IF THEY DID NOTICE, IT’S NOT LIKE THEY’D REPORT ON IT: New emails show Clinton camp worried journalists would notice ‘huge’ gender pay gap at Clinton Foundation.

BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Electoral College.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: WikiLeaks: WhiteHouse EmailGate Damage Control and More Pay to Play. “Abedin to Mook: Hillary ‘created this mess and she knows it’.”

TO BE FAIR, HE’S EMINENTLY MOCKABLE: Maria Bartiromo Mocks Obamacare Architect Emanuel.

As Peggy Noonan recently wrote, “It’s the big fact of American life now, isn’t it? That we are patronized by our inferiors.”

IN THE COMMENTS TO MY DISASTER-PREP POST THE OTHER DAY, a reader recommended this bathtub water-storage bag as a good storm-preparation item. It looks very useful.

I’VE SEEN THE REACTION TO HIS RALLIES, AND THEY’RE WORRIED ABOUT MILO? NYU Cancels Milo Yiannopoulos, Feared ‘Attacks’ on Islamic and Gay Students. “It’s true that Yiannopoulos is a venomous critic of Islam, feminism, and some aspects of LGBT culture (though he is gay himself, as he frequently notes). But he hasn’t ‘attacked’ anyone—he hasn’t assaulted anyone, and his followers haven’t either. Indeed, I would be more worried about someone committing violence against Yiannopoulos. In reality, these sorts of safety concerns are overblown, and are being used to chill speech.”

So I guess NYU thinks it’s DePaul now.

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 9.14.54 PM

WHEN SOCIAL MEDIA IS ANTISOCIAL: Facebook employees tried to censor Donald Trump posts: This is what happens when social justice warriors move from college to social media companies. “Keep in mind this is not an issue of a post calling for violence. This was a matter of considering the post offensive.”

BEING SHIRTLESS ON TV CAN BE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH: Australian swimmer thanks fan who raised alarm over mole.

CREATING A PERMANENT CAR CULTURE IN AFGHANISTAN: A detailed Jim Dunnigan analysis of the problems involved in refurbishing Afghanistan’s humvees. “The normal useful life of a hummer in Afghanistan is 7.5 years and currently nearly 60 percent of Afghan hummers are older than that.” Afghanistan doesn’t “have enough troops trained to do simple maintenance and repairs…” Then: “Corruption (mainly stolen parts and tools) and poor management of maintenance personnel (assigning mechanics to other jobs) adds to the problem.” An informative read.

CULTURAL SIGNIFIERS: Vasectomy Parties are the New Trend for Couples Going ‘Child-Free.’ “Vasectomy parties can be compared to baby showers, except instead, they celebrate the babies that will never be. Guests are invited to live it up ‘in a house with sharp furniture and exposed outlets.’ They can plan on games such as The Price is Right ‘where they talk about what they can buy now that they’ve saved money by not having kids.’ In lieu of suggesting baby names, party attendees can help name the new (not family) car or boat. The trend is attributed to changing attitudes about parenthood among millennials of child-bearing age (15-44).”

SHOULD OBESE AIRLINE PASSENGERS PAY MORE FOR THEIR TICKETS?: Pay-by-weight is not a new idea. This is a BBC report that really addresses more than that specific issue. The gist of the argument: “A kilo is a kilo is a kilo…” and “…Aircraft only have weight to sell…” Of course individual rights are in the discussion. A passenger’s total weight includes the passenger’s baggage, and the article notes this.

OF COURSE IT DOES: Clinton Campaign Says It Has Nothing To Do With Trump Accusers.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Nonsense paper written by iOS autocomplete accepted for conference: New Zealand professor asked to present his work at US event on nuclear physics despite it containing gibberish all through the copy. “The text really does not make any sense.”

I don’t think this is an Alan Sokal-level hoax. I think instead that this is one of those bogus conferences that will accept any paper, allowing professors to fill their vita with “presentations” while spending their travel budgets.






I REMEMBER WHEN WE USED TO HAVE ANTITRUST LAWS: AT&T-Time Warner deal raises concern from both Trump and Clinton camps.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Focus On Reputation/Selectivity Over Earnings/Outcomes Will Render U.S. News Rankings An Anachronism.

