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MISUNDERSTOOD, MISREPRESENTED, WHATEVER: Roger Kimball: David Koch’s ‘dark money’ was misunderstood. The reflexive reaction to David Koch’s death has overlooked the true nature of his philanthropy. “Neither George Soros nor Tom Steyer were available for comment on the question of what made the Kochs’ money dark while theirs was full of light and unicorns.”

Related: Bill Maher on David Koch Death: ‘I’m Glad He’s Dead’ and ‘I Hope the End Was Painful.’ “Forget ideology. Forget politics. How does a civilized human being get to the point where voicing such sentiments is believed to be acceptable by anyone in society — even political allies?”

This is how leftists feel about anyone who disagrees with them or opposes them. Remember this whenever they start their “have you no decency?” schtick.

UPDATE: Related:

CROWDSOURCING LIBERTY: How the Hong Kong Protestors’ Tactical Brilliance Backed Beijing into a Corner.

One of the reasons for the effectiveness of the protest movement is the decision to remain leaderless. In an op-ed article in 2017, Nicholas Berggruen, chairman of the Berggruen Institute, suggests that resistance movements need strong and charismatic leaders to succeed. Many resistance movements such as the Civil Rights Movement with Martin Luther King Jr., the resistance to apartheid with Nelson Mandela, and the India Independence Movement with Gandhi benefited greatly from such leadership.

But the outcome of Hong Kong’s 2014 pro-democracy movement suggests that the current protests would not be nearly as robust or effective if it did have such leaders. Joshua Wong, the strong and charismatic leader of the Umbrella movement in 2014, was jailed in 2017 for unlawful assembly. With strong leaders present, the authorities can arrest them, fatally weakening a movement. Given the deterioration of the rule of law in Hong Kong, the authorities could conceivably jail all of the movement’s linchpins with considerable ease. But with a leaderless movement, the authorities have no such power. So far, the Hong Kong Police Force has arrested hundreds of protesters while the movement has not lost any momentum because the contribution of no single individual is vital.

Didn’t somebody write a book about this, once upon a time?

CHARLES C.W. COOKE: On Gratitude And Immigration.

Legally, Ilhan Omar has exactly the same rights as someone born here. And she should, without exception. Culturally, though, the idea that Omar does not “owe a special debt of gratitude to the” United States is ridiculous, as is the idea that Omar’s views of the United States should not be affected by that debt. Of course she should be grateful! The United States saved her from a warzone, let her stay, accepted her as a citizen, and then elected her to Congress. If one can’t be grateful for that, what can one be grateful for?

Should Omar “temper her critiques of American politics and culture”? That depends. Again: Legally, Omar should enjoy every Constitutional protection available. And, as a matter of course, she should feel able to take part in the political process on the same terms as everyone else. But, culturally, it is absolutely reasonable for Omar’s critics to look at her behavior and say, “really, that’s your view of us?” It’s absolutely reasonable for Omar’s fellow Americans to dislike her and to shun her as a result. It is absolutely reasonable for them to consider her an ingrate — or to believe, as David does, that she is “a toxic presence in American politics.” And it is absolutely reasonable for them to wonder aloud how a person who hails from a dysfunctional, dangerous place built atop dysfunctional, dangerous institutions can exhibit the temerity — the sheer gall — to talk about America in the way that she does. There is a big difference between saying “I oppose current federal tax policy” or “I want more spending on colleges” or “the president is an ass,” and saying that America needs complete rethinking. As this Washington Post piece makes clear, Omar isn’t just irritated by a few things. She thinks the place is a disaster.

Interesting that recent immigrants like Cooke, or Sarah Hoyt, seem to get this point more clearly than virtue-signaling natives.

And this is just disgraceful:

This is the logic of a domestic abuser: I only hit you because I love you, and you’ve let me down so badly.

Related: Trump is not a racist; he’s pushing the Overton window to normal. “Trump stated the obvious. And by his willingness to state the obvious, he has returned the obvious to the realm of public discourse. He has shifted the Overton window back to a more normal, common sense debate. It wasn’t a mistake of epic proportions. It was a brilliant insistence on having public debate occur in reality world, not in the Leftist’s dystopian fantasy world.”

REALCLEARINVESTIGATIONS: New Russiagate Prober Has Haunted FBI for Months.

John Durham, the prosecutor tapped by Attorney General William Barr to investigate how Trump-Russia allegations emerged and spread within federal law enforcement, has already been looking into whether the FBI’s former top lawyer, James Baker, illegally leaked to reporters.

In fact, the U.S. attorney from Connecticut appears to have begun that work more than seven months ago, to judge from an underreported transcript of an October congressional interview with Baker. The Baker interview, at which Durham was not present, suggests that the prosecutor nevertheless has some people very worried.

Baker testified about the Trump-Russia affair on Oct. 3 before the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. . . .

Suddenly, Baker’s lawyer, Dan Levin, jumped in: “One second,” he said before he and his client had a conversation off the record.

When the microphones were back on, Levin declared he would “not let [Baker] answer these questions right now. You may or may not know, he’s been the subject of a leak investigation which is still – a criminal leak investigation that’s still active at the Justice Department.” And so Levin concluded, “I’m sorry. I’m cutting off any discussion about conversations with reporters.”

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows wanted to make clear what Baker’s lawyer was claiming: “You’re saying he’s under criminal investigation? That’s why you’re not letting him answer?”

“Yes.”

Levin and the lawmakers sparred a bit over whether Baker was invoking his Fifth Amendment rights, and the congressmen finally got around to asking who was leading this criminal probe:

“There is an ongoing investigation by whom?” Jordan said.

“The Justice Department,” Levin responded.

“I mean, is the inspector general looking at this or is this—”

“No,” said Levin, “it’s Mr. John Durham, a prosecutor.”

The specter of Durham haunts the rest of the interview. Baker can’t talk about what he told his old friend David Corn in their conversations about the dossier because it would put Baker in legal jeopardy.

Time and again, when Baker was asked questions about reporters – even hypothetical questions about FBI policy regarding contacts with the press, Levin said, “I’m not going to allow him to answer that question” or “I am not going let him answer any questions about leaks.”

Read the whole thing.

“EVERYONE IS WELCOME! EXCEPT YOU…”: San Antonio has decided to ban Chick-fil-A from its airport. Its bizarre reasoning is that “Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport,” so Chick-fil-A’s charitable donations to Christian groups disqualifies it from inclusion. As Hans Bader notes, this is a violation of the company’s First Amendment rights. David French, meanwhile, points out the Orwellian doublespeak involved.

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: Talk S*** About AOC and Get Flushed by David Corn.

New socialist “It Girl” continues to pay, err, residuals.

CORN, POPPED: Covington Boy’s Lawyers Send Preservation Letters to Over 50 Media Entities. “Including NYT, WaPo, CNN, NPA, TMZ, Elizabeth Warren, Alyssa Milano, Kathy Griffin, Maggie Haberman, Ana Cabrera, David Brooks…”

LIKE FISH, MEDIA ROTS FROM THE HEAD: David Reaboi writes this in The Federalist today:

“As media companies have found their resources shrink, they found it more profitable to jettison some of the work from highly paid, more experienced reporters and editors in favor of increasingly ideological woke clickbait generated from young staffers, listicles, and fulsome explorations of things like the ‘internet culture’ beat. The importance of agitating for political priorities and enforcing new cultural standards blinded many in the industry to the reality of their failing business model.”

Being a journalist of more than 30 years experience, I may be a bit biased on this topic, but that paragraph is about as succinct a summary as I have yet read of the state of mind in so many corners of the mainstream media. The rest of the post is here and well worth your attention.

LAYERS AND LAYERS OF FACT-CHECKERS: CNN ANALYST ACCUSES BLACK CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST OF ‘WHITE PRIVILEGE’. CNN’s Areva Martin goes on a radio show, and the fun begins:

“Sirius XM radio host and Fox News Contributor David Webb brought Martin onto his radio show to discuss diversity in media, and he noted that he has always considered his accomplishments to be more important than his skin color when applying to jobs […] “I’ve chosen to cross different parts of the media world, done the work so that I’m qualified to be in each one. I never considered my color to be the issue — I considered my qualifications to be the issue,” Webb explained.”

Martin replied:

After Webb said that expertise and experience are what matter, Martin interjected: “That’s a whole ‘nother long conversation about white privilege, the things that you have the privilege of doing, that people of color don’t have the privilege of.”

Martin apologized for her comment and insisted that her team gave her incorrect information about Webb’s race. Exactly how does that work?

“Oh, by the way, Areva, you’ll be on with a white guy, so if you’re backed into a corner, you know what to say…”

WHY IS THE NEW YORK TIMES RECOMMENDING ANTI-SEMITIC CONSPIRACY THEORIES?

So imagine Cockburn’s surprise yesterday morning when the Times ran The Color Purple author Alice Walker’s recommendation of And the Truth Shall Set You Free by David Icke. As the truth might well set you free, Cockburn can tell you there’s no truth to David Icke, a recycler of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and myths about aliens in human form. And the truth about Alice Walker is that she is an anti-Semitic fool.

In 2013, Walker chose Icke’s Human Race Get Off Your Knees as the one book she would take if she were stranded on a desert island. Icke’s book claims that the planet is ruled by shape-shifting reptilians and ‘Rothschild Zionists’. In 2017, she posted a poem on her website — it’s still there — that called the Israeli state ‘demonic / To the core’, claimed that its unique ‘evil’ was inspired by the ‘poison’ of the Talmud:

Are Goyim (us) meant to be slaves of Jews, and not only
That, but to enjoy it?
Are three-year-old (and a day) girls eligible for marriage and intercourse?
Are young boys fair game for rape?
Must even the best of the Goyim (us, again) be killed?

And so on. Foul drivel, indicative of an enfeebled mind given to racist conspiracy theories. The sort of person that the New York Times, so woke and careful in its every statement, so proud of choosing what’s fit to print, would want nothing to do with. The sort of person, really, that any sane and civil person would want nothing to do with. A racist, a spreader of hate and lies, and a promoter of shoddy and malevolent conspiracy theories by people like David Icke.

And even beyond most anti-Semites, Icke is some piece of work; as Charles C.W. Cooke writes, followed a quote of Icke’s own writing, “This is a guy who believes quite seriously that:”

An inter-dimensionary race of beings called the Archons have hijacked our world and have stopped us from realising our true potential. Instead, they keep us trapped in “five sense reality”, feeding off the negative energy created by fear and hate. Frequencies broadcast from a “hexagonal storm” on Saturn are amplified through the hollow structure of our artificial moon (whereas a standard conspiracy theorist might be satisfied by not believing that man walked on the Moon, Icke doesn’t even believe in the Moon itself). A genetically modified human/Archon elite of shape-shifting reptilians manipulate global events to keep us in this state of fear. Only by waking up to the truth and filling our hearts with love can we defeat this Archontic influence.

Big, if true.

STRIKE A POSE, THERE’S NOTHING TO IT: Washington Post Columnist Jennifer Rubin Runs Away When Asked How She’s ‘Conservative.’

Words are supposed to mean things. “Conservatism” refers to a specific set of ideas and principles — ones that Rubin has not espoused or championed in quite some time. It’s intellectually dishonest for her and the Washington Post to continue to call her conservative while she does and says the opposite.

Of course — but that’s business as usual for both the Post, and the DNC-MSM as a whole.

MARK PENN IN THE HILL: The Dishonesty Of The Deep State:

I’ve seen President Clinton deny he had a relationship with “that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” I’ve seen President Obama assure people they will get to keep their doctor under ObamaCare. And I’ve seen former press secretary Sean Spicer declare that President Trump’s inaugural crowd was larger than Obama’s.

But these falsehoods pale in comparison to the performances of a series of “deep state” witnesses who have combined chutzpah with balderdash, culminating so far in the testimony of FBI agent Peter Strzok.

Let’s review just some of the highlights.

Former FBI Director James Comey maintained he did not make any decision on the email investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton until after Hillary Clinton’s interview, even though his conclusion memo was written, edited and watered down months in advance of his announcement. We have all of the timing, the drafts of the memo, and the dates and times of the edits.

Former CIA head John Brennan denied he supplied the Steele dossier on Trump to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the face of mounting evidence that he did precisely that and, at least orally, gave the former Nevada Democrat a full account of the dossier, leading Reid to write a public letter demanding an investigation.

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has flatly denied that he lied to the FBI about orchestrating a self-serving leak, even denying knowledge in several interviews with FBI investigators, including one session that Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz has on tape, if one reads the fine print of his report.

Now comes Strzok who, to the actual applause of congressional Democrats, denies he ever did anything in 26 years that contained even a hint of bias, despite the most damning evidence imaginable in the record — quote after quote indicating, at each and every phase of the Trump-Russia investigation, that he hated Trump, would create an “insurance policy” against his victory, and would “stop” him from serving as president. On a trip to Walmart, he says he can “smell” the Trump voters there. After all, he said, he expected his texts would be private communications — even as he used government devices to avoid detection of his relationship with then-FBI attorney Lisa Page, with whom he texted.

And like all the other witnesses, he does not come in contrite but with verbal guns blazing. These witnesses seem to believe they belong to a protected class. He offered no proof that he carefully acted to separate these views — which he constantly expressed to his paramour Page, who also was on the investigation — from his actions that are now under investigation. It is false, by the way, to say he was cleared of bias in the Trump-Russia investigation; the inspector general faulted Strzok’s texts and is currently investigating the origins of that investigation.

Remarkably, we learned that special counsel Robert Mueller never even made the slightest direct inquiry into Strzok’s actions and behavior, other than to remove him from the investigation. Mueller, you may recall, for five months ducked answering congressional inquiries as to why Strzok and Page were reassigned, and we only learned the reasons when the DOJ inspector general sent these text messages to Congress. Mueller, it seems, was too busy combing every single email of the transition team, and later monitoring every single call of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, to stop and review how this bias might have tainted much of the evidence of his investigation and require new interviews of witnesses or other action.

One other revelation in Thursday’s congressional hearing was really quite stunning: Strzok named fellow FBI official Bruce Ohr, whose wife was hired by the political opposition research firm Fusion GPS, as someone who handed in a version of the Steele dossier to the FBI. And Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) read from an email indicating that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), journalist David Corn of Mother Jones magazine and Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson all had sent versions of the Steele dossier to the FBI. (Simpson, by the way, testified he never dealt with the FBI.) At that point, just as it was getting interesting, Strzok claimed the FBI was barring him from answering any further questions on this material.

This revelation goes to the very heart of the matter of how bias led to a ridiculous, unverified group of mostly easily disproven allegations being treated as if they were the holy grail to stop Trump from becoming president. Dossier compiler and former British spy Christopher Steele, who also lied to the FBI about his press contacts, and Simpson apparently created a massive echo chamber involving the State Department, the CIA, politicians such as Reid and McCain, and the FBI — through the undisclosed relationship with Ohr’s wife — to spread what was all the same information, from the same unverified sources, as though it was coming in from all over. And this was all paid for through undisclosed contributions from the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign. Remember, her State Department aides denied to the FBI even knowing that she had her own email server as secretary of State, despite clearly communicating about it in emails, and those who smashed and destroyed evidence were given either immunity or a pass.

It’s like they think the law doesn’t apply to them.

QUESTION ASKED: Did FBI get bamboozled by multiple versions of Trump dossier?

John Solomon:

We know from public testimony that dossier author and former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele shared his findings with the FBI in summer and fall 2016 before he was terminated as a confidential source for inappropriate media contacts.

And we learned that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) provided a copy to the FBI after the November 2016 election — out of a sense of duty, his office says.

Now, memos the FBI is turning over to Congress show the bureau possessed at least three versions of the dossier and its mostly unverified allegations of collusion.

Each arrived from a different messenger: McCain, Mother Jones reporter David Corn, Fusion GPS founder (and Steele boss) Glenn Simpson.

That revelation is in an email that disgraced FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok wrote to FBI executives around the time BuzzFeed published a version of the dossier on Jan. 10, 2017.

“Our internal system is blocking the site,” Strzok wrote of the document posted on BuzzFeed. “I have the PDF via iPhone but it’s 25.6MB. Comparing now. The set is only identical to what McCain had. (it has differences from what was given to us by Corn and Simpson.)”

