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ANALYSIS: TRUE. Trump Faces the Fury of a Scorned Ruling Class: The ‘threat’ that has elites quaking is his serious attempt to curb federal power and cut spending.

A lobbyist friend who visited Capitol Hill recently came away horrified. “I now am ready to believe that the partisanship is so unhinged that it’s a threat to the Republic,” she writes in an email.

This Washington hysteria comes at a time of full employment, booming stocks, relative peace and technological marvels like an electronic robot named Alexa who fetches and plays for you songs of your choice. What’s the fuss about?

We all know the answer: Donald Trump. The Washington body politic has been invaded by an alien presence and, true to the laws of nature, that body is feverishly trying to expel it. These particular laws of nature demand rejection of anything that threatens the livelihoods and prestige of the permanent governing class.

The “threat” that has Washington quaking is the first serious effort in a long time to curb federal regulatory power, wasteful spending, and a propensity to run up mountainous budget deficits and debt. That’s presumably what the voters wanted when they elected Donald Trump. Democrats—accurately regarded as the party of government—seem to fear that Mr. Trump might actually, against all odds, pull it off.

The Washington Post, the New York Times and other apostles of the Democratic Party have apparently set out to prove that despite their shaky business models they can still ignite an anti-Trump bonfire.

So far, what they’ve gotten is people cheering when journalists are shoved to the floor. Plus:

The Washington community knows how to fight back when it feels threatened. Leakers are having a ball, even if it has taken a lot of journalistic imagination to turn the most notorious leaks into “scandals.” Almost everyone in town has a stake in fending off the Trump threat: government workers and the businesses that serve them, public unions, lobbyists and their clients, owners of posh hotels and restaurants that cater to well-heeled visitors seeking government favors, journalists whose prestige derives from the power center they cover, academics who show politicians how to mismanage the economy, real-estate agents feeding on the boom—to name a few. It’s a good living, and few take kindly to a brash outsider who proclaims it is his mission to drain the swamp.

Mr. Trump is on the attack and Washington is fighting back. Is the Republic in danger? Another question is how much danger will it be in if Mr. Trump loses?

I don’t know why these people think that Trump voters will just stay home and sigh if the Establishment wins. It’s likely to be something much uglier. That the Establishment can’t even conceive of other people besides itself deciding to ditch the rules is just one more reason that it’s unfit to govern.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Regime Change by Any Other Name?

Truth or consequences? Obama skated for far worse misdeeds. Election machines in three states were not hacked to give Donald Trump the election. There was never a serious post-election movement of electors to defy their constitutional duties and vote for Hillary Clinton. Nor, once Trump was elected, did transgendered people begin killing themselves in alarming numbers. Nor were there mass resignations at the State Department upon his inauguration. Nor did Donald Trump seek an order to “ban all Muslims” from entering the U.S. Instead, he temporarily sought a suspension in visas for everyone, regardless of religion, from seven Middle Eastern states that the Obama administration had earlier identified as incapable of properly vetting travelers to the U.S. The first lady did not work for an elite escort or prostitute service. She never said that she and young Barron Trump would not be moving to the White House. Barron does not have autism. Trump’s father never ran racist ads as a supposed candidate in a purported political campaign. Kellyanne Conway denies that in a private conversation between segments on MSNBC, she privately remarked to hosts that she had to take a shower after working for Trump. Donald Trump never suggested to the Mexican president that the U.S. was going to invade Mexico. Nor did Trump plan to mobilize the National Guard to send back illegal aliens. He did not remove a Martin Luther King bust from the White House. There was no evidence that he ever promised to ease Russian sanctions (much less that he promised the Russians he would be “flexible” after he was elected). He did not short the FBI of resources to conduct an investigation into supposed Russian collusion. He did not go to Moscow and watch prostitutes in his bed urinate where Barack Obama had previously slept. His deputy attorney general did not threaten to resign over the Comey firing. . . .

Fake news crowds out real news. Here is what we do not read much about: North Korea, long appeased, could well send missiles against our allies, perhaps even with nuclear payloads. Afghanistan is at a crux and will either implode or need more American troops. China’s role is in the balance, and it may or may not help defang North Korea. The greatest tax- and health-reform packages in years are now in the hands of Congress. Executive orders have revolutionized the domestic energy industry and achieved a stunning and historic reduction in illegal immigration. The stock market is soaring, employment is up, and confidence in the economy has returned. Wall Street seems to dip only on talk of impeaching Donald Trump. Commensurate Worry? And here is what no longer troubles us at all. In 2008, candidate Barack Obama used back channels to communicate flexibility to the Iranians (as in the later assurance he gave, on a hot mic, to the Russians), which may have helped undermine the ongoing Bush-administration negotiations with Iran. Hillary Clinton set up an illegal server, distributed classified information in an illegal and unsecured fashion, lied about it, and destroyed thousands of e-mails central to an investigation — and got off without an indictment. In the 2016 election, the head of the DNC conspired to massage the debates and help swing the nomination to the Clinton campaign. The prior attorney general of the United State met with the spouse of a presidential candidate under investigation, in a stealthy conversation on an airport tarmac, did not inform officials of that meeting until the get-together was discovered by a reporter, semi-recused herself under pressure only to turn over her prosecutorial discretion to the head of the FBI, in a fashion that was both improper and perhaps unconstitutional. We do not hear how exactly Russian interests at Uranium One obtained market control over 20 percent of U.S. uranium holdings, or the connections between Uranium One and their prior multimillion-dollar donations to the Clinton Foundation, or that the Podesta Group had numerous financial dealings with Russian interests, or that Bill Clinton received $500,000 in 2010 from Russian oligarchic interests while his wife was secretary of state — ten times more than what Michael Flynn was alleged to have received. . . .

The effort to remove the president is conducted by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the wire services, and the major networks. And we have seen nothing like it in our time.

It’s like we’ve been living in a banana republic for a decade.

BEGUN, THE RANSOMWARE WAR HAS: Ransomware’s Aftershocks Feared as U.S. Warns of Complexity.

As a new workweek started Monday in Asia, there were concerns the malicious software could spread further and in different forms, with new types of ransomware afflicting computers around the globe.

There were initial reports of new cases found over the weekend in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

President Trump has ordered his homeland security adviser, Thomas P. Bossert, who has a background in cyberissues, to coordinate the government’s response to the spread of the malware and help organize the search for who was responsible, an administration official said Sunday.

The attack is more complicated because “the experts tell us that this code was cobbled together from many places and sources,” according to an administration official who insisted on anonymity to discuss the government’s cybersecurity plans. The more potential sources of the malicious code, the harder it is for investigators to run down the trail of possible perpetrators.

The source of the attack is a delicate issue for the United States because the vulnerability on which the malicious software is based was published by a group called the Shadow Brokers, which last summer began publishing cybertools developed by the National Security Agency.

This is an agency of the same federal government which wants backdoors built into your smartphone and other secure devices.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ ON OUR FRAGILE CIVILIZATION:

One of the weaknesses of the anti-Trump resistance is their inability to address the factors which brought the current administration into existence.  Too many think it’s all about one man.  This may explain why the Resistance to the Resistance has been surprisingly hard to push off the Hill and why Bernie Sanders is the most popular Democratic politician in America.  The key insight into the problem is that people didn’t vote for Trump but against Hillary, PC, and the ending of their world. Charles Sykes in New York Times noted this element of sheer reaction. “Mr. Trump’s most vocal supporters don’t have to defend his specific actions as long as they make liberal heads explode”.*

A hundred years ago the liberal project seemed easily attainable. “I have seen the future and it works,” wrote Lincoln Steffens, yet it’s proved surprisingly hard to close the sale. The reason why the masses should reject such a brilliant vision were hard to explain.  Despite Leftist fears their foes were never more than a coalition of amateurs with no particular ideology.  The alt-right didn’t even know it was alt-right until they were properly analyzed and labeled.

So why can’t such a stupid, ignorant and incompetent bunch be seen off?  That must be what troubles the Resistance. The scariest possibility is they are up against complexity itself, fighting a reality that refuses subordination to a narrative.  The world is hard to control, even when you dominate all the media outlets.  Jurassic Park was Michael Crichton’s parable warning against trying to linearly control complex systems. In history Marx may be friction’s equivalent of John Hammond.  “God creates dinosaurs, God kills dinosaurs, God creates man, man kills God, man brings back dinosaurs,” might explain the banging on globalism’s door when there should be nobody there.

The liberal project wanted the global world.  Maybe they didn’t understand what came with it.

Read the whole thing; though I rarely disagree with any of Richard’s analyses, they’re not liberals in the classical sense, they’re leftists; which is why they bring a whole lot of bad luck, to coin an Insta-phrase, when they’re running things entirely.

* It’s also better for us all that the left is largely unified in waging war against Trump, than say, an Indiana pizza shop owner or Washington state florist.

(Via SDA.)

A USEFUL ADDITION TO TRUMP’S TAX REFORM PLAN: A Modest Proposal to Reduce “Inequality:”

A surtax on large private college endowments—say on all endowments that are more than something like $1 million per student. This would hit the ivy league schools that these days are raking in nearly $1 billion a year in contributions according to the latest reports. (I recall an old line from Conan O’Brien—a Harvard grad—about Harvard’s donor pitch: “We’re Harvard. We don’t need your money. We just want it.”) Or instead of a surtax directly on endowments, reduce the tax deductibility of donations to college endowments above a certain level.

And if Republicans really want to start riots in faculty clubs, they should pass Obama’s community college plan with one proviso: that all community college credits be fully transferrable to any four-year college that accepts any federal funding (which is every institution of higher learning except Hillsdale and one or two others). Watch the four-year colleges sputter with indignation.

Seems fair.

I REMEMBER WHEN PEOPLE WERE PREDICTING THAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WOULD GO THE WAY OF THE WHIGS: Exit the Dems, Stage Left:

This week the Draft Bernie for a People’s Party got a rather high-profile devotee in Harvard professor Cornel West, who used an op-ed in The Guardian to announce his imminent departure from the Democratic Party.

“We must admit that the Democratic Party has failed us, and we have to move on,” he wrote. “Where? To what?”

The People’s Party, he added, “builds on the ruins of a dying Democratic Party and creates new constituencies in this moment of transition and liquidation.”

West, a professor of The Practice of Public Philosophy, did a fair amount of public philosophizing about the 2016 election, insisting that it was one “which Democrats lost more than Republicans won” in large part because the party “put forward a Wall Street-connected and openly militaristic candidate with little charisma.”

Ouch! It’s enough to make you feel sorry for poor Hillary. And apparently the current darling of Democratic progressives, Massachusetts’ Sen. Elizabeth Warren, just won’t do.

“Only the ubiquitous and virtuous Bernie remains true to the idea of fundamental transformation of the party — and even he admits that seeking first-class seats on the Titanic is self-deceptive and self-destructive,” West wrote.

As for issues, well, the movement wants single-payer health care, is opposed to fracking, opposed to TPP (just like Donald Trump) and West in particular is “opposed to Israeli occupation” (it’s unclear whether that means simply the West Bank).

And, of course, there is the matter of age. Sure, Bernie’s a robust 75 today, but that would make him 79 in 2020. Guess there’s no expiration date on lefties.

Old people with old ideas, running as the party of youth.

REMEMBER: WHEN YOU WANT TO KEEP MORE OF YOUR OWN MONEY, IT’S “GREED.” Rich States Growl At Trump Tax Plan.

The Trump Administration’s stated intention to eliminate the state and local tax deduction (SALT) is likely to meet major opposition from big blue states’ Congressional delegations. . . .

The deduction overwhelmingly benefits six-figure earners. The benefit is largest for affluent people living in states that impose high income tax rates, which are much bluer than average.

Trump’s abbreviated tax proposal is too vague to assess in any level of detail; it appears on the whole to be too expensive and too regressive. But Congressional leaders and Administration officials looking to turn it into something more palatable should hold the line on eliminating SALT. This would raise much-needed revenue to pay for the plan’s other provisions, and it would be targeted, for the most part, at the coastal metropolitan regions that have benefited most from the economic changes of the past few decades.

Moreover, as we have noted before, scrapping SALT could have unexpected positive effects at the state level. As it stands, many wealthy people in cities like San Francisco and New York have largely withdrawn from the state political process. They can afford to acquiesce to inefficient government and the high taxes required to pay for it in part because they can deduct all of that money from their federal tax bill. If it weren’t for SALT, we might see more talented and creative people in wealthy blue states re-engage in state government in a meaningful way.

Some SALT opponents will claim that the measure would create a system of “double-taxation,” and they aren’t entirely wrong. But if this were really the concern, states could address it by making federal tax deductible from state tax bills. Of course, that would impose new costs on states, just as SALT imposes costs on the federal government. This is at its core a fight over resources, and it’s one that the working class deserves to win more than coastal high-flyers.

Indeed. In fact, that’s why they elected Trump.

ROGER KIMBALL ON TRUMP VS. OBAMA: A STUDY IN CONTRASTS:

As we approach Trump’s hundredth day in office, however, I am happy to say that I sense a change in the anti-Trump dynamic. The anti-Trump venom is as widespread and hysterical as ever. But as the days go by and Trump governs not as Hitler but as a deliberate executive, toting up victories here, setbacks there, rain checks and extenuations and opportunities, more and more people will say, “This guys is the real deal. He gets things done. He delivers on his promises. He really is making America great again.” The effect of that sentiment will be to marginalize the mainstream media.  If you want a vivid example of exactly how that is done, contemplate what’s about to happen next Saturday when Trump skips the White House correspondents’ dinner and holds a big rally in Pennsylvania instead. I’m sure there will be lots of snide remarks, anti-Trump jokes, and the air will be thick with contemptuous self-satisfaction.  What might not be obvious to the attendees, but what will be blindingly obvious to the rest of us, is that no one who is not crowded into that fetid atmosphere will care. A process of marginalization and emasculation is underway.  If Trump’s second 100 days is as successful as his first 100 days, that process should be essentially complete by the end of the year.

Read the whole thing – and note that in regards to the DNC-MSM’s Trump-as-Hitler meme, as Glenn would say, all is proceeding as Scott Adams has foreseen.

MEGAN MCARDLE: Trump Voters Want Respect. Here’s How to Give It to Them.

After the election, shell-shocked opponents of Donald Trump divided themselves into roughly two camps. The first group wanted to focus on understanding and reaching out to the disaffected white working- and lower-middle class voters who had given Trump his electoral college victory. The second group wanted to focus on resisting Trump; their solution to the Democratic Party’s loss of those voters was, essentially, to wait for them to die off.

As you can probably guess, my sympathies are with the “outreach” folks rather than the “wait for them to die” folks. A strategy of demographically swamping your opponents is more often discussed than delivered, as followers of Israel-Palestine negotiations, Northern Irish politics, or recent American elections can attest. Also, those people are your fellow citizens, and it is not healthy — civically or emotionally — to rest your dreams on the deaths of millions of Americans.

The problem is, smugness and feelings of superiority are the coin in which the gentry liberals pay themselves for their politics.

WELL, TO BE FAIR, MOST OF LEFTY POLITICS BOILS DOWN TO “SCREW YOU, DAD!The NYT columnist Frank Bruni — in an attack on Trump — attacks manliness.

Would anyone in the NYT attack femininity — in general — the way Bruni attacks masculinity in “Manhood in the Age of Trump”? It would be outright misogyny, and Bruni deserves to be called out for the misandry here.

Much of the column is about his personal struggle as a gay man to deal with his own anxieties about whether he is masculine enough.

That’s personal to him, and not about Trump at all and not about all the other men who are free to experience, express, and enjoy whatever level or version of manliness they want.

Also, as a former food critic you’d expect him to know more about soup.

CBS’S SCOTT PELLEY LOSES A FIGHT RIGGED IN HIS FAVOR: Ever since it was created by Don Hewitt in 1968, CBS’s Sixty Minutes has functioned as a sort of ritual kabuki for its audiences: it made stars of its left-leaning investigative journalists, who would grill the offending conservative politician or businessman of the week. By the mid-’80s, the show’s formula was summed up brilliantly in the classic parodies by Martin Short’s Nathan Thurm character on Saturday Night Live, who would be drenched in sweat and chain-smoking Marlboro 100s by the time he was done attempting to survive the hammering from the crusading journalist on the other side of the desk.

But CBS made its bones during the days when, as Rob Long wrote of NBC’s Johnny Carson, “There were three big channels—and maybe an old movie on one of those fuzzy UHF stations—so if you didn’t like what was on, you were out of luck. Network television didn’t compete with cable channels or Hulu or Amazon Prime. It competed with silence.”

And such lack of competition allowed the networks’ news divisions to create self-contained worlds where they could absolutely control the dialogue, as Walter Cronkite did throughout his career at CBS, while signing off each night “And that’s the way it is.” His successor’s career at CBS ended there with a Sixty Minutes segment…well, we all know how it ended there, right?

Which brings us to CBS’s Scott Pelley and his recent interview with Mike Cernovich, whom Breitbart.com’s Ezra Dulis describes as “a lawyer, independent blogger/author/filmmaker, and a dominant voice on Twitter,” and whom BuzzFeed describes as “a troll.” The latter Website of course is home of the infamous Trump golden showers with Russian hookers story and an editor who believes covering Trump “sometimes…means publishing unverified information in a transparent way that informs our users of its provenance, its impact and why we trust or distrust it.”

Whatever Cernovich’s excesses, assuming this transcript of the full unedited interview is accurate, it’s fascinating much more for what it reveals about Pelley, watched by six and a half million viewers on the CBS Evening News, than for Cernovich. Here’s how the transcript begins:

Scott Pelley: How would you describe what you do?

Mike Cernovich: I’m a lawyer, author, documenter, filmmaker, and journalist.

Scott Pelley: And how would you describe your website?

Mike Cernovich: Edgy, controversial content that goes against the dominant narrative.

Scott Pelley: What’s the dominant narrative?

Mike Cernovich: The dominant narrative is that there are good guys and there are bad guys. The good guys are liberals. Everybody on the right is a bad guy. Let’s find a way to make everybody look bad. Let’s tie marginal figures who have no actual influence to anybody we cannot overwrite. That’s the narrative.

Scott Pelley: That’s not a narrative I’m familiar with. Who’s narrative is that?

In 2008, Pelley compared global warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers. Ben Rhodes, who until January was Obama’s deputy national security advisor, is the brother of CBS News president David Rhodes. 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.” Katie Couric, whom Pelley succeeded as Evening News host, read a poem on her broadcast to shill for the passing of Obamacare, and after leaving CBS had a Rathergate-like moment of her own, attempting to marginalize gun owners.

But back to the transcript of Pelley and Cernovich, where eventually, the hunter is captured by his prey:  

Scott Pelley: You wrote in August a story about Hillary Clinton’s medical condition the headlines said, “Hillary Clinton has Parkinson’s disease. Position confirms.” That’s quite a headline.

Mike Cernovich: Yeah, Dr. Ted Noel had se-sent a story to me anonymously, that I checked out, analyzing her medical condition. And –

Scott Pelley: It isn’t true.

Mike Cernovich: How do you know?

Scott Pelley: Well, she doesn’t seem to have any signs of Parkinson’s disease.

Mike Cernovich: She had a seizure and froze up walking into her motorcade that day caught by a citizen journalist.

Scott Pelley: Did you, well, she had pneumonia. I mean –

Mike Cernovich: How do you know?

Scott Pelley: Well, because that’s what was reported.

Mike Cernovich: By whom? Who told you that?

Scott Pelley: Well, the campaign told us that.

Mike Cernovich: Why would you trust a campaign?

To ask the question is to answer it. In a post headlined “‘Shamefully Stupid’: CBS’s Scott Pelley Loses a Fight Rigged in His Favor,” Breitbart.com’s Ezra Dulis adds in response, “Pelley has no answer for those six words — ‘Why would you trust the campaign’ — as his entire profession goes berserk with literal-minded fact checks for every tweet from President Trump. Pelley also seems to forget the fakery that Clinton World attempted hours before its pneumonia statement — with the candidate smiling and waving outside her daughter’s apartment, greeting a little girl, and assuring reporters everything was a-okay.”

More:

Mike Cernovich: So let’s be, let’s be honest with one another, which is that you are reporting that the Hillary Clinton campaign-

Scott Pelley: I didn’t report that she had Parkinson’s disease.

Mike Cernovich: You just told me she’s healthy though. Based on what was told to you by the campaign. See? That’s what I’m saying about the double standards which is I don’t take anything Hillary Clinton’s going to say at all as true. I’m not going to take her on her word. The media says we’re not going to take Donald Trump on his word. And that’ why we are on these different universes.

Scott Pelley: Why should anyone take you on your word?

Mike Cernovich: Oh, you should always double-check. You should always fact check. And if people don’t agree with me, people express that disagreement, and I’m completely, completely open to criticism.

Insert Glenn Reynolds’ Rathergate-era comments about the positive nature of the Internet being a low-trust environment here. Not to mention Michael Crichton’s Gell-Man Amnesia Effect.

Let’s give Pelley the exit quote: “Well, the benefit of intermediaries is having experienced editors check things out and research people. Check the facts before it goes out to the public. You don’t do any of that.”

Mary Mapes could not be reached for comment.

UPDATE: “Was Pelley not around in 2004?” John Hinderaker asks at Power Line. “Has he forgotten how stupid that refrain sounded then? (‘Layers and layers of fact-checkers’) Does he not realize how false it rings today? We have been here before: the liberal media are in a panic because their authority is being challenged. It must be worse now, though, than it was in 2004. Then, Time’s refrain was a relatively benign ‘Who owns the truth?’ Now, they ask, ‘Is truth dead?’ We can translate: ‘Is the liberal news media monopoly dead?’”

ALWAYS BACKUP YOUR DATA: Jonah Goldberg’s laptop has seconds to live as he kicks off his latest G-File:

Dear Reader (particularly any of you women who want to have dinner with me alone, but can’t),

Turn that frown upside down!

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been in a bit of a funk of late, what with all of the gloominess, snark, and unexplained blood spatters and splatters on my glasses, clothes, car, etc.

Just last week, in this space, while mentioning my dour mood, I asked, “Hey, what’s the emoji for metaphysical dyspepsia and spirit-grinding weltschmerz?”

A bunch of people sent in suggestions, but none really hit the mark. So, the Universe decided to create one for me.

To summarize briefly, last week I was in NYC trying to salvage a little bit of Spring Break for my kid in the wake of all our plans blowing up on account of needing to go to Alaska for my mother-in-law’s funeral. While in the city, I met with the lovely (and understanding and patient and awesome) editor of the book I’m still working on. She needed to know when the final chapters were coming. I said in the next week or so. “I have about 25,000–30,000 words on my computer,” I told her. “I just need to organize it and write a couple thousand more.”

And this is when the Universe saw an opening.

Sensitive readers triggered by past memories of their own hard drive failures and/or accidentally pouring liquids into laptops are warned about reading onward. Though it could be worse, I suppose. As James Lileks once noted after one of his backup sessions, “I remember Anthony Burgess telling a story in an interview: he had finished a book and was heading off to the post office to mail it to his publisher, and a scooter sped by – the fellow on the back grabbed his satchel and they sped off through the Roman traffic. You might doubt the story, since it contains the phrase ‘sped off through the Roman traffic,’ but a scooter can fit between the cars. That was the only copy of his book. So he went home and wrote it again.”

THEY TOLD ME IF TRUMP WERE ELECTED, WEB CENSORSHIP WOULD RUN RAMPANT. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Alternative facts alert: Proposed legislation bans “fake news.”

The new proposal bars the online publication of a “false or deceptive statement designed to influence the vote.” Bye-bye online news. On the flip side, this legislation would probably outlaw lawmakers’ and candidates’ online speech, too.

The bill is proposed by California Assemblyman Edwin “Ed” Chau, a Democrat representing a section of Southern California. The proposal, which is likely unconstitutional on its face, was supposed to have a committee hearing Tuesday afternoon, but it was pulled at the 11th hour.

The measure does have a laudable goal, however. It’s designed to combat the so-called “fake news” that filled the 2016 election season. Intentions aside, the Electronic Frontier Foundation on Monday began campaigning against the proposal.

“At a time when political leaders are promoting ‘alternative facts’ and branding unflattering reporting as ‘fake news,’ we don’t think it’s a good idea to give the government more power to punish speech,” the EFF said.

Actually, EFF, it’s never a good time to give the government more power to punish speech. Even when a Democrat is in power. You know, like Ed Chau. Or Hillary, who wanted people jailed for making a film that was critical of her, and who did jail a filmmaker when it provided a handy cover story. Making it sound like it’s somehow a Trump related problem in this context is unfair and dishonest.

JAZZ SHAW: Killing that online digital privacy rule will come back to bite the GOP.

We’ll get to the stunningly bad optics of this move in a moment, but it’s first worth keeping in mind how transparently thin the arguments against this rule are. The entire idea of “adding costs and stifling innovation” is laughable on the face of it. We’re talking about a rule which doesn’t impact the amount of data which is available and collected or any of the normal processes involved in providing internet service to customers. It simply forces the provider to proactively obtain the permission of the user (“opting in”) before all of their personal data can be scooped off and auctioned off for marketing and advertising purposes. The fact that virtually no sane person who doesn’t wish to be further bombarded with spam advertising or have their private online activity shipped around with even more chance of it being hacked would ever want to opt in for that tells you all you need to know.

And what data are we talking about? An editorial piece from Motherboard provides some of the chilling details.

Financial and medical information. Social Security numbers. Web browsing history. Mobile app usage. Even the content of your emails and online chats.

These are among the types of private consumer information that House Republicans voted on Tuesday to allow your internet service provider (ISP) to sell to the highest bidder without your permission, prompting outrage from privacy watchdogs.

Unlike Google, Facebook and other so-called “edge providers” (who can already see far too much of your data), the ISPs have direct access to everything that passes through their portals when you are connected to the web. And allowing them to gather all that data up, parse it, package it and sell it to marketers and advertisers is an intrusive nuisance at a minimum and a severe security risk in worst case scenarios.

I don’t find myself agreeing with the Democrats in Congress all that often, but Massachusetts Congressman Michael Capuano asked the correct and not terribly subtle question when he said, “What the heck are you thinking?”

ObamaCare is left untouched, but this the GOP manages to get through?

President Trump is expected to sign the repeal.

Dumb.

ASTROTURF? Republican green groups seek to temper Trump on climate change.

President Donald Trump’s outspoken doubts about climate change and his administration’s efforts to roll back regulation to combat it have stirred a sleepy faction in U.S. politics: the Republican environmental movement.

The various groups represent conservatives, Catholics and the younger generation of Republicans who, unlike Trump, not only recognize the science of climate change but want to see their party wrest the initiative from Democrats and lead efforts to combat global warming.

Conservative green groups such as ConservAmerica and republicEn, along with politically neutral religious groups such as Catholic Climate Covenant and bipartisan groups such as the Citizens Climate Lobby, have ramped up efforts to recruit more congressional Republicans to work on addressing climate change since Trump’s election.

There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of there-there to this story, but I’m amazed that anything containing that second graf could be placed as straight news instead of on the op-ed page.

ELI LAKE: The Resistance Cheers Tactics Trump Will Likely Use Against Them.

The risk of normalization is particularly acute when it comes to selectively disclosing details of conversations monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies, such as the leaks that forced Flynn to resign last month. Such leaks violate the public’s trust in government eavesdroppers to not abuse their power to advance a political agenda.

This is why there are strict laws prohibiting the public disclosure of wiretap information. It’s why the intelligence community is supposed to take great pains not to distribute the names of American citizens who are caught up in surveillance of foreign targets widely within the government. It’s why the House Intelligence Committee is now investigating how many times the identities of U.S. citizens were unmasked in intelligence reports in the last six months of the Obama administration.

Tim Edgar, who served in Obama’s first term as the director of privacy and civil liberties at the White House, told me that it’s a mistake to conflate leaks of government-monitored communications with leaks designed to expose government wrongdoing or corruption. “J. Edgar Hoover was a prolific leaker, the Nixon White House leaked information, including information about its opponents from surveillance,” he said. “You may care somewhat if the government has intercepted your call, but you care more if they are using that information against you in some way.”

Edgar, who is now a professor in law and public policy at Brown University, is worried that the anti-Trump forces are not seeing the danger. “My message to the resistance is that you have to be careful,” he said. “These laws exist to protect all of us and our constitutional rights, and there is a difference between leaking the contents of surveillance transcripts and whistle blowing involving questionable government policy.”

In this sense, the resistance is fashioning a rod for its back. Democrats rightly howled when it was leaked that the FBI had wanted to investigate the Clinton Foundation but was stymied by the Justice Department in the run-up to the election. Trump will now have access to all kinds of damaging information on Democratic politicians. What is to stop him from selectively leaking monitored communications against the resistance?

Ideally, the rest of Washington would stop him. We don’t do that kind of thing in America. This is what police states do. But these norms are only effective if they are observed with consistency.

Deep-sixing norms is what lefties do.

HAVEN’T YOU HEARD? THIN IS IN: Trump’s Ridiculously Skinny Budget.

In order to offset a proposed $54 billion bump in defense spending, the administration wants to take a chunk out of most other federal agencies, often in the most cartoonishly villainous ways possible. Eliminating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting? Check. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps people pay their heating bills? Gone. The Chemical Safety Board, which investigates chemical accidents at federal facilities? See ya.

But those sort of programs amount to rounding errors in the context of the federal budget. The big proposed hits are to the State Department (nearly 30 percent), Environmental Protection Agency (31 percent), Agriculture Department (21 percent) and Department of Labor (20 percent).

And again, this is all to fund a 10 percent increase for the Pentagon, not even to reduce the precious deficit that conservatives always pretend to be worried about.

Longterm, entitlement spending is going to break us, and it’s a pity that Trump hasn’t shown any more guts on entitlement reform than any of his predecessors. But as for the rest, “elections have consequences.”

DO YOU WANT MORE TRUMP? BECAUSE THIS IS HOW YOU GET MORE TRUMP:

“Oh shut up” is now my preferred response to “Everything is racist.”

SALENA ZITO: Love and hate in Ohio.

“People immediately think, because you live in a town that is flat on its back, that you want to leave and, if you don’t, your lack of mobility is a sign of ignorance or ambition,” Hays says as she tidies up Froehlich’s Casual Corner, the restaurant she manages, after the lunch crowd clears out.

“Maybe people stay because they love where they live. Sometimes they leave, but most find their way back – they almost always come back. I did.”

Hays is one of those white working-class Rust Belt voters who did not vote for Trump. The 39-year-old mother of a six-year-old boy looks more like a twenty-something with her long blond hair pulled in a loose ponytail and her fresh-faced expression.

People just check off a box and typecast folks when they find out where they are from or what they do, she thinks: “It is one of the things that really bothers me about the perception people outside of towns like this have about towns like this. Honestly, stereotypes are a lazy analysis.”

Pop culture has become as harsh as national politics in its treatment of folks from the country’s interior, she says.

“Our politics has to become more personal, more decent, more connected to the people. So does our media and entertainment,” Hays says. “You don’t have to be a fan of the president to feel just as looked-down-upon for your values.”

I’d wager that Hays — and many, many more like her — will become a Trump supporter in time for the next election.

And the self-styled elite in Washington, New York, and Hollywood will have no one to blame but themselves.

SCOTT ADAMS: Income Inequality:

What happened is that candidate Trump persuaded us that immigration was a big problem. And in so doing, he pushed the issue of income inequality off the page. Do you remember the last time you saw CNN obsessing about income inequality? I thought it was the public’s biggest issue two years ago. Did it just sort of stop being one?

No, President Trump is in our heads. He told us what our priorities were and we accepted it, even if we hated his plans. Some people think is it a priority to get tougher on immigration, some think the opposite. But we all agree the issue is important.

If you had asked me in 2014 to list my country’s top 10 problems, immigration would not have been on the list. Now it’s usually at the top of the news. Trump did that. And by doing it he showed us a level of leadership that I have never seen in my lifetime. Even if you don’t like where he is leading us.

But here’s the interesting part. If you want to address income inequality, what is one of the best ways to do it? Answer: Limit immigration. That means higher wages for American citizens and lower profits for the top 1% who want cheap labor.

I saw a factoid yesterday that illegal immigration from Mexico is way down lately, presumably in anticipation of the Trump administration being tough. That’s an indicator of rising wages to come. I suppose the top 1% can pass along the higher costs to some extent. But the jobless guy who gets a job won’t be too unhappy that his food is 10% more expensive. He still comes out ahead. And if the employer gets a Trump tax cut, she doesn’t need to pass along as much of the higher wage expense to consumers.

Speaking of jobs, if Trump’s job-creation hype evolves from anecdotal to real, that’s a great way to reduce income inequality too. As I have often said, economies run on psychology, and Trump is a master of psychology. He proved that already by injecting enough optimism into the system that it goosed the stock market, and business confidence in general. That should translate into more investments and a better economy.

The Trump administration also recently tightened their connection to historically black colleges to see how they can help. The best way to reduce income inequality is to address the hardest cases first, to get the most bang for the buck. And the African-American community is coming from the deepest hole. We see no results there yet, but the move makes sense from the perspective of addressing income inequality.

Well, it’s not how Bernie Sanders would do it. Which means it has a chance of working.

MICHAEL TOTTEN: Brace Yourself for a New Cold War.

Trump said last September that he loves WikiLeaks, forgetting everything he ever knew about the rogue outfit. (Someone should ask him what he thinks of WikiLeaks dumping a trove of classified material onto the Internet supposedly revealing how the CIA spies on people all over the world through their smart phones.) Its founder Julian Assange is emphatically not a Republican operative. WikiLeaks has spent its entire existence waging geopolitical warfare against the United States, mostly on behalf of itself, but partly on behalf of the Russians and everyone else in the world who wants to pull down the American “empire.” Like the Russians, Assange trained his fire on Clinton not because he likes the Republicans but because the Democratic Party includes roughly half the elected officials in the United States and presumably would have included the next president of the United States.

Assange and Putin hoped to kneecap the incoming president before she could even get started.

Their hostility toward the United States in general isn’t obvious to everyone in this country. Putin’s approval rating actually increased during the last year among Trump’s most die-hard supporters. The rest of us, though—and the rest of us still includes most Republicans—are reacting against Russian malfeasance more strongly than we have at any time since the Berlin Wall fell.

That reaction is blowing up in the Trump administration’s face, but the president can turn it around by taking an unambiguously hawkish stance against Russia. Putin, meanwhile, can’t do anything to recover his reputation in the United States.

Read the whole thing.

AVIK ROY: House GOP’s Obamacare Replacement Will Make Coverage Unaffordable For Millions — Otherwise, It’s Great.

Unfortunately, the AHCA’s efforts at replacing Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges are problematic. A key limitation is that Republicans have decided to repeal and replace Obamacare on a party-line vote using the Senate’s reconciliation process. But reconciliation can only repeal Obamacare’s taxes and spending; it can’t replace most of the law’s premium-hiking insurance regulations.

The AHCA does make an effort to repeal Obamacare’s two costliest regulations: its requirement that plans charge similar premiums to the young and the old (age-based community rating); and its requirement that plans contain generous financial payouts (high actuarial value). So far, so good.

But the plan, due to the reconciliation process, appears to leave the vast majority of Obamacare’s regulations in place. The February 10 leaked draft contained language that would have returned control of essential health benefits to the states. That language appears to have been deleted.

Worse still, the bill contains an arbitrary “continuous coverage” provision, in which those who sign up for coverage outside of the normal open enrollment period would pay a 30 percent surcharge to the normal insurance premium. This surcharge is an arbitrary price control. While 30 percent represents an approximate average of the additional health risk of late enrollees, the 30 percent provision incentivizes those who face much higher costs to sign up, forcing insurers to cover them at a loss. This seems like a recipe for adverse selection death spirals.

The critical mistake of the AHCA is its insistence on flat, non-means-tested tax credits. The flat credit will price many poor and vulnerable people out of the health insurance market.

As I wrote last month, the AHCA creates a steep benefit cliff between those on Medicaid (subsidizing approximately $6,000 per patient per year), and those just above the poverty line who will get tax credits of about $3,000. People just below poverty will be strongly disincentivized to make more money, effectively trapping them in poverty.

You want to lose your majority? Because this is how you lose your majority.

But here’s what Trump said this morning:

This is more cause for hope than Philip Klein’s take earlier today, but remain wary of Congress ever getting to Phase Two after they can safely claim to have “done something” about ObamaCare.

I’M GUESSING SCOTT ADAMS WOULD UNDERSTAND: What if Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Had Swapped Genders? A restaging of the presidential debates with an actress playing Trump and an actor playing Clinton yielded surprising results.

Many were shocked to find that they couldn’t seem to find in Jonathan Gordon what they had admired in Hillary Clinton—or that Brenda King’s clever tactics seemed to shine in moments where they’d remembered Donald Trump flailing or lashing out. For those Clinton voters trying to make sense of the loss, it was by turns bewildering and instructive, raising as many questions about gender performance and effects of sexism as it answered. . . .

We heard a lot of “now I understand how this happened”—meaning how Trump won the election. People got upset. There was a guy two rows in front of me who was literally holding his head in his hands, and the person with him was rubbing his back. The simplicity of Trump’s message became easier for people to hear when it was coming from a woman—that was a theme. One person said, “I’m just so struck by how precise Trump’s technique is.” Another—a musical theater composer, actually—said that Trump created “hummable lyrics,” while Clinton talked a lot, and everything she was was true and factual, but there was no “hook” to it. Another theme was about not liking either candidate—you know, “I wouldn’t vote for either one.” Someone said that Jonathan Gordon [the male Hillary Clinton] was “really punchable” because of all the smiling. And a lot of people were just very surprised by the way it upended their expectations about what they thought they would feel or experience. There was someone who described Brenda King [the female Donald Trump] as his Jewish aunt who would take care of him, even though he might not like his aunt. Someone else described her as the middle school principal who you don’t like, but you know is doing good things for you. . . .

I remember turning to Maria at one point in the rehearsals and saying, “I kind of want to have a beer with her!” The majority of my extended family voted for Trump. In some ways, I developed empathy for people who voted for him by doing this project, which is not what I was expecting. I expected it to make me more angry at them, but it gave me an understanding of what they might have heard or experienced when he spoke.

So switching genders basically allowed Democrats to see clearly.

TOM SHATTUCK: For Obama, spying is nothing new.

In what has already been a historically bad year for Democrats, it just may be that they’re about to lose again to Donald Trump, this time in a high-stakes game of Russian roulette.

The Dems’ Putin smear was supposed to paint President Trump as a friend of the tyrant and beneficiary of Russian meddling in the election. Instead, it is the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party, former President Barack Obama, who may take the fall.

Snooping on a presidential candidate is serious business.

The Democrats want you to think this is a crazy conspiracy theory for an unhinged tweeting president.

But Obama has a rich legacy of using the federal government as a political weapon and it would be foolish to think he suddenly started restraining himself, when he was never held to account by either the media or Democrats in power.

Remember, Obama’s Justice Department secretly subpoenaed the private phone records of Associated Press editors and reporters. It was pure spying.

Yeah, it’s not like the charges are out of character for Obama.

UPDATE: Stephen Hayes:

Even if Trump’s tweets were irresponsible—based only on media reports— Democrats and many journalists have treated the substance of the claims themselves as utterly inconceivable. Is it?

It’s the Obama Rorschach test. When Valerie Jarrett claimed shortly before the end of the Obama presidency that he’d had a “scandal free” eight years, most Democrats and journalists nodded their heads and most conservatives howled with a combination of laughter and frustration. To the extent that they paid attention to them at all, for journalists, the Obama scandals were minor footnotes to a much happier story of the Obama presidency. But for conservatives they were not just part of the story but key drivers of the narrative.

The Obama Department of Justice targeted James Rosen of Fox News as a possible “criminal co-conspirator” in a leak investigation and seized phone records of AP reporters and editors in 2013. The IRS under Barack Obama systematically targeted the president’s political opponents.

And there are numerous examples of the Obama administration and the intelligence leaders loyal to the president politicizing intelligence. In collaboration with the Obama White House, CIA Director John Brennan and DNI James Clapper worked for more than five years to keep the documents captured in the Osama bin Laden raid from public view. (See here and here for the exhaustive details). During the heated debate over the Iran Deal, Clapper’s office rewrote the threat assessment on Iran to downplay Iran’s involvement in transnational terror.

Beyond that, we know that several high-ranking Obama administration officials were caught lying about the details of the Benghazi attacks in the weeks before the 2012 presidential election—and for several years after. . . .

Both sides are citing Clapper as the final word on the parts of the interview that support their case. He should not be considered the final word on anything. In addition to his involvement in the bin Laden documents cover-up and his office’s rewriting of the Iran threat assessment, Clapper was caught misleading Congress.

We won’t know the full truth about all of this anytime soon. And even as we see bits of the truth revealed will we—will the country—recognize it? Or will Democrats believe their Democrat truth and Republicans believe their Republican truth? There is reason for concern.

Well, yes. Yes there is.

HOOLIGAN VIOLENCE AS A SPECTATOR SPORT: This is a Instapundit Two-fer, the Associated Press and Russia, two suspect sources in one!

A Russian pol is proposing that “Soccer hooliganism” be made a spectator sport. And the AP –ever in search of click bait — is reporting it. I’d say “you can’t make this stuff up” but of course you could manufacture it. In fact, cable tv more or less treats hooligan violence as a sport, at least when Red Fascists beat up conservatives.

A Russian lawmaker has proposed an unorthodox solution to the country’s problems with soccer hooliganism ahead of next year’s World Cup – legalize it and make it a spectator sport.

The Rooski dude’s raison d’etre for staging gang fights as a sport:

Organized groups of Russian fans, many with martial arts training, fought English fans on the streets of Marseille during last year’s European Championship.

Better Than Snopes and The Washington Post Fact Check: This is sensationalist spout-off that approaches fake news.

Like, who in the heck is dumb enough to square off with British football rowdies?…Oh, wait…Russian football rowdies…

Actually, the Russian politico could be a cable tv producer. He wants to stage a “draka,” the Russian word for fight.

“…20 fighters on each side, unarmed, in an arena.”

Hold it. I’m being too hard on this guy. If he’d ginned up this concept six months ago Obama would’ve wiretapped him. By exhibiting showmanship of this caliber ole Barack would’ve been convinced he got the idea from Trump.

This is what Hollywood calls blockbuster concept. We all know what’ll happen. The Russians will stack their rowdies with Spetsnaz and the Brits will stack their rowdies with Special Air Service (SAS) commandos. War would once again become a contest of tribal champions. Stay tuned!

RELATED: The SAS recruits a dozen Gurkas. This gives the Brits a “draka” edge, in my opinion.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: It’s Not the ‘Deep State,’ It’s ‘Revenge of the Losers.’

I don’t think there is any question that the former president was intent on leaving behind landmines. And you are right, the NSA stuff is curious. Normally, when NSA is listening in on a foreigner, they take great care to redact any American involved. The NSA is not supposed to spy on Americans. Here it was the reverse, and there was an obvious attempt as was reported in the New York Times to make sure that this was spread as widely as possible, that it would become a problem for the Trump administration. I wouldn’t call it the “deep state,” it gives it a le Carré feel that there is this ominous enemy of the United States hidden in bureaucracy. What this is, is the revenge of the losers. These are people who wanted to make trouble for an administration of a guy who they thought wasn’t going to win and shouldn’t have won, and to see what happens. That is what I think is going on. To some extent, it has happened in other administrations. But I think it’s more obvious and we are going to get to the bottom of it, because there are going to be a lot of investigations.

We need a special prosecutor to sort this out.

IT DOESN’T MATTER, IT’S ABOUT DELEGITIMIZING HIM, AND TRUMP: Did Sessions Commit Perjury? Let’s Talk It Out.

Now, I don’t know whether Sessions has been in contact with Russian officials or not about the election; neither the senator nor Kislyak have chosen to confide this information to me. But let’s assume for the nonce that he wasn’t. Was his response to Patrick Leahy’s letter reasonable? Eminently. It is reasonable even if, in the course of a meeting on some other topic, the ambassador idly asked how the campaign was going.

Sessions was an early Trump surrogate, and it would have been unsurprising for the ambassador to ask about the race in passing; if Sessions then replied with campaign boilerplate little different from what he was saying in public, that is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a meaningful contact with a foreign power. Anyone at the Kremlin could have gotten the same information by turning on CNN.

But what about the exchange with Franken? This was what really seemed to seize the imaginations of Twitter this morning, where cries of “perjury” were flying left and right. Well, OK, mostly left, actually. I don’t think, however, that those charges are going to stick.

Franken offered a lengthy preamble suggesting that the Trump campaign had been exchanging information with the Russians, then asked him what he’d do if there was information that someone in the Trump campaign had communicated with the Russians. In the time-honored tradition of congressional hearings, Sessions said he hadn’t had any such communications, had no knowledge of such communications, and therefore wouldn’t speculate about the hypothetical.

If you read the latter part of this exchange extremely strictly, chopping off the preamble, then you can argue that Sessions was technically untruthful. The problem is that this is not how verbal communication works. The left is attempting to hold the attorney general to a standard of precision that is appropriate for written communication, where we can reflect on preceding context and choose exactly the right word.

Oral language is much looser, because it’s real time. Real time means that we don’t have 20 minutes to puzzle over the exact phrasing that will best communicate our meaning. (For example: Reading this column aloud will take you perhaps five minutes. It took me nearly that many hours to write.) On the other hand, our audience is right there, and can ask for clarification if they are confused.

Demanding extreme clarity from an oral exchange is unreasonable. Moreover, everyone understands that this is unreasonable — except, possibly, for the chattering classes, who spend their lives so thoroughly marinated in the written word that they come to think that the two spheres are supposed to be identical.

Well, also the chattering classes hate Trump and Sessions. Now if you want to judge Sessions the way the chattering classes judged Obama, Eric Holder, and Loretta Lynch . . . .

WHY IS THE DEMOCRATS’ CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION SUCH A CESSPIT OF HATRED AND MISOGYNY? Richmond Under Fire for Correspondents Dinner Comments: Accused of sexually inappropriate remarks about Kellyanne Conway.

Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., is facing heavy criticism for making what some perceived as sexually inappropriate jokes about Kellyanne Conway.

During the Washington Press Club Foundation’s annual congressional dinner, Richmond commented about a recent photo showing Conway, who serves as counselor to President Donald Trump, kneeling on a couch in the Oval Office.

Earlier in the evening, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., joked that the couch had seen more sordid action during the 1990s, alluding to President Bill Clinton’s sexual impropriety in the Oval Office.

“I really just want to know what was going on there, because, you know, I won’t tell anybody,” Richmond remarked. “And you can just explain to me that circumstance — because she really looked kind of familiar in that position there. Don’t answer — and I don’t want you to refer back to the 1990s.”

Richmond, who is chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, for his part said in a statement that his remarks weren’t sexual.

“Where I grew up saying that someone is looking or acting ‘familiar’ simply means that they are behaving too comfortably,” the Washington Post reported he said in a statement.

But UltraViolet, a liberal women’s group, criticized Richmond’s comments — despite the fact the group acknowledged it disagrees with “just about everything” Conway does or says.

“No woman deserves to be treated the way Congressman Richmond treated Conway,” a statement from UltraViolet said.

Well, she’s a Republican woman, so . . .

WHO CAN ARGUE WITH SCIENCE? Hundreds of scientists urge Trump to withdraw from U.N. climate-change agency.

More than 300 scientists have urged President Trump to withdraw from the U.N.’s climate change agency, warning that its push to curtail carbon dioxide threatens to exacerbate poverty without improving the environment.

In a Thursday letter to the president, MIT professor emeritus Richard Lindzen called on the United States and other nations to “change course on an outdated international agreement that targets minor greenhouse gases,” starting with carbon dioxide.

“Since 2009, the US and other governments have undertaken actions with respect to global climate that are not scientifically justified and that already have, and will continue to cause serious social and economic harm — with no environmental benefits,” said Mr. Lindzen, a prominent atmospheric physicist.

Signers of the attached petition include the U.S. and international atmospheric scientists, meteorologists, physicists, professors and others taking issue with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC], which was formed in 1992 to combat “dangerous” climate change.

The 2016 Paris climate accord, which sets nonbinding emissions goals for nations, was drawn up under the auspices of the UNFCCC.

“Observations since the UNFCCC was written 25 years ago show that warming from increased atmospheric CO2 will be benign — much less than initial model predictions,” says the petition.

I guess the science is settled. You don’t want to be anti-science, do you?

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD HARSHES THE NARRATIVE: Trump Isn’t Sounding Like a Russian Mole: Trump’s core global strategy is intended to destroy any illusions in Moscow that Russia is a peer competitor of Washington’s.

A Trump administration is going to be four years of hell for Russia: a massive American doubling down on shale production along with a major military buildup. Trump is, in other words, a nightmare for Putin and a much, much bigger threat to Putin’s goals than President Obama ever was or wanted to be.

If Trump were the Manchurian candidate that people keep wanting to believe that he is, here are some of the things he’d be doing:

Limiting fracking as much as he possibly could
Blocking oil and gas pipelines
Opening negotiations for major nuclear arms reductions
Cutting U.S. military spending
Trying to tamp down tensions with Russia’s ally Iran

That Trump is planning to do precisely the opposite of these things may or may not be good policy for the United States, but anybody who thinks this is a Russia appeasement policy has been drinking way too much joy juice.

Obama actually did all of these things, and none of the liberal media now up in arms about Trump ever called Obama a Russian puppet; instead, they preferred to see a brave, farsighted and courageous statesman. Trump does none of these things and has embarked on a course that will inexorably weaken Russia’s position in the world, and the media, suddenly flushing eight years of Russia dovishness down the memory hole, now sounds the warning that Trump’s Russia policy is treasonously soft.

This foolishness is best understood as an unreasoning panic attack. The liberal media hate Trump more than they have hated any American politician in a generation, and they do not understand his supporters or the sources of his appeal. They are frantically picking up every available stick to beat him, in the hopes that something, somehow, will Miloize him.

So blind does hatred make them that they cannot understand how their own behavior is driving American public opinion in directions that bode ill for liberals in the future. In the first place, suppose Donald Trump does not in fact turn out to be the second coming of Benedict Arnold. Suppose instead, as is much more likely, that he turns out to be a very hawkish president, one who quite possibly will make George W. Bush look like Jimmy Carter. The media and Democratic Party leaders will have staked huge amounts of credibility on a position that turns out to be laughably untrue. Six months or a year from now, they will have to flip from calling Trump an anti-American traitor and Russian plant to calling him a dangerous, fascistic ultranationalist whose relentless hawkishness is bringing us closer to World War Three.

The press and the Democrats — but I repeat myself — will make that flip without a moment’s hesitation or acknowledgment.

Plus: “The media wants to cast Trump as both Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler; but you can’t give the Sudetenland to yourself.”

GEORGE NEUMAYR: Trump Is Beating The Media At Its Own Game: The left’s own politics by shorthand is now being turned against it.

Whenever editors say that they refuse to acknowledge “two sides” on such matters as “marriage equality” or Darwinism or climate change, they are paying homage to Lenin’s devious politics by shorthand. They pay homage to it whenever they substitute their opinions of the news for actual reporting of the news. Even the squabbling among journalists recently over whether or not to suspend “conventional reporting” in Trump’s case, or whether front-page stories should declare his misstatements “lies,” is a tacit acknowledgment of that politics. With Lenin, the Christiane Amanpours have no use for the peskiness of precise responses. Just call Trump a “liar,” their attitude goes, and “everyone will understand everything.”

But that demagogic shorthand only works as long as Republican politicians defer to it. For years journalists opined self-servingly under the guise of objectivity and got away it because Republicans were too afraid to shatter that illusion of objectivity. They permitted the media to serve as the arbiter of what qualifies as “mainstream,” “extremist,” “racist,” and so forth, and made sure to stay within the media-determined parameters of any discussion.

Donald Trump has blown up that absurd arrangement and is beating the media at its own game. He labels reporters in the same way that they label him. He upends their dishonest framing of debates by treating them as what they are, liberal partisans. His exchange last week with April Ryan, a correspondent for the American Urban Radio Network, captured that perfectly. She asked him a loaded question not as a neutral reporter but as a water-carrier for the Congressional Black Caucus. So he treated her that way. “I’ll tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting?” the president said to her, after she asked if he would meet with the CBC. “Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours?” Of course, they are friends of hers and she was trying to score a partisan point for them. Had Trump not deconstructed that for the audience, her question might have done him damage. Instead, it fell flat and looked unserious.

Reporters are thrown by a president who questions them as aggressively as they question him. And they resent that he refuses to accept as “facts” what is nothing more than their biased interpretation of the facts.

Well, it makes life harder for bylined operatives.

WELL, YES. Are Liberals Helping Trump?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plus:

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

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

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

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

Yes. And here’s my message for 2017.

Last year it was my message too.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Jim VanDeHei & Mike Allen: The Media Is The Opposition Party. Likewise, they were the Obama Support Party for the previous eight years. Any efforts to defend their role now must also take that into account.

But it’s just more evidence that if you want checks and balances, you need a white, male Republican in the White House.

UPDATE: From the comments: “I thought, given the wailing I have heard the last few days, that some brilliant questions were going to be asked of Trump by the ‘real’ journalists. Where were they hiding?”

NO LESSONS LEARNED: Campus Intolerance Intensifies in the Trump Era.

Panelists raised, implicitly, the question whether higher education has become out of touch with Donald Trump’s America. They fretted over their belief that the current social and political climate is a threat to the liberal arts and, in a time of “fake news,” to the pursuit of truth itself.

The Association’s president, Lynn Pasquerella, concluded that it is the average American—giving in to the alleged anti-intellectualism of the day—who is misguided.

Higher education leaders, she argued, must therefore work to “destabilize the attitudes at the basis of proposals that devalue education.”

While there were some speakers who called for tolerance and understanding—including Wesleyan University president Michael Roth, who advocated greater respect for “traditional conservative religion and thought”—they were a mere footnote during the four-day gathering.

Rather, workshops such as “Reclaiming the Racial Narrative,” case studies on implementing progressive agendas on campus, and strategies on how to engage students in support of “racial and social justice” dominated the conference’s agenda.

Unfortunately, in these early days of Trump’s presidency, similar politicization seems to persist throughout much of academia. Many leftist students, faculty, and administrators pay only lip service to the notion that higher education should be a marketplace of ideas. They now seem to view themselves as combatants in an ideological war.

Well, that’s just more of the Gramscian Damage. But if you want more Trump, by all means double down. Because that’s how you get more Trump.

DAVID FRUM: What Effective Protest Could Look Like.

You want to scare Trump? Be orderly, polite, and visibly patriotic.

In other words, be the Tea party. But [EDIT FOR CLARITY] copying the Tea Party has been tried already, repeatedly, without success.

More:

Trump wants to identify all opposition to him with the black-masked crowbar thugs who smashed windows and burned a limo on his inauguration day. Remember Trump’s tweet about stripping citizenship from flag burners? It’s beyond audacious that a candidate who publicly requested help from Russian espionage services against his opponent would claim the flag as his own. But Trump is trying. Don’t let him get away with it. Carry the flag. Open with the Pledge of Allegiance. Close by singing the Star Spangled Banner––like these protesters at LAX, in video posted by The Atlantic’s own Conor Friedersdorf. Trump’s presidency is itself one long flag-burning, an attack on the principles and institutions of the American republic. That republic’s symbols are your symbols. You should cherish them and brandish them.

Don’t get sucked into the futile squabbling cul-de-sac of intersectionality and grievance politics. Look at this roster of speakers from the January 21 march. What is Angela Davis doing there? Where are the military women, the women police officers, the officeholders? If Planned Parenthood is on the stage, pro-life women should stand there, too. If you want somebody to speak for immigrants, invite somebody who’s in the country lawfully.

By and large, those are the people the Left has already lost — or has driven away, or actively despises.

DO YOU WANT MORE TRUMP? BECAUSE THIS IS HOW YOU GET MORE TRUMP: Militant, Anti-Trump Anarchist: ‘Confront the Police and Destroy Corporate Property.’

I DON’T THINK MANY TRUMP VOTERS WILL BE MOVED BY THIS STORY AS THE NY TIMES INTENDS: ‘A Sense of Dread’ for Civil Servants Shaken by Trump Transition. I’m not so sure Albert Gallatin would be as upset as career GS types. But really, one would need a heart of stone not to laugh at this:

“It’s almost a sense of dread, as in, what will happen to us,” said Gabrielle Martin, a trial lawyer and 30-year veteran at the Denver office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where colleagues now share daily, grim predictions about the fate of their jobs under Mr. Trump’s leadership.

“It’s like the movie music when the shark is coming,” Ms. Martin said, referring to “Jaws,” the 1975 thriller. “People are just wary — is the shark going to come up out of the water?”

This article is based on interviews around the country with more than three dozen current and recently departed federal employees from the Internal Revenue Service; the Pentagon; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Justice and Treasury Departments; the Departments of Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development; and other parts of the government. They reveal a federal work force that is more fundamentally shaken than usual by the uncertainties that follow a presidential transition from one party to the other.

Federal workers are more likely to be Democrats, according to surveys. But partisanship and ideology explain only some of the intense feelings among workers, many of whom have seen Democrats and Republicans in the White House come and go.

Well, there’s also class-identification and overall smugness. But stuff like this makes serious civil service reform more likely to take place:

At the Environmental Protection Agency, a group of scientists strategized this past week about how to slow-walk President Trump’s environmental orders without being fired.

At the Treasury Department, civil servants are quietly gathering information about whistle-blower protections as they polish their résumés.

At the United States Digital Service — the youthful cadre of employees who left jobs at Google, Facebook or Microsoft to join the Obama administration — workers are debating how to stop Mr. Trump should he want to use the databases they made more efficient to target specific immigrant groups.

Just imagine how differently the New York Times would have played a story about federal employees planning to resist Obama initiatives. But it is more support for my theory that if you want checks and balances, you need a white, male Republican in the White House!

UPDATE: Flashback: Washington’s ‘governing elite’ think Americans are morons. And now they’re scared and unhappy that Americans are returning the sentiment.

SACRAMENTO’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: CA State Senator admits half of family under deportation threat:

A Los Angeles lawmaker leading the fight to make California a so-called “sanctuary state” has suggested half of his family would be deported for using falsified Social Security cards and other fake identification.

California Senate Leader Kevin de Leon made the claims during testimony before the Senate’s Public Safety Committee for SB54, a bill introduced by De Leon that would create a statewide sanctuary for immigrants living in the country illegally.

Responding to President Trump’s suggestion of “withholding federal funding” from California, de Leon said: “Half of my family would be eligible for deportation under the executive order, because they got a false social security card, they got a false identification, they got a false driver’s license prior to us passing AB 60, they got a false green card, and anyone who has family members who are undocumented knows that almost entirely everybody has secured some sort of false identification.”

“That’s what you need to survive, to work,” he added. “They are eligible for massive deportation.”

Most Americans want to make a living, Leslie Eastman of Legal Insurrection responds. “However, they don’t commit crimes to do so. The senator’s admission has not inspired the kind of sympathy from the nation’s law-abiding taxpayers he may have been expecting.”

As California resident Victor Davis Hanson has noted in various formulations in recent years, “In California, the neglect of the felony requires the rigid prosecution of the misdemeanor.” No state regulates its small businesses more. No state is more obsessed with recycling and banning common goods, down to shopping bag bans, and in some regions, mandatory composting. No state is more obsessed with banning guns from legal owners. But illegal immigration and its related crimes such as potential voter fraud, and false drivers’ licenses and Social Security cards? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Which of course is why Sacramento has to deal with Donald Trump these days. Speaking of their “Enemies: A Love Story” like relationship, the addicts may loathe the new dealer, but they still want their fix: “California rebukes Trump’s orders but wants $100B in federal infrastructure funds.”

BLACK LIVES MATTER AND THE TRUMP ELECTION: A Truth So Glaring Even Vox Can See It.

Over at Vox, Matt Yglesias highlights a polling trend we first noted in October: Just as the Black Lives Matter movement hit its stride last year, the American public—whites and non-whites alike—became far more supportive of law enforcement, with the share of Americans who say they have “a great deal” of respect for police officers shooting up from 64 to 76 percent. . . .

It’s worth considering the possibility that the BLM movement and the publicity it received just might have played a decisive role in tipping the 2016 presidential election to the law and order candidate—that, as Glenn Reynolds puts it, “this is how you get more Trump.”

That doesn’t mean that we don’t have a policing problem in this country or that we don’t need to be constantly rethinking the way our social institutions (including the judicial and the educational systems) address the needs and problems of African Americans, especially though not only young men. But it does mean that today’s would-be Civil Rights heroes need to think a bit harder about how to build majority support for changes that would help. Martin Luther King was sometimes an angry man, and with just cause, but we owe his lasting impact on American life to his wisdom rather than to his rage.

The difference is, the people behind Black Lives Matter don’t want to solve the problem. They want to exploit the problem.

Also, the “do you want more Trump?” line originates with Sean Davis, though to be fair, he was riffing off Archer.

MEGAN MCARDLE: The Democrats’ Immigration Problem(s).

Briefly: Democratic arguments about immigration mostly aren’t arguments. The party has relied on opposing Trump’s more outrageously exaggerated claims about the criminality and all-around character flaws of immigrants. That’s fine, as far as it goes — but as November showed, it doesn’t go far enough.

The core problem is that Democrats didn’t really make an affirmative argument for an overhaul to U.S. immigration policy that might appeal to voters. Instead, they talked a lot about what great people immigrants are, and how much they benefit from migration. Unfortunately, the clearest group of beneficiaries from this policy — people who want to migrate, but haven’t yet gotten a green card — can’t vote.

Of course there are spillover benefits to immigration, but they are somewhat nebulous compared to the direct benefit to the would-be migrants. It’s easy to explain how immigrants benefit from an open door. Explanations of how the rest of us benefit tend to rely on the trivial or on abstract economic arguments that most people don’t find particularly intuitive or convincing. Those arguments look even more suspicious because they are generally made by the one group that visibly does benefit from a lot of low-skilled immigration, which provides the nannies, lawn-care, and food services that high-skilled professionals rely on to allow them to work longer hours. . . .

Distrust of strangers is a universal human phenomenon, tapping into some pretty deep evolutionary instincts. Once those instincts are aroused, you need very powerful emotional arguments as to why it’s worth taking the risk. “They’re really nice people” is not it. Nor is “It will be great for them” or “Look at this regression analysis.”

Democrats seem to appreciate that this is a problem. You saw this at the convention, where the hours before 6 p.m. — when most people weren’t watching — were heavy on praise for immigration and appearances by illegal immigrants who spoke movingly of their plight. But at the hour when the nation turned its eyes to the television, the paeans in favor of illegal migrants became dramatically more restrained.

Yet instead of solving this problem, Democrats opted to mostly speak in vague generalities and to avoid concrete questions: What percentage of our society should be foreign born? How should we choose the people we allow to migrate? Instead of formulating a clear policy, they relied on institutional inertia and lax enforcement to swell the foreign-born population to nearly 15 percent of the country. And Republicans, whose donor class likes generous immigration rules, were happy to go along.

That was fine as long as those groups were in charge of the status quo. Once Trump took over, however, that became infeasible.

Well, to be fair, Trump took over in no small part because a lot of voters wanted to make that infeasible.

FLASHBACK: Bill Clinton warns of “the large number of illegal aliens” coming into America, and explains his crackdown.

When I posted this earlier, a reader commented: “Donald Trump should televise this Bill Clinton speech from 1995 and then simply state ‘I’m Donald Trump and I approve this message.'”

HOUSE DEMOCRATS WANT TO CHANGE THE WAY THEY TALK TO VOTERS, BUT THEY’RE NOT SURE HOW:

House Democrats are walking away from a soul-searching retreat in Baltimore without having answered the question that has loomed over them since the election: Whether the party should be content with changing its communication strategy or whether the party needs to undergo deeper changes.

“We lost, so either our programs need to be retooled or our communication needs to be retooled. Now which do you think is easier for us to focus on?” California Rep. Brad Sherman said. “I wish we could just print our message on a different color of paper and suddenly win, but I think it’s going to be harder than that.”

Shades of Bertolt Brecht’s famous line that “Some party hack decreed that the people had lost the government’s confidence and could only regain it with redoubled effort. If that is the case, would it not be simpler, If the government simply dissolved the people And elected another?”

Linking to the above article at DNC house organ BuzzFeed, Varad Mehta of the Federalist tweets “Trump’s election was a repudiation of cultural progressivism. Until the left admits it, they’re just wasting time.” But even if Democrats somehow manage to change their tone, after their earlier false-flag operation in 2006, voters would be very wise not to believe them this time around.

JONATHAN RAUCH:

For this article, I set out to develop a list of telltales that the president is endangering the Constitution and threatening democracy. I failed. In fact, I concluded that there can be no such list, because many of the worrisome things that an antidemocratic president might do look just like things that other presidents have done. Use presidential power to bully corporations? Truman and Kennedy did that. Distort or exaggerate facts to initiate or escalate a war? Johnson and George W. Bush did that. Lie point-blank to the public? Eisenhower did that. Defy orders from the Supreme Court? Lincoln did that. Suspend habeas corpus? Lincoln did that, too. Spy on American activists? Kennedy and Johnson did that. Start wars at will, without congressional approval? Truman did that. Censor “disloyal” speech and fire “disloyal” civil servants? Wilson did that. Incarcerate U.S. citizens of foreign extraction? Franklin D. Roosevelt did that. Use shady schemes to circumvent congressional strictures? Reagan did that. Preempt Justice Department prosecutors? Obama did that. Assert sweeping powers to lock people up without trial or judicial review? George W. Bush did that. Declare an open-ended national emergency? Bush did that, and Obama continued it. Use regulatory authority aggressively and, according to the courts, sometimes illegally? Obama did that. Kill a U.S. citizen abroad? Obama did that, too. Grant favors to political friends, and make mischief for political enemies? All presidents do that.

But Rauch’s overall piece — about how “civil society” should rally to control Trump — is just more evidence in favor of my theory that if you want a President constrained by “civil society,” you need to elect a white, male Republican.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Chelsea Clinton Is the Last Thing the Democratic Party Needs.

Instead of moving on—and being better off for it—another Clinton in public office would broaden the party’s disconnect with working and middle class voters. Electing Chelsea to a major role among Democrats would do little to convey a message of change and progression.

The Washington Post recently reported Chelsea Clinton has begun to show an interest in politics. “In recent days, we’ve noticed a different Chelsea Clinton—one more than willing to speak out, often a bit bluntly. And she’s speaking out specifically against President Trump, using his preferred medium: Twitter.”

Business Insider further dramatized Chelsea Clinton’s recent activity on Twitter by hyperbolically dubbing it a “crusade against Trump.” “Very grateful no one seriously hurt in the Louvre attack …or the (completely fake) Bowling Green Massacre. Please don’t make up attacks,” Chelsea tweeted on February 3 in regards to Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway’s “Bowling Green” gaffe. Conway responded to Chelsea by citing Hillary Clinton’s infamous “Bosnia Sniper Fire” lie and noted Clinton lost the election, to which Chelsea Clinton didn’t bother to retort back.

She’s not very good even at Twitter, and if you saw her during her brief career as a highly-paid “reporter” for NBC, you know she has very little camera presence. Nevertheless, if she wants to run, the Democrats will probably make room for yet another Clinton.

TIM ALLEN: ‘The Left Wants to Tell Everybody’ What to Do.

“I’m more of an anarchist because I’m a stand-up comic. I don’t like anybody telling me what to do and, lately, the left wants to tell everybody – it’s the ‘we all know this, you should, you should.’ Stop telling me what to do, you go do it. You want to support stuff that the government should stay out of? You go do it. No one is stopping you from paying more taxes. Then, that’s the attitude I get,” he told PJM after he left the Creative Coalition’s Inaugural Gala.

“You see my act on the road or in concert – I don’t do political stuff. I do anarchist stuff. I like making everybody laugh. Jokes should be – President Trump should laugh at it, so should Hillary – that’s the balance I like; the personal stuff is different,” he added.

There’s a lot less fun to be had, doing all that work of getting elected just to leave people alone — which is the sad reason Libertarians usually do so poorly.

WHY YOU HATE SOCIAL MEDIA: Let’s start with Jim Geraghty of NRO on the horrors of Twitter:

Christopher Cooper – a.k.a. “Coop” – is an artist with some libertarian sensibilities known for skateboards, concert posters, album covers. He noted Monday night that he’s thinking of leaving Twitter. His thoughts, cleaned-up for a family newsletter:

Had lunch today with a friend (with way more twitter followers that me) and we both agreed we’re just about ready to shutter our accounts. Neither of us needs the promotion badly enough to deal with the constant barrage of ****heads. If you tweet about politics, you get trolled by ****s, and if you deliberately do not tweet about politics, you get attacked by “woke” ****s. I’ve also seen too many of my friends on here get threats against their families from ****heads & I don’t want to go down that road.

Whatever Twitter once was – I initially used it to stay in touch with far-off friends – it’s now a way to reach a mass audience. Almost anyone can interact with almost anyone. The bad news is, this gives almost anyone in the world an ability to send you messages, and to do so anonymously. No inventor ever likes to contemplate the worst possible application of their new creation; surely Jack Dorsey didn’t think in 2006, “Hey, I’ve just found an amazing way to empower racists, stalkers, psychos, and the most malevolent voices in society!”

Will Rogers famously said he never met a man he didn’t like. Put him on Twitter today and within a week he would turn into H.L. Mencken. Jean-Paul Sartre was close; Hell is other people on Twitter.

The world is full of people who you would never choose to have a conversation with – not because you aren’t open minded or you’re hypersensitive, but because you have better things to do with your life than to spend time around people who mock, berate, sneer, or just overall hate you. And yet, on Twitter, they’re metaphorically right in front of you. Yes, you can block them with the touch of the button. But very few people like being hated, or being reminded that they are hated. And in 2017 America, whatever your view on politics is, someone hates you for holding that view, and is eager to let you know how much they hate you.

(All of this should be a deep, deep concern to the Twitter company.)

So why is anyone on Twitter? Because there’s positive feedback, and that feels good. It feels like an affirmation. You’re right. People agree with you. People like you. They like your one-line joke, your thought, your snappy headline, your photo of what you’re about to eat. Every once in a while, they react in ways that make you think or reconsider what you thought before.

On Twitter, the ratio of useful/enjoyable interaction to useless/unenjoyable interaction has been steadily sliding in the wrong direction.

And now over to Bethany Mandel of the Federalist on the excesses of Facebook, or as she writes, “Facebook Dead At 12, A Victim Of 2016:”

One of my many friends also feeling this way, Sarah Barak, wrote on Facebook recently: “I feel hectored. I’ll be happier if I unfollow the worst offenders. It’s just too much and the constant negative coverage is affecting my happiness.” It’s not just in our imaginations; there’s plenty of social science research that indicates surrounding oneself with Negative Nancies has a way of turning you into a Negative Nancy also. It’s impossible to know for sure, but it seems many who were once politically ambivalent at best are now caught in a negative feedback loop, perpetually hysterical because all of their friends are as well.

The problem with Facebook political rants is this: It is not Twitter. I do not “follow” my high school best friends because of their insightful political commentary; I want to see updates on their lives and pictures of their adorable children. Unlike Twitter, I don’t want to unfollow or unfriend them because of their rants, because if I do so, I’ll miss out on the all-important baby announcements and updates.

If all you’re using Facebook for is to yell into the digital void about politics, you will find your audience for such rants is getting smaller by the minute. Sorry, random friends from all walks of life: I just don’t care what you think about Donald Trump today.

I hoped the tone would improve post-election, but with the inauguration and every statement or story out of the Trump administration, the hysteria remains at a fevered pitch. And I’m sick of it.

My solution, and that of many friends, has been significant or total disengagement from the social network, shifting usage to Instagram instead to catch most of those important baby and kid pictures.

This past weekend, a self-described Princeton neuroscientist, whose ‎amygdala was suddenly hijacked by all things Trump, decided to take out his concerns over our new president by doing what any serious academic would do at that moment: he addressed his anger towards Dave Burge, aka Iowahawk, who was busy, as is his wont, tweeting photos of hot rod cars. “Glad to see brave conservatives face up to a Constitutional crisis with…Sunday car talk,” our brave Princeton neuroscientist speaking truth to gearhead tweeted to the Bard of Des Moines.

In response, Burge tweeted (among other things), “let me break it down for you, ‘neuroscientist’: I’m not a conservative, and not a public utility to argue on topics you choose.” Eventually, he followed up with a  series of 36 Tweets on why he’s burning out on Twitter. I was hoping a site like Twitchy or Storify would link them together in one place, but I haven’t found it yet. But If you’re reading this post on the day it went up, go to Iowahawk’s Twitter homepage and keep scrolling, and you’ll come across it eventually. Exit quotes:

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THOMAS FRANK: The intolerance of the left: Trump’s win as seen from Walt Disney’s hometown; Ivy League graduates micromanaging the country – that’s how some in Marceline, Missouri, saw the status quo.

By and large, these were men who had voted for Trump, but few of them seemed to really support him in the full sense of the word. They were apprehensive about his presidency, they didn’t know what to expect from it, but many of them had made the choice anyway.

Why? One of the men present told me you could summarize it with a single word: “Hillary!” Another described it with a variant on Trump’s famous proposition to black voters, which these white people clearly felt applied to them, too: “Whaddaya got to lose by making a change?”

Certain predictable conservative issues came up: meddlesome government, for example. Farmers these men knew of complained bitterly about the Environmental Protection Agency. Small bankers, too, were said to feel micromanaged. “We don’t like to be told what to do, how to do it,” someone said.

But it was not all standard-issue Republican talking points. These men groused about how big banks avoided being taken over by the FDIC, they used “Goldman Sachs” as verbal shorthand for wealth and influence, and I even heard complaints about billionaires controlling the state’s political process.

What did crop up persistently when I talked to this group was a disgust with the perceived moral haughtiness of liberals. More than one member of the club referred to himself as one of Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables”, for example. There was resentment of “Ivy League graduates” who felt entitled to “micromanage the rest of the country”. The man who told me that – a fellow wearing a US Army Retired cap – also told me that “if you want to be an obnoxious slob, you have a right to be one”.

This right-to-obnoxiousness raises a fascinating point: these men saw liberals as loudmouthed Pharisees, intolerant moralists who demanded that the rest of the nation snap into line – an exact reverse of the John Ashcroft stereotype liberals used to hold of conservatives.

Well, the shoe fits.

UPDATE: Brendan O’Neill on Facebook: “I wonder if those arguing that America has gone fascist and Islamophobia is rampant and Trump is an illegitimate president who should not be indulged by other world leaders realise how much they are confirming Trump voters’ view that a morally haughty liberal elite has replaced politics with hissy fits and has become so arrogant it thinks everything that doesn’t conform to its worldview is Nazism? I’m against Trump’s executive order, but this reaction… it is an own goal of epic proportions.”

JOEL KOTKIN ON IMMIGRATION: “In often needlessly harsh ways, President Donald Trump is forcing Americans to face issues that have been festering for decades, but effectively swept under the rug by the ruling party duopoly. Nowhere is this more evident than with immigration, an issue that helped to spark Trump’s quixotic, but ultimately successful, campaign. Many Americans are clearly upset about an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, and many also fear the arrival of more refugees from Islamic countries. Perhaps no issue identified by Trump has been more divisive. Not surprisingly, Trump’s rhetoric has stirred bitter anger among the country’s polite establishment, right and left, as well as the progressive grievance industry. . . . Politically, the open borders rhetoric helps Trump. Even in California, three-quarters of the population, according to a recent UC Berkeley survey, oppose sanctuary cities. Overall, more Americans favor less immigration than more. Most, according to a recent Pew Research Center study, also want tougher border controls and increased deportations. They also want newcomers to come legally and adopt the prevailing cultural norms, including English.”

Honestly, I think Trump’s encouraging the freakoutrage on purpose here. The more the Democrats shriek about not “normalizing” President Trump, the more they de-normalize themselves. This piece is circulating among some of the smarter lefties at the moment, and makes that point, although I don’t think Trump is Hugo Chavez or even close. If he were, all those lefty celebrities would be supporting him. . . .

UPDATE: Howie Carr:

Matthew Denice was a 23-year-old taxpaying U.S. citizen when he was run over and dragged to his death by a drunken illegal immigrant on welfare back in 2011.

It was not an isolated incident. Denice was the third American killed by illegal immigrants in two years in just one small central Massachusetts community.

The former governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, could never remember Matthew Denice’s name. A Democrat candidate for governor in 2014 (Don Berwick) breezily dismissed the horrific crime as an “anecdote.” And just last week, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told a radio audience he had no idea who Matthew Denice was.

Do you know who does know Matthew Denice’s name? The president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

And that is yet another reason why he is president, and these shameless Democrats are wandering in the political wilderness.

The immigration debate hurts the Dems most because it makes clear that they don’t really care about American citizens. That goes with the cultural contempt for “deplorables” in a very toxic way.

Related: Don Surber: Media In A Fact-Free Fall Over Immigration.

OBAMA DID A 6-MONTH IMMIGRATION PAUSE ON IRAQ, NOBODY CARED. TRUMP DOES A 3-MONTH PAUSE ON A LIST OF COUNTRIES THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION PUT TOGETHER AND HE’S LITERALLY HITLER. The Green Card thing is genuinely horrible, but that’s not even what people are going apeshit about.

And Trump’s fine with that, because it will play badly, and he knows it.

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Tom Nichols is as big a NeverTrumper as there is, but he understands the strategy. And even he’s getting impatient with the opposition.

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Do you want more Trump? Because explosive anger mixed with sanctimony is how you get more Trump.

YOU WANT MORE TRUMP? BECAUSE THIS IS HOW YOU GET MORE TRUMP. 2016: The Year The Campus Culture Wars Jumped The Shark. Judging by the apparently complete lack of awareness of this fact on the part of university folks, I predict that 2017 will be worse. And Donald Trump smiles.

DO YOU WANT MORE TRUMP? BECAUSE THIS IS HOW YOU GET MORE TRUMP:

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PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS.

Shot:

A longtime admirer of Fidel Castro, Turner has called the former Cuban president “one hell of a guy.” In 2001 Turner told a class at Harvard Law School, “You’d like him [Castro]. He has been the leader of Cuba for 40 years. He’s the most senior leader in the world, and most of the people that are still in Cuba like him.”

Castro, in turn, holds Turner in high regard, so much so that the dictator was the inspiration behind the creation of CNN International. As CNN News Chief Executive Eason Jordan told his audience during a 1999 lecture at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism:

“… Let me also thank Fidel Castro. In the earliest days of CNN, when CNN was meant to be seen only in the United States, the enterprising Fidel Castro was pirating and watching CNN in Cuba. Fidel was intrigued by CNN. He wanted to meet the person responsible. So Ted Turner, who at that point had never traveled to a Communist country or knowingly met a Communist, [went to Havana]. It was big deal for Ted and during the discussions Castro suggested that CNN be made available to the entire world. In fact it was that seed, that idea that grew into CNN International.”

—David Horowitz’s “Discover the Networks” page on CNN founder Ted Turner, as quoted at Ed Driscoll.com, in a 2010 post titled “The Mote in CNN’s Mini-Cam,” a round-up of some of the network’s zanier bootlicks of totalitarian dictators over the years, not least of which was this moment a decade ago:

Chaser: “Following the lead of CNN’s Brian Stelter, Thursday’s Situation Room touted the spike of sales in the book 1984 and strongly hinted that Americans view the Trump administration as the real-life version of Big Brother portrayed in George Orwell’s classic.”

NewsBusters yesterday.

Shades of clueless Walter Cronkite during run-up to the eponymous year depicted in Orwell’s book, as I wrote in my 2014 review of Cronkite’s biography by leftwing author Douglas Brinkley:

Similarly, in 1970, Brinkley writes that Cronkite believed that “the U.S. government needed to regulate polluting corporations and force them to prioritize environment over profit.” But Cronkite chose to commemorate the arrival of the year 1984 and its Orwellian implications by starring in a special for CBS and drafting a column for the New York Times in which he wrote, “The total absence of privacy the idea that the government is (or may be) always watching, means, most of us would agree, the ultimate loss of freedom.”

Without the implied method of force, how did Cronkite imagine government would regulate corporations “to prioritize environment over profit”?

It’s during this passage of Cronkite that Brinkley concocts a smear of his own, by writing:

Reading George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, published in 1949, had been a revelation for Cronkite. He was stunned by Orwell’s raw insights into both Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia. To Cronkite, the dystopian 1984 was prescient in showing that America’s civil liberties were being gutted by a right-wing agenda.

Gee, wait ‘til Brinkley discovers what Orwell’s Ingsoc stood for, let alone where national socialist Germany and the international socialist Soviet Union were on the ideological spectrum.

And as Joseph Epstein wrote in his review of Brinkley’s book in the September 2012 issue of Commentary (subscription may be necessary to read), Cronkite himself wrote an introduction to a paperback edition of 1984, in which he seemed to think that modernism itself was Orwell’s chief concern:

I read a preface Cronkite wrote to a paperback edition of George Orwell’s 1984, and discovered he thought that the target of the novel was not the brutal devastation of life, private and public, under totalitarianism, but chiefly the danger posed by the technology of modernity. “1984 is an anguished lament and a warning that vibrates powerfully when we may not be strong enough nor wise enough nor moral enough to cope with the kind of power we have learned to amass,” Cronkite wrote. Throughout this preface, the Soviet Union and China, whose governments treated their respective populations as conquered nations, go unmentioned.

As Epstein notes, Cronkite’s preface to Orwell’s epoch-defining novel was written in 1983, “and by then Cronkite had entered that phase of liberalism that finds no country more dangerous than one’s own.”

Which has long been CNN’s view of the world looking out from the Thermopane windows atop their headquarters in Atlanta. But as I said before, if Trump really were half the strongman CNN is trying to depict him as, they’d be falling over themselves to worship him.

UPDATE: “Despite being on opposite sides, protesters on the right and left can end their fears the same way. If you’re afraid that the federal government will ruin your life, reduce the power of the federal government,” Jon Gabriel advises in his latest Arizona Republic column. Where shall we begin shrinking the leviathan, CNN?

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, KAFKA-WOULD-CRY EDITION: An unwanted touch. Two lives in free fall. A dispatch from the drive to stop sexual assault on campus.

The facts are largely undisputed: Two college students on summer break – he’s a sophomore; she, a freshman – make a date. It’s Memorial Day weekend, 2014, and their intentions are explicit. They meet and have sex – consensual, enthusiastic – when a passerby interrupts them.

A few hours later, still together, the male student attempts to resume the sexual encounter. He reaches under her shirt to touch her breast. He stops immediately when she asks him to. They agree about these facts.

Yet this “one-time, non-consensual touching,” as university documents summarize it, is the crux of a startling Michigan State University sexual misconduct case. It has generated a thick stack of legal documents, months of MSU administrator time, and tens of thousands of dollars in legal bills since the female student, known here as Melanie, formally complained on Sept. 25, 2015 – almost 16 months after the incident.

More importantly, though, the case – which has traveled through an internal appeals process, exhausting the now-22-year-old man’s hope for reversal of sanctions at the university level – challenges what some might see as common-sense assumptions about sex and dating behavior. MSU’s findings draw sharply etched lines into the blurry world of dating intimacy and reveal the power of university administrators to mark a student as a sexual offender – for touching a lover’s breast after sex, miles from campus, without any accusations of violence, intimidation or stalking behavior.

Well, when you start with the presumption — and they most certainly do — that all men are basically rapists who exist on sufferance, it all makes sense. I expect that the Trump Administration will bring some common sense to this kind of thing, although if they really want to hurt higher education they should probably just double down.

Oh well, maybe it’ll at least do K.C. Johnson and Stuart Taylor some good.

SHE’S RIGHT, BUT SHE’S ALSO THINKING ABOUT RE-ELECTION IN A STATE THAT WENT FOR TRUMP: Dem senator: Violent Trump protesters ‘disgusting:’

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) says she is appalled by protesters responding destructively to President Trump’s inauguration Friday.

“Nothing is more un-American than protesters who are not peaceful – disgusting,” tweeted McCaskill, who backed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over Trump.

“I understand the angst out there today for all of you throwing stuff at me,” she added. “Sorry, but I believe peaceful protest is always the right way.”

McCaskill also said violent protests run counter to the teachings of civil rights leaders, adding they discredit peaceful demonstrations as well.

“MLK and John Lewis were and are the role models for peaceful protest,” she wrote, referencing Martin Luther King Jr. and the present-day Democratic representative from Georgia, respectively. “But the small group will get all the attention – sigh.”

Trump took the oath of office Friday, making him America’s 45th president after an often bitter White House race last year.

“We are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people,” he said on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. “From this moment on, it’s going to be America first. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never, ever let you down.”

Police in Washington, D.C., however, announced that afternoon they had arrested “numerous” people destructively protesting against Trump mere blocks from his address.

Authorities told The Associated Press that those arrested were charged with rioting following incidents involving a group of about 100 people.

The demonstrators damaged vehicles, destroyed property and set small fires while armed with crowbars and hammers, officials added.

She knows that if you want more Trump, this is how you get more Trump. And she doesn’t want more Trump.

Exit question: If you get beaten by these rioters, do you get to play martyr for life like John Lewis?

“ANARCHISTS” ARE JUST THE LEFT’S (BARELY) DENIABLE MUSCLE: Police clash with anarchist protesters in downtown DC. “The protesters smashed windows at a bus stop and businesses in the downtown area before congregating in mass in front of the American Health Care Association building on L Street Northwest.”

In an actual anarchy, people who behaved this way would be killed, or enslaved until they paid off the damage they did.

More: Inauguration protesters vandalize city, try to disrupt Trump’s oath, police arrest nearly 100.

Do you want more Trump? Because this is how you get more Trump.

I JUST WANT TO REASSURE ALL OUR FRIENDS ON THE LEFT: Trump is not going to put you all in camps and install a Nazi state.  He can’t, because George W. Bush already put you all in camps and installed a Nazi state.  Oh, wait, he never got to do it, because we were already all dead in the nuclear war our cowboy president, Ronald Reagan, started by talking tough to the Russians.  And that is when I got to the States.  I’m sure people who’ve been here longer can explain to you how other republican administrations already destroyed everything, ALL THE THINGS WITH ALL THE DRAMA, in the most terrible way.  Sorry guys the song has gone thin and only children believe the lyrics anymore.  And honestly?  That’s only because they haven’t seen the drama you guys create long enough to know better.

SMART DIPLOMACY: It’s Obama, Not Trump, Who Snuggled Up To Putin: Broader aims on Middle East realignment led the outgoing president’s efforts at two-track diplomacy. One track was misdirection. The other handed the region to Russia and Iran.

Is Donald Trump a Russian secret agent? Did he pay FSB hookers to pee on the bed the Obamas slept in at the Ritz in Moscow, overlooking the Kremlin? It’s silly season, so any drunk on a fat oppo-research expense account can write down any crazy foolishness they want and Buzzfeed will let you decide if it’s true because that, as Buzzfeed’s editor, Ben Smith, solemnly explained to The New York Times, is where American journalism is at in 2017. Duly noted, Buzzfeed. Enjoy the golden showers.

What’s being obscured by this grotesquerie is the origin and the actual substance of U.S. foreign policy toward Russia, which in turn affects the lives of hundreds of millions of people living in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, and elsewhere. Or, to put it another way: Is Donald Trump likely to continue the policies of his predecessor, which set the Middle East on fire and led to 500,000 deaths in Syria, and to Putin biting off large chunks of the sovereign nation of Ukraine? Or is he likely to reverse those policies? Or can he, even if he wanted to?

The single-mindedness with which the White House and the remnants of the Clinton campaign have pursued the idea that Donald Trump is a pawn of Vladimir Putin is not based on silly stories about peeing prostitutes or secret computer servers that connect the Trump organization to the Kremlin. Rather, it’s an attempt to manufacture more smoke to obscure the reality of Obama’s own determination to collaborate with a hostile Russian leader in Syria, and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Obama had “more flexibility” after the election in 2012, and he used it.

MAD AS HELL: “If you want to understand why Trump won the recent US presidential election, you can’t overlook the economic data. If you do, his victory may look mighty confusing, alarming even. But once you understand the degree to which the average US family and the entire Gen-X and Millennial generations are being completely hosed economically, everything starts to take shape. As most struggling Americans can tell you, real household income has gone nowhere for more than 20 years.”

The Obama era was great for the One Percenters.

HEH: Trump Team May Move Press Briefing Room Out of White House: Reince Priebus.

President-elect Donald Trump’s team is considering moving the press briefing room out of the White House West Wing, according to incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus.

When asked about an Esquire magazine report that the incoming Trump administration plans to move the press room out of the White House’s West Wing to the Old Executive Office Building next door, Priebus told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week”, “The one thing that we discussed was whether or not we want to do conferences in the [Executive Office Building].”

“Which, by the way, is the White House,” Priebus added. “So no one is moving out of the White House. That is the White House, where you can fit four times the amount of people in the press conference, allowing more press, more press coverage from all over the country to have those press conferences. That’s what we’re talking about.”

Oh, put them across the street in the NEOB. Take away the proximity-to-power glow. It’ll be good for them.

ADRIANA COHEN ON THE DEMOCRATS’ ELECTION-DENIAL:

Since Donald Trump’s unexpected victory, Democrats have been trying to delegitimize his historic upset.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who sent shock waves through the media echo chamber this weekend when he said in an NBC interview, “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president. I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.” Former Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon went on CNN Friday to chime in as well. . . .

I’ll tell you real reasons Clinton lost. In addition to failing to campaign in key battleground states, she lacked an inspiring message. Hillary thought she could win by (A) riding Obama’s coattails and (B) attacking Trump.

Never mind that she alienated voters with her “Pay to Play” family foundation, her Wall Street ties or her failure to maintain national security by insisting on doing government business on a private email server — all to dodge public scrutiny. After the lies she told from “I didn’t send or receive any classified emails,” to blaming a video for the terrorist attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, voters got skittish.

Add to it skyrocketing Obamacare premiums and her goose was cooked — quite apart from any alleged hacking.

Remember, Vladimir Putin didn’t announce Obamacare costs were going up double digits on average in 2017 — the Health and Human Services Department did — right before the election.

But no matter, Dems are still trying to delegitimize Trump’s victory. Can you imagine if GOP members of Congress called Obama’s presidency in 2008 or 2012 illegitimate? They would’ve been called racist. If Clinton won this election and Republicans said her presidency wasn’t legitimate, they’d be called sexist. It would be the War on Women all over again.

Yep. And I don’t think this is playing very well, but I also don’t think it’s so much a planned strategy as something they just can’t help. But Joe Manchin understands that this is playing badly with swing voters:

Georgia Rep. John Lewis’ comments about President-elect Trump were “uncalled for,” Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said Sunday.

“I’ve got the utmost respect for Congressman Lewis. He’s an icon, if you will,” Manchin told CBS’ John Dickerson. “I just think that was uncalled for. I just wish that rhetoric would tone down from both back and forth.”

Lewis had said last week he doesn’t view Trump as a “legitimate” president, nor does he look forward to working with the president-elect once he enters office.

The “bickering going on back and forth” between Lewis and Trump makes the U.S. look weaker to its allies, Manchin said.

Related: Don Surber: When Atlanta’s High Crime Rate Is Acceptable To The Journal-Constitution. When treating it as a problem might help Trump, of course.

Plus: The Left Hates Trump Because His Victory Was A Cultural One, Not Just A Political One:

The left is used to losing political battles. They scream and cry over these but they don’t truly panic, because they know that as long as they maintain their hammerlock on the culture, Republicans can’t really change anything.

Blue Team Progressivism is a church, offering you moral superiority and a path to spiritual enlightenment. As a church it’s got a lot going for it. It runs religious programming on television, all day every day. Every modern primetime program is like a left-wing Andy Griffith show, reinforcing lessons of inclusion, tolerance, feminism, and anti-racism.

Watching a 90-pound Sci-Fi heroine beat up a room full of giant evil men is as satisfying to the left as John Wayne westerns were for the right.

The Blue Church controls the HR department, so even if you don’t go to church, you have to act like a loyal churchgoer in every way that matters while you’re on the clock. And off the clock, on any kind of public social media platform.

Jon Stewart and John Oliver are basically TV preachers. Watching them gives the same sense of quiet superiority your grandma gets from watching The 700 Club. The messages are constantly reinforced, providing that lovely dopamine hit, like an angel’s voice whispering, “You’re right, you’re better, you’re winning.”

Hollywood award shows are like church talent shows – the skits and jokes aren’t really funny, but it’s fun to look at the pretty girls, and you’re all on the same team. . . .

For the first time in decades, voters explicitly rejected the Blue Church, defying hours of daily cultural programming, years of indoctrination from the schools, and dozens of explicit warnings from HR.

We’ve been trained since childhood to obey the pretty people on TV, but for the first time in decades, that didn’t work.

Donald Trump won because flyover America wants their culture back, and Blue Team has not been rejected like that before.

The younger ones have grown up in an environment where Blue Faith assumptions cannot even be questioned, except anonymously by the bad kids on Twitter.

But now the bad kids are getting bolder, posting funny memes that make you laugh even though John Oliver would not approve, like passing crude dirty pictures under the table in Sunday School.

Meryl Streep is panicking because for the first time voters have rejected HER, and everything her faith has taught her to believe.

I think there’s a lot to that.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

“Has there ever been a more repugnant example of political pandering than John McCain’s decision to vote against a bill banning waterboarding, putting hoods on prisoners, forcing them to perform sex acts, subjecting them to mock executions, or depriving them of food, water, and medical treatment?

That’s right, John McCain, the former POW who has long been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration’s disturbing embrace of extreme interrogation techniques. But that was before his desperate attempt to win over the lunatic fringe that is running the Grand Old Party. Earlier this week, I showed how outdated the image of McCain as an independent-thinking maverick had become — and called on the media and independent voters to snap out of their 2000 reverie and see the 2008 McCain for what he has turned into: a Rove-embracing Bush clone, willing to jettison his principles in his hunger for the presidency.

And now comes this latest unconscionable capitulation, which should drive a stake through the heart of the McCain-as-straight-talker meme once and for all.

McCain the maverick had been unequivocal in his condemnation of torture, and eloquent in expressing why. “We’ve sent a message to the world that the United States is not like the terrorists,” he said at an Oval Office appearance in December 2005, after he had forced the president to endorse an earlier torture ban McCain had authored and pushed through (a ban the president quickly subverted with a signing statement). “What we are is a nation that upholds values and standards of behavior and treatment of all people, no matter how evil or bad they are. And I think this will help us enormously in winning the war for the hearts and minds of people throughout the world in the war on terror.” He made a similar case on the campaign trail in Iowa in October 2007: “When I was imprisoned, I took heart from the fact that I knew my North Vietnamese captors would never be treated like I was treated by them. There are much better and more effective ways to get information. You torture someone long enough, he’ll tell you whatever he thinks you want to know.”

And there was this pithy and powerful summation of why torture should never be an option: “It’s not about who they are, it’s about who we are.”

Of course, all that was before he put his conscience in leg irons — and before caving to the would-be Torquemadas on the Right became his campaign strategy.”

Rosie O’Donnell on John McCain, February 17, 2008.

[Sen. John McCain] “FOR EMERGENCY INTERIM PRESIDENT – ONE MONTH INAUGURATION PAUSE – ILLEGITIMATE PRESIDENTS SHOULD NOT BE SWORN – GOD DAMN IT.”

Rosie O’Donnell on John McCain, today. All-caps in original tweet.

Of course, this past week, as Twitchy noted, “No biggie, but Rosie O’Donnell is cool with imposing martial law to keep Trump from being inaugurated.”

Perhaps her “EMERGENCY INTERIM PRESIDENT” gambit is Rosie in a more thoughtful, introspective, nuanced, all-caps frame of mind.

WHAT IS THIS, NAZI GERMANY? Democrats Take Aim at Civil Liberties Group F.I.R.E.

In the wake of last year’s election upset, Democratic activists and journalists worried about the rise of authoritarianism under the new administration urged Americans to donate to the ACLU and other organizations devoted to protecting civil liberties against government overreach. But now Senate Democrats are trying to derail a Trump cabinet nominee because she donated to a group that stands up for free speech and due process in an arena where their ideological allies have tried to restrict them. . . .

Imagine Senator Casey’s quote applied to a hypothetical 2019 Trump administration policy that stripped due process rights from terror suspects: “Democrats must fully explain whether they support the radical view that it should be more difficult for victims of terrorism to receive justice,” an administration spokesman might demand. Such a statement would surely be described (accurately) as classic demagoguery.

As a spokesperson for DeVos noted, FIRE does work in a wide range of areas. It protects student free speech rights regardless of the speakers’ political orientation, although because conservatives are a such a small ideological minority on campus, their views tend to be targeted more frequently. And it advocates for sexual assault policies that fairly weigh the interests of both accusers and the accused, rather than simply expelling students after kangaroo court show trials, as many activists demand.

That Democrats are floating this line of attack against DeVos is a testimony to how influential identity-politics fixated campus activists have become even among the party’s moderates. Which, needless to say, is a big reason the party finds itself in opposition in the first place.

You want more Trump? Because this is how you get more Trump.

SO THIS UPDATE FROM ROD DREHER ON THE MEDIA, STATUS, AND NARRATIVE CONTROL IS WORTH BREAKING OUT:

The Times frames the Chicago case this way specifically for the same reason the European media initially downplayed – or ignored – stories of those mass migrant rapes:

They don’t want to give the “haters” any breathing space.

That is, to be forthright about what happened gives the alt-right types the ability to say “See, we told you so!” The Times has its own narrative and will not give this competing, conservative, “hate” narrative any air.

But it’s inevitable that the truth will emerge. In which case the alt-right types are EVEN MORE empowered, because they can both point to events, and the media’s attempt to cover them up – “fake news” indeed.

The media is utterly destroying its credibility this way, but it’s more beholden to “tolerance” than it is the truth. And this is why it will die out, because when a business model built up on reporting the truth suddenly has a new primary goal – it can’t survive.

Plus: “True. About a decade ago, as a working journalist, it became clear to me that when it came to some subjects, the media thought it’s job was more about managing the news than reporting it. If you read, for example, The New York Times as if we were the USSR and it was Pravda, you better understand its meaning. The comparison is certainly not one-to-one, but it’s closer than it ought to be.”

And this, of course, is what made Kellyanne Conway’s riposte to Meryl Streep so effective: She specifically mentioned that the white disabled man was attacked by 4 black men who shouted anti-Trump and anti-white slogans. That undercuts not only Streep’s point, but also the media that support Streep.

THE DIVERSION OF LEFTY ENERGY INTO POINTLESS SOCIAL-MEDIA OUTRAGE MOBS HAS BEEN A BOON FOR THE RIGHT: The Left has absolutely lost the plot.

The blood-soaked terror attack in Istanbul swiftly confirmed any glimmer of belief we held in remaining safe and secure was premature.

In the face of such horror, the insipid Left has launched a new comedy show. They’re squealing to boycott publisher Simon & Schuster as it confirmed Milo Yiannopoulos, far right journalist and speaker, has signed a book deal reportedly worth $US250,000.

Yes, this cat and mouse cartoon is how they choose to expend their energy.

It’s entertaining already. Pre-orders have pushed his autobiography, Dangerous, out in March, to the top of Amazon’s bestseller lists in America and Canada.

Leftie howling has managed publicity as slickly as their outrage over screenings of Cassie Jaye’s The Red Pill documentary secured awareness.

Really, this is win/win.

Related: Tom Kratman’s Strategy For Victory: Troll The Left Mercilessly! “Now, I don’t want you to think of Trigglypuff as merely another Social Justice Warrior who needs a diaper change. Oh, no, she’s much more – much more valuable – than that. Indeed, the whole country’s population of SJWs has become a resource for us. . . . the left is largely a bunch of self-willed, albeit unintelligent, bombs, just like Trigglypuff, waiting to go off at the slightest emotional jar. And we – yes, we right wing knuckle-draggers – control those bombs because we can emotionally jar them.”

ELITISTS GOTTA ELITE:

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): “Do you want more Trump? Because this is how you get more Trump.”

Let me just add that our credentialed-but-not-educated elites have crashed the plane plenty of times. They always walk away unscathed afterward. The folks back in Economy Class, not so much.

START OFF 2017 WITH DAVE BARRY’S REVIEW OF 2016, WHICH HE SUMS UP IN TWO WORDS: “WHAT THE…?” Plus a few more words, including:

In U.S. politics, the Republicans gather in Cleveland to nominate Trump, although many top party officials are unable to attend because of an urgent compelling need to not be there. Nevertheless Trump receives enthusiastic prime-time endorsements from former celebrity Scott Baio, several dozen Trump children and current Trump wife Melania, who enthralls delegates with a well-received speech in which she tells her heartwarming story of growing up as an African-American woman in Chicago. The dramatic highlight comes on the final night, when Trump, in his acceptance speech, brings the delegates cheering to their feet with his emotional challenge to “grab the future by the p—y.”

On the Democratic side, the month gets off to a rocky start when FBI Director James Comey, announcing the results of the bureau’s investigation, reveals that when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, her official emails, some including classified material, were basically as secure from prying eyes as a neon beer sign. Nevertheless, Comey says he is recommending that no criminal charges be brought against Clinton, because, quote, “I don’t want to die.”

With that legal hurdle cleared, relieved Democrats gather in Philadelphia for their convention, which opens — in a bid to placate Sanders’ delegates — with the ceremonial caning of Debbie Wasserman Schultz. This is followed by several hundred speeches praising Hillary Clinton for the many accomplishments she has achieved, as well as the achievements she has accomplished, while at the same time being, historically, a woman. In her acceptance speech, Clinton calls on Americans “to join with me in building a better world for us and for our children,” adding, “or I will crush you like an insect.”

In a media shakeup, Roger Ailes resigns as chairman of Fox News following allegations that his name can be rearranged to spell “I ogle rears.”

That’s just (an incomplete) look at July. Read the whole thing, now that 2016 is safely behind us. Just like Alien hiding in the Narcissus, Glenn Close lurking in the bathtub at the end of Fatal Attraction, and every other horror movie shock ending…

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Cornell student assaulted for being Republican speaks out: Attack ‘pushed me further to the right.’

Olivia Corn, president of Cornell University’s College Republicans, can vividly recall the night she was physically assaulted on campus for being a Republican.

The assailant emerged seemingly out of nowhere, catching Corn off guard as she read an email on her phone. “Fuck you, racist bitch, you support a racist party,” the attacker grunted at Corn, shoving her to the ground from behind, she says.

The assault occurred the night after Donald Trump was elected president.

Now, a month later, Corn has had time to reflect on the assault and its impact on her. Rather than allowing it to knock her down, “it pushed me further to the right,” Corn, a sophomore, said in an interview with The College Fix.

The biggest irony, she said, is she supported Marco Rubio, and was never a huge fan of Trump.

“I have always considered myself to be very tolerant and listen to everyone’s point of view,” Corn said. “So when I was shoved down, especially considering that I am not Donald Trump’s biggest fan and I tried my best to help Marco Rubio become the Republican nominee, by someone who was angry by my politics, I was saddened that I was not afforded the same respect that I offer others.”

Although Corn initially kept quiet to prevent unwanted attention while still on campus in mid-November, she finally spoke out publicly about her assault at the end of the semester.

“I realized when I got home that I need to highlight that these attacks occur towards Republicans all across the country,” Corn said. “It is wrong to resort to physical violence because someone has a different opinion.”

Although the attacker escaped before Corn could identify his or her face, she reported the incident to the Cornell police the next day. The incident remains under investigation, leaving unresolved questions about the attacker and an unsettling start to Corn’s next semester.

But it’s not just the physical assaults:

Corn said she already faced a tough battle on campus, figuratively, without this assault looming over her.

“People have said horrible things to me online like ‘I devalue the degree of Cornell university’ and that I’m uneducated,” she said. “In the classroom, I have teachers who say very unacceptable things about Republicans and it is very difficult to keep my mouth shut as the head of the Cornell Republicans.”

But Corn said she’s prepared to defend her conservative identity.

Remember, you’re not stuck there with them. They’re stuck there with you.

WASHINGTON EXAMINER: How Trump Clears Obama’s Minefield.

Before moving into the White House, President-elect Trump needs to double check the Oval Office for trip wires. His predecessor has spent the last month setting traps to ensnare the new administration.

President Obama has more on his mind than an effort to solidify a legacy and nail down policy. He has adopted a guerrilla strategy designed to defame and debilitate. Inherently political, it’s administrative sabotage by extra legislative means and it threatens to hobble Trump.

Obama has prepared what looks like a classic episode from Mad Magazine: Executive vs. Executive. Instead of delivering on his own agenda, Trump will be forced to deal with the aftermath of his predecessor’s final binge. They could consume a notable portion of Trump’s first 100 days, but if left unaddressed it would stain his administration long term.

To avoid that hazard, an examination of President Clinton’s final days in office is helpful. After all, Obama didn’t develop these tactics on his own. He lifted them directly from a manual written by the Clintons.

Just days before President George W. Bush’s inauguration, Clinton weaponized EPA regulations to set a trap for the new administration. Despite complaints from rural communities about crippling compliance costs and a lack of a scientific consensus, Clinton adopted aggressive arsenic standards for drinking water. When Bush eased the mandate, it unleashed a torrent of criticism that had been long planned, most notably from Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.

Despite calling for studies based on “sound science,” Bush couldn’t shake accusations that he wanted to poison children. The attacks found their mark, and Bush later remembered the experience as one of the worst mistakes of his young administration.

Now Obama’s running the same play. But while his midnight regulations haven’t escaped media attention, journalists continue giving the Obama administration charitable coverage. By focusing on the policy impact, they ignore and amplify the coming political fallout. . . .

Although Obama promised a smooth transition, he’s moved unilaterally to make that impossible. He lacks the grace and modesty to recognize that the country does not want him or his policies any longer. His indefinite oil ban in the Arctic Ocean provides a perfect example. Overturning the ban would require congressional action and incur significant political opportunity cost. For every regulation Trump overturns, he risks letting another slip into the Federal Register forever.

None of this should dissuade Trump from delivering on his pledge to roll back regulation. But he should proceed with the proper preparation and study on both the substantive policies and on the public relations.

Trump would be wise to condemn early and often Obama’s weaponization of executive action. Remember how Obama blamed everything on Bush until, oh, about the sixth year of his presidency. Trump should make sure the public knows where the blame really lies.

I expect he will.

HEATHER MAC DONALD: Violence in the Halls, Disorder in the Malls: The holiday hooliganism traces back to the Obama administration’s destructive efforts to undermine school discipline.

Judging by video evidence, the participants in the violent mall brawls over the Christmas weekend were overwhelmingly black teens, though white teens were also involved. The media have assiduously ignored this fact, of course, as they have for previous violent flash mob episodes. That disproportion has significance for the next administration’s school-discipline policies, however. If Donald Trump wants to make schools safe again, he must rescind the Obama administration’s diktats regarding classroom discipline, which are based on a fantasy version of reality that is having serious real-world consequences.

The Obama Justice and Education Departments have strong-armed schools across the country to all but eliminate the suspension and expulsion of insubordinate students. The reason? Because black students are disciplined at higher rates than whites. According to Washington bureaucrats, such disproportionate suspensions can mean only one thing: teachers and administrators are racist. The Obama administration rejects the proposition that black students are more likely to assault teachers or fight with other students in class. The so-called “school to prison” pipeline is a function of bias, not of behavior, they say.

This week’s mall violence, which injured several police and security officers, is just the latest piece of evidence for how counterfactual that credo is. A routine complaint in police-community meetings in minority areas is that large groups of teens are fighting on corners. Residents of the South Bronx’s 41st Precinct complained repeatedly to the precinct commander in a June 2015 meeting about such street disorder. “There’s too much fighting,” one woman said. “There was more than 100 kids the other day; they beat on a girl about 14 years old.” In April 2016, a 17-year-old girl in Coney Island, Brooklyn, Ta’Jae Warner, tried to protect her brother from a group of girls gathered outside her apartment building who were threatening to kill him; one of the group knocked her unconscious. She died four days later. At a meeting in the 23rd Precinct in East Harlem in 2015, residents asked why the police hadn’t stopped a recent stampede of youth down Third Avenue. In April 2012, a group of teens stomped a gang rival to death in a Bronx housing project.

The idea that such street behavior does not have a classroom counterpart is ludicrous. Black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at ten times the rate of white and Hispanic males of the same age. The lack of socialization that produces such a vast disparity in murder rates, as well as less lethal street violence, inevitably will show up in classroom behavior. Teens who react to a perceived insult on social media by trying to shoot the offender are not likely to restrain themselves in the classroom if they feel “disrespected” by a teacher or fellow students. Interviews with teachers confirm the proposition that children from communities with high rates of family breakdown bring vast amounts of disruptive anger to school, especially girls. It is no surprise that several of the Christmas riots began with fights between girls.

Read the whole thing.

JASON RILEY: Why Liberals Oppose Ben Carson: Trump’s HUD nominee grew up poor, and he knows public housing isn’t where people prefer to live.

Do yourself a favor and hold off on joining the liberal outrage over Donald Trump’s cabinet choices—or at least better understand what’s happening.

Critics say the president-elect is tapping individuals who lack experience or who want to eliminate the very agencies they will be tasked with running. But the real concern on the political left is that the incoming administration will be all too competent at shifting the priorities of some federal agencies while reining in others.

The main objection to school reformer Betsy DeVos, Mr. Trump’s pick for education secretary, is not that she’s never been a classroom teacher but rather that she wants to expand school choice, which threatens union control of public education. Green groups don’t want former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to become energy secretary because he opposes federal subsidies that facilitated boondoggles like Solyndra. And they don’t want Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt anywhere near the Environmental Protection Agency due to his history of fighting efforts to impose through executive fiat environmental regulations that Congress has rejected.

One of the best examples of liberals using personal attacks as a pretext for policy disagreements is the campaign against retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has been selected to head the Housing and Urban Development Department. The New York Times depicts Dr. Carson as an antigovernment ideologue with a “warped view of housing.” The Daily Beast chides him for criticizing government efforts to help low-income minorities by sprinkling them throughout wealthy suburbs where they couldn’t afford to live without government subsidies.

Dr. Carson grew up poor in Detroit and Boston, an experience that he chronicles vividly in his memoir, “Gifted Hands.” His upbringing doesn’t make him a housing expert, but like the general who knows war and is therefore less likely to venture recklessly into a new one, Dr. Carson’s background does make him better able to empathize with the plight of the poor.

Besides, if the state of inner-cities is any indication, the last thing low-income residents need is more of the same so-called expertise that Dr. Carson lacks. New York City is home to the nation’s largest public housing program, writes Howard Husock of the Manhattan Institute, “and the average resident has spent 22 years living in a subsidized home.” Are HUD’s policies helping these people or trapping them?

HUD is an outgrowth of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, and its original goal was to address the housing needs of America’s poor. Today, it serves as a blunt tool for social engineers who are hellbent on achieving “racial balance” in residential housing patterns—whether the intended beneficiaries want it or don’t.

HUD’s original goal was to establish voter farms for the Democrats, and it’s been wildly successful in that. Everything else is just noise. What worries Democrats about Ben Carson is that he might upset that applecart.

EVEN THE WAPO IS AGHAST AT OBAMA’S PARTING FUCK-YOU TO ISRAEL: The Obama administration fires a dangerous parting shot. “Israeli officials charged that the abstention represented a vindictive parting shot by Mr. Obama at Mr. Netanyahu, with whom he has feuded more bitterly than he did with most U.S. adversaries.”

Related: Obama’s Anti-Israel Tantrum: The U.N. resolution is a defining act of Obama’s Presidency. “It defines this President’s extraordinary ability to transform matters of public policy into personal pique at adversaries. And it defines the reality of the international left’s implacable opposition to the Israeli state.”

Meanwhile we’re supposed to worry about Trump. Plus: “For Donald Trump, meet your State Department. This is what State’s permanent bureaucrats believe, this is what they want, and Barack Obama delivered it to them.”

And look at the pic of Samantha Power accompanying the Post piece. The failure, and resulting bitterness, of the last eight years are written all over her.

UPDATE: Richard Fernandez on Facebook:

The most instructive thing about Obama’s Security Council abstention is he didn’t have the guts to do it earlier, when he stood to lose something by doing it. Only after he calculated there was nothing more to squeeze from that particular quarter did he run up the Jolly Roger. Had it cost him it would have meant something, even as a gesture.

But even more interesting was his willingness to damage the Democratic party who he’s leaving with political bill, not to mention the fact that the policy his abstention represents makes little sense.

Israel is likely to emerge as a linchpin in the region, after Obama’s power vacuum bomb reduces the nearby countries to waste. If Turkey and Iran fall apart, which is not inconceivable, then Obama will have antagonized the last man standing.

It was bad timing and pointless, like a punch thrown by a fighter lying on the canvas — at the referee. That would leave his legacy a consistently dysfunctional whole: conceived in delusion, executed in incompetence.

Yeah, that’ pretty much covers it. Though “executed in incompetence and spite” would be more accurate still.

MORE: Andrew McCarthy: Barack Obama’s Betrayal of Israel is a Black Day for American Diplomacy. “It is a disgraceful legacy of Barack Obama that his obsession over settlements and antipathy toward Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu — traits he shares with his old radical comrade, Rashid Khalidi — have made the already dim prospects for peace far more remote. . . . Israel did not set out to conquer the disputed territory. The Jewish state took it fair and square when they won the defensive war against enemies that sought Israel’s destruction. Thus the unending pattern that the United States and Western European powers cravenly refuse to address: Islamic factions and nations are free to reserve the right to eradicate Israel, but Israel must pretend the aggression never happened and the continuing threat does not exist.”

Plus: “That, alas, is Obama’s real legacy: There are no good-faith disputes with him; you either agree with him or you are an outlaw.”

And that’s the irony. Trump, who’s about making deals, is cast as the authoritarian. Obama, who demands submission, is not.

Related: Flashback 2009: The Turn Against Israel.

JOE LIEBERMAN: Trump’s Israel envoy pick will soften hard line.

David Friedman, a conservative bankruptcy lawyer and Israel hardliner, has drawn howls from Democrats and liberal advocates for challenging the two-state solution with Palestinians and his harsh condemnation of peace-seeking Jewish groups.

But Lieberman, a former Democratic VP candidate and staunch Israel supporter, said Friedman’s most severe statements came “in the heat of the campaign” to elect Trump, predicting the nominee will soften his tone when he seeks Congressional approval.

“I think you’re going to find in the weeks ahead in the confirmation process on David Friedman that it’s going to be very clear that … he and President Trump want to be part of achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and that some of the things he said really don’t reflect what he believes,” Lieberman told CNN on Thursday.

“I think you’ll find along the way that he will express some regrets.”

Diplomats have to be, well, diplomatic. So I suppose the question is whether Friedman will temper his views only when speaking to the US Senate on his own behalf, or if he also does so when speaking to the Israeli government on behalf of the United States.

If it’s the former, the howls of outrage will be even more entertaining than has become usual.

J.D. TUCCILLE: Betsy DeVos Prefers Education Choice Over Crappy Government Schools? I’m In. Trump’s pick for Education Secretary is an encouraging break from failed authoritarian policies toward children.

There’s a lot to worry about in the coming presidency of Donald Trump, but a few bright spots appear for those of us who want to run our own lives with minimal government interference. In particular, the naming of Betsy DeVos as the president-elect’s pick for Secretary of Education holds a lot of promise for parents who want to move past decades of crappy politician-directed schooling to gain more say in how their children learn.

To go by her enemies, DeVos offers promise, indeed.

DeVos is “best known for her anti-public education campaigns” the National Education Association fulminates in its official response to her nomination. The NEA goes on to take her to task for supporting “vouchers—which take away funding and local control from our public schools—to fund private schools at taxpayers’ expense.”

Oh, horrors.

“It is clear that DeVos, like the President-elect who has chosen her, is comfortable applying the logic of the marketplace to schoolyard precincts,” complains Rebecca Mead at The New Yorker. Encapsulating the nominee’s sinister vision for America, Mead draws a quote from an interview DeVos gave to Philanthropy in 2013 summing up her educational dream: “That all parents, regardless of their zip code, have had the opportunity to choose the best educational setting for their children. And that all students have had the opportunity to fulfill their God-given potential.”

Can’t you just taste the evil?

Well, if supporting vouchers and other means to choose the best educational settings for children constitutes the oncoming headlights of America’s educational doom, I say we throw ourselves right into ’em.

Actually, when it comes to real doom, public schools are already doing a hell of a good job.

Sadly, that’s true.

SO IF PICKING THE SECRETARY OF STATE IS A “BRAND DECISION” FOR TRUMP, what does the Rex Tillerson pick say? Honestly, to me it looks like a bad pick. As CEO of Exxon, I’m sure the guy is competent, and he probably knows more about foreign relations than the average Senator, even those with Foreign Relations Committee experience. (Cough! *Joe Biden* Cough!)

But we’re talking branding here. What signal does Trump send with this pick? Some possibilities: (1) The Business Of America Is Business! (2) Remind me why Russia is our adversary? (3) We’re the #1 oil producer in the world thanks to fracking, and we’re going to increase our lead, so we want someone who understands how we can use the Oil Weapon. (4) I got nothin’.

As for #1, well, fine, but I don’t think that’s where Trump wants to go, is it? As for (2), Russia pretty clearly is our adversary. Just because you don’t want to risk nuclear war with them like Hillary did doesn’t mean that they’re our friend. Putin fooled Bush, who thought he looked into his soul, but Trump should have the benefit of that experience. (3) The oil thing kinda makes sense, but do you need an Exxon CEO for that? (4) This is pretty much my main take. I’m comforted, though, that Robert Gates and Condi Rice like Tillerson. Maybe Trump just thinks his own brand is so strong that he doesn’t need to make a branding statement with his Secretary of State pick? Or maybe it’s a literary conspiracy. “Ayn Rand was perhaps the leading literary voice in 20th century America for the notion that, in society, there are makers and takers, and that the takers are parasitic moochers who get in the way of the morally-superior innovators.” Well, if Rand didn’t convince people of that, Obama should have.

Any thoughts? Weigh in in the comments.

ROLL CALL: How Tomi Lahren Could Get Elected to Congress.

With millions of video views and hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, young Tomi Lahren is leaving her mark on the political world from her new media perch on the right. Could Congress be next?

Lahren is no stranger to Republicans, conservatives, and Donald Trump supporters. Her “Final Thoughts” segment chastising San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for protesting racial injustice by sitting during the national anthem has been viewed more than 66 million times on Facebook.

The confrontational 24-year old was introduced to the rest of the country (and the rest of the ideological spectrum) recently with a profile in The New York Times, “Young, Vocal and the Right’s Rising Media Star,” and a 26-minute sparring match with Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central.

If she wants it, Lahren would have a plausible path to Congress.

She is a native of Rapid City, South Dakota. And less than a week after winning re-election last month, GOP Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota announced she would leave her at-large district at the end of her term to run for governor in 2018.

With Trump’s 62 percent to 32 percent victory over Hillary Clinton in the Mount Rushmore State and Noem’s 64 percent to 36 percent re-election victory, the battle for the congresswoman’s seat will essentially take place in the Republican primary.

Lahren has the opportunity to overwhelm the field.

Well, stay tuned.

THEY DON’T CALL HIM THE “LITTLE IDIOT” FOR NOTHING: Singer Moby After Trump: ‘Americans are Either Really Stupid or Incredibly Bigoted….Really, Really Dumb People.’

I’m so old, I remember when musicians tried to increase their fan base through flattery, rather than deliberately making their appeal “more selective,” as legendary fictitious manager Ian Faith would say.

Moby’s star power has diminished significantly over the last decade, but if the media are going to rail against “Fake News,” his recommendations that the left deliberately lie to voters in 2004 are worth taking a second look at:

“No one’s talking about how to keep the other side home on Election Day,” Moby tells us. “It’s a lot easier than you think and it doesn’t cost that much. This election can be won by 200,000 votes.”

Moby suggests that it’s possible to seed doubt among Bush’s far-right supporters on the Web.

“You target his natural constituencies,” says the Grammy-nominated techno-wizard. “For example, you can go on all the pro-life chat rooms and say you’re an outraged right-wing voter and that you know that George Bush drove an ex-girlfriend to an abortion clinic and paid for her to get an abortion.

“Then you go to an anti-immigration Web site chat room and ask, ‘What’s all this about George Bush proposing amnesty for illegal aliens?’”

As Jonah Goldberg wrote in February of 2004, shortly before Andrew Sullivan endorsed Kerry and permanently broke from the right, “A couple of weeks ago, several liberal bloggers announced that they wanted their readers to deliberately make up fake emails and send them to NR because they found the real emails we were posting in the Corner too unhelpful to their cause. So far they’ve all been way too stupid to fool us, but that could change. And now, last night, Andrew Sullivan received an email that he — and I, and a lot of our mutual readers — think was made up. Whether it was or wasn’t, it now seems safe to predict that the Moby-Moore fringe of liberalism is ratcheting-up it’s ends justify-the-means approach to political discourse. Get ready for the Age of Mobyism, it won’t be pretty.”

The Age of Mobyism flowed pretty seamlessly into the Age of Vox; and along the way, a surprising number of Democrat operatives with bylines were willing to admit they had no problem with deliberate lying and obfuscation to advance the DNC-MSM cause. If the MSM really does want end the scourge of “fake news,” theirs is an awfully big swamp to drain.

yglesias_sophistry_8-10

(Classical reference in headline.)

JEFFREY TOOBIN: Gawker’s Fall & the Trump-Era Threat to 1st Amendment.

For decades, the news media benefitted from the deference paid by courts to the judgments of newspaper editors. The judge in federal court treated Gawker’s editors as if they were running a newspaper, and he declined to second-guess them about what constitutes the news. The jury in state court did the opposite. The question now is whether the law, instead of treating every publication as a newspaper, will start to treat all publications as Web sites—with the same skepticism and hostility displayed by the jury in Tampa. The new President and his fellow-billionaires, like Thiel, will certainly welcome a legal environment that is less forgiving of media organizations. Trump’s victory, along with Hulk Hogan’s, suggests that the public may well take their side, too.

I’m not sure exactly what “Trump-Era Threat” is supposed to mean. There doesn’t seem to be a threat from Trump, who knows exactly how to get what he wants out of the press. Are we supposed to feel threatened by an “era” merely because of its unseemly namesake? Perhaps then “Trump-Era Threat” is in the headline just to generate pageviews.

Who knows?

So then a more important question is, would the New Yorker have headlined a “Clinton-era threat” in Gawker’s wake had Hillary won the election?

Let’s talk about that Clinton-era threat — hypothetical, thank goodness — because it seems certain that there would have been one.

Hillary Clinton was the subject of the movie in the Citizens United case, which as a candidate she promised to see overturned — silencing political filmmakers for generations to come. It was on Clinton’s behalf (following her blunder at Benghazi) that an innocent YouTube videomaker was jailed for nearly a year. Just last week it was Clinton who urged “that Congress should take action against” purveyors of what she deems to be “fake news.” And forget mere threats, what about two years ago when Democrats tried to repeal the First Amendment? That, too, was backed by Hillary Clinton.

Whatever you might think of Donald Trump or the merits of the Gawker verdict, Hillary Clinton’s record on freedom of speech is atrocious — for which she has never been held accountable by the very press she has sought to control.

Even if Trump were to somehow turn out to be as hostile to free speech as Clinton is, at least he’d have Jeffrey Toobin et al. to hold him to account.

UPDATE: From the comments:

Was this summer the Era of Trump? First everything was George W Bush’s fault, even after he left office. Now it’s all Trump’s fault, even before he’s formally elected President.

Obama hasn’t even left the White House and it’s already like he was never there.

Faster, please.

HOW BAD HAS THE LEFTIE MENTAL MELTDOWN GOTTEN? So bad that Glenn Greenwald and Juan Cole are voices of sanity.

Greenwald: Anonymous Leaks to the WashPost About the CIA’s Russia Beliefs Are No Substitute for Evidence. “Needless to say, Democrats — still eager to make sense of their election loss and to find causes for it other than themselves — immediately declared these anonymous claims about what the CIA believes to be true, and, with a somewhat sweet, religious-type faith, treated these anonymous assertions as proof of what they wanted to believe all along: that Vladimir Putin was rooting for Donald Trump to win and Hillary Clinton to lose and used nefarious means to ensure that outcome. That Democrats are now venerating unverified, anonymous CIA leaks as sacred is par for the course for them this year, but it’s also a good indication of how confused and lost U.S. political culture has become in the wake of Trump’s victory.”

Cole: No, America, it wasn’t Russia: You did it to Yourself. “Clinton’s own polling people found the big turning point was when she called Trump voters a ‘basket of deplorables.’ Americans don’t like being talked down to, and had already gotten rid of Romney for the same sin. The spectacle of Clinton taking hundreds of thousands of dollars to give a speech to the people who put them out of their homes in 2008-9 also turned many of them off so that they stayed home, while another section of them decided to take a chance on Trump. He will screw them over, but from their point of view, they worried that she might have, as well. Trump was promising to stop the hemorrhaging of jobs via protectionism, whereas everyone understood that Sec. Clinton’s first instinct was to do TPP and send more jobs to Asia. So it was Clinton’s public persona and public positions that hurt her and depressed Democratic turnout in places like Detroit and Flint, not anything in Wikileaks (can anyone name even one newsworthy email?)”

MEANWHILE, ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE: Democrats Plan Fight to Save Obamacare.

The emerging strategy is centered around highlighting people who have benefited from the law and who would lose insurance coverage or key consumer protections if it goes away. “We have to lead with them and their stories,” said Jeremy Bird, a Democratic strategist who served in senior roles for both President Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012 and Hillary Clinton’s campaign this year. “This is about what Trump and the Republicans want to take away from working families across the country, and we have to make that very clear this is what we’re talking about.”

Organizers say they’ll announce details about the coalition on Friday, but the efforts could include rallies both in Washington and in the states and districts of Republican members of Congress. It might also involve television advertising, although Bird said the most important part of the drive would be mobilizing constituents—including Trump voters who would be negatively affected by repeal—on the ground across the country. “I think that’s more important than some barrage of national ads,” Bird said. “That strategy is not going to work anymore in the future. It’s got to be about grassroots organizing. It’s got to be about real people who are constituents of these folks making it known.”

This sounds all-too nice. Because it is.

If you — or GOP lawmakers — aren’t mentally prepared for the howls, the accusations of racism/sexism/etc, the tales of woe, and the panic-mongering, then you don’t understand how Democrats play this game.

The ugliness hasn’t even begun to begin.

PAYBACK’S A… YOU KNOW: Republicans Explore Budget Maneuver to Chip Away at Dodd-Frank.

They are exploring use of a tactic known as reconciliation, a procedural shortcut tied to the budget, which would allow them to make legislative changes to the 2010 regulatory-overhaul law with just a simple majority in the Senate. Republicans are likely to hold 52 seats in the 100-seat chamber, meaning they could pass such changes with just GOP votes.

They would otherwise need 60 votes to get the legislation through the Senate, putting them in the difficult position of needing support from some Democrats, who generally oppose rolling back the landmark law.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) is leading the charge to use reconciliation to pare back pieces of the law, which President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly said he wanted to scale back or scrap.

“We need to make a number of really substantial reforms to Dodd-Frank,” Mr. Toomey said in an interview Wednesday. While he said he would prefer to make legislative changes with Democrats’ support, he is open to more partisan methods. “I am very much in favor of making sure we have all the tools to do this,” he said.

Republicans are weighing using the tool to chip away at two Dodd-Frank creations in particular: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of Financial Research.

The upcoming session of Congress promises at the least to be wildly entertaining.

PAYBACK’S A… YOU KNOW: The Most Potent Federal Regulatory Agency Will Answer Solely to Donald Trump.

The [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] was unaccountable to Congress and the president—but not the courts.

A federal appeals court ruling in October changed the fundamental structure of the CFPB and will allow future presidents to have direct control over the agency that has direct control over wide swaths of the country’s banking and financial sectors. Regulatory agencies headed by a single executive must be directly accountable to the president, the court observed, while independent agencies authorized by Congress—like the SEC and the FCC—must have a multi-member commission at the helm.

Practically, that means that Trump might be able to replace the director of the CFPB, Richard Cordray, before his term officially ends in 2018.

More importantly, it means Trump will be able to use the CFPB’s powers for his own ends, if he wants, because the person who gets to determine whether a banking practice is unfair, deceptive, or abusive will now serve at the whims of the president.

In other words, nothing changes on January 20.

Obligatory:

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-6-35-32-pm

DAVID BERNSTEIN: The Supreme Court oral argument that cost Democrats the presidency.

According to exit polls, Trump received 81 percent of the white evangelical Christian vote, and Hillary Clinton only 16 percent. Trump did significantly better than the overtly religious Mitt Romney and the overtly evangelical George W. Bush. He likely over-performed among other theologically conservative voters, such as traditionalist Catholics, as well. Not bad for a thrice-married adulterer of no discernible faith.

To what can we attribute Trump’s success? The most logical answer is that religious traditionalists felt that their religious liberty was under assault from liberals, and they therefore had to hold their noses and vote for Trump.

Let’s focus on one of these incidents, the time the solicitor general of the United States acknowledged that religious institutions that oppose as a matter of internal policy same-sex marriage may lose their tax exemptions. At oral argument in the Obergefell same-sex marriage case, there was the following colloquy:

Justice Samuel Alito: Well, in the Bob Jones case, the Court held that a college was not entitled to tax­exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same­ sex marriage?

Soliticitor General Verrilli: You know, I ­, I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it’s certainly going to be an issue. ­ I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is ­­it is going to be an issue.

With the mainstream media busy celebrating the Supreme Court’s ultimate recognition of a right to same-sex marriage, this didn’t get that much attention in mainstream news outlets. But in the course of researching my book, “Lawless,” I noticed that Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.’s answer was big news in both the conservative blogosphere and in publications catering to religiously traditionalist audiences. . . .

In short, many religious Christians of a traditionalist bent believed that liberals not only reduce their deeply held beliefs to bigotry, but want to run them out of their jobs, close down their stores and undermine their institutions. When I first posted about this on Facebook, I wrote that I hope liberals really enjoyed running Brendan Eich out of his job and closing down the Sweet Cakes bakery, because it cost them the Supreme Court. I’ll add now that I hope Verrilli enjoyed putting the fear of government into the God-fearing because it cost his party the election.

Well, that’s how things are supposed to work.

MARC THIESSEN: Trump’s Taiwan call wasn’t a blunder. It was brilliant.

Donald Trump’s phone call with the president of Taiwan wasn’t a blunder by an inexperienced president-elect unschooled in the niceties of cross-straits diplomacy.

It was a deliberate move — and a brilliant one at that.

The phone call with President Tsai Ing-wen was reportedly carefully planned, and Trump was fully briefed before the call, according to The Post. It’s not that Trump was unfamiliar with the “Three Communiques” or unaware of the fiction that there is “One China.” Trump knew precisely what he was doing in taking the call. He was serving notice on Beijing that it is dealing with a different kind of president — an outsider who will not be encumbered by the same Lilliputian diplomatic threads that tied down previous administrations. The message, as John Bolton correctly put it, was that “the president of the United States [will] talk to whomever he wants if he thinks it’s in the interest of the United States, and nobody in Beijing gets to dictate who we talk to.”

Amen to that.

And if that message was lost on Beijing, Trump underscored it on Sunday, tweeting: “Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!” He does not need Beijing’s permission to speak to anyone. No more kowtowing in a Trump administration.

Trump promised during the campaign that he would take a tougher stand with China, and supporting Taiwan has always been part of his get-tough approach to Beijing.

Well, that’s one of the things that’s freaking people out. They thought Trump’s campaign promises were like Obama’s “if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.”

I’VE ALREADY EXPRESSED MY DOUBTS ABOUT A BIG TRUMP INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN, but this, alas, seems right: “We’ve spent 35 years having the ‘big government versus small government’ fight. Big government won. You can be mad about it, you can disagree with it, but it is what it is.”

I’m not opposed to better roads and airports, but the truth is, there’s been a lot of money thrown at those projects, and most of it seems to get diverted into graft, consultants, and environmental impact statements. If you really want to see infrastructure boom, get rid of a lot of that federal regulation and the existing money will go far enough to get us more and better new infrastructure than even a huge slug of new cash will get us without such reform. But my approach offers fewer opportunities for graft.

PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD: Shot: Emory Reviews ‘Sanctuary Campus’ Petition; Assesses Options. “In Georgia, local officials are required by law to prove their compliance with federal detention requests — no city in the state can be designated a sanctuary city, including Atlanta.”

Chaser: Emory could lose state funding if it declares a ‘sanctuary campus’ to shield immigrants.

A powerful Republican lawmaker aims to cut off state funding to Emory University and any other higher education institution that declares it will defy President-elect Donald Trump if he tries to deport immigrants who are illegally in the U.S.

State Rep. Earl Ehrhart plans to introduce legislation to block colleges from receiving state funds if they aren’t complying with state and federal law in response to the report last week that Emory was weighing whether to declare the school a “sanctuary campus.”

“Private institutions can do what they want, but there are consequences to actions. And it can’t be an option to choose not to follow state and federal laws,” said Ehrhart of Powder Springs, who is chairman of the House’s higher education financing subcommittee.

“There’s a raft of state taxpayer dollars for private institutions,” he said, “and I’m very sanguine about being able to pass a piece of legislation that says if you’re picking and choosing which laws you’re going to follow, state dollars aren’t going to follow.”

Emory University President Claire Sterk wrote in a letter to students last week that administrators are reviewing their request “for a sanctuary campus and ways to protect all members of the Emory community” and said the school would continue to support students, known as “Dreamers,” who were granted a temporary reprieve from the threat of deportation by an executive order from President Barack Obama.

I suppose there’s nothing stopping states from lifting state tax-exempt status from institutions that defy the law.

Look for state legislators to start providing more adult supervision for higher education institutions, both public and private. Those institutions used to be shielded by prestige, but there’s a lot less of that now.

JIM GERAGHTY: DO YOU RECALL THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S “STRAY VOLTAGE” THEORY?

The gist was, “the president purposefully overstates his case knowing that it will create controversy… Controversy sparks attention, attention provokes conversation, and conversation embeds previously unknown or marginalized ideas in the public consciousness.” Part of it was a cynical calculation to let an argument about a presidential statement ensure a topic stayed front and center in the public’s mind; there’s also the side effect of ensuring that a brouhaha about a presidential statement overshadowed actual policy decisions – decisions that may be more consequential, but are less dramatic and interesting to the news media.

Almost like, say, a president-elect declaring he wants to strip away the citizenship of those burning the flag.

If the incoming Trump administration really is using a variation of the “stray voltage” approach, and Democrats really have an uncontrollable impulse to focus on the controversial statement du jour, the Trump administration could end up being stunningly effective in policymaking. A lot of seemingly dry and boring regulations can be repealed, executive orders withdrawn, rewritten and issued, legislation passed by GOP majorities in Congress and signed, all while the political world froths at the mouth about the president’s latest Tweet or denunciation of the media, or theater performers, or anything else that comes to mind.

You can enact sweeping, dramatic changes to Americans’ lives under the radar. As our friends at the Weekly Standard noted, the charter school movement grew enormously over the past 25 years, in large part because it wasn’t a big, Washington-focused political battle. Today, “43 states have charter-school laws, and approximately 3 million kids attend almost 7,000 charters across the country.” This happened without any giant federal legislation or heated governmental clashes in the national spotlight.

Could this really happen? Could the next four (eight?) years really turn out to be a golden era for conservative policy?

Let’s not get too far ahead ourselves. I’m old enough to remember the wild – and wildly naïve – optimism of the left right around this time in November of 2008.

QED:

time_fdr_2008_10-2-12

I’M NOT ON TWITTER MUCH ANYMORE, BUT IF YOU SPEAK MY NAME THREE TIMES I MAY JUST SHOW UP:

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-5-43-49-pm

Well, when you wonder why people aren’t talking about things that you’re really upset about, maybe it’s because they don’t find them upsetting.

I don’t think that any of Trump’s appointments are “disastrous.” Sessions as AG wouldn’t be my first choice (that would probably be Randy Barnett, which is why I’m not the President-Elect) but for Trump he’s an excellent pick and will do what Trump wants — and do it more honestly than Eric Holder or Loretta Lynch, not that that’s setting the bar very high.

Likewise, I’d have preferred John Allison as Treasury Secretary over Steve Mnuchin. But is Mnuchin “disastrous?”

DeVos as Education Secretary, again, not my first choice — I’d prefer someone who was more focused on higher-ed reform, but that’s just my hobbyhorse — but a fine pick with a strong focus on K-12 reform, which to be honest, hobbyhorse aside, probably needs it more. Who else is “disastrous?” Elaine Chao? Please.

As for “Twitter meltdowns,” where have you been for the past two years? This is what Trump does, and it neither hurts him nor forecasts what he’s actually going to do. You’re being trolled and it’s working. Trump has basically lured Democrats (and a few #NeverTrump Republicans) into defending flag-burning, and reminded people of Hillary’s position in 2005. Sure, the idea is dumb and unconstitutional (as I said yesterday), but it’s a tweet, not a piece of legislation. And it also brings attention to the fact that the Dems haven’t been exactly friendly to people’s First Amendment rights on issues they care about. Now they have to publicly argue that you should go to jail for not baking a gay wedding cake, but not for burning a flag. To the surprise of many Democrats, this turns out not to be the popular position.

So who, exactly, is crazy here?

So there you are. And whatever you do, don’t feed me after midnight.

UPDATE: Hi, Ed!

DO TELL: NYT’s public editor is right. Its 2016 coverage could have been better.

The first step is admitting you have a problem, and the New York Times has a problem, the paper’s public editor suggested this weekend.

Though she doesn’t quite come out and say it, Liz Spayd seemingly agree with the many irate readers who say the Times could have done a better job covering the 2016 presidential election.

They “complain that The Times’s attempt to tap the sentiments of Trump supporters was lacking. And they complain about the liberal tint The Times applies to its coverage, without awareness that it does,” she wrote.

“Few could deny that if Trump’s more moderate supporters are feeling bruised right now, the blame lies partly with their candidate and his penchant for inflammatory rhetoric. But the media is at fault too, for turning his remarks into a grim caricature that it applied to those who backed him. What struck me is how many liberal voters I spoke with felt so, too. They were Clinton backers, but, they want a news source that fairly covers people across the spectrum,” Spayd added.

Also the Times’ 2012 election coverage, its 2008 coverage, its 2004 coverage, its 2000 coverage. . . .

KYLE SMITH: Keep crying wolf about Trump, and no one will listen when there’s a real crisis.

It’s contrary to the laws of nature for a tabloid writer to tell the gentry media not to go berserk. It’s like a cat telling his owner to stop coughing up hairballs or Iron Man asking Captain America to be less arrogant. Here at The Post, our mission statement does not include understatement. We provide journalistic Red Bull, not Sominex.

Nevertheless, a word of neighborly advice to our more genteel media friends, the ones who sit at the high table in their pristine white dinner jackets and ball gowns. You’ve been barfing all over yourselves for a week and a half, and it’s revolting to watch.

For your own sake, and that of the republic for which you allegedly work, wipe off your chins and regain your composure. I didn’t vote for him either, but Trump won. Pull yourselves together and deal with it, if you ever want to be taken seriously again. . . . Hysteria is causing leading media organizations to mix up their news reporting with their editorializing like never before, but instead of mingling like chocolate and peanut butter the two are creating a taste that’s like brushing your teeth after drinking orange juice.

Plus:

Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds’ characterization of reporters as ‘Democratic operatives with bylines’ is taking root in the American mind. Among independents, according to Gallup in September, the media had an approval rating of 30 percent; among Republicans 14. Almost everyone but Democrats think the media are biased, and support for that view goes way back. . . . This fall WikiLeaks confirmed everything conservatives have been saying about the media for more than 20 years. CNN, you have been busted. You allowed Democratic Party operative Donna Brazile to get hold of town-hall questions in advance and help Hillary Clinton prep with them. . . . John Harwood, New York Times/CNBC reporter and Republican debate moderator, you have been busted. You asked John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chair, for questions you could pose to Jeb Bush in an interview.

Dana Milbank, Washington Post columnist and longtime phony “nonpartisan” political reporter, you have been busted. You reached out to DNC flack Eric Walker and asked for help putting together a “Passover-themed 10 plagues of Trump” story.

Not only are you evidently an undercover Democratic Party operative who should be drawing checks from the DNC instead of from The WaPo, you’re a tired hack who can’t even come up with his own column ideas without assistance.

Ouch. The truth hurts.

SCOTT ADAMS: “The only people who will think Trump is a racist going forward are people who haven’t read this article. If you find someone like that, send them the link. This piece is a brilliant service to the country. Breathtaking.”

Excerpt:

Back in October 2015, I wrote that the picture of Trump as “the white power candidate” and “the first openly white supremacist candidate to have a shot at the Presidency in the modern era” was overblown. I said that “the media narrative that Trump is doing some kind of special appeal-to-white-voters voodoo is unsupported by any polling data”, and predicted that:

If Trump were the Republican nominee, he could probably count on equal or greater support from minorities as Romney or McCain before him.

Now the votes are in, and Trump got greater support from minorities than Romney or McCain before him. You can read the Washington Post article, Trump Got More Votes From People Of Color Than Romney Did, or look at the raw data (source).

Trump made gains among blacks. He made gains among Latinos. He made gains among Asians. The only major racial group where he didn’t get a gain of greater than 5% was white people. I want to repeat that: the group where Trump’s message resonated least over what we would predict from a generic Republican was the white population. . . .

I stick to my thesis from October 2015. There is no evidence that Donald Trump is more racist than any past Republican candidate (or any other 70 year old white guy, for that matter). All this stuff about how he’s “the candidate of the KKK” and “the vanguard of a new white supremacist movement” is made up. It’s a catastrophic distraction from the dozens of other undeniable problems with Trump that could have convinced voters to abandon him. That it came to dominate the election cycle should be considered a horrifying indictment of our political discourse, in the same way that it would be a horrifying indictment of our political discourse if the entire Republican campaign had been based around the theory that Hillary Clinton was a secret Satanist. Yes, calling Romney a racist was crying wolf. But you are still crying wolf.

I avoided pushing this point any more since last October because I didn’t want to look like I was supporting Trump, or accidentally convince anyone else to support Trump. But since we’re past the point where that matters anymore, I want to present my case. . . .

First, I want to go over Donald Trump’s official, explicit campaign message. Yes, it’s possible for candidates’ secret feelings to differ from their explicit messages, but the things they say every single day and put on their website and include in their speeches are still worth going over to see what image they want to project.

Trump’s official message has been the same vague feel-good pro-diversity rhetoric as any other politician.

Read the whole thing.

ROGER SIMON: Who Pays for the Anti-Trump Demonstrations/Riots?

The sacking of Portland is, so far, only the worst of what is happening across the country. There’s plenty more, accompanied by chants of “Love Trumps Hate” alternating with”Kill the Police.” Not very gentle stuff for supposed peacemakers. But perhaps they were only imitating their leader. Further, supposed neo-Nazi graffiti linked with Trump’s name are being reported by the MSM, which, not surprisingly, makes no serious attempt to determine if they are real or the work of provocateurs. (In most cases, I’m betting on the latter.)

The operative question, however, is just who pays for this mayhem and what do they want. Asra Nomani posted a list of 100 supporters of the Trump Protests on Twitter. You will recognize many names. 33 out of the 100 received money from one man, referred to at the link in proper Twitter syntax as @georgesoros.

Related: Legal Foundation Calls on DOJ Civil Rights Div. to Prosecute Mob Attack on Chicago Trump Voter.

A public interest law firm is calling on the Obama Justice Department to prosecute the brutal mob attack against a voter in Chicago, Illinois, on November 8, as a voting rights violation.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group dedicated to election integrity, sent letters to two sections in the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division calling for an investigation into the attack as a violation of Section 11 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

As reported here at PJ Media, disturbing video footage emerged online last week that shows 49-year-old David Wilcox being beaten and kicked by black thugs as a mob cheered them on. Onlookers cried “he voted for Trump!” “beat his ass!” and “don’t vote Trump!” while Wilcox was getting pummeled and as one of the individuals rooted around the driver’s side of his car.

The response will be interesting.

REMEMBER WHEN IT WAS THE GOP THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO SELF-DESTRUCT AFTER THE ELECTION? Dems delay vote on picking leaders.

Facing heavy pressure from House Democrats, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday delayed the party’s leadership elections until the end of the month.

The move came amid a growing groundswell of frustration within the Democratic Caucus that the party’s message has failed to resonate with much of the country –– particularly among the rural, working-class voters who have shifted steadily toward the Republicans in recent cycles, lifting Donald Trump to his presidential victory last week.

Dozens of rank-and-file Democrats had pressed Pelosi to delay Thursday’s vote to allow “an internal conversation” about the party’s strategic path back to power, in the words of Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), who led the charge. That push reached a fever pitch at a closed-door Democratic meeting Tuesday morning in the Capitol, where a long string of Democrats, siding with Moulton, voiced their opposition to a vote this week.

“The American people cried out last week and we’ve got to listen,” Moulton said afterward.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), another vocal proponent of delaying the vote, said the move was not a shot at Pelosi, but a signal to voters that Democrats are aware the party’s message has failed to resonate, and they’re seeking ways to be more effective.

“This is a message to our constituents, saying we have heard you, we have clearly missed the mark [in] regards to legislation and messaging, and we’re going to work on this to make sure that we’re an effective caucus to put up the opposition to Donald Trump and to make sure that he is only a one-term president,” Gallego said.

Those lawmakers have stopped short of calling for new leadership, but the two-week delay until Nov. 30 conceivably gives more time for lawmakers to mount a potential challenge to Pelosi.

I don’t see why the Democrats would want to have Pelosi as leader, when everyone from Lena Dunham to Samantha Bee to the Hillary campaign survivors has been telling us that white women are the worst.

HOW THE VEGAN SAUSAGE GETS MADE: “Stunned By Trump, The New York Times Finds Time For Some Soul-Searching,” former Timesman Michael Cieply writes at that vast rightwing conspiracy scandal-mongering hate rag, Deadline Hollywood:

Having left the Times on July 25, after almost 12 years as an editor and correspondent, I missed the main heat of the presidential campaign; so I can’t add a word to those self-assessments of the recent political coverage. But these recent mornings-after leave me with some hard-earned thoughts about the Times’ drift from its moorings in the nation at-large.

For starters, it’s important to accept that the New York Times has always — or at least for many decades — been a far more editor-driven, and self-conscious, publication than many of those with which it competes. Historically, the Los Angeles Times, where I worked twice, for instance, was a reporter-driven, bottom-up newspaper. Most editors wanted to know, every day, before the first morning meeting: “What are you hearing? What have you got?”

It was a shock on arriving at the New York Times in 2004, as the paper’s movie editor, to realize that its editorial dynamic was essentially the reverse. By and large, talented reporters scrambled to match stories with what internally was often called “the narrative.” We were occasionally asked to map a narrative for our various beats a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the pre-designated line.

As John Crudele writes at the New York Post,The New York Times can’t improve until it admits bias”; eliminating that obsession with The Narrative might be a good place for the Times to start, if they wish to put a Band-Aid on all the hemorrhaging:

The New York Times is so, so very sorry that its presidential election coverage was so, so very wrong.

Please have pity on them, Times publisher Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger Jr. begged his paper’s readers the other day. “We aim to rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism. That is to report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor…,” Sulzberger said in a letter.

Tell me, how is the paper going to “rededicate” itself to “honesty” if it can’t even admit that it was dishonest during this past election? The Times’ coverage was blatantly slanted against Republican Donald Trump, so much so, in fact, that even its own Public Editor — who is supposed to be the referee of ethics — slammed her employer.

“We believe we reported on both candidates fairly during the presidential campaign,” Sulzberger added in the letter.

If the boss truly believes that, he might as well shut the paper down right now because he’s going to lose subscribers faster than Hillary Clinton lost her “expected” electoral votes.

I dunno — if there’s one thing we’ve seen over the past week, the vast majority of leftists want to stay permanently bundled-up in the safe space woobie that is the Liberal Cocoon. And nobody, not even the Washington Post, cocoons its readers like the Gray Lady.

QED: Actual headline at the Times: “A Newly Vibrant Washington Fears That Trump Will Drain Its Culture.” As Heather Wilhelm writes at NRO, “One could write a doctoral thesis regarding the multiple-layered ironies within this headline, or merely stare at it and marvel for days.”

Sadly, it will receive no such analysis from the editorial offices of the Times itself, aka, the school cafeteria from Saved By the Bell.

IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, a very favorable review of my colleague Maurice Stucke’s book (coauthored with Ariel Ezrachi of Oxford), Virtual Competition: The Promise and Perils of the Algorithm-Driven Economy. Excerpt:

“Virtual Competition” displays a deep understanding of the internet world and is outstandingly researched. The polymath authors illustrate their arguments with relevant case law as well as references to studies in economics and behavioral psychology. There are almost 100 pages of endnotes. But the writing is clear and lucid, and the text is sprinkled with wonderful illustrative vignettes. There is the story—a “joke in IT circles”—of the man who excused himself in the middle of an important business meeting because he noticed several advertisements for alarm systems popping up on his smartphone. He was convinced that his house had just been burgled. And the story of the man who complained to Target because his high-school-age daughter was receiving promotions for baby clothes and cribs: “Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?” Later he apologized. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August.”

The most controversial issue raised by the book concerns what governmental responses and intervention are appropriate. One view would be that any regulation should be “light touch.” An attempt to overregulate is likely to stifle innovation and interfere with the most dynamic sectors of our economy. On the other hand, the super-platforms have enormous power, and as they expand their data advantage and market power they will increase their competitive advantage. The two largest mobile super-platforms, Apple and Google (Alphabet), are the world’s most valuable companies in market capitalization. Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft are not far behind. “We cannot assume that the digitized hand will always protect our welfare,” say Messrs. Ezrachi and Stucke. At the very least we need to ask ourselves if the 20th-century regulatory framework is appropriate for the 21st-century digital economy. “Virtual Competition” is a very useful step in that direction.

You know, given that President-Elect Trump has said he wants more antitrust regulation for Internet businesses, he could do worse than appointing Stucke to head the Antitrust Division at Justice.

RIDE THE LEFT’S TRUMP AS THE POLITICAL EQUIVALENT OF 9/11 RECURSION! One of the memes the left seems to have coalesced to explain how they feel (and it’s always about the feelz with the left) about Trump winning the presidential election is that Donald Trump heading the federal government is the political equivalent of September 11th, 2001, which according to lefty blogs back in 2007, 35 percent or more of Democrats believe was caused by the head of the federal government.

And yet, as Kathy Shaidle has memorably pointed out, if you really did believe that the president ordered 3,000 Americans killed by slamming planes into the World Trade Center, and Pentagon, and/or by “controlled demolitions” to gin up war in the Middle East, you’d want to get the hell out of the country at once, and/or you wouldn’t feel comfortable openly discussing your conspiracies at the local Starbucks. (See also: Brutal Nazi and Soviet crackdowns on those who questioned Hitler and Stalin’s actions.) Similarly, Democrats seem to not get the disparity between comparing Trump to Hitler, and yet nothing at all happening to them.

Oh, and speaking of 9/11, As Sean Davis of the Federalist tweets, Democrats are considering a 9/11 Truther to be the chairman of their party:

Freshman Congressman Keith Ellison was among friends Sunday — in this case, a gathering of atheists — so his support for a fistful of hot-button opinions, including the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney, brought enthusiastic nods of approval and standing ovations.

As he was introduced to the eclectic gathering, which included one man wearing a black T-shirt that read “Investigate 9/11,” Ellison was told that after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Muslims had joined atheists at the bottom of popular opinion polls.

“You’ll always find this Muslim standing up for your right to be atheists all you want,” Ellison, the first Muslim to serve in Congress, said in a speech to more than 100 atheists at the Southdale Library in Edina. As Minnesota’s first black member of the U.S. House ends his first six months in office, Ellison did not disappoint a crowd that seemed energized the more pointed he made his opinions.

On impeaching Cheney, which the Minneapolis DFLer supports: “[It is] beneath his dignity in order for him to answer any questions from the citizens of the United States. That is the very definition of totalitarianism, authoritarianism and dictatorship.”

* * * * * * * *

On comparing Sept. 11 to the burning of the Reichstag building in Nazi Germany: “It’s almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that. After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it and it put the leader of that country [Hitler] in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted. The fact is that I’m not saying [Sept. 11] was a [U.S.] plan, or anything like that because, you know, that’s how they put you in the nut-ball box — dismiss you.”

To be fair though, Ellison’s crusade for the DNC chair seems to be enjoying “unexpectedly” wide support on both sides of the aisle.

DAVID BERNSTEIN: When you live in an ideological police state, it’s not irrational to fear a change in power, so maybe college students aren’t exactly irrational to fear a Trump presidency, based on their experience. . . .

Many of these students have grown up with progressivism dominant all around them — in the White House, to be sure, but even more so in their elite private and suburban public schools, in their summer camps, in their religious institutions, and especially at their universities.

Moreover, they have noticed how dissenters from dominant political orthodoxy have been treated in these institutions — they are ridiculed, ostracized, sometimes harassed and occasionally punished for their political views. They have seen that progressives have organized to deprive dissenters of their jobs and their livelihoods. The more politically aware among them may have even noticed that the Obama administration has been distinctly unwilling to accommodate religious dissenters. For example, the Obama Justice Department has refused to rule out the possibility that the government would seek to deny tax exemptions for religious institutions that refuse to recognize same-sex marriage.

With the federal government about to be dominated by presumptively regressive and evil Republicans — a tribe that elite students are barely personally familiar with but have heard terrible things about — it’s not wholly irrational for progressive students to wonder: Is this going to affect my job prospects in the future? Will the institutions I care about be threatened with federal retaliation? Will a wave of conservative sentiment sweep over the nation, and as a result, will I face ridicule, ostracism and perhaps even punishment for my beliefs?

Well, perhaps this will turn them into free-speech enthusiasts.

UPDATE: From the comments: “Most of the freakouts have the same source: Progressives afraid that Trump will do to them what they wanted Hillary to do to conservatives.”

ROGER SIMON: Hate In The Time Of Tantrums. “Ironically, the more calm and collected Trump is, the more presidential he behaves—which he has pretty much done so far, today contacting Theresa May to revive the Reagan-Thatcher ‘special relationship’— the more likely these children are to escalate their hateful activities. They are trying to get a rise out of Donald, get him to react and prove their point, but it is probably too late. He’s won already and holds the whip hand (more of that in a moment). This may actually cause them to go postal.”

Related: Did the United States just elect a monster? “No. Clinton’s team of cognitive scientists and professional persuaders did a terrific job of framing Trump as scary. The illusion will wear off – albeit slowly – as you observe Trump going about the job of President and taking it seriously. You can expect him to adjust his tone and language going forward. You can expect foreign leaders to say they can work with him. You can expect him to focus on unifying an exhausted and nervous country. And you can expect him to succeed in doing so. (He’s persuasive.) Watch as Trump turns to healing. You’re going to be surprised how well he does it. But give it time.”

Plus:

The election is over and Trump supporters are trying to mind their own business, as usual. Meanwhile, Clinton’s supporters are on the streets to protest people who act the way they are acting. How did things get this crazy?

Well, most of it has to do with Clinton’s persuasion experts and supporters framing Trump and his supporters as the next coming of Hitler. . . .

With this kind of messaging you should not be surprised to see crowds attacking Trump supporters. The attackers feel they have the moral authority to do so. Here’s a fresh example where a group of Clinton supporters repeatedly beat an older Trump supporter on camera. The scary part is that they appear to be proud of it, as though it is morally justified.

My observation of the anti-Trump protests is that it mostly involves young people. This is their first fake-Hitler scare. They don’t realize that Reagan was compared to Hitler, both Bush presidents were compared to Hitler, and Romney was compared to Hitler. I assume lots of European and other leaders have also been compared to Hitler. You might want to point that out to any young person who thinks this is the first time we’ve seen this.

When everybody is Hitler, nobody is Hitler. And yes, I know I’ve posted these last two excerpts before, but they bear repeating.

SOME PRETTY GOOD ADVICE FOR UPSET DEMOCRATS FROM CRACKED:

2. Half of America did not, in fact, just reveal themselves to be closet Nazis.

My family back home aren’t Nazis. Neither are their neighbors. This is the last thing many of you want to hear at the moment, and that’s fine — feel free to bookmark this and read it a few months from now. But you can see the numbers for yourself, if you go issue by issue. Shit, at least three Trump states just voted to legalize marijuana, maybe more by time you read this. This is not your grandfather’s GOP. This is something different.

The truth is, most of Trump’s voters voted for him despite the fact that he said/believes awful things, not because of it. That in no way excuses it, but I have to admit I’ve spent eight years quietly tuning out news stories about drone strikes blowing up weddings in Afghanistan. I still couldn’t point to Yemen on a map. We form blind spots for our side, because there’s something larger at stake. In their case, it’s a belief that the system is fundamentally broken and that Hillary Clinton would have been more of the same. Trump rode a wave of support from people who’ve spent the last eight years watching terrifying nightly news reports about ISIS and mass shootings and riots. They look out their front door and see painkiller addicts and closed factories. They believe that nobody in Washington gives a shit about them, mainly because that’s 100-percent correct.

That pressure was building and building all around us, and we kept ignoring it. We media types were baffled when Trump won his first primary, and then his second, and then his third. We desperately tried to figure out how the system had failed. We were bemused when he won the nomination, then when he continued to hang around in the polls, we had approximately the same reaction one would have to seeing an invisible dagger floating across the room, aimed right at our fucking face. “How is this happening?!?”

Stop being baffled. Understand why it happened. Do the opposite of panic. Work through the problem.

Related: Trump won because college-educated Americans are out of touch: Higher education is isolated, insular and liberal. Average voters aren’t.

The most important divide in this election was not between whites and non-whites. It was between those who are often referred to as “educated” voters and those who are described as “working class” voters.

The reality is that six in 10 Americans do not have a college degree, and they elected Donald Trump. College-educated people didn’t just fail to see this coming — they have struggled to display even a rudimentary understanding of the worldviews of those who voted for Trump. This is an indictment of the monolithic, insulated political culture in the vast majority our colleges and universities. . . .

Sometimes the college-educated find themselves so unable to understand a particular working-class point of view that they will respond to those perspectives with shocking condescension. Recall that President Obama, in the midst of the 2012 election cycle, suggested that job losses were the reason working-class voters were bitterly clinging “to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” The religious themselves, meanwhile, likely do not chalk their faith up to unhappy economic prospects, and they probably find it hard to connect with politicians who seem to assume such.

Thus today’s college graduates are formed by a campus culture that leaves them unable to understand people with unfamiliar or heterodox views on guns, abortion, religion, marriage, gender and privilege. And that same culture leads such educated people to either label those with whom they disagree as bad people or reduce their stated views on these issues as actually being about something else, as in Obama’s case. Most college grads in this culture are simply never forced to engage with or seriously consider professors or texts which could provide a genuine, compelling alternative view.

For decades now, U.S. colleges and universities have quite rightly been trying to become more diverse when it comes to race and gender. But this election highlights the fact that our institutions of higher education should use similar methods to cultivate philosophical, theological and political diversity.

A bunch of InstaPundit readers who are students or faculty at various universities have been forwarding me emails about dealing with the “shock” “fear” and “dismay” that people on their campuses are supposed to be feeling. These emails generally either come from, or are copied to, the school’s “Office of Diversity and Inclusion” or some such. Yet the notion that a candidate supported by a big electoral majority is somehow beyond the pale — so much so that merely contemplating the election results is psychological trauma — is itself a slap in the face at the notion of diversity and, of course, a way of excluding the (many) students at these institutions who supported Trump from the university community. This should be a wakeup call for higher education, but I predict that the snooze button will be hit again.

SORRY, ANTI-TRUMP PROTESTERS, but this is what democracy looks like.

UPDATE: From John Althouse Cohen:

It doesn’t matter that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, just as it didn’t matter that Al Gore won the popular vote.

In both cases, I would have preferred the Democrat over the Republican. But I lost, and I can only accept the results of the election — just as so many people were urging Donald Trump to do if he lost. The same people would have been outraged if Trump had refused to accept the results after winning the popular vote but losing the Electoral College.

If you want to switch from the Electoral College to a popular-vote system, put your money where your mouth is. Do the hard work of lobbying for a constitutional amendment. This would take a long time, and you’d have no assurance that it would end up favoring candidates you happen to like. But it would be more effective than ad hoc complaints about the results of a particular election.

This is not just a legal technicality. When you look at the popular-vote totals, that’s not what it would be under a system where the candidates were trying to win the popular vote. In that hypothetical alternative universe, all sorts of things would be different, and there’s no telling what would have happened. The campaigns would have focused on places like California and New York instead of Nevada and New Hampshire. . . .

The only thing the candidates were trying to do was to win the Electoral College, so that’s the only fair basis for judging their results.

Yes.

PAUL RAHE: The Return Of Andrew Jackson. “If you want to get a proper sense of the significance of what happened yesterday, just look at the vote in Washington DC. In our nation’s capital, according to Real Clear Politics, Hillary Clinton won 92.8% of the vote and Donald Trump, 4.1%. . . . I can remember back in 1980 when Ronald Reagan came to DC. His arrival and the formation of a new administration was like the arrival in a country of a foreign army. The Donald’s takeover will be an even more dramatic event. It will be as if William Jennings Bryan had won in 1896. The only analogue that I can think of is the inauguration of Andrew Jackson. But he had already had a long career in public life — most notably, as the general victorious at the Battle of New Orleans and as a United States Senator. Trump has no such pedigree — though, like Jackson, he is a hero to the excluded.”

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.