February 20, 2017

AUTOMATION: The robot that takes your job should pay taxes, says Bill Gates

In a recent interview with Quartz, Gates said that a robot tax could finance jobs taking care of elderly people or working with kids in schools, for which needs are unmet and to which humans are particularly well suited. He argues that governments must oversee such programs rather than relying on businesses, in order to redirect the jobs to help people with lower incomes. The idea is not totally theoretical: EU lawmakers considered a proposal to tax robot owners to pay for training for workers who lose their jobs, though on Feb. 16 the legislators ultimately rejected it.

“You ought to be willing to raise the tax level and even slow down the speed” of automation, Gates argues. That’s because the technology and business cases for replacing humans in a wide range of jobs are arriving simultaneously, and it’s important to be able to manage that displacement. “You cross the threshold of job replacement of certain activities all sort of at once,” Gates says, citing warehouse work and driving as some of the job categories that in the next 20 years will have robots doing them.

I wonder what Gates would think of punitive taxes on, say, office productivity software which helped to eliminate so many inefficient office jobs.

PHOTO: Knoxville, 1905. Thanks to reader Howard Isaacs for the link.

TRUMP ANNOUNCES LT. GEN. H.R. MCMASTER AS HIS NEW NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER.

Related: H.R. McMaster: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know.

JUST A WHIFF WILL SEND LEFTISTS RUNNING FOR THEIR SAFE SPACES: Trump “Success” Deodorant and Cologne for men.

CHRISTIAN TOTO: 5 Great Jack Nicholson Movies (After He Hit 50).

I was disappointed not to see The Departed on there, but you’ve got to draw the line somewhere — and Nicholson’s after-50 credits is a rich vein to mine.

AT AMAZON, books on Health, Fitness, and Dieting.

Plus, deals on Bedding. Sleep fresh!

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Trump And The Crisis Of The Meritocracy.

HANG UP AND DRIVE: Smartphone Addicts Behind the Wheel Drive Car Insurance Rates Higher.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., the largest U.S. auto insurer by market share, said 36% of the people it surveyed in 2015 admitted to texting while driving, and 29% said they access the internet, compared with 31% and 13%, respectively, in 2009.

State Farm’s survey found that 52% of respondents in 2011 owned a smartphone, and 88% owned one in 2015.

The connection between phones and collisions surfaced in insurers’ earnings. Fourth-quarter underwriting results for personal auto insurance worsened at Travelers Cos., Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., and Horace Mann Educators Corp., and all three said distracted driving was partly to blame. The three companies insure millions of vehicles across the U.S.

“Distracted driving was always there, but it just intensified as more applications for the smartphones became available,” said Bill Caldwell, executive vice president of property and casualty at Horace Mann, in a recent interview. The insurer expects to raise rates 8% this year, on top of average 6.5% increases in 2016.

Ouch.

FACE, MEET PALM: New Campaign Seeks to End Use of Black Targets at Gun Ranges.

21ST CENTURY PROBLEMS: Lawyers could be the next profession to be replaced by computers. I find this super depressing. Can you imagine a world without lawyers?

FOLLOW THE CHOCOLATE: Nestlé Leaves California to Get Away from Anti-Capitalist Lawmakers and Activists.

UPDATE (Ed): To get a sense of how far to the left Sacramento has gone, a reminder that Nestlé’s corporatist instincts were one of the chief inspirations for Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism. But then, as Robert Conquest once said, everybody is conservative about what they know best.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: The Right Way To Take Every Type of Sleeping Pill. In my opinion, unless you’ve got serious problems it’s mostly “don’t.”

FROM GLENN’S INBOX:

Having listened to Milo’s podcast and the deceptive editing on the video, as well as comparing his statements to what was said “on the air” as it were, I’m more than a little disappointed that Stephen Green fell for a clickbait headline saying “Milo advocates for sex between men and boys.” In my opinion this was not true but if the goal is to remove Milo’s pro-Trump rhetoric from CPAC than it makes sense to use whatever dirty tactics are at hand. (I especially liked the touch where the headline was left standing but Milo’s rebuttal was not quoted, especially the relevant bits where he lists the pedos he’s personally busted and said that the legal age of consent is in the right place.)

I don’t know if anyone else was planning to partake in this but if anyone does I’d be even more disappointed if no one weighed the value of Milo’s words on their own merit. Smear campaigns shouldn’t have a place at Instapundit or any other blog.

Per longstanding Instapundit tradition, the link in a post is the headline as written on the linked site. Those words are Paula Bolyard’s, not mine.

On an issue like this one, sometimes the best thing a blogger can do it provide context. So I gave you three links: First, to the hysteria. Second, to the transcript. Third, to Milo’s defense of himself.