AMAZON’S CURRENTLY OFFERING J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy for $4.99 on Kindle.

SO MUCH FOR “DEMOCRACY, WHISKEY, SEXY:” Iraq parliament in surprise vote to ban alcohol.

(Classical reference in headline.)


Shot: “Donald Trump being elected president ‘would cause a 15 per cent drop in global markets, claims study.”

—The London Daily Mail, today.

Chaser: “Brexit ‘would have huge economic impact and spark turmoil in global markets.’”

—The London Daily Mail, June 1, 2016.

Hangover (or the lack thereof): “Did the Brexit Armageddon Occur? Why, no it didn’t. A lot of dire predictions made by academic, political and media elites don’t happen, do they?”

—Austin Bay, Instapundit, August 21, 2016.

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IT’S NOT JUST PETER THIEL: ABC News: Gay Republicans Explain Why They Are Proudly Supporting Donald Trump.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: New Record for Nanowire-Based Solar Cells Achieved.

WHY YOU SHOULDN’T make out with your pet.

EVERYTHING IS BROKEN: “A non-nuclear physicist was invited to present a paper at a nuclear physics conference. He submitted a gibberish response and was accepted to present!”

Christoph Bartneck, an associate professor at the Human Interface Technology laboratory at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, received an email inviting him to submit a paper to the International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics in the US in November.

“Since I have practically no knowledge of nuclear physics I resorted to iOS autocomplete function to help me writing the paper,” he wrote in a blog post on Thursday. “I started a sentence with ‘atomic’ or ‘nuclear’ and then randomly hit the autocomplete suggestions.”

Idiocracy wasn’t meant to be a how-to guide for life in the 21st century.

SECURITY: Massive Internet Outage Could Be a Sign of Things to Come. “The Dyn attack was clearly more than a test, and its severity certainly fits with Schneier’s hypothesis that someone, somewhere is trying to learn how to cause widespread disruption. The question of who is behind attacks like this, though, remains unanswered. Criminals are unlikely to be motivated by such attacks, as there’s little to gain from them other than widespread disruption. That lends some weight to Schneier’s suggestion that a large nation state, such as China or Russia, could be developing large-scale DDoS capabilities. Though it’s impossible to say for sure.”

THE 21ST CENTURY ISN’T TURNING OUT AS I’D HOPED: ‘He didn’t know the boy didn’t want to be raped’ Austrian court throws out Iraqi migrant child sex charge.

Take a bow, Angela.

BIG TALK FROM A GUY WHO COULDN’T BUILD A WEBSITE: President Obama Pokes Fun At Samsung’s Fire-Prone Phone.

THE EMPIRE BUILDS THE BIGGEST DEATH STAR YET: “AT&T-Time Warner deal would create the nation’s largest entertainment company and is already raising antitrust concerns… Just 15 months ago, AT&T became the nation’s largest pay-TV operator when it acquired DirecTV. Time Warner would give it HBO, CNN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network and Hollywood’s biggest television and film studio, Warner Bros.”

As Ed Morrissey writes, Everything old is new again. Thirty-five years ago, the government forced AT&T into ending its telecom monopoly, breaking the company up into its component parts and touching off an era of rapid communications innovation and expansion. Rather than reassemble its former monopoly, AT&T has begun to verticalize itself within a telecom-entertainment delivery paradigm.”

It’s the media world’s equivalent of the Penn Central merger or Beatrice. And as with the Penn Central merger in 1968, “AT&T-Time Warner may signal start of new media industry consolidation,” Reuters notes. What could go wrong with such a giant conglomerate?

(Classical reference in headline.)

IBD/TIPP TRACKING POLL: Trump Up 2 Points Nationwide, While Clinton Campaigns As If The Race Is Already Won.

Well, most polls show Trump way behind, but IBD, Rasmussen, and LAT/Dornhiser show him tied or ahead.

THE NEW CRITERION: Here’s to 35 years of required reading.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1263.

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: Tom Hanks and Black Jeopardy.

HILLARY CLINTON: Architect Of Failure.

Let’s briefly review her qualifications to be commander in chief and focus on key international decisions considered to be, by her supporters, a strength. Clinton’s policy decisions have affected thousands: decisions that resulted in the loss of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines; decisions that have cost this country trillions of dollars; decisions that have destabilized the Middle East and decisions that demonstrate her decision-making quality (a quality that is sadly lacking).

