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YES, IT DOES: Elizabeth Warren’s Native American problem goes beyond politics.

There’s a ghost haunting Elizabeth Warren as she ramps up for a possible 2020 presidential bid and a reelection campaign in Massachusetts this year: her enduring and undocumented claims of Native American ancestry.

Warren says now, as she has from the first days of her public life, that she based her assertions on family lore, on her reasonable trust in what she was told about her ancestry as a child.

“I know who I am,” she said in a recent interview with the Globe.

But that self-awareness may not be enough, as her political ambitions blossom. She’s taken flak from the right for years as a “fake Indian,” including taunts from President Trump, who derisively calls her “Pocahontas.’’ That clamor from the right will only grow with her increasing prominence.

And, more telling, there’s also discomfort on the left and among some tribal leaders and activists that Warren has a political blind spot when it comes to the murkiness surrounding her story of her heritage, which blew up as an issue in her victorious 2012 Massachusetts Senate race. In recent months, Daily Show host Trevor Noah mocked her for claiming Native American ancestry and the liberal website ThinkProgress published a scathing criticism of her by a Cherokee activist who said she should apologize.

I’m entirely willing to believe that she originally thought she was part Cherokee — lots of families think they have some sort of American Indian ancestry, and many (perhaps most) are wrong. But her real crime wasn’t in being wrong, it was in doubling down and refusing to admit the possibility of error once people questioned her. That character is neither appealing, nor good for a presidential candidate. Much less a president.

ROLL LEFT AND DIE: NFL Playoffs Ratings Plunge by 23 Million. As Ace writes in response:

This year may be the first year I completely blow off the Super Bowl. Even if the Dreamy Tom Brady does start in it.

Maybe I also blew off last year’s game; I forget. I know one recent year I didn’t watch the first half, but tuned in for most of the second after I got the impression from social media and blog comments that it was a competitive game.

Anyway, not really feeling I’m missing anything. Looks like 23 million other people are not really missing anything along with me.

What about you guys? If you’ve stopped watching, what phase are you in? Are you in the phase I was in two years ago (watched some clips and recaps), last year (checked the paper occasionally, watched an occasional game digest on YouTube), or this year (only saw one football play by accident on Neil Cavuto)?

I click through the Super 70s Sports Twitter account and wonder how the NFL weathered a decade as tumultuous as that without a single anthem kneel. Why, it’s as if Pete Rozelle understood the average sports viewer just slightly better than Roger Goodell. Or as Iowahawk wrote:

Let us know your phase of NFL withdrawal (if any) in the comments.

DISPATCHES FROM THE HOUSE OF STEPHANOPOULOS: Surprise! Matthew Dowd of ABC News outs the agenda-driven media.

I’m so old, I remember when old media at least still pretended to be objective.

ANDREW KLAVAN: “Nothing scandalizes a leftist like the truth.” Plus: “So, when it comes to the Great Shithole Controversy of 2018, my feeling is: I do not care, not even a little. I’m sorry that it takes someone like Trump to break the spell of silence the Left is forever weaving around us. I wish a man like Ronald Reagan would come along and accomplish the same thing with more wit and grace. But that was another culture.”

I’m amused when people who’ve spent 50 years declaring the very concept of decency repressive and outdated suddenly start with the “have you no decency?” shtick. When Joseph Welch used that phrase, it was pretty much Peak Decency, or as we’re now told, a horrible regressive time of racism, homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia.

BY THE NUMBERS: Eugene Volokh dug deep into that “Nearly 40 Percent of Sex Offenders in Oregon Prisons Are Illegal Aliens” and writes:

Steve: Sorry to trouble you about this [No trouble at all! -S], but I’m not sure the statistic adds up. I looked at the linked-to Paula Bolyard item, https://pjmedia.com/trending/one-fifteen-oregon-prisoners-criminal-alien-nearly-half-convicted-sex-crimes/, and then in turn to the original source, https://docfnc.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/oregon-department-of-corrections-criminal-alien-report-december-2017/, and here’s what I found:

(1) The original source is writing not about illegal aliens, but about “criminal aliens.” I assume this is the same “criminal alien” as that described in 8 U.S.C. sec. 1252(a)(2)(C) — an alien, whether or not legally present, who is removable because he has committed a certain kind of crime. See Freeman v. Holder (8th Cir. 2010), https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=17372653859303192596, elaborating on this definition.

(2) The original source does report that 476 of Oregon prisoners were criminal aliens committed rape, sodomy, or sex abuse. But that is out of a total of 3738 total prisoners who committed those crimes; the ratio is about 12.7%, not the 39.32% that the PJMedia source reports.

By the way, it appears that the percentage of all Oregon inmates who are criminal aliens (6.6%) is quite close to the percentage of all Oregonians who are aliens (7%, see https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/distribution-by-citizenship-status/), though the percentage of Oregon inmate sex offenders who are criminal aliens does seem higher than that (though not by as much as the Bolyard item reports).

Paula has of course corrected the original story, although nearly 13% still seems high for the Pacific Northwest. More to come on this one, I’m afraid. But in the meantime, a big thanks to Eugene.

BREAKING: STRANGE WEATHER IS STRANGE. US cold snap was a freak of nature, quick analysis finds.

Consider this cold comfort: A quick study of the brutal American cold snap found that the Arctic blast really wasn’t global warming but a freak of nature.

Frigid weather like the two-week cold spell that began around Christmas is 15 times rarer than it was a century ago, according to a team of international scientists who does real-time analyses to see if extreme weather events are natural or more likely to happen because of climate change.

The cold snap that gripped the East Coast and Midwest region was a rarity that bucks the warming trend, said researcher Claudia Tebaldi of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the private organization Climate Central.

I’m so old, I can remember when climate change was going to cause more extreme weather events.

MAMMOTH SMUG STORM THREATENS SAN FRANCISCO:

● Shot: Why Liberals Need to Look Down on Conservatives.

● Chaser: When I say “Trump is my fourth Hitler,” it’s only because I’m too young to remember Goldwater.

Goldwater was Godwinized by no less than CBS’s Daniel Schorr and Walter Cronkite.

● Hangover: Delete your account: Jimmy Kimmel writer cries sexism after being called out for attacking 3rd-grade teacher. Tweet in question was deleted, but I’m pretty sure it’s this:

As Fred Siegel wrote in his 2014 book, The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class, “The best short credo of liberalism came from the pen of the once canonical left-wing literary historian Vernon Parrington in the late 1920s. ‘Rid society of the dictatorship of the middle class,’ Parrington insisted, referring to both democracy and capitalism, ‘and the artist and the scientist will erect in America a civilization that may become, what civilization was in earlier days, a thing to be respected.’”

And that credo, now internalized after a century of “Progressivism” is what drives the media to rage an increasingly angry war with its customers.

(Classical allusion in headline.)

SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP: Cameron’s ‘bromance’ with Obama a myth, claims ex-adviser Steve Hilton. “Ex-PM thought Obama was narcissistic, says Steve Hilton while lambasting Fire and Fury book’s claims about Trump.”

Do tell:

Steve Hilton, one of Cameron’s closest advisers before the pair fell out over immigration and Brexit last year, made the comments during the latest instalment of his show, The Next Revolution, on Fox News.

Discussing Michael Wolff’s new book, Fire and Fury, Hilton said any claims by elitists and the establishment that Donald Trump was mentally unfit for the presidency came second to Trump’s promotion of a pro-worker, populist agenda on immigration, infrastructure, trade and the fight against China.

He went on to emphasise the shortcomings of Trump’s predecessors, adding: “My old boss, former British prime minister David Cameron, thought Obama was one of the most narcissistic, self-absorbed people he’d ever dealt with.

“Obama never listened to anyone, always thought he was smarter than every expert in the room, and treated every meeting as an opportunity to lecture everyone else. This led to real-world disasters, like Syria and the rise of Isis.”

But the real world did not matter to the elites, Hilton said. “For them, it’s all about style and tone, not substance and results. Donald Trump offends the elites aesthetically, like a piece of art that’s not to their taste.

When you allow taste to trump policy — and I’m addressing Bill Kristol directly here — you’ve elevated mere snobbery to a governing philosophy.

And you should expect the deplorables to respond accordingly.

WHEN YOU’VE LOST BERNIE — OH, WAIT: Sanders: Questions about Trump’s mental health ‘absolutely outrageous.’

I’m just confused: Is Trump an evil Hitleresque mastermind who colluded with Russia — just like Hitler colluded with Russia! — or is he a demented old man who didn’t even want to win the election and was surprised when he did?

Time for a reboot of that Phil Hartman split-personality Reagan sketch, I guess.

ALLIGATOR TEARS: France24 reviews French attitudes on free speech three years after the Islamic terror attack on Charlie Hebdo’s journalists in which 12 people — including a policewoman — were murdered. One resident parrots the new liberal fascism, anti-free speech line that turns the very concept of free expression on its head:

“I’m not fond of Charlie Hebdo, neither its form nor its function (…) They are targeting the Muslims and, if we talk about freedom, I feel they are criticizing the Muslims’ freedom to believe,” Brunacci told FRANCE 24.

This logic is so very strange. How does mocking or challenging something reduce another’s ability to “believe” something, let alone raise their own voice? What’s even stranger yet is that French President Emmanuel Macron, a strong proponent of censorship, (See, liberal fascism, supra) is planning to attend a ceremony honoring the fallen. This is either cluelessness, hypocrisy, or a bizarre display of a lack of self-consciousness. Perhaps it’s that “intersectionalism” I keep hearing about, where core human rights principles are subjugated by political correctness. In either case, he’ll be weeping alligator’s tears.

I… I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO SAY:  You Can Now Pump The Gas Yourself In Oregon’s Rural Places, And People’s Reactions Take Stupidity To Another Level.  My very favorite is the person wondering about gas station attendants losing their jobs, as if there were no other jobs they could take.  I mean, I’m sure we’ve all seen the vast hordes of displaced gas station attendants begging by the side of the highway in other states.  In fact, considering how long it’s been since other states had gas station attendants, they are now generational displaced gas station attendants.   That’s their only genetic capability.  They were maximally optimized by evolution to pump gas, and now that the jobs don’t exist, they just stand there, forlornly, grandad, dad, grandchild, in their faded overalls with names over the pockets, holding up cardboard signs that say “please, give!”  Will no one think of the plight of those who are no longer paid for pumping gas?   Their livelihood and dignity is gone forever and they shall multiply, a purposeless and desperate tribe upon the Earth, longing only for a return of the glory days when people couldn’t pump their own gas.  (Why, yes, that is a dent on my forehead, and it matches the one on my desk, because if I pound enough maybe the stupidity will stop bothering me.)

THANK YOU: I wanted to abuse a little privilege of indulgence and publicly thank Glenn Reynolds and the Instateam for letting me contribute to the dialogue here from time to time. I’d also like to thank all the people commenting on my posts, which I submit to spur intelligent discussion on media and free speech issues, and the occasional chuckle. Some of you have me down as the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky while others place me somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan…so I figure I’m doing it correctly. So please, hit the tip jar at right so Instapundit can prosper. Happy New Year, all!

I’M SHOCKED, SHOCKED TO HEAR THAT PUTIN MIGHT HAVE DOUBLE-CROSSED SOMEONE: Iran Charges Russia With Selling Out its Air Defense Secrets to Israel: The Islamic Republic says Russia sold codes to Israel that neutralize its air defenses.

If true, this bodes poorly for the Iranian government, not only because Putin fleeced them, but because he assesses their situation as one in which he can fleece them with impunity. Alternatively, the Israelis figured it out on their own but successfully duped the Iranians into blaming Putin, which doesn’t make the Iranians look good either.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: The ‘Stupidity’ of Donald Trump: He’s had far more success than Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jesse Ventura.

This time one year ago, the assumption dominating political coverage was that the only people more stupid than Donald Trump were the deplorables who elected him.

Since then, of course, President-elect Trump has become President Trump. Over his 11 months in office, he has put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and four times as many judges on the appellate courts as Barack Obama did his first year; recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; withdrawn from the Paris climate accord; adopted a more resolute policy on Afghanistan than the one he’d campaigned on; rolled back the mandate forcing Catholic nuns, among others, to provide employees with contraception and abortifacients; signed legislation to open up drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; initiated a bold, deregulatory assault on the administrative state—and topped it all off with the first major overhaul of the tax code in more than 30 years.

And yet that Mr. Trump is a very stupid man remains the assumption dominating his press coverage.

Let this columnist confess: He did not see Mr. Trump’s achievements coming, at least at first.

Plus:

In Mr. Trump’s case, critics equate lowbrow tastes (e.g., well-done steaks covered in ketchup) as confirmation of a lack of brainpower. It can make for great sport. But starting out with the assumption that the president you are covering is a boob can prove debilitating to clear judgment.

Quick show of hands: How many of those in the press who continue to dismiss Mr. Trump as stupid publicly asserted he could never win the 2016 election—or would never get anyone decent to work for him in the unlikely miracle he did get elected?

The Trump presidency may still go poof for any number of reasons—if the promised economic growth doesn’t materialize, if the public concludes that his inability to ignore slights on Twitter is getting the best of his presidency, or if Democrats manage to leverage his low approval ratings and polarizing personality into a recapture of the House and Senate this coming November. And yes, it’s possible to regard Mr. Trump’s presidency as not worth the price.

But stupid? Perhaps the best advice for anti-Trumpers comes from one of their own, a Vermont Democrat named Jason Lorber. Way back in April, in an article for the Burlington Free Press, the retired state politician wrote that “while it may be good for a chuckle, calling or even thinking someone else stupid is virtually guaranteed to give them the last laugh.”

Is that not what Mr. Trump is now enjoying at the close of his first year?

And yet, you read stuff like this piece by Walter Shapiro, who should know better, saying that “The 45th president combines the temperament of an authoritarian with the competence of Elmer Fudd hunting rabbits.” But I’m not sure it’s Trump who’s playing Fudd here.

UNITED APOLOGIZES TO PASSENGER BOOTED FOR CONGRESSWOMAN:

[Sheila Jackson Lee D-TX], meanwhile, claims she did nothing wrong.

“I asked for nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary and received nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary,” she said in a statement this weekend.

“But in the spirit of this season and out of the sincerity of my heart, if it is perceived that I had anything to do with this, I am kind enough to simply say sorry.”

She’s “kind enough” to “simply” say she’s sorry to the DC teacher she smeared as a racist on the weekend before Christmas:

“Since this was not any fault of mine, the way the individual continued to act appeared to be, upon reflection, because I was an African American woman, seemingly an easy target along with the African American flight attendant who was very, very nice,” Jackson Lee said in the statement. “This saddens me, especially at this time of year given all of the things we have to work on to help people. But in the spirit of this season and out of the sincerity of my heart, if it is perceived that I had anything to do with this, I am kind enough to simply say sorry.”

