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WHEN POLITICS BECOMES RELIGION: The Whitney Is Not an Art Museum.

The Whitney, as it’s called, is not all bad. It has some nice Hopper, Lichtenstein, and lesser-known artists such as Henry Koerner. The long-exposure photography was excellent too. Unfortunately my pleasant memories of all these works were sullied by the exhibit on the sixth floor — An Incomplete History of Protest.

Rounding the corner to enter the exhibit, I encountered the most fascinating combination of leftism and bad taste ever assembled. There was a mosaic of anti-Vietnam signs, which displayed the hippies’ talents for zeugma (“Save Lives, Not Face”) and swearing (“F*** the Draft”). Then followed a few horrifying AIDS-related posters including genitalia and more wordplay (a picture of Reagan with the caption “He Kills Me”).

Next there was a wall full of agitprop from some organization called the Guerrilla Girls. The material in question looked like advertisements one might have taken out in Ms. magazine back when that was required reading for the fashionably radical. “Republicans do care about women’s rights to control their own bodies!” (Smaller print: “breast augmentation,” “nose jobs,” etc.) “We demand a return to traditional values on abortion!” (Smaller print: “The Catholic Church didn’t ban early abortion until 1869.”)

I truncate the epic catalogue, since by now the reader has surely gotten the point. The exhibit was an entire floor of lies, obscenity, melodrama, and a single rhetorical trick used 8,000 times. Which, to borrow a conceit from Meryl Streep, are not the arts.

This was the museum’s key weakness: It had shunned art and preferred razzmatazz. No doubt I shall be called a philistine hater of modern styles and a pseudo-cultured reactionary, but that is not really at issue here. The question is whether propaganda is art, and the answer is No.

It’s not – but what’s fascinating is how old this all is. As the late Tom Wolfe once wrote about being on a panel discussing “the style of the sixties” at Princeton university, the left’s hatred of fellow Texas-sized government-loving “Progressive” Lyndon Johnson (for largely class-related reasons) quickly and predictably overwhelmed any discussion of aesthetics:

This was the mid-1960’s. The post-World War II boom had by now pumped money into every level of the population on a scale unparalleled in any nation in history. Not only that, the folks were running wilder and freer than any people in history. For that matter, [Paul] Krassner himself, in one of the strokes of exuberance for which he was well known, was soon to publish a slight hoax: an account of how Lyndon Johnson was so overjoyed about becoming President that he had buggered a wound in the neck of John F. Kennedy on Air Force One as Kennedy’s body was being flown back from Dallas. Krassner presented this as a suppressed chapter from William Manchester’s book Death of a President. Johnson, of course, was still President when it came out. Yet the merciless gestapo dragnet missed Krassner, who cleverly hid out onstage at Princeton on Saturday nights.

Suddenly I heard myself blurting out over my microphone: “My God, what are you talking about? We’re in the middle of a … Happiness Explosion!”

That merely sounded idiotic. The kid up in the balcony did the crying baby. The kid down below did the raccoon … Krakatoa, East of Java … I disappeared in a tidal wave of rude sounds … Back to the goon squads, search-and-seize and roust-a-daddy …

Support came from a quarter I hadn’t counted on.

It was Grass, speaking in English. “For the past hour I have my eyes fixed on the doors here,” he said. “You talk about fascism and police repression. In Germany when I was a student, they come through those doors long ago. Here they must be very slow.”

Grass was enjoying himself for the first time all evening. He was not simply saying, “You really don’t have so much to worry about.” He was indulging his sense of the absurd. He was saying: “You American intellectuals—you want so desperately to feel besieged and persecuted!”

And it has always been thus. As Glenn has written, “One of Trump’s major accomplishments has been to reveal the lack of civic virtue and self-control across our elite institutions.” But perhaps not yet enough to ask, “Are we the baddies?”

HMMMM: The Next American Revolution: #WalkAway.

Democrats who believe that they have a permanent hold on the African-American vote should take a look at how these voters view their position on immigration. A recent Harvard-Harris survey found that African-Americans are the racial group most opposed to unlimited immigration. Whereas 79 percent of whites want to prioritize legal immigrants based on what they can contribute to our society, fully 85 percent of African-Americans hold that view. A party that advocates open borders and the abolition of ICE is going to get fewer and fewer of their votes.

The Democrats are in denial on this as well. They obviously believe that constantly accusing President Trump and his supporters of racism will somehow keep African-Americans on the liberal plantation. These people evidently failed to notice that, after Kanye West signaled his affinity for the President, a Reuters survey found that Trump’s support among African-American men doubled. This isn’t a huge number. But it won’t take a very large number of electoral defections to assure the death of the Democratic Party. But the Democrats and their media enablers remain in denial. As the Post writer quoted above confidently assures us:

There’s little actual evidence to suggest that #WalkAway represents a mass conversion… the#WalkAway hashtag is going Conservative Internet viral on the same hope driving recent pro-Trump support of Kanye West: that the country is on the verge of a mass conversion to conservative thought, a Great Awakening of sorts.

What this young lady, and the political party for which she shills, won’t see is what the Pew survey all but shouts at them. A “Great Awakening” isn’t required. All that is needed is about 5 percent more African-Americans to vote Republican and another 5 to 10 percent to simply stay home. And once they kick the Democrat habit, they won’t backslide. As Candace Owens puts it, paraphrasing Harriet Tubman, “I’ve seen black liberals go conservative, but never seen a black conservative go liberal.” So, let’s hope the Democrats and the “news” media keep dismissing #WalkAway. That means, to quote Reagan, “We win, they lose.”

Read the whole thing.

RADICAL INACTION AT THE ‘FAMILIES BELONG TOGETHER MARCH’ IN NEW YORK:

The Brooklyn rally is almost indistinguishable from the Manhattan one. We chant more about resisting. Local politicians champion minority communities in the Bronx and Queens. I miss Al Sharpton’s speech by a few minutes—but I hear he said the sorts of things Al Sharpton says.

Rise up. Resist.

I find a park bench after gulping from a park water fountain. Soon a woman sits down next to me. Her name is Maria, and she tells me she’s been an activist for a long time. Her graying hair her tells me that could mean decades.

“But I’m not a revolutionary by any means,” Maria tells me. “I made my own sign, see?”

It reads: “Walk in another’s shoes.”

Maria explains that she comes from a family of Trump voters, but isn’t one herself. She just wants to love people. She’s talkative and kind—in my sunstroked haze, I feel like I’m making a friend.

“Can I tell you a secret?” she asks, beckoning me with a whisper.

“Yeah of course.”

She gestures at the loudspeakers on the lawn and sighs.

“None of this is new. This is just the same old stuff they told us to chant in the sixties—and nothing changed then either.”

Heh. Read the whole thing.

EZRA LEVANT: “Male feminist Justin Trudeau is just as handsy as Bill Clinton was.”

This Creston groping incident would sink another politician. In fact, Trudeau himself has fired a number of Liberal MPs from his caucus for less.

The Canadian Media Party ignored the story.

But slowly, as the foreign press ate the Canadian Media Party’s lunch on this, a few Canadian reporters summoned the courage to put a question to their precious leader. But it was just stranger and stranger.

The UK Guardian has the headline, “Trudeau: I apologised to reporter behind groping claim. Canadian PM ‘very confident’ he did not act inappropriately at music festival in 2000.” Say what you will about Trudeau, but Prime Minister Zoolander sure can tap dance:

Trudeau addressed the allegation briefly on Monday, describing the day of the event as a “good day” and one in which he did not recall any “negative interactions”.

After calls for an independent investigation into the claim and opposition criticism of his initial response, Trudeau addressed the issue at length on Thursday.

“I’ve been reflecting very carefully on what I remember from that incident almost 20 years ago,” he told reporters. “I do not feel that I acted inappropriately in any way. But I respect the fact that someone else might have experienced that differently.”

When asked about why he had apologised to the woman after the alleged incident, Trudeau said: “If I apologised later, it would be because I sensed that she was not entirely comfortable with the interaction that we had.”

Pressed further, he acknowledged he had atoned for his actions at the time. “I apologised in the moment,” he said, without giving details.

Trudeau said he had not attempted to contact the woman, nor had anyone from his team. “We don’t think that would be appropriate at all.”

He said the issues surrounding sexual assault and other behaviours had been something he had been actively engaged in since his early 20s. He characterised the allegation against him as part of an “awakening” currently taking place in society.

“I don’t want to speak for her, I don’t want to presume how she feels now,” Trudeau said. “I’m responsible for my side of the interaction, which certainly – as I said – I don’t feel was in anyway untoward.”

He continued: “But at the same time, this lesson that we are learning – and I’ll be blunt about it – often a man experiences an interaction as being benign, or not inappropriate, and a woman, particularly in a professional context can experience it differently. And we have to respect that, and reflect on it.”

As Rex Murphy of Canada’s National Post writes, in an article found via Small Dead Animals titled, “Trudeau’s ‘awakening’ on groping allegations is (ahem) a bit of a reach,” “And as for the incident being ‘an awakening we’re having as a society,’ that is delusionary nonsense, a string of ‘tone’ words, the vague, anxious music of virtue-signalling hummed by someone in a tight political spot. The thought is inescapable that whoever is devising the ‘communications strategy’ on this incident has a grudge against the prime minister, and is running a private experiment to see how many strange and illogical ramblings he can put in his mouth.”

When does he vow to produce more feminist-themed motion pictures and double-down on his fight against Trump and the NRA?

(Incidentally do not miss the photo of young Zoolander Trudeau, complete with exotic facial topiary and stylin’ shades from the 2000 Creston festival that accompanies Murphy’s article.)

WE MUST DESTROY THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN ORDER TO SAVE IT: Ed links below to Neo-Neocon’s rebuttal to Max Boot et al. Here’s what I think people must understand:

Here’s what Democrats are campaigning on:

  • Raise taxes by a trillion dollars — at least. Trillions more if they got all the programs they want.
  • A $15 minimum wage
  • Universal single-payer health care
  • End pretty much any control over the borders or immigration enforcement inside the U.S. — and while I believe in open borders in principle, open borders and a $15 minimum wage and expanding social programs are, finally, just crazy talk.
  • Impeachment — followed by an extended Constitutional crisis, either with McConnell pointing and laughing, or Chuck Schumer trying to push it through, and then failing to get two-thirds of the Senate to vote to convict. Or getting a conviction followed by Pence becoming president, rinse and repeat.

Let’s be real emphatic here: by pushing for votes for Democrats to “punish Trump” or “save the Republican Party” that’s what you’re advocating. Voting for Democrats means voting for their policies.

The notion that it’s worth giving up all of that in order to punish the electorate for electing a crude real-estate developer instead of the Right Kind of People might make you any number of things.

“Conservative,” however, is not one of them.

‘A CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION MASQUERADING AS A POLITICAL PARTY’ is how Michael Walsh, writing in the guise of his leftwing alter-ego, David Kahane, has described the Democratic party on occasion. And the New York Times, its house organ, concurs! In an article yesterday titled “Democrats: Do Not Surrender the Judiciary,” the Gray Lady’s editorial board has a modest plan for their party:

With Republicans controlling the Senate and the judicial filibuster dead, the Democrats’ odds of denying President Trump a second Supreme Court appointment are slim. Barring some unforeseen development, the president will lock in a 5-to-4 conservative majority, shifting the court solidly to the right for a generation.

This is all the more reason for Democrats and progressives to take a page from “The Godfather” and go to the mattresses on this issue.

“I’m confused on if 1. Anyone on The NY Times Ed Board has seen The Godfather or if 2. They have and are suggesting starting a murderous mob war to prevent a SCOTUS pick,” Stephen Miller asks. “Because THIS is what happens when you go to the mattresses,” Twitchy adds:

I’m old enough to remember when the left wanted gun-related metaphors to be considered the equivalent of the N-word; now they’re ready to launch mob wars and put horses’ heads into beds. I eagerly await Paul Krugman’s condemnation of his own newspaper’s eliminationist rhetoric.

BYRON YORK: Donald Trump’s Mainstream Immigration Policy.

If a new poll is correct, it appears the Trump administration, after an enormously damaging few weeks, has ended up squarely on the side of the majority of American voters.

The new survey is a Harvard-Harris poll, by former Clinton pollster and strategist Mark Penn. It was conducted June 24-25, with 1,448 registered voters.

On the issue of separations, Penn began with a threshold question: “Do you think that people who make it across our border illegally should be allowed to stay in the country or sent home? Sixty-four percent (83 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of Democrats, and 66 percent of independents) said they should be sent home. Thirty-six percent said they should be allowed to stay.

Then, Penn asked: “Do you think that parents with children who make it across our border illegally should be allowed to stay in the country or sent home?” The presence of children made little different in the result: 61 percent (81 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of Democrats, and 66 percent of independents) said they should be sent home, while 39 percent said they should be allowed to stay. . . .

The end result was that a substantial majority said illegal border crossers, and the children they brought, should be returned to their home countries. To that end, 80 percent (84 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of Democrats, and 78 percent of independents) favored hiring more immigration judges “to process people in custody faster.”

“They [poll respondents] rejected family separation while narrowly favoring family detention,” Penn told me in an email exchange. “Mostly they want people who cross the border illegally to be turned around and returned home efficiently.”

Penn’s polling found other results broadly favorable to the Trump approach to immigration.

As I’ve said before, there’s a huge gap between elite and mainstream opinion here. I suspect the biggest predictor of which side you’ll fall on is whether you employ a nanny or a gardener.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

● Shot:

Arnold Schwarzenegger heavily criticized President Donald Trump’s plan to rescue struggling coal plants, likening the move to saving antiquated products like floppy disks or Beanie Babies.

Famous movie star-turned-politician-turned environmental activist Arnold Schwarzenegger lampooned Trump in a Facebook video released Thursday. In the three-and-a-half minute video, he said the White House’s proposal to bailout coal and nuclear energy plants at grave risk of closure to be the wrong approach. The former GOP governor of California wants the administration to focus on developing the renewable industry instead.

“So President Trump, I know you really want to be an action hero, right?” Schwarzenegger said as he spoke inches away from a bobblehead made in Trump’s likeness. “So take it from the Terminator, you’re only supposed to go back in time to protect future generations. But your administration attempts to go back in time to rescue the coal industry, which is actually a threat to future generations.”

“It is foolish to bring back laughable, outdated technology to suit your political agenda,” he continued, with clips of famous movie scenes inserted in the video. “I mean, what are you going to bring back next? Floppy disks? Fax machines? Beanie Babies? Beepers? Or Blockbuster? Think about it.”

—“Arnold Schwarzenegger throws coal miners under the bus to mock Trump on the environment,” headline, Biz Pac Review, yesterday.

● Chaser:

Everything about America seemed so big to me, so open, so possible.

I finally arrived here in 1968. What a special day it was. I remember I arrived here with empty pockets but full of dreams, full of determination, full of desire.

The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon-Humphrey presidential race on TV. A friend of mine who spoke German and English translated for me. I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism, which I had just left.

But then I heard Nixon speak. Then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting the government off your back, lowering the taxes and strengthening the military.

Listening to Nixon speak sounded more like a breath of fresh air.

I said to my friend, I said, “What party is he?”

My friend said, “He’s a Republican.”

I said, “Then I am a Republican.”

And I have been a Republican ever since. And trust me — and trust me — in my wife’s family, that’s no small achievement.

But I am proud to be with the party of Abraham Lincoln, the party of Teddy Roosevelt, the party of Ronald Reagan, and the party of George W. Bush.

—Excerpt from then Gov. Schwarzenegger’s speech at the 2004 Republican Convention.

I’m so old, I remember when Schwarzenegger’s critics accused him of not being a very good actor.

WANT MORE TRUMP? THIS IS HOW YOU GET MORE TRUMP:  The lunatics are coming out in droves. Maybe Maxine Waters is crazy enough to think she can pardon this guy…

“A criminal complaint shows Key is accused of telling an intern who answered the phone, “I’m going to find the Congressman’s kids and kill them. If you’re going to separate kids at the border, I’m going to kill his kids. Don’t try to find me because you won’t.’[…]Key’s social media pages show he is very politically active. He volunteers regularly for the Democratic Party of Martin County and has volunteered many hours for Planned Parenthood, according to a friend of Key’s.”

Of course he does.

MORE SELF-CRITICISM THAN YOU GET FROM MOST JOURNALISTS: Some of the pictures of border kids that haunt me most are from 2014. Here’s why.

What Free described on Twitter was an opportunity that few people get: A chance to personally confront the president of the United States and question him about his immigration policies. Free wrote that the answers he received from the so-called leader of the free world “shook me to my core.”

The immigration lawyer had been to two large detention centers in Texas where U.S. officials were holding hundreds of migrant families from Central America, often for months at a time. Free said some of the conditions at these makeshift detention camps were appalling.

“I remember hearing the constant, violent coughing and sickness of small children, and the worry of their mothers who stood in the sun outside the clinic all day only to be told their kids should ‘drink water,’” Free tweeted. “I remember nearly doubling over when I saw the line of strollers.”

When Free had a chance encounter with the president at a political event, he warned him that the detention centers would be “a stain on his legacy.” He said the president wanted to know if Free was an immigration lawyer — implying that everyday citizens weren’t worried about what goes on at the border — and then said, according to Free: “I’ll tell you what we can’t have, it’s these parents sending their kids here on a dangerous journey and putting their lives at risk.” The message that Free took away was that the president saw family detention as a deterrent to keep more refugees from coming.

This happened in 2015. The president with the looming stain on his legacy was Barack Obama. . . .

Let’s be honest: Do you think it’s outrageous when an attorney for the U.S. Justice Department argues that kids as little as 3-years-old are capable of defending themselves in American immigration courts. I know I do. But that happened — with few people paying attention — in 2016, when the attorney general was Loretta Lynch and Obama was POTUS.

Then there was the Associated Press scoop that went viral last week about migrant kids as young as 14 who say they were beaten while handcuffed, locked up in solitary confinement, and left naked in concrete cells at a juvenile detention center in Virginia — which happened in 2015 and 2016, long before Donald J. Trump became our 45th and current president.

Right now, the protest movement that, arguably, pressured Trump into ending family separations — for now — is turning its focus to the cruelty of family detention, which could also keep kids in a prison-type setting for months, albeit with their parents. So it’s worth noting that the Obama administration was in court as recently as 2016 fighting for exactly that, the right to detain families indefinitely.

Yeah, but it’s different when The Lightworker does it because shut up.

BLUE WAVE? The GOP’s Rapid Retreat in the Midwest.

Josh Kraushaar:

Ohio is becoming a major warning sign for the GOP’s fortunes in the upcoming midterms—and beyond. The state backed Trump by a healthy 8-point margin in 2016, fueled by dramatic swings towards Republicans along the blue-collar eastern spine of the state. Trump’s winning margin in bellwether Ohio was nearly identical to his winning margin in ruby-red Texas. Given the promising political trends from Trump’s election, Republicans were hopeful that they could upset Brown and hold the governorship with an established figure like Attorney General Mike DeWine. Early polling showed the Senate race competitive and DeWine holding a healthy lead over the opposition.

But the political movement in Ohio is headed in the opposite direction, even with Trump’s recent uptick in popularity. Trump’s job approval in the state is at 43 percent with 54 percent disapproving, according to a new Quinnipiac survey. Nearly half of respondents to a Suffolk University poll of Ohio voters said their midterm vote would be a check on the president, compared to 28 percent saying their vote would be to support Trump’s agenda. And Brown now holds a commanding double-digit lead over Rep. Jim Renacci in the latest public polls, with Democrat Richard Cordray inching ahead of DeWine.

If you want to make a difference, spend less time on the internet and more time volunteering for a local campaign.

