June 27, 2017

CAUGHT ON TAPE: “CNN Producer Says Russia Narrative “bullsh*t”. If secretly made tapes of Trump’s “grab them by the p*ssy” gaffe are fair game, is why this not? Hint: Ratings.

June 26, 2017

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DEEP STATE UPDATE: Did the FBI retaliate against Michael Flynn by launching Russia probe?

SPYING: NSA’s use of ‘traffic shaping’ allows unrestrained spying on Americans.

PERHAPS WE NEED A FORMAL MECHANISM TO ALLOW STATES TO SPLIT: Eastern Washington state would like to secede, please.

EIGHT YEARS OF HOPE AND CHANGE, AND THEN THIS: Texas Boys State votes in favor of secession.

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ANSWERING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Why the 2017 Honda Civic Type R Has Three Tailpipes.

TAKING MORE THAN THEIR SHARE: Newsflash, Wonder Woman: Women Already Use the Majority of Healthcare.

FEMINISM FOR ME, TRADITIONAL GENDER ROLES FOR THEE: Harvard Study Shows the Main Reason Wives Divorce Husbands: A Harvard study examining income, work, and marital stability suggests that ‘bread-winning’ remains a central component of marital contracts.

The strongest evidence for the gendered institution perspective is that, for marriages begun in 1975 or later, divorce is more likely when husbands are not employed full-time. Consistent with my hypotheses, there is no evidence that this association is weaker for later than earlier marriage cohorts. Just as male breadwinning has remained important for marriage formation (Sweeney 2002), the results here demonstrate its enduring importance for marital stability. The results are consistent with claims that bread-winning remains a central component of the marital contract for husbands.

If it’s “rape culture” to expect wives to provide sex as part of the marriage, is it “slavery culture” to expect husbands to be the primary earners? Of course not!

FAKE NEWS FALLOUT: Breaking: Three journalists leaving CNN after retracted article. “CNN said Monday that three journalists, including the executive editor in charge of a new investigative unit, have resigned after the publication of a Russia-related article that was retracted. Thomas Frank, who wrote the story in question; Eric Lichtblau, an editor in the unit; and Lex Haris, who oversaw the unit, have all left CNN.”

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: “It’s as if a hinge were turning. But what door will open?”

JUSTICES CLARENCE THOMAS AND NEIL GORSUCH:

For those of us who work in marbled halls, guarded constantly by a vigilant and dedicated police force, the guarantees of the Second Amendment might seem antiquated and superfluous. But the Framers made a clear choice: They reserved to all Americans the right to bear arms for self-defense. I do not think we should stand by idly while a State denies its citizens that right, particularly when their very lives may depend on it.

Well, in today’s Wall Street Journal, we have a Congressman who doesn’t feel safe without a gun after having colleagues gunned down by a crazed Bernie Sanders supporter:

When Republican lawmakers came under fire during a June 14 baseball practice in Virginia, they were trapped by a tall fence with one exit. Thanks to armed officers guarding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, only five people were wounded.

But although members of the congressional leadership are provided security details, the rest of us have to count on luck. “When congressmen and senators are off the Capitol Hill campus, we are still high-profile targets, but we have zero protection,” Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama told John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center. . . .

At least five congressmen at the baseball practice have concealed handgun permits in their home states. At least one aide also has a permit. Others may be reluctant to announce publicly that they do, since part of the benefit of carrying a concealed weapon is that potential attackers do not know who is armed. That’s why uniformed police have an almost impossible job stopping terrorist attacks. A uniform is like a neon sign flashing: “I have a gun. Shoot me first.”

In 2015 the Daily Caller surveyed 38 conservative members of Congress, asking whether they held a concealed-carry permit. Thirty declined to answer. Of the eight who did respond, six had permits. Jerry Henry, executive director of Georgia Carry, says that as of last year nine of the 10 Republican congressmen from his state had a concealed-carry permit.

An aide says that when Rep. Barry Loudermilk is speaking at public events in his district, “they always have someone with the congressman who is carrying.” Likewise, when I’m home in Kentucky, my staff and I carry weapons.

But the District of Columbia’s gun regulations meant no one had a permitted, concealed handgun at the congressional baseball practice. Virginia, where the attack occurred, honors permits from any other state. But as Mr. Brooks explained: “My residence is in the District of Columbia, which means that it would have been illegal for me to take my weapon with me to the ballpark—about a 9-mile bike ride—and it would have also been illegal for me to come from Virginia back into D.C. with my weapon.”

Both Rep. Brooks and the Loudermilk aide say they believe the attack could have been ended much earlier. The aide, who asked to be unnamed, has received active-shooter training and remained behind a car 15 to 20 yards from the attacker. He believes he could have shot the attacker from his position and ended the attack “probably four minutes earlier.”

It’s not just members of Congress who need this right, and I’m happy to see that this proposed legislation doesn’t just apply to Congressmen and their staffs: “That’s why I have introduced legislation to allow people with concealed handgun permits from any state to carry their permitted firearms into the District of Columbia. It’s a miracle that only five were wounded at the Republicans’ baseball practice. Next time the results might be even more devastating.”

SERIAL JOB KILLER STRIKES AGAIN: The minimum wage. It’s a serial killer.

Working from the absurd idea that if higher wages are good for individual workers, it must be socially beneficial to have government order all employers to pay their workers more, progressives and other leftists have had extraordinary success in forcing small businesses to pay higher minimum wages.