Simon said Jackson Lee’s statement accused her of racism, adding: “I had no idea who was in my seat when I complained at the gate that my seat had been given to someone else,” she said. “There is no way you can see who is in a seat from inside the terminal.”

Flashback to a 2002 Weekly Standard article on “Sheila Jackson Lee, Limousine Liberal,” which contains multiple examples of her abusing airlines and accusing anyone who doesn’t treat her as a queen (“You don’t understand. I am a queen, and I demand to be treated like a queen.”) as racist:

Continental managers, however, feared reprisal and saw little they could do. “After medicine, airlines are the most heavily regulated industry in the United States,” says a lobbyist for a Texas-based carrier. “Every airline feels they have to kiss up to Congress; they always feel their livelihood is in Congress’s hands.” But in February 1998, things finally came to a head. On a flight home to Houston, Jackson Lee became enraged when flight attendants failed to produce the seafood special she liked. “Don’t you know who I am?” she reportedly thundered. “I’m Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Where is my seafood meal? I know it was ordered!”

That outburst prompted a phone call to Jackson Lee from Rebecca Cox, vice president of Continental’s government affairs office in Washington and the wife of California Republican Chris Cox. The message? Straighten up and fly right, or don’t fly with us. Cox did not return calls seeking comment, but a member of Jackson Lee’s staff who fielded the call remembered Cox saying, “[Jackson Lee] screamed at the top of her lungs at least a minute. She embarrassed the flight attendants and the passengers in first class. And she embarrassed herself.” Cox then joked, “We have already given her the Delta Airlines schedule.” Jackson Lee got back on board with Continental, but not for long. In May 1999, as Continental flight 1961 prepared to leave Reagan National Airport in Washington, Jackson Lee became flustered when she couldn’t find her purse.

Thinking she had left it in the boarding area, she went back to search for it. Meanwhile, the plane pulled away from the gate. Moments later, her purse was found onboard. According to aviation lobbyists at the time, Jackson Lee demanded that she be let back on the flight. Airline employees explained that FAA rules prohibit planes from returning to the gate once they’ve taxied away, but Jackson Lee was unconvinced. She accused the gate staff of racism and demanded to see their supervisor, who was a black woman. Her purse, meanwhile, was unceremoniously dropped out of the cockpit window and ferried back to her.

A year earlier, at a March 2, 1998, reenactment of the march on Selma, an irate Jackson Lee called her scheduler in D.C. demanding to know why she hadn’t been given a ride to the event by the organizer, as a white colleague had been. According to the aide–who quit after just a month and a half on the job–Jackson Lee shrieked, “You don’t understand. I am a queen, and I demand to be treated like a queen.” It will come as no surprise to learn that Jackson Lee is regarded as one of the most difficult members of Congress for whom to work.

Jackson Lee’s issues involving travel and racism also extend into the final frontier:

During a 1997 visit to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, Jackson Lee, who was then serving on the House Science Committee and on the Subcommittee that oversees U.S. space policy, asked a guide whether the Mars Pathfinder would be able to show an image of “the flag the astronauts planted there before.” When it was subsequently pointed out that the flag to which she was referring was in fact the one that Neil Armstrong had planted on the Moon—not Mars—in 1969, Jackson Lee complained that she was being mocked by bigots. “You thought you could have fun with a black woman member of the Science Committee,” her then-chief-of-staff wrote angrily in a letter to the editor.

How bad have Jackson Lee’s gaffes been over the years? Even the left-leaning Daily Beast has goofed on  her worst moments: The Constitution Is 400 Years Old and More Pearls From Sheila Jackson Lee.

We have the worst political class in American history, to coin an Insta-phrase.

UPDATE: Jean-Marie Simon tweeted last night that “United has NOT apologized to me. On Dec. 23, a low level employee at call center said he was sorry on phone. Voucher I received was United’s idea of compensation for cancelling my flight and given it to Ms. Jackson Lee… SFC + NYP articles claim ‘apology’ from United and $500 as apology wrong. United phone agent apologized, no apology from corporate United. $500 voucher was from exasperated gate agent who originally offered $300 and gave me ultimatum to take the $500 or have plane leave w/o me.”

HEALTH: Older Adults’ Forgetfulness Tied To Faulty Brain Rhythms In Sleep.

During deep sleep, older people have less coordination between two brain waves that are important to saving new memories, a team reports in the journal Neuron.

“It’s like a drummer that’s perhaps just one beat off the rhythm,” says Matt Walker, one of the paper’s authors and a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. “The aging brain just doesn’t seem to be able to synchronize its brain waves effectively.”

The finding appears to answer a long-standing question about how aging can affect memory even in people who do not have Alzheimer’s or some other brain disease.

“This is the first paper that actually found a cellular mechanism that might be affected during aging and therefore be responsible for a lack of memory consolidation during sleep,” says Julie Seibt, a lecturer in sleep and plasticity at the University of Surrey in the U.K. Seibt was not involved in the new study.

I started taking tryptophan and melatonin a few weeks ago, and have been sleeping better than I have in years. Now I’m wondering if doing so can help prevent or forestall this de-syncronization.

LORD OF THE RINGS DIRECTOR PETER JACKSON: YOU’D BETTER BELIEVE THE WEINSTEINS BLACKBALLED ASHLEY JUDD AND MIRA SORVINO.

What makes this even more compelling is the relative stature of both women in the entertainment industry. Judd’s mother and sister had risen to the top of the country charts before her Hollywood career had taken off; Sorvino’s father Paul is a popular actor who appeared in classic films such as Goodfellas. Sorvino herself had won an Oscar and a Golden Globe two years before this took place for Mighty Aphrodite. If Weinstein could derail their careers with a smear campaign, how many other actresses and whistleblowers of lesser stature got blackballed out of the industry?

The pull-quote making the rounds from Jackson’s interview with Stuff is “My experience, when Miramax controlled the Lord of the Rings (before New Line took over production of the film), was of Weinstein and his brother behaving like second-rate Mafia bullies.”

Second-rate Mafia bullies? Shades of the circa 2000 incident the late David Carr described in New York magazine:

“You know what? It’s good that I’m the fucking sheriff of this fucking lawless piece-of-shit town.” Weinstein said that to Andrew Goldman, then a reporter for the New York Observer, when he took him out of a party in a headlock last November after there was a tussle for Goldman’s tape recorder and someone got knocked in the head. Weinstein deputized himself and insisted that Goldman apologize. His hubris would be hilarious if he weren’t able to back it up. Several paparazzi got pictures of the tussle, but Goldman bet me at the time that they would never see print.

I mailed him his dollar a week later. I’d talk to Goldman about it, except he now works for Talk magazine, which is half-owned by Miramax.

I’m pretty sure that David Chase didn’t create Tony Soprano to be a how-to guide for career advancement. Though as with Mad Men, I wonder how many of the incidents shown in that series were inspired by Hollywood itself.

SAUCE FOR THE GOOSE: Female Democrat Congressional Candidate Drops Out of Race After Sexual Harassment Accusation Surfaces.

Andrea Ramsey, a Democratic candidate for Congress, will drop out of the race after the Kansas City Star asked her about accusations in a 2005 lawsuit that she sexually harassed and retaliated against a male subordinate who said he had rejected her advances.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the case told The Star that the man reached a settlement with LabOne, the company where Ramsey was executive vice president of human resources. Court documents show that the man, Gary Funkhouser, and LabOne agreed to dismiss the case permanently after mediation in 2006.

Ramsey, a 56-year-old retired business executive from Leawood, was one of the Democratic candidates vying to challenge Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder in 2018 in Kansas’ 3rd District.

She was running with the endorsement of Emily’s List, a liberal women’s group that has raised more than a half-million dollars to help female candidates who support abortion rights.

Ramsey will drop out on Friday, her campaign said.

I’m sure there are more cases out there. Maybe men will finally feel safe coming forward.

I’VE WRITTEN SEVERAL TIMES ABOUT ZAEVION DOBSON, the heroic teenager who was killed shielding 3 girls from gunfire. Today, his killers were convicted. I’m glad that justice was done, though it won’t bring him back. The judge in the case is one of my former students, which makes me feel old.

THIS WHOLE MUELLER PROBE IS DISGRACEFULLY PARTISAN AND INCESTUOUS: Wife of demoted DOJ official worked for firm behind anti-Trump dossier. “A senior Justice Department official demoted last week for concealing his meetings with the men behind the anti-Trump ‘dossier’ had even closer ties to Fusion GPS, the firm responsible for the incendiary document, than have been disclosed, Fox News has confirmed: The official’s wife worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 election.”

Related: ‘Journalism for rent’: Inside the secretive firm behind the Trump dossier.. “The small firm has been under intense public scrutiny for producing the 35-page document known as the Trump dossier. Senior executives summoned to testify before Congress in October invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and the firm is resisting a congressional subpoena for bank records that would reveal who has paid for its services.” The records would also reveal what journalists it was paying.

But wait, there’s more:

The firm has played an unseen role in stories that dominated headlines in recent years.

In the years before it produced the dossier, records show, Fusion worked to blunt aggressive reporting on the medical-device company Theranos, which was later found to have problems with its novel blood-testing technology. It was also hired to ward off scrutiny of the nutritional supplement company Herbalife, which ultimately paid $200 million to distributors to settle claims by regulators.

In another case, the firm sought to expose what it called “slimy dealings” by a competitor of a San Francisco museum proposed by filmmaker and “Star Wars” director George Lucas. And it dug up information about domestic disputes involving a former mayor of Beverly Hills, Calif., as part of an investigation into a proposed real estate development that the mayor supported. . . .

“I call it journalism for rent,” Simpson, 53, said in August of last year at the Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival and Symposium in the District, where he described Fusion’s work on a panel titled, “Investigations With an Agenda.” . . .

Fusion insists that the firm does not engage in public relations work or advertise its media connections to prospective clients. But Fusion executives have interceded with former colleagues in media when their clients came under scrutiny, records and interviews show. . . . He was candid about the money involved. Explaining why he left journalism, he joked: “We don’t use the word ‘sold out.’ We use the word ‘cashed in.’ ”

I’m sure there’s nothing slimy going on here at all.

I’M SO OLD I CAN REMEMBER WHEN YEMEN WAS THE MUCH-TOUTED SHOWPIECE OF OBAMA’S ANTI-TERROR DIPLOMACY: The catastrophe in Yemen.

Related: Yemen, Not Syria or Iraq, Is Obama’s Worst Foreign Policy Mistake.. I dunno, what about Libya? There are so many choices . . .

CHANGE: The Rebirth of America’s Pro-Natalist Movement: Activists on the right and left want policies that will reverse the country’s baby bust. But the broader culture—and Congress—don’t seem to care.

America needs more babies.

That’s what policymakers seem to have decided, from the White House to Capitol Hill. Congress spent November considering the Child Tax Credit, a measure that reduces the federal income taxes owed by families with kids. The Senate and the House both voted to raise the credit in their recent tax bills, which will soon be reconciled. Meanwhile, two Democratic senators, Michael Bennet and Sherrod Brown, proposed their own version of an increase. And led by Ivanka Trump, the Trump administration has been softly pushing a child-care tax deduction and federal paid-maternity-leave program.

These programs have been sold as ways to support struggling middle-class families, but they also address another issue: declining birth rates. Government data suggests the U.S. has experienced drops in fertility across multiple measures in recent years. Even Hispanic Americans, who have had high fertility rates compared to other ethnic groups in recent decades, are starting to have fewer babies. Lyman Stone, an economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture who blogs about fertility in his spare time, called this year’s downward fertility trend “the great baby bust of 2017.”

These are the seeds of a nascent pro-natalist movement, a revived push to organize American public policy around childbearing. While putatively pro-family or pro-child policymaking has a long history in the U.S., the latest push has a new face. It’s more Gen X than Baby Boom. It’s pro-working mom. And it upends typical left-right political valences: Measures like the Child Tax Credit find surprising bipartisan support in Congress. Over the last year or so, the window of possibility for pro-natalist policies has widened.

Read the whole thing. I’m beginning to think it was a mistake to listen to Paul Ehrlich.

QUESTION ASKED AND ANSWERED:

● Shot: Is hugging still okay? In the wake of Weinstein sexual assault accusations, men ask: What is acceptable to women and society now?

—AP, Monday.

● Chaser: Librarian: To fight microaggressions, hug a person of color.

Campus Reform, today.

● Hangover: ‘I don’t like men’: Lawmaker brings meeting to a halt after male colleague touches his arm:

While debating a land-use bill at a committee meeting on Tuesday night, Pennsylvania state Rep. Matt Bradford laid his hand — for just a moment — on the left forearm of the colleague sitting next to him.

That colleague was conservative Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, who interrupted Bradford mid-sentence with a personal bit of information.

“Look, I’m a heterosexual. I have a wife, I love my wife, I don’t like men — as you might. But stop touching me all the time,” Metcalfe told Bradford, who then began laughing.

Several other members of the committee, which Metcalfe chairs, giggled and smirked.

“Keep your hands to yourself,” said Metcalfe, a Republican from Butler County. “If you want to touch somebody, you have people on your side of the aisle who might like it.

“I don’t.”

—The Washington Post, today.

STEPHEN GUTOWSKI: NRA Blasts Misleading Claims Made About Gun Background Check Bill Ahead of House Vote.

Despite what appears in the bill’s text, Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, described it as establishing “a gun control super-database” and “expanding the Brady-NICS gun owner registry.”

“Weak Republicans always push gun control laws under the guise of ‘enforcing the laws we have,’ but only end up pushing the Democrat agenda, giving gun owners more reasons to worry,” he said.

Meanwhile an alert from Erich Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America (GOA), claimed Fix NICS “would require that the rolls of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and ObamaCare be trolled for recipients with PTSD, ADHD, or Alzheimer’s—that is, people who have had guardians appointed,” the group’s legislative council said it was not arguing the bill would create new categories of prohibited people. Instead, he said, the bill’s attempt to gather all of the records required under current law, which dates back nearly a decade, is the problem.

“No, we are not arguing that ‘Fix NICS’ adds new categories,” Michael Hammond, general counsel for GOA, told the Free Beacon. “But we are arguing that 18 U.S.C. 922(g), as interpreted by the 2007 NICS Improvement Amendments Act and its regulations at 27 CFR 478.11, is so potentially broad, that, if every eligible name were submitted to NICS, as the bill proposes, the result would be the submission of a large number of names of otherwise law-abiding Americans.”

More to come, I’m sure.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21st CENTURY, YOU KNOW: ‘The Woebot will see you now’ — the rise of chatbot therapy.

