May 22, 2017

THEY TOLD ME A TRUMP PRESIDENCY WOULD BE MARKED BY OUTRAGEOUS VIOLATIONS OF PRIVACY — AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Private Investigator’s Attempt To Obtain Donald Trump’s Tax Return Led IRS To Shut Down FAFSA Data Retrieval Tool; Who Hired Him? “The person accused of a 2016 attempt to use a web-based federal student-aid tool to illegally obtain taxpayer information is a Louisiana-based private investigator who used the tool to target then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, court records obtained by Diverse show. The records allege that when Jordan Hamlett, 31, met FBI agents in the atrium of the Embassy Suites in Baton Rouge, he ‘immediately volunteered that he had committed the crime and he even sounded proud of what he had done.'”

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Anyone who loves clothes can be a designer now. Ha! You think that’s the case now? Wait ten years.

DAVID HORNIK: Trump’s First Day in Israel: An Encouraging Performance.

UNEXPECTEDLY: The price tag on universal health care is in, and it’s bigger than California’s budget.

California would have to find an additional $200 billion per year, including in new tax revenues, to create a so-called “single-payer” system, the analysis by the Senate Appropriations committee found. The estimate assumes the state would retain the existing $200 billion in local, state and federal funding it currently receives to offset the total $400 billion price tag.

The cost analysis is seen as the biggest hurdle to create a universal system, proposed by Sens. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.

Steep projected costs have derailed efforts over the past two decades to establish a publicly funded, universal health care system in California. The cost is higher than the $180 billion in proposed general fund and special fund spending for the budget year beginning July 1.

Californians already pay some of the highest tax rates in the nation, which have all but driven out the state’s formerly robust middle class.

Single payer — and the taxes required to pay for all that paying — would be the final nail in California’s coffin.

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FRANKENARMY: Germany Is Quietly Building a European Army Under Its Command.

Germany and two of its European allies, the Czech Republic and Romania, quietly took a radical step down a path toward something that looks like an EU army while avoiding the messy politics associated with it: They announced the integration of their armed forces.

Romania’s entire military won’t join the Bundeswehr, nor will the Czech armed forces become a mere German subdivision. But in the next several months each country will integrate one brigade into the German armed forces: Romania’s 81st Mechanized Brigade will join the Bundeswehr’s Rapid Response Forces Division, while the Czech 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade, which has served in Afghanistan and Kosovo and is considered the Czech Army’s spearhead force, will become part of the Germans’ 10th Armored Division. In doing so, they’ll follow in the footsteps of two Dutch brigades, one of which has already joined the Bundeswehr’s Rapid Response Forces Division and another that has been integrated into the Bundeswehr’s 1st Armored Division. According to Carlo Masala, a professor of international politics at the University of the Bundeswehr in Munich, “The German government is showing that it’s willing to proceed with European military integration” — even if others on the continent aren’t yet.

What could go wrong?

IT LOOKS BAD, BUT HEY, SO DID LOIS LERNER. Michael Flynn Will Plead the Fifth After Senate Committee Refuses Him Immunity.

MICHAEL LIND: The New Class War. He’s sounding a theme that I’ve noted for over a decade, the grab for supremacy of the managerial “New Class.” “The thesis of this essay is that the theory of the managerial elite explains the present transatlantic social and political crisis. . . . Freed from older constraints, the managerial minorities of Western nations have predictably run amok, using their near-monopoly of power and influence in all sectors—private, public, and nonprofit—to enact policies that advantage their members to the detriment of their fellow citizens. Derided and disempowered, large elements of the native working classes in Western democracies have turned to charismatic tribunes of anti-system populism in electoral rebellions against the selfishness and arrogance of managerial elites.”

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YUM: The 12 Sexiest Warplanes of All Time.

Good list, but no love for any enemy aircraft? Nasty regimes, but the Mitsubishi A6M Zero and the Sukhoi Su-27 are hot rides.

CUT HARD, CUT DEEP: EPA braces for Trump budget.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Woman Claims She Knows Exactly What Men Like… Since She’s Slept With 10,000 Of Them.

There’s a Malcolm Gladwell angle here somewhere.

SPLITTING HAIRS: Girl in Weiner sexting case lied to damage Clinton.

In a report published Monday, the website said the girl who exchanged the messages with Weiner was closer to 17 and not 15, as initial reports said. That also puts her above the age of consent in North Carolina, which is 16.

In addition, she and her family were also not Clinton supporters, as the girl claimed in a letter published by BuzzFeed, according to social media posts unearthed by the website. The report also says the girl initiated the contact with Weiner and then sought advice from a GOP figure behind “prior efforts to harm Weiner and other Democrats.”

The website suggests this could mean that Weiner was the target of a politically motivated plot.

Perhaps. But the fact remains that he was sexting with a 16-year-old girl.