The significance of Strzok’s email is obvious to investigators who reviewed it in recent days. The FBI is supposed to be immune to manipulation by circular information flows, especially with sensitive investigations such as evaluating whether a foreign power tampered with an American election.

Yet, in this case, the generally same information kept walking through the FBI’s door for months — recycled each time by a new character with ties to Hillary Clinton or hatred for Trump — until someone decided they had to act.

Read the whole thing.

Although perhaps the more pertinent question is: Did the FBI want to get bamboozled by multiple versions of Trump dossier?

NEVER. NEXT QUESTION? When Will the Left’s ‘Conservative Columnists’ Give up the Gimmick?

Newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post aren’t explicitly ideological publications. Even if in practice they lean heavily to the left, in theory they dedicate their opinion pages to debate, discussion, and diversity of opinion. So it makes sense that they’re expected to employ at least a handful of conservative columnists—but right now, that’s not the case. Rubin, Boot, Will and others alike may not be liberals, but they’re not even close to conservative anymore.

* * * * * * * * *

If anything, these writers are passing up on an amazing opportunity to speak to a liberal audience. Instead of constantly bashing on Trump and the GOP, as their colleagues will surely do, they should search for rare areas of agreements, or topics where they can argue a conservative perspective to their liberal audience. Additionally, it’s fine if these columnists have changed their perspective, and now identify as moderate, or even liberals — but it’s time for the false advertising to stop.

As long as the New York Times and the Washington Post continue to pay false homage to intellectual diversity with their faux-conservative columnists, the American people will continue to view the left-wing media with skepticism — and frankly, who can blame them?

This has been going on since at least the Nixon era, if not longer. Back 2006, Jonah Goldberg explored who qualifies as “Respectable Conservatives” in the eyes of the media, in a post at the NRO Corner:

[Here’s] a short rule of thumb for how to tell who is a “respectable” conservative in the eyes of liberals: any conservative out of power or not seen as supportive of those in power. An even shorter rule of thumb would be: conservatives are respectable if they are useful to liberals. Pat Buchanan became respectable, even adorable, among a loose coalition of liberals leftists, from MSNBC’s Chris Matthews to Ralph Nader, when he turned on the GOP establishment. Kevin Phillips, David Gergen and John Dean have been “real” Republicans — though rarely conservatives — for decades because they are willing to confirm the assumptions of liberals. An even more telling example would be the “neocons.” Before the Iraq war, neocons were the nice conservatives, the good conservatives, the idealistic conservatives the un-racist conservatives, according to academics, The New York Times and others. This is not to say that they aren’t nice, good, idealistic and un-racist. Rather, it’s to point up the way in which conservatives become evil as they become influential, relevant, or otherwise inconvenient to liberals. John McCain was touted as a good choice for president by The New Republic and other liberal voices. Today, McCain is increasingly vilified by many of these same voices because, it turns out, he’s actually a Republican.

And now he’s back to being over-the-top praised, both because his plodding 2008 campaign made him Obama’s crash test dummy, and because even after he announced he had a likely fatal brain tumor, he was bashing Trump and even former running mate Sarah Palin. And speaking of Arizona Republicans, note the the update from a reader to Jonah’s post: “Don’t forget the greatest example of your point – Barry Goldwater.  A lunatic extremist in 1964, but when he strongly criticized Nixon, he became a conservative elder statesman.”

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY. Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam on the BBC’s Diversity Push: ‘I’m a Black Lesbian.’

Last month, BBC “comedy controller” Shane Allen announced a new slate of shows for the fall with a particular emphasis on the diversity of the programs…Someone asked Allen if that would rule out shows like Monty Python in the future. He replied, “If you’re going to assemble a team now, it’s not going to be six Oxbridge white blokes. It’s going to be a diverse range of people who reflect the modern world.” That didn’t sit well with director and Monty Python cast member Terry Gilliam. Gilliam was asked what he thought of the comments and said he wanted to henceforth be known as a black lesbian:

Speaking at a press conference at the Karlovy Vary film festival, where he was presenting his new film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Gilliam said: “It made me cry: the idea that … no longer six white Oxbridge men can make a comedy show. Now we need one of this, one of that, everybody represented… this is bullshit. I no longer want to be a white male, I don’t want to be blamed for everything wrong in the world: I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian… My name is Loretta and I’m a BLT, a black lesbian in transition.”
He added: “[Allen’s] statement made me so angry, all of us so angry. Comedy is not assembled, it’s not like putting together a boy band where you put together one of this, one of that everyone is represented.”

Sooner or later, each leftwing “diversocrat,” as Heather Mac Donald has dubbed them, has his Freudian slip, where he admits that, as Howell Raines, then-editor of the New York Times once did, that diversity in and of itself is a more important goal than the actual quality of the end product his institution produces. 

Monty Python was the culmination of the British satiric revolution of the 1960s, which began with Peter Cook, Alan Bennett, Dudley Moore and Jonathan Miller’s 1961 play Beyond the Fringe, the 1968 play Forty Years On, written by Bennett and starring John Gielgud, and David Frost’s 1963 BBC series, That Was The Week That Was, aka TW3, the Jurassic-era equivalent of today’s Daily Show. With the exception of the American-born Gilliam, most of the Monty Python cast spent their salad days as Frost’s comedy writers. (It’s no coincidence that Frost in turn was occasionally mercilessly satirized on Python.) As Peter Hitchens wrote in his brilliant 1998 book, The Abolition of Britain, combined, these works were a cultural sea change in England:

Beyond the Fringe, Forty Years On and TW3 created a tradition of ‘anti-establishment’ comedy which continued long after its roots were forgotten. There may still have been an ‘establishment ‘of snobbery, church, monarchy, clubland and old-school-tie links in 1961.There was no such thing ten years later, but it suited the comics and all reformers to pretend that there was and to continue to attack this mythical thing. After all, if there were no snobbery, no crusty old aristocrats and cobwebbed judges, what was the moral justification for all this change, change which benefited the reformers personally by making them rich, famous and influential?

* * * * * * *

It also made the middle class, especially the educated and well-off middle class, despise themselves and feel a sort of shame for their supposedly elitist prejudices, based upon injustice and undermined by their failure to defend the nation from its enemies in the era of appeasement. Thanks to this, in another paradox, they have often felt unable to defend things within Britain which they value and which help to keep them in existence, from the grammar schools to good manners. They are ashamed of being higher up the scale, though for most middle-class people this is more a matter of merit than birth, and nothing to be ashamed of at all.

* * * * * * *

Since the 1960s, when the Left began its conquest of the cultural battlements, it has always been surprised and annoyed by Tory election victories. The 1970 Tory triumph, though entirely predictable, took the cultural establishment by surprise. The 1979 Tory win, though even more predictable, infuriated them. They had won control of broadcasting, of the schools, of the universities, the church, the artistic, musical and architectural establishment? How was it possible that they could not also be the government? Their rage was enormous, and increased with each successive Labour defeat. It was an injustice. How could the people be so foolish? Now, instead of aristocratic snobs misgoverning the country, the establishment was portrayed as a sort of fascistic semi-dictatorship, hacking at the NHS and the welfare state, waging aggressive wars abroad and enriching itself while the poor lived in misery.

This series of falsehoods has now become a weapon ready and waiting for unscrupulous demagogues to harness, and perhaps use against the new ‘establishment’ which has benefited so much from the satire boom and the alternative comedians. Once you have begun to use dishonest mockery as a weapon, you can never be entirely sure that it will not eventually be turned against you, by others who have learned that abuse and jeering pay much easier and swifter dividends than hard fact or serious argument. It could be that the civilized mirth of the sixties leads in a direct line to the crude hyena cackling of the mob. In any case, there is no sign of the humour industry taking the side of traditional morality, patriotism or civility. The best it can do is dignify itself with noisy and public collections for sentimental and prominent charity. Once you step beyond the fringe, you sooner or later find yourself in very wild country indeed.

Just ask the surviving members of Python, who are discovering the hard way that all leftwing revolutions eventually devour their own.

More from Steve Hayward at Power Line: “Liberals and the Death of Comedy.”

DAVID FRENCH: Yes, Hillary Clinton Should Have Been Prosecuted.

I know this is ancient history, but — I’m sorry — I just can’t let it go. When historians write the definitive, sordid histories of the 2016 election, the FBI, Hillary, emails, Russia, and Trump, there has to be a collection of chapters making the case that Hillary should have faced a jury of her peers.

The IG report on the Hillary email investigation contains the most thoughtful and thorough explanation of the FBI’s decision to recommend against prosecuting Hillary. At the risk of oversimplifying a long and complex discussion, the IG time and again noted that (among other things) the FBI focused on the apparent lack of intent to violate the law and the lack of a clear precedent for initiating a prosecution under similar facts. It also describes how the FBI wrestled with the definition of “gross negligence” — concluding that the term encompassed conduct “so gross as to almost suggest deliberate intention” or “something that falls just short of being willful.”

After reading the analysis, I just flat-out don’t buy that Hillary’s conduct — and her senior team’s conduct — didn’t meet that standard.

Neither do I.

A TALE OF THREE MEDIA MOMENTS:

Épater la bourgeoisie or épater le (or les) bourgeois is a French phrase that became a rallying cry for the French Decadent poets of the late 19th century including Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud. It means to shock the bourgeoisie.

Wikipedia.

● Shot:

But executives at ABC and its parent company, the Disney Corporation, never had any interest in being perceived as “the Trump-friendly network” and in fact probably resented that the success of the Roseanne revival was driven, at least in part, by the character’s support for Trump. If Roseanne Barr was rational — and she pretty obviously isn’t — she would be aware that the suits were looking for any excuse they could to cut ties. (By the way, it didn’t matter if the show was way less political than its reputation suggested; that was the big headline coming out of the show’s return.)

Barr may have felt she was irreplaceable, but she really wasn’t. Roseanne got higher ratings and attracted 10 to 18 million viewers, but also cost more than the average television show; John Goodman and Barr were each making reportedly $250,000 per episode. “Kantar Media has estimated the show’s initial run of nine episodes over eight nights netted $45 million in ad revenue.” That’s nice, but for Disney, it’s a drop in the bucket. A generic sitcom with no-name actors will get half the ratings and cost a quarter of the price.

Former President Barack Obama and Michelle are still revered and beloved in most corners of Hollywood; when Barr said one of their best friends, Valerie Jarrett, looks like a character from Planet of the Apes, just what did Barr think was going to happen? Did she think the Obamas and all of their allies were just going to shrug it off, let it pass without response? You might hate the Obamas but give them credit for standing up for one of their own — or for having cultivated a reputation to the point where they may not have even needed to pick up the phone. Everyone at ABC and Disney understood that there would likely be consequences if they tried to give Roseanne a pass.

You think the Disney corporation wants to take any grief for an extra $45 million in ad revenue? You think advertisers would be eager to go back to the show as Barr made herself radioactive?

Roseanne — and Roseanne — Was a Gamble from the Start, Jim Geraghty, NRO, May 30, 2018.

● Chaser:

This is how you understand corporate activism. This is how you understand media double standards. When conservatives cry foul and demand accountability for Samantha Bee or Joy Reid, they’re communicating with executives and colleagues who have known and liked “Samantha” and “Joy” for years.

When you see corporations launch into political activism, that’s not a market-tested response to the popular will. More often than not, it’s an expression of collective executive purpose, reinforced by the applause of spouses and friends — the people who matter most in any person’s life.

When you see a publication like The Atlantic jettison Kevin Williamson within days of a controversial revelation — and then watch its editor-in-chief declare that he’d “die” for writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, a man who’s written his share of heartless words — you’re watching a high-school-level morality play. We love our cliques. We have little patience for the out-group, and we can always reason backwards to justify our bias.

How Samantha Bee Survives, David French, NRO today.

● Hangover: To use the language of the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg when he justified firing Williamson and keeping Coates on board, Joy Reid is very much “in the family,” too: “MSNBC breaks silence on star Joy Reid’s ‘hateful’ blog posts: ‘She has grown and evolved.’”

Just like her fellow fabulists Al Sharpton and Brian Williams. So much growth and evolving going on with the MSNBC starting lineup.

BRET STEPHENS WRITES ON Bush 41, Trump, and American Decline. There’s a lot of talk about how decent and wonderful Bush was, and how crass and crude Trump is. But Bush was elected thanks to Lee Atwater, whose campaigning technique (and electoral target market) wasn’t that different from Trump’s. And Bush lost after the very same establishment that’s now waxing nostalgic about his presidency viciously went after him, mocking him, scorning him, calling him a wimp, making up the claim that he didn’t know what a grocery scanner was, calling him a warmonger and a tool of the theocratic Christian right, etc.

Now they miss him? Too bad. You chose the form of your destructor, guys.

Related:

With Trump, meanwhile, the press treated him as a novelty candidate until he had the nomination wrapped up, and then started calling him, basically, Hitler. This didn’t get much traction because they do that with every Republican nominee. As David Mastio wrote here, “No one is listening anymore. When mild-mannered technocrat Mitt Romney was running for president, Clinton’s obscure Obama-administration colleague Joe Biden told a black audience that Republicans ‘are going to put ya’ll back in chains.’ If you listen to Democrats, every Republican who has run for anything in my lifetime has Klan robes in their closet and secret Confederate memorabilia collection.”

Perhaps we should require reading “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” in journalism schools.

Destructor, chosen.

MASCOTS OF THE ANOINTED:

A Twitter pal told me today that the media’s treatment of the Parkland kids reminds him in a way of the “clown nose off, clown nose on” game played by politically minded comics like Jon Stewart and Jimmy Kimmel. When Stewart and Kimmel are opining, the clown nose comes off. They’re making trenchant points about the right-wing enemy and their arguments should be taken seriously by voters. When the right takes them seriously and counterattacks, the clown nose goes back on: They’re just comedians, man. Lighten up. You’re embarrassing yourself by trying to joust with a court jester.

The Parkland students also have a dual identity that can be switched out as political circumstances require. When they’re attacking, they’re the inspiring young leaders of a policy push that’s going to succeed where so many adult-led efforts have failed. Don’t dismiss them because of their age. They know what they’re talking about and they deserve to be heard. Then, when they’re heard and criticized for their arguments or their rhetoric, they’re the apolitical child victims of a horrendous tragedy. You want to bicker about policy with … a kid? Whose friends were just murdered? What is wrong with you?

You’re a bad guy, as Don Lemon would, and did, say.

I think David Hogg’s become the lightning rod for most right-wing criticism, both measured and conspiratorial, partly because he’s been the canniest about exploiting that dual identity.

Allahpundit wrote that on Tuesday, before Hogg’s current freak out, over Laura Ingraham’s shot at his being rebuffed by various college admissions departments, in which he’s helping the left by causing Ingraham to lose sponsors. (What this has to do with gun control is unknown, but as they said about the future Sen. Blutarsky, forget it, he’s rolling.)  And right on cue, clown nose on! Mediaite runs the headline,  “Morning Joe Debates Ingraham Controversy: ‘We Can’t Have Animals on The Air Attacking Children!’”

To which Rod Dreher responds:

“Children”? Here’s a 17-year-old guy — old enough to join the military and bear arms for his country — who now has a national platform, one in which he accuses his opponents of bloodlust, but he’s still hiding behind the “children” thing? Well, of course: because it works.

Clown nose off, clown nose on.

Laura Ingraham ought not to have tweeted the thing she did, and she ought to have apologized (as she did). But now her livelihood is at stake, and this kid is reveling in his power to destroy his enemies, while draping himself in the mantle of Childhood Innocence. If you have a social media account, it’s time to think hard about whether it’s worth the risk of continuing with it. We now see that one tossed-off, ill-advised tweet, if it angers the right person, could cost you your job. David Hogg is turning into Anthony Fremont:

Fremont was the child played by Bill Mumy in the classic Twilight Zone episode with the super power to banish all of the adults “to the cornfield” when they displeased him.  More Dreher:

We are manufacturing a cadre of Anthony Fremonts. We are creating a No-Trust Society, one in which people will have to turn inward out of self-protection. This is not going to end well. A reader who grew up under Czech communism told me recently that in the end, the only people you could trust back in the day were members of your family. Anybody else might have turned you in to the secret police as ideologically unreliable. This man’s priest turned out to be an informant. We aren’t there, but as the illiberal SJW Left gains power, we’re fast moving in that direction.