My therapist wanted to explain a few things during our first online session:

“I’m going to check in with you at random times. If  you can’t respond straight away, don’t sweat it. Just come back to me when  you’re ready. I’ll check in daily.”

“Daily?” I asked.

“Yup! It shouldn’t take longer than a couple minutes. Can you handle that?

“Yes, I can,” I answered.

There was a little more back-and-forth, all via Messenger, then this statement from my therapist:

“This might surprise you, but . . . I am a robot.”

It wasn’t a surprise, of course. I’d downloaded “Woebot,” a chatbot recently created by researchers, and it was trying to establish our therapeutic relationship.

The article ends with a reference to the mother of them all – Eliza; I’m old enough to have had extended conversations with “her” back in the late 1970s. I don’t think the Woebot is ready to pass the Turing Test yet, but it sounds like psychological chat apps have made a fair amount of progress since.

TAX CHANGES: “If this is wrong, I’d like to see the NYT refute it.”

I think — I don’t know — that the NYT is expressing concern about taxpayers who itemize and have a big state-and-local tax deduction. I’m one of those taxpayers, but I used an on-line calculator that showed that my household would save around $1000 a year under the GOP plan. And we pay over $17,000 a year in property taxes alone. The new standard deduction is that big. So it looks as though there are a lot of people who currently itemize, who’ll just be better off taking the standard deduction. Then there are the many many people — the majority of taxpayers — who are already taking the standard deduction and who’ll get a much larger standard deduction. Why isn’t the NYT happy for these people? I suspect — again, I haven’t figured it out — that the NYT is looking at all the people who just don’t owe much income tax. Once you’ve got your taxable income down to nothing, it doesn’t matter how much more you could have deducted. So those people get nothing out of the bigger standard deduction.

My sympathy when people who aren’t paying taxes fail to participate in a tax cut aimed at those who do pay is very limited.

ED MORRISSEY: CBS News’ headaches may just have started with Charlie Rose rather than ending with him.

More:

Erin Gee worked for seventeen years at the network and claims that a systemic environment of abuse got so bad that one boss told her to sleep with an editor after complaining about his work.

According to Gee, Klug later followed up with a query to another male boss to see whether he had slept with his female subordinates, specifically Gee. Gee got demoted to the weekends after filing a formal complaint in 2015, according to the lawsuit, after being told that the network would investigate the issue. Klug, also a former director of the network’s flagship news program 60 Minutes, got a promotion not long afterward.

However, the Daily Mail notes that Gee’s complaint didn’t get too far with the EEOC, which prompted the lawsuit. CBS News denies the allegations.

The Rose case may make this a little more difficult to sustain.

The infotainment industry has been getting away with — even nurturing — all kinds of sexual manipulation and predation, while lecturing ordinary, non-predatory Americans about how awful they are.

Even after all these weeks of horrific revelations, the Democrat-Media complex seems to think they can offer up a few public sacrifices and circle the wagons around the rest. But I’m not convinced it’s going to work this time, given the scope and nature of allegations.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, PECULATION EDITION: Another Evergreen State Employee Quits, Alleging Illegal Use Of Taxpayer Money.

Michael Radelich, who worked as a learning resource specialist and a record keeper at the school’s writing center for 14 years, said that the center used financial aid money meant for students to hire non-student employees, reported The College Fix.

The school told Sandra Yannone, director of the writing center and Radelich’s boss, that she must dedicate no less than 90 percent of the center’s budget each year to student salaries, alleged Radelich. But the writing center spent only 27 percent of its budget on that item for the 2016-2017 school year, according to documents Radelich gave to The College Fix.

I’d borrow Sara’s shocked face, but I’m afraid of wearing it out.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

● Shot: The View’s Host Joy Behar: “I am being told by God to save this country.”

Right Wing News, Saturday.

● Chaser:

While Behar was raised Catholic, she now identifies as agnostic. She jokingly said she lost her faith when she “went to the Commie school Queens College.” She told Father Edward Beck on an ABC News “Focus on Faith” interview: “I’m sustained by my family, my life, my brain. But I don’t believe there’s an afterlife.” (March 17, 2011). In the same interview, she said: “I never gave her [my daughter] any religion, because I felt that I was brainwashed. . . . This is what I didn’t want my daughter to have. So that’s why I didn’t want her to go to Catholic school or learn any of that.”

“I’m pathetically pragmatic. . . . I don’t believe that there’s a higher power that created human beings.”

—Joy Behar in an interview with Father Edward Beck on ABC News, “Focus on Faith,” March 17, 2011.

As found at the Freedom from Religion Foundation Website.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Africans are being sold at Libyan slave markets. Thanks, Hillary Clinton. “It’s surprising the extent to which Clinton has gotten a pass for this debacle, which represents a humanitarian and strategic failure of the first order. (And, of course the damage is still compounding: How likely is North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons, after seeing the worthlessness of U.S. promises made to Gadhafi?) . . . Back in the 2012 presidential campaign, former vice president Joe Biden told a group of African Americans that the GOP was going to ‘put you all back in chains.’ But it turned out that it was Clinton’s policies that led to black people being sold. As some ponder another Hillary Clinton run in 2020, that’s worth pointing out.”

On Twitter I’m being told that the Libya invasion was over 5 years ago and Hillary isn’t President now, so shut up. But given that we’re still living with the consequences, and she’s still relitigating the election, I think it’s worth noting just what a foreign policy disaster she was as Secretary of State, and would have been as President.

I’M SO OLD, I MISS THE GOOD OLD DAYS WHEN NEW YORK TIMES REPORTERS WERE MERELY APOLOGISTS FOR STALIN:  NYTimes: Ok to sexualize children for the cause of genderqueer.

I’M SO OLD I CAN REMEMBER WHEN THE NY TIMES RIDICULED NANCY REAGAN FOR ASKING AN ASTROLOGER’S ADVICE:  Why Is the New York Times Taking Astrology Seriously?

I’M SO OLD CAN REMEMBER WHEN SUSAN SARANDON ADORED THE CLINTONS:  Susan Sarandon says Hillary Clinton is ‘very dangerous’.

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER WHEN HE WAS HITLER: Is Donald Trump, of All Presidents, Devolving Power Back to the Legislative Branch? “President Trump has proved to be a full-spectrum deregulator. His administration has been punctilious about the institutional prerogatives of Congress and the courts. Today there is a serious prospect of restoring the constitutional status quo ante and reversing what seemed to be an inexorable regulatory expansion.”

More from Josh Blackman: Is Trump Restoring Separation of Powers?

AND IN CASE YOU WONDERED, YEP, DEMOCRATS ARE STILL ACTING INSANE:  Newsweek: Charles Manson = Donald Trump.  I’m thinking when Newsweek sold for $1 it was wildly overpriced.

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER WHEN APPLE’S SLOGAN WAS “THINK DIFFERENT:” “Apple fires Diversity Chief for suggesting that intellectual diversity is important too. Wrongthink has no place in Silicon Valley.”

CHANGE: Apple’s Diversity Chief Is Leaving After Only 6 Months.

She had irked some critics in May when she commented during a conference, “There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blonde men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.” Her comments were seen by some as insensitive to people of color, women, and members of the LGBT community, who have long faced an uphill battle in the workplace.

Denise Young Smith later apologized for her comments, saying that they “were not representative of how I think about diversity or how Apple sees it.”

“For that, I’m sorry,” she said in a staff email. “More importantly, I want to assure you Apple’s view and our dedication to diversity has not changed.”

Her sin was being honest that there’s more to diversity than skin color or sexual orientation.

UPDATE (From Ed): I’m so old, I can remember when Apple’s marketing slogan was “Think Different.”

CHANGE? Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe makes first public appearance since ‘coup.’

Zimbabwe’s beleaguered President Robert Mugabe attended a graduation ceremony at a university in the capital Harare on Friday, his first public appearance since he was put under house arrest by the army late Tuesday.

The 93-year-old wore a graduation gown and cap for the event at the Zimbabwe Open University. He announced the ceremony’s opening to applause, but did not make a speech.

It came as the country’s army said it has made “significant progress” in their “operation” after seizing control of state television and the capital’s airport during an apparent coup earlier this week. Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state, refused to stand down during a meeting with military officials Thursday, AFP reported.

AND: Mugabe exit plan talks deadlocked.

Insiders said Mugabe, who is holed up at his house with his wife Grace and his family, and close allies Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere and their families, agreed during the delicate talks at State House in Harare yesterday that he could step down as Zanu PF leader at his party’s congress next month and as head of state and government when his current term of office expires by mid next year.

“Mugabe is agreed to go in principle. As a general plan, although the details are not yet established, he has agreed to step down as Zanu PF leader next month and president next year, but he does not want to be removed from office outside the constitution and law framework,” one source said.

“However, the military and its political allies want him to go now; they want him to resign and reinstate (fired Vice-President Emmerson) Mnangagwa and also allow him to become acting president, and then follow the party and government processes leading to an eventual takeover.

“So for now he is going nowhere; he is staying put even at the risk of military escalation and a complete takeover.

The dilemma for the military is to stage a fully-fledged coup and remove Mugabe, but then suffer the consequences of global condemnation, sanctions and isolation which might collapse the country – achieving the very opposite of what they say they want to do. For Mugabe the risk is removal through a coup, harm and humiliation.”

Mustn’t upset the international community when removing the vile dictator, dear.

MEANWHILE: Breaking: Mugabe too old & must go – All Zanu PF provinces.

In a dramatic twist of events, all the ten Zanu PF provinces have passed a vote of no confidence on President Robert Mugabe, and declared the 93 year-old leader – who has been in office for 37 years – too old and incapacitated to lead both Zanu PF and government.

After that, I’m not sure it means much what the international community thinks.

THE FINAL FRONTIER: Scientists found a new Earth-sized planet nearby… and it might be habitable.

Known as Ross 128b, the newly discovered planet orbits a life-friendly red dwarf star that is an estimated seven billion years old.

Red dwarfs are the most common stars in the galaxy, making up about 70 percent of all known stars, and tend to hold water-friendly planets in their orbit. What this means is these planets are likely to have an atmosphere and possibly support life.

Ross 128b has a few things going for it that make it a much better candidate to support human life. For one, it has a consistent wobble in its rotation. It also orbits an older star that has probably settled down somewhat. A computer simulation also suggests it might have built up clouds to keep water from evaporating on its surface, giving it a better chance at hosting an atmosphere that could support life.

I’m wary of computer simulations of worlds we’ve never been to when we can’t yet get this one right.

ONLY POLICE SHOULD BE ARMED: Detroit police officers fight each other in undercover op gone wrong.

Sources say it started when two special ops officers from the 12th Precinct were operating a “push off” on Andover near Seven Mile. That is when two undercover officers pretend to be dope dealers, waiting for eager customers to approach, and then arrest potential buyers and seize their vehicles.

But this time, instead of customers, special ops officers from the 11th Precinct showed up. Not realizing they were fellow officers, they ordered the other undercover officers to the ground.

FOX 2 is told the rest of the special ops team from the 12th Precinct showed up, and officers began raiding a house in the 19300 block of Andover. But instead of fighting crime, officers from both precincts began fighting with each other.

Sources say guns were drawn and punches were thrown while the homeowner stood and watched.

The department’s top cops were notified along with Internal Affairs. Each officer involved is now under investigation as the department tried to determine what went wrong.

I’m having a hard time working up any sympathy for undercover cops engaged in a sting operations aimed at using asset forfeiture to seize citizens’ cars.

A DEAL FOR INSTAPUNDIT READERS AT THE FORESIGHT VISION WEEKEND:

Foresight Institute’s Vision Weekend, Dec 2-3, SF

The Vision Weekend is a gathering dedicated to taking stock of the most compelling ideas of today, turn them into coherent visions for a better future, and get to work on them.

Saturday: Keynote panels @ Gray Area. Industry leaders deliver food for thought during panels, followed by private Q&A tables with your favorite speaker.
Sunday: Strategy sessions @ Laundry. What vision do you want to contribute to our future? Pick your topic, or apply to host a strategy session. Be bold – Sunday is off the record.

Panels include:
Long-term thinking: So Much To Do, So Little Time
Blockchains: Master Key to Unlock The Future?
Longevity: Reaching Escape Velocity for Life-Extension
Intelligence 2.0: The Brain As Next Frontier?

Speakers include:
Joon Yun, Founder of Palo Alto Longevity Prize
Sonia Arrison, Author of 100 Plus
Tom Kalil, Senior Advisor to the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Group
David Eagleman, Host & Producer of The Brain with David Eagleman
Aubrey De Grey, President of SENS Research Foundation
Max More, President of Alcor
Zooko Wilcox, Founder of ZCash
Mark S. Miller, Senior Fellow at Foresight Institute
Will Marshall, Co-Founder & CEO, Planet Labs
Kevin Perrott, Founder & CEO, Aging Research Network
Melanie Swan, Founder of Institute for Blockchain Studies
Matt Bell, Co-Founder of Matterport
Randal Koene, Founder of NeuraLink

Check out the event website for more speakers, program, or buy your ticket. Share the event with your friends on Facebook.

You may apply the code “INSTAPUNDIT” for a 50% discount when purchasing your Vision Weekend ticket. (This is a Foresight member-only event, so if you’re not a member already, join when registering.)

What past participants say:
“It was an exhilarating experience to be with a large group of people who have sophisticated, enlightened, and thoughtful ideas about the future” – Ray Kurzweil
“A milestone in our journey to better understand our future” – Robin Hanson
“Had a great time and was exposed to fascinating ideas, and, more importantly, fascinating sources of ideas” – Vernor Vinge

I used to be on the Foresight Board of Directors, and I’m still on the advisory board. If you’re interested in this stuff, you’re sure to have a good time.

I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS HASN’T BEEN IN ALL THE PAPERS — OH, I SLAY MYSELF. The Curious Case of the Black Male Escort Found Dead Inside a Wealthy Democratic Donor’s Home.

On July 27, 2017, 26-year-old Gemmel Moore was found in the bathroom of a West Hollywood, Calif., apartment belonging to Ed Buck, 62. Moore was young, black and poor. Buck was white, wealthy and powerful.

That’s all we know.

Moore’s family is searching for answers. Buck has not spoken publicly about the incident. Police have not charged anyone with a crime, even though multiple reports have surfaced that Buck had a predilection for young, black men. Even after a number of young, black male sex workers have stepped forward with apparent photographic evidence that Buck was one of their clients. Even after each one of those men separately told the same story: Not only did Buck have a fetish for black men, but he was known in West Hollywood’s gay community as someone paying top dollar for the company of 20-something black escorts …

But only after injecting them with drugs.

I’m sure it’s all very innocent.

Entirely unrelated: American tech billionaire who gagged press over hotel rape claim is named.

“Pishevar, a Democratic donor, was also a supporter of a movement for California to secede from the U.S.”

JOHN KASICH: It’s time for lawmakers to get into a room and figure out some sort of solution on gun control.

I’m so old, I can still remember when Kasich presented himself as a libertarian-leaning Republican. Although to be fair, these days that does seem like an awfully long time ago.

I HAVE TO DISAGREE WITH MEGAN MCARDLE HERE ON THE GOP “WEAPONIZING” TAX REFORM:

It is hard not to notice that this bill is designed to spread benefits among Trump supporters, particularly the Republican donor class, while laying most of the costs on a single group of people: six-figure professionals living in blue states, a group known as the HENRYs (High Earning, Not Rich Yet). One can make a principled justification for levying high taxes on the rich, who can most easily spare the money. One can make a principled justification for taxing everyone equally, share and share alike. But what is the principle by which almost all of the pain of this tax bill should be borne by affluent, but not rich, people who happen to live on the coasts? Other than “we don’t like them.” …

But while cui bono should not be the only consideration, it always is at least one. Republicans are trying to sell this tax package as a fairer reform that will make things better for all Americans. If that is what they are actually trying to do, then they should probably not offer something so obviously shaped as a shiv for Donald Trump’s political enemies. If not out of principle, then out of naked self-interest. However astonishing their current disarray, Democrats are going to be back in power someday. And if Republicans weaponized the tax code in this fashion, Democrats are likely to pick up this crudely crafted weapon and turn it on its creator.

First, I doubt very much that the GOP has started the tax-weaponization process, leaving aside the longstanding weaponization of the IRS by Democrats.

But it’s also the case that the people who are being “targeted” are people who generally support higher taxes and government power. This is a teaching moment:

There’s an old joke about a boy who complains to his mother that his little sister keeps pulling his hair.

“Oh,” responds the mother, “she doesn’t know that it hurts.”

A few minutes later, the mother hears the girl scream and runs into the other room. “She knows now,” the boy explains.

You know?

Meanwhile, Greg Mankiw has some suggestions for improving Trump’s tax plan that I’m mostly okay with, and I think Trump might be too. “Mr. Trump is right that the current system is in desperate need of repair and that sensible reform could simplify our lives, promote economic growth and benefit all Americans. But I fear that what he is offering, while attractive in some ways, is not bold enough to get the job done.” I don’t favor Mankiw’s final proposal, but Trump — and many Trump voters — might.

SUMANTRA MEITRA: Europe’s Imperial Dilemma.

The British exit and the Spanish crackdown are both a direct consequence of the EU shaping up as an empire, without having the requisite will or capability to manage order across the continent or control the backlash resulting from its idealist and incoherent policies. Undermining state sovereignty has only empowered differing forces within EU. The culturally Catholic conservative Central Europeans, for example, are opposed to Brussels and Berlin meddling in their domestic affairs with unchecked migration or energy deals with the United States. Britain, on the other hand, left the EU due simply to a rational fear of Germany’s Angela Merkel opening the whole of Europe to millions of migrants. Now, ethnic groups like the Catalans have decided if they are going to be ruled by Brussels anyway, why bother listening to the middle man in Madrid? Also, there’s no logical coherence in the policy of EU supporting humanitarian interventions in Libya, and self-determination of other ethnic groups like the Kurds and Irish, while simultaneously and hypocritically opposing Catalonian independence.

A great Machiavellian paradox now tests Europe. It is too diverse, differing in language and culture, and never united before other than through forced imperium, to be bound together in the way the EU has envisioned. An empire, or its modern jargon-oriented equivalent, ultimately cannot be sustained, or defended without using brute force. After all, Westphalian nation-states came into existence as the old empires faded. That led to imperial colonial powers, which then ruled the world for centuries, before being dismantled by other regional nationalists. The last empire to fall was the Soviet Union, which kept the Warsaw pact countries under their power not by the strength of Marxist ideology, but by sheer military force. As soon as Soviet economic power collapsed, so too did the strength of their military, resulting in an opening for a nationalist tide. If the EU tries to morph into a full empire, the result would be more nationalistic backlash and chaos—to say nothing of heightened wariness and tensions with the United States, the UK, and Russia. If the EU doesn’t act like an empire, the regional ethnic groups will rebel against their national states.

And that’s the dilemma for humanity’s greatest liberal utopian project.

“Utopia” of course means “no where,” and I’m afraid “liberal” in this case is the modern, illiberal meaning of the word. But this is a solid, big-picture peace — highly recommended.

WELL, OKAY: Biden on 2020: “I’m not going to decide not to run.”

Maybe by then this whole sexual harassment thing will have died down. Flashback: Biden Swims Naked, Upsetting Female Secret Service Agents:

“Agents say that, whether at the vice president’s residence or at his home in Delaware, Biden has a habit of swimming in his pool nude,” Kessler writes in the book – due for release Aug. 5.

“Female Secret Service agents find that offensive,” he writes.

“Biden likes to be revered as everyday Joe,” an unnamed agent told Kessler. “But the reality is no agents want to go on his detail because Biden makes agents’ lives so tough.”

Plus: Washington Post: What Are We Going To Do About Creepy Uncle Joe Biden?

And: ‘Creepy Veep’ Joe Biden ‘nuzzles’ wife of colleague and claims he is friends with lots of Somali cab drivers.

Also: Joe Biden’s Woman-Touching Habit.

Related: Talking Points Memo: Why Does Creepy Uncle Joe Biden Get A Pass From Liberals?

Plus:

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 9.04.03 AM

DEREGULATION: EPA plans to repeal emission standards for truck components.

Unlike some Obama-era regulations, the rule, which is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, has been widely embraced by the trucking industry.

The rule applies the standards now used for heavy-duty trucks to new truck components called gliders and trailers. A glider, or body, is the front of a truck, including the cab, which fits over the engine. Trailers are the storage components that make up most of the length of a truck.

Currently, trucking companies can install an outdated engine into a new truck body and avoid regulations that would apply to an entirely new truck. Engine manufacturers and public health advocates are in favor of closing that loophole and applying pollution controls uniformly. Heavy-duty trucks have faced tighter emissions standards since 2004, though they have become more stringent over time, thereby widening the gap between new ones and truck bodies that contain older engines.

On Sept. 11, executives from three major heavy-truck and engine manufacturers — Volvo Group North America, Cummins and Navistar — wrote Pruitt urging him not to reopen the rule.

I’m shocked, shocked to find that engine manufacturers oppose re-purposing older engines.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG: The Hill: Bill Clinton sought State’s permission to meet with Russian nuclear official during Obama uranium decision.

As he prepared to collect a $500,000 payday in Moscow in 2010, Bill Clinton sought clearance from the State Department to meet with a key board director of the Russian nuclear energy firm Rosatom — which at the time needed the Obama administration’s approval for a controversial uranium deal, government records show.

Arkady Dvorkovich, a top aide to then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and one of the highest-ranking government officials to serve on Rosatom’s board of supervisors, was listed on a May 14, 2010, email as one of 15 Russians the former president wanted to meet during a late June 2010 trip, the documents show.

“In the context of a possible trip to Russia at the end of June, WJC is being asked to see the business/government folks below. Would State have concerns about WJC seeing any of these folks,” Clinton Foundation foreign policy adviser Amitabh Desai wrote the State Department on May 14, 2010, using the former president’s initials and forwarding the list of names to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s team.

The email went to two of Hillary Clinton’s most senior advisers, Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills.

And it sounds like even they were dubious:

Current and former Clinton aides told The Hill that the list of proposed business executives the former president planned to meet raised some sensitivities after Bill Clinton’s speaker bureau got the invite for the lucrative speech.

Hillary Clinton had just returned from Moscow and there were concerns about the appearance of her husband meeting with officials so soon after.

In addition, two of the Russians on the former president’s list had pending business that would be intersecting with State.

On a related note, a reader emails:

You know…when Hillary “fell on stairs” and “broke her toe” and then cancelled all the remaining interviews, I DID wonder if she was going into hiding b/c a story was about to break. Seems the uranium deal story is it. Yet she’s still being protected. I’m actually surprised at that. Figured if the DNC was really tired of her, they’d let it rip.

Yeah, the press hasn’t stopped covering for her the way it stopped covering for Harvey Weinstein. But I think that’s mostly because covering for her on this is a necessary part of covering for Obama.

UPDATE: And on that last note, see this from Andrew McCarthy. “The Uranium One scandal is not only, or even principally, a Clinton scandal. It is an Obama-administration scandal.”

MICHAEL BARONE: “Administration lawyers made complex, sophisticated arguments that Obama’s clearly illegal actions were actually legal. I’m a graduate of Yale Law School; I know how this is done. Many Americans suspect that condescending elite law school graduates are contemptuous of them and their naive belief that words mean what they say. My experience is that those suspicions are well-founded. “

MORE ON JIMMY KIMMEL ON LOSING REPUBLICAN VIEWERS: “I probably wouldn’t want to have a conversation with them anyway.”

We’ll get to Kimmel in a moment, but to understand how we got to this point, let’s flashback to the hypothesis that Robert Tracinski explored a week ago at the Federalist, in a column titled,“Why Late Night Hosts Like Jimmy Kimmel Are Suddenly So Political.” After discussing how DVRs, streaming and YouTube are fracturing their audiences, he concluded:

So the late-night shows are in a much fiercer competition for eyeballs than ever before, and I suspect the politicization is a response to that—a desperate way of getting in the news, of getting noticed, of securing the loyalty of a particular demographic. This is also my theory about the big entertainment awards shows like the Oscars and the Emmys. If the big, broad, general audience you used to have is gone, and deep down you think it’s never coming back, then why not make a harder bid for the loyalty of the smaller audience you’ve got left? In a time when the entertainment industry is (or thinks it is) a one-party state with no dissenters, you had better echo that politics back to your base.

What were once cultural institutions with a broad, bipartisan audience are becoming niche players with a narrow fan base. They no longer view partisan politics as a dangerous move that will shrink their audience. Instead, they’re using partisan politics as a lure to secure the loyalty of their audience, or what is left of it. Not that it’s going to work over the long term, because people who want to have their biases confirmed will just watch the five-minute YouTube clip Chris Cillizza links to the next day.

Tracinski’s theory dovetails perfectly with the above quoted tweet yesterday from the Washington Examiner: “Jimmy Kimmel on losing Republican viewers: ‘I probably wouldn’t want to have a conversation with them anyway.’” The article it links to goes on to note:

Critics like conservative commentator Ben Shapiro have slammed Kimmel for parading as a “moral arbiter.”

“I’m not. I mean, I agree with him. I’m nobody’s moral arbiter,” Kimmel told CBS. “You don’t have to watch the show. You don’t have to listen to what I say.”

A defiant Kimmel added that he doesn’t say “I don’t mind” because he preferred “everyone with a television to watch the show.”

“But if they’re so turned off by my opinion on healthcare and gun violence then, I don’t know, I probably wouldn’t want to have a conversation with them anyway,” he continued. “Not good riddance, but riddance.”

To paraphrase a legendary fictitious newscaster, you stay classy, Jimmy.

Kimmel is afraid to “have a conversation on healthcare and gun violence” because since 2001, the current Democratic Party purity test (just scroll through the Insta-archives on the topic) requires that Inner Party members make no contact with the lumpenproletariat, lest the bad think rub off. Kimmel runs the risk of learning about a topic and having his mind changed, and he and Disney and the DNC certainly can’t have that. And by echoing the party line, Kimmel keeps his base of remaining leftwing viewers, and his bosses pumped up as well.

As Salena Zito, who actually gets up from her desk and goes out to talk to everyday Americans — even icky flyover country Republicans despised by Hollywood! — and somehow survives the process tweets in response, “Narrow-minded commentary by [Kimmel.] Most Americans are willing to converse with someone who sees world differently than themselves.” But apparently, Democrats are done “having a conversation,” and are simply biding their time until they’re back in power to impose their will on us.

DONNA KARAN WILL BE WALKING BACK THIS HEADLINE IN 3…2…1…: “EXCLUSIVE: Fashion designer Donna Karan comes to Harvey Weinstein’s DEFENSE suggesting his victims may have been ‘asking for it’ by the way they dress calling the shamed mogul and his wife ‘wonderful people,’” screams the London Daily Mail’s homepage tonight:

She told a reporter: ‘I think we have to look at ourselves. Obviously, the treatment of women all over the world is something that has always had to be identified. Certainly in the country of Haiti where I work, in Africa, in the developing world, it’s been a hard time for women.

‘To see it here in our own country is very difficult, but I also think how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?

‘And what are we throwing out to our children today about how to dance and how to perform and what to wear? How much should they show?

I’m not sure those are questions a couturier to the (very leftwing) stars should be asking publicly if she wants to keep those commission checks flowing in.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, since crazy pills seem to be abundance on the left, the ordinarily sane, often quite readable center-left Jewish-themed Website Tablet went Stormfront so slowly, I hardly even noticed: “The Specifically Jewy Perviness of Harvey Weinstein,” screams their headline today. Screenshot here, in case it changes.

As Jon Gabriel tweets, “Damn. I’m a Finn and I’m offended.”

(There are no italics in twitter, but I’m pretty sure Jon’s OK with my adding them here.)

HAPPILY, I’M HEALTHIER THAN MY DAD AND GRANDDADS WERE AT MY AGE: Middle-age Americans in 2017 are less healthy than prior generations: Study.

As Americans in their 50s move toward retirement age, many are in worse overall health than their peers in prior generations, researchers warn.

“We found that younger cohorts are facing more burdensome health issues, even as they have to wait until an older age to retire, so they will have to do so in poorer health,” said study author Robert Schoeni. He’s an economist and demographer at the University of Michigan.

Americans born in 1960 or later must wait until age 67 to collect their full Social Security benefit. People born before that were able to collect sooner.

Schoeni and his colleagues analyzed data collected over decades by the U.S. National Institute on Aging and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

They found that a higher percentage of Americans now in their 50s rated their own health as just fair or poor, compared with what older Americans said about their own health at a similar age.

Also, middle-aged Americans today say they suffer from a higher rate of memory and thinking problems, versus prior generations of 50-year-olds.

But I suspect that these self-reports are driven as much by expectations as by actual change. Prior generations expected to feel worse as they got older, and also expected people not to complain about it too much. Note that people’s actual physical abilities didn’t get worse.

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.

THIS IS A SOMEWHAT MISLEADING HEADLINE: Explosive possessed by Stephen Paddock may have been used in NYC bombing.

The lede makes a bit more sense:

An explosive compound like the one found in Las Vegas mass shooter Stephen Paddock’s car and home is believed to have been used last year in an alleged terrorist bombing in New York City.

Authorities say they recovered an undisclosed amount of the compound known as Tannerite from Paddock’s home in Mesquite and 50 pounds from his car parked at Mandalay Bay, where he used firearms to mow down concertgoers at the adjacent Route 91 Harvest festival on Sunday.

Police have not said why the 64-year-old Paddock possessed Tannerite, which is unregulated and legally used by marksmen to create targets that emit a small cloud of smoke when they are struck. Authorities also found ammonium nitrate, another ingredient that can be used to build bombs, in his vehicle at the site of the shooting.

Yes, as the Las Vegas Review-Journal article goes on to note, Tannerite was used by an Afghan immigrant in a Chelsea district bombing last year in Manhattan that injured 31. It was also used by this guy a decade ago who created a viral video of his Appple G4 blowing up a decade ago in the early days of YouTube:

So very unlikely an ISIS connection based on that alone, but that isn’t stopping their Twitter account from quadrupling down on their claims. However, at this point, as Rita Katz of the Insite on Terrorism Website writes, “Regardless of Paddock’s motivations, his attack in Las Vegas was a tragic act of evil. But ISIS has come too far to walk back its claims for the Las Vegas attack. Unless it wants its future claims to be dismissed, it will need to provide what it did for flight KGL9268 and other events: proof.”

And more puzzling early details emerge, via NBC:

The investigators are puzzled by two discoveries: First, a charger was found that does not match any of the cellphones that belonged to the gunman, Stephen Paddock.

And second: Garage records show that during a period when Paddock’s car left the hotel garage, one of his key cards was used to get into his room.

There are several possible explanations for these anomalies, the investigators say, but they want to get to the bottom of it.

They are also examining his finances. IRS records show that Paddock was a successful gambler, earning at least $5 million in 2015. Some of that could be from other investments, but most of it was from gambling, officials say.

On Wednesday, Mark Steyn spoke with Tucker Carlson about how, in an era of endless social media,  weirdly blank Paddock’s Internet profile is. There’s video of the interview at Mark’s Website, to which he adds:

Whether or not he sat at gaming tables regularly, a thought occurred to me during the Sheriff’s press conference that this man’s “weirdly blank” public profile (as I put it) is closer to something like a contract killer than a mentally disturbed guy who suddenly snaps. I’m not saying this particular accountant is literally the eponymous accountant of Ben Affleck’s recent movie, but there is a level of efficiency and organization here that separates Sunday night’s carnage from almost all other single-shooter attacks.

So as the days go by this seems less and less like a lone wacko who suddenly cracks up.

Today, Steyn adds:

It is also interesting to note that Stephen Paddock apparently cased the “Life is Beautiful” concert in Las Vegas, headlined by the rapper Chance. The victims at that event would have been very different from those at the country music festival, and the press coverage would have been, too: Democrats would have stampeded down the “white supremacy” track rather than “gun control”. One senses that the killer, in his cold calculations, was aware, for whatever reason, of all these factors.

True, but as Allahpundit notes, the type of venue may have played a larger factor. “My theory for why he might have passed on an attack on the Life Is Beautiful festival was the sheer sprawl of the event, which spread out over 18 blocks. People might have been able to flee in all directions fairly quickly…It’s not the *event* that was key to his decision to attack, perhaps, but the site from which he staged it.”

PERSONALLY, I’M JUST HAPPY THAT THEY’RE NOT LECTURING ME ABOUT MY CARBON FOOTPRINT LIKE THEIR PREDECESSORS, BUT YEAH: Why The Private-Jet Scandal Resonates:

Like state dinners and presidential vacations, private-jet travel comes at an expense that might be shocking to ordinary taxpaying Americans but really amounts to approximately nothing in the greater scheme of federal spending, which is dominated by Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and national defense. All of the corporate-jet travel undertaken by all federal officials, including the president, doesn’t add up to a day’s spending on Social Security.

But it does offend some Americans’ sense of propriety, and Americans aren’t entirely wrong to be offended. From the success of Mark Leibovich’s This Town and Angelo Codevilla’s The Ruling Class to the election of Donald J. Trump as president of these United States, there is a sense that what really is sticking in the great American craw is not so much a dispute over policy differences — you don’t go to Donald Trump for policy insights — but resentment over the entitlement and arrogance of something Americans long told ourselves we did not have: our ruling class.

Yes.

UPDATE: From the comments:

Milton Friedman explains:

“I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office.”

Firing Price helped to change the political climate of opinion.

Yes.

AXIS OF EVIL: Iran’s New Ballistic Missile Looks a Lot Like a Modified North Korean One.

Needless to say, the demonstration of the Khorramshahr has added a certain weight to calls in the United States to pull out of or otherwise reconsider the future of the JCPOA. Critics of pulling out of the arrangement say that it could only hasten Iran’s development of both newer and more advanced ballistic missiles, as well as a nuclear weapon.

However, Khorramshahr may prompt additional concerns that Iran may already be working along both of these lines with help from North Korea and other allies. Observers were quick to point out that the missile shares a number of similarities, especially in its apparent engine configuration, with the North Korean BM-25 Musudan, also known as the Hwasong-10.

Iran claims that the new missile is an entirely domestic effort, but it makes similar statements about almost every weapon system it unveils, even those that are clearly derived from foreign designs. Its existing Shahab-3 medium range ballistic missiles are a known derivative of North Korea’s earlier Hwasong-7.

I’m so old I can remember when suggesting that Iran and North Korea cooperated as a terror axis was the punchline to unfunny jokes told by comedians and network news reporters.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Astonishingly, the 2016 Clinton campaign conducted no state polls in the final three weeks of the general election and relied primarily on data analytics to project turnout and the state vote. They paid little attention to qualitative focus groups or feedback from the field, and their brief daily analytics poll didn’t measure which candidate was defining the election or getting people engaged.

The models from the data analytics team led by Elan Kriegel got the Iowa and Michigan primaries badly wrong, with huge consequences for the race. Why were they not then fired? Campaign manager Robbie Mook and the analytics team argued, according to Shattered, that the Sanders vote grew “organically”—turnout was unexpectedly high and new registrants broke against Clinton. Why was that a surprise?

Campaign chair John Podesta wanted to fire Mook, but Clinton stood by him. She rightly admired previous campaigns in which big data and technology were big winners, yet in 2008 it was the candidate and his appeal more than the technical wizardry that pushed Obama over the top. David Axelrod told me that analytics adds a “great field-goal kicker”—no substitute for a strategy and compelling message.

* * * * * * *

 

Clinton and the campaign acted as if “demographics is destiny” and that a “rainbow coalition” was bound to govern. Yes, there is a growing “Rising American Electorate,” but Page Gardner and I wrote at the outset of this election, you must give people a compelling reason to vote and I have demonstrated for my entire career that a candidate must target white working-class voters too.

I’m sure if the campaign had gone with the “Because It’s Her Turn” slogan that would totally sold the deal.

BLOOMBERG: Obama Goes From White House to Wall Street in Less Than One Year. “Obama is coming to Wall Street less than a year after leaving the White House, following a path that’s well trod and well paid. While he can’t run for president, he continues to be an influential voice in a party torn between celebrating and vilifying corporate power. His new work with banks might suggest which side of the debate he’ll be on and disappoint anyone expecting him to avoid a trap that snared Clinton.”

Hey, they didn’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

PRESIDENTGOLDMANSACHS

But it’s yet another argument for my Revolving-Door Surtax.

Flashback: Joe Biden to Goldman Sachs execs: “I’m doing a job interview with you.”

ART IMITATES LIFE: Books about Russia are red-hot right now.

Russians are hot in the publishing world these days, and leading the pack is “A Legacy of Spies” by John Le Carré, his first George Smiley novel in 25 years.

The latest book finds Smiley protege Peter Guillam retired from the world of spies, enjoying some rest and relaxation on a farm in southern Brittany. But his Cold War past gets dredged up again as he and other colleagues are called back to London to account for past misdemeanors, actions taken during a time when the methods used against the Soviets mattered less than winning the ideological war.

Other recent and upcoming diplomatic thrillers — and you’ll know one when you see it: blocky font, red type, Kremlin on the cover, hammer and sickle optional — include “The Defectors” (Atria, out now) a page-turner by Joseph Kanon involving the KGB, the CIA and two American brothers caught between the two; and “The Shadow List” (GP Putnam’s Sons, out Tuesday) by Todd Moss, formerly the top American diplomat in West Africa, which deals with a Nigerian e-mail scam, a married couple that works for the US State Department and the CIA, and a Russian master criminal nicknamed The Bear.

I’m less sure about the others, but the Le Carré just went to the top of my Kindle stack.

SO NOW IT’S THE 16TH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11. Back then, InstaPundit was shiny and new new new. Now it’s not, and some people have been warning of “blogger burnout.” But I’m still here. On prior 9/11 anniversaries, I’ve given shooting lessons to a Marine, I’ve taken the day off from blogging, and I’ve even gone to a Tea Party with Andrew Breitbart.

This year, as in most past years, it’ll be blogging as usual. And here’s a link to my original 9/11 coverage — just scroll on up. At this late date, I don’t have anything new to say on 9/11. But these predictions held up pretty well. Which is too bad.

The picture above is by my cousin-in-law Brad Rubenstein, taken from his apartment that day. You might also want to read this piece by James Lileks.

And here’s a passage from Lee Harris’s Civilization And Its Enemies.

Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe.

They forget that in time of danger, in the face of the Enemy, they must trust and confide in each other, or perish.

They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the Enemy. And that, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the Enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn’t done enough for — yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, or an oversight on our part — something that we could correct. And this means that that our first task is that we must try to grasp what the concept of the Enemy really means.

The Enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the Enemy always hates us for a reason — it is his reason, and not ours.

I’ve said all this before, but it bears repeating today. And if I don’t have anything new to say at this late date, well, it’s been a long time.

One thing I guess I didn’t believe 16 years ago is that America would elect such a feckless President in 2008, and stand idly by while he flushed our global position, and security, down a left-wing toilet. But we did, and we’ll be paying the price for a long time.

God bless America. We need it.

I’M SO OLD I CAN REMEMBER WHEN THE NATIONAL LAWYERS’ GUILD FOUGHT MCCARTHYISM INSTEAD OF SUPPORTING IT: Professor who argued ‘all cultures are not created equal’ targeted for removal from teaching law class.

A law group at an Ivy League university is encouraging the school’s administration to consider barring a professor from teaching a mandatory first-year law course, citing her “segregationist” worldview, “bigoted views” and “cultural elitism.”

In a statement posted to the group’s blog, the National Lawyers Guild chapter at the University of Pennsylvania Law School condemned Penn professor Amy Wax’s recent op-ed at The Philadelphia Inquirer, in which Wax, along with a co-author, lamented the “breakdown of the country’s bourgeois culture” and declared: “All cultures are not created equal.”

The members of Penn’s National Lawyers Guild wrote that Wax’s comments are a “textbook example of white supremacy and cultural elitism” and alleged she is a “segregationist” with “bigoted views.”

“We call on the administration,” Penn’s National Lawyers Guild wrote, “to consider more deeply the toll that this takes on students, particularly students of color and members of the LGBTQIA community, and to consider whether it is in the best interests of the school and its students for Professor Wax to continue to teach a required first-year class.”

Professor Wax is the instructor for a mandatory course at Penn’s law school titled “Civil Procedure.”

But like most commie groups, the Guild has always been happy to change its principles to conform with the party line of the moment. Still, I hope that Thomas Emerson, were he still alive, would be opposing this.

THE LUMPING-TOGETHER WAS ALWAYS THE GOAL: Megan McArdle: Southern Poverty Law Center Gets Creative to Label ‘Hate Groups’: Principled conservatives are lumped together with bigots.

In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center designated the Family Research Council a “hate group” because of its orthodox position on homosexuality, and its occasionally incendiary defenses of that position.

In 2012, Floyd Corkins showed up at the Family Research Council headquarters with a gun.

I don’t mean to imply that these two things were connected. I’m telling you that they were connected. We know because the shooter told the FBI where he got the idea.

Conservatives have used this to try to discredit the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups. But the sad truth is that if you criticize someone, there’s always some small chance that an unstable person will read your criticism and decide its subject needs killing. The shooting is still not the fault of the writer, but the fault of the shooter.

(Just in case it helps, I interrupt this column to point out that you should not shoot anyone I write about, or anyone I don’t write about, or anyone.)

Also, you don’t need to manufacture ersatz accountability in order to discredit the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate group tally. You just need to tell people what’s on the list.

Some of the groups named are what anyone would think of as a hate group, like, you know, the Ku Klux Klan. But other entries are a festival of guilt-by-association innuendo about people with at best a tangential relationship to the target institution, and whose statements fall well short of blanket group-calumny or calls for violence. Or the center offers bizarrely shifting rationales that suggest that the staff started with the target they wanted to deem hateful, and worked backward to the analysis.

Think of them as leftist propagandists and grifters and you won’t go far wrong.

MORE REASONS TO DOUBT THE “INTERNET OF THINGS:” Algorithm unlocks smartwatches that learn your every move. “Scientists at the University of Sussex have invented a new algorithm that enables smartwatches to detect and record your every move, without being told beforehand what to look for.” I’m troubled by devices that know more about me than I do, especially when security is so porous.

ROD DREHER ON SALLY QUINN, GEORGETOWN’S MADAME BLAVATSKY:

We are long, long past the day when Sally Quinn and her late husband Ben Bradlee, the legendary Washington Post editor, were arbiters of Washington social life. But Quinn, now in her mid-70s, has found a way to keep her name in public. In this delicious Washingtonian profile by Michelle Cottle, Quinn outs herself as an occultist. No, really. And there’s more:

* * * * * * *

Ouija boards, astrological charts, palm reading, talismans—Quinn embraces it all. And yes, she has been in contact with her husband since his passing. Through a medium. Repeatedly.

Some friends have voiced reservations that Quinn is now showing all her cards, so to speak. “Don’t play up the voodoo too much,” one implored. But Sally does nothing by halves. She reveals that, in her less mellow days, she put hexes on three people who promptly wound up having their lives ruined, or ended.

The first, cast in 1969, was spurred by old-fashioned jealousy. Some exotic beauty at a Halloween party inspired lust in Quinn’s beau at the time—and then killed herself just days after Sally cast her spell.

Her second victim was Clay Felker, the longtime editor of New York magazine who oversaw a brutal profile of Quinn in 1973, just before her catastrophic debut on the CBS Morning News. Quinn hexed Felker not long after flaming out at CBS and returning to Washington. “Some time afterward, Rupert Murdoch bought New York magazine in a hostile takeover, and Felker was out,” she writes. “Clay never recovered professionally. Worse, he got cancer, which ultimately caused his death.”

Target number three: a shady psychic who, the autumn after Quinn Bradlee was born, ran afoul of Sally’s maternal instincts. The woman dropped dead before year’s end.