Milo’s money quote, which was edited out of the video, is this:

The law is probably about right, that’s probably roughly the right age. I think it’s probably about okay, but there are certainly people who are capable of giving consent at a younger age, I certainly consider myself to be one of them, people who are sexually active younger. I think it particularly happens in the gay world by the way. In many cases actually those relationships with older men…This is one reason I hate the left. This stupid one size fits all policing of culture. (People speak over each other). This sort of arbitrary and oppressive idea of consent, which totally destroys you know understanding that many of us have. The complexities and subtleties and complicated nature of many relationships. You know, people are messy and complex. In the homosexual world particularly. Some of those relationships between younger boys and older men, the sort of coming of age relationships, the relationships in which those older men help those young boys to discover who they are, and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable and sort of a rock where they can’t speak to their parents. Some of those relationships are the most -”

And this was edited out as well:

“You’re misunderstanding what pedophilia means. Pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13-years-old who is sexually mature. Pedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty. Pedophilia is attraction to people who don’t have functioning sex organs yet. Who have not gone through puberty… That’s not what we are talking about. You don’t understand what pedophilia is if you are saying I’m defending it because I’m certainly not.”

“It’s complicated” is usually the correct answer about questions concerning sex. But Milo’s actual position on pedophilia — he’s outed three pederasts in his reporting — doesn’t seem complicated at all.

MORE LIKE THIS, PLEASE: Alt-Right Leader Richard Spencer Crashed a Student Libertarian Conference and Was Shunned.

WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS: Canned Bacon Grease.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: A Physicist Explains Why Humans Probably Didn’t Pop Into Existence Last Tuesday. Well, to be honest, I felt a little run-down last Tuesday. Now Wednesday was kinda nice.

WHEW! No, Congress Isn’t Letting Mentally Ill People Get Guns.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: 11-Year-Old Docked Points for Not Bashing Trump.

TRESPASSING IN CHRISTINA’S WORLD.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Trump And The Crisis Of The Meritocracy. “Strong nations can fail when their leadership class, or a part of it, succumbs to pettiness, and places its narrow factional interests above those of the nation. Americans have often assumed that we are immune to such things. Perhaps earlier Americas, with a more disciplined, more patriotic ruling class, were. But today’s America is not. Beware.”

WELL, YES: Trump may have been unclear, but Sweden experiencing a migrant crime wave.

Trump’s comments during a Florida campaign rally on Saturday – which some took as a misstatement about a supposed terror attack – dovetail with what Springare has been seeing during a typical week in Orebro, Sweden. Five rapes, three assaults, a pair of extortions, blackmail, an attempted murder, violence against police and a robbery made up Springare’s caseload for a five-day period earlier this month, according to a Feb. 3 Facebook post he wrote. The suspects were all from Muslim-majority countries – Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Turkey – save for one Swedish man nabbed in a drug-related case.

“Mohammed, Mahmod, Ali, again and again,” Springare wrote of those arrested.

Springare, who is now being investigated for possible hate crime incitement based on his post, managed to elucidate what Trump only hinted at during a Florida campaign speech – somewhat opaquely.

“You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden,” Trump said. “Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”

Many analysts took issue with Trump’s “last night” framing, and immediately compared the line to recent misstatements by Trump spokespeople, such as counselor Kellyanne Conway’s infamous “Bowling Green Massacre” blunder.

But Trump explained on Twitter late Sunday that he was only referring to a Fox News segment that aired on Friday night’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” dealing with the Swedish refugee crime.

This is a fine example of Salena Zito’s formulation: “The press takes Trump literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”

I’M OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER THE OBAMA BOYS CLUB WHITE HOUSE, but I’m supposed to be outraged at this: Men outnumber women more than 2-1 among top White House aides.

I guess it’ll be a hotbed of woman-grabbing misogyny like this scene, involving Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau:

“Fraternities have been closed for less.”

Related: In Early Obama White House Female Staffers Felt Frozen Out.

WHAT BETSY DEVOS CAN DO FOR HIGHER EDUCATION: Appoint Richard Vedder:

DeVos’s department is also deeply involved in higher education, but the issues are different. What roils higher education are problems such as excessive costs, lack of intellectual diversity, faltering academic quality, federal overregulation, and threats to free speech and due process. DeVos must appoint a deputy undersecretary for higher education who will address those issues capably and with respect for individual freedom.

I recommend Richard Vedder for that job. Vedder is an emeritus economics professor at Ohio University, an accomplished and prolific writer on higher education issues, and a genial provocateur who will stand up against political correctness.