In the meantime, Jim Treacher believes that Fremont’s, err, Hogg’s future is assured, tweeting to CNN that “You guys are going to give him a job anyway,” so what difference does it make where he goes to school?

Not necessarily — Hogg might want to search on what Cindy Sheehan and Sandra Fluke are up to these days, to discover what happens to a mascot of the anointed when the DNC-MSM deems that their 15-minutes is up.

MICHAEL ISIKOFF AND DAVID CORN: ‘Stand down’: How the Obama team blew the response to Russian meddling.

POLITICO: Top FBI official linked to reporter who broke Trump dossier story: James Baker, the FBI’s recently reassigned general counsel, was in touch with David Corn of Mother Jones in the fall of 2016, GOP sources said. “The GOP sources said the documents — made available recently to lawmakers by the Department of Justice — revealed that James Baker, the FBI’s general counsel, communicated with Mother Jones reporter David Corn in the weeks leading up to the November 2016 election. Corn was the first to report the existence of the dossier on Oct. 31 and that it was compiled by a former high-level western spy.”

Hmm. Stay tuned.

THE FLYNN PLEA: Andrew McCarthy is unimpressed.

The Lawfare Blog is less unimpressed.

David French says There Is No Evidence of ‘Collusion’ in Michael Flynn’s Offense Statement.

I don’t know what’s going on myself. I do think that this will either end with a fizzle, or with an enormously divisive prosecution, possibly producing a constitutional crisis.

OUT ON A LIMB: Jon Gabriel is defending Steve Martin’s “King Tut” from an attack by James Lileks.

To modern eyes, “King Tut” was cheesy and lame. But in 1978, that was the point.

That decade served up a slew of “important” stand-up comedians who were edgy, cynical, and highly political. George Carlin issued diatribes on capitalism and religion. The far-funnier Richard Pryor was laser-focused on racial injustice. Andy Kaufman intentionally alienated club crowds with his anti-comedy. Robert Klein and David Steinberg were high-brow intellectuals. And nearly every comic lectured America about Vietnam, Richard Nixon, and the hollow hypocrisy of bourgeois life.

Then along came Steve Martin. Sick of the conventional joke formula, he spent years crafting a stand-up act without punchlines. And the way to make audiences laugh sans jokes was by acting silly. He paraded around in bunny ears and a fake arrow through his head, embarrassingly contorting his body to sell the act. All the while, he pretended to be just as self-important and overly earnest as his fellow comics. The juxtaposition is what made it funny. (See his intro to the song above.)

The tastemakers took themselves far too seriously to risk looking silly; they had to be smarter than the audience. Although highly intelligent, Martin presented himself as the dumbest, least self-aware guy in the room. Instead of educating Americans on their evils, he brought back comedy to its actual function: making people laugh.

In a way, he was doing what the original Star Wars did in 1977. After a decade of bleak, dystopian sci-fi, George Lucas revamped the old Flash Gordon serials into a fun, popcorn-friendly escapism.

If there’s one good thing that came of the Carter administration, it’s that having to lay off a Democratic president temporarily forced Saturday Night Live into a much more apolitical stance than its first season, and as a result, the show created some of its most accessible, timeless work. In the show’s early episodes, the cast openly campaigned on air for the ERA and went after Gerald Ford, history’s original greatest monster, which such intensity when his press secretary stupidly agreed to host an episode that one of its writers (and then-wife of producer/creator Lorne Michaels) later admitted, “The president’s watching. Let’s make him cringe and squirm.”

As Michael J. Lewis wrote at Commentary in 2010, you can see the temporary interregnum in the culture war via the show’s choice of hosts: the openly political George Carlin hosted SNL’s very first episode; by the third season, Martin’s repeated apolitical appearances on SNL made him a superstar.

TRY THIS HEADLINE WITH ANY OTHER ETHNICITY AND SEE HOW WELL IT PLAYS: Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel looking at white people with ‘new intensity’ after Trump’s election.

If Weigel’s old intensity at the Post was any indication, I’d hate to see him dial the amps up to 11:

In a thread with the subject line, “ACORN Ratf*cker arrested,” Journolisters discussed how James O’Keefe, whose undercover reporting showed officials from activist group ACORN willing to help a fake prostitution ring skirt the law, had been arrested in another, failed operation at Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) office.

Weigel’s response: “HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.”

“Deep breath.”

“HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHHAHAHA.”

“He’s either going to get a radio talk show or start a prison ministry. That’s was successful conservative ratfuckers do for their second acts,” Weigel wrote, likely alluding to Nixon aide Charles Colson who converted to Christianity after a stint in prison for obstruction of justice and founded Prison Fellowship.

Republicans? “Ratfucking [Obama] on every bill.” Palin?  Tried to “ratfuck” a moderate Republican in a contentious primary in New York. Limbaugh? Used “ratfucking tactics” in urging Republican activists to vote for Hillary Clinton in open primaries after Obama had all but beat her for the Democratic nomination.

So just to recap, in 2008, voting for Hillary in the primaries was “ratfucking.” In 2016, voting against her was racism.

And note that the ratfucking stuff on the JournoList was written by Weigel back when he was still posing as the token young conservative at the Post. Choose the form of your destructor, indeed.

WHY ARE LEFTY MEDIA INSTITUTIONS SUCH CESSPITS OF SEXUAL PREDATION? Now it’s Mother Jones.

LOOKING AT THE REPORTS SO FAR, David French thinks the Las Vegas shooting is very, very strange. “This was the University of Texas tower attack on steroids, conducted out of nowhere, with meticulous planning and at great expense, from a person who doesn’t seem to fit any normal profile of a mass shooter.”

STEPHEN MILLER: Does the left ever want to win elections again?

I don’t need to debate the merits or the wisdom behind Kaepernick’s actions.There’s been too much of that already. But what is up for debate is the wisdom of the political left throwing in with a gesture that still, to this day and despite what you see on cable news and social media, remains largely unpopular with the voting public. In 2016, a Quinnipac poll found that only 38 percent of those supported NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem. A Reuters poll found that 72 percent found the protest to be unpatriotic but also that 64 percent agreed there should be no punishment or fine.

Thanks to Trump’s reinvigoration of the debate, it didn’t take long for pundits on the left to start suggesting that taking a knee during the national anthem is now a direct protest of Trump himself. D.C. Bureau chief for Mother Jones, David Corn outright stated “The kneel will now become a sign of opposition to Trump,” effectively hijacking the gesture from black activists. Washington Post social justice reporter Wesley Lowery called on colleagues to demand a reasoning from players who chose not to kneel. No word yet if Lowery chose to ask Pittsburgh Steelers tackle and former Army Ranger and Bronze Star recipient Alejandro Villanueva why he chose to stand for the anthem in the tunnel, the only player from the team to do so. Villanueva’s jersey sales have now skyrocketed in only a day. Jon Schwarz from the left leaning site The Intercept wrote “The National Anthem is a Celebration of Slavery”

The left has chosen to make kneeling for the national anthem now a referendum on Trump himself. A larger problem for them, and the NFL in general, is they picked this fight on a day meant to honor Gold Star mothers.

Dumb.

HOW BAD WAS CHARLOTTESVILLE’S POLICING? BAD ENOUGH THAT RICHARD SPENCER AND CORNEL WEST ARE ON THE SAME PAGE ABOUT IT: Chicago Tribune: Police in Charlottesville criticized for slow response to violent demonstrations.

“The worst part is that people got hurt and the police stood by and didn’t do a godd—- thing,” said David Copper, 70, of Staunton, Va., after an initial morning melee at a park that when unchecked by police for several minutes.

Fourteen people were injured in clashes; nine others were hurt in the car crash. Later, two Virginia State Police troopers were killed when their helicopter smashed into trees at the edge of town and burst into flames. The loss of police officers only compounded the calamity on a day that pushed police, city officials and residents to their limits.

Cable news replayed a seemingly endless loop of the early violence at Emancipation Park, where police in riot gear had surrounded the expanse on three sides, though seemed to watch as groups beat each other with sticks and bludgeoned one another with shields. Many on both sides came dressed for battle, with helmets and chemical irritants.

Police appeared at one point to retreat and then watch the beatings before eventually moving in to end the free-for-all, make arrests and tend the injured. The governor declared a state of emergency around 11 a.m. and activated the National Guard.

“The whole point is to have overwhelming force so that people don’t get the idea they can do these kinds of things and get away with it,” said Charles Ramsey, who headed both the District of Columbia and Philadelphia police departments. Demonstrators and counter demonstrators “need to be in sight and sound of each other but somebody has to be in between,” he said. “That’s usually the police.”

You’d think.

TROTSKY & HUTCH: After reading Kyle Smith’s “Channing Tatum’s Anti-Communist Manifesto,” at NRO over the weekend, I watched the first two episodes of Comrade Detective on Amazon Prime last night, which is a sort of mash-up of Woody Allen’s What’s Up Tiger Lily, Police Squad, Gorky Park, and SCTV’s Soviet broadcasting parody segment, as Smith explains:

According to an earnestly delivered prologue, what we’re watching is found footage: An actual Romanian buddy-cop TV show from the 1980s. The look and feel of the show (which was actually shot last year) are absolutely dead-on recreations, exactly what you’d expect if you happened to be watching prime-time state TV in Bucharest circa 1988. The actors are Romanian, the mustaches are thick, the art direction is lavishly gray. Everything is played with a completely straight face, and the series was actually filmed in Eastern Europe, which apparently still features lots of locations suffering from Soviet Bloc hangover. If you turned off the sound, you’d swear you were actually watching the Romanian Simon & Simon.

What makes Comrade Detective a comedy is the (intentionally ungainly) dubbing: Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt provide the voices of the mismatched detectives, Gregor Anghel and Iosif Baciu (played impeccably onscreen by Romanians Florin Piersic Jr. and Corneliu Ulici), and such familiar actors as Chloë Sevigny, Daniel Craig, Jake Johnson, Kim Basinger, Jenny Slate, and Mahershala Ali dub supporting characters. Nick Offerman, voicing the crusty, no-nonsense police chief, is especially fine.

* * * * * * * *

Explaining the board game Monopoly, which plays a surprising role in the plot, devolves into pained disbelief: “The more rent you get paid the more money you make,” says an expert on the West. “You’re telling me that the purpose of this game is to drive your fellow citizens into poverty so that you may get rich?” says one of the cops. Black-market racketeers inspire a near-riot amid desperate demand for their wares and protect themselves with machine guns . . . in the process of selling Jordache jeans. Because we’re watching Iron Curtain propaganda, a visit to the U.S. embassy reveals that average Americans are eating huge piles of hamburgers at all times, even at the office. Looming offscreen like the Emperor in Star Wars or Voldemort in Harry Potter, the ultimate source of bone-chilling unease is . . . Ronald Reagan.

Read the whole thing. And maybe even watch the whole thing as well. At nearly an hour each segment, it’s not laugh-a-minute funny, but almost every scene is punctuated by a laugh-out-loud take on either Soviet propaganda or American detective shows – and often both. Of the two Romanian leads, the senior detective is a sort of hardscrabble version of David Soul’s appearance (complete with funky leather sports jacket and sunglasses) on Starsky & Hutch, and his junior partner is the spitting image of young Leon Trotsky.

Based on the first two segments I watched, highly recommended.

OH GOODIE: The 2020 Democratic Purity Olympics Are Already Under Way.

Wouldn’t you know it, on the very delicious-to-watch week that Republicans start jumping off the leaky Trump frigate, some Democrats began testing attacks on one of their own, possible 2020 presidential contender Kamala Harris. The charge, leveled by a few folks on the left, including one member of the Democratic Party Unity Commission (!), is the usual one: that Harris is a corporate stooge in the mold of you-know-who and if the Democrats are even thinking about nominating her, the dis-unity commission will get to work sabotaging her.

I hold no particular brief for Harris, who’s been a senator for all of seven months. Frankly, to me, this presidential talk seems awfully premature. Yes, Barack Obama had served briefly; he was elected to the Senate in 2006 and started running for president the next year, whereas Harris would have three years under her belt. But Obama had electrified the political world with that convention speech back in 2004, and that night he showed obvious presidential potential. Harris asked some good questions in two Senate hearings, but I’m a little mystified as to why that gets her on presidential lists. She was shortlisted by some people before she was even elected.

She’s telegenic, a female of color, and sufficiently progressive — or is sufficient not sufficient enough for some Democrats?

As David Dayen pointed out in the New Republic in early 2016 as her Senate run was getting off the ground, she has a history of being overly cautious (uh, just like you-know-who), especially with regard to her decision not to prosecute Steve Mnuchin’s bank for foreclosure violations. The California attorney general’s office had found ample evidence of possible wrongdoing, but Harris declined to pursue the matter and hasn’t said why.

So she should say why, if she runs for president, and people can judge whether her response is adequate. That’s part of the scrutiny.

But these attacks have the feel of something else. They have the feel of a group of people, most or all of them Bernie Sanders supporters, itching to refight 2016 and demand a level of purity that lo and behold only one candidate can possibly attain.

Corn, popped.

FASTER, PLEASE: Oil and Gas Innovation Goes Well Beyond Fracking.

Linking the oil and gas industry with innovation these past few years isn’t controversial. The pairing of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal well drilling was a novel idea that set off an energy revolution over the past decade, remaking American energy fortunes and ushering in a new global oil reality (and increasingly a new global natural gas reality, as well). But innovation’s impacts on global energy security extend beyond the novelty of fracking. As David G. Victor and Kassia Yanosek write for Foreign Affairs, oil and gas companies are leveraging some of the same trends that are spurring on the information economy to extract hydrocarbons more profitably. . . .

It’s worth your time to sit down and read the whole thing. The authors embark on a brisk tour of the changing (and changed) energy industry in the 21st century. Big data, automation, and systems management aren’t just a hallmark of companies like Amazon—they’re also helping the bottom line of energy producers, and that’s good news for the global economy.

It’s also worth noting that new technologies don’t come with ideologies. When imagining how the international community might meet the climate targets set out in Paris in late 2015, many greens include the optimistic hope that technological breakthroughs will (in time) make clean energy options like wind and solar the only obvious choices. While it’s true that the cost of renewables has dropped significantly just in the past couple of years, it’s also true that breakeven costs for many fossil fuel operators has also come down over that same period of time. There’s no reason to think that innovation will favor one specific energy source over another—there exists the potential for breakthroughs in every corner of the industry, and that’s a tremendously exciting thought.

Well, unless you’re a green Command Economy enthusiast.

SEE, THIS IS WHY CNN SHOULDN’T HAVE THREATENED TO DOX “HAN ASSHOLESOLO.” “How a Montana mom became the target of a neo-Nazi troll,” reports CNN. A Colorado real estate agent named Tanya Gersh was bombarded with threatening emails and phone calls, “after contacting tenants of a local building:”

Gersh says she was then called by the building’s owner, Sherry Spencer, the mother of white supremacist Richard Spencer.

Gersh says she warned Sherry Spencer about looming protests at the building in Whitefish, a Montana town of 7,300 where both women live.

Gersh says she advised Spencer to disavow the views of her son, including that the United States is a country for white people.

She says she offered to sell Spencer’s property as a way of defusing tensions in town. Gersh suggested Spencer donate money to a human rights group.

Sherry Spencer refused to speak to CNN when we reached her on the phone. Earlier, she wrote in a blog post that Gersh, a Realtor, had threatened her, saying protesters and media would turn up and drive down the building’s value if she didn’t sell.

That’s when, according to CNN, “DailyStormer.com, which spews neo-Nazi propaganda” went into full-on #hastanyalandedyet mode:

Andrew Anglin, the site’s founder, accused Gersh of extortion in a blog post. And he exhorted readers to send Gersh — whom he also identified as Jewish — enough messages to make a point.

“Let’s hit ’em up,” he posted. “Are y’all ready for an old-fashioned Troll Storm?”

He then told them: “(I)t’s that time.”

Obligatory reminder: it is never that time. And it shouldn’t be for CNN either, which makes their putting their mafia-like warning that “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change” into their piece on the now infamous “Han Asshole Solo” all the more abhorrent.