BRIE LARSON MAKES A SMALL CONTRIBUTION TO THE TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN: In a piece titled, “Brie Larson Promises ‘I Do Not Hate White Dudes,’ But Laments Lack of Inclusion Among Film Critics,” the future Captain Marvel, age 28, is quoted as saying:

“I do not need a 70-year-old white dude to tell me what didn’t work for him about ‘[A] Wrinkle in Time.’ It wasn’t made for him. I want to know what it meant to women of color, to biracial women, to teen women of color, to teens that are biracial.”

“And while this is very woke of Ms. Larson,” Sonny Bunch writes in response at the Washington Free Beacon, “I sense two issues with her theory of criticism. The first is that she doesn’t actually have to read old white men to find out A Wrinkle in Time is not particularly good; there are plenty of women and minorities who are happy to fill her in on that fact.” Bunch links to a screenshot full of female, black and Hispanic reviewers who didn’t give thumbs up to A Wrinkle in Time, adding: 

But there’s a bigger, more troubling issue with Larson’s line of thinking: the presumption that certain people are more prone to appreciating specific works of art because they fit into some broader category of gender or race or whatever. As Jessica Ritchey noted in Mel Magazine after an Internet gadfly suggested Vertigo is only considered a good movie because “lol white men amirite,” this is kind of gross:

One of the most exhausting aspects of our current cultural moment are the “ugh, only straight white men like this” takes that completely erase the voices of female critics, critics of color and fans who don’t fit neatly into binaries of who “should” like/dislike something. It’s part of a larger and much more pernicious problem — mistaking pop-culture consumption for moral worth as opposed to, you know, how we carry ourselves every day; how we treat other people; and how we support (or don’t) the causes that matter to us. Instead, we equate what someone watches on Netflix as the mark of a good/bad person.

Art is complicated; art is messy; art doesn’t fit into neat little boxes. Sure, A Wrinkle in Time got hammered. But Moonlight is a film about a gay black man that was nigh-on unanimously praised by the straight-white-male critical corps. Girls Trip is a film about black women that clocked in at 90 percent fresh. Black Panther? 97 percent approval rating. I’m not sure a more diverse array of voices would actually change that much when it comes to a bad film’s reception, at least in the extremely reductive sense of a film’s RT score.

In her response to Larson, Amy Alkon tweets, “Age-ist, sexist, racist thinking is now so chic. Guess what: I have read @TerryTeachout‘s insights for decades and appreciated the hell out of his insights. He’s a white dude. Whatever. It’s the insights I come for, not the skin color or age.”

Brendan O’Neill of Spiked wrote in his FaceBook page last year that, “It’s becoming so clear now why the war of words between SJWs and the new white nationalists is so intense. It isn’t because they have huge ideological differences — it’s because they have so much in common.”

And as Glenn noted last year:

If you divide America along racial/ethnic lines, eventually the largest racial/ethnic group will start to think of itself as a racial/ethnic group and act accordingly. But in the meantime, it’s a good living for [Ta-Nehisi] Coates, and I guess an okay one for [alt-right founder Richard] Spencer.

And if you want more Trump, well, Coates will help you get more Trump, and a lot more effectively than Spencer ever has. Right after the election, John Podhoretz tweeted, “Liberals spent 40 years disaggregating [the] U.S., until finally the largest cohort in the country chose to vote as though it were an ethnic group.” That’s where “whiteness”-as-original-sin gets you. But hey, like I said, it’s a good living for some people.

Larson’s Captain Marvel movie, distributed by the ever-woke Walt Disney Studios, opens in March of 2019. I wonder how many identity politics-themed bon mots Larson will be tossing to interviewers during its run up.

DAVID HARSANYI: 3 Takeaways From The IG Report That Seriously Undermine The FBI’s Credibility.

Here’s one:

Former FBI director James Comey’s actions are roundly condemned in the report. The IG concludes he violated long-standing procedure and policy, and basically did whatever his capricious idealism told him to do. The more you read the IG report, the more obvious it becomes that Comey had absolutely no basis for clearing Hillary.

Page texted Strzok at one point about the possibility of using fewer agents to interview Clinton, since “she might be our next president,” and they don’t want to upset her. (Not that it really mattered, since the investigatory conclusions were reached before the end of the witness interviews). Comey functioned under the same rules.

In the eyes of liberals, Comey’s sin was sending a letter to Congress when new evidence in the server case emerged. But, by that point, Comey had no choice but to tell Congress, which he likely did unilaterally. If the Huma Abedin/Anthony Weiner laptop kerfuffle had been leaked, Comey would have looked like he was actively political.

Would Comey have done the same if he believed Trump had a chance to win? That’s a different story.

Madam President was supposed to return the favor and provide all the cover Comey needed, but she failed.

THE COLLEGE FIX  REPORTS ON LAST WEEK’S 50-47 CONFIRMATION OF KEN MARCUS AS ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF EDUCATION FOR CIVIL RIGHTS:  In a saner world the Marcus nomination would have been uncontroversial, but … well … we may not be in the best of all possible worlds.

A conservative asked me recently why Trump bothered to nominate someone for this job at all.  Why not just leave it vacant?  I was a bit surprised at the question.  But let me explain:

The Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights heads the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Education.  OCR’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget was $108.5 million; it has 12 regional offices around the country and employs armies of lawyers and investigators.  This is the office that gave us the transgender locker room guidance, the sexual assault on campus guidance that denies due process to accuseds, the disparate impact in school discipline guidance, and much more.  Even many liberals understand that OCR’s actions during the Obama Administration were counterproductive.

Leaving the political positions there unfilled doesn’t mean that nothing will happen at OCR.  It means that the policy preferences of civil service employees will reign supreme.  When a left-of-center President is elected, this may not be a disaster for his supporters, since civil service employees tend to be left-of-center (and civil service employees in civil rights offices are often very left-of-center).  When a right-of-center President is elected, leaving positions unfilled means the election has been effectively nullified in a hugely important area of the law.

OCR has very few political appointees in charge of a huge number of civil service employees.  It’s hard enough to ensure that elections will have the consequences when all those positions are filled.  It is impossible when the Senate sits on nominations for extended periods of time.

BTW:  If you want to know why OCR has such a large budget, despite its tendency toward overreach the answer is this:  During the Obama Administration, Congressional Republicans were alerted many times to OCR’s overreach.  But, despite being in the majority and despite the urgings of many (including mine), they were too timid object to large increases in its budget.

BOORISH? BORING!  Robert De Niro Yells ‘F*** Trump’ at Tony Awards, Gets Standing Ovation.

Also, “Do you want more Trump? Because this is how you get more Trump.”

MORE TRUMP-HATING LOVEBIRDS: ALI WATKINS AND THE RISE OF CASTING-COUCH JOURNALISM. At the American Thinker, Monica Showalter writes:

Now we have Watkins and Wolfe, that latter of whom is charged with leaking classified documents to Watkins, because of, well, that delicious combination of love and Trump-hate.  Apparently, he was going to leak no matter what, but in one of his texts to Watkins, he said he wanted her, instead of her competitors, to get the scoops.

The press is focusing on the issue of the FBI seizure of her reporting records, and there are some valid concerns, given that this is a continuation of the pattern established by the Obama administration in seizing the records of reporters just doing the news.

But how the press reports the news is important, too.  There is troubling behavior by Watkins, who didn’t bother to tell her New York Times bosses about the FBI seizure of her records in February, which raises questions as to why she didn’t.  She didn’t want the utterly powerful First Amendment lawyers of the New York Times to help her against a vindictive big government, so she didn’t tell her bosses?  Or was she really more afraid of her bosses finding out how the sausage of her scoops was really made, that she had been literally too close to her sources and was using her “advantages”?  It’s odd behavior, because Watkins claims she told her bosses about the affair, and the Times says they knew, too.  McClatchy says it didn’t.  Meanwhile, Politico claims that it learned of the affair and steered her away from conflict-of-interest topics. Buzzfeed, apparently knew all about it and didn’t have a problem, according to a report in the Daily Caller.

As Andrew Klavan tweets, “Maybe we should remove the bikini competition from journalism.”

Michael Goodwin of the New York Post writes that Watkins “broke the biggest rule in journalism:”

On previous occasions, I’ve written about the blunt way legendary New York Times editor Abe Rosenthal dealt with a conflict of interest. The story bears repeating after the indictment of a top Senate official over his contacts with reporters, including one from the Times with whom he had a romantic relationship.

The Rosenthal standard on conflicts was shaped by a remarkably similar case decades ago. Soon after a woman who had covered politics in Philadelphia was hired by the Times, a story from Philly said she had a secret affair with a politician she covered and accepted expensive gifts from him.

Rosenthal asked the woman if the story was true and, when she replied yes, immediately told her to clean out her desk and said she would never again work for the paper.

Word of the incident spread quickly through the newsroom, and several female reporters complained to Rosenthal. They argued that the woman was treated unfairlyand, at which point, Abe raised his finger for silence and said something to this effect: “I don’t care if you f–k an elephant on your personal time, but then you can’t cover the circus for the paper.”

The meeting was over, case closed.

His point was not about private conduct. It was about the credibility of the paper. When the two conflict, the paper must come first.

Yes, but that was a very different New York Times than its current sophomoric incarnation. As Glenn has written, “One of Trump’s major accomplishments has been to reveal the lack of civic virtue and self-control across our elite institutions.”

DAVID HARSANYI: No, Donald Trump Hasn’t Been Especially Bad For ‘The Rule Of Law.’ “You don’t get to fabricate a new Constitution just because you don’t like the president.”

At National Review, Victor Davis Hanson has it right when he argues that “elites” often seem more concerned about the “mellifluous” tone of leaders rather than their abuse of power. “Obama defies the Constitution but sounds ‘presidential,’” he writes, “Trump follows it but sounds like a loudmouth from Queens.”

But while Obama’s agreeable tone had plenty to do with his lack of media scrutiny, many largely justified, and even cheered, his abuses because they furthered progressive causes. But not only did liberals often ignore “the rule of law” when it was ideologically convenient, they now want the president to play by a set of rules that doesn’t even exist.

Partisans always tend to conflate their own policy preferences with “rule of law” — or “democracy” or “patriotism.” Even taking that tendency into consideration, the pervasive claim that Trump undermines law typically amounts to little more than questions of how he comports himself. Rarely, if ever, does it have anything to do with the Constitution.

Except for perhaps the Fourth and Fifth amendments, for too many liberals the Constitution is to be ignored unless it can be used as a cudgel against the right.

DO YOU WANT MORE TRUMP? BECAUSE THIS IS HOW YOU GET MORE TRUMP: UCLA and the Atlantic think conservatives and populists have nothing to contribute to understanding America.

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: The World As It Wasn’t: Barack Obama’s revealing reaction to Donald Trump’s victory.

Apparently Obama had read a column—I have an idea of which one—about the role of identity in shaping peoples’ lives and political choices. “Maybe we pushed too far,” he mused. “Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe.” No question his fellow passengers that day reassured him that no, no, he did everything he could to bend the arc of history a little more toward justice. It’s not your fault, Mr. President. You didn’t push too far.

All you did was troll Donald Trump into running for president in the first place, stand by while Ferguson and Baltimore rioted and burned, give Iran billions in exchange for empty promises, allow Russia to establish a beachhead in the Middle East for the first time in half a century, browbeat Israel at every opportunity, ram through Obamacare after Scott Brown’s election in Massachusetts, preside over the mass migration of children across the southern border in 2014, expand the DACA amnesty despite saying 22 times you lacked authority to do so, use the permanent structure of government to devastate the Appalachian economy, convince half of America that liberals were ready to take their guns (this wasn’t hard to do), have your Education Department issue orders that led to the campus-assault craze and the deterioration of classroom discipline and that, months before a presidential election, mandated trans-bathrooms in schools, have your Justice Department preside over a sloppy (I’m being charitable) investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server that included, at one point, your attorney general secretly meeting with the husband of the subject of the investigation on an airport tarmac, muscle out Joe Biden, who might have won, from the race, and hand the party back to the less-likable half of America’s most polarizing and corrupt political couple. Not to mention the eight years of lecturing. Oh, the lecturing. . . .

Last year, it was Merkel’s turn for electoral repudiation. Then Italians repudiated their elites last March. Unlike their American counterparts, however, the undemocratic liberals of Europe have sophisticated ways of bypassing popular sentiment. Obama must be envious. No third term for him, either literally or figuratively. Instead Hillary is out, Angela is alone, and Obama is left with his $65 million book deal, his “high-8-figure” Netflix deal, and, above all, his vanity intact.

Read the whole thing.

A TALE OF THREE MEDIA MOMENTS:

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

Wikipedia.

● Shot:

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

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

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

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

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

● Chaser:

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

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

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

How Samantha Bee Survives, David French, NRO today.

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

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

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Election Results, ZTE, NorK Summit and Much, Much More. “The documents in question have to do with the origination of the investigation into Trump. When did it start? The story keeps changing. Early spring? July? What evidence was presented to the FISA court FOUR TIMES to continue surveillance on the campaign, even after Trump was elected and serving as president? It’s obvious the DOJ and the FBI don’t want you or me to know. Why?”

EVERGREEN HEADLINE: Some Georgia Democrats Have Some Really Weird Ideas.

Elsewhere in Georgia, Democrats will compete for the chance to take on incumbent Republican Jody Hice in the tenth district, a fairly Republican-leaning (R+15) mix of urban and rural communities between Atlanta and Augusta. There’s poorly funded Tabitha Johnson-Green, music teacher Chalis Montgomery, and professor Richard Winfield.

Some of the offerings in Winfield’s 1998 book The Just Family are . . . odd. For starters, he seems to think that “constitutional law should extend to family relations and specify the inalienable household duties of spouses, parents and children, leaving the contingent dimensions of these entitlements and obligations to the corrigible labors of positive legislation.” Get government out of our bedrooms . . . and into every other room in the house, apparently.

His perspective on the mentally disabled in the same book is horrifying: “In the case of irretrievably impaired children, parents retain personal responsibility for providing care, since no other individuals have any particular obligation to bear the burden of a caretaking without upbringing. Civil institutions, however, can relieve parents of their charge without violating any rights of the victim since the latter’s status as a potential person has been obliterated. A systematic treatment of such intervention must await the conception of the relation between family and civil society.”

He seems to want the government to get into the business of requiring a license for parenting.

“Although current practice tends to limit public scrutiny of parental qualifications to prospective adopters, the need is just as pressing with natural parents of children. Although requiring a license for parenting, as Blustein suggests, is one method for publicly certifying parental qualifications, the likelihood of reproduction by unlicensed parents makes this an unwieldly option. A more effective measure would involve making training in parenting a requirement of mandatory public education and attempting to ensure that all able individuals complete that schooling with success.”

(Is it just me, or does the term “unlicensed parents” send a chill down your spine”?)

Yes. Although some at NBC are intrigued by Winfield’s ideas and wish to subscribe to his newsletter.

LAW: Mark Levin breaks down the FBI’s secret ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ ‘cabal’ against Trump.

As an aside, a friend on Facebook suggested that — since “crossfire hurricane” comes from the Rolling Stones’ “Jumping Jack Flash” — Trump’s signature rally-ending song from the Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” was his way of trolling them, and letting them know that he knew. Delightful, if true.

UPDATE: “NYT “Operation Crossfire” piece reads more like “Gimme Shelter” for the DOJ/FBI officials involved.”

DEM POLITICO WILLIE BROWN: Trump is more popular than Dems want to admit. “Like it or not, a significant number of Americans are actually happy these days. They are making money. They feel safe, and they agree with with the president’s protectionist trade policies, his call for more American jobs, even his immigration stance. The jobs growth reports, the North Korea summit and the steady economy are beating out the Stormy Daniels scandal and the Robert Mueller investigation in Middle America, hands down. So you are not going to win back the House by making it all about him. Rather than stoking the base by attacking Trump, Democrats need to come up with a platform that addresses the average voters’ hopes and concerns. Not just the needs of underdogs or whatever cause happens to be the media flavor of the week. Democrats need to look like the adults, not like another pack of screaming kids on the playground.”

Yep, that’s all they need to do. And so far, they can’t even do that.

JOHN HAWKINS: EXPLAINING WHY LIBERALS ARE SO DESPERATE TO FIND THINGS TO BE OFFENDED ABOUT. After discussing Starbucks’ management donning their hair shirts, the mass lefty freakout over Kanye West’s pro-Trump comments, and the mass lefty freakout over a prom dress, Hawkins writes:

These stories, all of which have happened recently, are just a drop in the bucket. Liberals are perpetually offended by just about everything. Why? Because liberals have decided that being offended trumps logic, fact and every other argument that anyone can make. If it were up to liberals, we would not have free speech because too many people say things that contradict liberal ideas. So, they may not be able to put you in jail for believing that you can’t change genders or that it’s not smart to send gay men who may be sexually interested in teenagers out into the woods with them overnight as scout masters, but they can use a variety of different tactics to silence you. Outrage is one of those tactics because again, according to liberals, the second someone is outraged, the debate is over and they’ve won (Of course that only applies to liberals. If conservatives are offended by something, that doesn’t count.)

Of course, liberals love to use whatever they’re outraged about today as an excuse for government action or to gin up their base, but at the most fundamental level, liberal outrage is all about shutting up everyone who doesn’t agree with liberals. That’s the ultimate form of censorship. When you’re so scared that you might offend a liberal that you censor yourself. When you don’t wear the prom dress you want to wear. When you don’t make the joke. You don’t say anything that might make a liberal angry because you don’t want to deal with formal charges or 5,000 outraged liberals on Twitter that feel justified in calling you the worst names you’ve ever heard of because their widdle feelings are hurt. You can give in to their bullying if you like, but down that road lies a new liberal vision of totalitarianism where the bad guys win not because they deserve to or because they have guns pointed at your head, but because people are too afraid to speak the truth. For your sake, for the sake of your kids and for the sake of your country, don’t let liberal outrage determine what you can and cannot say.

In a 2014 post by lefty academic Freddie deBoer, which sadly is not on the Wayback Machine but quoted here, deBoer described a method of argument he dubbed “We Are Already Decided:”

This is the form of argument, and of comedy, that takes as its presumption that all good and decent people are already agreed on the issue in question. In fact, We Are All Already Decided presumes that the offense is not just in thinking the wrong thing you think but in not realizing that We Are All Already Decided that the thing you think is deeply ridiculous. And the embedded argument, such as it is, is not on the merits of whatever issue people are disagreeing about, but on the assumed social costs of being wrong about an issue on which We Are All Already Decided. Which is great, provided everybody you need to convince cares about being part of your little koffee klatsch. If not, well….

All of this, frankly, is politically ruinous. I meet and interact with a lot of young lefties who are just stunning rhetorically weak; they feel all of their politics very intensely but can’t articulate them to anyone who doesn’t share the same vocabulary, the same set of cultural and social signifiers that are used to demonstrate you’re one of the “right sort of people.” These kids are often great, they’re smart and passionate, I agree with them on most things, but they have no ability at all to express themselves to those who are not already in their tribe. They say terms like “privilege” or “mansplain” or “tone policing” and expect the conversation to somehow just stop, that if you say the magic words, you have won that round and the world is supposed to roll over to what you want.

Does the left want more Trump? Blocking arguments and debate, deplatforming prominent conservatives and calling Trump’s everyday supporters “deplorables,” and getting the vapors over minutia such as prom dresses, is the perfect way to ensure more Trump.

ELECTION: Trump-Endorsed Ohio Senate Candidate Jim Renacci Blows Out Four Opponents.

And “Tolbert” commented on a previous post:

Ohio Governor Primary
Democrat vote tally – 560,258
Republican vote tally – 720,000

Perhaps that blue wave really isn’t happening.