Unlike Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton was a sitting United States senator who voted for the war in Iraq. By that vote in 2003, she bears some responsibility for our involvement. Later, when the war was at a tipping point in 2007 and General David Petraeus advocated for a surge of U.S. forces to regain lost momentum, she voted against it.

As secretary of state she failed to negotiate a residual force that would have prevented Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki from creating sectarian strife. The ensuing strife led to the creation of an irregular war between Sunni and Shia with the Islamic State growing from that turmoil.

Each decision point was a critical event in U.S.-Iraq relations, and each a significant failure. Each have Clinton’s fingerprints on them. The latter two clearly demonstrate arrogance and a a disdain for military recommendations.

Clinton considers the 2011 overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya to be one of her finest hours as secretary of state. President Obama considers it one of his worst failures. As secretary of state, she pushed for U.S. and NATO involvement against Gaddafi. When he was overthrown, there was no plan for follow-up governance. The result was instability, a huge refugee flow into southern Europe and the Islamic State gaining a foothold in Libya.

Read the whole thing, and you’ll see why she’d rather run on women’s issues.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Why Universities Must Choose One Telos: Truth or Social Justice. It’s true that they are mutually incompatible.

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WHEREVER HE GOES, BILL CLINTON KEEPS RUNNING INTO PROTESTERS WHO CALL HIM A RAPIST. It’s not really the discussion we need to be having as a nation right now, but it’s still kind of gratifying to see that they’re unable to shut this stuff down the way they used to.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. It’s Time To Make The Supreme Court Boring Again.

Ideally, in the Glenn Thrush definition of the word.


“You know that I’m going to first of all denounce the utilization of this intrusion by Wikipedia through the Russian intrusion,” Jackson Lee said in an interview with MSNBC on Friday. “This is what it’s about. Espionage just like what was said over these last couple of days. We need to be concerned about the intrusion of Russia and Putin in these elections.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) confuses Wikipedia with WikiLeaks (Video.)

FLASHBACK: In 2008, Obama said the party in power can manipulate elections.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: ABA Council Approves 75% Minimum Bar Pass Rate. “The council voted for the stricter standard over the opposition of diversity advocates who warned that schools with large numbers of minority students could lose their accreditation and that the stricter rule would prompt schools to admit fewer minority students. That, in turn, would exacerbate the legal profession’s longstanding diversity problem, they argued.”


Shot: Penn Station, Reborn? A visionary plan to restore the transit hub to its former glory as part of West Side redevelopment.

—Catesby Leigh, City Journal, Summer 2016 issue.

Chaser: Penn Station: Back to the Future.

—Me, Tech Central Station, September 13, 2005.

(Via Maggie’s Farm.)

HUFFINGTON POST: Fox News Just Landed A Brutal, Clean Hit On Hillary Clinton’s Campaign: The campaign is having to answer for $12 million the Clinton Foundation received from the king of Morocco. “Campaign manager Robby Mook and longtime Clinton confidant John Podesta thought the deal ― in which Clinton had committed to speak at an event for the king on the condition of his $12 million donation ― would look bad. Clinton aide Huma Abedin tried to explain that it was simply too late to back out.”

That was then. This is now: “‘There’s nothing new here,’ Mook replied, deflecting to Donald Trump’s sagging poll numbers.”

I WOULD SAY THE ANGER STIRRED UP TRUMP RATHER THAN THE REVERSE, BUT YEAH. Joel Kotkin: Trump Will Go Away, but the Anger He’s Stirred Up Is Just Getting Started.

Exacerbating this cultural and class discussion is the growing division between the coastal and interior economies. Essentially, as I have argued elsewhere, the country is split fundamentally by how regions makes money. The heartland regions generally thrive by producing and transporting “stuff”—food, energy, manufactured goods —while the Democrats do best where the economy revolves around images, media, financial engineering and tourism.

Energy is the issue that most separates the heartland from the coasts. The increasingly radical calls for “decarbonization” by leading Democrats spell the loss of jobs throughout the heartland, either directly by attacking fossil fuels or by boosting energy costs. Since 2010, the energy boom has helped create hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the heartland, many of them in manufacturing. At the same time, most big city Democratic strongholds continued to deindustrialize and shed factory employment. No surprise then that the increasingly anti-carbon Democrats control just one legislature, Illinois, outside the Northeast and the West Coast.