“Now, before we move on, someone is going to point out that the meme guy is kind of a jerk and said stuff that offends decent people,” as Kurt Schlichter wrote last week. “So? How is that the point? This is a multi-billion dollar media corporation using all its power to threaten an individual into not criticizing it. How is that ever okay? And don’t pretend for a minute this media extortion precedent gets limited to outlier Reddit guys. Normal Americans are next.”

But normal Americans have already gotten the full troll storm from the left. Just ask the owners of Indiana’s Memories Pizza, who had the mob from a 1930s Universal Frankenstein movie dropped onto them as a result of badthink in response to a hypothetical question by a local journalist. Or Elizabeth Lauten, the low-level Republican staffer who had the temerity to write on her Facebook page that Obama’s daughters should “try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play,” and ultimately quit her job, after social media was whipped into a frenzy by the DNC-MSM (including, of course, CNN):

Lauten apologized for her remarks last Friday, but the backlash continued to grow. She later made her apology statement “private” on Facebook after threatening messages were posted in the comments section.

Both ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today show devoted segments to the controversy on Sunday and Monday, according to Newsbusters. Meanwhile, the Smoking Gun reported that Lauten had been arrested for shoplifting when she was 17 years old, and photos of her drinking beer were posted on Twitter with the caption “Yes America. This is the person who told Sasha and Malia to have some class.”

Lauten has also allegedly received threatening phone calls. On Twitter, dozens of users called for her to “die,” “choke,” and “kill yourself.”

Or Justine Sacco, which brings us back to last week’s threatened doxxing by CNN:

This isn’t [senior CNN editor Andrew] Kaczynski’s first attempt at destroying a private citizen’s life. As a BuzzFeed reporter, he gained notoriety for publicizing a lame joke Tweeted by a 30-year-old PR director named Justine Sacco. As Sacco was boarding a plane from London to Cape Town, South Africa, she poked fun at many people’s poor understanding of the continent. Kaczynski decided the joke was racist and helped gin up a digital lynch mob while she was in the air for 11 hours sans internet. By the time Sacco landed, she was mobbed by reporters, was fired from her job, and had to go into hiding. [Update: Another link demonstrating Kaczynski’s role is here.]

If it’s wrong for an alt-right group to combine doxxing with intimidation – and it is – it’s also wrong for CNN to threaten the same tactics, knowing full well, as Kaczynski does, that outing Mr. AssholeSolo will send up the Batsignal for the Twitter mobs. Or as CNN contributor Mary Katharine Ham wrote yesterday at the Federalist,Going To The Mats For Free Speech Sometimes Means Letting Trolls Go Unpunished:”

HanA**holeSolo isn’t some great modern-day pamphleteer whom we should ensure at all costs can keep delivering us (and the president) hot memes from his den of racist sh*tposters. He’s not, and the fact that the White House finds inspiration in these corners of the Internet is newsworthy. Some of his other creations, including a a composite with Stars of David next to the Jewish CNN employees, are truly disgusting.

But media should be very careful about when they expose private citizens for the sin of political speech. They should be especially careful not to imply that content of political speech that crosses a big media entity is the reason for exposure. The media don’t owe every troll on the Internet his or her anonymity, but doing disproportionate warfare with them can endanger and chill the speech of others.

As Vox’s German Lopez put it simply, “The Internet is not proportional.”

“The problem here is that the internet is not proportional. People wouldn’t merely react to this guy making some offensive remarks on the internet by making some offensive remarks to him. They would react as the internet has reacted before to these kinds of situations — with potentially thousands of hateful messages, death threats, attempts to get him fired, and harassment not just against him but also his family. Lines would quickly be crossed.”

And it’s not just the Internet that’s not proportional. Media has shown an inability to gauge its coverage of the online speech of private citizens.

Bravo for CNN for reporting on Tanya Gersh – but their reasons for doing so appear to be more than a little self-serving. And in threatening “HanA**holeSolo” with doxxing – and with it, the implicit threat that they would the sturm und drang of social media down upon his life, they are yet the latest reminder that the left shouldn’t be surprised when the alt-right adopts the odious tactics they themselves popularized.

IT’S TIME FOR SENSIBLE FRUM CONTROL: David Frum Writes Gibberish. His Trump-era breakdown has been impressive, even by the standards of many people’s Trump-era breakdowns.

TO HELL IN A HANDMAID’S BASKET: Veteran Hollywood composer Boris Zelkin has a lengthy essay on Hulu’s new remake of The Handmade’s Tale, starring longtime former Mad Men actress Elisabeth Moss:

While Atwood presents her tale as occurring in the United States, and the buzz surrounding the release of the Hulu series implies that her vision is timely for America today, in truth, the dystopia she posits has a significantly higher chance of becoming reality in Europe. After all, Europe is the place where trust in and over-reliance upon centralized power, declining birthrates, and an appeasement of an unyielding worldview―the one that actually inspired The Handmaid’s Tale―are all threatening quickly to overturn what was once the font of liberalism and birthplace of the enlightenment into a religiously dystopian and morally bankrupt society.

I could understand the impetus to remake the Handmade’s Tale a bit more if a traditional conservative such as Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio was in the White House. But it’s awfully zany to believe a theocracy is just around the corner, when the current president is a rake who declared that dodging STDs while sleeping around was “my personal Vietnam,” and bragged that he could grab models and actresses “by the p***y,” language that would have been perfectly acceptable to the left if his last name was Clinton, Kennedy, Beatty, or Flint, and he had a (D) after it. Not to mention our current First Lady, who had a previous career posing nude as a model and later, in bikini-clad cheesecake shots on the wing of her husband’s private jet.

And note this:

Of the most wretched and evil characters in modern literature, Atwood’s Aunt Lydia places at the top. She is the apologist voice and cheerleader for the Handmaid’s dystopia. When not presiding over the ‘Salvaging’ of women – hanging them in Harvard Square (a mass execution of women in a public place…reminiscent of the Al Qaeda soccer field executions), she’s busy explaining why the women’s oppression isn’t really oppression at all, but a freedom from male oppression. She argues that the new mores and constricting dress are, in fact, a form of freedom:

“Now we walk along the same street, in red pairs, and no man shouts obscenities at us, speaks to us, touches us. No one whistles.

There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don’t underrate it.” —Aunt Lydia

Lydia argues that with the correct modification of mores and dress the oppressed women are actually freer than they were when they were always worried about the unwelcome sexual advances of men. This distorted narrative, that correct dress and behavior will lead to a freedom from assault is currently being played out in Europe.

In response to the rapes and sexual assaults that occurred in Europe over the New Year’s celebrations and at other times, politicians, many of whom are female and self-described feminists suggested that women, the prospective and actual victims of rape, need to modify their behavior to avoid the rape. These suggested behavior modifications range from walking at arms length from migrants, to walking in pairs (similar to the Handmaids who were always to walk in twos), and to avoiding provocative dress. Most recently a Paris newspaper reported that there are areas of East Paris where women fear to walk alone for fear of being harassed and treated like prostitutes by men. One of the women interviewed states:

There are insults, incessant remarks. The atmosphere is agonizing, to the point of having to modify our movements and our clothes. Some even gave up going out.

What we’re starting to see in Europe is Lydia’s the notion of Freedom From. If a woman wants freedom from assault in today’s Europe she is being told by her female feminist leaders that she must act and dress a certain way.

A decade after being known as Al Gore’s campaign advisor on earth tones and all things alpha-male, and A few years before her spectacular meltdown as an ISIS truther, feminist icon Naomi Wolf was decidedly pro-burka in a piece for the Sydney Morning Herald headlined, “Behind the veil lives a thriving Muslim sexuality:”

She observes, “It is not that Islam suppresses sexuality, but that it embodies a strongly developed sense of its appropriate channelling — toward marriage, the bonds that sustain family life, and the attachment that secures a home.” There was “demureness and propriety” outside of the home, “but inside, women were as interested in allure, seduction and pleasure as women anywhere in the world.”

As Robert Spencer wrote in response, “How interesting that the same things that Western feminists have scoffed at for decades — ‘marriage, the bonds that sustain family life, and the attachment that secures a home’ — become warmly appealing when they see them in the Islamic world.”

And then there’s Lydia’s whole “Freedom from” riff.

“Freedom from Fear” was the Newspeak-style cornerstone of how FDR converted the negative rights of the laissez-faire Constitution (or as Lydia would say, those “days of anarchy”) into the big government Leviathan of the New Deal. Or as Orrin Judd of the conservative Brothers Judd Blog and book review site asked in 1999:

Is it possible that the History of the 20th Century can be explained by simple reference to a change in prepositions?  That is the gist of the epiphany that struck me while watching David M. Kennedy on Booknotes (C-SPAN).  He and Brian Lamb were discussing the fact that this book is part of the Oxford History of the United States joining James McPherson’s excellent one-volume history of the Civil War, Battle Cry of Freedom : The Civil War Era (1988).  Suddenly, the switch from “of Freedom” to “Freedom from”, in the respective titles, struck me as emblematic of the pivotal change of  emphases in the Modern world.  The history of America from Plymouth Rock until the Crash was essentially the story of Man’s struggle for Freedom, but Freedom in a positive sense, Freedom to do things–to worship, to speak, to gather, etc.  Thus, McPherson’s book details the great convulsion of the 19th Century, the Civil War and the struggle to free the slaves–a struggle to expand freedom.  But Kennedy, charting the great 20th Century convulsion,  has it exactly right, the importance of the responses to the Depression by both Hoover and Roosevelt lay in their decision to elevate a negative idea of Freedom, freedom from want, from hunger, from “the vicissitudes of life” above, and against, the traditional American ideal of republican Liberty.  This shift from a government aimed at protecting Freedom to one designed to provide Security is the single most important thing that happened in 20th Century America.

Finally, in a contradiction so big even Newsweek could see it, “there’s something simply too intriguing not to address about Moss’s lifelong devotion to Scientology and her new role as a character who resists accepting a regime’s ideologies and strict governance as status quo:”

In Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Offred and other fertile women cannot walk alone in the United States; they must abide by the stringent ruling of a far-right regime that has taken over what’s left of the nation. She dreams of what her life could be like if she managed to successfully escape, leaving behind the followers of a religion that often resembles an oppressive and volatile cult. In actuality, she’s complicit in the organization’s control and terror over the country, following along with its rules, partaking in the indoctrination of its newest captured members and killing those deemed immoral.

Of course, Offred’s plight is only fictional: Elisabeth Moss, who plays the protagonist in Hulu’s adaption of the Margaret Atwood novel, doesn’t seem to have any of the same struggles as a Scientologist. A member of the controversial church her entire life, the 34-year-old maintains a quiet relationship with Scientology in the public eye and has avoided the topic entirely along her press tour promoting the new show, which released its fourth episode Wednesday night.

All of which is why, as Charlotte Allen recently noted in the L.A. Times, “We’re Living The Handmaid’s Tale Now, But Not The Way Feminists Think.”

WAS VIETNAM WINNABLE?

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.

FROM PROF. JACOBSON, IN THE CORNELL SUN: Prof. David Collum, Chemistry, is owed an apology and a retraction:

On April 20, 2017, The Cornell Daily Sun published a lengthy letter to the editor from seven graduate students: Kevin Hines, Robert Escriva, Ethan Susca, Mel White, Rose Agger, Kolbeinn Karlsson and Jane Glaubman.

The letter impugned the integrity of Cornell world-renowned Prof. David B. Collum, chemistry in the most serious ways, accusing him of being a rape apologist, misogynistic and unfit for the position of department chair. Several of the letter writers were graduate student union supporters active in the union vote drive. Prof. Collum has been widely criticized by union supporters for opposing the union drive. The letter appears to be payback.

In publishing that letter, The Sun gave a platform to a smear campaign against Prof. Collum in a manner that did not allow Prof. Collum to respond or provide for a verification of the context of the supposed evidence. I have researched several of the key tweets and quotes attributed to Prof. Collum in the letter, and it is clear that the way in which they are presented in the letter is misleading at best, and, in some cases, presents a false portrayal.

As somebody once pointed out, SJWs always lie. I’m glad he used all their names, so that they’ll show up in search engines. I can’t imagine that their role in launching false attacks against a famed chemistry professor will help their job prospects. Nor should it.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Ace has some thoughts on professors who can’t tell a student paper they disagree with from rape.

Related: David French: Do Some Feminist Professors Even Know What the Word ‘Rape’ Means?

Feminists will dismiss this as “mansplaining,” but that’s okay because mansplaining seems to just boil down to “pointing out obvious facts to hysterical feminists.”

HOW CAN WE MISS HIM IF HE WON’T GO AWAY? Obama fingerprints at DNC?

Former President Obama’s White House political director is informally providing strategic advice to leaders at the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

David Simas, who is now CEO of the Obama Foundation, is close with DNC Chairman Tom Perez and has been in regular contact with Sam Cornale, a top adviser to Perez.

A source who has been involved in the transition said Simas has provided strategic advice on hiring decisions.

The new chairman has asked for resignation letters from most DNC staff as he begins the process of building his own team, although so far the DNC has only unveiled its communications team.

The talks with one of Obama’s most prominent political aides underscore the delicate line walked by the DNC as it charts a way forward after a divisive presidential primary battle last year.

Any conversations between Perez and political figures who are viewed as being part of the establishment can be greeted with suspicion by liberal Democrats, who want to see the DNC stocked with progressives after the organization tilted the scales in favor of Hillary Clinton and against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) last year during the presidential campaign.

Perez, Obama’s Labor secretary, was seen as the former president’s favored candidate in the race for the chairmanship earlier this year. Progressives were disappointed when he defeated Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who ran with the support of Sanders.

It’s Obama’s personal party.

I DO WORRY ABOUT THAT: Is the Cure for Aging Just Around the Corner? Here’s hoping that we’ve not been born one generation too early.

Peter de Keizer, a molecular geneticist at Erasmus University, reports in the journal Cell that he and his colleagues have developed a technique that kills off senescent cells. Our bodies have two ways of preventing damaged cells from becoming cancerous: kill them off, or cause them to cease replication and thus become senescent. Senescent cells accumulate as we grow older, secreting inflammatory substances that harm neighboring cells and contribute to many age-related diseases, including atherosclerorsis and diabetes.

De Keizer and his colleagues have developed a treatment in mice that selectively kills senescent cells while leaving healthy normal cells alone. They discovered that old or damaged cells become senescent rather than die when the FOXO4 protein binds to the tumor suppressor gene p53. They have designed another protein that interferes with the ability of FOXO4 to halt p53 from causing cells to die.

De Keizer’s team administered the new protein to both fast-aging and normally aged mice. The treatment worked as they had hoped, jumpstarting the ability of p53 to make senescent cells commit suicide. Eliminating senescent cells restored stamina, fur density, and kidney function in both strains of mice. The researchers report that they are continuing to study the rodents to see if the treatment extends their lifespans. They plan to try the treatment to stop brain cancer in human beings, but the ultimate goal is to treat aging as a disease. “Maybe when you get to 65 you’ll go every five years for your anti-senescence shot in the clinic. You’ll go for your rejuvenation shot,” de Keizer told the Tech Times.

In the same week, another group of Harvard researchers led by molecular biologist David Sinclair reported in Science about experiments in mice that thwart DNA damage associated with aging and exposure to radiation. As we age, our cells lose their ability to repair the damage to the DNA that makes up our genes. The repair process is orchestrated by the SIRT1 and PARP1 proteins. Both proteins consume the ubiquitous coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) to operate. As we grow older, the amount of NAD in our cells declines, thus allowing another protein, DBC1, to inhibit the DNA repair activity of both SIRT1 and PARP1.

I’m taking Niagen, which contains the NAD precursor nicotinamide riboside. How well does it work? I have no side effects that I can identify, and my workouts seem to have been more productive since I started taking it, but really there’s no way to tell if it’s slowing aging or not.

JACOB SULLUM: Anti-Abortion Activists Face Dubious Eavesdropping Charges in California.

Yesterday California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced 15 felony charges against two anti-abortion activists, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, in connection with their hidden-camera recordings of conversations with Planned Parenthood employees they sought to implicate in the illegal sale of fetal tissue. “The right to privacy is a cornerstone of California’s Constitution, and a right that is foundational in a free democratic society,” Becerra declared. “We will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations.”