One more time: If you want to make a difference in November, spend less time online and more volunteering for a local campaign.

HILLARY CLINTON’S LACK OF CHARM:

A curious dualism emerges in New York Times reporter Amy Chozick’s book Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling. As I noted yesterday, Chozick makes it clear that she was rooting for Clinton. But she also thinks Clinton hates her.

Chozick shouldn’t take things so personally: Clinton hates everyone. You can’t relate to people you despise. Her inability to master the basics of being a politician inspired one of the great underreported witticisms of the 2016 campaign, when Donald Trump was asked about his comparatively loose debate preparations. “I don’t need to rehearse being human,” he said.

As a college sophomore, Clinton once described herself as a “misanthrope.” Her inability to hide that made her an amazingly poor candidate, one who would have had difficulty capturing a seat on any city council on her own. Dealing with the populace standing between her and power was never anything but a chore. . . .

That inability to schmooze was a noxious gas, the flammable hydrogen that doomed Clinton’s two Hindenburg-like presidential campaigns. Bill Clinton once told Chozick that Hillary had told him back at Yale Law School, “Nobody will ever vote for me for anything.” Her husband tried mightily to help, but charm can’t be lent.

Glimpses of Clinton caught on the fly confirm that Clinton despised campaigning. In Iowa in 2015, as the press is hurling fangirl queries at her (“Secretary! Can you believe you’re back in Iowa!”), Hilary pretends to flip a steak, unable to hide her revulsion. “The image screamed all at once, how long do I have to act like I enjoy this [sh**] and Why the [f***] am I back in this state?” writes Chozick. When Chozick shared Clinton’s amazingly light August schedule with an editor at the Times, the latter responded, “Does she even want to be president?” Clinton spent much of that month holed up with her rich friends in the Hamptons.

Clinton “suffered from a chronic inability to crack a simple joke,” Chozick writes. Even at special off-the-record drinks events specifically designed by her staff to allow Clinton to let her guard down and banter with reporters the way Barack Obama did, Clinton excoriates the journos for having big egos and little brains.

Well, she’s not wrong about that, but it’s poor salesmanship.

THE MISANTHROPIC MRS. CLINTON:

You might expect Clinton to at least be sensitive to sexism. Instead she was a source of it. “She told aides she knew women reporters would be harder on her. We’d be jealous and catty and more spiteful than men. We’d be impervious to her flirting.” (Side note: Chozick actually thinks flirting with Hillary Clinton is something men want to do.) A running joke had it that the unofficial motto of Clinton supporters was, “I’m With Her . . . I Guess.” This, even though Chozick and other female reporters were sympathetic to Hillary based on gender solidarity: “I still felt some kind of feminine bond with Hillary then,” she writes of her early months on the beat, and later describes her coverage as “neutral to positive, with plenty of wet kisses thrown in.”

Clinton’s poor political instincts infected the entire campaign. One aide ripped a sign saying “I [heart] Hillary” out of a little girl’s hands in Phoenix because “Brooklyn [the site of Clinton’s headquarters] thought it best that Everydays hold professionally produced signs that displayed the message du jour rather than something made with love and some finger paint.”

As for larger strategic moves, Chozick notes dryly of a March excursion, “That was Hillary’s last trip to Wisconsin.” Team Clinton in its waning days was spending money in Utah, Indiana, Missouri, Arizona, and even Texas while the Upper Midwest was begging for more resources. Bill Clinton was meanwhile going “red in the face” warning his wife’s team “that Trump had a shrewd understanding . . . of the white working class,” Chozick says. Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, responded by spoofing Bill behind his back, as one would Grandpa Simpson: “And let me tell you another thing about the white working class,” he’d say, mockingly.

Savaging the guy who actually won multiple elections as both governor and president is just a minor example of how out of touch the campaign was. Read the whole thing.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Revolution And Worse To Come: When legal bloodhounds and baying critics fail to take out Trump, what’s next? The Resistance wants Trump’s head — on the chopping block. “Indeed, the aim of the so-called Resistance to Donald J. Trump is ending Trump’s presidency by any means necessary before the 2020 election. Or, barring that, it seeks to so delegitimize him that he becomes presidentially impotent. It has been only 16 months since Trump took office and, in the spirit of revolutionary fervor, almost everything has been tried to derail him. Now we are entering uncharted territory — at a time when otherwise the country is improving and the legal exposure of Trump’s opponents increases daily.”

Related: Politically Motivated Violence Is on the Rise.

There’s no evidence that the NRA’s Chris Cox actually is profiting off of murders and suicides; if he was, law enforcement would be pressing charges. What the protesters mean is that they are really angry about gun violence and they are angry that Cox disagrees with their desire to see private ownership of firearms banned. There is no real denial that throwing fake blood on the house of Cox and his family doesn’t constitute a crime of vandalism; the defense is “the tactic is warranted under the circumstances” — that Cox deserves to be the victim of a crime because he disagrees with the protesters.

Some people gave my friend Kurt Schlichter some grief about his speculative fiction novels that imagined the United States splitting into two countries, a traditional United States and a breakaway “People’s Republic of North America” that attempts to enact the progressive idealist dream and encounters quite a few problems along the way. Some contend that Kurt is rooting for this scenario or attempting to encourage some sort of secessionist fantasy. I don’t think that’s a fair reading of a man who says his military service in the Balkans shaped his view of this issue, but I suppose some might think that depicting a formally divided America might inadvertently encourage people to think more about a formally divided America.

But to those who feel so horrified at the thought of the United States no longer being so united, it feels fair to ask . . . just what road do you think we’re on? Did we see a lot of soul-searching after the attempted mass shooting on the Republican baseball team, or the attempt to run Representative David Kustoff off the road, or the assault on Congressman Rand Paul? Was there anything like the aftermath of the Gabby Giffords shooting, when President Obama spoke of the need to debate our differences “in a way that heals, not a way that wounds”?

If we no longer even go through the motions of calling for a debate that doesn’t demonize and dehumanize our opponents — “Deplorables!” “Soulless!” — just how wild and unthinkable does more political violence seem?

Maybe some people like the idea.

BLUE WAVE? Senate Dems Continue to Lead Republicans in Fundraising.

Democrats are defending 25 seats total – including 10 in states President Trump won in 2016 — to just nine for Republicans. In all 10 of those Trump-state races, the incumbent outraised every Republican challenger. (Three Republicans surpassed Democrats after making sizable loans to their campaigns.) Still, every Democratic incumbent ended March with more cash on hand than their GOP challengers.

And even in the states where Republicans are defending seats, Democrats put up strong fundraising quarters that either matched or led their GOP counterparts. Nevada Rep. Jacky Rosen doubled Sen. Dean Heller’s first-quarter fundraising, taking in $2.6 million compared to just $1.1 million for the incumbent, though Heller still had more money in the bank.

“We can look across the map and see that Republican donors are not as engaged as Democratic donors are,” said Brad Todd, a GOP consultant advising several candidates. “It’s going to take more work to get the money we need to win the election because their donors are red hot and ours are waiting and seeing.”

As Glenn has written here on occasion: If you want to make a difference, spend less time online and more time volunteering for a local campaign.

REVISITING 2016 MEDIA BIAS: With the elite media increasingly suggesting that they were too harsh on Clinton and not hostile enough to Trump in 2016, it’s perhaps time to revisit just how biased elite media outlets were in 2016. Consider, for example, this NPR interview with the executive editor of the New York Times, Dean Baquet. Baquet explains why the newspaper decided to use the word “lie” when referring to what seems like ordinary campaign obfuscation: “I think the moment for me was the birther story, where he has repeated for years his belief that President Obama was not born in the United States.” This, for some reason, justifies using the word “lie” more generally with regard to Trump and his campaign, but not with regard to any false statements by Clinton: “I don’t think Hillary Clinton, to be honest, has crossed the line the way Donald Trump did with the birther issue.” Thus, in NewYorkTimesworld Clinton merely obfuscates and exaggerates, while Trump lies. You can’t make this stuff up.

My guess is that Clinton lost far more votes because they resented the elites were shoving Clinton down their throats than because of the “Russian interference” the elites now want to blame for Clinton’s defeat. The response, apparently, is for the elite media to double-down on its strategy of overtly favoring whomever runs against Trump, which, I suspect, is how we get more Trump in 2020.

IT’S CLEAR NOW: COLIN KAEPERNICK WILL NOT BE SIGNED.

I knew that last year’s player/owner solidarity in response to the President’s remarks, with vivid images of owners kneeling and locking arms with players, would never last. The owners’ personal and business interests—and the braying they heard from fans, sponsors and networks—would soon lead to a push for players to “stick to sports,” evoking a tension that still lingers upon the mention of Kaepernick’s name. The Seahawks episode crystallizes what teams are thinking, in so many words: We will only employ you to be a football player if we know we are not employing you to be an activist.

Does Kaepernick actually want to be signed? Unless he delivers Johnny Unitas-level talent to whoever he plays for, actually suiting up and riding the pine each week as a backup, or a return to his mediocre performance during the 49ers’ 2-14 season in 2016 would be anti-climactic. Kaepernick has become the athletic equivalent of Michael Moore’s deception in his first movie, Roger & Me. Then-General Motors CEO Roger Smith had met with Moore — reportedly twice — during the shooting of his agitpropumentary, but Moore wouldn’t have a movie if he actually included that footage. Similarly, Kaepernick needs to remain permanently off the gridiron, to keep his uber-woke SJW pose alive.

If NFL owners are understandably reluctant to sign up for the Kaepernick sideline circus, it’s curious that the left, which loves nothing more these days than to deplatform and blacklist conservatives, seems rather antsy when their new rules are applied to one of their own. Back in 2014, Randall Munroe, who draws the popular online cartoon “xkcd,” created this image, thus wiping out the morality behind 50 years of Hollywood blacklist movies:

As Kurt Schlichter likes to say, the left are going to hate living up to their own rules.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): I don’t quite agree with this. Theres protection under the First Amendment, which applies against government, and then there’s the broader societal idea of “free speech,” which comes into play regardless of legalities. It used to be considered uncool to go after someone’s job for their opinions, and uncouth for an employer to give in to such demands. I wish we lived in that world today, but I agree that we don’t.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. The Photo of Protesters at Starbucks Is a Sad but Accurate Representation of Our Times.

We can all agree that racism is bad, and shouldn’t be allowed. The social justice warriors claim this too, but their solution isn’t understanding and togetherness. It’s finding a culprit, generating outrage about said culprit, and finding a way to make said culprit a pariah. That culprit can play any part they need it to as well. Corporations, the rich, white people, men, Christians, police, Trump, Pence, guns, NRA, Republicans, or even women if you’re Hillary Clinton.

It doesn’t matter if you fit any or all of these qualifiers. To the social justice mob, we are all sinners. They demand you repent and apologize for your transgressions against their religion’s version of morality, but unlike Christ, the true definer of morality in our western culture, you are not forgiven after your penance. You’re still a pariah, only now you’re a useful one. An example of how the mob is all-powerful and ready to conquer you at any moment.

It doesn’t matter if you did it or not. You still better fall on your knees and swear obedience.

Read the whole thing. Ironically, as Mollie Hemmingway noted in 2015, Starbucks’ then-CEO (now executive chairman) Howard Schultz wanted Zack and the rest of his baristas to be the ones preaching the ol’ time social justice gospel to the heathens:

The whole campaign reminded me so much of this story from 2004, when an American Airlines pilot got on the loudspeaker and asked passengers who were Christian to raise their hands. Then he suggested to the ones who raised their hands that they spend the remainder of the flight trying to convert those who hadn’t. The passengers were so confused by the request that they wondered if the pilot was a terrorist.

Listen, I love few things more than sharing the good news that Jesus has triumphed over sin, death and Satan with others and I hate racism. But there’s a reason why the American Airlines pilot and the Starbucks approaches freak people out! Yes, part of it is that there’s a time and place to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and discuss difficult social problems. But also, these things are highly ineffective when done outside of a personal relationship.

I don’t know if Zack was working for Starbucks in 2015, but he (including whatever is left of his hearing) is definitely paying penance for the sins of his boss.

Local Black Lives Matter activist Asa Khalif, left, stands inside a Starbucks, Sunday April 15, 2018, demanding the firing of the manager who called police resulting the arrest of two black men on Thursday. The arrests were captured on video that quickly gained traction on social media. (AP photo and caption.)

BLUE WAVE? Paul Ryan-Linked PAC Sets Up Shop in Toss-Up Washington District Held by Republicans for Decades.

Washington’s 8th congressional district, which is located in the suburbs of Seattle and boasts a population of nearly 700,000 residents, is now up for grabs after Rep. Dave Reichert (R.) said he will not seek reelection. Reichert, who announced his retirement shortly after turning 67, has represented the district since 2004.

Reichert found a way to comfortably win the district even as it has swung to Democratic presidential candidates. The seven-term congressman defeated his opponent, Democrat Tony Ventrella, by nearly 21 points during the 2016 elections despite Hillary Clinton garnering 3 percent more of the vote than President Donald Trump. George H.W. Bush was the most recent Republican presidential candidate to carry the district, in 1988.

Republicans, however, have held the seat on the congressional level since the district’s creation in 1980.

Democrats only need to flip 24 seats to win back the House of Representatives and now sense an opportunity to topple Republicans at the congressional level in the 8th for the first time. Eleven Democrats entered the primary—eight remain—and the Nancy Pelosi-affiliated House Majority PAC has already purchased airtime in the district.

As Glenn has been saying for a while now: If you want to make a difference, spend less time on the internet and more time volunteering for a local campaign.

NIALL FERGUSON IN THE BOSTON GLOBE: Enough With The Hating On White Men.

“Masculinity, not ideology, drives extremist groups,” was another recent headline that caught my eye, this time in The Washington Post.

Got it.

I have had to listen to a variation on this theme rather too much in recent weeks. Last month I organized a small conference of historians who I knew shared my interest in trying to apply historical knowledge to contemporary policy problems. Five of the people I invited to give papers were women, but none was able to attend. I should have tried harder to find other female speakers, no doubt. But my failure to do so elicited a disproportionately vitriolic response.

Under a headline that included the words “Too white and too male,” The New York Times published photographs of all the speakers, as if to shame them for having participated. Around a dozen academics — male as well as female — took to social media to call the conference a “StanfordSausageFest.” . . .

I was raised to believe in the equal rights of all people, regardless of sex, race, creed, or any other difference. That the human past was characterized by discrimination of many kinds is not news to me. But does it really constitute progress if the proponents of diversity resort to the behavior that was previously the preserve of sexists and racists?

Publishing the names and mugshots of conference speakers is the kind of thing anti-Semites once did to condemn the “over-representation” of Jewish people in academia. Terms such as “SausageFest” belong not in civil academic discourse but on urinal walls.

What we see here is the sexism of the anti-sexists; the racism of the anti-racists. In this “Through the Looking Glass” world, diversity means ideological homogeneity. “The whitesplaining of history is over,” declared another heated article by Satia last week. Hideous Newspeak terms such as “whitesplaining” and “mansplaining” are symptoms of the degeneration of the humanities in the modern university. Never mind the facts and reason, so the argument runs, all we need to know — if we don’t like what we hear — are the sex and race of the author.

Well, that’s how racists think, and academia is a cesspit of racism. Plus:

The process of indoctrination starts early. My six-year-old son stunned his parents the other day when we asked what he had been studying at school. He replied that they had been finding out about the life of Martin Luther King Jr. “What did you learn?” I asked. “That most white people are bad,” he replied.

This is America in 2018.

You want more Trump? This is how you get more Trump.

HOLLY SCHEER: Hillary Clinton Apparently Still Has No Clue Why She Lost.

Clinton compared herself to the mother of the country, trying to enforce something wholesome that the children aren’t fond of. She said, “She ran the presidential campaign like a mother who was telling the kids to eat spinach because it was good for health while the other guy was asking them to go eat fast food and have ice-cream,” India Today reported. Clinton may not have realized it, but this also sheds a lot of light on how she sees the average American. She views them as short sighted, more interested in junk than substance, and in her words, they’re “backwards.”

Clinton reduced huge populations that voted for and against her to caricatures, by describing them as: “optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward, and his whole campaign ‘Make America Great Again’ was looking backwards. You know, you didn’t like black people getting rights, you don’t like women, you know, getting jobs, you don’t want it, you know, see that Indian-American succeeding more than you are. Whatever your problem is, I’m going to solve it.”

She traveled overseas to talk poorly about Americans, instead of building up the people that she campaigned to represent. Rural America is dealing with a host of serious issues, including poverty, joblessness, an opioid epidemic, a staggering suicide rate, and she doesn’t touch on any of these problems or offer possibly solutions.

When Trump speaks openly of “shithole” countries, he’s talking about Third World countries which could accurately be described that way. When Clinton implies that there are shithole countries, she’s referring to the vast interior of America.

EVERGREEN HEADLINE: Legacy Media Even Weirder Than We Thought.

Plus an explanation for Trump referring to NBC’s Chuck Todd as “sleepy-eyed son of a bitch:”

In an interview with a combative Chuck Todd, Leo Gerard, President of the United Steelworks, praised the effect of President Trump’s newly proclaimed tariffs would have on the U.S. steel market. Gerard praised Trump for making it clear he is going to “tackle trade deficits” which he called a “wealth transfer” because they are “taking good jobs away.”

Gerard said Trump was able to “see the steelworker agenda” and “he’s going to have a major impact on our members” with what he has done.

NBC’s Chuck Todd argued that while there are some countries where there is trade deficits but there is a “national security component” because “we’re exporting values” like democracy to make a financial ally. Gerard said he doesn’t understand his point because these countries aren’t dumping unemployment on the economy when they dump steel in the U.S.

* * * * * * * *

Let me break this Chuck Todd thing down for you people. Chuck was not so nice and, frankly, was more than a little condescending to Leo Gerard of the Steelworkers. Steelworkers get angry… Trump calls Chuck Todd a “sleepy-eyed son of a bitch” and… steelworkers laugh. Get it?

What does NBC have against American steelworkers? The Washington Free Beacon spotted MSNBC’s Ali Velshi smugly patronizing a steelworker on Friday: “You don’t want your son being a steel worker I assume.

YOUTUBE: The Great Radicalizer.

At one point during the 2016 presidential election campaign, I watched a bunch of videos of Donald Trump rallies on YouTube. I was writing an article about his appeal to his voter base and wanted to confirm a few quotations.

Soon I noticed something peculiar. YouTube started to recommend and “autoplay” videos for me that featured white supremacist rants, Holocaust denials and other disturbing content.

Since I was not in the habit of watching extreme right-wing fare on YouTube, I was curious whether this was an exclusively right-wing phenomenon. So I created another YouTube account and started watching videos of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, letting YouTube’s recommender algorithm take me wherever it would.

Before long, I was being directed to videos of a leftish conspiratorial cast, including arguments about the existence of secret government agencies and allegations that the United States government was behind the attacks of Sept. 11. As with the Trump videos, YouTube was recommending content that was more and more extreme than the mainstream political fare I had started with.

Intrigued, I experimented with nonpolitical topics. The same basic pattern emerged. Videos about vegetarianism led to videos about veganism. Videos about jogging led to videos about running ultramarathons. . . . The Wall Street Journal conducted an investigation of YouTube content with the help of Mr. Chaslot. It found that YouTube often “fed far-right or far-left videos to users who watched relatively mainstream news sources,” and that such extremist tendencies were evident with a wide variety of material. If you searched for information on the flu vaccine, you were recommended anti-vaccination conspiracy videos.

Related: Social Media As Social Disease.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

Shot: Meghan McCain, Meredith Vieira to join health conference in Vatican City:

“The View” co-host Meghan McCain and former co-host Meredith Vieira are heading to Vatican City to honor their loved ones, and their fight against disease, at an international conference that will focus on hope for better and more effective health care around the world.