Big Mac’s stock is up 27% this year. Why? Pushed by concerns over a rising minimum wage, the fast-food chain is replacing human cashiers as fast as it can. But it really has no choice.

By the end of 2017, it plans to have digital cashiers in 2,500 restaurants; by 2018, another 3,000 restaurants will go digital. They’re also going to let you order via mobile device at 14,000 restaurants by year end. McDonald’s calls it the “Experience of the Future” strategy.

Somewhere out there in Beltway Land, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are saying “Unexpectedly!”

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Delayed Orgasm: The Sexual Technique That’s Better Than Sex.

THE “INTERNET OF THINGS” SOUNDS LIKE A TERRIBLE IDEA: “Within the next few years, billions of IoT devices will densely populate our cities. In this paper, we describe a new type of threat in which adjacent IoT devices will infect each other with a worm that will rapidly spread over large areas, provided that the density of compatible IoT devices exceeds a certain critical mass.”

NANCY PELOSI: If Hillary Had Won, I Might Have Resigned.

Now she tells us.

PARTY OVER COUNTRY: Former Obama Officials’ Anti-Trump Leak Campaign Damaging U.S. and Allied Operations.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: No, Obamacare Repeal Will Not Kill Tens of Thousands.

WANT TO BUY A DODGE DEMON? Dodge has a waiver they want you to sign.

TED NICKEL: I Ran Wisconsin’s Successful High-Risk Pool Before Obamacare. It Actually Worked.

Prior to the ACA, Wisconsin consumers could choose from over 20 individual insurance companies offering coverage in our state. These included for-profit and not-for-profit companies; HMO’s and PPOs; and local and national insurers. There were a variety of plan options to meet a range of coverage needs.

While these plans were underwritten, individuals denied coverage would receive coverage from Wisconsin’s high-risk pool known as the Health Insurance Risk Sharing Plan (HIRSP). HIRSP provided Wisconsin consumers with peace of mind by providing high quality, comprehensive coverage to over 20,000 of our friends and neighbors.

Unlike the current ACA market where most people must wait until open enrollment to purchase coverage, consumers could enroll in HIRSP at any time. There were no pre-existing condition limits for people signing up for coverage if they had prior coverage. If consumers had no prior coverage, they would receive coverage for most conditions, but had to wait six months for pre-existing conditions.

In contrast, with Obamacare you may have to wait up to 11 months for any coverage if you miss open enrollment.

Once enrolled in HIRSP, consumers chose from a variety of benefit plans including both high and low deductible plans. While Obamacare plans are criticized for having narrow networks, there were no network limitations for HIRSP; members were able to visit any medical provider in our state and receive coverage when traveling outside of Wisconsin. Subsidies were also available to offset premiums, deductibles and prescription drug out-of-pocket maximums for low-income members.

HIRSP benefit and administrative costs were funded by member premiums and contributions from insurers and providers. No state dollars were needed to support this program.

Though not perfect (no program is), HIRSP was well-run and kept the needs of its members a priority and was structured in a way which allowed sufficient flexibility to address member needs and respond to evolving market dynamics. Former members of HIRSP continue to call legislative offices requesting a reinstatement of this program.

“Before Obamacare” being the key phrase.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Paper ballots are hack-proof. It’s time to bring them back.

NAVY SM-3 LAUNCH: It’s not a recent photo but it’s spectacular. The SM-3 (Standard Missile 3) is a weapon in the Navy’s to Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. It can intercept short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. It can also hit satellites in orbit. That’s been proven. In 2008 an SM-3 destroyed a malfunctioning U.S. satellite. This article has a lot of background on the SM-3 and the U.S. Army’ THAAD.

THINK INDONESIA IS SENDING A MESSAGE?: Indonesia is blowing illegal fishing boats out of the water. This is a VOA article and the photos are impressive. Violations by Chinese fishermen played a significant role in the Philippines case against China before the Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration.

SO IT’S COME TO THIS: ‘Rape Culture’ Blamed After a Woman Is Told Her Swimsuit Is Inappropriate.

EVERY MOVE YOU MAKE: Amazon’s New Echo Show Is Very Cool And A Little Creepy.

The Echo Show is Amazon’s new $230 device with a built-in camera and touchscreen, powered by the AI-assistant, Alexa. In the top right-hand corner of its little 7-inch screen, I see a person-shaped icon. I tap it and the display changes; now it’s telling me which of my contacts have been recently active. I wonder if it is also telling them that I am active now too.

This thing, Alexa, that’s been living with me, listening to me, is now looking at me as well. It can see that I’m awake and about now, talking to it. If the original Echo, and Echo Dot, were all about device interactions, this new Echo Show seems to be largely designed to help you interact with other people. Once you connect it to your phone’s address book, it looks up which of your contacts also have Echo Show devices, so you can place video calls. (It already does this for voice calls with the Echo.) And to facilitate these conversations, it has a “Recently Active” feature that tells you who from your Drop In contacts (see below) has been up and about, and interacting with their Echo Show.

It has this wild new feature called Drop In. Drop In lets you give people permission to automatically connect with your device. Here’s how it works. Let’s say my father has activated Drop In for me on his Echo Show. All I have to do is say, “Alexa, drop in on Dad.” It then turns on the microphone and camera on my father’s device and starts broadcasting that to me. For the several seconds of the call, my father’s video screen would appear fogged over. But then there he’ll be. And to be clear: This happens even if he doesn’t answer. Unless he declines the call, audibly or by tapping on the screen, it goes through. It just starts. Hello, you look nice today.