Vedder has a solid pedigree in higher education analysis—even though he was an academic economist for nearly 40 years before plunging into the study of higher education. His 2004 book, Going Broke by Degree, was prescient; it was the start of a wave of trade books undermining the assumption that all is well in our colleges and universities.

Soon, he was appointed to the Spellings Commission on the Future of Higher Education, which issued a report in 2006 that severely criticized higher education. Named for Margaret Spellings, the education secretary under George W. Bush who authorized it, the commission sounded an alarm. It cited “a lack of clear, reliable information about the cost and quality of postsecondary institutions” and found a “remarkable absence of accountability mechanisms.” Its message was tough enough to win opposition from both the university establishment and the Left.

Vedder was more libertarian than most of the commission, but he got along with the other members, probably because he listens to what others say and because he has an engaging sense of humor.

Which will be needed when dealing with Higher Ed.

AS OBESITY RISES, REMOTE PACIFIC ISLANDS PLAN TO ABANDON JUNK FOOD.

To be fair, you really don’t want Pacific islands such as Guam tipping over. And I’m assured by prominent Democratic officials that it could happen!

KURT SCHLICHTER: President Trump Has Been Far Too Nice To The Mainstream Media.

It wasn’t a press conference – it was a kinky dungeon session where masochistic journalists eagerly sought out the delicious pain Master T was dealing. Hack after hack stepped up, tried to play “gotcha.” and ended up whimpering in the fetal position. The best part was CNN’s Jim Acosta, fresh from whining about how conservative outlets now get to ask questions too, basically handing Trump the cat-o-nine tails. Dude, next time keep from talking yourself into more public humiliation by biting down on the ball gag.

The media’s safe word is “Objectivity,” but none of them uttered it.

The wonderful thing about Trump – and the thing that sets the Fredocons and wusspublicans fussing – is that he gives exactly zero damns about the media’s inflated and ridiculous self-image. He doesn’t pay lip service to their lie that they are anything but what Instapundit calls “Democratic Party operatives with bylines.” Trump called them the “the enemy of the American People,” to which normals responded with “Yeah, sounds about right.”

Read the whole thing.

WAPO’S MARGARET SULLIVAN WORRIES THAT TRUMP WILL “HUNT DOWN” REPORTERS.

You went full Eason Jordan, Margaret. Never go full Eason Jordan.

Related:

UPDATE: Hey, is this the new meme on the Journolist? “[CNN’s Chris] Cuomo: ‘Someone Will Get Hurt’ By Trump’s Attacks on Media.”

Everything old is new again at CNN!

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The End Of Identity Politics: “Class is finally reemerging as a better barometer of privilege than is race—a point that Republican populists are starting to hammer home. The children of Barack Obama, for example, have far more privilege than do the sons of Appalachian coal miners—and many Asian groups already exceed American per capita income averages. When activist Michael Eric Dyson calls for blanket reparations for slavery, his argument does not resonate with an unemployed working-class youth from Kentucky, who was born more than 30 years after the emergence of affirmative action—and enjoys a fraction of Dyson’s own income, net worth, and cultural opportunities. . . . The 2016 election marked an earthquake in the diversity industry. It is increasingly difficult to judge who we are merely by our appearances, which means that identity politics may lose its influence. These fissures probably explain some of the ferocity of the protests we’ve seen in recent weeks. A dying lobby is fighting to hold on to its power.”

IT’S THEIR WAY: The Usual People Plan ‘Not My President’s Day’ Protests In The Usual Places.

I’m curious to see how long the Professional Left can maintain this level of outrage. You can’t keep it cranked up to 11 forever, especially since Trump has yet to do anything truly outrageous like sign an ObamaCare repeal & replace bill, or defanging the IRS or EPA, or — and I’m giddy at this prospect — announcing his replacement for a retiring liberal member of the Supreme Court.

THE DIPLOMAD: Madness and Chaos: the Left in the Time of Trump. “The losers are not happy. The sort of attack they have launched on Trump, his administration, and supporters might seem unprecedented, although it might be comparable to how the Democrats in the South reacted to Republican-led Reconstruction after the Civil War, except it doesn’t make anywhere as much sense.”

FREE TRADE: After OPEC cuts heavy oil, China teapot refiners pull U.S. supply to Asia.

Chinese independent, or teapot, refiners are bringing in rare cargoes of North American heavy crude in a new long-distance flow that traders say has only been made possible by OPEC’s output cuts and ample supplies in Canada and the United States.

In April, at least 1 million barrels of the heavy crude Mars, pumped from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, are expected to land in China’s Shandong province and 1 million barrels of a second unidentified heavy grade will arrive in China, trade and shipping sources said last week. This follows the arrival in January of 600,000 barrels of U.S. Gulf Blend, a heavy crude made up of a blend of various U.S. and Canadian grades loaded onto ships on the U.S. Gulf Coast, according to the sources and shipping data.