Leading scientists, patients, families, religious leaders, government representatives and more from across the globe will join The Cura Foundation’s Unite to Cure event to discuss the latest innovations and research that will prevent and treat disease.

At the conference, which will be held from April 26 to 28, Pope Francis is expected to receive participants.

“I’m honored to be part of this event,” McCain said on “The View” today.

Vieira attended the conference once before with her husband, Richard Cohen, saying, “It’s going to be an amazing experience … it gave Richard tremendous hope.”

—ABC News, yesterday.

Chaser: View’s Behar, Hostin Mock Pence as ‘Dangerous’ Christian With ‘Mental Illness:’

[Sunny] Hostin, who identifies as Catholic, called Pence’s Christianity “dangerous:”

When you have a Mike Pence who now puts this religious veneer on things and who calls people values voters, I think we’re this a dangerous situation. Look I’m Catholic. I’m a faithful person, but I don’t know that I want my vice president, um — speaking in tongues and having Jesus speak to him.

While Joy Behar decided to mock Pence instead, suggesting he had a “mental illness.”

“Like I said before, it’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you,” she warned.

Hostin agreed as the audience clapped. “Exactly. That’s different!” she gushed.

“That’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct. Hearing voices,” Behar quipped.

Guest host Sherri Shepherd added to the mockery, saying, “What concerns me is how long is the conversation with Jesus…anything that’s too much is concerning.”

NewsBusters, February 13.

Want more Trump? Trashing a huge chunk of your viewers as mentally ill for being practicing Christians will get you more Trump.

 

IF DEMOCRATS AND THE PRESS — BUT I REPEAT MYSELF — WANT TO MAKE 2018 ABOUT GUN CONTROL, WELL, OKAY. As Expected, Trump’s Visit To A Florida Hospital Was Criticized By The Media.

Related: Fake News: Liberals Try To Claim Florida Shooter Was “Trained By The NRA.” “What was the NRA doing hanging around at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School? Well… it turns out they weren’t. Those headlines are a bit more overblown than the way the Associated Press describes the situation, which is at least a bit more honest. The ‘rifle team’ in question was actually a marksmanship program. And it wasn’t run by the NRA, but by the Army Junior ROTC. And the “rifles” were air-powered pellet guns. They did, however, receive a grant to operate the program and purchase equipment.”

No one cares when the press tries its “have you no decency?” schtick, because the press so clearly has none of its own.

Also related: Why Didn’t Democrats Pass Gun Control When They Controlled Congress In Obama’s First Term? Because they didn’t want it to be Obama’s only term.

ANDREW KLAVAN: The Left Is Reaping the Whirlwind of the Culture They Made.

I am a First Amendment purist and don’t want to see expression censored in any way. And I don’t argue that there’s a straight line between any specific cultural creation and bad acts. But surely, a culture in which those in authority approve of and argue for things like gangsta rap and GTA — and indeed for the use of violence to silence speech that offends them — well, such a culture becomes a machine for transforming madness into murder.

It reminds me of some wisdom from another two sheriffs, the fictional sheriffs from the Coen Brothers movie of Cormac McCarthy’s novel No Country for Old Men discussing the mindless violence that has taken over society.

“Once you stop hearing ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’ the rest is soon to follow,” says one.
“It’s the tide, the dismal tide,” says the other. “It’s not the one thing.”

The left wants to defend gangstas and “transgressive” art and antifa thugs — but when the shooting starts, they blame the guns.

The left wants to get rid of feminine modesty and masculine protectiveness and social restrictions on sex — but when the abuse and rape and harassment rise to the surface, they start whining about toxic manhood. Perhaps they should have listened to the Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton, who wrote about the difference between reforming society and deforming it — a passage that was neatly paraphrased by John F. Kennedy: “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.”

At a more amusing level, they can’t figure out why they can’t get traction against Trump with scandals that would have worked three decades ago. Whatever could have happened in the interim?

THINGS YOU RUN ACROSS DOING RESEARCH: I’m working on a few essays (more about that soon) and wanted to pull together a list of US efforts to influence or “meddle” (the non-legal legal word du jour) in foreign elections. Of course, anyone with a sense of 20th Century history ought to know this, but obviously our intellectual betters discussing the Mueller indictments seem to conveniently forget this episode of American history.

That said, I thought I would share this little nugget from 2016 — long before Trump allegedly “colluded” with anyone but a porn star: “In unearthed 2006 audio, Clinton appears to suggest rigging the Palestine election.” According to The Week, the Most Qualified Candidate Ever said, regarding Palestinian elections:

“And if we were going to push for an election,” Clinton went on, “then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win.”

I suppose it always depends on whose Gore is being oxed.

PAUL BOLYARD: A few thoughts on Mitt Romney running for Senate from his perch in Utah.

If you want Trump’s agenda to succeed (and that’s what it’s all about, right?) the GOP is going to need that Republican vote from Utah. We simply cannot afford another debacle like we saw in Alabama. Mitt is still wildly popular in Utah, and he’ll have the money and skillz to beat whatever upstart Roy Moore type the Bannonites throw at him. And then he’ll beat whatever sacrificial scrub the Democrats send to the plate.

A protracted mini-war along the way doesn’t help our side and will just give the Democrat-Media Complex more ammo to use against us in future wars. Think long and hard before you put that lighter to your hair.

Read the whole thing.

ABOUT THAT BLUE WAVE… The collapse of Democrats’ popularity on the much-ballyhooed generic ballot foreshadows tough midterm elections for them in November.

New polling shows that Democrats have lost their recent 15-point lead over Republicans, dropping to only a two-point lead for a critical election they had hoped to paint as a referendum on President Trump and writ large, Republicans.

However, historically speaking, the news is more daunting for Democrats. Compared to where they stood in the 2014 midterm elections, Democrats are actually faring worse at this point than they were then.

In the 2014 midterms, Democrats were ahead on the generic ballot by an impressive eight points most of the year. However their lead eventually vanished, and Republicans ultimately trounced them at the ballot box, retook the U.S. Senate and won a big majority of seats in the House of Representatives.

By comparison, Democrats’ current poll numbers also rate worse than their generic ballot ranking in the 2010 midterms.

If you want to make a difference, as Glenn as been urging lately, step away from the keyboard and volunteer for a local campaign.

COLLUSION: FBI lovers’ latest text messages: Obama ‘wants to know everything.’

Newly revealed text messages between FBI paramours Peter Strzok and Lisa Page include an exchange about preparing talking points for then-FBI Director James Comey to give to President Obama, who wanted “to know everything we’re doing.”

The message, from Page to Strzok, was among thousands of texts between the lovers reviewed by Fox News. The pair both worked at one point for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Page wrote to Strzok on Sept. 2, 2016, about prepping Comey because “potus wants to know everything we’re doing.” According to a newly released Senate report, this text raises questions about Obama’s personal involvement in the Clinton email investigation.

This whole thing stinks to high heaven. Plus:

Among the newly disclosed texts, Strzok also calls Virginians who voted against then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s wife for a state Senate seat “ignorant hillbillys.” (sic)

That text came from Strzok to Page on Nov. 4, 2015, the day after Jill McCabe lost a hotly contested Virginia state Senate election. Strzok said of the result, “Disappointing, but look at the district map. Loudon is being gentrified, but it’s still largely ignorant hillbillys. Good for her for running, but curious if she’s energized or never again.”

Your tax dollars at work.

UPDATE: Full report here.

SALENA ZITO: There aren’t two Americas. There are hundreds. Can they get along?

We are parochial by birth; we love our neighborhoods and towns, our sports teams and our schools, as well as churches, county fairs, local music, and parish festivals.

No matter what the subject is, we brag ours is better than yours, maybe put on our team jersey’s and crow about it, but for the most part it is all done in good nature. We find a way to come together on some cultural touchtone and we continue on with our lives.

“It is a shame that politics cannot adopt that same robust competitive nature, that doesn’t end with a conniption,” said one building manager, after watching the State of the Union address last week.

“You know, disagree on some things, but show a little respect when it comes to other things,” he said.

He was adamant in not wanting to give his real name. “Just use ‘Derek,'” he says shaking his head, “because I see what happens on social media if you express a thought.”

“Yeah, no thank you,” he quipped. He is part of the fabric of the country who doesn’t live and die by tribal politics.

Derek, who is African-American, said he was disappointed last week in the members of Congress when they sat on their hands during the State of the Union address on several fronts. “And what was going on there when the president noted the dive in black unemployment, and they all sat on their hands and rolled their eyes?”

“Man, I don’t get Washington. I didn’t vote for Trump, but I accepted him as the president and honestly, under his policies, I have more money in paycheck,” he said.

Read the whole thing.

A QUESTION FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES: Does the word “Caucasity” — used in the NYT today — express the idea of whiteness as a problem? Here’s the passage in question: “The audience begins to clap as well as its overwhelming Caucasity will allow.”

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

BYRON YORK: On immigration, Trump goes for it all.

Back in 2015, before the presidential primaries began, a voter asked candidate Donald Trump if he believed compromise should be part of politics.

“Compromise is not a bad word to me,” Trump answered. “But if you are going to compromise, ask for about three times more than you want. You understand? So when you compromise, you get what you want.”

Now, President Trump is engaged in delicate negotiations with Congress over immigration. And he has come up with a deal. On one hand, he’s making a big offer to Democrats: legal status for 1.8 million people in the country illegally, which is more than the 800,000 or so covered by former President Barack Obama’s old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA — plus a path to citizenship for all of them.

In return, Trump is making a big ask: A fully-funded border wall, strong limits on chain migration, and an end to the visa lottery.

The questions for Democrats: Is Trump asking for three times more than he wants? Can his position be negotiated down? Or is this the deal they should take?

This stuff can be a real art.

DEMOCRATS: TRUMP IS SO DIVISIVE! Trump:

The United States is a compassionate nation. We are proud that we do more than any other country to help the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all over the world. But as President of the United States, my highest loyalty, my greatest compassion, and my constant concern is for America’s children, America’s struggling workers, and America’s forgotten communities. I want our youth to grow up to achieve great things. I want our poor to have their chance to rise.

So tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties — Democrats and Republicans — to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed. My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans — to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are dreamers too.

Related:

2018 GRAMMYS HAD THE LOWEST RATINGS EVER AS AWARD SHOW TURNS POLITICAL:

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the CBS telecast was down a staggering 21% from 2017 — potentially an all time low.

This mirrors the slide in NFL ratings that several surveys have attributed to players’ decisions to kneel during games.

“Virtue signaling is tricky business, especially for an entertainment world trying to be holier-than-thou,” Nick Gillespie writes at Reason, wondering why “Grammys Have Time for Hillary Clinton, But Not Lorde, To Perform?

Let’s assume that the Grammys, like the Olympics, the Oscars, the NFL, and other 20th-century televised institutions, no longer command attention and interest the way they used to. It’s less because of politicization and more simply because audiences have more and more freedom to go elsewhere. (In the case of the Olympics, the loss of audience is precisely because of de-politicization: the end of the Cold War robbed every archery and ski jump contest of specifically political interest.) The more important question for me is whether consumers of art, culture, sports, and entertainment are more or less able to access the fare we want. To borrow the pretzel logic of multiple Grammy-winning band Steely Dan, any major dude with half a heart will tell you, my friend, any minor world that breaks apart falls together again. Music has never been more accessible and varied than it is today. While the “rock star” archetype may well be dead as a meaningful cultural touchstone, there’s more stuff to listen to in any possible genre you can imagine. If the Grammys and boring old fare like it must die for entertainment to live, well, that’s the sort of grave I’m happy to dance on.

* * * * * * * *

Which isn’t to say that the Grammys didn’t go out of its way to bother the majority of Americans who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. For a show that didn’t make time for popular (and political!) artist Lorde to perform despite her being up for the prestigious “album of the year” award, the Grammys still found time to run an explicitly anti–Donald Trump sketch featuring Hillary Clinton reading from Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury. Because when you’ve got a roomful of musical talent, what you really want to see is a failed politician who spent a good amount of her time in power railing against pop culture.

As with most of broadcast television, the Grammys have been heading slowly south in the ratings for ages. Their recent hyper-politicization aligns perfectly with Robert Tracinski’s theory regarding the hard left bias of the network late night TV hosts – it’s the best way for the Grammys, and the network that hosts it, to keep what’s left of a inexorably shrinking audience.

ALICE STEWART: On shutdown, Democrats have a lot of explaining to do.

Chuck Schumer blames the GOP generally and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell specifically, saying the Democrats are happy to compromise, but “we will not be bullied.”

The reality is that Democrats chose protections for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients over funding the government. They will have to explain that to the American people.

The fact is that, while there is tremendous support for protecting Dreamers, 56% of Americans, according to a recent CNN poll, said approving a budget to avoid a shutdown was more important than continuing DACA. Thirty-four percent thought renewing DACA was more important than preventing a shutdown.

President Trump has been clear on his goal for dealing with immigration. Along with a DACA fix, he wants increased security at the border, an end to chain migration, and an end to the visa lottery program.

With that in mind, Congress should have addressed first things first: fund the government now and address DACA by its March deadline. It’s shameful that our military and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will suffer due to the reality show known as Congress.

But if the GOP can’t get the Democrats to pay a political price, then you can expect more of the same.

THIS STINKS TO HIGH HEAVEN: FBI ‘Failed To Preserve’ Five Months Of Text Messages Between Anti-Trump FBI Agents.

The FBI “failed to preserve” five months worth of text messages exchanged between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the two FBI employees who made pro-Clinton and anti-Trump comments while working on the Clinton email and the Russia collusion investigations.

The disclosure was made Friday in a letter sent by the Justice Department to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC).

“The Department wants to bring to your attention that the FBI’s technical system for retaining text messages sent and received on FBI mobile devices failed to preserve text messages for Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page,” Stephen Boyd, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs at the Justice Department, wrote to Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of HSGAC. (RELATED: FBI Agents Discussed ‘Insurance Policy’ Against Trump Win)

He said that texts are missing for the period between Dec. 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017.

There have been so many episodes like this where crucial evidence is “lost” that I don’t believe any of it anymore.

Related: NSA erased surveillance data related to pending lawsuits: Report.

Surveillance data the National Security Agency vowed to preserve related to pending lawsuits has been erased, and the agency did not take several precautions it told a federal court it would take to ensure the data did not get deleted, court filings reveal.

Top NSA officials should be jailed for contempt. But they won’t because the law is for the little people.

MORE FAKE NEWS? GOP senator: Trump did not make ‘s—hole’ comment.

Republican Sen. David Perdue (Ga.) on Sunday said President Trump did not use the word “shithole” to refer to some African nations, Haiti and El Salvador during a White House meeting with lawmakers.

During an interview on ABC’s “Meet the Press,” Perdue said the comment attributed to the president in The Washington Post is a “gross misrepresentation.”

“I’m telling you he did not use that word, George. And I’m telling you it’s a gross misrepresentation. How many times do you want me to say that?” Perdue said after host George Stephanopoulos pressed him for an answer.

If the reports were true, they were a breach of confidence regarding a private meeting. If they’re false, they’re something worse. Either way, how can Trump feel he’s dealing with Democrats on immigration in good faith, if they’re willing to either breach confidence or lie?

Related: DHS secretary on Trump’s ‘s—hole’ comments: ‘I don’t recall him saying that exact phrase.’

NOBODY’S SURPRISED HERE, ARE THEY? Son of Dem Congressman: Coming Out As A Republican To My Democrat Family Went Worse Than Coming Out Gay.

The irony of this apparent intolerance for diversity of thought by the party claiming to champion the rights of groups underserved by the status quo was not lost on me.

For the first time in my progressive life, standing up for the values that I most strongly espouse—truth, morality, self-reliance, boundaries, tolerance, and a healthy dose of Jewish skepticism—was damaging my reputation and character. When I publicly opposed my dad’s support of the Iran deal, I was admonished. I had few friends with whom I could have a civil political conversation: one stopped all communication with me for two weeks because Trump won the presidency.

If Republicans are bad, Trump is nothing less than Satan embodied. Post-election family gatherings devolved into group Trump-bashing, which intensified as more rumors of my dubious views wafted across town. I did not even bother going to gay pride because it was fused with a Resist march. If you do not want to impeach our president, you have no place in gay life.

I was labeled a white supremacist by a friend I’ve known my entire life, and completely dropped with no explanation by another dear friend and self-anointed giant of the gay civil rights movement to whom my father had introduced me 15 years ago.

Hypothesis: Lefties act this way because they’re awful people.

THE LEFTIES AT THE INTERCEPT ARE NOT AMUSED: Oprah Winfrey for President: Have We All Gone Bonkers?

I’m old enough to remember when liberals gave a damn about experience, qualifications, and judgement; when Democrats mocked the idea of Trump — a former reality TV star and property developer who struggled to tell the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah — running for the presidency.

On the campaign trail, former President Barack Obama blasted Trump as “uniquely unqualified,” lacking in “basic knowledge” and “woefully unprepared” to do the job of commander-in-chief. In stark contrast, he argued, there had “never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.”

Well, when you finish up with a lie like that, people may disbelieve the other stuff, too. And since — judging from the economy, unemployment, foreign relations, judges, regulation cuts, etc. — Trump is doing a much better job than the allegedly-credentialed Obama, people might want to take a flyer on another outsider.

WAGES OF POSTMODERNISM: Michael Wolff to MSNBC anchor on his book: “If it rings true, it is true.”

“If it rings true, it is true” may be the most Orwellian defense of slovenly reporting since the immortal “fake but accurate” line from the Rathergate days. This isn’t the way journalistic ethics are supposed to work, gasps an exasperated Haley Byrd of the Weekly Standard. It is if you want to sell a million copies, I guess. In fact, “if it rings true, it is true” is about as perfect a summation as you could ask for of the concept of confirmation bias. If you already hate Trump, the mix of fact, rumor, and third-hand smear in Wolff’s book, all relentlessly damning of the White House, is a political banana split with extra hot fudge. Nothing that tastes this good could possibly be bad for you!

And as Allahpundit quips, Wolff is “the second person in a hot media spotlight in less than 24 hours to casually undermine the idea of objective truth. The other, of course, was the 46th president of the United States.”

Heh.Ben Shapiro reminds Oprah that “There is no such thing as ‘your truth.’ There is the truth and your opinion.” But then, they don’t call Oprah “the pope of American gnosticism” for nothing.

On Friday, it was announced that the first guest on David Letterman’s upcoming Netflix series will be former President Obama.

But of course – there’s no reason why America’s first postmodernist talk show host should be joined by America’s most prominent postmodern former president. (Bill Clinton was the first of course, arguing over the meaning of “is” in 1998 to save his hide during the impeachment hearings. But his equivocating over a verb didn’t directly impact millions of Americans the same way that Obama’s fables did.)

In his recent book Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night, author Jason Zinoman wrote:

In May 1985, Esquire magazine published an essay by a twenty-three-year-old Yale graduate named David Leavitt, who set out to do nothing less than explain his generation. It belonged to a long, dubious journalistic tradition in which a major media outlet sums up young people for its readers, using an envoy from their tribe. These stories follow a certain script: Mix some reported anecdotes with a few references to politics and pop culture trends, add a tone of alarm, and then draw a sweeping conclusion about wildly different groups of young people. The piece’s title: “The New Lost Generation.”

Leavitt argued that those coming of age in the Reagan era saw the idealism of the 1960s vanish and substituted a cynical and steely veneer. They sighed at political activism and rolled their eyes at passion and engagement. Unlike the hopeful kids from past decades, they were not marked by a particular cause to fight for. They were more likely to find all of politics contemptuous. What united them was a jaded outlook about not just politics but even the nature of honesty itself. “We are determined to make sure everyone knows that what we say might not be what we mean,” Leavitt wrote, building to a crescendo: “The voice of my generation is the voice of David Letterman.”