The right to freedom of the press, which Daleiden and Merritt claim they were exercising, is also foundational in a free democratic society, and it conflicts with California’s dubious definition of the right to privacy. That conflict is especially troubling when law enforcement officials use privacy as a pretext to attack political opponents, which is what seems to be happening in this case.

Shameful — but the Deep State has no sense of shame.

And here’s the kicker:

Surprised?

UPDATE (FROM GLENN):

DAVID FRENCH: Could Someone Please Inform the Federal Judiciary That Jihadists Are Muslim?

RIGHT ON CUE: After years of liberal hate, George W. Bush is getting the respect he deserves:

It was in February 2010, on Interstate 35 in Wyoming, Minn., according to Wikipedia, that the billboards first began to appear: “MISS ME YET?” ran the message over a picture of George W. Bush.

“Kind of,” say today’s Democrats.

With Obama out and Trump in, the mental malady known as Bush Derangement Syndrome has finally begun to recede, and the 43rd president is enjoying an unlikely renaissance. Progressive journalist David Corn approvingly quoted Bush on Inauguration Day. Time magazine, Slate The Atlantic and the op-ed page of The New York Times have all run pieces in which left-wing writers favorably compared the second President Bush’s rhetoric to President Trump’s.

Then, last weekend on “Saturday Night Live,” host Aziz Ansari praised Dubya in his monologue, noting that “George W Bush made a speech after 9/11, and it really helped.

But this is the pattern for the left for every Republican president once he’s out of office (or in Barry Goldwater and Mitt Romney’s case, having been successfully vanquished), from Eisenhower on, including Nixon. Each Republican president is demonized while in office, and then, right on cue, held up as an example of eloquence, seriousness, and/or foreign policy brilliance in order to bash the current Republican in the Oval Office. But at this point, the Democrat’s playbook is stuck in the leather helmet days of the NFL: Large swatches of the American public have to be asking themselves: Since none of the former GOP presidents you said were Hitler while they were in office turned out to actually be Hitler, then the guy you’re currently saying is Hitler isn’t Hitler, either.

SHOT: DONALD TRUMP IS THE FIRST PRESIDENT TO TURN POSTMODERNISM AGAINST ITSELF:

Democrats gleefully welcomed Trump’s victory in the Republican primaries with the expectation that they’d bury him in a pile of condescension for being a buffoon and scorn for being the next Hitler. Better yet, they figured that his astounding rise confirmed everything they had long assumed about half the country and were now free to say out loud: they are indeed a basket of irredeemable racist, sexist, homophobic deplorables. Mainstream Republicans would surely hop on board the progressive train rather than be associated with these creeps.

None of this happened, of course. But why? Because what Trump’s enemies failed to grasp was that he wasn’t winning because of the crazy things he was saying, but because of the phony outrage and affected condescension it provoked. Many people empathized with Trump for enduring the contempt that he deliberately brought against himself. Trump kept playing the role of the antihero, and Clinton kept playing the role of the pearl-clutching fraud.

So I’m a scoundrel because I don’t pay income taxes? Maybe so, but it also makes me smart, just like all the other billionaires who are backing your campaign. So I’m a sexist because you found a video of me bragging about how my superstar status enables me to grab women by the p—y? Maybe it does, but allow me to publically introduce four of the women who have accused your husband of everything from indecent exposure to rape. So I’m a greedy businessman who stiffs my contractors? Fine. You’re a corrupt politician who sells out our national interest to line your own pockets.

Maybe everything they say about me is true, but at least I’m authentic, at least I’m real: you on the other hand, are a bloody, disgusting hypocrite.

So say goodnight to the bad guy! Because this bad guy is now our president.

—David Ernst, the Federalist.

Chaser:

What unites these fake news narratives and gives them greater media resonance than other fables and urban myths is again their progressive resonance. Fake news can become a means to advance supposedly noble ends of racial, gender, class, or environmental justice—such as the need for new sexual assault protocols on campuses. Those larger aims supersede bothersome and inconvenient factual details. The larger “truth” of fake news lives on even after its facts have been utterly debunked.

And indeed, the fake news mindset ultimately can be traced back to the campus. Academic postmodernism derides facts and absolutes, and insists that there are only narratives and interpretations that gain credence, depending on the power of the story-teller. In other words, white male establishment reactionaries have set up fictive rules of “absolute” truth and “unimpeachable” facts, and they have further consolidated their privilege by forcing the Other to buy into their biased and capricious notions of discriminating against one narrative over another.

The work of French postmodernists—such as Michael Foucault and Jacques Derrida that mesmerized academics in the 1980s with rehashed Nietzschean banalities about the absence of facts and the primacy of interpretation—has now been filtered by the media to a nationwide audience. If the mythical exclamation “hands up, don’t shoot” was useful in advancing a narrative of inordinate police attacks against African Americans, who cares whether he actually said it? And indeed, why privilege a particular set of elite investigatory methodologies to ascertain its veracity?

In sum, fake news is journalism’s popular version of the nihilism of campus postmodernism. To progressive journalists, advancing a leftwing political agenda is important enough to justify the creation of misleading narratives and outright falsehoods to deceive the public—to justify, in other words, the creation of fake but otherwise useful news.

“Fake News: Postmodernism By Another Name,” Victor Davis Hanson, Defining Ideas.

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

Inside Higher Education, January 16th.

trump_reading_rules_for_radicals_article_banner_6-1-16-1

PAUL MARSHALL: Brexit Is Like Repealing the Corn Laws All Over Again.

In 1846, the Repeal of the Corn Laws opened up a new era of unparalleled prosperity for this country based on the expansion of trade. Hopefully, Brexit will do the same as we gain access to the developing world for our service industries in return for opening up our agricultural markets.

Yet the Liberal “Democrats” have set their face firmly, not only against the democratic will of the people but also against our re-opening to the world. Vince Cable, for one, must feel conflicted. In his contribution to the Orange Book (which I edited with David Laws in 2004), he described the Common Agricultural Policy as “an economic, environmental and moral disgrace”.

Not much has been done to reform it since then so presumably his views haven’t changed.

The only disgrace today is that the Liberal Democrats have so lost touch with their roots that they have subordinated all policy making to their infatuation with an undemocratic regional customs union.

Read the whole thing. And while you’re at it, James C. Bennett’s A Time For Audacity: How Brexit Has Created The CANZUK Option makes a lovely companion piece.

DAVID FRENCH: Simple Questions About Christians in the Workplace.

I speak frequently on college campuses, and my more liberal audience members often dispute my assertion that Christians face increasing challenges in the academy and the corporate marketplace. I sometimes respond with the following questions:

John and Jill are both applying to work at a company like Google, Apple, Starbucks, or Disney. John is an advocate for LGBT issues, he believes Caitlyn Jenner is a woman, and he thinks Black Lives Matter has pulled back the curtain on systematic police racism. Jill is an Evangelical Christian who believes marriage is God-defined as the lifelong, covenant relationship of one man and one woman. She knows that Caitlyn Jenner is a man. And while her heart grieves for racism, she believes Black Lives Matter is a dangerous, radical organization that is inciting violence and spreading dangerous hoaxes that are inflaming millions of Americans.

Will they both be equally free to share their views in the workplace? If their views are known, will they enjoy equal economic opportunity if they speak in the same manner and same intensity inside and outside the office? If John puts marriage equality and Black Lives Matters posters or stickers up in his cubicle, can Jill freely counter his speech with her own? Do your answers change if John and Jill are both applying to work at Harvard?

Honest liberals know the answers.

And so do the rest of us.

CORN, POPPED: In OPEC Poker Game, Iran and Iraq Call Saudi Arabia’s Bluff.

Together, Iran and Iraq pump more than 8 million barrels a day, up from about 6 million barrels a day from late 2014 when OPEC adopted its current pump-at-will oil policy. Saudi Arabia remains the largest producer at more than 10.5 million barrels a day.

“The reality is that only Saudi Arabia and perhaps the U.A.E. and Kuwait are prepared to make any cuts, and those will be modest and short-lived,” said Bob McNally, founder of consultant Rapidan Group in Washington. “At best, Iran and Iraq will sign for production freezes.”

Perhaps with that in mind, Khalid Al-Falih, the Saudi oil minister, tried over the weekend to change the OPEC narrative. Oil prices will stabilize next year, “and this will happen without an intervention from OPEC,” he said in Dhahran, eastern Saudi Arabia, on Sunday, according to the Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.

That may be nothing more than wishful thinking:

“If OPEC does not come up with a credible agreement to cut production on Wednesday oil prices will end the year below $40 a barrel and be chasing down $30 a barrel early next year,” said David Hufton, chief executive officer of brokers PVM Group Ltd. in London.

If oil prices do rise, then American frackers will reap much of the benefit — and cap that increase at $50 or $60. If prices fall or merely stay the same, that’s cheap gas for us and slashed budgets for the OPEC nations.

After decades of the Saudis having us over a barrel, it’s nice to be on the other side of the “heads I win, tails you lose” scenario.

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, PART DEUX:

Shot:

Strange, how a man once so reviled has gained stature in the memory. How we cheered when Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency! How dramatic it was when David Frost cornered him on TV and presided over the humiliating confession that he had stonewalled for three years. And yet how much more intelligent, thoughtful and, well, presidential, he now seems, compared to the occupant of the office from 2001 to 2009.

Nixon was thought to have been destroyed by Watergate and interred by the Frost interviews. But wouldn’t you trade him in a second for Bush?

The late Roger Ebert, in his review of Ron Howard’s film Frost/Nixon, December 10, 2008.

Chaser: Donald Trump as Nixon’s Heir.

— Reihan Salam, the Wall Street Journal, Saturday.

Curiously, despite all the newfound respect Nixon has received over the years from the likes of Ebert and Timesmen such as Thomas Wicker and Paul Krugman, I’m not sure how comforted the left will be with the comparison of Trump to the 37th president.

RAMESH PONNURU: Dear America, This Is Important — Trump Did Not Win Because of Racism.

The exit polls are remarkable. Would you believe that Mitt Romney won a greater percentage of the white vote than Donald Trump? Mitt took 59 percent while Trump won 58 percent. Would you believe that Trump improved the GOP’s position with black and Hispanic voters? Obama won 93 percent of the black vote. Hillary won 88 percent. Obama won 71 percent of the Latino vote. Hillary won 65 percent.

Critically, millions of minority voters apparently stayed home. Trump’s total vote is likely to land somewhere between John McCain’s and Romney’s (and well short of George W. Bush’s 2004 total), while the Democrats have lost almost 10 million voters since 2008. And all this happened even as Democrats doubled-down on their own identity politics. Black Lives Matter went from a fringe movement to the Democratic mainstream in the blink of an eye. Radical sexual politics were mainstreamed even faster. White voters responded mainly by voting in the same or lesser numbers as the last three presidential elections. That’s not a “whitelash,” it’s consistency.

Related: Given Hillary’s collapse in lower-income support, maybe America’s poor citizens want better policies more than they want gay wedding cakes.

THAT DIDN’T TAKE LONG: No sooner is a Republican elected to the White House than the “antiwar” group A.N.S.W.E.R. is planning protests.

This piece by David Corn is a must-read on that group. Excerpt:

Nor did it speak to Americans who oppose the war but who don‘t consider the United States a force of unequaled imperialist evil and who don’t yearn to smash global capitalism.

This was no accident, for the demonstration was essentially organized by the Workers World Party, a small political sect that years ago split from the Socialist Workers Party to support the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. The party advocates socialist revolution and abolishing private property. It is a fan of Fidel Castro‘s regime in Cuba, and it hails North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il for preserving his country’s ”socialist system,“ which, according to the party‘s newspaper, has kept North Korea ”from falling under the sway of the transnational banks and corporations that dictate to most of the world.“ The WWP has campaigned against the war-crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. A recent Workers World editorial declared, ”Iraq has done absolutely nothing wrong.“

Officially, the organizer of the Washington demonstration was International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism). But ANSWER is run by WWP activists, to such an extent that it seems fair to dub it a WWP front. Several key ANSWER officials — including spokesperson Brian Becker — are WWP members. Many local offices for ANSWER’s protest were housed in WWP offices. Earlier this year, when ANSWER conducted a press briefing, at least five of the 13 speakers were WWP activists. They were each identified, though, in other ways, including as members of the International Action Center.

Read the whole thing.

BREAKING: FBI Obtains Warrant for Newly Discovered Emails in Clinton Probe — as Reid Accuses Comey of Hatch Act Violation.

The all-out war on Comey strikes me as a mistake. It reeks of desperation.

UPDATE: All-out war indeed. Unindicted Gun Criminal David Gregory Rips FBI’s Comey. “In making his case against Comey, however, Gregory did not mention that his lawyer wife has represented former Clinton aides involved in the scandal.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Frank Niceley: If Comey’s so awful, Obama can always fire him.

MORE: From the comments: “Here is the important item to remember, either Huma or Weiner retained this trove of emails as an insurance policy against the Clintons, not because they are pack rats. There is some major S++t in there.”

STILL MORE: The Hill: Hillary’s emails matter: A retired CIA officer explains why.

MORE STILL: NPR’S Audie Cornish: “If Comey hadn’t said what he said to Congress and the rest of the world, it would have leaked. It would have leaked. That whole building was ready to leak that they had discovered this new source with Weiner and Abedin.”

Plus, Mike Pence weighs in: “In fact, Pence added, why doesn’t Huma Abedin just put her emails out? Why does the Hillary campaign think the missing information should come from the FBI? If they sincerely want transparency, why don’t they get transparent?”

DAVID FRENCH: Dear University of Tennessee, Hands Off Glenn Reynolds.

BAH. BOOMERS SAID THE EXACT SAME ABOUT MY GENERATION BEFORE CO-OPTING US: What David Brooks Misses About Millennial Fragility.

CHANGE: Spooked by obesity trends, the U.S. military is redefining its basic fitness standards.

Pentagon officials intend to publish a new policy later this year, a document expected to have sweeping effects on how the military defines and measures health and fitness. The review comes amid rising concern about obesity. Among civilians, it is shrinking the pool of qualified prospective recruits. And in the active-duty force, a rising number of overweight troops poses risks to readiness and health care costs.

“You can look around and see all the soldiers that are pushing that belly,” said Dr. David Levitsky, a professor of nutritional science and human ecology at Cornell University who has studied military nutrition and obesity. “They have to do something about it.”

There’s worry that the current standards “are at the core of long-simmering controversies that pit questions of fairness against those of military readiness.”

Do we really want a military that’s interested in anything fair?

ALEKSANDR SOLZHENITSYN COULD NOT BE REACHED FOR COMMENT:

Shot: How to find books in authoritarian states: head for dark, dusty corners — Censorship and intimidation can make life hard for academic researchers. You need to know where to look for hidden truths.

—Headline, the London Guardian, April 19, 2016.

Chaser:

  • Arthur Ransome wrote from Russia for The Guardian and other publications. He knew and supported Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks. He was a friend of the butcher Dzerzhinsky.
  • The Guardian supported Stalin, and sacked the brave Malcolm Muggeridge for telling the West about the genocidal Ukrainian Famine (when perhaps 7 million people were deliberately starved to death by Stalin).
  • Today, The Guardian opposes the war on Islamic fascism and calls for appeasement.
  • The Guardian and Left-wing mass murderers: a love story, Sean Thomas, 3 Oct 2013. – Lenin, Milosevic, Mao, the Soviet Union, the KGB. And that’s without getting started on the Islamists.

“The left’s historical support for tyranny and terrorism,” MarkHumphrys.com.

Related: “How To Lose Money In Very Large Quantities:” David Thompson on the Grauniad’s current “business” model.

(Via Maggie’s Farm.)

TIME-WARNER-HBO-CNN SPOKESMAN JOHN OLIVER CALLS BORIS JOHNSON A ‘SHAVED ORANGUTAN’ AND DAVID CAMERON A ‘PIG-F***ER’ IN NINE-MINUTE ANTI-BREXIT RANT ON US TV: “Prominent pro-Brexit politician and leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage was savaged as having a ‘punchable face.’”

Oliver is employed by the same corporation that issued an on-air apology minutes after a guest on a CNN program used the term “crosshairs” during a segment in January of 2011, when the left’s modified limited hangout required claiming that Sarah Palin’s election clipart magically led to the shooting a Democratic senator and Republican-appointed federal judge.