As Zhou Enlai never said, the outcome of the French Revolution? Too soon to tell. Just a reminder: the Post mocked Richard Nixon for the relatively mild mysticism of talking to the White House paintings, and Nancy Reagan for her interest in astrology. It reported that Hillary talked to ghosts while First Lady. It smeared evangelical conservatives as “poor, undereducated and easily led.” Meanwhile, the wife of the Maximum Editor of the Washington Post was playing with Ouija boards and putting hexes on her enemies. The disparity is reminiscent of a passage in Michael Graham’s Redneck Nation:

After a set at a hotel in Washington State, I was dragged into a long, drawn-out discussion with a graying, balding New Ager who just couldn’t get over my evangelical background. “You seem so smart,” he kept saying. “How could you buy into that stuff?”

Here’s a guy wearing a crystal around his neck to open up his chakra, who thinks that the spirit of a warrior from the lost city of Atlantis is channeled through the body of a hairdresser from Palm Springs, and who stuffs magnets in his pants to enhance his aura, and he finds evangelicalism an insult to his intelligence. I ask you: Who’s the redneck?

Come to think of it, I’m not sure if this guy—who believed in reincarnation, ghostly hauntings, and the eternal souls of animals—actually believed in God. It’s not uncommon for Northerners, especially those who like to use the word “spirituality,” to believe in all manner of metaphysical events, while not believing in the Big Guy. “Religious” people go to church and read the Bible, and Northerners view them as intolerant, ill-educated saps. “Spiritual” people go hiking, read Shirley MacLaine or L. Ron Hubbard, and are considered rational, intelligent beings.

Exit quote from the Washingtonian profile on Quinn: “‘You can’t imagine the number of people who have asked me to put a hex on Donald Trump—I mean, I have got friends lined up,’ she says. ‘This is my biggest restraint now.'”

Well, that’s a relief. To paraphrase Thomas Sowell, I’m glad to know that there are at least some limits on those particular visions of the anointed.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Why I’m Leaving The Political Science Association.

Looking forward to a lively annual conference of the American Political Science Association, due to start this week in San Francisco, I proposed a panel on “Viewpoint Diversity in Political Science.” After all, I thought, wasn’t the 2016 election a signal lesson in the continuing relevance of diverse viewpoints in the American body politic?

My submission featured four of the most prominent political scientists in the country who have written on the issue of political diversity in the field. They included Joshua Dunn, Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, whose co-authored 2016 book entitled Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University has been a focus of the national discussion among academics interested in the issue; and April Kelly-Woessner, Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Legal Studies at Elizabethtown College, whose co-authored 2011 book The Still Divided Academy: How Competing Visions of Power Politics and Diversity Complicate the Mission of Higher Education is the gold standard on how to promote respectful political dialogue on campus.

Now, granted, every major conference receives far more submissions than it can accept. Still, I was surprised when the panel was rejected. I assumed that it had been bested by superior panels submitted to the jointly-organized teaching and educations sections of the conference. But when the official program came out, I could see that it was not. Instead, it was crowded out by APSA’s serious lack of political diversity.

A total of 11 full panels or roundtables were accepted in the teaching and education sections. Of these, 7 are on mainstream teaching topics. Another 4 were set aside for, shall we say, more politicized topics. One, entitled “Let’s Talk about Sex (and Gender and Sexuality)”, is on how to restructure the classroom around ideas of being “genderfluid, transgender, or gender nonconforming.” Another, on “Tolerance, Diversity, and Assessment” will focus on how to use administrative coercion to enforce various group identity agendas.

The third, called “Taking Advantage of Diversity,” will help scholars to understand why their quaint notions of cutting edge knowledge are merely expressions of white identity. Another, “Teaching Trump”, is composed of left-wing feminist scholars. Final score for political science education at this year’s APSA conference: left-wing approaches to diversity and difference: 4; conservative or classical liberal approaches: 0.

They don’t see themselves as academics, ultimately, but as ideological soldiers. But now the taxpayers they soldier against are asking why they should foot the bill.

AN IDEA SO CRAZY IT JUST MIGHT WORK: Ivy League Scholars Urge Students: ‘Think for Yourself.’

Fifteen highly accomplished scholars who teach at Yale, Princeton, and Harvard published a letter Monday with advice for young people who are headed off to college: Though it will require self-discipline and perhaps even courage, “Think for yourself.”

The “vice of conformism” is a temptation for all faculty and students, they argue, due to a climate rife with group think, where it is “all-too-easy to allow your views and outlook to be shaped by dominant opinion” on a campus or in academia generally.

They warn that on many campuses, what John Stuart Mill called “the tyranny of public opinion” doesn’t merely discourage students from dissenting from prevailing views:

“It leads them to suppose dominant views are so obviously correct that only a bigot or a crank could question them. Since no one wants to be, or be thought of, as a bigot or a crank, the easy, lazy way to proceed is simply by falling into line with campus orthodoxies. Don’t do that. Think for yourself.”

I’m gratified to see some real leadership in support of free expression and free thought on campus, something that was missing last year. Yesterday I told a colleague that I think we may have passed the high-water mark of PC bullying. He thought I was optimistic. . . .

BAKE MY CAKE OR SUFFER THE PENALTIES: As Ed Driscoll reported yesterday, the D. James Kennedy Ministry is suing SPLC, GuideStar, and Amazon over “Hate” labeling. I’ve had a chance to go through the Complaint, and my view is the defamation claims may have enough merit to proceed, the Trademark claims are weak, but the most interesting thing — and what may be the most impacting aspect of this suit — is the claim under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 4 2000(a), which the Plaintiffs point out:

“Because the Amazon Defendants are operating a public accommodation(s), it is a violation of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically 42 U.S.C. § 2000(a), for the Amazon Defendants to deny the Ministry the privileges and advantages of the AmazonSmile program on the basis of the Ministry’s religion and the beliefs that are inherent to that religion.”

Now here’s where it gets interesting. If the Commerce Clause gives government the authority to trump a businessman’s personal beliefs, even if couched as a First Amendment expression, then the same logic that requires Christian fundamentalists to bake “gay” wedding cakes against their beliefs ought to mean that Amazon has no right to deprive the Ministry of a public accommodation because they “don’t like” that Church’s view on gay marriage.

I’m betting if Amazon doesn’t settle, that this issue is headed to the Eleventh Circuit, and maybe even SCOTUS. This is right in Justice Gorsuch‘s wheelhouse. Stay tuned.

 

 

THANKS, OBAMA: Waiting Longer for an Ambulance When Seconds Count? Blame Obamacare. “Study finds that expanded coverage from ACA put strain on emergency services not equipped to deal with the demand.”

I’m so old, I can remember when Obama promised that his law would relieve the stresses on emergency medical services.

SHE SEEMS NICE: New Labour MP says she will not ‘hang out’ with Conservative women because they are the ‘enemy.’

Ms Pidcock explained: “The idea that they’re not the enemy is simply delusional when you see the effect they have on people”.

She also tweeted: “Whatever type they are, it’s visceral. I’m not interested in being cosy with Tories. My interview with @skwawkbox”.

New Tory MP Kemi Badenoch disagreed with Ms Pidcock that Conservatives are an enemy to women.

She told Refinery29: “I would call myself a feminist. I have a son and a daughter – I want to make sure they have the same opportunities in life. [The Conservatives] have had two female prime ministers. We haven’t had as many female MPs (the Conservative party currently has 67 female MPs while Labour has 119) but we have had a different way of doing things. For us, a woman in power is more important than lots of women taking orders from men.”

Dozens of young girls from Rotherham and Newcastle could not be reached for comment.

PURE COMEDY GOLD: Antifa protester getting hit in the groin with a rubber bullet + “I Will Always Love You” = Comedy Gold. And better yet, it’s backed up by Science! In a 1993 article, Popular Science asks “Why Is It Funny When A Guy Gets Hit In The Groin?

Besides the Freudian implications of the aggressive and sexual tension in the situation, there’s also the suddenness with which a blow to the ‘nads can take down even an otherwise big, strapping man. “Someone who’s powerful and dignified, who’s now keeling over in response to what seems like this minor infraction–so easily brought down from their normally human perch–is a violation of expectation..”

All I can add is: “Hey, nice shooting, officer.”
**UPDATE: not clear whether it was a rubber bullet or paintball-type of tear gas projectile. Still, I’m betting the cop who fired that shot won’t have to pay for his own drinks for a month.**

I’M SO OLD I CAN REMEMBER WHEN “LOYALTY OATHS” WERE BAD: Clemson RAs ‘must demonstrate commitment to social justice.’ Given all the PC nonsense at Clemson lately, I’m surprised that the South Carolina legislature has shown so little interest.

JOHN KASS: While we’re toppling offensive symbols, what about the Democratic Party?

History is important, but history can also be quite offensive.

But there’s one thing wrong with Sharpton. It’s not that he goes too far. It’s that he doesn’t go far enough.

Because if he and others of the Cultural Revolution were being intellectually honest, they’d demand that along with racist statues, something else would be toppled.

And this, too, represents much of America’s racist history:

The Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party historically is the party of slavery. The Democratic Party is the party of Jim Crow laws. The Democratic Party fought civil rights for a century.

And so by rights — or at least by the standards established by the Cultural Revolutionaries of today’s American left — we should ban the Democratic Party.

Not only get rid of it in the present, but strike its very name from the history books, and topple all Democratic statues of leaders who benefited, prospered and became wealthy by cleaving to the party. And shame Democrats until they confess the truth of it.

The Democratic Party’s military arm in the South was the KKK. The Democratic Party opposed the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, making the former slaves citizens of the United States and giving them the vote.

If the new Cultural Revolution was serious, wouldn’t it also demand that the Democratic Party be put in a museum somewhere, away from decent people, along with those Confederate statues?

We could put Democrats in exhibits, behind glass, watching white political bosses chomp cigars and pass out goodies for votes, as minorities were relegated, as they are today, to failing schools and lost educational opportunity and neighborhoods that have become killing fields for the young and old.

And in great museums, the Democrats could be studied, safely, without endangering the sensibilities of the children.

We might even peer down on an animatronic Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, once a leader of the KKK. And with him, prominent animatronic Democrats who, just a few short years ago, said wonderful, moving things about Byrd after his funeral.

I’m convinced.

GET YOUR SHOTS: After daughters’ deaths, parents urged to consider Meningitis B vaccine. Because I’m asplenic and work on a campus, I’ve gotten the older meningitis vaccine for quite some time. I’m scheduled to get this new one next week. College-bound kids should get it too. And hey, it might protect them from gonorrhea, too.

PRESIDENT HASSAN ROUHANI: Iran could restart nuclear programme within hours.

I’m so old I can remember when Obama sold his nuclear deal with Iran by claiming that “all four pathways to a bomb are blocked.”

HAVE YOU HUGGED A FRACKER TODAY? U.S. Oil Drillers Keep Pressure on OPEC With Record Shale Output.

The forecast comes just as Saudi Arabia and Iraq, the two biggest producers of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries promised to strengthen their commitment to cutting production. Crude output in the U.S. meanwhile has climbed in nine of the last 10 months. Prices declined to a three-week low Monday as the growing U.S. output and signs of lower demand from China stoked concern that a global oversupply will linger.

Shale drillers such as Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and Devon Energy Corp. have been taking advantage of price rallies near $50 a barrel to hedge their output for next year and beyond, with some producers locking in prices as far out as 2023, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The EIA expanded its monthly forecasts to include the Anadarko shale region, which spans 24 Oklahoma and five Texas counties. The region, a well-established oil and gas producing area, has seen an uptick in improved drilling and completion technology, the agency said in its monthly Drilling Productivity report released Monday.

I’m so old I can remember when America’s peak oil days were well behind us.

OK, BUT I’M NOT SURE IF PINCH WILL:

● Shot: “I’m a White Man. Hear Me Out.”

—Headline of New York Times column this weekend by Frank Bruni, 52.

● Chaser:

Not long ago, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the 41-year old publisher of the New York Times, was greeting people at a party in the Metropolitan Museum when a dignified older man confronted him. He told Sulzberger that he was unhappy about the jazzy, irreverent new “Styles of the Times” Sunday section. “It’s very”—the man—paused—“un-Times-ian”

“Thank you,” Sulzberger replied. He later told a crowd of people that alienating older white male readers means “we’re doing something right.”

—“Tumult at the Times,” New York magazine, November 16, 1992.

It was during that era that former Timesman Peter Boyer described the atmosphere in Pinch’s newsroom as “moderate white men should die,”  according to William McGowan in his exceptional 2010 book Gray Lady Down.

Based on Bruni’s cri de coeur yesterday, it sounds like little has changed there.

HE’S NOT WRONG: Trump Calls Former Admin ‘Weak and Ineffective’ Where North Korea Is Concerned.

During a brief statement given after a security briefing on Thursday, President Donald Trump touched on the subject of North Korea, specifically where previous administrations were concerned.

Initially, Trump was asked by a reporter if a preemptive strike was on the table. The president responded: “We don’t talk about that. I never do.”

From there, he launched into a commentary on previous presidential administrations and how they handled U.S.-North Korea relations.

“I’m not like the other administration that would say we’re going into Mosul in four months,” Trump said. “I don’t talk about it. We’ll see what happens.”

Pressed by the reporter further, Trump was asked about possible negotiations with the socialist state.

While he said that the U.S. will “always consider negotiations,” he took the opportunity to get a dig in on his predecessors.

“They’ve been negotiating now for 25 years,” he started.

He continued: “Look at Clinton. He folded on the negotiations. He was weak and ineffective. You look what happened with Bush, you look what happened with Obama. Obama, he didn’t even want to talk about it.”

People have been kicking the can down the road for 25 years. Now we’re down the road.

WEIRD: Strokes recently declined among men, but not women, study says.

In 2013, Diana Hardeman was 30 years old. She was a vegetarian, a non-smoker, a surfer and the picture of health — until she had a stroke.

“The paralysis ended up seeping down from my arm to my leg, leaving the whole right side of my body basically immobile,” Hardeman said. “I thought maybe I’m becoming paralyzed or potentially seeing death.”

“It was terrifying,” she said.

Hardeman is an example of a puzzling and concerning trend. A study released Wednesday found that from 1999 to 2005, the incidence of stroke declined in both men and women. But from 2005 to 2010, while the rates among men continued to drop, they stayed the same for women.

Dr. Kathryn Rexrode of Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital said risk factors for stroke — such as obesity, high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat and diabetes — may for some reason affect women differently than men.

“Diabetes is a strong risk factor for stroke in both men and women, but in women the risk is 26 percent higher than in men with diabetes,” Rexrode said.

Hmm.

THE ATLANTIC ON HOW SILICON VALLEY TOOK OVER JOURNALISM. The piece is written by Franklin Foer, who describes how Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook, bought the New Republic and promptly began the Buzzfeed-ification of that once august center-left magazine:

My master was Chartbeat, a site that provides writers, editors, and their bosses with a real-time accounting of web traffic, showing the flickering readership of each and every article. Chartbeat and its competitors have taken hold at virtually every magazine, newspaper, and blog. With these meters, no piece has sufficient traffic—it can always be improved with a better headline, a better approach to social media, a better subject, a better argument. Like a manager standing over the assembly line with a stopwatch, Chartbeat and its ilk now hover over the newsroom.

This is a dangerous turn. Journalism may never have been as public-spirited an enterprise as editors and writers liked to think it was. Yet the myth mattered. It pushed journalism to challenge power; it made journalists loath to bend to the whims of their audience; it provided a crucial sense of detachment. The new generation of media giants has no patience for the old ethos of detachment. It’s not that these companies don’t have aspirations toward journalistic greatness. BuzzFeed, Vice, and the Huffington Post invest in excellent reporting and employ first-rate journalists—and they have produced some of the most memorable pieces of investigative journalism in this century. But the pursuit of audience is their central mission. They have allowed the endless feedback loop of the web to shape their editorial sensibility, to determine their editorial investments.

“Unexpectedly,” the Atlantic’s own lust for clickbait isn’t mentioned the piece: CTL-F “Andrew Sullivan,” brings zero results. At the beginning of September of 2008, Jonathan Last of the Weekly Standard wrote a post at his Galley Slaves blog titled “The Atlantic Becomes a Laughingstock,” that neatly foreshadows what Foer wrote for the Atlantic’s September 2017 issue on TNR:

What’s caught my attention here, then is The Atlantic. I am, and always have been, an enormous booster for the Old Media, and smarty-pants general-interest magazines in particular. What’s so notable in this whole affair isn’t the tarring of Palin but the fact that The Atlantic Monthly is the vehicle for the irresponsible spreading of smears about Palin and speculation so inane that it can’t be counted, by any reasonable measure, as analysis. (Here, I’m thinking of Sullivan’s claim that he thought it possible both Palin and McCain would relinquish their nominations.)

If Andrew Sullivan were to have written everything he wrote this week at his own website, I wouldn’t have said a word about it. The real scandal here isn’t Sullivan: It’s what The Atlantic has become by publishing him.

As for Sullivan’s page views, I sincerely hope that David Bradley isn’t making his editorial decisions based solely on eyeballs and dollars. Were that so, you could simply give The Atlantic‘s pages over to Perez Hilton or Slashdot or Matt Drudge or any other number of content formats. But the point of The Atlantic, like other great journals, is to be something different–to be a stage in the world of ideas, even if it’s not the most profitable thing.

I find the prospect of The Atlantic devolving into some version of Free Republic or Daily Kos to be immensely worrisome. Hopefully David Bradley will do something to put his house in order. Soon.

Let’s give Foer the exit quote: “Journalism has performed so admirably in the aftermath of Trump’s victory that it has grown harder to see the profession’s underlying rot.”

I question both halves of that premise, especially the first.

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.

WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS: A Bentley SUV. “An exquisitely detailed, nearly three-ton luxury barge that accelerates almost like a Chevrolet Corvette Z06.”

Personally, I’m holding out for the Mercedes pickup.

I’M SO OLD THAT I REMEMBER WHEN THERE WAS MUSIC ON MTV: MTV’s Iconic ‘Moonman’ Trophy Is Now a Genderless ‘Moon Person’.

THANKS, OBAMA: Iran Condemns Sanctions, Says It Will Pursue Missile Program ‘With Full Power.’

I’m so old I can remember when Iran was under a full sanctions regime and hadn’t received pallets of cash for financing this kind of thing.

WE SEEM TO HAVE A LOT OF HISTORIANS MAKING STUFF UP IN ORDER TO CALL LIBERTARIANS RACIST LATELY: Sloppy History in The New York Times: Who was against “government schools”?

Katherine Stewart has an op-ed in today’s New York Times that purports to expose the sordid history of the phrase “government schools.” The “attacks on ‘government schools,'” she claims, “have a much older, darker heritage. They have their roots in American slavery, Jim Crow-era segregation, anti-Catholic sentiment and a particular form of Christian fundamentalism.”

How reliable a historian is Stewart? Not very.

Since evidence-free smears are all the rage nowadays, I’m going to blame Vladimir Putin’s global crusade against libertarianism.

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.

I’M SO OLD I CAN REMEMBER WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA MOCKED SARAH PALIN BY SAYING WE COULDN’T “DRILL OUR WAY OUT OF” OUR ENERGY PROBLEMS, AND “PEAK OIL” SKEPTICS WERE CALLED SCIENCE-DENIERS: Peak Oil: What Ever Happened to Hubbert’s Peak? Next year U.S. oil production will exceed its 1970 peak.

TAKE A BOW, DNC-MSM: Last night, the Boy Scouts became the Hitler Youth. Today, Sean T. Collins, a freelancer who has written for the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Wired, and the New York Observer among other publications, declares “The world would be a better place if McCain died in Vietnam,” in a since-deleted tweet, as he and other Democrat operatives with bylines attack McCain for wanting to “kill” people by repealing Obamacare, as NewsBusters notes.

Lest you think this is entirely a new attitude amongst the left, recall this New Yorker flashback to the Vietnam War era. “Punch” Sulzberger, who had published the Times from 1963 through 1992, and whose family has controlled the New York Times since the late 19th century, served with distinction as a Marine in the Pacific Theater in WWII and as an officer during the Korean War. His son on the other hand…

[Arthur Ochs “Pinch” Sulzberger Jr.] had been something of a political activist in high school—he had been suspended briefly from Browning for trying to organize a shutdown of the school following the National Guard’s shooting of students at Kent State—and at Tufts he eagerly embraced the antiwar movement. His first arrest for civil disobedience took place outside the Raytheon Company, a defense and space contractor: there, dressed in an old Marine jacket of Punch’s, he joined other demonstrators who were blocking the entrance to the company’s gates. He was soon arrested again, in an antiwar sit-in at the J.F.K. Federal Building in Boston.

Punch had showed little reaction after the first arrest, but when he got word of the second one he flew to Boston. Over dinner, he asked his son why he was involved in the protests and what kind of behavior the family might expect from him in the future. Arthur assured his father that he was not planning on a career of getting himself arrested. After dinner, as the two men walked in the Boston Common, Punch asked what his son later characterized as “the dumbest question I’ve ever heard in my life”: “If a young American soldier comes upon a young North Vietnamese soldier, which one do you want to see get shot?” Arthur answered, “I would want to see the American get shot. It’s the other guy’s country; we shouldn’t be there.” To the elder Sulzberger, this bordered on traitor’s talk. “How can you say that?” he yelled. Years later, Arthur said of the incident, “It’s the closest he’s ever come to hitting me.”

Pinch and the rest of the MSM haven’t exactly matured much since the Woodstock era. As Matthew Continetti of the Washington Free Beacon wrote of the Times in a 2014 piece titled “Fast Times at Eighth Avenue High,” “The next time our reporters and producers and anchors and bloggers affect an air of moral or social superiority, the next time they pretend to know the answers to every political and economic and cultural question, remember this: They are basically teenagers.”

And regarding their adolescent rage, and that of the non-media wing of the Democrat Party, as Glenn has written, “Trump, as I keep saying, is a symptom of how rottenly dysfunctional our sorry political class is. Take away Trump and they’re just as awful and destructive. He just brings their awfulness to the fore, where it’s no longer ignorable. Now they’re willing to play with fire, risking the future of the polity over little more than hurt feelings, in a way that would have been unthinkable not long ago.”

Related: “And now, in sports news, Deadspin preparing victory lap in event of Sen. John McCain’s death,” tweeting, “I don’t want to hear another [f***ing] word about John McCain unless he dies or does something useful for once.”

I’m so old, I can remember when the left pretended to condemn eliminationist rhetoric.

UPDATE: Liberals Stop Pretending to Care About John McCain After His Health Care Vote.

CONGRESSMAN LUIS GUTIERREZ: When Democrats Take Majority We’re Going To “Eliminate” Trump.

The Lincoln United Methodist Church is a sanctuary church and according to Gutierrez’s website, he “spoke to a packed house about the need to defend DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and other forms of legal immigration status that are under attack from Republicans and Donald Trump.”

Gutierrez said that while Trump is attempting to criminalize immigrants, the president is the “real criminal.” The Congressman said illegal immigrants are not criminals and that history will determine who the true criminals are.

“For me, the major criminal that exists in the United States of America is called Donald Trump, he lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue at the White House,” Gutierrez said to the congregation. “And we’re going to take actions today, and we’re going to take actions tomorrow. And there will soon be a majority in the House of Representatives, and I’m going to make sure that I am there to make sure of one thing, that we write those articles of impeachment and take him to trial before the Senate and eliminate him as president of the United States of America.”

I’m so old I can remember when eliminationist rhetoric was an incitement to violence.

BUT WHO WOULD BELIEVE THEM? “Progressives must preach understanding, not shame, to be effective,” Andrew Redlawsk writes in USA Today. His bio describes him as “a Democratic organizer and activist and is currently pursuing his Masters in Political Management at George Washington University.” Embrace the smugness dripping from his article:

The other night, I had an amazing conversation with a friend who admitted he was a Donald Trump voter. Having known him for most of my life, I was shocked. But as a result, as a proud member of The Resistance, I’m even more certain that we progressives are largely responsible for the rise of Trump’s America.

Amazed that a lifelong friend was one of those people. Shocked that he’s part of the other, deplorable half of America. Whereas fortunately, Redlawsk declares himself a “proud member of The Resistance,” as if he’s in the French underground in WWII. More Redlawsk:

If we’re waiting for people who hold a different view to change their minds without being guided through that process, we’ll be waiting an awfully long time. I think progressives would all agree that time is not something we have to waste. It may not be fair, but progressives must be willing to put aside their anger and hate and take responsibility for creating the change they wish to see in the world. To vilify, shame and condemn only causes those who don’t understand to dig in their heels. If we are the ones who want change, the responsibility is ours to do what it takes to encourage it.

To summarize: Progressives, stop insulting, stop shaming, and stop condescending. Start listening. Start teaching.

Start “teaching.” Guide them through the process.

Yes, Middle Americans love to feel like they’re the left’s students – that always plays really well – particularly knowing that the lessons come with a fair amount of “anger and hate” behind them as Redlawsk admits.

And if the instructions from our would-be betters are rejected?  That dovetails quite well into another piece making the rounds concurrently with the above USA Today article: “Rolling Stone Confirms: Ultra-Rich Gay Activist Is Targeting ‘Wicked’ Christians,” Bre Payton writes at the Federalist:

Ah, so “the wicked’” whom [tech millionaire turned gay rights activist Tim Gill] says need to be “punished” are indeed Christians, as well as everyone who agrees with them. Anyone who stands up for a Christian’s right to live in accordance with his or her religious beliefs will also be targeted for harassment in public and the legal system. Further, he clearly defines “wickedness” as adhering to centuries-old Christian (and Jewish and Muslim) beliefs on human identity and sexuality. To Gill, orthodox Christian beliefs comprise “wickedness.” Thanks for clearing that up.

* * * * * * * *

Nevertheless, asking a judge to think twice before throwing the book at a Christian baker who doesn’t want to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding is a “wickedness” that ought to be stamped out, according to Gill.

This must be part of that “Better Deal” that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are promising us. As Erick Erickson likes to say, you will be made to care.

One way or another – we can do this the easy way, or the hard way, as they say in the Corleone family.

UPDATE: I think Steve’s phrase earlier today regarding another column by a lefty trying to make sense of what happened — “If this column is any indicator, even lefties who think they get it still haven’t gotten it” — might need to go into a macro for rapid and frequent deployment.

HAVE YOU HUGGED A FRACKER TODAY? Cheap Crude Is Hell for Oil’s Old Guard.

We live in a new oil reality. Production is surging around the world, and supplies are coming from a number of new places (read: from outside of the oil cartel OPEC). Crucially, the price of a barrel of oil today is less than half of what it was three years ago, and $50 seems to be the new market equilibrium for crude. North America, and in particular the United States, has emerged as the biggest winner in this global transition, but this new reality has produced a large number of losers, too. Petrostates—countries whose regimes have grown fat on oil revenues—have adapted poorly to changing market conditions, and as Bloomberg reports the future looks dim for this category of producers. . . .

The collapse of crude prices hurt everyone in the business of supplying oil, but it was especially painful for petrostates, whose national budgets require a strong oil price to stay in the black. In an attempt to prod prices in the upward direction, OPEC and its ilk cobbled together a weak consensus in order to collectively reduce supplies, but that strategy has been wholly ineffective thus far. Prices remain stubbornly low, while petrostates are ceding valuable market share to upstate producers like America’s frackers. Meanwhile, OPEC members are openly bucking their commitments to cutting production. The cartel’s ability to influence the global market has never looked weaker.

I’m so old, I can remember when anyone who dissented from “Peak Oil” dogma was called a shill for Exxon, and when our own President Obama mocked Sarah Palin for thinking that we could “drill our way out of” our energy problems.

UNEXPECTEDLY!: The Obama-Ayatollah Nuclear Collusion Fraud isn’t working.

OK, The National Interest article is titled “The Iran Nuclear Deal Isn’t Working,” but I think my title is more accurate.

RELATED: Not so unexpectedly. (I’m so old I remember 2015.)

WHOA – CNN TURNED OBJECTIVIST SO SLOWLY, I HARDLY EVEN NOTICED! Journalist Carl Bernstein Declares ‘Cold Civil War’ In America:

On Sunday, appearing on CNN’s Reliable Sources, Carl Bernstein, who along with Robert Woodward, broke the story of Watergate for The Washington Post,  claimed, “We are in the midst of a cold civil war in this country.”

Bernstein, who along with Woodward relied on anonymous sources to discover information related to the Watergate break-in, made his comment about a “cold civil war” to distinguish the era of Watergate from the current political climate.

I wonder if Bernstein thinks he invented that phrase – when perhaps its very first use was by Ayn Rand in a 1962 column with that same title, back when she was giving speeches and proposing book titles railing against JFK’s “Fascist New Frontier.”

(She lost her long-suffering editor, the famous Bennett Cerf, a What’s My Line panelist, over that title – but she may have been more right than she knew.)

Hit the “Continue reading” link for a lengthy look at the “Cold Civil War” phrase in the 21st century and some background on Carl Bernstein’s radical past.

Continue reading ‘WHOA – CNN TURNED OBJECTIVIST SO SLOWLY, I HARDLY EVEN NOTICED! Journalist Carl Bernstein Declares…’ »

OH: Haiti Official Who Exposed The Clinton Foundation Is Found Dead.

The circumstances surrounding [Klaus] Eberwein’s death are also nothing less than unpalatable. According to Miami-Dade’s medical examiner records supervisor, the official cause of death is “gunshot to the head.“ Eberwein’s death has been registered as “suicide” by the government. But not long before his death, he acknowledged that his life was in danger because he was outspoken on the criminal activities of the Clinton Foundation.

Eberwein was a fierce critic of the Clinton Foundation’s activities in the Caribbean island, where he served as director general of the government’s economic development agency, Fonds d’assistance économique et social, for three years. “The Clinton Foundation, they are criminals, they are thieves, they are liars, they are a disgrace,” Eberwein said at a protest outside the Clinton Foundation headquarters in Manhattan last year. Eberwein was due to appear on Tuesday before the Haitian Senate Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission where he was widely expected to testify that the Clinton Foundation misappropriated Haiti earthquake donations from international donors. But this “suicide” gets even more disturbing…

Eberwein was only 50-years-old and reportedly told acquaintances he feared for his life because of his fierce criticism of the Clinton Foundation. His close friends and business partners were taken aback by the idea he may have committed suicide. “It’s really shocking,” said friend Gilbert Bailly. “We grew up together; he was like family.”

Given his connections, his former position, and the whistle he was blowing, Eberwein’s death seems like a big enough story that you’d find it somewhere other than alt-news sites, but as I’m writing this post, the major news outlets have yet to touch it.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: ‘Brown Is Completely Off the Table:’ Private counselors report that, since the election, more parents are ruling out their children applying to some colleges, based on political reputations.

The parents were distraught. Their daughter, a top student, had her heart set on a college that was, in their view, dangerously liberal, an institution to be avoided. They wanted options besides her daughter’s choice at the time … Yale University.

This was the situation a private college counselor shared here at the annual meeting of the Higher Education Consultants Association, one of the two national associations for private counselors. Others in the audience nodded their heads in agreement. Parents were vetoing children’s choices based on the parents’ (not the would-be applicants’) perceptions of the campus political climate. The situation has gotten worse, many said, since last year’s election.

Well, it should.

UPDATE: A lot of people in the comments at Inside Higher Ed trying to pretend that this is about people on the right being close-minded. But there’s also this:

The lesson we get from this is: “Don’t trust guidance counsellors; they don’t know what they’re talking about and give bad advice.” I’m a Yale alum and a college professor, and I, in sadness, told my daughter not to apply to Yale last year. I discovered that Baylor, despite lower prestige, has an amazing Honors Great Books program and probably is better than Yale for any student, liberal or conservative, interested in the humanities. She did apply to U. Chicago and Princeton, but was rejected and so didn’t have to make a hard prestige decision. She was accepted to Hillsdale, Wash. U., St. Olaf’s, Carleton, Baylor, and Virginia, I think, but Hillsdale and Baylor were really the only contenders there. Quality of students, prestige, and intelligence of professors are three important criteria, but all college profs are pretty intelligent and how they use their brains in teaching dominates research reputation.

Indeed.

BRING ON THE EXERCISE, HOLD THE PAINKILLERS. “Taking ibuprofen and related over-the-counter painkillers could have unintended and worrisome consequences for people who vigorously exercise. These popular medicines, known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, work by suppressing inflammation. But according to two new studies, in the process they potentially may also overtax the kidneys during prolonged exercise and reduce muscles’ ability to recover afterward.”

I’ve worried about this for a while, and have reduced my use of them (I mostly take Aleve) for this very reason, even though I’m not one of the endurance athletes in this study. Which is sad, because I get sore.

HOW ZILLOW BECAME AN INTERNET VILLAIN:

I’ve now been writing for the web for 16 years, and yet, I am still capable of wonder at the vast opportunities this technology offers to make a fool of yourself. In the old days, fools were made on a local, artisanal basis, strictly for the entertainment of the neighbors. Now, thanks to the miracle of electronic communications, with a few keystrokes, we can become fools to the world.

Take Zillow, for example. The real estate site noticed that McMansion Hell, a blog specializing in acerbic architectural commentary on modern developments, seemed to be using some Zillow images. Zillow didn’t like this; Zillow makes money by helping agents sell houses, not helping bloggers make fun of them. So Zillow sent a cease-and-desist letter to Kate Wagner, who runs the site, ordering her to take down the photos.

Wagner took the site down. She also took to Twitter to beg for help. In short order, she had a lawyer from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and also, a wave of social media outrage at her plight. That wave crashed over Zillow, whose apologists had to shamefacedly explain that they had not intended to force her to shutter McMansion Hell.

Now I am not a lawyer. But people who are lawyers specializing in First Amendment jurisprudence seem to think that Zillow hasn’t a legal leg to stand on. While copyright does prevent people from simply reprinting images or words that another person has created, there are exceptions for “fair use,” including for the purposes of parody or commentary. Fair use is not an unlimited right to copy, but it seems pretty clear that making fun of the houses on Zillow falls within those limitations.

But even if the law had been behind them, Zillow would have been wise to refrain. That’s because the internet creates something known as the “Streisand Effect.” In 2003, Barbra Streisand attempted to suppress publication of photographs of her Malibu beach home. Prior to this ill-fated effort to disappear them, almost no one had been aware that these photographs existed. Afterwards, everyone knew — and looked.

McMansion Hell was certainly a popular site. I myself have spent some happy hours marveling at the things people will do to their homes, when they are given more money than sense. But it’s safe to say that many thousands of people who had previously been unaware of its existence are now going to view those images. They are also going to view Zillow as a nasty, mean-spirited company that attempted to crush a smaller website that committed no crime, and gave many of us a much-needed laugh.

Maybe I should open a consulting business, where companies thinking of going after people can ask for advice. The thing is, the people who thought to ask for advice probably wouldn’t be the people who need the advice. But hey, I’m available on an ad-hoc basis, for a suitable fee.

THANKS, OBAMA: UN agency expects rising migrant flow.

The U.N. refugee agency says people smuggling and migrant flows in Libya are on the rise, so Europe may face increased flows of migrants and refugees in the future.

UNHCR says 84,830 migrants and refugees have reached Italy’s shores so far this year from Libya, a 19-percent increase from a year earlier. Seven in 10 are economic migrants and the rest are “people in need of protection” like refugees and asylum-seekers.

In a new report on migration trends in Libya issued Monday, UNHCR noted that largely lawless Libya has become a major thoroughfare for migrants, but patterns of movement are changing.

I’m so old I can remember when Libya was a quiet ally in the Terror War.

FORGET COAL: Asteroid Mining Is Coming Sooner Than You Think.

Conventional wisdom may be that going to space to bring back what is needed on terra firma is economically nuts. Not so, analysts insist.

“While the psychological barrier to mining asteroids is high, the actual financial and technological barriers are far lower,” says a recent report prepared on the subject by Goldman Sachs.

Proponents say that before long, robots could be traveling to asteroids to extract platinum and other valuable minerals to haul back to Earth or even one day to use in space-based manufacturing plants.

A 2012 Caltech study found that it could cost just $2.6 billion to capture an asteroid and bring it into orbit near Earth, making human exploration and robotic mining that much easier. “We expect that systems could be built for less than that given trends in the cost of manufacturing spacecraft and improvements in technology,” the Goldman report says.

It also predicts the eventual result would be far lower costs: “Successful asteroid mining would likely crater the global price of platinum” by dramatically increasing the supply.

“The market is a big unknown because of things like platinum,” says Jay McMahon, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado’s Center for Astrodynamics Research. “You don’t know what’s going to happen if you bring back a big haul of platinum, what that would do to the market on Earth or how much demand there is.”

Well, I’m pretty sure the price would drop dramatically. . . . Of course, everything in Earth orbit costs nearly as much as platinum, just in terms of launch costs from the earth’s surface. So almost any space-based materials industry will make doing things in orbit vastly cheaper.

I’M NOT SAYING THAT IT’S ALIENS. BUT IT’S ALIENS. A Planet Is Found. At Least That’s What We Hope It Is. A newly discovered force at the edge of the solar system is the stuff of sci-fi dreams.

Just in time for summer movie season comes news that something huge is lurking out there at the edge of the solar system. It’s really big. It’s never before been detected. It’s warping gravity fields. No, it’s not the latest Michael Bay disaster-fest or the mothership from “Independence Day.” It’s not the hypothesized Planet 9 that everyone was talking about a little over a year ago. Probably it’s another planet. Or maybe that mothership.

Back in 2016, the Internet was all atwitter with the news that astronomers believed they had located another planet at the edge of the solar system. Planet 9, as they called it, was discovered through a study of disturbances in the orbits of Sedna and other less-than-planet-size objects out there in the vicinity of Pluto (which was a planet when most of us were kids and now isn’t). This area is known as the Kuiper Belt. Astronomers, who don’t like to waste mental energy deciding what to call things they study, have a name for objects in the Kuiper Belt: Kuiper Belt Objects. It is through modeling the movement of these KBOs (see what I mean?) that the search for Planet 9 has proceeded. Nobody has seen Planet 9 yet, even with the most powerful telescopes, although with the help of millions of citizen astronomers, researchers have narrowed the field of possible suspects.

Anyway, it turns out that Planet 9 is not the only massive object out there warping the orbits of the KBOs. According to soon-to-be-published research by Kat Volk and Renu Malhotra of the University of Arizona, there’s another one. It’s called … well, it doesn’t have a name yet, but we can make a good guess. . . .

And there’s something else for the sci-fi paranoiac to chew on along with the popcorn. The sequence. In early 2016, astronomers find a disturbance in the Kuiper Belt Objects and think “planet.” Fine, natural phenomenon. Then this year, they find another disturbance and think “another planet.” Fine, natural phenomenon. Then how is it that we never noticed before? Maybe the disturbances are … recent. So if by chance we’re soon told of a third disturbance, then by the James Bond theory of conspiracy it’s enemy action.

Aliens.

ANN ALTHOUSE ON THE REACTION TO TRUMP’S LATEST TWEET:

Over at The Washington Post, Callum Borchers is calling it a “blatantly sexist attack.” Ridiculous. Men get facelifts too. In fact, it’s Borchers who’s supplying the sexism:

When Trump hits Brzezinski and Scarborough on Twitter, he hits Brzezinski harder, more personally and in a way that seems designed to portray her as insecure (“facelift”) and unintelligent (“low IQ”) — as a side piece who would not be on TV if not for her romantic relationship with Scarborough, to whom she was recently engaged.

Trump didn’t say “sidepiece” or characterize plastic surgery as a marker of insecurity. That’s Borchers projecting. What I read in that tweet is that he found it ludicrous that the person trying to insinuate herself into his company was bleeding from the face. That doesn’t sound at all like insecurity. Quite the opposite.

I suspect that Trump knows a lot about cosmetic surgery. And the pic accompanying the NYT story doesn’t exactly undermine the whole “facelift” angle.

But for those who find Trump unacceptably crude, a reminder: How David Brooks Created Donald Trump.

Brooks is, of course, horrified at Trump and his supporters, whom he finds childish, thuggish and contemptuous of the things that David Brooks likes about today’s America. It’s clear that he’d like a social/political revolution that was more refined, better-mannered, more focused on the Constitution and, well, more bourgeois as opposed to in-your-face and working class.

The thing is, we had that movement. It was the Tea Party movement. Unlike Brooks, I actually ventured out to “intermingle” with Tea Partiers at various events that I covered for PJTV.com, contributing commentary to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Examiner. As I reported from one event in Nashville, “Pundits claim the tea partiers are angry — and they are — but the most striking thing about the atmosphere in Nashville was how cheerful everyone seemed to be. I spoke with dozens of people, and the responses were surprisingly similar. Hardly any had ever been involved in politics before. Having gotten started, they were finding it to be not just worthwhile, but actually fun. Laughter rang out frequently, and when new-media mogul Andrew Breitbart held forth on a TV interview, a crowd gathered and broke into spontaneous applause. A year ago (2009), many told me, they were depressed about the future of America. Watching television pundits talk about President Obama’s transformative plans for big government, they felt alone, isolated and helpless. That changed when protests, organized by bloggers, met Mr. Obama a year ago in Denver, Colo., Mesa, Ariz., and Seattle, Wash. Then came CNBC talker Rick Santelli’s famous on-air rant on Feb. 19, 2009, which gave the tea-party movement its name. Tea partiers are still angry at federal deficits, at Washington’s habit of rewarding failure with handouts and punishing success with taxes and regulation, and the general incompetence that has marked the first year of the Obama presidency. But they’re no longer depressed.”

One of the most famous things about the Tea Partiers was that — as befits a relentlessly bourgeois protest movement — they left things cleaner than they found them. Rich Lowry reported from Washington, DC: “Just as stunning as the tableaux of the massive throngs lining the reflecting pool were the images of the spotless grounds afterward. If someone had told attendees they were expected to mow the grass before they left, surely some of them would have hitched flatbed trailers to their vehicles for the trip to Washington and gladly brought mowers along with them. This was the revolt of the bourgeois, of the responsible, of the orderly, of people profoundly at peace with the traditional mores of American society. The spark that lit the tea-party movement was the rant by CNBC commentator Rick Santelli, who inveighed in early 2009 against an Obama-administration program to subsidize ‘the losers’ mortgages.’ He was speaking for people who hadn’t borrowed beyond their means or tried to get rich quick by flipping houses, for the people who, in their thrift and enterprise, ‘carry the water instead of drink the water.’ The tea party’s detractors want to paint it as radical, when at bottom it represents the self-reliant, industrious heart of American life.”

In San Francisco, too, tea party protesters met pro-Obama activists and picked up their trash. “John,” author of The City Square blog wrote: “As Obama supporters moved along in the line to get into the fundraiser, they left behind an impressive amount of trash … Tea Partiers shouted ‘pick up your garbage’ and ‘this is San Francisco, what about recycling?’ There was no response. They chanted ‘Obama leaves a mess.’ Still no response. Eventually, a tea partier (wearing the black cowboy hat) crosses over and starts to pick up the trash on his own. Other tea partiers join him. Another manages to find a trash bag. Soon the trash is being collected.”

Yet the tea party movement was smeared as racist, denounced as fascist, harassed with impunity by the IRS and generally treated with contempt by the political establishment — and by pundits like Brooks, who declared “I’m not a fan of this movement.” After handing the GOP big legislative victories in 2010 and 2014, it was largely betrayed by the Republicans in Congress, who broke their promises to shrink government and block Obama’s initiatives.

So now we have Trump instead, who tells people to punch counterprotesters instead of picking up their trash.

When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.

Nice work, political class. Now if you manage to do to Trump what you did to the Tea Party, you need to wonder: What comes after Trump?