Trump’s romp through the primaries, like that of Bernie Sanders, rode on the perceived relative decline of the country’s middle and working classes. For all her well-calculated programmatic appeals, Hillary Clinton emerged as the willing candidate of the ruling economic oligarchy, something made more painfully obvious from the recent WikiLeaks tapes. Her likely approach to the economy, more of the same, is no doubt attractive to the Wall Street investment banks, Silicon Valley venture capitalists, renewable energy providers and inner city real estate speculators who have thrived under Obama.

Trump hasn’t lost yet, but yeah: Even if Hillary wins, a lot of the country is angry. Remember: The Tea Party was polite, and was insulted and destroyed. Trump voters aren’t polite, and they’re angry. If Trump loses, what comes next? Nothing you want to see.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. NOW COUGH UP THE CASH. Thousands of California soldiers forced to repay enlistment bonuses a decade after going to war.

Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war.

Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back.

Nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom served multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay large enlistment bonuses — and slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they refuse — after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California Guard at the height of the wars last decade.

Investigations have determined that lack of oversight allowed for widespread fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets.

But soldiers say the military is reneging on 10-year-old agreements and imposing severe financial hardship on veterans whose only mistake was to accept bonuses offered when the Pentagon needed to fill the ranks.

This is a disgrace. But these guys are little people, and little people are the only ones who have to worry about the rules nowadays.

October 22, 2016

HEH: Anti-Hillary ‘Walking Dead’ Posters Surface in Los Angeles. “The artwork from conservative artist Sabo consists of blood-spattered text reading, ‘Negan wants 50% of your shit. Hillary demands it all.’ The sentiments are based on Negan, a new villain on AMC’s hit show who expressed his desire for stuff that doesn’t belong to him.”

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: America, land of opportunity? Not for young people, study says.


Plus, get the Amazon Kindle for Kids Bundle for $99.99.

Also, Top Gift Ideas for 2016.

FASTER, PLEASE: Vaccine Trial for Common Cold Nothing to Sneeze At.

Per an Emory press release, even though scientists in the ’60s were able to develop a vaccine effective against one type of rhinovirus, it didn’t work against the many other varieties that exist; Mashable pegs that figure at more than 160. So Moore mixed together 50 different rhinoviruses—gathered from immunologist James Gern, who keeps what he calls “one of the world’s biggest collections of kid snot”—into one vaccine, “like a bunch of slightly different Christmas ornaments.” Post-vaccine, the monkeys had developed antibodies in their blood for 49 out of the 50 viruses; similar results were found in the mice. Moore is hoping to eventually test the vaccine out on humans. “We think that creating a vaccine for the common cold can be reduced to technical challenges related to manufacturing,” he says.

We think the common cold is just a nuisance, but in terms of lost productivity and sheer human misery, it’s pretty major.

FALL STARGAZING: Deals on Binoculars and Telescopes.

Plus, costumes, candy and more at the Amazon Halloween Shop.

AT GETTYSBURG, Trump Outlines His First 100 Days.

LIFE IN 2016: Skydiving dogs are helping to fight poachers in South Africa.

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GOOD: Bridge Named In Memory of Zaevion Dobson. “Back in April, lawmakers approved changing the name of the bridge near the Lonsdale neighborhood where the 15-year-old Fulton High School sophomore lost his life in December 2015 while shielding his friends from gunfire.”

IT SOUNDS LIKE THOSE OSS GENIUSES HAD ATTENDED THEIR SHARE OF FACULTY MEETINGS: The 16 best ways to sabotage your organization’s productivity, from a manual published in 1944.

PETER BERKOWITZ: Giving Israel Its Due.

TRY TO PLACE THE PLACE, WHERE WE CAN FACE THE FACE: Neo-Neocon on the joys of makeup.