OPEC might have just found its drilling floor, like it or not.

VIDEO: Milo Yiannopoulos Advocating for Sex Between Men and Boys.

Full transcript here.

And the denial here.

WHO KNEW THAT BARACK OBAMA WAS SO RACIST?

As I’ve said, Richard Fernandez has been on a roll lately. For example:

UPDATE: From the comments: “President Trump ought to use these exact same words in his next speech and then we can see how the left and the media react.”

SET PHASERS FOR BACKFIRE: George Takei deletes Twitter poll after something goes hilariously awry.

WHILE THEY CAN: Red-State Dems Thread the Needle in Working With Trump.

In the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Thursday, an unusual entourage joined President Trump to watch him nix a coal mining rule put in place by his predecessor.

There was the usual smattering of Republican lawmakers, of course, and a group of coal miners decked out in their gear. But among this small crowd were also two Democratic senators, Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Manchin, flanking the president as he spoke.

Manchin delivered a few remarks, too, to express his pride. “These are all West Virginians,” he noted, gesturing toward his home-state miners.

As Trump signed the resolution, they all crowded in for a photo.

“Come on, Heidi,” Trump said, urging the North Dakota lawmaker to slide in directly behind him. “Even though she’s sort of a Democrat.” Everyone laughed.

That was a fine moment, and it’s no coincidence that it featured the 2018’s two most vulnerable Senate Democrats.

JOHN FUND: Trump Is a Lot Like the LBJ Whom Liberals Still Idolize.

SHOCKINGLY, NOT THAT MANY PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED IN VACATIONING IN A COMMUNIST HELLHOLE: Now That Cuba Is Open, Americans Aren’t Going. I’ll wait until the Castros are gone. Then, maybe a condo at the luxurious Trump Bay Of Pigs Resort.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Trump And The Crisis Of The Meritocracy. “The rage of our privileged class is thus about loss of status. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t dangerous. Nations have blown up over less.”

LAUGH THROUGH THE TEARS:

ROGER SIMON: The Russians Are Not Coming, But What About The Iranians?

ALLIES: Why Japan Is Relieved About Trump.

Trump never once mentioned his earlier demand that Japan pay more – or, indeed, the entire cost – for US troops stationed there and the suggestion that Japan develop and deploy nuclear weapons that so horrified many never came up.

Instead, the two leaders busied themselves by reiterating the importance of the bilateral security relationship and Washington’s commitment to defending Japan and maintaining its nuclear umbrella. Pointedly, that included the disputed Diaoyu islands, which Japan controls and knows as the Senkakus.

The shared security message received a significant boost when North Korea launched a new type of medium-range ballistic missile on Sunday morning. Not many believe the timing of the launch was a coincidence.

The other key issue between Trump and Abe was economics, with the Japanese leader again relieved that there was no new talk of imposing tariffs on Japanese companies’ imports or accusations that Tokyo manipulates its currency to help exports and the national economy.

Good. These were never credible positions.

WHAT DESPERATION LOOKS LIKE? Byron York: 25th Amendment chatter: Dems, pundits mull ways to remove Trump.

As President Trump finishes his fourth week in the White House, a number of opposition lawmakers, political commentators, and self-styled members of The Resistance are discussing ways in which the president might be quickly removed from office.

Some have talked about impeachment for quite a while, even before the Trump inauguration. But that could take a long time, and it would require Trump to commit, and then be charged with and convicted of, “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” to meet the Constitution’s standard for removing the president from office.

That’s too long term, say some. So now, there is increasing discussion of the 25th Amendment. The 1967 amendment, which has its roots in the Kennedy assassination, covers ways to replace an incapacitated president. Up until now, its most-discussed provision was a measure by which the president could inform the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate that he, the president, can no longer perform the duties of office, whereupon those two officials would declare the vice president the acting president, until such time as the president informed them that he was again able to perform his duties. The amendment has been used or considered for cases in which the president underwent surgery or was under anesthesia.

Now, however, The Resistance is looking at Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, which would allow the vice president and a majority of cabinet officers, or the vice president and a majority “of such other body as Congress may by law provide,” to declare the president unable to serve, making the vice president the acting president.

If you want to see a civil war, just keep it up with these plans to “get rid of” Trump. That our “ruling class” continues to indulge in these despite the obvious danger demonstrates more than anything else that it is unfit to rule.

I’D BE HAPPY IF WE COULD GET THAT FOR THE GOVERNMENT AND THE PRESS: Dear Secretary DeVos, Please Prioritize Financial Literacy.