That’s more than a little creepy.

THE NEWS WE KEPT TO OURSELVES: CNN’s ‘Massive’ Error on Russia? No Time For It on Brian Stelter’s ‘Reliable Sources:’

Instead, Stelter spent more than five minutes hate-analyzing Fox & Friends as a Trump infomercial. He spent about ten and a half minutes indulging “TV legend” Phil Donahue. He even closed the show with four minutes allegedly about Russia — but his guest Masha Gessen basically fed back Stelter his favorite talking point that Trump is an “aspiring autocrat” who’s shutting down access to the press: “We’re definitely hurtling towards a closed system of government…”

Curiously, for once, a Time-Warner-CNN-HBO employee sees that as an epithet.

UPDATE: CNN Publishes Single-Source Claim on Russia Investigation, Then Stealthily Retracts; Forbids Reporters From Running Any Russia Story Without Permission, Promises “Discipline.”

(Classical reference in headline.)

SEE, THIS IS WHY PEOPLE DON’T TRUST POLICE: Cops Sent Warrant To Facebook To Dig Up Dirt On Woman Whose Boyfriend They Had Just Killed.

SPACE: After nine launches in 2017, it’s tough to be an honest critic of SpaceX.

SpaceX continued to struggle with this launch manifest in 2015 (six successful flights, one accident) and in 2016 (eight successful flights, one accident). However, at the same time, SpaceX was innovating almost continuously, refining its rocket to improve its lift capacity and ability to land the first stage booster.

By now we can begin to see how SpaceX will build enough rockets and have the capacity to fly out its manifest. Later this summer, SpaceX will have three operational launch pads, and a fourth one—in Brownsville, Texas—may come online in late 2018. It has plenty of rockets in the pipeline when factoring in the company’s recovery of more than a dozen first stage boosters—and the successful re-flight of two of them. So far in 2017, SpaceX has successfully launched more rockets this year (nine) than in any previous year. And we’re not even to the end of June.

In retrospect, instead of running SpaceX down for failing to deliver on its launch manifest, perhaps Elbon, whose Boeing co-owns SpaceX competitor United Launch Alliance, should have been asking why customers were flocking to the company’s Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX has enjoyed a good 2017 so far.

PRIVACY: Google will no longer scan your Gmail for ad targeting.

SPYING: Australia advocates weakening strong crypto at upcoming “Five Eyes” meeting. The real problem isn’t terrorists using strong encryption. It’s intelligence agencies abusing their powers and public trust for political ends. They need to be reined in, sharply.

RAMESH PONNURU: Hot Rhetoric Is OK for Liberals, and for Me.

Over the weekend Hillary Clinton tweeted that if Republicans pass the health-care bill, they should be called “the death party.” Senator Bernie Sanders had his own tweet:

Let us be clear and this is not trying to be overly dramatic: Thousands of people will die if the Republican health care bill becomes law.

— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 23, 2017

Republicans denounced these remarks. Senator Orrin Hatch tweeted in response to Sanders:

The brief time when we were *not* accusing those we disagree with of murder was nice while it lasted. https://t.co/qr1rzon1cg

— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) June 23, 2017

My own reaction to the Democrats’ words was to consider calling a copyright attorney about Clinton, since a decade ago I wrote a book about abortion and related issues titled “The Party of Death.”

Liberals were outraged by my title then, as conservatives are by Clinton and Sanders now. It seems to me that today’s outrage is, as yesterday’s was, misdirected. A healthy democratic culture would not consider any of this rhetoric out of bounds.

The presumption of course is that our political culture is healthy, but do read the whole thing.

THINK OF IT AS EVOLUTION IN ACTION: Why Hazing Evolved.

AS PROMISED, TRUMP IS “GOOD FOR THE BLACKS:” Black unemployment at lowest level in 17 years. “Black unemployment has been on the decline since February — falling from (February) 8.1, (March) 8.0, (April) 7.9, and (May) 7.5 percent, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Dean Who Called White People ‘Trash’ Leaves Yale.

NINTH CIRCUIT HARDEST HIT: Supreme Court partly reinstates Trump travel ban, fall arguments set.

OUT ON A LIMB: Conservatism Is the New Punk.

SALENA ZITO: The fate of the Democrats’ future may lie in Georgia.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Despite Lost Gigs, Pat Boone Has ‘No Regrets’ as Conservative in Hollywood.

BLUE STATE BLUES:

This is all Mitch McConnell’s fault.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Paper ballots are hack-proof. It’s time to bring them back. “Perhaps it’s time to mandate paper ballots, and to also legally require other steps to ensure election integrity. Vote-counting systems should be transparent, and regularly audited. Voter ID should be strictly enforced, as it is in all advanced democracies to ensure that only eligible voters vote. And voter registrations should be audited frequently to ensure the removal of voters who have died or moved away. Maybe we should even dye voters’ fingers to prevent revoting, as is done in many other countries. There’s no way to hack that.”

CHANGE? 58% of Democrats Say Their Party Needs New Leadership.

Related: Democrats Finally Face the Pelosi Question.

My advice? Don’t swap asses midstream!

DAVID HARSANYI: The GOP Senate Health Care Bill Isn’t Great, But It’s Better Than Obamacare.