REINFORCING FAILURE: Citing Disparities, Dem Wants to Sink $100B Into Dilapidated Public Schools.

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WHAT COULD GO WRONG? Venezuela holds 5,000 Russian surface-to-air MANPADS missiles.

CHANGE: Historically Black College Leader: So Far, Trump a Step UP From Obama.

MINING THE MOON for rocket fuel to get us to Mars.

YEAH, BUT HACKING FROM THE OBAMA ERA ISN’T NEWSWORTHY BECAUSE SHUT UP: House IT Aides Fear Suspects In Hill Breach Are Blackmailing Members With Their Own Data.

Congressional technology aides are baffled that data-theft allegations against four former House IT workers — who were banned from the congressional network — have largely been ignored, and they fear the integrity of sensitive high-level information.

Imran Awan and three relatives were colleagues until police banned them from computer networks at the House of Representatives after suspicion the brothers accessed congressional computers without permission.

Five Capitol Hill technology aides told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group that members of Congress have displayed an inexplicable and intense loyalty towards the suspects who police say victimized them. The baffled aides wonder if the suspects are blackmailing representatives based on the contents of their emails and files, to which they had full access.

Well, these guys pretty much only display “intense loyalty” to someone who’s got them by the balls, so it’s a fair inference.

Plus: “The investigation goes far beyond the theft of millions of dollars. The employees could read all emails dozens of members of Congress sent and received, as well as access any files members and their staff stored. Court records show the brothers ran a side business that owed $100,000 to an Iranian fugitive who has been tied to Hezbollah, and their stepmother says they often send money to Pakistan.”


Well, I was wrong. Several weeks ago in this blog, I expressed my skepticism that China would act anytime soon on its promise to open its borders to direct import of U.S. beef. I based my skepticism on the past 13, now nearly 14, years of hollow promises by the Chinese government that it would relent.

And I based my skepticism on the fact that China has stringent import requirements that serve as non-tariff trade barriers. The main hurdles are no use of ractopamine and a national animal ID system. While the U.S. has infrastructure in place to deal with both those, I was sure that China would hold the line on animal ID. Since the U.S. can’t meet the nationwide animal ID requirement, I was sure the deal would fall apart once again.

I got Trumped.

It happens. What’s unusual is a journalist who outright admits it.

REVENGE OF THE PATRIARCHY: Professors Pull Off Clever Hoax With ‘Penis Paper’, Expose Liberal Academia as a Sham.

TOLERANCE: Notre Dame Students Walk Out of Mike Pence Graduation Speech.

How will these young adults cope with the real world?

WHAT’S “CHUTZPAH” IN TURKISH? Turkey summons U.S. ambassador, demands to know why Erdogan’s thugs weren’t allowed to beat Americans with impunity in D.C.

To be fair, he probably saw what happened with Antifa in Berkeley.

HILLARY 2020: Because white women are the worst! Left zeroes in on white women as the new enemy because they elected Trump.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: The median grade at Harvard College is an A-, and the most frequently awarded mark is an A.

BRIAN BEUTLER: Democrats Should Proudly Call for Trump’s Impeachment.

Hillary should make it the focus of her Comeback II 2020: The Glass Ceiling Tour III campaign.

MAKE DIRECT FLIGHTS GREAT AGAIN: Nobody Flies From Saudi Arabia to Israel. Nobody. Trump Just Did.

The two nations have no diplomatic relations. Travelers can’t fly from one country to the other. Planes can’t even fly through the other’s airspace.

In order to travel from one nation to the other requires travelers to take what many call a “cleansing stop.” Often, flyers go to Amman, Jordan, or Cairo, Egypt, before heading on. And travelers who stop in Israel before heading to Saudi Arabia often ask Israeli officials not to stamp their passports (Saudis authorities get visibly unhappy when they see the stamp). Some frequent fliers even have an extra passport so they can keep one clear of the Israeli stamp.

That’s what makes President Trump’s itinerary so interesting. He made Saudi Arabia his first stop, which no doubt greatly pleased the Saudi royal family. Then he flew from Riyadh directly to Tel Aviv, which no doubt made them furious.

In fact, the flight may well have been the first in history from Saudi Arabia to Israel, the Associated Press reported.

Despite what Joseph Curl says here, Saudi Arabia and Israel get along better than their diplomatic status and lack of niceties would indicate, albeit behind the scenes:

“The biggest enemy for both countries is Iran, and there are also the radical terrorist groups like ISIS [Islamic State] that threaten the regional order in the Middle East,” Yaari said. “It is this overall framework that has created the conditions for cooperation between Jerusalem and Riyadh.”

Despite this convergence of interests, Israeli-Saudi cooperation will likely remain hush-hush as long as the Zionist-Arab conflict remains unresolved , Yaari said.

“We need to remember that even if there are ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, it’s only behind the scenes, behind closed doors, since Saudi Arabia can never launch a bilateral peace process with Israel,” she said.