KAROL MARKOWICZ: Lefties keep showing off their civic ignorance.

Last week, cable news personality Sally Kohn tweeted what she called a “straightforward” plan that would eject Donald Trump and install Hillary Clinton into the presidency: “1. Impeach Trump Pence; 2. Constitutional crisis; 3. Call special election; 4. Ryan v Clinton; 5. President Clinton.”

Anyone with middle-school knowledge of the presidential chain of command should know that impeaching both Trump and his vice president would not, actually, lead to a “constitutional crisis” or a “special election.” It would lead directly, do not pass go, do not collect $200, to President Paul Ryan. Whom Clinton would be welcome to challenge in the next election.

Kohn is far from alone in broadcasting her ignorance of the political process. Our so-called “elite” seems to be in desperate need of a remedial civics class.

Call it willful ignorance of the legal impediment standing between the elites and absolute power.

AND YET THEIR OWN TRACK RECORD IS LESS THAN IMPRESSIVE: Flashback: Washington’s ‘governing elite’ think Americans are morons.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Trump And The Crisis Of The Meritocracy.

SPYING:

The FBI’s investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn is spurring fresh debate about a controversial law on foreign surveillance that is set to expire at the end of the year.

Republicans have expressed outrage over reports that Flynn’s calls to a Russian ambassador were intercepted by law enforcement.

That’s music to the ears of civil liberties and privacy advocates, who have long argued that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and particularly Section 702, should be curtailed.

My question: Is the Obama Administration’s anti-leak program, “Insider Threat,” still spying on journalists? And if so, what has it uncovered, and when and how will that come out?

NOT HIS FINEST HOUR: Trump Mocked Mercilessly for Claiming Imaginary Terror Attack in Sweden.

QUESTION ASKED: Where was McCain when Obama attacked the free press?

SAD: For Generation Z, ‘Live Chilling’ Replaces Hanging Out in Person.

Teens have been hanging out online for 20 years, but in 2017 they’re doing it on group video chat apps, in a way that feels like the real thing, not just a poor substitute. Ranging in age from adolescents to their early 20s—the group loosely defined as “Generation Z”—these young people are leaving the apps open, in order to hang out casually with peers in a trend some call “live chilling.”

This phenomenon is made possible by the sudden ubiquity of video chat, in messaging apps such as Kik and Facebook Messenger, as well as stand-alone apps including Houseparty, Fam, Tribe, Airtime and ooVoo.

Houseparty, which launched in February 2016, says it reached one million daily active users within seven months. Fam, launched in December 2016, reached a million downloads within 12 days, says co-founder and chief executive Giuseppe Stuto.

There’s no good substitute for real human contact, particularly for teens who are still sorting out their identities and discovering how they fit in with the rest of the world.

I DEMAND THAT TODAY’S DEMOCRATS DENOUNCE THAT DICTATOR FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT: 75 years later, Japanese Americans recall pain of internment camps.

Related:

THE BELMONT CLUB: The Intellectual Underpinnings of Trumpism. Though to be fair (1) I do get book advances — nice ones! — and talk-show invites; and (2) I don’t see any sign that I’ve been much of an intellectual influence on Trump or Bannon, more’s the pity.

THE DEEP STATE STRIKES BACK: House intelligence chair claims top Obama official leaking to media on Trump.

The House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes on Sunday accused Obama-era officials, who are working for President Trump until his administration is staffed up, of illegally leaking intelligence and other reports to the media in an attempt to hurt the Republican leader.

“I think there is a lot of innuendo out there that the intelligence agencies have a problem with Donald Trump. The rank and file people that are out doing jobs across the world — very difficult places — they don’t pay attention to what is going on in Washington,” the California representative told CBS “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson.

“What we have is we do have people in the last administration, people who are burrowed in, perhaps all throughout the government, who clearly are leaking to the press,” Nunes added. “And it is against the law. Major laws have been broken. If you believe the Washington Post story that said there were nine people who said this, these are nine people who broke the law.”

Start naming names and punching back twice as hard.

OUCH: Rand Paul: We’re very lucky John McCain’s not in charge. I think that Barack Obama was the worst president of my lifetime except maybe for LBJ. But I still can’t work up a lot of regret that McCain lost in 2008.

FLASHBACK VIDEO: Andrew Breitbart vs. The Arrogant Bastards.

WELL, YES. Are Liberals Helping Trump?

Jeffrey Medford, a small-business owner in South Carolina, voted reluctantly for Donald Trump. As a conservative, he felt the need to choose the Republican. But some things are making him feel uncomfortable — parts of Mr. Trump’s travel ban, for example, and the recurring theme of his apparent affinity for Russia.