Republicans should ask themselves what the alternative looks like. Listen, I wish Mike Lee were writing a market-based Obamacare repeal bill and that we had a president who was interested in reforming welfare, but at some point conservatives are going to have to take a page from Democrats and occasionally embrace incrementalism. Idealism is empowering and necessary. Yet pragmatism can’t always be treated as a transgression. You’re going to see the bill change — provisions in the bill might need to be altered once we get a Congressional Budget Office score and the parliamentarian vets it — but you’re not going to see a market-based iteration of reform. It’s going to have to be achieved piecemeal.

If the House couldn’t cobble together a genuine repeal, there is little chance that senators who have to go home to statewide electorates would be in a position to do so. In fact, it’s surprisingly “conservative.” For one thing, voters like parts of Obamacare—forcing coverage of preexisting conditions, for instance—that make a full repeal impossible. For another, some senators simply won’t sign on to immediate Medicaid rollbacks.

The Obamacare debate was also an intramural affair, crafted to allay the concerns of moderate Democrats, not Republicans. What Democrats correctly understood was that they were engaged in a war of attrition. Even the Affordable Care Act (ACA), until very recently the most unpopular major reform in American history, is astoundingly difficult to repeal.

So it is what it is.

Most of the complaints I’m reading from Senate Republicans have so far been about the bill’s timing (Medicaid expansion rollback) and expense (keeping the ObamaCare exchanges afloat for a while longer). There have been far fewer worries expressed about the bill’s structure. That might give McConnell the wiggle room to pass what it is, with just a few changes.

Or, as Harsanyi suggests, the whole thing might be legislative kabuki and designed to fail.

IN THE MAIL: From Mark R. Levin, Rediscovering Americanism: And the Tyranny of Progressivism.

Plus, today’s Gold Box Deals and Lightning Deals.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Paper ballots are hack-proof. It’s time to bring them back.

V.A. SECRETARY: Agency Should be ‘Open’ to Medical Marijuana to Help Vets.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: The Number Of Law School Applicants With 160+LSAT Scores Has Declined 61% Since 2010.

THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT! Feds Spend $20,000 on Musical About Illegal Immigrant Lesbian.

The San Francisco Mime Troupe, a self-described socialist theater group, received the funding in the first round of grants awarded under the Trump administration. Jane Chu is the current chairman of the NEA, who was appointed by former president Barack Obama in 2014.

The musical is entitled “WALLS!” and stars a “bad hombre,” mocking a phrase used by Trump to describe criminal illegal aliens during a presidential debate.

The musical does not only address issues of immigration, but a host of other liberal and political topics.

“Using the Mime Troupe’s signature style of broad, physical theater, the work will explore immigration, gun violence, the opioid epidemic, depression, the public education system, and racial tensions, and how they relate to societal health,” according to the grant for the project. “Portions of the work will be developed through playmaking workshops in California’s Central Valley with low-income youth, inmates, and migrant workers.”

“WALLS asks the question: How can a nation of immigrants declare war on immigration? The answer: FEAR!” the San Francisco Mime Troupe states on their website.

Mimes performing in a musical?

VIRGINIA POSTREL IS PRO-IMMIGRATION, but she still has some sharp words for Bret Stephens’ stupid deport-native-born-Americans piece:

Now, I should be a sympathetic audience. I support substantially higher legal immigration levels, appreciate the contributions of those here illegally, and back efforts to regularize the status of undocumented workers and the children they brought with them. I detest Donald Trump. I liked Bret Stephens when we met.

But here’s the problem. The Swiftian part of the column was the idea of mass deportation. (I get it — you don’t really want to eat Irish babies or deport their great-grandchildren.) The rest of the comparison, however, was serious: People like Stephens and his family are good for America, it argued. People like me and mine are a drain.

Like most southerners, black and white, I don’t take kindly to disrespect. Although I’m hardly a hillbilly, that argument got my dander up.

Who is this prep-school-educated child of a high-level corporate executive to condemn as “complacent” and “entitled” the children of postal workers and engineers, schoolteachers and stock clerks? How can he be so ignorant and unappreciative of the innumerable small contributions that built the country that he now calls home? Who is he to tell the descendants of slaves and indentured servants that they don’t belong here because they don’t win enough science prizes? Where was he when I was sweltering through mediocre South Carolina public schools?

If that was my reaction, imagine how people who already have their doubts about large-scale immigration would respond — especially those with deep American roots. A child of privilege lecturing his fellow Americans on how they don’t deserve to live here is a prescription for Trumpian uprisings. And Stephens is hardly alone. Protected by the canopy of satire, he’s just more blatant about his disastrous message.

As I wrote long ago, “Americans care, of course, about their economic interests. But they care first about their identities. … If voters feel personally attacked — because they are Latinos, or working women, or housewives, or evangelical Christians, or gays — they will bolt the party that serves their economic interests.” Or, given the opportunity, back a presidential candidate who promises to blow it up.

It’s hard to escape the feeling that a lot of pro-immigration people really just don’t want America to be its traditionally exceptional self, and would like to import more tractable, and less distinctly American and ornery, voters. But they keep letting the mask slip.

YA THINK? Seattle’s Minimum Wage Hike May Have Gone Too Far.

In January 2016, Seattle’s minimum wage jumped from $11 an hour to $13 for large employers, the second big increase in less than a year. New research released Monday by a team of economists at the University of Washington suggests the wage hike may have come at a significant cost: The increase led to steep declines in employment for low-wage workers, and a drop in hours for those who kept their jobs. Crucially, the negative impact of lost jobs and hours more than offset the benefits of higher wages — on average, low-wage workers earned $125 per month less because of the higher wage, a small but significant decline.

$125 a month — or $1,500 a year — is not a “small” decline for someone making minimum wage.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: People Who Don’t Identify as a Man or Woman Want to Know: Why Isn’t Anyone Hooking Up With Me?

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Paper ballots are hack-proof. It’s time to bring them back. “In some ways, paper and ink is a super technology. When you cast a vote on a voting machine, all that’s recorded is who you voted for. But a paper ballot captures lots of other information: Ink color, handwriting, etc. If you have access to a voting machine that’s connected to the Internet, you can change all the votes at once. To change a bunch of paper ballots takes physical access, and unless you’re very careful the changed ballots will show evidence of tampering. Paper ballots aren’t fraud-proof, of course, as a century of Chicago politics demonstrates, but they’re beyond the reach of some guy sitting at a computer in a basement halfway around the world. And there are well-known steps to make Chicago-style fraud harder.”

THAT MEANS IT’S WORKING: 41% of US Counties Could Have Only One Obamacare Insurer Next Year.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Retired U.S. Tax Court Judge Sentenced To 34 Months In Jail For Tax Fraud Committed While She Sat On The Court. Honestly, that sounds like a pretty light sentence, considering.

WHEN LEFTIST BS GETS SO BAD EVEN COMMITTED LEFTIES CAN’T TAKE IT:

ADVANCED PETARD-HOISTMENT, DEMS/RUSSIA EDITION: Focus turns to Obama role. “Months of harping on President Trump’s purported ties to Russia may end up backfiring on Democrats as the White House turns the focus to former President Barack Obama’s failure to address Russian hacking, operatives from both sides said.”

Related: Adriana Cohen: Time To Investigate Democrats’ Russia Behavior.

Not only has there been zero credible evidence to warrant any of the costly investigations to date — despite a year of digging by anti-Trump forces — we now learn the widely debunked dossier published by BuzzFeed — with an assist by CNN — was commissioned by a pro-Hillary Clinton oppo research group to take down Trump.

The slanted dossier not only sparked the whole Russiagate investigation, it also provided a bogus excuse for the Obama administration, DOJ and intel agencies to engage in improper surveillance of Trump associates, unmasking of Trump officials as well as the illegal leaking of sensitive information gathered from the sketchy spying to complicit media in a deliberate attempt to smear Trump.

If this doesn’t scream corruption and collusion at the highest echelons of our government — what does? . . .

Worse, the FBI reportedly paid the discredited British spy Christopher Steele — whose report full of false rumors about Trump were spread to the media — $50,000 and then may have relied on Steele’s fake dossier to advance its Russian/Trump investigation.

Forget the fake Russian collusion. Congress and the special counsel should turn their attention to what the Democrats — from the Obama administration to the Clinton campaign — have been doing to undermine democracy in America.

What we know so far stinks to High Heaven.

Perhaps Rudy Giuliani would be willing to accept an appointment as special counsel.

PLASTICS: The Shale Revolution’s Staggering Impact in Just One Word.

That boom in drilling has expanded the output of oil and gas in the U.S. more than 57% in the past decade, lowering prices for the primary ingredients Dow Chemical Co. uses to make tiny plastic pellets. Some of the pellets are exported to Brazil, where they are reshaped into the plastic pouches filled with puréed fruits and vegetables.

Tons more will be shipping soon as Dow completes $8 billion in new and expanded U.S. petrochemical facilities mostly along the Gulf of Mexico over the next year, part of the industry’s largest transformation in a generation.

The scale of the sector’s investment is staggering: $185 billion in new U.S. petrochemical projects are in construction or planning, according to the American Chemistry Council. Last year, expenditures on chemical plants alone accounted for half of all capital investment in U.S. manufacturing, up from less than 20% in 2009, according to the Census Bureau.

Integrated oil firms including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC are racing to take advantage of the cheap byproducts of the oil and gas being unlocked by shale drilling. The companies are expanding petrochemical units that produce the materials eventually used to fashion car fenders, smartphones, shampoo bottles and other plastic stuff being bought more and more by the world’s burgeoning middle classes.

“It’s a tectonic shift in the hemispherical balance of who makes what to essentially feed the manufacturing sector,” said Dow Chief Executive Andrew Liveris, referring to the growth of production in the U.S. His company now plans to double down on its U.S. expansion with a $4 billion investment in a handful of projects over the next five years.

That feels like winning.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. 45 years after Title IX, America’s boys need equal protection.

Title IX became law in 1972, and it ostensibly forbids discrimination against students on the basis of their gender. But try telling that to students like Kaiden and his parents, for whom Title IX offers no relief.

At the time of its passage, there was little doubt that the nation’s colleges and universities failed to afford equality of opportunity to young women. Back then, only 42 percent of the students enrolled in American colleges were female.

Forty-five years later, the reality is quite different. Gender ratios for college enrollment have flipped 180 degrees, with males comprising the 42 percent minority.

That’s not the only major change in the last 45 years. Women now earn the majority of post-secondary degrees at every level. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, 52 percent of doctorates, 57 percent of master’s degrees, 57 percent of bachelor degrees, and 61 percent of associate degrees are awarded to women.

The gender disparity among minority students attending historically black colleges and universities is even more extreme.

I think the federal Department of Education needs to investigate this thoroughly.

BOY, A LOT OF THINGS CHANGED WHILE I WAS OFF THE GRID: Donald Trump is Not Under an FBI Investigation. Bernie Sanders Is.

WEIRD, I THOUGHT ALL HE WAS DOING WAS TWEETING ABOUT RUSSIA: President Trump Has Now Signed 40 Pieces Of Legislation As He Moves To Enact His Agenda.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Advice To Help Our Beloved Democrat Friends Win In 2018. “Look Democrats, you’re doing great. After a half year of Trump and several special election moral victories – which are the best kind of victories – America is digging your vibe. Everyone loves the Democrats and their can-do message of opposition to Trump, entitlement to our money, resistance to Trump, demands for even more of our money, and dog-whistlin’ about murdering Trump and anyone else who doesn’t hate Trump or want to give Democrats our money.”

BYRON YORK: On Russia, a senator’s deception, and a timeline of Trump frustration.

Given all the breathless reporting of the previous months, a listener might reasonably infer that Trump was under investigation — a contention the leaders of Congress knew at the time to be false.

Some were upset at the impression Comey left. The same day Comey testified, March 20, Grassley tweeted, “FBI Dir Comey needs to be transparent + tell the public what he told me about whether he is or is not investigating @POTUS.” And what Comey told Grassley, of course, was that Trump was not under investigation.

But then the next day, March 21, Schumer, who had been briefed by Comey on March 9 that the president was not under investigation, took to the floor of the Senate. He called on lawmakers to delay the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch until the Russia matter was resolved. Republicans held up President Obama’s Court choice for nearly a year, Schumer said, but “are now rushing to fill the seat for a president whose campaign is under investigation by the FBI.”

Schumer appeared to be speaking carefully; he said Trump’s campaign was under investigation. But then he became much less careful with his words. “You can bet if the shoe were on the other foot and a Democratic president was under investigation by the FBI, the Republicans would be howling at the moon about filling a Supreme Court seat in such circumstances,” Schumer said.

“After all, they stopped the president who was not under investigation from filling a set with nearly a year left in his presidency,” Schumer continued. “It is unseemly to be moving forward so fast on confirming a Supreme Court Justice with a lifetime appointment while this ‘big gray cloud’ of an FBI investigation hangs over the presidency.”

Schumer’s point was entirely clear: President Trump was under investigation. Of course, Comey told Schumer less than two weeks earlier that was not the case.

York has put everything in one place, so read the whole thing.

THEY TOLD ME IF DONALD TRUMP WERE PRESIDENT, SHAMELESS OPEN RACISM WOULD BE NORMALIZED ON CAMPUS. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Prof Calls For ‘Wealthy White’ Frats To Be Banned, But Pauses On Banning Black Ones.

AT AMAZON, 70% off or More on Grills.

WHAT ARE THEY TRYING TO HIDE? Democrats block witnesses from testifying in House intel probe.

THE CNN CRACKDOWN, HILLARY’S RUSSIA CONNECTION, AND MORE: All on Liz Sheld’s morning brief.

TOLERANCE: Professor Fired For Saying Otto Warmbier ‘Got Exactly What He Deserved’

“The University of Delaware has announced that Katherine Dettwyler, who last taught in the spring as an adjunct faculty member, will not be rehired to teach at the University in the future,” school officials said in a statement sent to The Daily Caller on Sunday.

Dettwyler made her comments on Wednesday on Facebook and in the comments section of a National Review article. At some point on Friday, she later removed or otherwise concealed the comments.

“Is it wrong of me to think that Otto Warmbier got exactly what he deserved?” the no-longer-employed professor wondered on Facebook. “He went to North Korea, for fuck’s sake, and then acted like a spoiled, naive, arrogant, US college student who had never had to face the consequences of his actions.”

The 62-year-old anthropology professor — an expert on breastfeeding (according to a now-deleted curriculum vitae) — was even more critical of Warmbier in her National Review comments.

White men deserve whatever happens to them, because justice.

DON SURBER:

Barack Obama’s administration made up the Russian-Trump lie to justify spying on Team Trump.

Hillary bitterly clung to the story to stave off angry donors who invested a billion bucks and all they got was a I’m With Her shirt.

The Resistance Media hung on to it in the hopes of bringing down President Trump

But last week’s Toss Off Ossoff election — and Comey’s admission under oath that there was nothing to this — forced Democrats to abandon their big, fat, stupid lie.

Today, CNN ordered its staff to back off on Russia.

It’s dead. So why’s Mueller still investigating with 14 newly hired lawyers?

MORGAN CHALFANT: Election hacking fears turn heat on Homeland Security.

Growing concerns about threats to U.S. election systems have put the heat on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its efforts to boost national cybersecurity.

Homeland Security officials testified this week before the Senate Intelligence Committee that they have evidence that Russia targeted election-related systems in 21 states as part of its wider effort to influence the presidential election.

Now, lawmakers concerned about future foreign interference in U.S. elections are pressuring the department to offer more help to states and provide more details about what happened in 2016.

Two thoughts: First, we never got to the conclusion on charges that DHS itself was hacking state election computers.

Second, if you use paper ballots, you don’t have to worry about some guy in a basement halfway around the word.

HORSE, BARN DOOR? CNN changing Russia reporting procedures after retraction.

BuzzFeed obtained an email sent to CNN employees Saturday morning that stated no one at the network can publish “any content involving Russia without coming” to Rich Barbieri, the CNNMoney executive, or a CNN vice president.

Barbieri wrote, “This applied to social, video, editorial, and MoneyStream. No exceptions. I will lay out a workflow Monday.”

The story CNN published Thursday alleged a member of President Trump’s transition team had met with the chief executive of a Russian investment firm worth $10 billion just days before the inauguration. The story had one single, unnamed source and claimed the Senate Intelligence Committee was looking into the meeting.

The story was retracted and deleted on Friday and there’s an internal investigation going on that reaches up to the highest parts of the company, according to the BuzzFeed report.

Who is this source CNN fell over itself to believe?

JOURNALISM:

Think of Chuck Todd as a Democratic Party operative with a TV show and you won’t go far wrong.

AS EVERYONE FROM HILLARY CLINTON TO SAMANTHA BEE HAS INFORMED US, WHITE WOMEN ARE JUST THE WORST:

It’s been quite a busy couple of months for white women. After 53 percent of them handed Trump the election at the conclusion of 2016, they have turned the nonsense up eleven. From going on redemption tours where they cry into the arms of black men in order breathe life into floppin’ albums, to trying to outdo each other in robbing from and swagger-jacking black women (again), they have shown no signs of slowing down.

So awful. Luckily we have people like Clarkisha Kent of The Root to remind white women to keep in their place.

CHUTZPAH: North Korea claims it is ‘biggest victim’ in Otto Warmbier’s death, vows to get tough with the U.S.

“The fact that Warmbier died suddenly in less than a week just after his return to the U.S., is a mystery to us as well,” the statement continues, noting that his health indicators were “normal” at the time of release.

Warmbier died June 19, just days after being returned to the U.S. in a coma after having been detained in North Korea in early 2016 on allegations of stealing a propaganda poster. U.S. doctors noted that Warmbier had suffered extensive brain damage, but could not determine the cause. He was laid to rest on Thursday, but no autopsy was performed, due to his family’s wishes.

North Korea officials claimed the 22-year-old, who is believed to have been in a comatose state for more than a year, contracted botulism and fell into a coma after being given a sleeping bill. However, doctors have rejected such an explanation and his parents also have refuted those claims – instead vowing that their son was “brutalized and terrorized” while imprisoned.

FLASHBACK: “North Korea has established its system of prison camps where an untold number have died amid ‘unspeakable atrocities’ comparable to what the Nazis did, according to a preliminary report from the UN.”

INDEED: Jason Chaffetz: Congress needs to look over Robert Mueller’s shoulder.

Honestly, I think he should resign, and if he doesn’t then Attorney General Sessions should appoint a separate counsel to investigate the obstruction claims, as Mueller has an unfixable conflict there. I made that point in last week’s USA Today column.

I’M BACK! REGULAR BLOGGING WILL GRADUALLY RESUME TODAY.

June 25, 2017

MORE REASONS TO DOUBT THE “INTERNET OF THINGS:” Roadside Cameras Infected with WannaCry Virus Invalidate 8,000 Traffic Tickets.

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LOSING AGAIN, FOR THE SAME REASON. Jon Ossoff’s loss in Georgia shows that the Democrats have failed to broaden their appeal, Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center writes at City Journal:

Ossoff’s loss ultimately stemmed from his failure at the third task: persuading independents and never-Trumpers that he was the better choice. Third-party voters cast 4.9 percent of the vote in 2016, but Ossoff outperformed Clinton by only 1.3 percent. Since partisan turnout seems to have been about equal, this implies that Ossoff won by only about a quarter of the third-party supporters’ votes. Democrats hoped that he would do better, based on polls showing Trump’s low approval rating (less than 40 percent) among voters in the district. But Trump’s approval ratings were no better last November, and he still won because people who did not like either Trump or Clinton voted for him by a large margin. Apparently these mostly Republican voters remain willing to choose the Trump-backing GOP devil they know over the Democratic devil they don’t, even if they don’t like Trump himself.

This is the Democrats’ national problem in a nutshell. The Democratic mantra this year has been “resist,” a call to the barricades that energizes their base but apparently does nothing to attract more people to the cause. When Democrats are trying to win districts or states where Trump triumphed, they’re simply re-running the same failed strategy that sent Clinton down to defeat.

Rather than resist, the Democrats should desist—from overreacting to every tweet from the Oval Office and from trying to push their unmodified agenda. Whatever Democratic activists think, a majority of Americans do not want what they are selling. They may not like much of what the Republicans and Trump are offering, either, but when forced to choose, they will, however reluctantly, back the Trump-GOP synthesis over the united Democratic alternative.

One special election 18 months before the national midterms is just a data point, of course; extrapolating national trends from such a unique race as Georgia’s is unsound. But placed in the context of polls and other special elections that show the same thing—Democrats mobilizing their voters but not winning over Republicans or GOP-leaning independents in appreciable numbers—it is a warning. Unless Republican voters start to see Democrats as acceptable alternatives to their own Trump-backing party members, Democrats who hope to regain power quickly are just whistling Dixie.

Good luck getting the left to see that, however. QED:

JUST THINK OF CHUCK TODD AS A DEMOCRAT OPERATIVE* WITH A BYLINE, AND IT ALL MAKES SENSE: “Oh weird…Chuck Todd has Bernie Sanders on [NBC’s Meet the Press] and doesn’t question him about being under FBI investigation.”

Flashback: NBC, Chuck Todd Hide Wife’s Kaine Donation, and Her Firm Getting Millions from Bernie Campaign.