And as recently as February, “Iran blasts cooperation between Israel, Saudi Arabia.”

It seems more likely then that Riyadh, Jerusalem, and Washington orchestrated Trump’s direct flight in order to send a message to Tehran.

TRUMP THE ASTEROID: There’s a theory that it would take an event as impossibly unlikely, as humanly uncontrollable, as potentially cataclysmic as an asteroid striking the earth, for Israelis and Palestinians to be able to make peace. A lot of people who voted for Trump were — often pretty consciously — voting for an asteroid.



Shot: What would happen if Donald Trump were impeached? 

—The London Guardian, this past Tuesday.

Chaser: ‘Can we talk of [President Bush’s] impeachment?’ 

—The London Guardian, January 27, 2004.

If he has (R) after his name, what else would you be discussing about him?

(Oh right — it could always be worse.)



CHRISTIAN TOTO: How the Media Bullied Jimmy Fallon into Hating Trump.

Standing up to bullies usually puts an end to bullying, Jimmy.

SECSTATE TILLERSON: Trump Underscores Terror Fight ‘Has Nothing to Do with Religion’

ROGER SIMON: Huge Arms Sale to Saudis Makes Trump-Russia Collusion Ridiculous.

I’m so old, I remember when the DNC-MSM scoffed at the notion of Russians under every bed. But I’m sure they’ll keep looking for them here.

DRAINING THE SWAMP? Trump moves to block ethics inquiry centered on ex-lobbyists.

The New York Times reports that the White House sent a letter to the head of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) challenging its legal authority to request that information.

“It is an extraordinary thing,” Walter Shaub Jr., the director of the ethics office, told the Times. “I have never seen anything like it.”

The letter sent by Mick Mulvaney, the head of the Office of Management and Budget, questions whether the ethics office has the authority to demand information regarding ex-lobbyists who are currently working in the federal government.

“This data call appears to raise legal questions regarding the scope of OGE’s authorities,” the letter reads. “I therefore request that you stay the data call until these questions are resolved.”

Trump signed an executive order in January that enacted a two-year ban on lobbyists being hired for federal government positions in “particular” agencies as part of a broader “ethics pledge.”

This looks more like a turf battle than anything sinister, but that doesn’t mean it looks good.

CHANGE: North Korea says missile meets all specifications, ready for mass-production.

The North fired the missile into waters off its east coast on Sunday, its second missile test in a week, which South Korea said dashed the hopes of the South’s new liberal government under President Moon Jae-in for peace between the neighbors.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test of the Pukguksong-2, which confirmed reliable late-stage guidance of the warhead and the functioning of a solid-fuel engine, the KCNA state news agency said.

It quoted Kim as saying the Pukguksong-2 met all the required technical specifications so should now be mass-produced and deployed to the Korean People’s Army strategic battle unit.

Pyongyang has defied all calls to rein in its nuclear and missile programs, even from China, its lone major ally, saying the weapons are needed for defense against U.S. aggression.

Next up: More nuclear tests for making warheads small enough to be delivered by the Pukguksong-2.


OPEC’s members brought in less cash from selling oil in 2016 than in any of the past dozen years. That grim reality comes to us courtesy of the U.S. Energy Information Administration. . . .

That 15 percent year-on-year decline is a dramatic example of the fiscal pain these petrostate regimes are enduring as a result of the collapse in crude prices. Those low prices come to us courtesy of American shale producers, whose output contributed to a global glut that brought prices from their $100+ per barrel levels down to the $50 range they occupy today.

Those lost export revenues are why OPEC, along with a group of 11 other petrostate producers (including Russia), have agreed at last to reduce their collective output in an attempt to rebalance the market. But a look at the latest data shows that that rebalancing is going to take a lot more time than was initially envisioned, and Riyadh and Moscow both think they’ll be constraining production through March of next year.

In the meantime, U.S. producers are seeing their own output rise and the numbers in their balance books turn black once again.

This is huge, and isn’t getting enough attention. It’s the biggest power realignment since the end of the Cold War.

IRAQ: After ISIL Comes The Iranian Threat.

JACK DUNPHY ON TRUMP AND THE DNC-MSM’s CONTINUOUS FREAKOUT: Keep Watching the News, But Be Very Skeptical of Everything You Are Told.

That’s always good advice when consuming the news.


WONDERFUL RADIO, MARVELOUS RADIO: Earth’s radio signals may be protecting it from space radiation.

KURT SCHLICHTER GIVES TRUMP AN A+ SO FAR: “There can be no serious debate. Donald Trump has done a truly outstanding job of not being Hillary Clinton. His not being Hillary Clinton was and remains my sole expectation of Donald Trump’s presidency. Nothing else matters in the end; it is enough that Trump foiled Felonia von Pantsuit’s creepy scheme to subjugate forever the deplorable mass of normal people she despises.”