* * * * * * * *

Late Night had not become as popular as The Tonight Show, an impossibility, considering their respective time slots, but its cultural impact had surpassed it. By the middle of the decade, Letterman was the rare host who stood for something bigger than a television show. He was increasingly mentioned as the talk-show avatar of postmodernism, a movement marked by self-awareness and challenges to dominant narratives that was then shifting from academia to the mainstream press. He became the host who didn’t believe in hosting, a truth-teller whose sarcasm rendered everything he said suspect, a mocking challenge to anyone who pretended to take the ridiculous world seriously. Letterman became the face of an ironic sensibility that permeated comedy, television, and popular culture.

Andrew Breitbart famously said that “politics is downstream from culture.” In the 1980s, Letterman’s postmodernism made for fascinating and often wryly amusing late night television. But as Obama, and multiple DNC-MSM outlets have proven, it’s a lousy way to run a country or “report” its news. And of course, all of its worst practitioners are still clueless as to how they got Trumped.

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL: The Democrats’ ‘Russian Descent:’ Tactics in the Trump probe are starting to look a lot like McCarthyism.

Democrats have spent weeks making the case that the Russia-Trump probes need to continue, piling on demands for more witnesses and documents. So desperate is the left to keep this Trump cudgel to hand that Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats have moved toward neo- McCarthyism.

If that sounds hyperbolic, consider an email recently disclosed by the Young Turks Network, a progressive YouTube news channel. It’s dated Dec. 19, 2017, and its author is April Doss, senior counsel for the committee’s Democrats, including Vice Chairman Mark Warner.

Ms. Doss was writing to Robert Barnes, an attorney for Charles C. Johnson, the controversial and unpleasant alt-right blogger. Mr. Johnson’s interactions with Julian Assange inspired some in the media to speculate last year that Mr. Johnson had served as a back channel between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks. There’s still no proof, but in July the Intelligence Committee sent a letter requesting Mr. Johnson submit to them any documents, emails, texts or the like related to “any communications with Russian persons” in a variety of 2016 circumstances, including those related to “the 2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign.”

Mr. Barnes seems to have wanted clarification from Ms. Doss about the definition of “Russian persons.” And this would make sense, since it’s a loose term. Russians in Russia? Russians in America? Russians with business in the country? Russians who lobby the U.S. and might be affected by the election—though not in contact with campaigns?

Ms. Doss’s response was more sweeping than any of these: “The provision we discussed narrowing was clarifying that the phrase ‘Russian persons’ in [the committee letter] may be read to refer to persons that Mr. Johnson knows or has reason to believe are of Russian nationality or descent” (emphasis added).

Well, to be fair, it was the Democrats who imprisoned people in concentration camps simply for being of Japanese descent, so at least they’re consistent.

THEY TOLD ME IF A REPUBLICAN WERE ELECTED PRESIDENT, THE SEX POLICE WOULD BE INTRUDING INTO EVERYONE’S LIVES. AND THEY WERE RIGHT!

A source says, “Romantic relationships at work are not exactly unusual, but now NBC says it is taking a zero-tolerance approach. Staffers have been told that if they find out about any affairs, romances, inappropriate relationships or behavior in the office, they have to report it to human resources, their superior or the company anti-harassment phone line. Staffers are shocked that they are now expected to snitch on their friends.

“Plus, there’s been a series of ridiculous rules issued on other office conduct. One rule relates to hugging. If you wish to hug a colleague, you have to do a quick hug, then an immediate release, and step away to avoid body contact.

“Also there’s strict rules about socializing, including [not] sharing taxis home and [not] taking vegans to steakhouses.”

As I keep noticing, it’s amazing how the sex-harassment torpedo the Dems aimed at Trump has circled back around on them.

And, further demoralizing Trump’s enemies, is this reality:

The problem at NBC News wasn’t that people didn’t know, it’s that people who knew and should have done something didn’t. They didn’t because Lauer was a star with the power to damage almost anyone who represented a threat to him. No one wanted to take a shot at Lauer because there was a good chance you would end up fired and he’d remain untouched. That’s the same problem people at the Weinstein Company had. Everyone knew about Harvey but no one could afford to take him on.

The problem with procedural rules to deal with sexual harassment and abuse is that the rules are most likely to be applied in an unforgiving fashion to people low on the totem pole while they are applied sparingly if at all to the people most likely to see the harassment as a kind of office perk. You’ll know these rules actually mean something when another A-list host at NBC gets written up for violating the hug policy. My guess: It will never happen.

Yep. It’s all bullshit. As I predicted a while back, the end result of all this #metoo stuff is more HR seminars for powerless males, while the Matt Lauers continue to do what they want, until they’re disposable.

JORGE RAMOS MAKES HIS CONTRIBUTION TO THE 2020 TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Jorge Ramos Says He’s Now Having the ‘Worst Time’ of His Life in U.S. And note this:

Nearly a year into the Trump presidency, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos says he’s experiencing “the worst moment I’ve had in the 34 years I’ve been living in the United States.”

“With Donald Trump there, I have never been treated so badly. I have never been insulted so much. We’ve never been attacked so much, nor have they tried to run us out as much as now,” Ramos vented in an interview with the Spanish radio network Cadena SER.

Ramos, who proclaimed himself “if not an enemy, an opponent” of Trump in the interview, complained about the massive blowback he has received since deciding to use his media platforms to openly oppose the choice of over 62 million American voters in last year’s U.S. presidential election.

“Now the social media networks are terrible,” Ramos told his Spanish radio interviewer, Javier del Pino. “Before if someone wanted to insult you, they had to do it in person or by sending you an anonymous letter. Now they do it through the social media networks and the daily insults – you can enter my Facebook or Twitter and they are there all the time,” lamented Ramos.

How dare you peons speak with me – I’m a reporter!

Flashback: Stelter, Tur clash with Jorge Ramos on being ‘Stand-Ins for Democrats:’

At a recent National Press Club panel on the current state of the U.S. news media, the fireworks really erupted when Ramos objected to a statement made by Tur, in which she basically exhorted journalists to uphold core journalistic standards.

KATY TUR, CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: Continue to report on the facts. Be as fair as you possibly can be. Be partial to the truth, and don’t be alarmist when it’s unnecessary.

JORGE RAMOS, SENIOR NEWS ANCHOR, UNIVISION: May I, uh, disagree?

After interrupting Tur for apparently advocating a much too orthodox approach to the practice of the profession, Ramos proceeded to urge the attendees at the National Press Club event to favor instead his ‘holy war’ approach to covering Trump.

JORGE RAMOS, SENIOR NEWS ANCHOR, UNIVISION: Our position, I think, has to be much more aggressive. And we should not expect the Democrats to do that job. It is our job. If we don’t question the president, if we don’t question his lies, if we don’t do it, who is gonna do it? It’s an uncomfortable position…

BRIAN STELTER, HOST, CNN’S RELIABLE SOURCES: You’re almost saying we’re a stand-in for the Democrats.

“Almost.” Just think of them as Democrat operatives with bylines (and in Ramos’ case, a daughter who was employed by the Hillary campaign) and it all makes sense.

Who want to aggressively “question the president…question his lies,” but dive for the fainting couch when their viewers return the favor.

WHY DO YOU THINK? So why’s China setting up shop in the Caribbean?

Monica Showalter:

According to a front-page above-above-the-fold report in yesterday’s South China Morning Post, the extensive plan is a clear bid to increase the Asian superpower’s “influence” in the region. The Post reports:

Beijing’s blueprint envisions the construction of massive infrastructure projects in the small tropical nation, which has a population of about 100,000. They include the construction of a highway connecting the major towns on its main island, which is about four times the size of Hong Kong Island, and a railway line encircling it. The plan also calls for the building of deepwater ports that could accommodate a large number of cruise and cargo ships, a large wind farm to replace diesel-fuelled generators and a modernised airport with more, longer runways. It also sees a future for Grenada as an offshore tax haven for foreign companies or individuals.

And we suppose China will claim it wants nothing in return…

What this is really about is a likely retaliation for the U.S.’s attempt to reassert its naval presence in the South China Sea, standing up for and reassuring our democratic allies in Southeast Asia, most of which rim the South China Sea. Up until President Trump took command, China had been brazenly seeking to extend influence there, building illegal atolls for military purposes in the area, much to these countries’ dismay.

Now that the U.S. is back, China is back, this time seeking to set up a foothold in the U.S.’s traditional sea of influence, the Caribbean.

If President Trump were to make a pointed speech reasserting the Monroe Doctrine, would there be more heads spinning in Beijing — or at the State Department?

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIALIZES: The FBI’s Trump ‘Insurance:’ More troubling evidence of election meddling at the bureau.

Democrats and the media are accusing anyone who criticizes special counsel Robert Mueller as Trumpian conspirators trying to undermine his probe. But who needs critics when Mr. Mueller’s team is doing so much to undermine its own credibility?

Wednesday’s revelations—they’re coming almost daily—include the Justice Department’s release of 2016 text messages to and from Peter Strzok, the FBI counterintelligence agent whom Mr. Mueller demoted this summer. The texts, which he exchanged with senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page, contain expletive-laced tirades against Mr. Trump. Such Trump hatred is no surprise and not by itself disqualifying. More troubling are texts that suggest that some FBI officials may have gone beyond antipathy to anti-Trump plotting.

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office—that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected—but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Mr. Strzok wrote Ms. Page in an Aug. 15, 2016 text. He added: “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

What “policy” would that be? The “Andy” in question is Andrew McCabe, the deputy FBI director. FBI officials are allowed to have political opinions, but what kind of action were they discussing that would amount to anti-Trump “insurance”?

In another exchange that month, Ms. Page forwarded a Trump-related article and wrote: “Maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace.” He thanked her and assured: “Of course I’ll try and approach it that way.” Mr. Strzok, recall, is the man who changed the words “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless” in James Comey’s July 2016 public exoneration of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

The McCabe meeting came on the heels of the FBI’s launch of its counterintelligence probe into Trump-Russia ties. July is also when former British spook Christopher Steele briefed the FBI on his Clinton-financed dossier of salacious allegations against Mr. Trump. The texts explain why Mr. Mueller would remove Mr. Strzok, though a straight shooter wouldn’t typically resist turning those messages over to Congress for as long as Mr. Mueller did.

Meanwhile, we’re learning more about the political motives of Mr. Mueller’s lieutenant, Andrew Weissmann.

Related: Fusion DOJ: It’s getting hard to tell where the Clinton campaign ends and the federal law enforcement apparatus begins.

Is animus toward President Donald Trump a prerequisite for landing a job with special counsel Robert Mueller ? Recent revelations in Washington also raise again the question of what former President Barack Obama knew about the decisions of his FBI Director James Comey to exonerate Hillary Clinton and investigate Mr. Trump in 2016. . . .

Mr. Trump does not have to be paranoid to believe that the indigenous creatures of the Beltway swamp are out to get him. A number of them have put it in writing. This column can only imagine what the two political lawyers Ms. Page and Mr. Strzok said about Mr. Trump when they weren’t creating electronic records of their conversations.

Plus: Why did a federal judge overseeing a major Fusion GPS court case never disclose that she worked for multiple firms that hired Fusion GPS?

BYRON YORK: After mysterious ‘insurance policy’ text, will Justice Department reveal more on FBI agent bounced from Mueller probe?

Yes, the release of texts sent between top FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page show that both loathed Donald Trump while they were working on investigations involving Trump as a presidential candidate and later as president. Of course, lots of federal employees loathe Trump. It would be hard for all of them to recuse themselves from government matters, although it is probably not a great idea to have them play key roles in high-stakes probes that could have a momentous effect on the presidency.

More troubling, in the set of texts released Tuesday night, is a single message, from Strzok to Page, dated Aug. 15, 2016. Here is what it said:

I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40….

What does that mean? “Andy” apparently refers to FBI No. 2 Andrew McCabe, who was overseeing the bureau’s Trump investigation. “He” apparently refers to Trump. And “insurance policy” apparently refers to…well, it is not known what that refers to. Actually, we don’t know with absolute confidence what any of it refers to.

It’s suspicious. And I’d still like to know whether Lisa Page approved Peter Strzok’s warrant applications to the FISA court. I asked Mueller’s office about that, but they said no comment.

DON’T FORGET THE SECURITY ADVANTAGES: Spread the swamp? Trump administration wants to move government offices out of Washington

Advocates for this idea neglect perhaps its most important aspect, the way it would make the federal government much more resilient in the aftermath of a catastrophic terrorist attack on Washington, D.C., such as a dirty bomb or biological attack on the Metro. Why would you want all of the most important government offices and officials to be concentrated within a few square miles?

MARTHA STEWART JOKED, “I HEAR NBC EXECUTIVES CALL MATT THE ‘COCK OF THE ROCK:’” ‘They all knew’: Media elites roared in laughter at obscene 2008 ‘roast’ sending up Matt Lauer’s office sexcapades.

The 2008 Friars Club roast took place at the New York Hilton and was attended by everyone from future President Donald Trump to TV legend Norman Lear to a constellation of New York’s media elite including Brian Williams, Diane Sawyer, Nancy O’Dell and Howard Stern. Also on hand were numerous top executives from across the business and almost everyone who was anyone at NBC News. Fox News has confirmed many details of the roast with a media executive who attended, and has also drawn on the one contemporaneous account of the roast, which appeared in The Village Voice.

Speaker Martha Stewart joked, “I hear NBC executives call Matt the ‘Cock of the Rock,’” according to The Voice.

Another of the roast’s speakers was current CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker — then the chairman of NBC Universal — who last week adamantly denied that he had any idea about Lauer’s in-office sexcapades.

“It’s just good to see Matt up here and not under my desk,” Zucker said from the podium. “I don’t want to say Matt is a germophobe, but he’s the only guy I know who uses Purell both before and after he masturbates.”

Perhaps the big catch there is Zucker, who has been in full Sgt. Schultz mode during the past week regarding his former employee, including last Thursday when he said, “I’ve known Matt for 25 years and I didn’t know this Matt.” But we’ve been seeing numerous variations of the above article in recent weeks. As Daniel Greenfield writes today at Front Page, “The massive media machine built to smear and steamroll Republicans never bothered to report what everybody on the inside already knew. The wannabe Woodwards and Bernsteins in every paper, news bureau and explainer site weren’t investigating the scandals they already knew about. Those weren’t the scandals they were looking for. That’s why no one trusts them. Hollywood, the media and the Democrats have been preaching to us about sexism and feminism for generations. Meanwhile behind the cameras and the chambers, an assault spree was in progress. And everybody knew.”

QED, these articles, all recent Insta-links:

● Cokie Roberts: Oh, We All Knew to Avoid Getting in an Elevator with Rep. Conyers.

● “Or, to put it another way: More than 20 people in one magazine office alone all had the story about Harvey Weinstein’s ‘mistreatment’ of women. So why didn’t anyone write it? Not to take anything away from Jodi Kantor’s excellent New York Times piece, but the reality is that everyone had the story. The reason no one wrote it is not because the press wanted to get Weinstein, but couldn’t prove the story. No, it’s because the press was protecting Weinstein.”

Charlie Rose, sexual harassment and the female newsroom managers who looked away.

Kevin Spacey is another ‘everyone knew’ — who else does Hollywood know about?

Amazing how many in the political-media-industrial complex “everybody knew,” and couldn’t be bothered telling the public.

BECAUSE “THE RESISTANCE” IS A BUNCH OF CHILDISH JERKS: Why Is the ‘Resistance’ Harassing This Man? FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and his family endure a season of hatred.

Speaking of crossing lines, unhinged critics on Twitter have attacked Mr. Pai’s Indian heritage and wished death by AIDS and cancer upon him and his family. Mr. Pai’s Chief of Staff, Matthew Berry, has posted some of the appalling messages.

According to Variety, Mr. Pai’s wife “has received threatening messages at her workplace, according to an FCC source.” April Glaser has more in Slate:

It wasn’t the first time that activists apparently showed up near his home. Menacing, handwritten signs also appeared in Pai’s local neighborhood, including one that named his children and the question, “How will they ever look you in the eye again?” In May, in what appeared to be a coordinated campaign by the advocacy group Popular Resistance, people left flyers on Pai’s neighbors’ doors that included his picture, age, and weight. Unfortunately, such attacks aren’t new to Pai, who has endured a steady stream of racist, lewd, and threatening backlash since April, when he introduced his intention to gut the net neutrality rules. . . .

As irresponsible as such language is, it’s also ridiculous. The resisters are casting as a fundamental free speech right what was essentially a gift to tech lobbyists. Companies like Netflix, which by some measures generates more than a third of all North American Internet traffic, and Google, which also generates significant traffic via its YouTube video service, didn’t want to pay market rates to companies like Verizon for moving that traffic. Essentially, Silicon Valley wanted to cut its phone bill and it persuaded President Obama to instruct his supposedly independent telecom regulators to make it happen.

They told me if Trump were elected, racist mobs would harass minority members and government officials who were just trying to stand up to corporate looting. And they were right!

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR MORE THINGS TO KEEP YOU UP AT NIGHT: Forget about global warming, North Korea, race relations or giant metal robots who want to steal your medicine. The New Yorker has found a historian/researcher who claims that “that there are probably around two thousand serial killers at large in the U.S.” The Daily Mail summarized the story with a Rogue’s Gallery of serial killers.

This comes two days after Newsweek published a spurious and much-ridiculed article noting that both Charles Manson and Donald Trump “used language” to “attract followers.” Imagine that. If Newsweek really wants to freak out their readership, they should publish a follow-up reporting that there are approximately two thousand Donald Trumps at large in the U.S.

**UPDATE** Newsweek removes reference to Trump, saying that “An earlier version of this story did not meet Newsweek’s editorial standards and has been revised accordingly.” 

**UPDATE 2 ** Newsweek still has original headline up on their Twitter feed…for now.

CONRAD BLACK: Donald Trump Is The Most Successful U.S. President Since Ronald Reagan: “It is too early to predict whether he will be a successful president or not. But no one relying on the Canadian media would be aware that he has more than doubled the economic growth rate, reduced illegal immigration by about 80 per cent, withdrawn from the insane Paris Climate accord, helped add trillions to U.S. stock market values, created nearly two million new jobs, led the rout of ISIL, and gained full Chinese adherence to the unacceptability of North Korean nuclear military capability. He will probably pass the greatest tax cuts and reforms since Reagan, if not Lyndon Johnson, by Christmas, and may throw out the most unpopular feature of Obamacare, the coercive mandate, with it.”

Well, you wouldn’t learn much more from following U.S. media. But for the moment I think Trump is happy to have this stuff going on under the media radar. When he wants it to be news, I suspect he’ll figure out a way to make it news.

AL FRANKEN IS JUST THE BEGINNING:

Consider Joe Biden. A few short weeks ago, the former senator and vice president seemed like he would be a leading contender to win the Democratic nomination for president in 2020 and then the favorite to challenge President Trump’s bid for re-election. But now? Biden’s polling may look good, but he has a history of wandering hands that is simply incompatible with the new normal. He’s a political dead man.

Now think of all the pages and interns and young staffers cycling through all of those offices on Capitol Hill, year after year, decade after decade. And the countless thousands of staffers who’ve passed through the White House and executive branch departments and agencies across Democratic and Republican administrations. And all the Supreme Court clerks and assistants. How long until one of these pages or interns or staffers or clerks or assistants, or dozens of them, or hundreds of them, begin to talk and make credible accusations against leading public figures of both parties?

How many unwanted advances, kisses, gropes, coerced sex acts, and other forms of harassment, abuse, and assault are we likely to learn about?