He’s also employed by the same corporation that led an on-air jeremiad against “bullying,” only to bully pro-traditional marriage Florida AG Pam Bondi for no particular reason on air after an Islamic terrorist shot up an Orlando disco this month, and to tear into UKIP politician Ray Finch for daring to support Brexit. As Rod Dreher wrote last week, “Had he been on for a minute more, [Christiane Amanpour] would have blamed Orlando on Nigel Farage.”

To put it succinctly: “To Hell with You People.”

Update: “BREAKING: Guy who left Britain is upset Britain left the EU.” Heh. As Iowahawk recently tweeted, “a British version of John Oliver [covering American politics] would be a nightly BBC show with Larry the Cable Guy talking about how bad Britain sucks.”

THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE JUST DECLARED WAR ON NORTH CAROLINA, David French writes at NRO:

Is there a single person who believes that the Congress that passed Title VII believed that it was doing away with the distinction between male and female — making it completely dependent on individual preference — and thus granting men access to women and girls in bathrooms, lockers, and showers? LGBT activists used to be angry with the Obama administration for its failure to pass or even press hard for ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in federal employment law. But passing bills is so tiresome and inefficient, especially when a mere memo can change the law, and the Obama administration can be confident that leftist judges will uphold most anything done with Obama’s ”pen and phone.”

The letter claims that North Carolina treats “transgender employees, whose gender identity does not match their ‘biological sex’ . . . differently from similarly-situated non-transgender employees.” This is a howler. I wonder . . . will the DOJ intervene to defend the state from liability the first time a woman or child is assaulted in a bathroom by a man who was granted a legal right to be there? Quack science meets quack law, and social justice warriors rejoice.

At Hot Air, Jazz Shaw writes “For their part, the state is thus far standing firm against the threats coming from Loretta Lynch’s office.” Shaw links to a Boston Herald article today that notes:

Giving no indication of yielding to pressure, North Carolina’s Republican leaders called a federal warning about the legality of the state’s new law limiting LGBT anti-discrimination rules a broad overreach by the government.

Gov. Pat McCrory and top state legislators were determining what steps to take after the U.S. Justice Department said in a letter Wednesday that the state law violated federal civil rights laws and threatened possible litigation.

“This is no longer just a North Carolina issue, because this conclusion by the Department of Justice impacts every state,” McCrory said.

As Shaw writes, “The stupidity surrounding this entire argument is staggering, but we unfortunately seem to be living in a time when the courts must be called in to decide every demand from the You Will Be Made To Care battalion of the SJW. It’s sad, but unless there is a resurgence of common sense around the electorate you can expect more and more of this nonsense to clog up the courts for years to come.”

While a two-front war is always a dangerous proposition, it’s got to be good for Mr. Obama to have President Ash Carter in charge of fighting ISIS. It frees up our reverse von Clausewitz, the man who views American politics as the continuation of warfare, to continue his all-out war against the American people, which as we’ve seen over the last seven and a half years, Mr. Obama views as the much more important of the two struggles. (Just ask him.)

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN: A.N.S.W.E.R. PROTESTS DONALD TRUMP. The sign being held by an anti-Trump protestor in this AP photo taken yesterday outside of the Hyatt Regency Hotel near SFO hosting the California Republican Party Convention is largely in Spanish, but notice the URL underneath it — it’s our old friends A.N.S.W.E.R.

GOP 2016

(AP Photo/Michael Blood.)

As Wikipedia notes, ANSWERcoalition.org is the URL of…

Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), also known as International A.N.S.W.E.R. and the ANSWER Coalition, is a United States-based protest umbrella group consisting of many antiwar and civil rights organizations. Formed in the wake of the September 11th attacks, ANSWER has since helped to organize many of the largest anti-war demonstrations in the United States, including demonstrations of hundreds of thousands against the Iraq War.

Longtime readers of Instapundit will remember A.N.S.W.E.R. behind seemingly every anti-Iraq War protest during the early naughts, which made perfect sense in a way — of course Iraq’s Ba’ath Socialist Party, which Saddam led, would be propped by another group of avoid socialists. Back in October of 2002, Glenn linked to this L.A. Weekly article by David Corn, with some background on A.N.S.W.E.R.’s roots:

If public-opinion polls are correct, 33 percent to 40 percent of the public opposes an Iraq war; even more are against a unilateral action. This means the burgeoning anti-war movement has a large recruiting pool, yet the demo was not intended to persuade doubters. Nor did it speak to Americans who oppose the war but who don‘t consider the United States a force of unequaled imperialist evil and who don’t yearn to smash global capitalism.

This was no accident, for the demonstration was essentially organized by the Workers World Party, a small political sect that years ago split from the Socialist Workers Party to support the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. The party advocates socialist revolution and abolishing private property. It is a fan of Fidel Castro‘s regime in Cuba, and it hails North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il for preserving his country’s ”socialist system,“ which, according to the party‘s newspaper, has kept North Korea ”from falling under the sway of the transnational banks and corporations that dictate to most of the world.“ The WWP has campaigned against the war-crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. A recent Workers World editorial declared, ”Iraq has done absolutely nothing wrong.“

Officially, the organizer of the Washington demonstration was International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism). But ANSWER is run by WWP activists, to such an extent that it seems fair to dub it a WWP front. Several key ANSWER officials — including spokesperson Brian Becker — are WWP members. Many local offices for ANSWER’s protest were housed in WWP offices. Earlier this year, when ANSWER conducted a press briefing, at least five of the 13 speakers were WWP activists. They were each identified, though, in other ways, including as members of the International Action Center.

The IAC, another WWP offshoot, was a key partner with ANSWER in promoting the protest. It was founded by Ramsey Clark, attorney general for President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s. For years, Clark has been on a bizarre political odyssey, much of the time in sync with the Workers World Party. As an attorney, he has represented Lyndon LaRouche, the leader of a political cult. He has defended Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic and Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, who was accused of participating in the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Clark is also a member of the International Committee To Defend Slobodan Milosevic. The international war-crimes tribunal, he explains, ”is war by other means“ — that is, a tool of the West to crush those who stand in the way of U.S. imperialism, like Milosevic. A critic of the ongoing sanctions against Iraq, Clark has appeared on talking-head shows and refused to concede any wrongdoing on Saddam‘s part. There is no reason to send weapons inspectors to Iraq, he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: ”After 12 years of brutalization with sanctions and bombing they‘d like to be a country again. They’d like to have sovereignty again. They‘d like to be left alone.“

It is not redbaiting to note the WWP’s not-too-hidden hand in the nascent anti-war movement. It explains the tone and message of Saturday‘s rally. Take the question of inspections. According to Workers World, at a party conference in September, Sara Flounders, a WWP activist, reported war opponents were using the slogan ”inspections, not war.“ Flounders, the paper says, ”pointed out that ’inspections ARE war‘ in another form,“ and that she had ”prepared party activists to struggle within the movement on this question.“ Translation: The WWP would do whatever it could to smother the ”inspections, not war“ cry. Inspections-before-invasion is an effective argument against the dash to war. But it conflicts with WWP support for opponents of U.S. imperialism. At the Washington event, the WWP succeeded in blocking out that line — while promoting anti-war messages more simpatico with its dogma.

To bring things more up to date, in November of 2014, Lee Cary of the American Thinker provided additional and more up to date information on their history in an article titled, “A.N.S.W.E.R.Coalition not letting Ferguson crisis go to waste.”

And in 2016, they’re not letting the presidential election go to waste, either. As David French of NRO wrote yesterday, “We know leftist radicals aren’t shy about taking so-called ‘direct action’ to intimidate opponents. We also know that at least some Trump supporters are spoiling for a fight. Trump himself has been spoiling for a fight. We risk the worst political violence in a generation. Am I wrong to believe that some in the media are thrilled at the prospect — so long as the Left is leading the charge?”

Well, that was certainly the case in Ferguson and Baltimore. French’s article was memorably headlined, “Dear Mainstream Media, Don’t You Dare Whitewash Anti-Trump Violence,” but longtime Instapundit readers will remember that’s precisely what most of the MSM (with a few notable exceptions, such as Corn’s article above) did with A.N.S.W.E.R. Don’t hold your breath watching for them connect the dots in 2016.

DAVID FRENCH: Dear Mainstream Media, Don’t You Dare Whitewash Anti-Trump Violence. “Just imagine for a moment the shrieking outrage if Trump supporters had tried to flip a car outside a Hillary Clinton rally. Imagine the fury at the sight of a bloody man wearing a Hillary shirt. So how did the mainstream media cover the anti-Trump riot?”

With variations on Trump Brings Violence, of course. They know whose side they’re on. Plus:

Nothing Trump has done justifies a violent response. Nothing. Yet the more the media whitewashes this violence and applies its typical double standard to left-wing thugs, the more the violence will escalate. Clearly the media sympathizes with these Mexican flag-waving crowds in much the same way that it sympathized with the rioters at Ferguson and Baltimore. But when you excuse political violence, you tend to get more of it. We know leftist radicals aren’t shy about taking so-called “direct action” to intimidate opponents. We also know that at least some Trump supporters are spoiling for a fight. Trump himself has been spoiling for a fight. We risk the worst political violence in a generation. Am I wrong to believe that some in the media are thrilled at the prospect — so long as the Left is leading the charge?

If violence goes the other way they’ll be all “have you no decency?” But they have none, and people have noticed.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: Behind Closed Doors, Top U.S. Commander Frustrated With Obama.

This isn’t the first we’ve heard of major disagreements between the White House and the Pentagon over U.S. Asia policy. Two weeks ago, the well-connected David Ignatius indicated that top Defense officials would like to see the U.S. take a tougher line in the South China Sea. But this Navy Times report is pretty remarkable. It’s difficult not to assume that although Harris’ office declined to comment on-the-record, someone close to the Admiral has been disclosing Defense’s frustrations off-the-record.

It’s easy to see why Defense officials would be exasperated. China is slowing but steadily taking control of one of the world’s critical shipping lanes, and the U.S. President doesn’t want to try harder to stop them because he’s focused on nuclear non-proliferation and non-binding climate agreements. Yes, the United States needs China’s cooperation on many issues. But America has, since the end of World War Two, defended freedom of the seas as a cornerstone of a peaceful world order that has largely benefited the world.

President Obama, the White House keeps saying, is focused on legacy-building in his final year. Well, a Beijing-controlled South China Sea and the embittering of America’s Asia Pacific allies and partners who asked the U.S. to intervene on their behalf would certainly be quite a legacy.

Worst commander-in-chief ever?

EVERYTHING SEEMINGLY IS SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL: Trump’s Misplaced Oreo Rage — Uncle Sugar Made Them Do It.

QUESTION ASKED: Are There Conservative TV Shows?

Feel free to hash it out in the comments, but I would say that CBS is arguably the most-conservative primetime TV channel, at least in terms of its military-friendly NCIS franchises, Blue Bloods and the usually politics-free Big Bang Theory.

Which is remarkable considering that its CEO Les Moonves recently said of Trump’s campaign, “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” Its nightly news anchor Scott Pelley once likened global warming skeptics to holocaust deniers. John Dickerson, the host of Face the Nation and the “political director” for CBS, wrote an article for Slate in 2013 charmingly titled “Go for the Throat! Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party.” Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security advisor is the brother of CBS News president David Rhodes, and CBS pushed out Sharyl Attkisson after her investigative coverage of Obama and Hillary’s Benghazi debacle.

Perhaps Moonves learned his lesson from former NBC head Jeff Zucker (now president of CNN), who learned the hard way that going full SJW in primetime is a recipe for ratings disaster.

FORMER WAPO LEGEND CARL BERNSTEIN INADVERTENTLY EXPLAINS TRUMP’S RISE.  Carl Bernstein Rejects Comparing Trump to ‘Principled’ Barry Goldwater: “I think Donald Trump is an authoritarian. He’s not an ideologue, he’s not a principled man in the way that Goldwater was….I think that the times are different and I think the people are altogether different,” Bernstein tells CNN’s Don Lemon. Earlier this week, as Mediaite notes, Bernstein “told CNN’s Brian Stelter that Trump is ‘a new kind of fascist in our culture’ with an ‘authoritarian demagogic point of view.’”

I’d much rather a proto-libertarian such as Barry Goldwater as president than a center-left celebrity candidate such as Trump. But to paraphrase the famous sign seen at Tea Party rallies in 2009 which read “It Doesn’t Matter What This Sign Says, You’ll Call It Racism Anyway,” it doesn’t matter who the GOP runs, you’ll call him a Nazi anyway. Celebrities from Louis CK to Sarah Silverman are pulling out all of the fascist references to Trump (Silverman even appeared with a brown uniform and tiny mustache to criticize Trump on Conan O’Brien’s show last week.) But no less a figure than Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News in 1964 insinuated that Goldwater the champion of small government, whose father was Jewish was a Nazi, as left-leaning Cronkite biographer Douglas Brinkley wrote in 2012:

As managing editor of the CBS Evening News, Cronkite seemed to relish pricking Goldwater from time to time for sport. In late July, he introduced a report from CBS correspondent Daniel Schorr, a hard-and-fast liberal working from Munich. With an almost tongue-in-cheek smile, Cronkite said, “Whether or not Senator Goldwater wins the nomination, he is going places, the first place being Germany.” Schorr then went on a tear, saying, “It looks as though Senator Goldwater, if nominated, will be starting his campaign in Bavaria, the center of Germany’s right wing.” The backstory was merely that Goldwater had accepted an invitation from Lieutenant General William Quinn for a quick holiday at Berchtesgaden, a U.S. Army recreational center in Germany. But Schorr made the takeaway point that Berchtesgaden was once “Hitler’s stomping ground.” Goldwater, trying to show off his NATO bona fides, had granted an interview with Der Spiegel in which he mentioned a possible trip to Germany soon. Some Democratic opposition researcher floated the idea that Goldwater was infatuated with the Nazis. It was ugly stuff.

Indeed it was; but then, every Republican presidential candidate, from Thomas Dewey (smeared as a Nazi by no less than Harry Truman) to the present will be attacked by the left in this fashion, no matter his temperament, or his small government, libertarian bona fides. Speaking of temperament, perhaps Bernstein would have preferred a more milquetoast CEO as president than Trump – say, Mitt Romney. But in 2012,  the Daily Beast ran one of Bernstein’s columns titled “Carl Bernstein on Mitt Romney’s Radicalism,” which, as Accuracy in Media noted at the time:

The article is based on anonymous sources who claim to be associated with the “moderate” wing of the GOP and are warning about the “crazy right” that might entice Mitt Romney to govern as an extremist as president. “Plainly put,” Bernstein says, “today’s Republican Party (and its Tea Party wing) represent the first bona fide radical political party to rise to dominance in Washington in nearly 100 years.”

At a time when we have a Democratic Party in power in the White House, led by a politician with links to communists and terrorists in Hawaii and Chicago, the Bernstein article has to be seen as ridiculous on its face. But Bernstein represents the mentality of much of the media who see the far-left orientation of the national Democratic Party as nothing unusual or worth commenting on.

Bernstein’s 2,100-word article is full of bizarre statements about Romney and the GOP.

Alluding to the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement, Bernstein writes, “It represents as extreme a shift in political philosophy as any of the radical ideologies that have prevailed in our history.”

Tea Party members oppose Big Government, excessive federal spending and debt. Bernstein is claiming that it is somehow “radical” to want to return to the founding principles of the United States and save America from financial bankruptcy and economic ruin. Who is the real radical?

To ask the question is to answer it. As Glenn noted earlier, in regards to David Brooks, “The Tea Party movement — which you also failed to understand, and thus mostly despised — was a bourgeois, well-mannered effort (remember how Tea Party protests left the Mall cleaner than before they arrived?) to fix America. It was treated with contempt, smeared as racist, and blocked by a bipartisan coalition of business-as-usual elites. So now you have Trump, who’s not so well-mannered, and his followers, who are not so well-mannered, and you don’t like it.”

Exit quote: “The lowest form of popular culture – lack of information, misinformation, disinformation, and a contempt for the truth or the reality of most people’s lives – has overrun real journalism. Today, ordinary Americans are being stuffed with garbage.”

Carl Bernstein, 1992. Choose the form of your destructor.