Here’s the brutal reality: No matter what Trump does, he will always be evil, awful, criminal, and/or treasonous. It doesn’t matter if he does something good. It’s doesn’t matter if Obama famously did the same thing – or worse. It doesn’t matter if it’s an outright and obvious lie. It will never stop. The soft coup plotters’ plan is to generate a constant barrage of bullSchumer designed to eventually browbeat the weak-hearted among the GOP into going along with their impeachment scheme as the first step on the road to the left retaking power and consolidating it so that we normals can never again have our voices heard.

If you want to blame Trump for the phony “controversy” surrounding him, ask yourself – what actions could he take that would stop the liberal feeding frenzy? Be nicer and gentler and act like “the bigger man? Worked great for W.


True. Weirdly, it’s the people claiming that Trump’s a tool for Putin to destabilize American politics who are taking the actions that destabilize American politics.


KIM DOTCOM: ‘I Knew Seth Rich. I Know He Was the Wikileaks Source.’

THE NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIALIZES: Student loan payments are keeping young people from getting on with life, delaying marriage and homeownership.

If only there had been some kind of warning.

FLIGHT OF THE VALKYRIE: North American XB-70A Valkyrie — a beautiful plane. The photo is tentatively dated 1964.

DEMOCRATS IN DISARRAY: DNC Chair Tom Perez heckled by Sanders’ camp in California.

RECALIBRATING PRODUCTIVITY STATISTICS: Walter Russell Mead explores the implications of Daniel Yergin’s argument that energy markets are experiencing “cost recalibration.”

Information technology has contributed to the drop in energy prices, so much so that productivity statistics may need to be recalibrated.

But this points to two even bigger stories. One is that the same forces that are making oil and gas so much cheaper and easier to find and extract will also be affecting other commodities. We can expect mining to become more efficient as well, and in fact there’s already evidence of that happening.

And there’s more. One of the big mysteries of the information revolution is the question of productivity. We keep using all this tech that clearly lets us do more with less, but instead of galloping higher, productivity levels have stagnated. What’s going on?

It’s possible that the productivity increases are appearing as lower prices rather than as higher incomes. If the price of oil falls from $100 per barrel to $50 per barrel due to increasingly cheap and efficient methods of production, then everybody in the industry is more productive in terms of barrels of oil per hour of work, but since the oil price has gone down, that productivity increase won’t be captured by statistical methods that calculate productivity in terms of money.

A TRILLION HERE AND A TRILLION THERE… Trump’s Budget Will Slash $1.7 Trillion In Entitlements, Cut Food Stamps By 25%.

Either we apply the brakes to the Gravy Train, or it derails.

IT IS UNWISE FOR FACULTY AT A STATE INSTITUTION TO GO TO WAR AGAINST THE STATE LEGISLATURE: GOP Senate Cuts UNC Law School’s Budget 30% As Payback To Liberal Faculty (Especially Gene Nichol), Rankings Slide From 20 (1979) To 39 (2017).

SALENA ZITO: The crisis in American journalism benefits no one.

Beginning in the 1980s, Washington and New York City newsrooms began to be dominated by people who had the same backgrounds; for the most part they went to the same Ivy League journalism schools, where they made the right contacts and connections to get their jobs.

Yes, elite networks are a thing not just in law schools, as “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance so aptly described of his experiences in law school. They also exist in Ivy League or elite journalism schools.

And the journalists who came from working-class roots found it in their best interest to adopt the conventional, left-of-center views that were filling the halls of newsrooms.

In short, after a while you adopt the culture you exist in either out of survival or acceptance or a little of both. Or you really just wanted to shed your working-class roots for a variety of reasons: shame, aspiration, ascension, etc.

That does not make them bad people – aspiration is the heart of the American Dream — but it did begin the decline of connection between elite journalism institutions such as the New York Times and the Washington Post and the rest of the country.

So when fewer and fewer reporters shared the same values and habits of many of their consumers, inferences in their stories about people of faith and their struggles squaring gay marriage or abortion with their belief systems were picked up by the readers.

Pro-tip, don’t think people can’t pick up an inference, even the most subtle, in the written word. It is as evident as a news anchor rolling his eyes at someone on his panel he doesn’t agree with.

Same goes for job losses, particularly in coal mines or manufacturing. News reports filled with how those job losses help the environment are not going to sit well with the person losing their job. Also: Just because they have a job that faces an environmental challenge does not mean they hate the environment.

For 20 years these news organizations, along with CBS, NBC and ABC, were the only game in town. They served as gatekeepers of information, and as their newsrooms became more and more detached from the center of the country, consumers began to become detached from them.

And then along came the Internet. Not only were different sources now available, but news aggregators such as Drudge made it easy to find things giving everyone access to “alternative facts.”

The universe of information expanded, and it became clear that what Peter Jennings, Dan Rather or the New York Times told consumers was not the whole story, and if you were a conservative (and a plurality of Americans self-identify as center right) you lost all trust in the mainstream media.

If you wish to be trusted, be trustworthy.

OPEC’S CRISIS: Iraq needs money, so it produces an extra 80,000 barrels of oil a day. But non-compliance (cheating) by cartel members isn’t OPEC’s biggest strategic problem.

Brent crude tumbled below $50 a barrel this month as data showed U.S. shale producers were alive and kicking, confounding OPEC’s efforts to control the supply glut. While oil recovered losses after Saudi Arabia and Russia threw their weight behind extending the six-month output reductions, it’s still 7 percent off post-deal highs.


Under the November deal, OPEC envisioned curbing 1.2 million barrels per day of output, with Iraq trimming 210,000 barrels a day to 4.351 million barrels a day. In the first quarter, Iraq met only 61 percent of its targeted cut, though compliance improved to 90 percent in April, according to OPEC data. It’s not the only straggler. The United Arab Emirates achieved just 57 percent of its cut in the first quarter, though the U.A.E. exceeded its target in April, and many non-OPEC producers including Russia also missed their goals.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Putin calls flap over Trump’s meeting with Russian diplomats ‘political schizophrenia’

The Kremlin has ridiculed the flap in the U.S. over allegations of possible collusion between members of Trump’s campaign during his run for the White House and the president’s seemingly cozy relations with Putin. Moscow has denied meddling in U.S. elections and political affairs.

Putin warned that the United States’ anti-Russian rhetoric could backfire.

“You know what surprises me? They are destabilizing the internal political situation in the United States under anti-Russian slogans,” Putin said, according to Tass. “They either do not understand that they are harming their own country, which means they are just shortsighted, or they understand everything, and that means that they are dangerous and unscrupulous people.”

The denial stinks — Putin’s technique is to sow chaos and reap whatever may come from it. But his analysis of what Democrats and not-just-a-few Republicans are doing to this country is spot-on.

(This story is from last week, but it got lost in the flow — thanks to several Instapundit readers for bringing it to my attention.)

OPEC’S DEAD, BABY: OPEC’s Worst Cheater Will Get Harder to Ignore as Curbs Falter.

Iraq pumped about 80,000 more barrels of oil a day than permitted by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries curbs during the first quarter. If that deal gets extended to 2018, the nation will have even less incentive to comply because capacity at key southern fields is expanding and three years of fighting Islamic state has left it drowning in debt.

“Leaving that productive capacity idle will come with an opportunity cost that Iraq may prove reluctant to bear,” said Harry Tchilinguirian, the London-based head of commodity markets strategy at BNP Paribas SA. He’s nonetheless optimistic that global inventories will fall by year-end as members like Saudi Arabia pick up the slack for Iraq’s transgressions.

A risk, though, emerges if Iraqi compliance worsens to such an extent that other countries in the 13-member group start cutting corners too, exacerbating a global surplus that’s already erased much of the gains that unfolded after the deal was struck in November.

Have you hugged a fracker today?

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HEATHER MAC DONALD: Some Black Lives Don’t Matter: Black-on-black homicide is rampant, but professional agitators couldn’t care less.

Another cell-phone video that didn’t make it to CNN or MSNBC: Last November, 33-year-old Antwan McNutt beat a man to death with a bottle of liquor on the South Side of Chicago. Onlookers took video and posted it to Facebook; no one intervened to help. McNutt, who was charged with murder this week, has prior convictions for manufacturing and delivering a controlled substance, attempted aggravated carjacking, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and battery and resisting arrest, according to DNA Info. But he was back on the streets committing more mayhem, contrary to the “mass incarceration” conceit that black males are targeted with endless draconian punishment for minor transgressions of public order.

We rightly hold our police officers to the highest standards of conduct. Had a cop beaten a black man to death it would justifiably have been international news, especially if the beating had been caught on video. Likewise, if a white man had beaten a black man to death, it would have been international news and cause for public mourning and admonition. But the routine taking of black lives by other blacks generates no interest in the mainstream media. Forty-three hundred people, including two dozen children under the age of 12, were shot in Chicago last year. Had 4,300 white people been shot, there would have been a revolution, and the media would have set up headquarters in the city to cover the breakdown of law and order. But because the victims were nearly all black, few pay attention—besides the police.

Nor have the Black Lives Matter activists, who pour out by the thousands, sometimes to riot, in the case of alleged officer misuse of force, ever protested the killing of blacks by other blacks.

Black Lives Matter might more accurately be named White Killers Matter, because it only seems to care about black lives that are ended by white people. And that, of course, is because Black Lives Matter isn’t about justice, but about racial agitation.

SALENA ZITO: The crisis in American journalism benefits no one.