Mr. Medford should be a natural ally for liberals trying to convince the country that Mr. Trump was a bad choice. But it is not working out that way. Every time Mr. Medford dips into the political debate — either with strangers on Facebook or friends in New York and Los Angeles — he comes away feeling battered by contempt and an attitude of moral superiority.

“We’re backed into a corner,” said Mr. Medford, 46, whose business teaches people to be filmmakers. “There are at least some things about Trump I find to be defensible. But they are saying: ‘Agree with us 100 percent or you are morally bankrupt. You’re an idiot if you support any part of Trump.’ ”

He added: “I didn’t choose a side. They put me on one.”

Liberals may feel energized by a surge in political activism, and a unified stance against a president they see as irresponsible and even dangerous. But that momentum is provoking an equal and opposite reaction on the right. In recent interviews, conservative voters said they felt assaulted by what they said was a kind of moral Bolshevism — the belief that the liberal vision for the country was the only right one. Disagreeing meant being publicly shamed.

This shaming works as a self-herding mechanism among the left, but it’s not very good at winning converts. You want more Trump? This is how you get more Trump.

Related: Why The Resistance Is the Best Thing That’s Happened To Donald Trump.

Sure, it matters that President Donald Trump has a historically low favorability rating. Then again, disliking the president isn’t exactly a courageous act. Plenty of Americans—many of whom supported the president during the general election—don’t like Trump. They do realize that politics is a trade-off. Here’s a more revealing question pollsters might ask people: Do you “like” any better Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) or Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), pussyhatted marchers griping about the patriarchy or the totalitarians blocking Education Secretary Betsy Devos from walking into a public school?

That’s the choice #TheResistance—whose mantra, let’s face it, has synched with the Democratic Party—has created for many moderate Republicans, right-leaning independents and movement conservatives concerned about Trump. That is to say, they offer no choice whatsoever. They offer plenty of hysteria, hypocrisy and conflation of conservatism with Trumpism for political gain.

Plus:

But if it’s a zero-sum choice they’re offering, that includes picking Judge Neil Gorsuch over Planned Parenthood; tax cuts over teachers unions; Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Iran’s Holocaust deniers; deregulation of the bureaucratic state over legislation; or forcing progressive cultural mores on everyone, and so on.

For example, many former free traders are now embracing the protectionist big-government policies of Trumpism. This is the kind of capitulation many fiscal conservatives feared. Again, the problem is that for free traders, Democrats are as just bad. In fact, the popularity of protectionism among populist movements on the left and right is so strong there’s a good argument that the only way to possibly counteract it is to elect more conservatives to Congress.

The average resistance fighters might dislike Trump. But they hate conservatism. By treating even the most milquetoast, run-of-the-mill Cabinet nominee as the worst thing that has ever happened to America, The Resistance gives conservatives the space to defend such long-standing political positions as school choice, immigration enforcement and deregulation. I imagine many Republicans would happily hand over the scalp of more Michael Flynns if it meant creating a more stable and experienced administration.

But they also understand that people who treat DeVos like a bigger threat to the republic than Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon will never be placated. Those who spend weeks after the election acting like the Electoral College was some kind of trick pulled on the country are not interested in rule of law. They’re interested in Democrats.

Yes. And here’s my message for 2017.

Last year it was my message too.

EIGHT YEARS AGO, ON INSTAPUNDIT:

SIDING WITH THE LITTLE GUY!

Intermittently, and for the TV cameras, you might be able hear a Sen. Dodd or a Sen. Schumer raise their voices in indignation over the predations and the self-dealing of the moneychangers. But then you remember that this is the same Chris Dodd who accepted two “courtesy” mortgages from Countrywide’s Anthony Mozillo, and that this is the same Chuck Schumer who backed Wall Street deregulation as he was collecting fat checks from the Street to fill the coffers of his Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

Yeah, it’s almost like they’re two-faced weasels or something.

At least we got rid of Dodd.

AND ABOUT TIME TOO: Kim du Toit has opened his new blog, Splendid Isolation, at www.kimdutoit.com.

One of his first posts is entitled: “Thank You, Obama, You Bastard” — so not much has changed in the intervening eight years, then. (And a good thing, too.)

Kim du Toit  is still recovering from the financial issues left behind by Connie’s protracted fight with cancer.  To contribute to his gofundme Surviving Life Without Connie, go here.

THIS IS MY SHOCKED FACE: Medical marijuana has gone corporate.

IN THE EMAIL FROM RUSS MEYER: Common Sense For The Modern Age.

DELUSIONAL: Oh, @Jack Dorsey and @SarahSilverman Sharing Coup d’Etat Fantasies?