“JUST TURBOCHARGE IT ALREADY:” Review: 2017 Subaru BRZ Manual. “At this rate, the BRZ and its counterpart, the Toyota 86, are destined to suffer the same fate as the late Nissan 240SX—another coupe with a fantastic chassis that desperately needed an engine to match. The Nissan died at the hands of bean counters disgruntled about low sales volume. The benefits a turbocharged engine would bestow on the BRZ are too great to ignore,­­­ both for driving enthusiasts and for its longevity. Are you listening, Subaru?”

THE NEW YORK TIMES IS ALWAYS THE LAST TO KNOW: The Rich Vote Republican? Maybe Not This Election.

File under: breaking news from 2004.

REUTERS: Trump gains on Clinton, poll shows ‘rigged’ message resonates. Hmm.

TEST DRIVE: 2016 BMW i8 Hybrid.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: E.P.A. Waited Too Long to Warn of Flint Water Danger, Report Says.

DUMBASS PRENDA LAW FIRM NOW BEING HIT WITH SANCTIONS FOR going after critics. Make the rubble bounce.


Shot: Kerry: ‘It Pisses Me Off**’ That Climate Change Got Left Out of Presidential Debates.

Chaser: As Americans Tire of Eco-Panic, Hillary Quietly Drops ‘Climate Change’ Rhetoric.

* No, really. Freud called it displacement.

** It’s always the strangest things that the bike path left becomes passionately angry over, isn’t it?

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: How Could NSA Contractor Harold Martin Have Been Taking Home Classified Info For 20 Years Without NSA Noticing?

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE. Mark Steyn on a college president inventing the hate crime of racial facials:

Disciplined? For what? [Beverly Kopper, President of the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater] blamed the students for ‘failing to think about the implications’ – of having a facial. Because we live in a world where a facial is one step away from a minstrel show.

I’m an effete nancy-boy, and I get a facial from time to time, because I want my skin to look good for brutal close-ups on nights like this, and it’s well known that ‘Can I get a seaweed wrap?’ is code for ‘I’m a big redneck southern bigot who wants to look good under my Klan hood’. If you go to any luxury spa in Sydney right now and kick open the door there’ll be whole roomfuls of people covered in algae coconut moisturizing exfoliant capering around going ‘Oh, my darling little mammy, down in Alabammy…’

Sometimes a society becomes too stupid to survive. What this college president, Beverly Kopper, means when she says these students ‘failed to think about the implications’ of their racist exfoliating is that professional grievance mongers like her have so incentivized the taking of offence that there are now far more people who need to be offended than the number of people willing to offend them: Demand far outstrips supply. So in ten years’ time these two students will be applying for jobs and their potential employer will Google them and the first 200 pages that come up will be about how racey-racey-racist they are.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Kathy Shaidle.)

I REMAIN SKEPTICAL OF THE “INTERNET OF THINGS:” Hackers Wrecked the Internet Friday Using DVRs and Webcams. “Last month, security researcher Bruce Schneier started sounding the alarm that someone or something was carefully probing the internet for weakness. A scary prospect on its own, and one followed shortly thereafter by the full release of the Mirai code for any ne’er-do-well to use. Today’s attack, it would seem, is a confluence of these two events: An attacker who has been carefully surveying the internet for weak points is now openly wielding one of the most capable blunt weapons we’ve ever seen blast the web. The most terrifying part: This is probably only the beginning.”

The Internet Of Things is, at present levels of security, a bad idea. And nothing really important should be connected to the Internet at all.

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: Snoopy Wondering What He Did to Get Dumped by MetLife.

WELL, YES: Why doesn’t Clarence Thomas get his due? He’s a black man who challenged liberal orthodoxy.

Mainly, though, it’s that Thomas, throughout his career, never wavered from a set of principles that many liberals don’t think a black man can legitimately hold. He believes in individual rights, not group rights, a view enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. He opposes racial preferences both because they are bad policy and because they have no basis in the Constitution. Thomas held those views long before he arrived on the court, but they have been powerfully expressed in many of his opinions.

The point of such treatment is not just to minimize Thomas’s accomplishments, but to warn any black jurists who want to follow in his footsteps that they, too, will be marginalized and abused.

MORE FUNDAMENTAL TRANSFORMATION ON THE WAY: Hillary Clinton’s Insidious Threat to Traditional Christianity.

Related: “She got into politics through religion. Youth activism in her church was her gateway to wanting political power–to save others, not to aggrandize herself, you understand…. Hillary wants to make her opponents think differently across the board. She wants to save our souls. That’s scary.”