UPDATE: In his 1944 State of the Union address, FDR smeared the laissezfaire Coolidge era of the 1920s as “the spirit of fascism:”

One of the great American industrialists of our day—a man who has rendered yeoman service to his country in this crisis-recently emphasized the grave dangers of “rightist reaction” in this Nation. All clear-thinking businessmen share his concern. Indeed, if such reaction should develop—if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called “normalcy” of the 1920′s—then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.

Classy stuff.

More: “In 1971, the year before the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon was described by his Democratic rival George McGovern as a warmonger like Hitler. ‘Except for Adolf Hitler’s extermination of the Jewish people, the American bombardment of defenseless peasants in Indochina is the most barbaric act of modern times,’ said McGovern. After the arrests of the five agents who broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters, McGovern said Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate break-in was ‘the kind of thing you expect under a person like Hitler.’”

WHAT HATH MERKEL WROUGHT? Tomorrow Belongs To… Who?

The far-right victories in Germany was powered by the votes of discontented youths, who abandoned the center-left as well as center right in droves. . . .

This should make all of Europe sit up and take notice: Europe has a lot of unemployed young people (France and Italy: 25% and 40% youth unemployment respectively). If they turn to the far-right to deal with their problems, the discontented youth population would provide a massive reservoir of energy for extremist parties.

We’re not there yet, or anything like it, but it’s worth remembering what lies down the end of this road: the (literal) foot soldiers of the fascist movements of the 20s and 30s were discontented youths convinced that a new, post-democratic politics, with a heavy emphasis on solidarity, was the wave of the future. . . .

The AfD aren’t the Nazis, and they aren’t overrunning Germany—yet. But if the crumbling liberal center of European politics wants to stave off an increasingly menacing series of right-wing threats, it will need to do the hard work to find answers for Europe’s struggling youth, and convince them of what was until recently blithely assumed: that the future still belongs to liberalism.

Fascism, like communism, is an opportunistic infection of the body politic, one that occurs when the institutions — and officeholders — of liberal democracy are too corrupt, or too weak, or both, to sustain business as usual. If you don’t like this outcome, don’t be weak and corrupt.

Related: “Politics is a business often insulated from the ramifications of failure.” More here.

HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE DON:

A similar thing nearly happened in 2003, when the left tried its damnedest to convince California voters that Arnold Schwarzenegger was Hitler incarnate. The mainstream press portrayed Ah-nuld as a Nazi-loving rapist whose election would lead to Mexicans being sent to death camps as Einsatzgruppen squads turned Home Depot parking lots into killing fields of machine-gunned drywallers. But the right didn’t bite, and neither did Schwarzenegger, who watched his words, made few if any campaign missteps, and generally ran a clean, G-rated, inoffensive campaign, in which he pledged to be one of those jolly, likable, fiscally frugal Eisenhower Republicans that everyone can feel comfortable with.

And California ended up with one of its worst governors ever—a weak, deceitful, corrupt man of no principles who buckled at the first sign of defeat, freed Latino murderers in exchange for political favors, and left the state in economic shambles. A big-borrowing big spender who, after leaving office, straight-out admitted that his candidacy was a “joke” intended to “freak people out,” and that he ran for office with no idea what he would do if he actually won.

Make no mistake, that would most likely be Trump’s trajectory, too. Like the Austrian bodybuilder, Trump is a wealthy, high-profile loudmouth with no plan to govern and no principles to guide him. The major difference between the campaigns of the two egotistical publicity whores is that in 2003, leftist cries of “he’s a racist Nazi fascist” were met with a resounding “no he isn’t” from Schwarzenegger supporters. Today, those same charges are met by Trump fans with “so what if he is?” I’m not defending that response, but I’ll freely admit I find it fascinating. I chalk it up to fatigue. Too many people on the right are sick and tired of being policed on the issue of race, by the mainstream media, by SJWs in every corner of society, and by the brand protectors in their own party.

Or as Kathy Shaidle quipped at the start of the month, “Hitler? Be more worried that Trump will turn out to be like that other Austrian…”

TRUMP AND THE KKK: Jonah Goldberg offers the best explanation for Trump’s footsie-ing with David Duke on Sunday. As Jonah writes, “the issue for me really isn’t whether Trump is a Klan-loving racist. I never thought that (and you can fall far short of that standard and still not have admirable views on various issues), but that isn’t really what matters in this context:”

Again, the best defense of Trump is that he hates these PC gotcha games by the press. I think that’s plausible and probably explains some of it.

But, denouncing the Klan should be easy. You shouldn’t have to think about it. And you certainly shouldn’t let you’re fear of being called “politically correct” get in the way. That’s beyond asinine. If you want to turn the tables on the interviewer and note that the Klan used to be the militant wing of the Democratic party, go for it. The one thing you shouldn’t do is sound like you’re reluctant to condemn the Klan(!) or that you’re dog-whistling that you don’t really mean it when you do.

Yet when you watch the Tapper interview, it becomes clear what is really going on: He think condemning the Klan will hurt him with conservatives or southerners or both. He needed aides to tell him, “Mr. Trump, sir, it’s okay to disassociate yourself with the KKK.” And so he took to Twitter to clean up the mess he created.

In other words, the issue isn’t that conservative opponents of Trump think he’s a Klan supporting racist, it’s that Trump thinks many of his conservative supporters are. And that’s just one reason I don’t want this guy speaking for me.

Read the whole thing.

Before and after Mitt Romney was shlonged in the 2012 presidential election, Jonah liked to write that Romney speaks conservatism as a second language. Trump does too, only he’s able to disguise it better because of his pushback against PC and because of his decidedly non-patrician tone. The fact that Manhattan limousine leftists such as Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter, who coined the infamous “short-fingered vulgarian” leitmotif while editing New York’s ur-’80s Spy magazine to describe Trump, have long despised the man as a classic nouveau riche wannabe obviously helps to burnish his conservative street cred. (Most people instinctively know they’d have a lot more fun hanging out with Al Czervik than Judge Elihu Smails.) As I’ve mentioned before, this is very much akin to another former New York Democrat who decided to turn his megaphone towards an eager right-leaning audience, Morton Downey Jr. But Trump’s tone-deafness towards conservatism also explains the clanger last night: “Donald Trump Praises Planned Parenthood Again, Attacks ‘So-Called Conservatives’ Who Disagree.”

Expect a lot more of this between now and August and/or November.

And if Trump wins the White House? As Bill McGurn of the Wall Street Journal recently noted, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s spectacular-celebrity fueled race to Sacramento, followed by five or so years of inertia because the legendary Hollywood tough guy was terrified of running afoul of the state’s entrenched socialist special interests (unlike Wisconsin’s milquetoast appearing Scott Walker) may be a sneak preview to what’s to come.

See also: Ventura, Jesse.

UPDATE: Heh, indeed.™

DAVID FRENCH: Iran’s Propaganda Victory In One Illegal Image.

On the other hand, Daniel Drezner says if you’re unhappy it’s because you’re engaged in “macho foreign policy posturing.”

I HOPE WE’RE NOT TOO MESSIANIC, OR A TRIFLE TOO SATANIC: PBS: Ted Cruz and His Father Are ‘Satanic.’

They may be onto something — not fair for Davids Corn and Brooks to drag his dad into it, but Ted certainly knows his Alinsky, almost as well as Hillary and Obama…

DON’T WORRY, CORNELL IS HERE TO TEACH YOU HOW TO BE “INCLUSIVE” WITH YOUR “HOLIDAY DECORATIONS”: Just in time for the holidays, Cornell University’s Department of Environmental Health & Safety recently issued “guidelines” about holiday decorations.

Among its list of decorations “that are NOT Consistent with Either University Assembly Guidelines or the University’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusiveness”: a bizarre variety of Christian and Jewish symbols, including “crosses” and the “Star of David,” as well as secular “holiday” items, including mistletoe and “stars at the top of trees.”

So Cornell, would you mind explaining how a Star of David is either offensive to your university’s values, or a “holiday decoration” for that matter?

Read more about it over at The Torch.

EXPERIENCE: The Hidden Reason Why Americans Dislike Islam.

There will be no doubt some hand-wringing about “Islamophobia” and further calls to continue the American elite’s fourteen-year track record of whitewashing Islamic beliefs and culture, but I wonder if the media is missing a powerful, largely-uncovered influence on America’s hearts and minds — the experience and testimony of the more than two million Americans who’ve served overseas since 9/11 and have experienced Islamic cultures up-close. Yes, they were in the middle of a war — but speaking from my own experience — the war was conducted from within a culture that was shockingly broken. I expected the jihadists to be evil, but even I couldn’t fathom the depths of their depravity. And it was all occurring against the backdrop of a brutally violent and intolerant culture. Women were beaten almost as an afterthought, there was a near-total lack of empathy for even friends and neighbors, lying was endemic, and sexual abuse was rampant. Even more disturbingly, it seemed that every problem was exacerbated the more religious and pious a person (or village) became. I spent enough time outside the wire and interacting with tribal leaders to get a sense of the reality around me, but the younger guys on the line spent weeks at a time living in the heart of the local community. I remember one young soldier, after describing the things he’d seen since the start of the deployment, gestured towards the village around us and said — in perfect Army English — “Sir, this s**t is f**ked up.” . . .

But this same experience has caused us to treasure the Muslim friends we do have — in part because we recognize the extreme risks of their loyalty and defiance of jihad. That’s why American officers fiercely champion the immigration of local interpreters, even to the point of welcoming them into their own home. That’s why there’s often an intense connection with our Kurdish allies, the single-most effective ground fighting force against ISIS. Two million Americans have been downrange, and they’ve come home and told families and friends stories the media rarely tells. Those stories have an impact, but because of the cultural distance between America’s warriors and its media, academic, and political aristocracy, it’s an impact the aristocracy hasn’t been tracking. Experience trumps idealistic rhetoric, and I can’t help but think that polls like YouGov’s are at least partly registering the results of a uniquely grim American experience.

The aristocracy doesn’t know many actual soldiers.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

In the two hours of this debate, five people have died from drug-related deaths, $100 million has been added to our national debt, 200 babies have been killed by abortionists, and two veterans have taken their lives out of despair. Next, however, he pivoted to hope. We are not broken beyond repair. This is a narrative that we can change. Not we the Democrats, not we the Republicans, but we the people of America, because there is something special about this nation and we must embrace it and be proud of it and never give it away for the sake of political correctness.

—Dr. Ben Carson’s closing statement at last night’s GOP debate.

KATHY SHAIDLE: Nobody needs to tell me to boycott Quentin Tarantino:

Okay, it was faintly amusing, but Tarantino’s admirers insisted that this “meta” conceit—pop culture entities arguing about other pop culture entities—was somehow sui generis, and Tarantino, a genius.

I was the bore at every party pointing out that, in fact, the pilot for Cheers a full ten years earlier saw the soon-to-be-beloved bar regulars similarly quarreling about “the sweatiest film of all time.” (Cool Hand Luke won out, as I recall.)

And literally the same movie buffs who’d spent twenty years slagging Brian De Palma for ripping off Hitchcock were now hailing naked serial plagiarist Tarantino as the savior of cinema, knowing full well that he’d lifted entire scenes in Reservoir Dogs from Hong Kong director Ringo Lam’s City on Fire. “Isn’t that, er, ‘cultural appropriation,’ you guys?” I’d ask. “Even maybe a kind of ‘colonialism’?”

When cornered, I’d spit out a Tarantino-themed variation on David Lee Roth’s (unfair in retrospect) line about why rock critics loved Elvis Costello so much.

Oh, well. Good thing I never much liked parties anyhow…

Heh. I tuned out Tarantino after Jackie Brown in 1997 — but it was fun watching him make the rounds back then saying that he had grown up and decided to be a man before he began shooting that film.

Well, it must have sounded good at the time.

Update (11/4/14): At some point in the night, the article’s URL was apparently changed; link should be working now.

IN AMERICA, THE YOUNG ARE ALWAYS READY TO GIVE TO THOSE WHO ARE OLDER THAN THEMSELVES THE FULL BENEFITS OF THEIR INEXPERIENCE: A Note to Entitled Millennials in the Workplace: Give Humility a Try.

And most millennials new to the workplace have much to be humble about.

Related: “Why, given Thoreau’s hypocrisy, his sanctimony, his dour asceticism, and his scorn, do we continue to cherish ‘Walden’? One answer is that we read him early. ‘Walden’ is a staple of the high-school curriculum, and you could scarcely write a book more appealing to teen-agers: Thoreau endorses rebellion against societal norms, champions idleness over work, and gives his readers permission to ignore their elders. (‘Practically, the old have no very important advice to give the young, their own experience has been so partial, and their lives have been such miserable failures.’) ‘Walden’ is also fundamentally adolescent in tone: Thoreau shares the conviction, far more developmentally appropriate and forgivable in teens, that everyone else’s certainties are wrong while one’s own are unassailable. Moreover, he presents adulthood not as it is but as kids wishfully imagine it: an idyll of autonomy, unfettered by any civic or familial responsibilities.”

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: Report: U.S. Concedes Air Superiority Over Syria to Russia.

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THIS: The Four Dangerous Realities of Putin’s Middle East Power Play.

THEY CAN TAKE THEIR REVOLUTIONARY MORALITY, FOLD IT ALL IN CORNERS: And put it where the sun don’t shine. David ’n’ Ethel.

ANOTHER REASON WHY THE FILIBUSTER MUST GO: Senate Democrats Block Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood.

Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked legislation to keep the government funded through Dec. 11 because it would have also stripped out funding for Planned Parenthood.

The measure was all but guaranteed to fail because the Senate Republican majority does not control the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation.

There are now six days left before the end of the fiscal year, and the government could be in for a partial shutdown if no spending bill is approved by Sept. 30. Republican leaders, eager to avoid politically dangerous shutdown, are now likely to introduce a new temporary funding measure that leaves Planned Parenthood funding intact and can win enough Democratic votes to pass.

Senate Democrats, led by Harry Reid, dispensed with the filibuster to ensure confirmation of Obama’s radical leftist judicial and cabinet nominees, and of course bypassed it via the reconciliation process to pass Obamacare without a single Republican supporter.

Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to retain the filibuster rule is another example of the GOP leadership’s unwillngness to robustly assert Congress’s constitutional role in checking presidential power and ensuring political accountability. As David Rivkin and Lee Casey observed back in March:

By striking at Congress’s constitutional powers, particularly the power of the purse, Mr. Obama seeks an unprecedented aggrandizement of presidential power. One way to prevent that happening is by reforming the filibuster rule.

Spending battles and government shutdowns have taken place in the past. Yet the Obama administration’s strategy, denying the very legitimacy of Congress’s use of its appropriations power, is historically unprecedented. It has been abetted by Democratic senators who deploy the filibuster to keep spending legislation that the president opposes from an up-or-down Senate vote. Their goal is to spare the president any potential political damage from casting a veto, and to allow him to shift responsibility for government shutdowns from himself to Congress—undermining the paramount constitutional virtue of accountability. This situation has particularly vitiated the authority of the House of Representatives, which originates all of the spending bills.

The constitutional balance of power between the two political branches must be restored. In this connection, it is important to understand that the Senate filibuster rule has no constitutional basis. . . .

Tradition is important, and eliminating the filibuster, despite its diminished policy utility, would be a momentous step. Yet it is one Senate Republicans should consider taking, given the constitutional imperatives at stake. . . .

If legislation commanding the support of majorities in both the House and Senate can no longer be permanently delayed by filibustering, a recalcitrant president would still be able to shut down a government agency or department by vetoing appropriations. But the American people would know whom to hold responsible.

Exactly.

THIS REALLY IS GETTING SILLY: #BlackLivesMatter Activists Are Angry at Fear the Walking Dead, but They’re Angry at the Wrong Thing

JOHN DOE: Wisconsin Supreme Court orders end to investigation into GOP presidential hopeful Walker. The full opinion is here.

Gabriel Malor is tweeting excerpts. Here’s one:

johndoemalor

Here’s another:

johndoemalor2

This was a shameful and shameless abuse of power for political purposes. I hope that the victims sue these prosecutors, and that the Department of Justice — if not in this, possibly complicit, administration, then in the next — will pursue a criminal civil rights investigation.