OF COURSE THEY DO: Obama-linked activists have a ‘training manual’ for protesting Trump.

IT’S WHAT YOUR BODY WAS DESIGNED TO DO, AND IT MAKES YOU HUMAN: Having a baby isn’t a miracle and doesn’t make you a goddess.

DRAINING FOGGY BOTTOM: It’s a bloodbath at the State Department.

ROLL LEFT AND DIE, ET TU FORBES? No, Capitalism Will Not “Starve Humanity” by 2050.

PRO TIP FOR GUYS: THIS IS NOT A ROMANTIC GIFT: My day at the designer vagina showcase.

ABOUT TIME SOMEONE NOTICED: The Press is the Enemy.


NOT IN A SNAE WORLD, THEY SHOULDN’T:  Valid Concerns About Flynn Shouldn’t Excuse Leaks.

WITH HALF ONE’S BRAIN TIED BEHIND ONE’S BACK: Refuting Occupy Democrats.

AZTECS LIVING IN HARMONY WITH NATURE AND OTHER LIES: Mexico City and “Climate Change”.

February 19, 2017

AND EVENTUALLY, PEOPLE QUIT LISTENING. ENJOY! Every Republican president is “the most extreme ever,” or so Democrats and their media friends insist. “The tragedy of all this is that, yeah, we really could use an effective, active, and credible press right now.” We could, but we don’t have one. “My criticisms of Trump do not go so far as those who believe that he is a budding fascist dictator on the verge of building concentration camps, but if you really did believe that, wouldn’t you wish, at least a little, that the media hadn’t been exactly as hysterical when faced with the bland, anodyne visage of Mitt Romney? Or John McCain? You want to be taken seriously now after insisting that Dick Cheney was the new American Gestapo?”

ANNALS OF ASTROTURF: Obama-linked activists have a ‘training manual’ for protesting Trump.

OVERREACH: Democrats would like their rabid base to cool it with the impeachment talk.

AN INSTAPUNDIT READER EMAILS WITH A QUESTION:

I have a question for your readers and wonder if someone might have an answer?

A couple years ago, I changed my log in password for my old Onparkstreet blog after making it private. I forgot to write the log in password down. I got locked out and it’s private so I can’t read any of my old posts.

I had saved the WordPress “key” to prove my identity in an email account that was cleaned out without my knowing it. I lost all those emails and proof of blog ownership. I also stupidly deleted the email account associated with the blog.

I know, I know. I thought I had saved the “key” and could prove that I was the owner of the onparkstreet blog. In an Excite account. That I checked every few months, so I never saw the warning that old emails would be deleted until it was too late.

I forgot about it after pleading with WordPress to help me out (“not without the key or a saved draft to prove ownership”), and just accepted that I lost all my posts. Recently, however, a family member has become sick (but is post treatment and doing well) and I would like to look up old posts that might cheer her up. Some of the posts were about little outings that we took and I think she might like it.

Is there anyone that could help in this situation? I used to cross post at Chicagoboyz and it is clear on the blog that I am doing that and Chicagoboyz can vouch for me, plus, I think I could go back to posting to prove it’s me.

Any suggestions?

I got nuthin’. Please post any ideas in the comments.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: 5 Myths About Treason.

FACT-CHECK: Trump 4, Politifact 1.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ HAS BEEN ON A ROLL LATELY:

MEANT TO DO THIS EARLIER TODAY BUT JUST GOT AROUND TO IT: And it’s worth noting. I scan StrategyPage’s “Today in Military History” three or four times a week. Today was noteworthy. 74 years ago Rommel attacked U.S. forces in the Kasserine Pass. 72 years ago the USMC invaded Iwo Jima. 20 years ago Chinese reformer and mass murderer Deng Xioaping died. But dig this: today in 1648 the Portuguese defeated the Dutch in the First Battle of Guararapes (northeastern Brazil).

WASHINGTON EXAMINER EDITORIAL: There Is No Fourth Branch Of Government.

Before Scott Pruitt was confirmed as the Environmental Protection Agency’s new administrator, the New York Times reported agency staff fighting against his nomination. This is highly unusual and inappropriate. It shows not only how difficult his new job will be but also how necessary it is that he succeed. And it shows, too, how great a threat rogue bureaucracy can become to constitutional order.

EPA scientists, lawyers and experts participated in an influence campaign aimed at senators, urging them to vote against Pruitt as their new boss. Their union’s leader, John O’Grady, promised a continuous campaign against President Trump’s environmental policies that their tactics would include “reaching out to NGOs and having alliances with them” and “working with P.R. firms.”