*Still being a Democrat operative, that is.

 

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DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE. Video: Children of Darkness.

AS ALWAYS, LIFE IMITATES THE ONION*:

● Shot: “Gay-Pride Parade Sets Mainstream Acceptance Of Gays Back 50 Years.”

—A classic Onion headline from April of 2001.

● Chaser: “In this statement, the progressive organizer of Chicago Pride parade says Jewish Pride flags are banned because they’re visually threatening.”

Commentary and Daily Beast contributor Omri Ceren of the Israel Project, as quoted today in a Twitchy post headlined, “TRIGGERED: Guess the country’s flag banned by tolerant lefties at Pride parade in Chicago.”

● Hangover: “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wears Ramadan-themed socks at a church service before the Pride parade on Sunday.

—Caption of photo in article today at the Toronto Star, headlined, “Black Lives Matter joins Toronto Pride parade, despite not registering.”

As Mark Steyn wrote a decade ago, in the post-9/11 leftwing worldview, “our tolerance of our own tolerance is making us intolerant of other people’s intolerance, which is intolerable. And, unlikely as it sounds, this has now become the highest, most rarefied form of multiculturalism. So you’re nice to gays and the Inuit? Big deal. Anyone can be tolerant of fellows like that, but tolerance of intolerance gives an even more intense frisson of pleasure to the multiculti masochists.”

* The earlier, funnier, not yet totally in the tank for Hillary Onion, of course.

UPDATE: “Now, if only actual Muslims around the world can wear rainbow socks, then maybe we’ll get somewhere.”

IN HEATED POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT, TIME-WARNER-CNN-HBO RESPONDS TO CALLS TO TONE DOWN RHETORIC: Bill Maher Sees ‘Zodiac Killer’ GOP Plan’; Too Many ‘Waste-Making’ Kids.

Actually between Maher dropping the N-word on air and his corporate associates’ love of assassination porn, for Time-Warner-CNN-HBO in 2017, perhaps that does count as dialing back the rhetoric.

MORE “UNEXPECTED” BAD LUCK IN ILLINOIS: Senator Durbin Confronted By Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso Who’s a Doctor: ‘Senator Durbin doesn’t want to talk about the fact that in Illinois they are way down on the number of people even selling insurance and prices are way up.’

Earlier: “Illinois on the Right Track…To Achieve Junk Credit Rating.”

(Classical allusion in headline.)

UNEXPECTEDLY: Every now and then, a small news item will restore your faith in the decency of people. This is one of those. “Video shows a teen falling off a Six Flags ride — and a crowd gathering to catch her.” Spare yourself the navel gazing about amusement parks, and watch the embedded video.

SKYNET SMILES, PREPARES FOR 2020 ELECTION:

Shot: Why humans must accept that robots make better decisions.

—The London Telegraph, today.

Chaser: Will Mark Zuckerberg Run For President? He’s Hanging Out In Iowa Right Now.

Bustle.com, yesterday.

A RARE MOMENT OF SANITY IN SACRAMENTO: Remember that California single payer plan? Yeah… never mind.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: What to know about NYC’s golden age of ‘butt-legging.’

CLINT EASTWOOD ANNOUNCES NEXT FILM PROJECT: “Eastwood is working on his next project, about three friends who stopped a terrorist attack two years ago on a train in France:”

“I met the kids at an awards event last summer,” Eastwood said, referring to the 2016 Spike TV “Guys Choice Awards” — a made-for-TV comedy event that features Hollywood stars who gather to “toast the mega-splendor of all things guy,” according to the cable channel. During the taping of the event last August, Eastwood was on hand to introduce Stone, Skarlatos and Sadler before they received the Hero Award.

“The audience was mostly military, and I just introduced them as guys who represented the American spirit, who were going to go down fighting,” Eastwood said.

“I was flattered when I met him, because when we were on the stage, Mr. Eastwood told me, ‘I don’t usually do this type of stuff, but when I heard who I’d be introducing, I decided to show up,’” Stone recalled.

Backstage, the heroes had a chance to chat with Eastwood, whom they all admired. And they told him they’d be honored if he’d consider directing their movie.

“It was just a brief conversation, but he said, ‘Send me your book,’” Stone said. In December of last year, after they sent the book to Eastwood’s Burbank office, his assistant called them to say he was interested.

“I read it, and I thought, ‘This is something different,’” Eastwood said. “It was an episode people don’t associate with young people today — doing something heroic.”

Read the whole thing.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT YESTERDAY, MY LATEST PIECE AT THE PJ LIFESTYLE SECTION: Ted Nugent, Bespoke Instruments Steal the 2017 Dallas Guitar Show.

Ted Nugent signing autographs on Saturday May 6 while protected by the Dallas PD Gang Squad(!). He would jam on stage the following day.

YES, BUT THEY STILL HAVE VERY POWERFUL MICROPHONES: They’re Wrong About Everything — More evidence the political class doesn’t know what it’s talking about.

But they do manage to always protect their phony-baloney jobs, alas.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Paper ballots are hack-proof. It’s time to bring them back, Glenn Reynolds writes in his latest USA Today column.

Read the whole thing, to coin an Insta-phrase.

ILLINOIS SURE HAS BEEN HAVING PLENTY OF BAD LUCK, HUH? “Illinois on the Right Track…To Achieve Junk Credit Rating.”

(Classical allusion in headline.)