I suspect far more than any of us can imagine.

Already we know that the House has paid out $15 million over the last 10-15 years to settle sexual harassment allegations. And that is surely just the beginning.

The reckoning is coming. Washington is going to weather an absolute hurricane of sexual abuse allegations and revelations.

In his twitter thread last month on Harvey Weinstein’s career demise, Brian Cates wrote, “What took out Ailes/O’Reilly was so many women coming forward at once. The usual playbook of legal threats/buying them off didn’t work. Watching Ailes & then O’Reilly being suddenly toppled, it COULD be some women in Hollywood realized there was hope.” That could be the key to the coming “reckoning” that Damon Linker predicts at The Week, plus the boost they’ll get from the left as battlefield prep. As Allahpundit wrote in his post at Hot Air on Franken’ accuser not calling for him to step down, “Whatever happens to Franken, between the left’s reawakening to the allegations against Bill Clinton and the certainty that more big-name Democrats will be accused of sexual misconduct before 2020, it’s a cinch that a woman will be on the party’s next presidential ticket. Ironclad guarantee.”

ROGER KIMBALL: I’VE GIVEN UP ON TRUMPISM, BECAUSE THERE’S NO SUCH THING:

Query: why does Max say that the wisdom of America’s voters was “dubious”? For the same reason that Bill Kristol, to take another prominent NeverTrumper, is organizing a Committee Not To Renominate the President. Bill wants to liberate “conservatism from Trumpism.”

But what is the “Trumpism” from which he wishes to liberate us conservatives? Max Boot, Bret Stephens, and other anti-Trump pundits have told us repeatedly that Donald Trump is a “fascist.” What can that mean? They have read their George Orwell. They know as well as anyone that “fascist” in the context of modern American society is simply a term of abuse, a negative epithet impatient people apply to things and people they do not like. In this respect, “fascist” is a lot like “racist” when deployed on college campuses these days.

Donald Trump’s real tort, I believe, was to have somehow gotten himself elected despite the objections and without the permission of people like Max Boot. . . .

While you are waiting for evidence of these claims, Max wants you to know that he thinks “Trump has been utterly incompetent. Even if he wants to achieve more of his agenda, he doesn’t know how to do it.” He is, you see, “ignorant, petulant, unethical, avaricious, conspiratorial, nasty, shameless, bullying, egomaniacal.”

Quite a litany. But what this really means, I think, is that while Donald Trump’s election was supposed to be impossible, it is still utterly unacceptable. The fantasy of “Trumpism” is an expression of that state of affairs. Even before Trump was elected, some academic historians, fired by nostalgia for the radicals of the 1960s and their protests against the Vietnam War, created a group called “Historians Against Trump” to protest the “dangerous ideology of Trumpism.” “The lessons of history,” they intoned, “compel us to speak out against a movement rooted in fear and authoritarianism.”

Where is the fear? Where the authoritarianism?

I believe that one of the great embarrassments confronting the persistent anti- or NeverTrumpers has been, pace Max Boot, the utter failure of their fantasies about Donald Trump to materialize. He was supposed to be a horrible, xenophobic, racist, militaristic cad, but how has he actually governed?

I have several times, in this space and elsewhere, provided periodic reality checks comparing the hysteria of the anti- or NeverTrumpers to Trump’s actual accomplishments. The list of those accomplishments grows longer and more impressive as the months go by.

Read the whole thing.

ROGER KIMBALL: Why I Have Given Up on Trumpism.

Donald Trump’s real tort, I believe, was to have somehow gotten himself elected despite the objections and without the permission of people like Max Boot.

Max confided that he went “to bed late on the evening of Nov. 8, 2016, in a daze, incredulous that my fellow citizens could elect a man so unqualified for the presidency.” The American people really let Max down. And they persist in their outrageous behavior. According to Max, “Trump doesn’t really believe in much beyond his own awesomeness. He didn’t run for office to get anything done; he ran to stoke his own ego and pad his own bank account by increasing his visibility.”

While you are waiting for evidence of these claims, Max wants you to know that he thinks “Trump has been utterly incompetent. Even if he wants to achieve more of his agenda, he doesn’t know how to do it.” He is, you see, “ignorant, petulant, unethical, avaricious, conspiratorial, nasty, shameless, bullying, egomaniacal.”

Quite a litany. But what this really means, I think, is that while Donald Trump’s election was supposed to be impossible, it is still utterly unacceptable. The fantasy of “Trumpism” is an expression of that state of affairs. Even before Trump was elected, some academic historians, fired by nostalgia for the radicals of the 1960s and their protests against the Vietnam War, created a group called “Historians Against Trump” to protest the “dangerous ideology of Trumpism.” “The lessons of history,” they intoned, “compel us to speak out against a movement rooted in fear and authoritarianism.”

Where is the fear? Where the authoritarianism?

The Left projects, always.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: 5 Takeaways On Virginia’s Election Sweep For Democrats.

Here’s one:

Democrats are finally focusing on statehouse races, and this should terrify Republicans. Democrats lost some 958 state legislative seats during the Obama administration. Those years saw a strong federal executive, but very little attention paid to Democrats at the state and local level.

The Washington Post had a story last week that suggested the huge win for Democrats in Virginia was no accident, but the result of a carefully crafted campaign being tested for nationwide rollout:

For a new crop of Democratic groups, Virginia is the opening salvo and a testing ground ahead of what they hope is a wave election in 2018.
Virginia is the first state to hold a competitive contest for governor after Trump moved into the White House, and both parties want to win it — the Democrats as a rebuke of Trump, and the Republicans to show they are not blemished by an unpopular president.

It’s also a purple state where Democrats have been winning statewide since 2009, but Republicans hold 66 of the 100 seats in the House of Delegates. Democrats are running in 54 GOP-held districts this year, and scores of groups — some well-financed, some loosely organized, are looking to leave their mark on those contests.

There’s a Democratic super PAC planning to spend $1 million — with an eye to a bigger goal of raising $100 million to take control of state houses across the country.

An organization founded by wealthy Virginia donors and bankrolled by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur is beta-testing technology to help low-budget campaigns run more efficiently.

Given the success this high-dollar, high-technology strategy yielded, expect to see many more resources applied in a state near you to achieve the same effect.

The Democrats seem to be learning the lessons of 2016. Will the GOP learn the lessons of Virginia 2017?

SALENA ZITO: America still hasn’t recovered from Trump’s shocking win. But what she really means is, Democratic America hasn’t recovered:

There’s still a sharp pain in Sarah Moberly’s gut. The hurt and disbelief she felt watching the presidential election one year ago remains ever-present.

In fact, it has escalated.

“Honestly, I feel absolutely worse today than I did last year and it just keeps getting worse every day,” she told The Post. “The moment that Hillary conceded, it was a feeling of complete doom. That’s the only way I can put it. I went to bed, I put the covers over my head. I woke up the next morning, I put the covers back over my head, and I didn’t want to get out of bed for like a week,” she said. “I kept thinking, this is a dream and that I’d wake up. Nope, that wasn’t a dream that really just happened.”

And compare and contrast:

The table is stacked with comfort food — mashed potatoes, burgers, french fries, eggs and bacon — but it’s offering little solace. Moberly fidgets and can barely make eye contact with the Trump voters, even when they try to engage with her. . . .

Suddenly Moberly turned to Stearns, an insurance agent and female Trump voter, and spoke: “It’s hard for me to look at another woman who voted for him, with the misogyny that has been involved in this whole process. I don’t understand how you voted for him.”

Shrugging, Stearns politely smiled. “I can agree to disagree. I’m one of those kind of people.”

Trump Derangement Syndrome is real, and it’s not improving. And yes, it’s truly derangement:

TRUMP2020 HAS A LOT OF AGENTS INSIDE THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Democrats: Proud to Be the Anti-White, Anti-Male, Anti-Heterosexual Party.

From the comments: “All that just to tell Joe Biden they don’t want him to run? Seems like overkill.”

Related: Rod Dreher: Trump Will Be President Forever. “This mentality exemplified by Madeleine Leader has a lot to do with why, at the end of the day, I’ll end up voting Republican out of pure self-protection, and to protect the job prospects of my children, especially my sons. Good job, Democrats. You are telling straight white people that they are second-class citizens who don’t deserve fairness. You’ll continue to find self-hating liberal whites who are willing to accept this garbage, but many more aren’t falling for it — and know what kind of world Democrats are preparing for them when and if they take power again.”

This will not end well.

DO YOU WANT MORE TRUMP? BECAUSE ARTICLES LIKE THIS ARE HOW YOU GET MORE TRUMP: Let’s Ban Men From Workplaces.

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS TO NO ONE IS ASKING: “NFLers are Protesting During the National Anthem. Here’s Why Cheerleaders Aren’t,” young Democrat operative with a byline Kalhan Rosenblatt writes at NBC. And check out her lede:

Millions of Americans have applauded the NFL players who have taken a knee during the national anthem, but not the women whose job it is to root for the teams — the cheerleaders.

No leftwing bias here! And it’s a somewhat poorly written biased sentence as well — millions of American guys applaud the NFL’s cheerleaders whenever the programming director cuts to a shot of them on the sidelines, whatever the players are doing on the field before or after the game. Of course, what Rosenblatt really wants is the women’s edition of what Allahpundit calls the NFL’s pregame “woke Olympics:”

They have been noticeably absent from the year-long drama that has divided football fans and outraged President Donald Trump and their reasons range from not wanting to undermine the team — to not wanting to lose their prized spot on the squad.

“Definitely the financial compensation isn’t high enough where you’re concerned about paying rent … but certainly if you’re creating waves you could lose your spot,” Danetha Doe, a two-season Indianapolis Colts cheerleader, told NBC News.

Doe remembers when it was rare to find an African-American in the rah-rah ranks and understands why a cheerleader might think twice about joining the players’ protest against the persecution of black people in America.

Ahh, so the NFL is a cesspit of racism as well. OK, yet another reason for fans to tune it out — and why is NBC facilitating it each Sunday night?

According to this 2014 PBS article, NFL cheerleaders earn on average about $100 or so a game…

San Diego Chargers cheerleaders are paid $75 per game, for example. Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders earn around $150 per game, and Baltimore Ravens cheerleaders are paid around $100 per game, according to the Atlantic.

Some cheerleaders employed by NFL teams say the job is not about the money and is more of a hobby. They add the exposure of being an NFL cheerleader can lead to better, more lucrative positions down the line.

…Sure, drag them into the protests as well, NBC.

MORE ON ESPN’S SUSPENSION OF JEMELE HILL:

[ESPN] did not elaborate on her offending tweet, and Hill has not tweeted since 11 a.m. Eastern on Monday. However, on Sunday she suggested fans boycott Cowboys advertisers if they were upset Jerry Jones told his players they would stand for the national anthem or be benched.

“This play always work,” she wrote. “Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about JJ’s statement, boycott his advertisers.”

On Monday, her last tweet read: “Just so we’re clear: I’m not advocating a NFL boycott. But an unfair burden has been put on players in Dallas & Miami w/ anthem directives.”

Hill was in the middle of an ESPN firestorm last month, when the White House called for her firing for calling President Trump a white supremacist on Twitter. ESPN had a sitdown meeting with her, where she apologized for the forum but not the message.

Also this past weekend, “If you had ESPN on your television Saturday morning, you had the privilege of hearing host Michelle Beadle tell all white men to ‘Shut up and listen for five minutes.’” the Daily Caller adds.

Related: Disney, which also owns ESPN (and ABC), owned Miramax from 1993 through 2010, and funded its productions – and thus by extension, Harvey Weinstein’s numerous legal payouts to both direct victims and journalists to spike stories.

What Kurt Schlichter wrote about Hollywood is applicable to its subsidiary corporations: “The hell with Hollywood. It’s all lies, it’s all a pose, it’s all a scam, and we aren’t falling for it. But at least for the first time in a long time, Kimmel and his Tinseltown pals have us laughing again. Just not why they’d hoped.”

Keep all of the above in mind, as the New York Times writes that Disney’s CEO Bob Iger “is emerging as a credible contender in the 2020 presidential speculation game.”

On Twitter, Clay Travis of the Outkick the Coverage sportsblog links to the Times’ article on Iger transforming ESPN into a haven of SJWs who occasionally discuss the infield fly rule and punt formations. “Told y’all it’s all a set up for presidential run,” he adds.

Travis also responds to a tweet from a follower who notes that Hill wants a boycott of, among other corporations, Cowboys sponsor AT&T. AT&T also happens to carry on its subsidiary DirecTV a little-watched public-access cable TV network called — wait what is it — oh yeah, ESPN. “The stupidity is amazing. All the advertisers she wants fans to boycott ADVERTISE ON HER SHOW AND NETWORK!”, Travis writes.

UPDATE: Here’s the tweet that likely earned her suspension.

In their aggregation of responses to Hill’s meltdown, Twitchy spots a tweet from veteran media analyst Howard Kurtz, who writes, “ESPN suspends Jemele Hill for 2 [weeks], not for calling Trump a white supremacist but for urging boycott of Cowboys after owner bars protests.” Or as blogger Drew McCoy writes, “ESPN may love social justice commentary but you start messing with Jerry Jones, the Cowboys, and The Shield…shit’s gonna get real.”

Heh, indeed.™

PENCE DITCHES COLTS GAME AFTER 49ERS PLAYERS KNEEL DURING ANTHEM:

Vice President Pence walked out of the Indianapolis Colts game on Sunday when ​some ​players from the San Francisco 49ers took a knee during the national anthem.

“I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem​,” Pence posted on Twitter. ​

Sure, it was a stunt – Pence had to know that the Niners would kneel, just as they’ve done since Kap first blew-up the NFL last year, and at each game so far this season. But Pence’s message is the correct one – protest your causes all you want during your own free time, not during the national anthem.

In addition to rallying Trump’s base, this will of course ensure that the protests continue, which will further hurt the NFL’s image, alienate fans who just want to watch a game and spend a few hours away from the culture wars, and likely drive ratings further downward.

Or as Ace wrote a few weeks ago: The National Nervous Breakdown, and How to Exploit it Ruthlessly.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): AP: BREAKING: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick tells CBS he’ll stand during national anthem if given chance to play football in NFL again.

MORE (From Ed): AP and CBS walk back this report, with CBS sports journalist Jason La Canfora oddly now claiming that he was going by past statements by Kaepernick, and never discussed the issue with him, despite apparently spending several hours interviewing him. Also, Kaepernick’s girlfriend denies the claim. Much more here.

MEGAN MCARDLE: Debt Alone Won’t Crush Puerto Rico. Depopulation Is the Curse.

“They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street,” Donald Trump told Geraldo Rivera. “We’re going to have to wipe that out. That’s going to have to be — you know, you can say goodbye to that. I don’t know if it’s Goldman Sachs but whoever it is, you can wave goodbye to that.”

Bond markets didn’t appreciate the verbal wave. The territory’s bonds, already weak from the pounding of Hurricane Maria, fell another 31 percent. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney hastened to say the president didn’t mean what he said. “I wouldn’t take it word for word with that,” he said demurely. Nor should you; as debt expert Cate Long told CNN Money, “Trump does not have the ability to wave a magic wand and wipe out the debt.”

Yet the fact remains that Puerto Rico is not going to be able to pay all of its debts. Prior to the hurricane, the territory had $73 billion in outstanding debt, and a population of 3.4 million people. That’s approximately $21,500 for every man, woman and child on the island – just about enough to buy each of them a brand new Mini Cooper, provided that they don’t insist on the sport package or the heated seats. . . .

And why was the government borrowing so much? For one thing, because the government doesn’t work very well. The operations of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, for example, defy belief: It essentially gave unlimited free power to municipalities and government-owned entities, which used it to do things like operate skating rinks in the tropics. Everywhere you look, you see signs of a government struggling to perform basic tasks: collect taxes, maintain the infrastructure, improve the health system. In the jargon of development economists, the island lacks “state capacity”: It is simply unable to exert the amount of power over its operations that we on the mainland mostly take for granted.

But you can’t entirely blame the Puerto Rican government for the state of the underlying economy, which is what had plunged the island into a bankruptcy crisis even before the hurricane. For that you have to look to the federal government, which eliminated a tax break that had given companies incentives to locate in Puerto Rico, and then oversaw a financial crisis that sent them into an even deeper spiral. We also made sure that a relatively poor island was forced to adopt the federal minimum wage, which was too high for the local labor market. That has contributed to the 11.5 percent unemployment rate. And Puerto Rico uses the U.S. dollar, leaving it unable to adjust monetary policy to overcome economic stagnation.

None of those things will change just because we wipe out the bondholders. And the bondholders are not Puerto Rico’s only creditors; it has an unfunded pension liability of roughly $50 billion. Covering the current liability will consume more 20 percent of the budget.

That figure will only grow, because the biggest problem of all is Puerto Rico’s rapid demographic decline. There has long been a steady migration from Puerto Rico to the mainland. By 2008, there were more Puerto Ricans in the rest of the U.S. than there were in Puerto Rico. But the economic crisis has accelerated that flow to staggering levels.

So I’m guessing that if Steve Bannon were still around, he’d be encouraging Trump to do things that would make Puerto Rico so attractive that not only would people want to stay there, but expat Puerto Ricans would want to return, since most of them vote Democrat, and Puerto Rico doesn’t have any electoral votes. Which would be good for Puerto Rico, and also for Trump. In Bannon’s absence, I’m not sure there’s anyone in the White House who thinks that way.

THOMAS CHATTERTON WILLIAMS IN THE NEW YORK TIMES: How Ta-Nehisi Coates Gives Whiteness Power.

I have spent the past six months poring over the literature of European and American white nationalism, in the process interviewing noxious identitarians like the alt-right founder Richard Spencer. The most shocking aspect of Mr. Coates’s wording here is the extent to which it mirrors ideas of race — specifically the specialness of whiteness — that white supremacist thinkers cherish.

This, more than anything, is what is so unsettling about Mr. Coates’s recent writing and the tenor of the leftist “woke” discourse he epitomizes. Though it is not at all morally equivalent, it is nonetheless in sync with the toxic premises of white supremacism. Both sides eagerly reduce people to abstract color categories, all the while feeding off of and legitimizing each other, while those of us searching for gray areas and common ground get devoured twice. Both sides mystify racial identity, interpreting it as something fixed, determinative and almost supernatural. For Mr. Coates, whiteness is a “talisman,” an “amulet” of “eldritch energies” that explains all injustice; for the abysmal early-20th-century Italian fascist and racist icon Julius Evola, it was a “meta-biological force,” a collective mind-spirit that justifies all inequality. In either case, whites are preordained to walk that special path. It is a dangerous vision of life we should refuse no matter who is doing the conjuring.

This summer, I spent an hour on the phone with Richard Spencer. It was an exchange that left me feeling physically sickened. Toward the end of the interview, he said one thing that I still think about often. He referred to the all-encompassing sense of white power so many liberals now also attribute to whiteness as a profound opportunity. “This is the photographic negative of a white supremacist,” he told me gleefully. “This is why I’m actually very confident, because maybe those leftists will be the easiest ones to flip.”

If you divide America along racial/ethnic lines, eventually the largest racial/ethnic group will start to think of itself as a racial/ethnic group and act accordingly. But in the meantime, it’s a good living for Coates, and I guess an okay one for Spencer.

And if you want more Trump, well, Coates will help you get more Trump, and a lot more effectively than Spencer ever has. Right after the election, John Podhoretz tweeted, “Liberals spent 40 years disaggregating [the] U.S., until finally the largest cohort in the country chose to vote as though it were an ethnic group.” That’s where “whiteness”-as-original-sin gets you. But hey, like I said, it’s a good living for some people.