DIRTY TRICKS: Hillary Clinton Secretly Enlisted Feminist Writer Jessica Valenti to Carry Her Water in Branding Bernie Sanders as “Anti-Woman.” Of course she did. I also love the comment about “Political Renfield” Sid Blumenthal “pushing the Birther story against Obama to the press.”

YOU DON’T SAY: “‘A DDoS attack could certainly impact these votes and make a big difference in swing states,’ Dr. Simons said on Friday. ‘This is a strong argument for why we should not allow voters to send their voted ballots over the internet.’”

Who knew?

(Via Sissy Willis.)


At the Washington Post back in March, Dana Milbank admitted, “Donald Trump makes me miss George W. Bush.” Milbank actually said the same thing in 2014 in response to the rise of the Tea Party. Yet at the same time he claimed that, were Bush still in office, “we might be at war with Iran and North Korea by now, and perhaps Portugal.”

Got that? When it’s convenient, a Republican president can be bad enough to lead us into World War III; when stacked up next to contemporary Republicans, however, that same president can evoke warm fuzzies and good feelings. How nice!

Read the whole thing.

Related: Will the Dem Playbook Survive Trump?

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1262.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: Walter Russell Mead: The Philippine pivot to China is just the latest consequence of Obama’s feckless foreign policy.

As usual, the Obama administration was caught off guard and flat-footed. John Kirby, the spokesman for the State Department, said the move was “inexplicably at odds” with the U.S.-Philippine relationship. “We are going to be seeking an explanation of exactly what the president meant when he talked about separation from us,” Kirby said. “It’s not clear to us exactly what that means and all its ramifications.”

Kirby is right that the outlook in the Philippines is murky; lots of Filipino officials are as appalled by their president’s remarks as anybody in Foggy Bottom. But what isn’t murky at all is that President Obama’s faltering foreign policy has taken another serious hit. It is hard to think of another American president whose foreign policy initiatives failed as badly or as widely as Obama’s. The reconciliation with the Sunni world? The reset with Russia? Stabilizing the Middle East by tilting toward Iran? The Libya invasion? The Syria abstention? The ‘pivot to Asia’ was supposed to be the centerpiece of Obama’s global strategy; instead the waning months of the Obama administration have seen an important U.S. ally pivot toward China in the most public and humiliating way possible.

Duterte clearly thinks that humiliating Obama in this way is a solid career move. He certainly believes that China will support him against the critics at home and abroad who will wring their hands over his shift. He presumably has had some assurances from his Chinese hosts that if he commits his cause to them, they will back him to the hilt.

This points to a broader problem: Obama’s tortuous efforts to balance a commitment to human rights and the niceties of American liberal ideology with a strong policy in defense of basic American security interests have made the world less safe for both human rights and for American security. As the revisionist powers (Russia, China, and Iran) gain ground, foreign leaders feel less and less need to pay attention to American sermons about human rights and the rule of law. Death squads and extra-judicial executions on a large scale: the Americans will lecture you but China will still be your friend. Barrel bombing hospitals in Aleppo? The Russians won’t just back you; they will help you to do it. Obama’s foreign policy is making the world safer for people who despise and trample on the very values that Obama hoped his presidency would advance.

Who could have seen this coming?


Shot: Michael Moore Says Anyone Voting for Trump is a ‘Legal Terrorist.’

Mediaite, yesterday.

Chaser: “The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not ‘insurgents’ or ‘terrorists’ or ‘The Enemy.’ They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win….I oppose the U.N. or anyone else risking the lives of their citizens to extract us from our debacle…the majority of Americans supported this war once it began and, sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe — just maybe — God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end.”

—Michael Moore, April 14, 2004.

WHY TAKE A CHANCE? VOTE SMOD IN NOVEMBER! Roger Simon: Will Hillary’s Cyber-idiots Get Us All Killed?


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I DON’T THINK THAT WILL BE A PROBLEM WITH THIS ELECTION: Reporters’ Political Biases Should Be Clear, Jonah Goldberg writes.


See also: 2008 election, and 2004 election.


BUT OF COURSE: Ashe Schow: Media focus on Trump’s problems at Al Smith dinner, but not Clinton’s.