WITH ELECTION TOMORROW, HOUSE GOP LEADERSHIP-SUPPORTED DARIN LAHOOD REVEALS HE IS TO THE LEFT OF SOME DEMOCRATS … ON CUBA:

Shot:

“LAHOOD: I think in terms of opening markets for our farmers, particularly in Cuba, I’m supportive of that. You know, this is the 17th largest agriculture district in the country … when you think about the commodities that are grown and produced in central Illinois, we have to open up more markets. That’s jobs and economic opportunity for our farmers in our ag community in Central Illinois. So I’m supportive of opening up new markets, such as Cuba, for our corn and our soybeans and other products. That’s a good thing.

“In the past, obviously Cuba has had some issues with human rights and other things. But I think this is a way to, you know, transition them to democracy and economic freedom and I’m supportive of it.”

Chaser:

Why Restoring Diplomatic Relations with Cuba Is another Bad Deal: It’s mythical thinking to believe opening up to Cuba will improve the prospects for democracy.

As Ron Radosh concludes “to his shame, President Obama himself has let it be known that he too will soon be traveling to Cuba. Does anyone really think this will be a victory for the United States? I’m sure Fidel and Raul Castro are laughing together, raising their glasses and making a toast to their new Yanqui friend in Washington.” Illinois voters have a choice tomorrow as to whether or not they will send another Yanqui friend to Washington for Fidel and Raul to chuckle over. Vote Mike Flynn.

DAVID FRENCH: Here’s What Tattoo Artists Can Teach Republican Governors.

“AFTER MY ELECTION I’LL HAVE MORE FLEXIBILITY”: These were President Obama’s infamous words to Dmitry Medvedev back in spring 2012.  David Adesnik at NRO now asks, “Is the Obama Administration Readying More Concessions to Russia?”

SOMETIMES HATEFUL IS GOOD:  Case in point:  David French:  I’m more hateful than Pamela Geller.  A snippet:

I’m far more hateful than Pamela Geller. In fact, I’d argue there’s no way that she could hate jihad more than I do. I’ve seen jihad up-close, in an Iraqi province where jihadists raped women to shame them into becoming suicide bombers, where they put bombs in little boys’ backpacks then remotely detonated them at family gatherings, where they beheaded innocent civilians while cheering wildly like they were at a soccer match, and where they shot babies in the face to “send a message” to their parents.

Exactly– hating jihad/radical Islam is a good thing, because hating evil is always good.

MY THOUGHTS IN USA TODAY: Wisconsin’s Dirty Prosecutors Pull A Putin.

UPDATE: More:

Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth — two of the targets in the John Doe investigations I wrote about today — have filed suit against the prosecution team that made their lives so unrelentingly miserable. Unfortunately, that lawsuit — like many lawsuits against the “deep state” — faces multiple hurdles that are wholly unrelated to the underlying merits of the case itself. In fact, the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that O’Keefe’s case was barred by the federal Anti-Injunction Act, which prohibits federal courts from enjoining some state proceedings. O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth have petitioned the Supreme Court for review, and the Court will determine whether to take the case very soon. Yet the Anti-Injunction Act is just one hurdle that litigants have to clear. Prosecutors enjoy extensive immunities, damages are notoriously difficult to obtain, and injunctions can’t turn back time to undo the effects of suppressed speech or make terrified families whole.

Nope. That’s why partisan prosecutor John Chisholm and his tame judge Barbara Kluka should be shunned, condemned, subjected to a shower of ethics complaints, protested wherever they appear, and otherwise given the kind of treatment that the Left dishes out to the people that it doesn’t like, until they have suffered more than their victims. Pour encourager les autres.

“HANDS UP, DON’T SHOOT!”:   But it’s not your stereotypical white-officer-in-minority-neighborhood situation, where we are admonished by the political left that “Black Lives Matter.”  Instead, it’s in America’s Heartland, Wisconsin.  And the targets are–gasp!–conservatives who supported modification of Wisconsin’s collective bargaining rules for public employees.  In this terrific new piece at National Review Online, David French breaks down the shocking excessive force used against conservative targets of the so-called “John Doe” investigation.  In the words of one target, “Anne”:

“It’s a matter of life or death.”

That was the first thought of “Anne” (not her real name). Someone was pounding at her front door. It was early in the morning — very early — and it was the kind of heavy pounding that meant someone was either fleeing from — or bringing — trouble.

“It was so hard. I’d never heard anything like it. I thought someone was dying outside.”

She ran to the door, opened it, and then chaos. “People came pouring in. For a second I thought it was a home invasion. It was terrifying. They were yelling and running, into every room in the house. One of the men was in my face, yelling at me over and over and over.”

It was indeed a home invasion, but the people who were pouring in were Wisconsin law-enforcement officers. Armed, uniformed police swarmed into the house. Plainclothes investigators cornered her and her newly awakened family. Soon, state officials were seizing the family’s personal property, including each person’s computer and smartphone, filled with the most intimate family information.

Why were the police at Anne’s home? She had no answers. The police were treating them the way they’d seen police treat drug dealers on television.

In fact, TV or movies were their only points of reference, because they weren’t criminals. They were law-abiding. They didn’t buy or sell drugs. They weren’t violent. They weren’t a danger to anyone. Yet there were cops — surrounding their house on the outside, swarming the house on the inside. They even taunted the family as if they were mere “perps.”

As if the home invasion, the appropriation of private property, and the verbal abuse weren’t enough, next came ominous warnings.

Don’t call your lawyer.

Don’t tell anyone about this raid. Not even your mother, your father, or your closest friends.

The entire neighborhood could see the police around their house, but they had to remain silent. This was not the “right to remain silent” as uttered by every cop on every legal drama on television — the right against self-incrimination. They couldn’t mount a public defense if they wanted — or even offer an explanation to family and friends.

Yet no one in this family was a “perp.” Instead, like Cindy, they were American citizens guilty of nothing more than exercising their First Amendment rights to support Act 10 and other conservative causes in Wisconsin. Sitting there shocked and terrified, this citizen — who is still too intimidated to speak on the record — kept thinking, “Is this America?”

Sadly, it is America, as controlled by a liberal/progressive agenda that inanely believes that conservatives who “coordinate” their political messages are somehow subverting the democratic process (rather than actually furthering it).

These secretive “John Doe” proceedings in Wisconsin are but a page in the progressives’ political playbook, evidenced by IRS targeting of tea party and other conservative groups, pressure on A&E to suspend Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson for making politically incorrect comments, and Rep. Raul Grijalva’s letter to 7 university presidents outing professors who dared to question global warming climate change (just to name a few): Harass conservatives; make it hard for them to raise money/make a living; get the media onboard to paint them as “shady,” subversive or dangerously ignorant; and tie them up with legal fees and lawsuits, with the goal of marginalizing and silencing them.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is considering arguments in the case via papers only, to decide whether the secret prosecutions should be halted under Wisconsin law.  Oral arguments were cancelled to protect the identities of the targets.  Frankly, it’s shocking that it’s taken over 5 years to get consideration from the Wisconsin Supreme Court–5 years of abuse of free speech and association rights is too much.

MICHAEL S. MALONE: The Promise at Technology’s Powerful Heart: As Moore’s Law turns 50, the revolution in computing it foretold is on the cusp of even more-radical progress.

Moore’s Law is creative destruction on steroids. It regularly fosters the next wave of entrepreneurial opportunities made possible by the latest jump in chip performance. It can be blamed for much of the 90% mortality rate of electronics startups.

But because the usual graphic presentation of the law is tamed by the format into a nice shallow line, we don’t get to see the awesome power of the raw curve—which, like all exponential lines stays shallow seemingly for a long time, then suddenly curves almost straight upward in a vertiginous climb. It is the curve of a rocket’s acceleration, of a pandemic, of the cells born from a fertilized egg.

The great turning took place a decade ago, while we were all distracted by social networking, smartphones and the emerging banking crisis. Its breathtaking climb since tells us that everything of the previous 40 years—that is, the multi-trillion-dollar revolution in semiconductors, computers, communications and the Internet—was likely nothing but a prelude, a warm-up, for what is to come. It will be upon this wall that millennials will climb their careers against almost-unimaginably quick, complex and ever-changing competition.

Crowd-sharing, crowdfunding, bitcoin, micro-venture funding, cloud computing, Big Data—all have been early attempts, of varying success, to cope with the next phase of Moore’s Law. Expect many more to come. Meanwhile, as always, this new pace will become the metronome of the larger culture.

Moore’s Law has always induced de-massification: giant mainframe computers become smartwatches, giant vertically-integrated organizations are defeated by what Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds has dubbed an “Army of Davids.”

Rigid command-and-control structures in every walk of life, from corporations to governments to education, become vulnerable to competition by adaptive and short-lived alliances and confederacies. Now that process is going to attack every corner of society.

Be ready.

DAVID FRENCH: Social-Justice Warriors Aren’t So Tough When Even ‘Sad Puppies’ Can Beat Them. “Correia, Torgerson, and their Sad Puppies allies are living arguments against cultural defeatism. With humor and verve, they’ve taken on the allegedly unstoppable Left, stopped it, and thrown it into spasms of impotent rage and amusing disarray. In its rage and self-righteousness, the Left always overreaches. Always. I’ve seen that reality in 20 years of on-campus battles, we’re seeing that reality as their hate campaign against Memories Pizza helped make the owners a pile of money, and we saw it when we watched unhinged rhetoric help turn American Sniper into the top-grossing movie of 2014.”

ROGER SIMON: The New New New New Anti-Semitism.

Prostitution may be the world’s oldest profession, but anti-Semitism is probably the world’s oldest bigotry. It’s come and gone and come and gone and then come and gone again since the days of the pharaohs.

Well, maybe it was never really gone, but, like cancer, it was in remission. Born at the end of World War II, I was one of those lucky Jews to be born in a period of remission as never before seen, particularly in the United States.

It’s over. And how it’s over. You don’t need a poll to tell you that, but a new one just conducted by Trinity College and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law tells us that 54 percent of self-identified Jewish students in 55 college across the country experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism during the 2013-2014 school year. Whoa! Welcome to the University of Berlin.

At the same time, the David Horowitz Freedom Center has published a “Top 10″ academic institutions for Jew hatred with two Ivies — Columbia and Cornell — at the top. Representatives of Columbia are already crying foul, but with Rashid Khalidi director of their Middle East studies department, what do they expect? He’s not exactly an impartial academic, more like Mahmoud Abbas with better credentials. (Abbas got his PhD in Moscow for a thesis denying the Holocaust.)

I can understand why the university would be concerned, however. A lot of parents, not to mention alumni and donors, are probably a bit perturbed to see the institution at the top of such a list. More importantly, how about prospective students? If I were a young person, I wouldn’t want to apply at this point. The idea of Columbia with a judenrein student body, given the overwhelming contribution of Jews to the university’s past, is as tragic as it is hard to fathom.

But then, as we all know, American academia is just part of the global zeitgeist, albeit a shameful and especially dangerous part.

Indeed.

SEE, I’VE NEVER BEEN MUCH OF AN O’REILLY FAN, BUT THIS WHOLE HIT PIECE WAS JUST PAYBACK FOR BRIAN WILLIAMS. AND NOW IT’S FALLING APART: Mediaite: Hugh Hewitt Grills the Hell out of Mother Jones’ David Corn on O’Reilly.

The thing is, it was a miss even if the story held up. As I noted a while back: “The theory of the ‘anchorman’ is supposed to be that while you can’t know what’s behind all the stories you see on the news, you trust them because you trust the person who delivers them.” O’Reilly isn’t an anchorman, he’s a blowhard pundit. But Corn’s effort to take down O’Reilly doesn’t seem to be withstanding scrutiny.

MORE FROM MICKEY KAUS ON SOCIAL INEQUALITY VS. ECONOMIC INEQUALITY: “There are only four Koch brothers, after all. There’s a limit to how much damage they can do to our egalitarian traditions — even if they were as obnoxious in reality as they are in the Democratic imagination. But there are millions of upper middle class lawyers and consultants and doctors. If their attitudes are increasingly snobby and status-oriented, that could easily have a pervasive invidious effect on the culture. If they get rich enough to hire lots of servants, for example, that’s a much bigger deal than if David Koch makes another few billion. If they scorn people with low SATS that adds a vicious meritocratic bite to status ranking. Money trends matter, but social and technical innovations can have an independent effect, good or ill. Valet parking does more social-egalitarian damage than car elevators.”

ADMIT IT, YOU’RE RICH:

Why is the 1 percent suffering from this peculiar mass delusion? Well, actually, it’s not that hard to understand. Because if you’re reading this article, chances are that you are in the top 1 percent of global income. And chances are also that you really don’t feel like a tycoon.

The cutoff for the global 1 percent starts quite a bit lower than the parochial American version preferred by pundits. I’m on it. So is David Sirota. And if your personal income is higher than $32,500, so are you. The global elite to which you and I belong enjoys fantastic wealth compared to the rest of the world: We have more food, clothes, comfortable housing, electronic gadgets, health care, travel and leisure than almost every other living person, not to mention virtually every human being who has ever lived. We are also mostly privileged to live in societies that offer quite a lot in the way of public amenities, from well-policed streets and clean water, to museums and libraries, to public officials who do their jobs without requiring a hefty bribe. And I haven’t even mentioned the social safety nets our governments provide.

So why don’t we feel like Scrooge McDuck, rolling around in all of our glorious riches? Why do we feel kinda, y’know, middle class?

Because we don’t compare our personal experiences to a Tanzanian subsistence farmer who labors in the hot sun for 12 hours before repairing to his one-room abode for a meal of cornmeal porridge and cabbage. We compare ourselves to other Americans, many of whom, darn them, seem to have much more money than we do.

Traditionally, envy was regarded as a sin.

IF A.N.S.W.E.R DOESN’T START A LEFTY PROTEST, IT TRIES TO TAKE IT OVER: Communists Are Behind the Anti-Police Protests In New York. “A.N.S.W.E.R. is close to unique, in that it advocates for pretty much every form of evil in the world.” Communists are on the same moral plane as Nazis, just with better press relations.

The anti-war protests of the Bush era were also A.N.S.W.E.R productions, as David Corn and Christopher Hitchens noted. The Corn piece will be particularly informative to those who don’t follow hard-left agitators. ‘They’re Maoists.’ But they’re the only game in town, and I’ve got to admit they’re good organizers. They remembered everything but the Porta-Johns.”

DAVID FRENCH: Modern Feminism: Appalling Stupidity Backed by Hysterical Rage. “Modern feminism is getting embarrassing. There’s a reason why so few women identify as feminists: It’s less a true ‘women’s movement’ than the public face of hysterical leftist intolerance — combined, of course, with utterly bizarre (and bizarrely stupid) ideas.”

Yes, I think a lot of people have given them a pass on the presumption that they at least mean well. They don’t.

DAVID FRENCH: Dear Democrats, Don’t Even Think about Running from Jonathan Gruber.

DAVID FRENCH: When Thugs And Liars Lose. “But we can’t allow election triumphs to lull conservatives into thinking such tactics are doomed. After all, we’re only two years removed from a successful Democratic presidential campaign that launched the absurd war-on-women rhetoric, and Scott Walker’s victories shouldn’t blind us to the fact that even now Texas governor Rick Perry is fighting his own battle with absurdly politicized law enforcement.” Punch back twice as hard. They’ll stop these tactics when stopping is less painful than continuing.

DAVID FRENCH: Jihadists Psychologically Dominate The Battlefield.

You know, I’m beginning to think that Josh Marshall’s Iraq-war-era worries that we didn’t kill enough Iraqis to ensure a stable peace were right. Related thoughts here.

FLASHBACK:  Clinton: “Poverty” Behind Boko Haram, ‘Not Radical Islam.’

As Andrew Cline wrote at the American Spectator in 2010, “The canard that poverty causes terrorism just won’t die. It was one thing when Nation writer David Corn and others connected the two back in 2002. The liberal default position is that poverty causes crime. It was an instant knee-jerk reaction after 9/11. But by now we all ought to know better. Except, the theory is still being peddled despite the lack of evidence to support it.”

DAVID FRENCH: Dear New York Times, Self-Defense Is Not Vigilantism.

IRS SCANDAL UPDATE: The Hill: House Targets IRS With Taxpayer Protection Bills.

Related: Echoes Of The IRS In The FCC Snooping Scandal.