HARVEY WEINSTEIN’S CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD IS LIKELY OVER,” says show-biz house organ Variety:

In truth, the noose has been tightening for years around Harvey Weinstein. There’s been a bunker-like mentality at the Weinstein Co. for years, as the indie studio’s money troubles have worsened and as it tried to migrate away from prestige fare and into television. There were too many film flops such as “Tulip Fever,” “Burnt,” and “Gold,” and persistent mutterings that the company could no longer pay its bills. High profile executives would leave, with positions remaining vacant or filled by junior staffers. It’s been a while since the studio was a major force at film festivals, swinging its checkbook around to nab the hottest Sundance titles. In the meantime, new players like A24 and Bleecker Street have emerged, establishing themselves as more auteur-friendly (Weinstein had a reputation for battling directors), while Amazon and Netflix have been able to outspend all comers.

Even before the reports broke, agents were already wary about working with Weinstein because of reports that its money was running out. One agent told Variety that the Times’ report will give them an even bigger reason to stay away from the studio.

In some respects, Thursday’s piece was the confirmation of decades of rumors and shop talk that have clung to Weinstein. At various times, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the New Yorker (which has its own competing piece still set to launch) have tried to break this story. They’ve aggressively pursued the angle of whether or not Weinstein used corporate funds at Miramax to pay for legal settlements with women. In most cases, Weinstein was able to successfully hit back at those claims. Another stumbling block was that many women did not want to go on the record with their allegations. That will likely change with the Times piece.

Weinstein Gives First Interview After Shocking Sex Harassment Claims, the New York Post reports:

“The Times editors were so fearful they were going to be scooped by New York Magazine and they would lose the story, that they went ahead and posted the story filled with reckless reporting, and without checking all they had with me and my team.

He added that he believes the paper – which published a long negative piece about Weinstein’s dealings with amfAR a week ago – has a vendetta against him.

Weinstein explained, “They never wrote about the documentary I did with Jay-Z about Rikers Island, they never write that I raised $50 million for amfAR, nor my work with Robin Hood – instead they focus on trying to bring me down. This is a vendetta, and the next time I see Dean Baquet [the executive editor of the Times] it will be across a courtroom.”

Insert Kissinger Iran-Iraq War quote here.

In a link-laden post, Ace of Spades asks, “Didn’t people in the media know, given that Weinstein was, you know, a notorious figure in the media?”, also pondering about how much knowledge the Democrats he donated to had, and the past Disney connection to Weinstein.

“Weinstein was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton 2016 run, donated to her campaigns 10 times between 1999 & 2016,” the Hollywood Reporter notes. He made 13 visits to the Obama White House. Malia Obama interned for him.

Lionsgate distributes Miramax films on home media in the US, and also produced AMC’s Mad Men series during its run from 2007 to 2015. As I wrote at Ed Driscoll.com during its last season, I always thought Hollywood had a lot of chutzpah tut-tutting the sexual mores of the corporate world of the 1960s while simultaneously enabling Bill Clinton, handsy Joe Biden, and what goes on in their own executive suites.

UPDATE: Regarding Weinstein’s NRA and Trump-obsessed “apology” letter (which Iowahawk neatly sums up as, “It’s just this war and that son of a bitch Johnson”), when you’ve lost the Daily Beast…

More: Former Obama Adviser Anita Dunn Helped Harvey Weinstein Strategize Before New York Times Story. “Weinstein has also, supposedly, reached out to the Clintons’ crisis PR honcho Lanny Davis.”

ROBBY SOAVE: If You Think Trump Is a Fascist, You Should Oppose Gun Control.

Following the unfathomably tragic events in Las Vegas, many on the left are demanding that Congress pass new restrictions on guns. Such calls make even less sense than usual, given what much of the left already believes about the current political environment: that a fascist occupies the White House.

“Yes, Donald Trump is a fascist,” wrote The New Republic’s Jamil Smith. He said that in 2015, when Trump was still merely a primary challenger; associating Trump with fascism has grown only more common in the two years since.

“This is how fascism comes to America,” wrote Robert Kagan, a former Republican, in a Washington Post piece widely shared last year on both the left and the NeverTrump right: “not with jackboots and salutes (although there have been salutes, and a whiff of violence) but with a television huckster, a phony billionaire, a textbook egomaniac ‘tapping into’ popular resentments and insecurities, and with an entire national political party—out of ambition or blind party loyalty, or simply out of fear—falling into line behind him.”

“Trump’s not Hitler,” wrote Salon’s Fedja Buric in 2016. But that was only because: “He’s Mussolini.” Buric’s article is about “How GOP anti-intellectualism created a modern fascist movement in America.”

The Daily Beast’s Jay Michaelson held out until Trump pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio, at which point he declared, “at a certain point, ‘fascist’ becomes the most accurate term to describe what this man does….’Fascist’ is not an incendiary slur—it is an accurate description.”

Those are high-profile writers; grassroots activists have been less measured. The antifa movement, which for some reason thinks smashing windows and setting cars on fire is an effective form of resistance, regularly claims that Trump is a modern incarnation of Nazism. Left-leaning students and professors frequently accuse Trump of fascism; some have even maintained that members of Trump’s Cabinet, like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, are white supremacists by mere association. . . .

Which brings us back to gun control, something countless liberal pundits and Democratic congresspeople are breathlessly demanding right now. How on earth could anyone believe both that Trump is a fascist and that it’s a good idea for a federal government he runs to take guns away from law-abiding citizens? If Trump is a budding Mussolini—let alone something worse—then you shouldn’t want to give him the power required to wage a war on guns.

You’d think.

THE NORMALS WEIGH IN: Byron York: On game day, new polls show what Americans think about NFL protests, Trump.

Whenever President Trump sets off a new controversy, there’s always a period of hair-on-fire commentary, usually conducted in the absence of polls or other evidence of public opinion. It’s happened again and again, the latest example being the president, the NFL, and the national anthem.

Trump set things off September 22 during a speech in Alabama. Now, after more than a week, there are five new polls with information on the underlying issue — NFL players protesting during the national anthem — and Trump’s treatment of it.

On the protests, the short version is, the public, which disapproved when Colin Kaepernick first refused to stand for the anthem last year, still disapproves.

A new CBS poll asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of football players protesting by kneeling during the national anthem?” Fifty-two percent said they strongly or somewhat disapprove, while 38 percent said they strongly or somewhat approve, and nine percent said they haven’t heard enough to say.

The disapprove-approve numbers were 51-39 in a new ESPN poll.

Fox News asked, “In general, do you think kneeling during the national anthem is an appropriate — or inappropriate — form of protest?” Fifty-five percent said inappropriate, while 41 percent said appropriate, and five percent didn’t know.

CNN asked the question in a slightly roundabout way, asking “Do you think athletes who protest by kneeling during the national anthem are doing the right thing or the wrong thing to express their political opinion? Forty-nine percent said the wrong thing, 43 percent said the right thing, and eight percent didn’t know.

Finally, the Huffington Post found a lot of indecisive respondents when it asked, “Do you think it’s appropriate or inappropriate for NFL players to kneel in protest during the national anthem?” Forty-eight percent said inappropriate, 36 percent said appropriate, and a full 16 percent said they weren’t sure.

The CBS poll shed some additional light on the public’s attitude toward the demonstrations when it asked, “Do you think professional athletes should or should not use their position and fame to talk politics or raise issues, if they want to?” The poll gave respondents three choices: “Yes, whenever they want to,” “Yes, but only on their own time,” and “No, they should not.”

A decisive 68 percent said athletes either should get political on their own time or not at all. . . .

Given the racial dimension of the controversy, the poll broke things down further by race. Forty-six percent of blacks said athletes should get political on their own time or not at all; 64 percent of Hispanics said the same; 58 percent of other races/ethnicities agreed; and 75 percent of whites agreed. Blacks were the only group that said, by a 54 percent majority, that athletes should get political whenever they want.

The bottom line is that in most polls, small majorities oppose the national anthem protests. But in a broader sense, a much larger majority opposes athletes using the field of competition to play politics.

Why is the majority generally opposing political activity on the field larger than the majority specifically opposing the anthem protests? Just a theory here — it could be that the former is a true measure of opinion on sports protests, while the latter is associated with Trump, which means measures of opinion about the anthem protests are comingled with respondents’ opinions about the president.

What doesn’t, these days?

CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE, ROGER: Bench the NFL. Pro football’s success is founded on shrewd lobbying and a federal favor. After a court forbade the NFL teams from jointly negotiating a TV deal, the league persuaded Congress in 1961 to grant a special exemption from antitrust laws. This perk has often has been criticized, but the efforts to remove it have never gone far in Congress. The NFL enjoyed bipartisan support because it seemed a national institution above politics. But now that the owners and players have so resolutely united against Republicans (and public opinion), Steve Malanga of City Journal wants Congress to reconsider:

The national anthem protest controversy offers a new perspective on the privileges that Congress has awarded to the NFL, particularly because the league’s team owners have allowed those protests to take place and even, last weekend, participated in them, in response to President Trump’s criticism of the players’ activism. Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, for instance, said last Sunday, “I support [players’] right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful.” But while players have the right to engage in political speech free from government interference, their freedom does not extend by right to a private employer in its own workplace. The majority of companies in America would not, and do not, allow demonstrations at work by individual employees on political issues unrelated to their employment—just the sort of demonstrations begun last year by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and carried on through this weekend by more than 200 players. That the owners have tolerated and lately even encouraged such protests over an issue—charges of police brutality—that divides many Americans is a business risk that they seem willing to take. But the league’s use of its platform—created by its federal antitrust exemption—to broadcast its message across the country is more than a simple business matter. It represents an improper use of resources made available to the NFL by special federal legislation. It’s past time to revoke the Sports Broadcasting Act.

The owners won’t be happy with this, but at least they’ll have something specific to protest in the pregame ceremony.

JOSH KRAUSHAAR: Democrats Lose Touch With America — Hillary Clinton’s new book blames a lot of culprits for her defeat. It barely notes the biggest reason: her cultural disconnect from the country.

Clinton’s decision to call Trump backers deplorable was one of her campaign’s low points. But the problem runs much deeper within her party. Progressives now instinctively label pro-Trump conservatives as “white supremacists,” a slur that paints nearly half the country with a racist brush. Legitimate anxieties over the country’s national security are frequently dismissed as anti-Muslim xenophobia. Politicized sportswriters assumed that the American public supports players protesting the national anthem, even when a swell of football fans across the country—including those in the most liberal media markets—booed their own team’s players for disrespecting the flag.

President Trump has exploited this gaping disconnect between elite opinion and majority sentiment in the most divisive way possible. But it doesn’t mean that Democrats should be playing into his hands.

For a sign of how far to the left Democrats have drifted on culture, just look at the last major anthem protest to sweep up a sports league. In 1996, Nuggets star Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf refused to stand for the national anthem, calling the American flag a symbol of tyranny. He was promptly suspended for a game and fined by the NBA. There was no uproar in favor of his right to protest, even in a league where most players were African-American. Condemnation of Abdul-Rauf’s action ran across the political spectrum. Then-commissioner David Stern later mandated players stand in a dignified manner when the anthem was played—a wholly uncontroversial decision.

The closest Clinton comes to acknowledging the party’s cultural tone-deafness is an anecdote she shares about the Arkansas Senate race in 2014. She relays a story about an old friend who typically votes Democratic, has fairly liberal economic views, but was having a tough time supporting moderate Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor’s reelection. She recounts him telling her husband: “At least the Republicans won’t do anything to us. The Democrats want to take away my gun and make me go to a gay wedding.” But instead of showing empathy for people with more-traditional social views, she concludes that “the politics of cultural identity and resentment were overwhelming evidence, reason and personal experience.” Successful politicians feel people’s pain; they don’t hector them about their hang-ups.

As president, Bill Clinton’s strategy when tackling divisive cultural issues was to at least offer a signal that he understood the opposition. His famous formulation about wanting abortion to be “safe, legal and rare” offered rhetorical reassurance to those opposed to abortion, even as his administration was solidly and proudly in favor of abortion rights. Inclusive language helps dampen the anger of opponents, even when there’s little agreement on policy.

Even longtime Clinton pollster Stanley Greenberg, who has long urged Democrats to adopt an aggressively populist economic message, concludes that Clinton’s cultural disconnect was her most glaring vulnerability in the campaign. In an essay in The American Prospect, he writes: “Despite overwhelming evidence that the Democratic base wasn’t consolidated or excited, the campaign believed that Trump’s tasteless attacks and Clinton’s identification with every group in the rainbow coalition would produce near-universal support…. They were explicitly privileging race and gender over class.”

How’d that work out for you, folks?

JON GABRIEL: Red Team? Blue Team? Start Your Own Team.

Remember when multimillionaire President Trump criticized a multimillionaire football player last night? Well today, a multimillionaire basketball player said he didn’t want to go to the White House no more. So, President Trump said the multimillionaire basketball player wasn’t welcome at the White House in the first place. And then a different multimillionaire basketball player tweeted something mean at President Trump.

Honestly, I’m just happy the Republic hasn’t collapsed.

A few million put on their Red Team uniforms and rushed to their computers. Another few million put on their Blue Team uniforms and grabbed their iPhones. To the barricades, citizens!

Then they wasted a beautiful Saturday afternoon tweeting at each other.

Melissa and I spent Saturday doing chores and then drinking and talking too loudly with old friends — highly recommended.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: The Politicization Of Everything.

Healthy democracies have ample room for politics but leave a larger space for civil society and culture that unites more than divides. With the politicization of the National Football League and the national anthem, the Divided States of America are exhibiting a very unhealthy level of polarization and mistrust.

The progressive forces of identity politics started this poisoning of America’s favorite spectator sport last year by making a hero of Colin Kaepernick for refusing to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” before games. They raised the stakes this year by turning him into a progressive martyr because no team had picked him up to play quarterback after he opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers.

The NFL is a meritocracy, and maybe coaches and general managers thought he wasn’t good enough for the divisions he might cause in a locker room or among fans. But the left said it was all about race and class.

All of this is cultural catnip for Donald Trump, who pounced on Friday night at a rally and on the weekend on Twitter with his familiar combination of gut political instinct, rhetorical excess, and ignorance. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,’” Mr. Trump said Friday.

No doubt most Americans agree with Mr. Trump that they don’t want their flag disrespected, especially by millionaire athletes. But Mr. Trump never stops at reasonable, and so he called for kneeling players to be fired or suspended, and if the league didn’t comply for fans to “boycott” the NFL.

Well, Trump’s got his opponents arguing against the National Anthem, so maybe he’s not as dumb as you think. But whenever you wonder why we’re in a situation where Trump’s driving this sort of narrative, remember that we got Trump because the respectable political class did such a sorry job that there was an opening for Trump.

VIRGINIA POSTREL: Facebook’s Pros Still Outweigh Its Cons: I wanted to quit. Here’s why I decided to stay.

The response to my question made me realize that Facebook had allowed me to create a distinctive forum, that people appreciate it more than I can usually tell, and that I’d miss (most of) these interactions if I left. It reminded me of the reasons to like Facebook: the connections it provides and the chance to easily share interests. So I’ve decided to stay, with modifications.

To avoid distraction, I’d already started using the Anti-Social app to block Facebook and Twitter for several hours at a time. I’ll extend the blocked periods and make them a daily habit. Taking a cue from psychology research that suggests that reading Facebook passively is what puts people in a bad mood, I’ve also installed the Stop Scrolling Newsfeed for Facebook browser extension, which lets you block the feed after a minute or even 15 seconds. (If that doesn’t work, there’s the nuclear option: Feed Eradicator for Facebook extension, whose name is self-explanatory.) Instead of endlessly scrolling through whatever some algorithm serves up, I’ll visit specific people’s pages directly and focus on interaction.

The exercise was a useful reminder of what often gets lost in the public commentary on social media. For all their myriad faults, services like Facebook provide genuine value by connecting people who wouldn’t otherwise be in touch. Tools exist to help users minimize the downside — you just have to look for them. Like any other form of abundance, making the most of social media requires conscious consideration. So I reserve the right to revisit the question next year.

I agree, though I feel this way somewhat less than I used to. Plus, on her fear of Facebook knowing her too well:

This particular fear was somewhat assuaged by downloading my Facebook archive and discovering just how clueless the ad targeting was. Rolex? The band America? Soccer? The ad preferences page also pegs “fire” as a hobby, presumably based on my interest in FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Hillary bet the farm on big data analytics. Now it’s Trump’s farm.

MAYBE SHE CAN GET A JOB AT ESPN, OR THE NFL: Post-Trump Megyn Kelly buried in bad reviews.

Critics ripped up Megyn Kelly’s canceled Sunday night news magazine show and are now ripping up her morning talk show, which one critic says makes President Trump the real winner of Kelly’s fall from TV stardom.

“It’s as if the old Kelly — sarcastic, cutting, sharp — got replaced by a Trump-approved version that grins hard and just wants you to like her,” according to a review at The Week magazine. “She won’t talk politics! She promises! If this startling about-face tells us anything, it’s that Trump, Kelly’s tormentor, has won.”

Fox viewers liked Kelly, but they liked Fox more. She thought her audience would follow her, and she was wrong. Related: Jessica Heslam: Megyn Kelly isn’t a morning person.

PROPAGATING A HOSTILE EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FOR MALE STUDENTS: How Higher Education “Studies” Men.

In sum, it is an ideological rather than a scholarly project.

The center has held several seminars, among them a talk about “the need for further regulation on pornography” in the European Union. It has sponsored a white paper, “Men as Allies in Preventing Violence against Women,” in which Bob Pease lays down the law: men should take part in such violence prevention, but because of their “dominance and privilege and…structural gender inequalities,” they should play only “a supporting role…under women’s leadership” rather than seeking to be “leaders or equal partners.”

Pease makes another point: women deserve “women-only spaces,” but men-only spaces are verboten, because excluding women “reinforces the notion of male authority” and men “need to learn how to communicate outside of traditional frames of masculinity and male sociality.” (Pease, as it happens, is the author of a book called Recreating Men, which argues that men need to undergo fundamental change for the sake of women’s equality.)

The Men’s Center, in short, is not about understanding men’s psychological and emotional development and their personal and professional lives; it is about encouraging young men to feel guilty about being born male, to check their own natural male impulses and interests, to emulate (as best they can) the manners and mores of women, and to subordinate themselves, in all ways and all circumstances, to their female friends, relatives, and colleagues.

The center has a blog, which is full of whining about “toxic masculinity” and about men’s lack of respect for women. After Trump’s election, it featured a letter addressed to “White Men.” It read, in part: “This is on us. And now it’s up to us to undo it. I keep hearing us say: ‘we’ll be fine.’… [But our] friends of color, our Native American friends, our Muslim friends and Latino friends, our LGBTQ friends and the women in our lives are not fine…. They are afraid of what is to come. And they will be, and already are, under attack. If you’ve ever questioned the existence of the concept of privilege, being able to say ‘we’ll be fine’ is painful proof of its existence.”

One big piece of news from the blog is that the Center is in the process of developing the first MA program in masculinities studies. Stony Brook, it should be noted, is a major international research university that turns out top-flight physicists, chemists, biologists, and engineers who make a real difference in this world. It is a puzzlement, and a disgrace, that this splendid institution should want to institute an advanced degree program in identity studies that involves not education but indoctrination and that doesn’t prepare graduates to do anything other than spend their lives whining about gender inequality.

Indeed.

DEMOCRATS ARE GOING TO HAVE A GOOGLE PROBLEM:

All businesses lobby on behalf of their interests, and in recent years that lobbying has increasingly expanded to include more focus on things like think tanks and other aspects of the “deep” influence game.