Power corrupts:

Beginning in the 1980s, Washington and New York City newsrooms began to be dominated by people who had the same backgrounds; for the most part they went to the same Ivy League journalism schools, where they made the right contacts and connections to get their jobs.

Yes, elite networks are a thing not just in law schools, as “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance so aptly described of his experiences in law school. They also exist in Ivy League or elite journalism schools.

And the journalists who came from working-class roots found it in their best interest to adopt the conventional, left-of-center views that were filling the halls of newsrooms.

In short, after a while you adopt the culture you exist in either out of survival or acceptance or a little of both. Or you really just wanted to shed your working-class roots for a variety of reasons: shame, aspiration, ascension, etc.

That does not make them bad people – aspiration is the heart of the American Dream — but it did begin the decline of connection between elite journalism institutions such as the New York Times and the Washington Post and the rest of the country.

So when fewer and fewer reporters shared the same values and habits of many of their consumers, inferences in their stories about people of faith and their struggles squaring gay marriage or abortion with their belief systems were picked up by the readers.

“Celebrate diversity” morphed into “Conform, proles” so slowly I hardly even noticed.

WHEN THEY GO LOW… Nancy Pelosi laughs as California Democrats chant ‘F*ck Donald Trump!’ raising 2 middle fingers.

The Calif. Rep. stood by, laughing, as the state’s Democrat Chairman John Burton raised two middle fingers as he encouraged the crowd at the state convention in Sacramento to chant “F**k Donald Trump.”

Democrat leaders at the convention used their time to deride President Donald Trump and beat the familiar drum of tying him to Russia, the Associated Press reported.

Sen. Kamala Harris told the crowd that the president is putting “Russia first, America second.”

“The world, literally the world, is counting on all of you, counting on California to reject Trump’s deception and destructiveness,” Gavin Newsom, the California Lieutenant Governor, said.

But it was Burton who took it to the classless extreme.

“All together now,” he told the crowd, encouraging them to chant as he raised his two middle fingers. “F**k Donald Trump.”

Daddy issues.

DEMOCRATS’ FAKE NEWS HAS CREATED A CLIMATE OF HATE: Republicans fearing for their safety as anger, threats mount.

A growing number of House Republicans are facing physical threats from angry constituents in their districts, leading many to fear for their safety.

In the last few weeks alone, the FBI arrested a man threatening Rep. Martha McSally’s (R-Ariz.) life, a woman pursued Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) in her car, and Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.) heightened security at a town hall event in response to death threats.

Other Republicans still holding town halls say they haven’t felt physically threatened by protesters, but they worry about the depth of anger from some constituents in the polarized environment and what it means for political civility.

Scores of GOP lawmakers have experienced going viral this year with videos of constituents shouting their disagreement on support for President Trump and policies such as the GOP’s healthcare bill.

Lately, though, Republicans have observed some furious constituents who appear to be going even further.

Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) described attendees at a town hall in his district last week who booed him down after he said people’s rights are God-given.

“They booed God. They booed the pastor. They booed the prayer. They booed the name of the church. They booed when I said rights come from God,” Brat recounted to The Hill just off the House floor. “That’s a fundamental tenet of western civilization. I mean, I didn’t think that was partisan.”

Further north in New Jersey, Rep. Tom MacArthur (R) faced pushback from a crowd when he began telling the story of his special-needs daughter who died at the age of 11.

What the press pretended the Tea Party was in 2009, the alt-left Democrats actually are in 2017.

BRUCE RIEDEL: Saudis Tie Themselves to an Unpredictable U.S. President.

Perhaps, but that would still be an improvement over the prior situation where a U.S. President tied himself to the utterly predictable Iranians.

FLASHBACK: Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal.

GOOD MORNING: Start the new week with Liz Sheld’s morning brief.


A FANTASY VEHICLE FOR OVERCOMING TEENAGE RESENTMENTS: Why do intellectuals fall in love with dictators and totalitarians?

May 21, 2017

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MIKE PENCE: “As new graduates of this exceptional university, I urge you – be leaders for the freedoms of thought and expression.”

Since Pence is making an offer that the modern, hair-triggered student lacks the mental toughness to accept, naturally, “Special snowflake students walk out en masse during Pence’s commencement speech at Notre Dame.”

OUR SOURCE WAS THE NEW YORK TIMES: Writers From the Right and Left React to This Week’s Trump News – and the Gray Lady is on it.

Longtime PJM readers should recognize at least three of the voices from the right.

SHOCKING CELEBRITY NEWS: Ex-wife finds it “creepy” that ex-husband is dating younger, hotter woman. When Kardashians purport to tell us what’s acceptable in relationships.

ACADEMIA, LIKE CAMELOT, IS A SILLY PLACE: The Uproar Over ‘Transracialism.’

NOW THIS IS A 21ST CENTURY HEADLINE: When scientists saw the mouse heads glowing, they knew the discovery was big.

ANIMALS EVENTUALLY RETURN TO THEIR BASER INSTINCTS, NO MATTER HOW MUCH WE ANTHROPOMORPHIZE THEM. Video going viral today: Sea lion grabs girl off pier and drags her into the water.

GRABBY SAYS WHAT? “Joe Biden blasts Donald Trump in Colby College speech over his ‘coarse rhetoric’ and ‘political chaos’ before congratulating graduates with hugs and handshakes — and the ladies seem to get the lion’s share of the cuddles.”

Speaking of “coarse rhetoric,” “Biden: I’ve Never Criticized The Tea Party, Just Those Times I Said They Were Crazy And Acted Like Terrorists.”

And speaking of “political chaos,” Biden referred to the passing of Obamacare, which was preceded by arguably the greatest non-wartime lie in American political history, as a “big f***ing deal.” (Which he meant as a compliment, apparently.)

(Classical allusion in headline.)

ROGER KIMBALL: “Let’s play ‘One of these things is not like the other one.’  Compare, if you will, Barack Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo to the Muslim world with Donald Trump’s speech today in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.”

THE 21ST CENTURY ISN’T TURNING OUT AS I’D EXPECTED: Instead of fighting superbugs, new approach is learning to live with them.

SALENA ZITO: The opioid epidemic tightens its grip on America.

SCIENCE: Does drinking change your personality? Not so much, study suggests.


Yes. Next question?

And note this:

In fact, my most recent research, focused on the events of 1967, casts important new light on how domestic conversations about war can have a decisive effect. Among the most fascinating developments of 1967 was the Johnson administration’s regret about its decision to refrain from generating support for the war by discussing the necessity for it in public. The lack of public enthusiasm for the war, administration officials now realized, was encouraging the enemy to believe that the United States would eventually abandon its ally, and therefore North Vietnam had no reason to desist.

“The administration made a deliberate decision not to create a war psychology in the United States,” Secretary of State Dean Rusk remarked that October, because it was “too dangerous for this country to get worked up.” Johnson, Rusk and other officials had feared that war fever would undermine the domestic programs of the Great Society and heighten tensions with the Soviets. But now, Rusk conceded, “maybe this was a mistake; maybe it would have been better to take steps to build up a sense of a nation at war.”

During 1967, White House advisers and foreign leaders repeatedly urged Johnson to change course, to tell the American public why the United States was in Vietnam and what it was trying to achieve. But Johnson could not bring himself to do it, even as he increasingly recognized the damaging consequences of his silence. “If history indicts us for Vietnam,” Johnson admitted in the fall, “it will be for fighting a war without trying to stir up patriotism.”

In the absence of presidential cheerleading, American public support for the war declined over the course of 1967. As administration officials had feared, the apparent weakening of American resolve hardened the determination of the North Vietnamese to persist. Hanoi rebuffed every American overture for peace negotiations, anticipating that the coming Tet offensive would destroy what remained of America’s will.

There was another factor as well. When the buildup in Vietnam was led by the handsome young charismatic JFK, DC elites were happy to go along; they only began to sour on the war when it was led by someone who was “not our class, dear.” As Jeffrey Lord wrote in the American Spectator in 2012:

Slowly, and then not so slowly, these elitist, arrogant and if not outright snotty attitudes sought out a new target during the years when LBJ was sitting in the White House — when, in the view of these people, “Uncle Cornpone and his Little Pork Chop” had replaced the King and Queen of Camelot.

That new target?

The American people themselves. They had, after all, elected LBJ in a landslide in 1964. Now Uncle Cornpone was the elected President of the United States. To make matters more unbearable, LBJ was using his newfound power and popularity to actually pass the liberal agenda of the day, which Johnson labeled “The Great Society.” Uncle Cornpone, it seemed, wasn’t such a ridiculous figure after all when it came to getting the liberal wish list through the Congress.

No one better than JFK would have known instantly what a huge mistake this elitist attitude would be. Discussing the relationship of a presidential candidate with the American people, JFK had told historian and friend Theodore H. White, author of The Making of the President series, that, in White’s re-telling, “a man running for the Presidency must talk up, way up there.” It was a principle Kennedy surely would have applied to his own party — and did so while he was president. Not from JFK was there a drop of elitist contempt — from a man who unarguably could claim the title in a blink — for his fellow countrymen.

But in a horrifying flash, JFK was gone. And the elitist tide spread.

Not coincidentally, east coast elite “liberals” such as David Halberstam would sour at the war being led by someone they despised for class reasons, a story that would be repeated once again, and is happening today.


The delays at Penn Station will have domino effects that impact the overburdened subway, regional transit and more.

Cuomo asked Trump to lend his support to getting Amtrak — a quasi-federal entity — to turn over control of Penn Station to a private terminal operator.