The Hill’s Joe Concha is fast becoming one of my favorite media reporters. He attended Thursday night’s Al Smith dinner, and has written an article called “Al Smith Dinner I attended was different than one I read about.”

Concha laid out some of what we’ve all heard in the media today about the zingers told by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. We’re also being told that Trump delivered some truly terrible jokes that resulted in boos and jeering.

But what isn’t being given as much attention — except from a couple outlets — is that Clinton was also booed at times, though not as often as Trump. The Guardian pointed out a couple of jokes from Clinton that received some cheers and boos.

“You notice there is no teleprompters here tonight, which is probably smart, because it may be you saw Donald … dismantle his own. Maybe it is harder when you are translating from the original Russian,” Clinton said.

“I have deep respect for people like Kellyanne Conway. She is working day and night for Donald, and because she is a contractor, he is probably not even going to pay her,” Clinton said in another joke that didn’t do very well.

Concha notes that all the attention being paid to the boos and jeers toward Trump leaves out some important context.

“Republicans — especially those named Trump — aren’t popular in New York, and certainly with the wine and cheese crowd at the Waldorf last night,” Concha wrote. “And even Clinton got some boos and awkward reactions.”

He added that the event raised $6 million for children, more than it had ever raised before.

So while Trump was predictably booed at an unfriendly event, the media ran with it in order to smear him. Further, they ignored this same group booing Clinton. And the media wonder why their trust with the American people continues to plummet.

Think of them as Democratic operatives with bylines and you won’t go far wrong.


During the Citizens United arguments, Justice Samuel Alito asked Malcolm Stewart, the deputy solicitor general defending the government’s censorship, whether the law would empower Congress to ban books. Stewart affirmed that books too must be subject to “electioneering communication restrictions.” And thus do our so-called liberals become book-burners. That may be of some interest to organizations far outside of the world of conservative activism — donor-supported feminist publishing houses, say, or grant-funded environmentalist documentarians. The leader of the United States Senate is a conservative from Kentucky, and the leader of the United States House of Representatives is a conservative from Wisconsin. The Left would do well to consider just whom it would be empowering to establish a censorship code. Republicans cannot be trusted with that power. Neither can Democrats. Neither can Libertarians, Greens, Freemasons, Elks, Methodists, or other bad hombres — or even good hombres, absolute power corrupting absolutely and all that.

A liberal society is one in which everybody has free-speech rights. A society in which some people have free-speech rights and some do not, depending on the self-interested whim of people with political power, is a totalitarian society realized to a greater or lesser degree. Heinrich Heine’s advice on the connection between the treatment of books and the treatment of human beings is always and forever relevant.

Read the whole thing.

MORE VIOLENT RHETORIC FROM DEMOCRATS: Biden blasts Trump: I wish ‘I could take him behind the gym.’

What is this, 6th grade? Well, with Biden, pretty much always . . . .

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: Why won’t anyone admit that America is fighting 5 wars?

In an election flush with conspiracy theories, here’s one that’s real: Both major party nominees, as well as the journalists who cover the election and moderate the debates, are actively conspiring to avoid talking about the fact that the United States is waging war in at least five countries simultaneously: Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia.

In the first two presidential debates, our involvement in the Syrian civil war was briefly discussed, as was ISIS in vague terms, and the Iran nuclear deal, and Russia’s mischief-making in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and Libya, though mostly in the past tense, focused on our 2011 intervention to depose Moammar Gadhafi and the subsequent attack on American government facilities in Benghazi a year later.

But our role in “advising” the Iraqi army “a few miles behind the front lines” as it works to take back territory from ISIS? Our “secret war” against Shabab militants in Somalia? Our support for Saudi Arabia’s bloody assault on Houthi rebels in Yemen? Our air strikes pounding positions in and around the city of Sirte on the Libyan coast?

Nada. Zip. Nothing.

And everyone involved has powerful reasons to encourage this conspiracy of silence — in tonight’s final presidential debate, and beyond.

The main reason people aren’t talking about this is that an honest and factual discussion of the Obama/Hillary foreign policy record would inevitably result in the election of President Trump.

AND FRESH FROM THE CULTURE WARS: You Just Keep Pushing Me Away …