Google has been especially an especially aggressive player at deep influence. The Wall Street journal reported in July, for example, that they’ve spent millions of dollars subsidizing academic research that backs Google policy positions, often mapping out the thesis to be proven and then shopping to find the scholar to do the work. Google’s money, not always disclosed, has backed donations to think tanks across the ideological spectrum as well as more prosaic forms of influence peddling like campaign contributions.

What makes Google somewhat unusual for such a big company is that it’s fairly closely aligned with the Democratic Party. Dozens of people moved from jobs at Google to jobs in the Obama administration, and vice versa, over its eight-year span. Schmidt was a major Hillary Clinton donor. More tellingly, Schmidt owns a company called Civis Analytics that does an enormous amount of behind-the-scenes data work for Democratic Party campaigns. This alignment grows out of both cultural affinity between Democrats and Google on social issues, and also years of regulatory struggle that often saw Google, Democrats, and consumer groups on one side pitted against telecommunications industry incumbents.

And for Democratic Party politicians and staffers, the idea of a big, rich, dynamic technology company that favored progressive views on social issues and wanted to put money behind pro-consumer regulatory efforts seemed almost too good to be true.

The specter raised by the European Union’s antitrust fine is that it is, in fact, too good to be true. And that Google, like any other giant company, is going to sometimes find itself in the regulatory crosshairs, throwing its weight around to try to get away with things that maybe shouldn’t be allowed. “Don’t be evil” was a nice idea while it lasted, but business is business and politics is politics — no exceptions.

There’s a huge opportunity for Trump to take a Teddy Roosevelt-like trust-busting stand. Especially since, as Joel Kotkin says:

The Silicon Valley and its Puget Sound annex dominated by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft increasingly resemble the pre-gas crisis Detroit of the Big Three. Tech’s Big Five all enjoy overwhelming market shares—for example Google controls upwards of 80 percent of global search—and the capital to either acquire or crush any newcomers. They are bringing us a hardly gilded age of prosperity but depressed competition, economic stagnation, and, increasingly, a chilling desire to control the national conversation.

Creepy economic predators. When you think about it that way, it’s not surprising they’re allied with the Democratic Party.

JOURNALISM AS NARRATIVE CONTROL: James T. Hodgkinson, Attempted Assassin Of Steve Scalise, Already Being Erased From History.

We’ve been hearing a lot about “right-wing violence” lately. If we’re to believe our moral, ethical, and intellectual betters, there’s a Klansman on every street corner and a Nazi under every bed. There’s nothing more terrifying than a “white nationalist” who lives in his mom’s basement, which is why it’s okay for feral Antifa children to beat these guys up and drench them with balloons filled with piss. It’s “self-defense.”

But what happens when an act of violence is irrefutably motivated by left-wing ideology? What happens if, for example, a Bernie Bro named James T. Hodgkinson shoots at a bunch of congressmen for the explicit reason that he hates Republicans and wants them dead? How do we fit that into the preferred narrative?

We can’t. There’s no way. So we just leave it out entirely.

Well, for certain values of “we.” But it’s sad to see this even from the WSJ. Plus:

If James T. Hodgkinson had been a Trump supporter who shot and almost killed a Democratic congressman for political reasons, he’d be the most infamous man in America. But now, just two months after his attempt to murder a group of Republican lawmakers, he’s not even worth mentioning.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think the press is sad that Hodgkinson didn’t succeed.

Think of them as Democratic Party operatives with bylines and you won’t go far wrong. Even at the WSJ, it seems.

WITH THE ACADEMIC YEAR BEGINNING, IT’S A GOOD TIME TO REVISIT THIS EXCELLENT PIECE FROM HEATHER GERKEN: Dean of Yale Law School: Campus Free Speech Is Not Up for Debate.

In this, the summer of our discontent, many college presidents are breathing a sigh of relief that they made it through a politically fraught spring without their campuses erupting. Nobody wants to be the next Middlebury or Claremont McKenna, where demonstrations disrupted controversial speakers.

Law deans, in sharp contrast, have reason to be cheery. Their campuses have been largely exempt from ugly free-speech incidents like these. Charles Murray, the controversial scholar whose speech drew violent reaction at Middlebury, has spoken at Yale Law School twice during the past few years. Students and faculty engaged with him, and students held a separate event to protest and discuss the implications of his work. But he spoke without interruption. That’s exactly how a university is supposed to work.

There may be a reason why law students haven’t resorted to the extreme tactics we’ve seen on college campuses: their training. Law school conditions you to know the difference between righteousness and self-righteousness. That’s why lawyers know how to go to war without turning the other side into an enemy. People love to tell lawyer jokes, but maybe it’s time for the rest of the country to take a lesson from the profession they love to hate.

In law schools we don’t just teach our students to know the weaknesses in their own arguments. We demand that they imaginatively and sympathetically reconstruct the best argument on the other side. From the first day in class, students must defend an argument they don’t believe or pretend to be a judge whose values they dislike. Every professor I know assigns cases that vindicate the side she favors–then brutally dismantles their reasoning. Lawyers learn to see the world as their opponents do, and nothing is more humbling than that. We teach students that even the grandest principles have limits. The day you really become a lawyer is the day you realize that the law doesn’t–and shouldn’t–match everything you believe. The litigation system is premised on the hope that truth will emerge if we ensure that everyone has a chance to have her say.

The rituals of respect shown inside and outside the courtroom come from this training. Those rituals are so powerful that they can trump even the deepest divides. As Kenneth Mack recounts in his book Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer, Thurgood Marshall was able to do things in court that a black man could never do in any other forum, like subjecting a white woman to cross-examination. Marshall was able to practice even in small, segregated towns in rural Maryland during the early days of the civil rights movement. The reason was simple: despite their bigotry, members of the Maryland bar had decided to treat Marshall as a lawyer, first and foremost.

She makes excellent points, though I wonder if a contemporary equivalent of Marshall would do as well today, when the personal is political and when “protesters” scrawl “Fuck Law” on the Lincoln Memorial. Marshall, after all, benefited from the bourgeois conventions of dignity that a latter generation of activists rejected.

RENEGOTIATING NAFTA: Canada Wants to Make Nafta More ‘Progressive.’

Earlier Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted that U.S. lawmakers over the years “have given us (or not fixed) some of the worst trade deals in World History. I am changing that fast!”

She said among the country’s objectives would be a freer market for government procurement across the continent. This could run into opposition from the Trump administration’s push to put more teeth into Buy America directives, which preserve them as part of a revamped Nafta.

She said local-content provisions, such as Buy America, “are political junk-food—superficially appetizing, but unhealthy in the long run.”

Ms. Freeland said Canada also wants to make Nafta more “progressive,” through tougher labor and environmental standards. On the environment, she said Canada wants the countries to support efforts to combat climate change, and cast a skeptical eye toward countries that “[weaken] environmental protection to attract investment.”

Be careful what you wish for.

CHARLIE MARTIN: Breaking News: Donald Trump is President.

Donald J Trump is President. Really. Won it fair and square, he was inaugurated seven — almost eight — months ago, and very probably is going to be President for another three and a half years.

Minimum.

So, now, children, let’s calm down. All of you people over there saying Trump is unqualified and should be removed? Give it up. He’s qualified by the only qualification that matters: he is over 35, he is a native US citizen, and he won the damned election. The Constitution doesn’t have a clause in it for removal by vote of the media, or because his political opponents don’t like him. The only reason he can be removed Constitutionally is if someone finds high crimes and misdemeanors.

Now, I know that some people are fantasizing about the Democrats taking the House, and passing a Bill of Impeachment, and somehow getting the Senate to convict.

To which I say, “be careful, you’ll get chafed.”

Besides, look what we know now: the Russian collusion story is effectively dead — the famous Golden Showers Dossier is the product of a Democratic opposition research house, talking to Russians is actually not a crime, and the case has gotten much stronger that the DNC emails weren’t obtained by Russian hackers. If you’re hanging your hopes on the Emoluments Clause, remember that George Washington ran his business while President. If George Washington could do it without hitting the Emoluments Clause, it’s going to be tough passing the laugh test with Trump.

Let’s game the impeachment out, though. Say it happened. Then there are going to be approximately 43 million Americans who are convinced that the President they elected has been removed by the people they were voting against when they elected him. I don’t care what you think of Trump, that won’t be good. And should it happen, what do you think the next election will be like?

So, stop.

They can’t. And I mean that literally. It’s not just a political posture. It’s a psychological need.

He’s got some advice for Trump supporters, too. Oh, and here’s one more excerpt:

Legacy media, it’s like this: if you want to have your reporting respected, your reporting is going to have to deserve respect. If you keep reporting fake news, people are going to keep thinking you report fake news.

For everyone: stop using the word “treason” unless you’re prepared to show which recognized enemy with which we have a legally-recognized state of active hostilities. And good luck with that.

But stop bandying it about recklessly: you’re accusing someone of a capital crime. That goes for everybody: Debbie Wassermann-Schultz, Hillary Clinton, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump Jr., Donald Trump Sr., basement-dwelling ne’er-do-wells whether they’re carrying a Swastika or a Hammer and sickle. If you want to know why accusing these people of treason is bad, read the Federalist Paper number 43 or just look at history: “treason” is an awfully convenient way to justify killing your political opposition.

Whatever your politics, it’s time to recognize that the election is over, and and what’s going on now is hurting the country and hurting the people. It’s time to start a acting like responsible citizens of a free nation.

Or at least it’s time to decide whether you want to be citizens of a free nation.

Indeed.

THE GOOGLE ARCHIPELAGO: In an article at the Weekly Standard that was likely written before Google’s meltdown this week headlined, “You Can’t Say That,” a review of the recent book The Demon in Democracy, Matthew B. Crawford asks, “Has liberalism taken a Soviet turn?”

Through the ’80s, ’90s, and into the new millennium, the phrase “politically correct” would crop up here and there. Among people who were credited as being sophisticated, use of the term would be met with a certain exasperation: It was needling and stale. The phrase had been picked up by the likes of College Republicans and Fox News, and if you had an ear for intellectual class distinctions you avoided it.

Originally a witticism, the term suggested there was something Soviet-like in the policing of liberal opinion. When it first came into wide circulation, was it anything but humorous hyperbole? Is that still the case today?

A sociologist might point to a decline in social trust over the past few decades—they have ways of measuring this—and speculate about its bearing on political speech. One wonders: Who am I talking to? How will my utterances be received? What sort of allegiances are in play here? In the absence of trust, it becomes necessary to send explicit signals. We become fastidious in speech and observe gestures of affirmation and condemnation that would be unnecessary among friends.

It’s a great review, and well worth your time to read the whole thing. Crawford’s question, “Has liberalism taken a Soviet turn?”, dovetails remarkably well with this week’s events. In the article by James D. Miller that Glenn linked to on Wednesday titled “Get ready for the ‘tech alt-right’ to gain influence in Silicon Valley,” Miller wrote:

It will be poisonous if the tech right feels compelled to not only hide their beliefs but also to actively pretend to believe in progressive diversity values. This pretending will embitter them, probably pushing many to the more radical alt-right.

It will prevent the left and right from getting meaningful feedback on their belief. Plus, if progressives never talked with people on the right, they wouldn’t get to learn that most of us do not fit their stereotypes of being sexist monsters.

When SJWs in Silicon Valley realize that their ideological enemies are hiding, they might actively search them out. They might become suspicious of the guy who was the first to stop clapping when a new diversity initiative was announced. Even worse, SWJs in human resources might become reluctant to hire those with characteristics correlated with conservatism, such as past military service.

That line about SJWs becoming suspicious about “the guy who was the first to stop clapping when a new diversity initiative was announced” is Straight Outta the Kremlin, comrade. In The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote of the fate of the man who stopped clapping first:

At the conclusion of the conference, a tribute to Comrade Stalin was called for. Of course, everyone stood up (just as everyone had leaped to his feet during the conference at every mention of his name). … For three minutes, four minutes, five minutes, the stormy applause, rising to an ovation, continued. But palms were getting sore and raised arms were already aching. And the older people were panting from exhaustion. It was becoming insufferably silly even to those who really adored Stalin.

However, who would dare to be the first to stop? … After all, NKVD men were standing in the hall applauding and watching to see who would quit first! And in the obscure, small hall, unknown to the leader, the applause went on – six, seven, eight minutes! They were done for! Their goose was cooked! They couldn’t stop now till they collapsed with heart attacks! At the rear of the hall, which was crowded, they could of course cheat a bit, clap less frequently, less vigorously, not so eagerly – but up there with the presidium where everyone could see them?

* * * * * * * *

Then, after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a businesslike expression and sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved!

The squirrel had been smart enough to jump off his revolving wheel. That, however, was how they discovered who the independent people were. And that was how they went about eliminating them. That same night the factory director was arrested. They easily pasted ten years on him on the pretext of something quite different. But after he had signed Form 206, the final document of the interrogation, his interrogator reminded him:

“Don’t ever be the first to stop applauding.”

And the world’s biggest search engine is well on its way to becoming The Google Archipelago. In an article Orwellianly titled “Internal Messages Show Some Googlers Supported Fired Engineer’s Manifesto” (heaven Lenin forefend — root out the hoarders and wreckers!) in Wired, which began as a libertarian-leaning publication before being purchased by the lefties at Condé Nast, the writer quotes from an anonymous Google employee. “‘Let’s take a step back,’ the Googler wrote, ‘and look at what is actually making everyone in Google upset on this thread and in general since the start of the 2016 election season.’ He went on to describe how the apparent uniformity of thought at Google led people like Damore to feel ‘like they are being forcibly dragged into [sic] ideological indoctrination chamber,’” including these passages that sound like mash notes smuggled out of the Ministry of Truth:

Weekly public (though thankfully anonymous) shaming of employees for misdeeds as slight as anachronistic use of “guys” for a mixed gender group

Frequent references to documents that stigmatize open disagreement with a a rage [sic] of positions

Call for employees to give each other hugs at an all hands meeting because the wrong candidate won a presidential election in the country, following by a mass mailing on how to help your kids deal with grief due to the same occurrence

In a piece at the Federalist titled “No One Expects The Google Inquisition, But It’s Coming,” Robert Tracinski spots another Stalin-esque element to be found in the above article at Wired:

In the new Internet version [of commercial advertising], we know these big companies are gathering specific personal information about our habits and preferences, far more than anyone has ever done, but we accept it because we think they’re just going to use it to sell us stuff, which might sometimes be annoying but isn’t ominous. But if we think there is a wider purpose, if we think they’re going to use our information for social engineering or political manipulation—will that break the bargain?

In this regard, the most important part of the story is those photographed screenshots intended to out Googlers who agreed with Damore. Why were they photographs of a computer screen rather than actual screenshots grabbed by the computer itself, which would have had much better resolution? I suspect it’s because this would leave evidence behind on work computers, so the leakers might get caught. This implies the leakers know what they’re doing is against internal Google rules—just as leaking Damore’s original memo to the media was against internal Google rules.

I don’t want to get into the debates we see around the Trump administration about which is worse: what we found out about our leaders because of the leaks, or the fact that so much information is being leaked. What’s relevant here is that Google now faces a pattern in which its employees are taking internal information and leaking it to the media, against the company’s own rules and safeguards, in order to achieve political objectives. If the wider public starts to figure out that this is happening, they just might decide this is not a company they want to trust with their information or access to their lives.

And they would be wise to do so. At the conclusion of a post today on the hypocrisy of Google firing Damore over his memo but making billions off of gender-based data-mining and targeted advertising code, Rod Dreher links to this scene from the 2006 film on the East German Stasi, The Lives of Others:

Dreher’s captions the clip, “A scene from the Google cafeteria.” He’s likely not all that far off.

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

I use DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine, and Bing as my fallback. Instead of Gmail, I spend a few bucks a month with a reliable web-hosting service and own my own domain with 1,000 email addresses and unmetered bandwidth. There are no Google apps on my phone to report my every movement and all my metadata back to the mothership.

These are easy steps almost anyone can take to rid themselves of this meddlesome priest.

TRUE: Hillary Wants To Preach.

I wrote something about this for the Guardian back in 2004. Excerpt:

And, actually, the roots of this do-goodism are ultimately in New England Puritanism, which had many characteristics associated with today’s left. Among them were a hostility to wealth – illustrated by sumptuary laws – a belief that the welfare of the community trumped the rights of individuals (Hillary combined both these aspects in her famous recent statement: “We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good”). Puritans favoured dense settlement in towns over spread-out farmers – they were, in a sense, the first opponents of “sprawl”.

Even the most stereotypical aspect of the Puritans is not as out of place as you might think. Puritans were, of course, notoriously hostile to sex, but the modern left has threads of those sentiments, too – witness the anti-sex screeds of Catharine MacKinnon or Andrea Dworkin. In fact, Puritans, who were actually quite enthusiastic about marital sex, may actually have been less Puritanical in this regard than some modern feminists.

Not all leftwingers in the US are as frankly religious as Hillary Clinton, and many don’t even realise that the ideas that they champion have deep religious roots. But even for these people, being leftwing has itself become a sort of religion, with those who disagree viewed as sinister, almost demonic forces, rather than simply as individuals holding different views.

The language of righteousness and sin, if not that of redemption and grace, remains a hallmark of the purportedly secular left, though I find it no more attractive than the language of the religious right.

In fact, it’s worse.

CHARLIE MARTIN: Diversity Is Conformity At Google.

So, the author should be fired and blackballed.

According to others, he should be beaten. (I’m linking Breitbart, not my favorite site, but a lot of these people have now blocked or protected their accounts.)

I can’t imagine why he felt that “Google has several biases and honest discussion about these biases is being silenced by the dominant ideology.”

Now, I wrote about my own experiences following the Brendan Eich debacle — Netscape was very interested in me and then, suddenly, was not. I’ve had the same experience several times now, and I’ve been effectively unemployed (except for writing) for nine months, the longest time ever (and if anyone needs Python or Java programming, or DevOps with Ansible, especially if it can be done remotely, or technical writing, let me know.)

Is it because I’m a visible conservative? Who knows. But you just have to look at the reaction to this memo to see that his worry that people are being silenced by a dominant ideology is well-founded.

There are a lot of unhappy people — mostly but not exclusively white males — in Silicon Valley who are unhappy with how PC it’s become. (Note that about 1/3 of Google employees who weighed in actually agreed with the essay). This is a litigation opportunity for lawyers who want to use California’s surprisingly strong strong laws against political discrimination in employment. It’s also a hiring opportunity for companies that want to be non-PC. And if all these guys got together, they could probably swing their Congressional district.

Meanwhile, Silicon Valley’s brand continues to suffer as they look less like bold innovators and more like deranged college administrators. This has all sorts of consequences, politically and economically. In particular, if the Trump Administration wants to go all-in on a strong antitrust enforcement effort against the tech industry’s behemoths, these kinds of episodes will strengthen his hand, and weaken the industry’s.

GOP BORDER LAWMAKER: ‘Can’t Double Down’ on 3rd-Century Wall to Solve 21st-Century Problems.

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), who has voiced support for a technology-driven solution over President Trump’s border wall, has introduced legislation in support of building a “Smart Wall” that would entail high-tech detection and tracking systems.

“Violent drug cartels are using more modern technology to breach our border than what we are using to secure it,” Hurd said in a statement last week introducing the Secure Miles with All Resources and Technology (SMART) Act. “We can’t double down on a Third Century approach to solve 21st Century problems if we want a viable long-term solution.”

Hurd, whose district includes 800 miles of U.S.-Mexico border, said during a congressional hearing last week that he favors the U.S. investing in a “smart wall” rather than spending billions to build the 700- to 900-mile border wall that Trump has envisioned.

I’m all in favor of modern solutions to old problems, but we are talking the U.S. government here. You have to wonder if a smart wall might end up as the world’s biggest — and hackable — Internet of Things device.