He also requested federal funding for the state’s planned construction of a new entrance to Penn Station from the Farley Post Office. Cuomo wrote that money is also needed for a “long term resolution for Penn Station,” as well as investment in alternative modes of transportation.

Just as a reminder, that “planned construction of a new entrance to Penn Station from the Farley Post Office,” aka Moynihan Station, has been discussed since the early 1990s, when Pat Moynihan first championed the idea. In 1999, Chuck Schumer “sponsored and passed legislation formally naming the yet-to-be-constructed facility ‘Moynihan Station’ in his honor,” according to Wikipedia. I wrote up the concept for Tech Central Station in 2005. If it ever actually gets built, it would take a fair amount of pressure off of Penn Station – but in Cuomo and de Blasio’s New York, construction moves at a snail’s place.

TEST FLIGHT: Up in the air in the Cirrus Vision, the single-engine “personal jet.” “The Vision is a proper regional jet that could seat up to seven people and carry them a thousand miles or more, making trips such as New York to Chicago possible. And yet even at a price tag of $2 million, the Cirrus comes in well below the cost of typical corporate jets that ferry America’s titans of industry.”

AT AMAZON, 70% off or more on Computer Glasses.

TEST DRIVE: First Drive: 2017 BMW M760i xDrive.

ORDINARY STARVING VENEZUELANS: YOU KNOW, A PIG OR TWO WOULD BE NICE ABOUT NOW. Venezuelan tyrant tells Trump to, “get your pig hands out of here.”

Hell, they’d probably settle for some pigs’ feet.

AT AMAZON, save in Industrial and Scientific.

Plus, fresh deals in Grocery and Gourmet Food.

NEVER THOUGHT I’D MISS MIKE BLOOMBERG: Bill de Blasio Honors a Puerto Rican Terrorist.

Bill Ayers could not be reached for comment.

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Human blood stem cells grown in the lab for the first time.

I’M EXPECTING AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: Nearly 40 Years After Mount St. Helens’ Deadly Eruption, It’s ‘Recharging.’

AT AMAZON, Power and Hand Tools.

My old Bosch cordless drill is dying (well, the batteries are). Thinking of replacing it with this one.

ANTITRUMP FANTASIES OUT OF CONTROL: Breaking News from the Axis of Krazytown — President Hatch!

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Scientists One Step Closer To 3-D-Printed Ovaries To Treat Infertility.

HEALTH: Steroid Shots Do Little for Knee Pain of Arthritis.

DECADENT FOLLOWER OF GOLDSTEINISM RESISTS NEWSPEAK DICTIONARY: Chelsea Manning — ‘Man’ & Masculine Pronouns Should Not Be Illegal.

Related: Less than 20 percent of Americans said they would be open to dating a transgender person.

You will be made to care, to coin a phrase.

Update: “Since gender is a social construct, why aren’t all sexual preferences discriminatory?”, Ben Shapiro asks on Twitter.


IN THE MAIL: From Philip Hamburger, The Administrative Threat (Encounter Intelligence).

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Also, Up to 40% off select Yard Gear.

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FAKE NEWS: Byron York: Harvard study: CNN, NBC Trump coverage 93 percent negative.

FRANCE CHOSE . . . POORLY: Macron’s Nuclear Mistake.

The newly elected French president Emmanuel Macron is busy assembling his cabinet these days, but it looks like he made a misstep in his choice for the country’s new energy minister. Macron tapped the nature documentary filmmaker and prominent green Nicolas Hulot for the position, and overnight shares in the French nuclear company EDF fell by 7 percent. That’s because Hulot, despite his avowed respect for the environment, is a staunch opponent of nuclear power, the zero-emissions energy source on which France relies for roughly three-quarters of its power. . . .

Hulot’s opposition to nuclear comes out of an emerging trend of thinking in France—and in Europe more generally—that holds that nuclear power ought to be phased out as soon as possible and replaced by renewables. Germany, motivated by an irrational fear of the energy source following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, is leading this charge to its own detriment. Berlin hasn’t been able to replace its shuttered nuclear plants with wind and solar, but has instead been forced to increase its reliance on lignite coal, one of the dirtiest fossil fuels around. As a result, the country’s emissions have risen, an entirely predictable consequence of snubbing the only source (other than hydropower) of zero-emissions baseload power.

Germany’s experience hasn’t been enough to phase France’s greens, though, and Hulot’s new position of leadership suggests that Paris is preparing to follow in Berlin’s footsteps. That would be a grave error, though, especially during a time in which Europe is placing such a heavy emphasis on emissions reductions. EDF itself has pointed out that environmentalist plans to replace France’s nuclear fleet with 100 percent renewables by 2050 are “not based on technological realities.”

They’re lefty policies. Of course they’re not.

COMMENTARY: Lieberman at FBI? Don’t Do It.

FAKE NEWS AND FAKE SEARCH: Does Google Have a Liberal Bias? Search Results for Roger Ailes Speak Volumes.