It is widely known and understandable that government employees are not Trump’s best constituency. But this sort of activism by federal employees, even outside election season, gets into dangerous territory.

This is why we need civil service reform.

R.I.P. JANE ROE/NORMA MCCORVEY: And this bit underscores the ethical issues involved in getting together plaintiffs for public interest litigation:

Years later, Ms. McCorvey expressed bitterness at what she described as her attorneys’ unwillingness to help her find what she needed — an abortion, even an illegal one.

“Sarah sat right across the table from me at Columbo’s pizza parlor, and I didn’t know until two years ago that she had had an abortion herself,” Ms. McCorvey told the New York Times in 1994. “When I told her then how desperately I needed one, she could have told me where to go for it. But she wouldn’t because she needed me to be pregnant for her case.”

“Sarah saw these cuts on my wrists, my swollen eyes from crying,” she continued, “the miserable person sitting across from her, and she knew she had a patsy. She knew I wouldn’t go outside of the realm of her and Linda. I was too scared. It was one of the most hideous times of my life.”

It’s not like Sarah Weddington would have become a heroine of feminism if she’d actually helped the woman sitting across the table from her.

EVEN THOUGH I WROTE IT, until my brother reminded me I had forgotten that this 2000 Nebraska Guitar Militia song anticipated the Hillary Clinton / Donald Trump election. “All you politicians won’t know which way to jump! Watch out, Hillary Clinton! Watch out, Donald Trump!” Right about 1:40. And note the pre-Tech-Bubble-bursting preach at the end: “No condition is permanent.”

However, while I’m strolling through memory lane, I think these lyrics are the best I ever wrote. Which may not be setting the bar all that high, but it’s what I’ve got.

DIVERSITY IS OUR STRENGTH: Headteacher is forced to work from home following death threats from Muslim parents over her ‘offensive clothes’ amid fears there is a ‘Trojan Horse’ plot to ‘Islamicise’ the school.

A primary school headteacher has been forced to work from home by death threats from Muslim parents who hate her western values.

Trish O’Donnell, head of Clarksfield Primary School in Oldham, has endured ‘harassment and intimidation’ in the form of ‘aggressive verbal abuse’ and ‘threats to blow up her car’ from parents pushing conservative Muslim values.

It is feared they are making a ‘Trojan Horse’ attempt to Islamicise the school.

If someone made similar threats in opposition to Islam, the British authorities would come down like a ton of bricks. But here, well . . . .

WHY DID TRUMP’S MELBOURNE RALLY OPEN WITH Melania Reciting The Lord’s Prayer?

Well, if you watch the video, you’ll see a lot of BlacksForTrump2020.com signs and t-shirts behind her. Now ask yourself: What demographic that traditionally votes for Democrats is the most overtly Christian, and most likely to respond favorably to overt expressions of Christianity? Just a thought. And remember, if Trump — who did surprisingly okay with black voters, considering, in 2016 — can pull another 10-15% of black votes in 2020, he’s basically unbeatable.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Knife Rights bills filed in Texas and West Virginia.

WAIT, WOULDN’T IT BE A GOOD SIGN IF THEY WERE? Ford denies its engineers are dozing off in autonomous cars.

AT AMAZON, save in Storage and Home Organization.

Plus, deals on Cleaning Supplies.

21ST CENTURY WORRIES: Bioterrorism could kill more people than nuclear war, Bill Gates to warn world leaders.

Rapid advances in genetic engineering have opened the door for small terrorism groups to tailor and easily turn biological viruses into weapons.

A resulting disease pandemic is currently one of the most deadly threats faced by the world, he believes, yet governments are complacent about the scale of the risk.

Speaking ahead of an address to the Munich Security Conference, the richest man in the world said that while governments are concerned with the proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons, they are overlooking the threat of biological warfare.

Well, we’re less than a decade from the setting of Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End, where this situation obtained:

Every year, the civilized world grew and the reach of lawlessness and poverty shrank. Many people thought that the world was becoming a safer place . . . Nowadays Grand Terror technology was so cheap that cults and criminal gangs could acquire it. . . . In all innocence, the marvelous creativity of humankind continued to generate unintended consequences. There were a dozen research trends that could ultimately put world-killer weapons in the hands of anyone having a bad hair day.

Worse yet, today the civilized world doesn’t seem to be growing, and lawlessness doesn’t seem to be shrinking. Poverty continues to decline, but the politicians may manage to turn that one around too. . . .

UPDATE: Today’s sickest comment burn: “If anyone should know about the devastating effects of viruses, it would be the founder of Microsoft.”

ANNALS OF FAKE NEWS:

SOME USEFUL OBSERVATIONS FROM RICHARD FERNANDEZ: