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ARMY REVISES TRAINING FOR COMBAT IN URBAN TERRAIN: Training to fight and defeat a “near peer” in cities and towns.

In Iraq and Afghanistan the troops got used to a foe who had no air power, few real electronic weapons and that enabled many American troops to acquire some bad habits for anyone trying to fight a more conventional opponent.

Read the whole thing.

ANDREW KLAVAN ON TRUMP, CPAC AND THE WALDO CONGRESS: “Day by day, it’s beginning to dawn on me: there is a fourth stage, too, a stage that is so far dark. Congress. The Waldo Congress, I call them, because — where the hell are they?”

Read the whole thing.

DRAGON LADY WITH A MILESTONE: On February 2 a U-2 spy plane surpassed 30,000 hours of flight time. This is a USAF propaganda photo — and a good one. Just so y’all know, I missed it when StrategyPage’s webmaster posted it.

In October 2007 I saw one of these classic planes take-off on a mission. I was at an “undisclosed airbase somewhere in the Middle East.” Shortly after the U-2 take-off, a Global Hawk UAV landed.

Extract from a very old essay:

The U-2 is no beauty, either, though over time my opinion of the Dragonlady’s looks has changed for the better. On the ground, its huge, thin wings are awkward, but once aloft the black spy plane has the stubborn elegance of an ocean-hopping seabird.

I wonder if that’s the way Kelly Johnson and his Lockheed Skunk Works engineers envisioned the U-2 when they designed it in the 1950s — a manned albatross with the altitude and range to take pictures of the Soviet Union so we could count the Kremlin’s missiles, bombers and tanks.

The Soviet Union no longer exists, and the U-2 on its silent vigil helped defeat it, as did its snazzy, hypersonic offspring, the SR-71, another example of Skunk Works genius. Information gleaned from these planes and satellites first helped contain the Cold War (for example, we learned there was no bomber gap), then win it.

The downside of the U-2, however, hit the headlines in 1960, when U-2 CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union. A spy plane with a man in it runs that risk — all manned aircraft do.

This is one of the upsides of UAVs like the Global Hawk, Predator and the new, improved attack UAV, the MQ-9 Reaper. When a UAV goes down, we don’t lose an American pilot to death, injury or the humiliation and torture of a Hanoi Hilton.

Aw, go read the whole, old thing. The column discusses the supposedly “au courant new improved invented six minutes ago” concept of mixing UAVs and manned aircraft. Hey, I’ll wager there were U.S. military officers thinking about mixing manned aircraft and semi-autonomous unmanned air frames (in a coordinated strike scenario) at least three decades ago.

SHE’S SEETHING WITH EMPOWERMENT: “It was July 2014, Nashville Tennessee. I was walking into a gas station for a bottle of water when the man behind me stepped up to open the door for me. With that act of kindness, something inside me snapped and I flew into a blind rage. I began screaming at him at the top of my lungs.”

It would take a heart of stone not to laugh. Read the whole thing.

SALENA ZITO: Why all your news now comes with a heap of condescension.

Coverage of Trump is often treated as a proxy for how the press thinks of Trump’s supporters. That might be unfair to national reporters chasing down a controversial president. But the disconnect is exacerbated by the fact that far too many Americans don’t have a local press that understands them, and thus all their news comes with a heap of condescension.

Reporters don’t like it when these voters talk down “the media,” as if they’re all part of one monolithic blob. But to those who used to have local news and reporters who lived among them, that’s precisely what the national press is.

Read the whole thing.

TRUMP IS BEATING THE MEDIA AT ITS OWN GAME: “If he treats it as an opposition party, that’s because it is one. The fury of the media is the fury of exposed partisans, for whom ruling had once come so easy and now is too hard.”

Read the whole thing. Hopefully Trump won’t be the last Republican to play hardball with the DNC-MSM.

THE INTERNET IS CHOKING ON ITSELF, EXHIBIT #1,000,006: Not Even IMDb Is Safe From Trolls.

The message boards on IMDb long served as a home for film geeks. For popular movies — even ones that were decades old, like 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope — it wasn’t uncommon for a half-dozen or more threads to be active at once, with users swapping theories and debating possible plot holes or filming errors. The boards, a de facto comment section for films, TV shows, actors, directors, producers, and Unnamed Man With Mole at the Bars, was where songs from trailers were tracked down in the pre-Shazam era, where a Q&A from a Teen Mom cameraman gone rogue was preserved and a Brittany Murphy conspiracy theory was invented. It was, enthused a New York Times commenter in 2008, a great place for “messing with Harry Potter fans … by purposely getting key facts wrong and then arguing as if they are right.”

They could also be much more than that: Many of the site’s avid users had been posting for years; IMDb’s database actually predates the internet, and its online message boards first came about in the ancient-web days of 2001. Deep in threads of subgenre arcana, users met friends and spouses and sometimes people who sounded like they might be trivia items on their own IMDb pages: “I met the guy I lost my virginity to thanks to IMDb’s message board almost a decade ago,” wrote one user recently.

On Monday, that message board closed.

Read the whole thing.

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE — UNDERSTANDING THE MILO PHENOMENON: “Those on the receiving end of group polarization experience a wall of ignorance and intolerance. Spend much time on an elite campus, and you’ll be amazed at the sheer paucity of conservative voices. Entire faculty departments don’t include a single conservative voice. The result is a community that often can’t conceive of a single, non-bigoted reason for classical conservative social views. There is no good answer to this group polarization, but conservatives have generally tried three different approaches: Reason with the machine, replace the machine, or rage against the machine.”

Read the whole thing.

ALL THE BETTER TO FRIGHTEN YOU WITH, MY DEAR: Climate Models Are Warming Earth Two Times Faster Than Reality.

“So far in the 21st century, the GCMs are warming, on average, about a factor of 2 faster than the observed temperature increase,” Dr. Judith Curry, a former Georgia Tech climate scientist who now runs her own climate forecasting company, wrote in a report for the U.K.-based Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Curry has been one of the foremost critics of climate models, arguing that while they can be useful, there are too many uncertainties and issues to rely on models for public policy decisions.

Curry’s report gives a detailed rundown of why models can be useful for modeling complex climate systems, but also points out that GCMs fail to capture natural variability in the climate.

“The reason for the discrepancy between observations and model simulations in the early 21st century appears to be caused by a combination of inadequate simulations of natural internal variability and oversensitivity of the models to increasing carbon dioxide,” wrote Curry.

Read the whole thing.

Reality must be made to better conform to the models, which are of course correct.


SEEKING ALPHA: Santelli’s Chicago Tea Party: The Quest for Our Nation’s Soul.

UPDATE: A reader emails:

I attended a brunch in the Oakland Hills this morning and, other than me and the children under the age of five, there was not a single person who had not voted for President Obama. Someone asked me what folks thought of the mortgage bailout and while my answer was predictable, the level of distaste for it was enormous. This included a couple (each a state worker) I know to be underwater on their mortgage. “We’re paying our mortgage because we agreed to do it. But maybe we should stop.” was what that couple said and most seemed to agree. A crowd of state workers, college professors, practicing psychologists and the like in up-rent, deep blue Oakland (the precinct went 254-37 Obama over McCain) – and they all thought it was crap.

I think a lot of people feel this way.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Joshua Dixon writes:

I had my “something in the air” moment this weekend.

My father-in-law, a life-long Minnesota Democrat, visited our house for the first time since the election. When he walked into the kitchen he looked sick. After greeting the family, he hesitated and said, “The Democrats are doing everything they can to ruin this country. My grandchildren won’t live long enough to pay off that stimulus bill. I may as well become a Republican, because there’s not going to be another Democrat elected to national office while I’m alive.”

It’s one thing to read blogs or watch videos about a supposed rebellion building among the population. It’s something else to see an old man you’ve known and respected for years be heartsick and broken from the actions of a party he’s supported his whole life.

Well, heartsick, maybe. But instead of “broken,” suggest he try “determined to fix things.” And, you know, it wouldn’t take a lot of Congressional Democrats changing their minds to make a difference.

MORE: Reader Kurtis Fechtmeyer writes:

I can certainly attest to your earlier email report from Oakland Hills, which is where I also live.

The Oakland Hills is the heartland of affluent support for the Obama brand, and yet no one is interested in the least in defending his mortgage plan (or any of his economic policies for that matter).

The problem for the next generation of Republicans if they are to take advantage of this disaffection is: (a) developing simple, yet intelligent, counter-solutions and (b) getting those solutions heard through the left-liberal media fog.

Indeed. But even the Boston Globe is noting the problem.

File under how the Dems blew their chance at a long-term realignment.

SAITH THE MAN-GOD: ‘EVERYTHING IS PERMITTED.’ “Ross Douthat is correct: if you don’t like the Christian Right, wait till you see the Post-Christian Right. To that I would add: look at the Post-Christian Left. You cannot deny the God-Man and replace him with the Man-God with impunity,” Rod Dreher writes.

Read the whole thing.

D.C. MCALLISTER: Obama’s Incompetence And Chaos Far Eclipsed What’s Coming From Team Trump.

Even the Washington Post had to admit all was not well in Obama world when they reported that the White House wasn’t ready for conflicts over policy: “President Obama’s advisers acknowledged Tuesday that they were unprepared for the intraparty rift that occurred over the fate of a proposed public health insurance program, a firestorm that has left the White House searching for a way to reclaim the initiative on the president’s top legislative priority.”

Jay Cost of RealClearPolitics was “stunned” that Obama “would be caught off guard by this,” adding that his “lack of foresight” was “absolutely inexcusable.” “How could they not have anticipated this?” Cost asked. “How could they possibly have been surprised that the left and right flanks of the party would not see eye to eye?”

Seems like things haven’t changed that much, at least rhetorically. “But Trump is worse!” many might claim. Yet that isn’t true at all. What’s worse is the way it’s being reported and repeated. The claims of incompetence are rushing like a torrent from every direction and with such hysteria that you’d think the chaos of Armageddon was upon us.

Read the whole thing, which goes a long way towards proving that institutional memory doesn’t exist where it isn’t wanted.

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

Donald Trump has been president for a month now, and it’s been months more since he was elected. But the division over him, and his presidency, hasn’t settled down. If anything, it’s gotten worse. But why?

I don’t think it’s Trump’s policies, which seem to be more popular than he is. And though many of his pronouncements are portrayed as extreme, his statements on, say, immigration seem eerily like what former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton were saying not all that long ago. So why all the anger over Trump?

As I’ve pondered this, I’ve gone back to Tyler Cowen’s statement: “Occasionally the real force behind a political ideology is the subconsciously held desire that a certain group of people should not be allowed to rise in relative status.”

I think that a lot of the elite hatred for Trump, and for his supporters, stems from just such a sentiment.

Do I have to tell you to read the whole thing? Do I?

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

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

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

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

Read the whole thing.

THE “DAY WITHOUT IMMIGRANTS” BECAME A TEACHABLE MOMENT: “This is reality. If you don’t show up to work you can get fired. Actions have consequences. Consider this a ‘teachable moment’…a day without immigrants is not a day without consequences.”

Read the whole thing.


There are two clues that the Huffington Post is hallucinating and I’m not. The first clue is that they have a trigger and I don’t. Reality violated their egos, whereas I was predicting a Trump win all along. My world has been consistent with my ego. No trigger. All I have is a warm feeling of rightness.

The second clue is that the Huffington Post is seeing something that half the country doesn’t see. As a general rule, the person who sees the elephant in the room is the one hallucinating, not the one who can’t see the elephant. The Huffington Post is literally seeing something that is invisible to me and other observers. We see a President Trump talking the way he normally talks. They see a 77-minute meltdown.

Read the whole thing.™

(Via SDA.)


MATTHEW CONTINETTI: Who Rules the United States?

Nor is Flynn the only example of nameless bureaucrats working to undermine and ultimately overturn the results of last year’s election. According to the New York Times, civil servants at the EPA are lobbying Congress to reject Donald Trump’s nominee to run the agency. Is it because Scott Pruitt lacks qualifications? No. Is it because he is ethically compromised? Sorry. The reason for the opposition is that Pruitt is a critic of the way the EPA was run during the presidency of Barack Obama. He has a policy difference with the men and women who are soon to be his employees. Up until, oh, this month, the normal course of action was for civil servants to follow the direction of the political appointees who serve as proxies for the elected president.

How quaint. These days an architect of the overreaching and antidemocratic Waters of the U.S. regulation worries that her work will be overturned so she undertakes extraordinary means to defeat her potential boss. But a change in policy is a risk of democratic politics. Nowhere does it say in the Constitution that the decisions of government employees are to be unquestioned and preserved forever. Yet that is precisely the implication of this unprecedented protest. “I can’t think of any other time when people in the bureaucracy have done this,” a professor of government tells the paper. That sentence does not leave me feeling reassured.

Opposition to this president takes many forms. Senate Democrats have slowed confirmations to the most sluggish pace since George Washington. Much of the New York and Beltway media does really function as a sort of opposition party, to the degree that reporters celebrated the sacking of Flynn as a partisan victory for journalism. Discontent manifests itself in direct actions such as the Women’s March.

But here’s the difference. Legislative roadblocks, adversarial journalists, and public marches are typical of a constitutional democracy. They are spelled out in our founding documents: the Senate and its rules, and the rights to speech, a free press, and assembly. Where in those documents is it written that regulators have the right not to be questioned, opposed, overturned, or indeed fired, that intelligence analysts can just call up David Ignatius and spill the beans whenever they feel like it?

Read the whole thing, but the answer to the headline question is in the question itself. The people of the United States are to be governed, not ruled — and lightly governed, at that.

But the Permanent Bureaucratic Class feels doesn’t see it that way.


Yes, let’s do diversity. Given that Berkeley burned when a conservative provocateur was invited to campus, this after numerous conservatives have been stifled in academe in recent years, some humble suggestions from your humble columnist:

-Affirm the Chicago Principles. In 2014, the University of Chicago established a committee on freedom of expression in light of the uproars. The committee noted UC President Hanna Holborn Gray said that “education should not be intended to make people comfortable, it is meant to make them think.”

“The University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed,” the committee wrote.

-Embrace the Tennessee Student Free Expression Act. State Rep. Martin Daniel, R-Knoxville, has introduced HB739, which quotes the Tennessee constitution: “The free communication of thoughts and opinions, is one of the invaluable rights of man, and every citizen may freely speak, write, and print on any subject.”

Daniel’s bill states the obvious: “In recent years, state institutions of higher education have abdicated their responsibility to uphold free speech principles.”

-Commit to hiring conservatives. The Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA found the number of professors identifying as “liberal” rose from 42 percent in 1990 to 60 percent in 2014 while “moderates” declined by 13 percent and “conservatives” dropped by 6 percent.

Liberals outnumber conservatives by more than 4 to 1 in the academy while conservatives outnumber liberals 38 percent to 24 percent in the real world, according to Gallup. Like with other disparities of diversity, UT and other universities need to intentionally recruit from the underrepresented group.

Read the whole thing.


Read the whole thing.

RICHARD POLLOCK: How The Nation’s Spooks Played The Game ‘Kill Mike Flynn’

The talk within the tight-knit community of retired intelligence officers was that Flynn’s sacking was a result of intelligence insiders at the CIA, NSA and National Security Council using a sophisticated “disinformation campaign” to create a crisis atmosphere. The former intel officers say the tactics hurled against Flynn over the last few months were the type of high profile hard-ball accusations previously reserved for top figures in enemy states, not for White House officials.

“This was a hit job,” charged retired Col. James Williamson, a 32-year Special Forces veteran who coordinated his operations with the intelligence community.

Noting the Obama administration first tried to silence Flynn in 2014 when the former president fired him as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Williamson called Monday’s resignation, “stage Two of ‘Kill Mike Flynn.”

Former intelligence officials who understand spy craft say Flynn’s resignation had everything to do with a “disinformation campaign” and little to do with the December phone conversation he had with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

They charge officials from America’s top spy counsels leaked classified government intercepts of Flynn and President Trump’s conversations with world leaders and had “cutouts” — friendly civilians not associated with the agency — to distribute them to reporters in a coordinated fashion.

Read the whole thing.

MICHAEL WALSH: The Empire Strikes Back:

Mike Flynn, a good man who saw the enemy clearly, and had the courage to name it, saw Russia not as an enemy but a geopolitical adversary with whom we could make common cause against Islam — and who also vowed to shake up a complacent and malfeasant IC — was its first scalp, and an object lesson to new CIA Director Mike Pompeo should he have any reformist notions. As for the media, having previously failed to take down Trump aides Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, Flynn was the next best thing; their joy today is unbounded.

Is this what you thought you voted for in November? Is this how you thought American democracy worked? Is this the country you want to live in?

Welcome to the Deep State, the democracy-sapping embeds at the heart of our democracy who have not taken the expulsion of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party lightly. They realize that the Trump administration poses a mortal threat to their hegemony, and so have enlisted an army of Democrats, some Republicans, the “neverTrumpumpkin” conservative die-hards, leftist thugs, Black Lives Matter and anybody else they can blackmail, browbeat or enlist. They mean business.

Read the whole thing.

ANDREW MALCOLM: Psst, here’s how political leaks really work.

Leaking in political capitals like Washington can be a sophisticated strategic game with trade-craft elements of a John LeCarre novel involving code words, secret rendezvous in person or by phone and fake messages to advance or defeat a cause and especially to detect a leaker’s identity. Remember during Watergate reporters convening with their secret source in an underground parking garage?

The Trump White House is said to be concerned about leaks involving the president’s recent telephone calls with world leaders. Thursday Sean Spicer asserted, “We’re looking into the situation, yes, and it’s very concerning.” Spicer said the leaks, not all accurate or complimentary, were of “personal concern” to Trump.

True, unplanned leaks drive some politicians crazy. President Lyndon Johnson would get apoplectic over them as personal betrayals, which they are in a way. Some officials, such as George W. Bush, minimize unplanned leaks by building strong two-way personal loyalties with senior staff.

OK, here’s the deal: We’ll never know the truth about these Trump leaks. All news consumers can do each time is evaluate the credibility of known details and the likely motives of participants.

Good advice.

Want more good advice? Read the whole thing.

“NO REPUBLICANS NEED APPLY” – Kevin Williamson on totalitarianism in the classified ads: “One of the less understood criticisms of progressivism is that it is totalitarian, not in the sense that kale-eating Brooklynites want to build prison camps for political nonconformists (except for the ones who want to lock up global-warming skeptics) but in the sense that it assumes that there is no life outside of politics, that there is no separate sphere of private life, and that church, family, art, and much else properly resides within that sphere…The people who close their doors against those who simply see the world in a different way, who scream profanities at Betsy DeVos or chant ‘You should die!’ at Jewish musicians, are people who cannot rise far enough above their own pettiness to understand that the thing they fear is the thing they are.”

Read the whole thing.

BOO-HOO: ‘Civil Servants’ Upset by Arrival of Trump.

It’s Michael Walsh, so just read the whole thing.


A new administration in disarray botches one of its first big moves, gets overruled, and then cries foul. Sounds familiar? Welcome to the United Nations under Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

On Thursday, Mr. Guterres nominated a former Palestinian Authority prime minister, Salam Fayyad, to be the United Nations’ envoy in Libya. He asked for Security Council approval. On Friday, America’s new permanent representative at the UN, Ambassador Nikki Haley, unceremoniously declined to approve.

Much of the commentariat rushed to criticize Ms. Haley, contending she, rather than Mr. Guterres, didn’t think through the ramifications of the affair. The Trump administration, which Mrs. Haley represents, has botched a few operations of late.

This one, though, is on Mr. Guterres, who assumed office January 1 and has yet to get administration in order. “You don’t send a nomination for Security Council approval before making sure all involved are on board, especially when it’s so full of obvious sensitivities,” said a veteran United Nations official.

* * * * * * * *

“The United States does not currently recognize a Palestinian state or support the signal this appointment would send within the United Nations,” Ambassador Haley wrote in a statement Friday night, adding she was “disappointed” to see Mr. Guterres’ letter.

Read the whole thing.

LIVING HISTORY: Dog tags make final journey home to WWII veteran.

A gathering of friends, family and Mighty Eighth Airmen made way as the guest of honor slowly approached the front of the stage. Raymond Odom, a 93-year-old World War II veteran, sat patiently in a large chair as he waited for the unveiling of a memento he lost while serving in the U.S. Army Air Forces in England more than 70 years ago.

The dog tags of the former 388th Bomb Group member were discovered in May 2016 during a metal detection hunt around the once designated property of RAF Knettishall. The tags made their journey across the pond over to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana to be presented properly to the WWII and former “Mighty Eighth” veteran.

Maj. Gen. Thomas Bussiere, 8th Air Force commander, unveiled the dog tags at Arbor Rose Assisted Living Facility in Farmerville, La., Feb. 2. Odom and his wife of more than 60 years have resided at the facility for the past three-and-a-half years.

“I can’t tell you how proud we are that we are here today to present Raymond’s dog tags,” Bussiere said. “It’s a small token of appreciation for his service. We in the Eighth Air Force stand on the shoulders of giants that served before us in WWII, and I can’t tell you how much our young Airmen today appreciate what you did for our nation.”

Read the whole thing, Kleenex in hand.

OUT ON A LIMB: The Obama Presidency Was Bad.

We’re already caught up in how terrible the Trump presidency is, but over the next four years, it will be important to remember just how bad the Obama presidency was. When overcome with frustration at the current administration, I would urge readers to come back to this post and remember that the last president was also quite terrible. In his farewell speech, Obama tried to make the argument for his presidency’s accomplishments, but many of them were simply court cases that were decided while he was president, or decisions that were nice but had little real policy impact.

There have been plenty of reflections on the Obama presidency, but I think a high level overview of everything Obama did would put in perspective just how awful he’s been, especially as we experience the incompetency and horrible policy decisions of the current administration.

Read the whole thing.


During the Wednesday night demonstration, Rayos’ 16-year-old son, Angel, told the crowd, “My mom did nothing wrong. My mom is not a criminal.”

But Rayos does have a criminal record because of her conviction on a felony charge of identification theft. She was arrested during one of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s workplace raids.

ICE officials said Rayos’ removal under a voluntary deportation order was finalized by the Department of Justice in May 2013.

Read the whole thing.

INDEED: Want Your Husband To Step Up? Try Getting Out of His Way.

Suzanne Venker, author of The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage:

I’d been on my husband for years about his eating habits and considered it my job to educate him about how to be healthy, just as I do with our kids. When I first met my husband, he was going to the gym every morning at 5:30am. He was also 40 pounds lighter. But after years of harping on him with no results, I couldn’t shake the feeling it was my fault my husband wasn’t taking care of himself.

Naturally, I didn’t see it this way at first. Why is it my fault if my husband makes bad choices? He’s lucky to have me guiding him! I’m just being helpful! But what controlling wives call helpful, husbands call something else. A man’s reaction to being told what to do by his wife is to do the exact opposite.

Indeed, it wasn’t until I stopped getting on my husband’s case that he began to take care of himself. Huh — go figure.

My light bulb moment didn’t end there. Once I saw the connection between the two — my dictating and my husband’s lack of motivation — I started thinking about other ways I was behaving that would cause him to react negatively. Like the times I’d tell him how to drive, or I’d correct his language, or I’d complain about whatever he wasn’t doing well and tell him how he could improve.

Read the whole thing.

For what it’s worth, my wife and I allowed our chores list of who-does-what grow organically — over the years we each have taken on what best fits within our skills and schedules. It probably helps that we’re both “see something, do something” types, but the net result is that I can’t recall us ever once fighting about household stuff. And I’ve found that in a smoothly functioning house, the desire to nitpick or complain is substantially reduced.

Best of all, you’re left with more time to enjoy one another’s company — which hopefully is why you’re together in the first place.

PASCAL-EMMANUEL GORBY FOR THE WEEK: Liberals are wrong to gang up on Betsy DeVos.

I’m a conservative. But sometimes wonder if I could describe myself as a member of the political left.

After all, I am animated by the same moral instinct that leftists endlessly and loudly profess: the belief that a society’s moral worth is measured by how it treats its weakest, neediest, and most marginalized members. Like them, I am outraged by all the ways in which our society screws over the little guy. These convictions are born of my Christian faith and are anchored deep in my mind and heart.

But it’s those same moral convictions that too often make me angry at the political left as it currently exists in the West, and make it impossible for me to call myself a leftist. Perhaps nothing exemplifies this better than the debate around the confirmation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her stance on school choice.

Read the whole thing. Education ought to be one of the Right’s best wedge issues, but they still haven’t figured out how to exploit it.

DEWEY DEFEATS THE BOSTON GLOBE! Howie Carr: Globe prints fake news in Super Bowl blunder: “Today’s early edition Boston Globe made a historic blunder with its Super Bowl coverage, running the headline: A BITTER END. Above it is ‘Super Bowl LI.’ LI meaning ‘51’ in Roman numerals, but now it has another meaning, wouldn’t you say? You can’t have a LIE without LI.”

Read the whole thing, and don’t miss the photo of the Globe beclowning itself atop Carr’s article.

JACK DUNPHY: Misleading ‘L.A. Times’ Article Quotes Cops Who Don’t Want to Enforce Trump’s Policies.

Yes, after an eight-year hiatus, dissent is once again fashionable, and it is all the rage in some circles to display one’s opposition to President Trump and his policies.

I’m sorry to report that this fashion has now infected some police officers, even to such an extent that they are willing to be quoted in a newspaper saying they will defy their duty and the law. On Monday, the Los Angeles Times ran a story under the headline:

“I’m Not Going To Do It.” Police Aren’t Eager To Help Trump Enforce Immigration Laws

Like so much that appears in the media, especially in the reporting on the Trump administration, the story is at once accurate and deceptive.

It is accurate in that the reporters (the byline lists three) quoted a handful of LAPD officers and detectives who expressed reservations about the president’s proposed expanded role for local police officers in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. But is deceptive because it conveys the impression that these opinions are widely shared among the rank and file on the department.

They are not.

Read the whole thing — and marvel at the propaganda effort being put forth in Los Angeles and across the nation.

ROGER KIMBALL: Judge Robart’s Black Humor.

The funniest part of Judge James L. Robart’s cursory, six-and-a-bit-page restraining order against Donald Trump’s executive order — which temporarily suspends travel into the United States from seven notorious sponsors of terrorism — comes at the end:

Fundamental to the work of this court is a vigilant recognition that it is but one of three equal branches of our federal government. The work of the court is not to create policy or judge the wisdom of any particular policy promoted by the other two branches.

Ha! What a card!

The Left goes shopping for a likeminded judge, and finds a Seattle District Court judge who is sympathetic to Black Lives Matter and does pro-bono work for refugees. He has the added advantage of being located in the Ninth Circuit, the wackiest, most reliably left-wing precinct of the U.S. appellate system (though that may change soon). Said judge then intervenes to suspend the implementation of an executive order issued by the president of the United States to help safeguard the country.

So, not funny-funny.

Read the whole thing.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Conspiring to stifle free speech is a crime.

Whether or not Berkeley loses its federal funding over the Milo riots (and it won’t), I think it’s time for action to address this double standard. First, state and local law enforcement agencies need to target violent rioters who seek to silence speakers. It is a felony under federal civil rights law to conspire to deprive citizens of their constitutional rights, among which is free speech. In addition, many states have laws (generally called Klan laws) that punish people who engage in mob violence or intimidation while masked. These should be applied as well.

Second, perhaps it’s time to have a Title IX-style law banning discrimination according to political viewpoints on campus. Many states (including California) already have laws banning discrimination in hiring and firing based on political viewpoints. Perhaps we need a federal civil rights law providing that colleges that receive federal funds (which is pretty much all of them) can lose those funds if they discriminate against students because of their political views.

Some colleges may complain that this is federal interference in their internal affairs, but given the limited resistance they’ve mounted to intrusive Title IX regulations, it will be hard to take such complaints seriously. America’s colleges and universities have a free speech problem. It’s appropriate for the federal government to take action to protect the civil rights of those affected.

Read the whole thing.

FAKE SCIENCE: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data.

The Mail on Sunday today reveals astonishing evidence that the organisation that is the world’s leading source of climate data rushed to publish a landmark paper that exaggerated global warming and was timed to influence the historic Paris Agreement on climate change.

A high-level whistleblower has told this newspaper that America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) breached its own rules on scientific integrity when it published the sensational but flawed report, aimed at making the maximum possible impact on world leaders including Barack Obama and David Cameron at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015.

The report claimed that the ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in global warming in the period since 1998 – revealed by UN scientists in 2013 – never existed, and that world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected. Launched by NOAA with a public relations fanfare, it was splashed across the world’s media, and cited repeatedly by politicians and policy makers.

But the whistleblower, Dr John Bates, a top NOAA scientist with an impeccable reputation, has shown The Mail on Sunday irrefutable evidence that the paper was based on misleading, ‘unverified’ data.

It was never subjected to NOAA’s rigorous internal evaluation process – which Dr Bates devised.

Read the whole thing.

But remember that if world leaders were duped, it’s because they’re willing dupes — nothing gets their attention faster than a drummed up crisis they can use to increase their money and power.


It was clear that Trump was out of place at the gathering, that he simply does not have the language and behavior of Christian spirituality in him, even to use (as so many pols do) as a cover for hypocrisy. I suspect President Trump does not see himself as a moral leader, but more as something like our top mechanic. “I fix things — that’s what I do,” he told the crowd.

Ah well. I guess that means, if we are going to recover the Biblical bedrock of our nation’s values, the people are going to have to do the work themselves.

Not to sound optimistic, but that may not be such a bad thing.

Read the whole thing.

SCOTT ADAMS ON “BERKELEY AND HITLER:” “I’m ending my support of UC Berkeley, where I got my MBA years ago…I’ve decided to side with the Jewish gay immigrant who has an African-American boyfriend, not the hypnotized zombie-boys in black masks who were clubbing people who hold different points of view. I feel that’s reasonable, but I know many will disagree, and possibly try to club me to death if I walk on campus.”

Read the whole thing.


UPDATE: Milo’s interview with Tucker Carlson after the riot:


DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Jonah Goldberg on “The ‘Reasonabilists’ of Berkeley:”

I hate to give any credence to this “triggering” nonsense, but every time I hear it, it sets me off like I’m Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone has just said my hair looks stupid.

Even on Fox News people say it, and I’m all like “Fffft! Thiffft! [twitch] Wha-what . . . did you say?”

Do you want to know where the birthplace of the free-speech movement was? Well nobody knows for sure, but I have some guesses. It might have been ancient Athens. Or it might have been Jerusalem or Bethlehem. Or maybe it was London where, in 1689, the English Bill of Rights established a constitutional right to free speech for Parliament. Or maybe it was Philadelphia in 1776 or 1789.

I can make arguments for all of these places as birthplaces for the free-speech movement. You know where I can’t make that argument? Mother-[expletive deleted]ing Berkeley in 1964.

* * * * * * * * *

The easily triggered idiot-babies of today’s campus Left who squeal, “I don’t want to debate. I want to talk about my pain” or who insist that offensive speech is no different from a punch in the face are the direct descendants of the Free Speech Movement™ because it was Berkeley where the Feelings Supremacy Movement began and where it is clearly thriving today.

Read the whole thing.

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: The open war between the establishment and President Trump.

The message this establishment is sending to Trump? Conform or be destroyed. The outrage at the president’s executive order on refugees and travel was a sample of what is coming. Trump is used to fighting the media and campaign opponents, but he has little experience with the professional and supposedly nonpartisan bureaucracy. That is why his firing of acting attorney general Sally Yates was so important. She ordered her department not to defend an executive order that had been cleared by the White House counsel and her own Office of Legal Counsel. For Trump to have delayed or done nothing would have been an invitation to further subversion. He let Yates go within hours.

The blasé manner in which the media describes opposition to Trump from within the bureaucracy is stunning. “Federal workers turn to encryption to thwart Trump,” read one Politico headline. “An anti-Trump resistance movement is growing within the U.S. government,” says Vanity Fair. “Federal workers are in regular consultation with recently departed Obama-era political appointees about what they can do to push back against the new president’s initiatives,” reports the Washington Post. No one who professes support for democracy and the rule of law can read these words without feeling alarmed. The civil service exists to support the chief executive—not the other way around. And yet, when White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that career officials who disagree with White House policy are free to resign, the collective response in Washington was outrage—at Spicer!

Not only are there two Americas. There are two governments: one elected and one not, one that alternates between Republicans and Democrats and one that remains, decade after decade, stubbornly liberal, contemptuous of Congress, and resistant to change. It is this second government and its allies in the media and the Democratic Party that are after President Trump, that want him driven from office before his term is complete.

Read the whole thing.

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: “I have disagreed with Senator Ron Wyden on practically every political question there is, but he always has struck me as a decent and honest man, and so it is with a heavy heart that I write these words: Senator Wyden must resign his seat in light of disturbing new information about his past that has come to light. The shocking revelation: Senator Wyden has been, for more than a decade, a willing accomplice to a plot to undermine the American political order and to overthrow the Constitution by infiltrating agents of radicalism into the highest reaches of the federal judiciary.”

Read the whole thing.

CLAUDIA ROSETT: Spare Us Iran’s Pieties on U.S. Immigration Policy.

According to the State Department’s most recent report on State Sponsors of Terrorism, covering 2015, “Iran continued its terrorist related activity… including support for Hizballah, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.” State noted that Iran views the terror-sponsoring Assad regime in Syria as “a crucial ally,”; that Tehran-backed Shia terrorist groups have “exacerbated sectarian tensions in Iraq and have committed serious human rights abuses,” that “Iran has also provided weapons, funding and to Shia militants in Bahrain,” including such gee-gaws as “a bomb-making facility” which, when discovered by the Bahraini government, was housing 1.5 tons of high-grade explosives.

As for Zarif’s charges that the Trump administration is imperiling the friendship between the people of Iran and the people of America, let’s recall that Iran’s Islamic Republic, from the year of its inception right up to the present has made a practice of seizing and holding Americans as de facto hostages — the latest batch released in Jan. 2016 coincident (or, as it now appears, no coincidence?) as President Obama secretly hustled to Iran’s terror-sponsoring government $1.7 billion in cash. Nor does it help the cause of friendship that Iran — despite its official promise to abjure a nuclear weapons program — continues, as it did just last week, to test ballistic missiles (for which the only realistic use is delivering nuclear weapons).

It is the Tehran regime itself that is the prime cause of misery for people who would like to travel from Iran to America, or vice versa.

Read the whole thing.

NICK BILTON: Why Hollywood as We Know It Is Already Over.

In the mid-90s, the first time I downloaded an MP3, I realized that the music industry was in grave trouble. People who were my age (I wasn’t old enough to legally drink yet) didn’t want to spend $20 on a whole compact disc when all we coveted was a single song on the album. Moreover, we wanted our music immediately: we preferred to download it (illegally) from Napster or eventually (legally) from iTunes without the hassle of finding the nearest Sam Goody. It turned out that this proclivity for efficiency—customizing your music and facilitating the point of sale—was far from a generational instinct. It explains why the music industry is roughly half the size it was one decade ago.

These preferences weren’t confined to music, either. I also felt the raindrop moment firsthand when I began working at The New York Times, in the early 2000s. Back then, the newspaper’s Web site was treated like a vagrant, banished to a separate building blocks away from the paper’s newsroom on West 43rd Street. Up-and-coming blogs—Gizmodo, Instapundit, and Daily Kos, which were setting the stage for bigger and more advanced entities, such as Business Insider and BuzzFeed—were simultaneously springing up across the country. Yet they were largely ignored by the Times as well as by editors and publishers at other news outlets. More often than not, tech-related advances—including e-readers and free online blogging platforms, such as WordPress and Tumblr—were laughed at as drivel by the entire industry, just as Napster had been years earlier.

Of course, the same logic that had decimated music would undermine print publishing: readers didn’t want to travel to a newsstand to buy a whole newspaper when they were interested only in one story or two. And, in so many cases, they really didn’t care all that much whose byline was at the top of the piece. Subsequently, newspaper advertising revenues fell from $67 billion in 2000 to $19.9 billion in 2014.

Wrenching change is coming whether Hollywood wants it or not. And given the huge size of their megaphone — still, for now — the shouting will drown out anything you’ve heard from the newspaper or music industries.

NONIE DARWISH: On Boycotting Radical Islamic Nations.

Early this morning an Arabic radio station in the Middle East called asking my opinion about President Trump’s ban on refugees and citizens of seven Muslim nations. The radio host, who sounded angry over the ban, was a Christian Arab. She was surprised to hear that I supported the ban and think that it should have taken place the day after 9/11.

She then asked me if I knew any Arab American activist who was against the ban because she wanted to interview someone against the ban. She seemed shocked to hear that I do not have any Arab or Muslim friends who are protesting the ban, and that many immigrants of Islamic and Middle East origin support the ban and are fed up and embarrassed by what jihadists are doing.

She said that all she sees on CNN and other channels are riots that portray almost all Americans supporting Muslims and against Trump. I am upset over the success of the leftist propaganda all over the Middle East. It brings back memories of the life of the hate indoctrination and misinformation I lived under for most of my life.

Read the whole thing — and keep in mind that the progressive left produces heat and noise all out of proportion to its actual size, and that it is treated overseas (and by our own, sympathetic news media) with far more respect than it deserves.


What are the elements of the model legislation?

First, it creates an official university policy that strongly affirms the importance of free expression. Any restrictive speech codes would be nullified.

Second, campuses would be declared open to anyone invited by members of the campus community. The legislation bars administrators from excluding speakers, no matter how controversial, from whom members of the campus community wish to hear.

Third, the legislation establishes a system of disciplinary sanctions for anyone who interferes with the free-speech rights of others. Importantly, the disciplinary system would include due rights protections (e.g., right to confront the witnesses accusing them) for those brought before it, unlike the typical college disciplinary system in sexual harassment cases, for example.

Fourth, the legislation allows persons whose free-speech rights have been infringed by the university, and who sue the university in response, to recover court costs and attorney’s fees if they prevail.

Fifth, the legislation affirms the principle that universities, at the official institutional level, must remain neutral on issues of public controversy. It thus frees professors and students from pressure to support an official position, thereby encouraging the widest possible range of opinion and dialogue within the university.

Sixth, it requires that students be informed of their institution’s official policy on free expression. Freshman orientation would stress the importance of free speech and the disciplinary rules that back up the institution’s commitment to it.

Seventh, it authorizes a special subcommittee of the university board of trustees to issue a yearly report to the public, the trustees, the governor, and the legislature on the administrative handling of free-speech issues. This mechanism would likely deter administrators from restricting free speech, lest they be reported by the trustees to the legislature that controls the purse strings.

Read the whole thing.


The Mexican central bank tracks how much money Mexicans abroad send home and in 2016 it was $25 billion, almost all of it from Mexicans in the United States and much of it from Mexicans in the United States illegally. That remittance cash accounts for more foreign exchange than Mexican oil exports…Mexico has for decades tolerated illegal migration to the United States because the corruption and bad government in Mexico did little to provide jobs for the growing number of unemployed Mexicans and created a lot of potentially troublesome young men and women. Tolerating and, for many Mexican politicians, openly supporting the illegal migrants, was a popular policy and the government came to regard it as a right. But it was also about money and the remittances created a huge source of foreign currency flowing back to Mexico.

His analysis includes a look at the impact of Operation Sur on Mexico’s southern border which was designed “to curb illegal Central American migrants from entering Mexico.” He argues it had an impact on American politicians who “found themselves under increasing pressure to enforce American migration laws as vigorously as Mexico (and Canada) did.”

Read the whole thing.

DAVID FRENCH: Trump’s Executive Order on Refugees — Separating Fact from Hysteria

Let’s analyze the key provisions, separate the fact from the hysteria, and introduce just a bit of historical perspective.

First, the order temporarily halts refugee admissions for 120 days to improve the vetting process, then caps refugee admissions at 50,000 per year. Outrageous, right? Not so fast. Before 2016, when Obama dramatically ramped up refugee admissions, Trump’s 50,000 stands roughly in between a typical year of refugee admissions in George W. Bush’s two terms and a typical year in Obama’s two terms. The chart below, from the Migration Policy Institute, is instructive:


In 2002, the United States admitted only 27,131 refugees. It admitted fewer than 50,000 in 2003, 2006, and 2007. As for President Obama, he was slightly more generous than President Bush, but his refugee cap from 2013 to 2015 was a mere 70,000, and in 2011 and 2012 he admitted barely more than 50,000 refugees himself.

The bottom line is that Trump is improving security screening and intends to admit refugees at close to the average rate of the 15 years before Obama’s dramatic expansion in 2016. Obama’s expansion was a departure from recent norms, not Trump’s contraction.

Read the whole thing.


No, ladies and gentleman, pretend though it’s otherwise, we do have an Islam problem, all of us.  Europe as we knew it growing up is practically gone and our society has been badly infected. When a massive march of American women is led by a Muslim woman who insists she wants to “take the vagina away” of one of the great freedom fighters of our time, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a woman who herself has suffered from genital mutilation, we know things have come to a drastic pass.

But go on, blame Donald Trump.  It’s all his fault.  Islam doesn’t need a reformation.  It’s just the same as all other religions… as long as you don’t study it.  Or get in its path.

Read the whole thing.

PROF. JACOBSON: Most claims about Trump’s visa Executive Order are false or misleading.

There is a postponement of entry from 7 countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) previously identified by the Obama administration as posing extraordinary risks. That they are 7 majority Muslim countries does not mean there is a Muslim ban, as most of the countries with the largest Muslim populations are not on the list (e.g., Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, Nigeria and more).

Thus, the overwhelming majority of the Muslim world is not affected.

Moreover, the “ban” is only for four months while procedures are reviewed, with the exception of Syria for which there is no time limit.

There is a logic to the 7 countries. Six are failed states known to have large ISIS activity, and one, Iran, is a sworn enemy of the U.S. and worldwide sponsor of terrorism.

And, the 7 countries on the list were not even so-designated by Trump. Rather, they were selected last year by the Obama administration as posing special risks for visa entry, as even CNN concedes in passing. . . . The problem, of course, is that Trump worked off of the Obama administration’s list of particularly risky countries for visa entry. To lay the blame on Trump’s business interests is a lie, or as Frantzman puts it, fake news.

Read the whole thing.


“By the end of 1941,” writes Timothy Snyder in Holocaust: The Ignored Reality, “the Germans (along with local auxiliaries and Romanian troops) had killed a million Jews in the Soviet Union and the Baltics. That is the equivalent of the total number of Jews killed at Auschwitz during the entire war. By the end of 1942, the Germans (again, with a great deal of local assistance) had shot another 700,000 Jews, and the Soviet Jewish populations under their control had ceased to exist. … By 1943 and 1944, when most of the killing of West European Jews took place, the Holocaust was in considerable measure complete.”

* * * * * *

Maftsir doesn’t mince words when he talks about the near-erasure of the eastern half of the Holocaust. “The place of memory of the Holocaust is already taken up,” he says. “There is the Victim—Anne Frank. There is the Saint—Janusz Korczak. There is the Villain—Adolf Eichman. There is Hell, it’s Auschwitz. There is heroism—the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. And that’s it.”

Read the whole thing.

(Via Maggie’s Farm.)

ANDREW MCCARTHY: The Number of Trump’s Executive Orders Is Irrelevant.

EOs are patently necessary and theoretically unremarkable. The president is the head of the vast executive branch. He must give directions to his subordinates in order for the executive branch to carry out its work. A proper executive order is simply that: the president ordering subordinate executive officials to carry out lawful policies and actions – lawful because they are consistent with the Constitution and statutory law.

Let’s take the president out of the equation for a moment. In the military, a commanding officer may give a hundred orders a day to his subordinates. These are “executive orders” in the sense that the armed forces are part of the executive branch. But as long as they are within the bounds of the law, the fact that there are thousands of such orders causes us no concern. Similarly, when the attorney general gives instructions to Justice Department lawyers, or the secretary of state directs our diplomats, these are “executive orders” and standard fare.

The problem occurs when, as during the Obama administration, EOs are used by the president as the vehicle for ordering that which he has no legal authority to order and which usurps the powers and rights of other branches of the federal government, the states, or the people.

Read the whole thing.


Read the whole thing. As Rod Dreher writes, “This is one of those documents historians of the future will look back on as they try to understand what happened to us, and why.”

MYRON MAGNET: Trump’s revolution has been a long time brewing.

As Amity Shlaes shows in her 2008 book The Forgotten Man, that term, which Franklin Roosevelt applied to the man on the breadline in the Great Depression, “the man at the bottom of the economic pyramid,” more properly applies to those unhappy-if-silent taxpayers who funded the New Deal’s social-welfare schemes. And these are the forerunners of the Tea Partiers, another key class of Trump voter: the widow on a fixed income whose property-tax payment helps house a public-sector retiree comfortably but whose inexorable rise is making her own paid-off home unaffordable; the retiree whose IRA savings the Great Recession eroded or who can no longer get an adequate income from safe bond investments, thanks to the Federal Reserve’s policies; the small businessman or farmer ruined by undemocratic government regulation lacking even the pretense of due process; the ex-soldier abandoned by a dysfunctional Veterans Administration; the parent disgusted with public schools that impose ideologies she abhors on her children, while leaving them inadequately educated; and all those sincere believers in God or traditional values whom Obama dismissed as clinging desperately to outmoded pieties, as the arc of history, which the elite professor-president claimed to understand and direct according to his politically correct enlightenment, swirled them down the drain.

Read the whole thing.

DENNIS PRAGER: America’s Second Civil War.

In fact, with the obvious and enormous exception of attitudes toward slavery, Americans are more divided morally, ideologically and politically today than they were during the Civil War. For that reason, just as the Great War came to be known as World War I once there was World War II, the Civil War will become known as the First Civil War when more Americans come to regard the current battle as the Second Civil War.

This Second Civil War, fortunately, differs in another critically important way: It has thus far been largely nonviolent. But given increasing left-wing violence, such as riots, the taking over of college presidents’ offices and the illegal occupation of state capitols, nonviolence is not guaranteed to be a permanent characteristic of the Second Civil War.

There are those on both the left and right who call for American unity. But these calls are either naive or disingenuous. Unity was possible between the right and liberals, but not between the right and the left.

Liberalism — which was anti-left, pro-American and deeply committed to the Judeo-Christian foundations of America; and which regarded the melting pot as the American ideal, fought for free speech for its opponents, regarded Western civilization as the greatest moral and artistic human achievement and viewed the celebration of racial identity as racism — is now affirmed almost exclusively on the right and among a handful of people who don’t call themselves conservative.

The left, however, is opposed to every one of those core principles of liberalism.

Read the whole thing, although I’d add that the Right (and liberals) are finally acknowledging the anti-American campaign — an anti-liberal campaign — the Left has been waging for half a century or longer.

BUT THAT’S UNPOSSIBLE! Republicans: Schumer Broke His Word on Pompeo Confirmation.

Representative Pompeo will almost certainly be confirmed as CIA Director on Monday. And the CIA will no doubt survive two days without its new leader. But the nastiness of the partisan sniping between top Republicans and Democrats that led to the delay may well have a lasting impact on the Senate – in this Congress and beyond.

According to six sources familiar with the negotiations over Pompeo’s confirmation, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told Republican leaders that he would allow Pompeo to be confirmed by voice vote on Inauguration Day, along with two other Trump nominees who have national security responsibilities. But Schumer broke his promise, these sources say, and offered an insulting excuse for having done so.

“Trust is important, even between adversaries,” says Senator John Cornyn, one of the Republicans involved in the discussions. “And that trust has been damaged.”

Read the whole thing, which ought to dispel any notions, however weak, that Harry Reid’s “retirement” would make for better-behaved leadership on the Democrat’s side.

PRIORITIES: Milo Protester Shoots Suspected Conservative, No Charges After He Points To ‘Racism’

A man who shot someone outside a speech at the University of Washington (UW) by conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos said his victim was a “white supremacist,” and police let the shooter go, even as the victim is hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

In what appears to be a case of mistaken identity by the “anti-racism” vigilante, the shooting victim later turned out to be a supporter of Bernie Sanders.

And the university president, Ana Mari Cauce, wrote a letter Saturday that focused not on why one of the protesters attempting to stop the speech had shot someone, but instead questioned why the college had allowed the event to be held in the first place.

Read the whole thing.

I would like to hear Cauce’s explanation for her actions to the victim’s parents.


The South African political observer R. W. Johnson wrote in 2001 that the left-wing parties of post-colonial Africa shared what he called a “common theology”:

They do not merely represent the masses but in a sense they are the masses, and as such they cannot really be wrong. Second, according to the theology, their coming to power represents the end of a process. No further group can succeed them for that would mean that the masses, the forces of righteousness, had been overthrown. That, in turn, could only mean that the forces of racism and colonialism, after sulking in defeat and biding their time, had regrouped and launched a counter-attack.

Johnson had in mind formerly “progressive” parties such as the Zimbabwe African National Union-Popular Front (Zanu-PF) and South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC). But his description could apply just as easily to Obama’s Democrats.

Read the whole thing, which is a reminder that bad things (and bad luck) inevitably result when an ideology replaces religion with politics, even if they’ve forgotten the words, “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

BECKET ADAMS: It has been a really bad week for journalism.

It has been a particularly embarrassing week for the press, and it’s only Saturday.

For an industry that’s as disliked and distrusted as Congress, there’s a lot of work that media need to do to win back viewers’ trust. There’s no room for error, especially now that there’s a subgenre of “news” that has zero basis in fact, and is created from thin air for the sole purpose of generating cash.

But learning to be more careful and even-handed is apparently difficult for some in media, and this week was especially rough for newsrooms that are already struggling to regain credibility.

In no particular order, here are some of the most embarrassing media moments from this week.

Read the whole thing. Plus:





HOWIE CARR: President’s ‘dark’ speech a ray of light for millions.

My favorite was when the new president said, “Washington has prospered, but the people have not.”

Amen. Every time you come down here, all you see is cranes and construction. Doesn’t matter if there’s a recession or prosperity — D.C. grows, or maybe the word is “metastasize.” As in cancer.

“Power is being transferred to the people,” he said. Instead of people, he could have said “deplorables,” but everybody knew who he was talking about.

Another great line: ripping the public education system as being “flush with cash” while children go uneducated. How many years have you heard these teachers’ unions and educrats talking about how they need more of your tax money “for the children.”

How out of touch can anyone be to be offended by a president who says: “It is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.”

Read the whole thing.

THE LEFT’S FAVORITE BILLIONAIRE: Connoisseur of Chaos, a profile of George Soros in City Journal. Stefan Kanfer details his efforts to build a world without borders run by philosopher-kings like himself.

As the postpresidential fever abates, Soros’s work carries on. In a New York City luxury hotel, Soros recently huddled with other devastated operatives in the so-called Democratic Alliance, including former House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, and Congressional Progressive Caucus cochairman Keith Ellison. According to Politico, they discussed strategies to combat President-elect Trump’s “terrifying assault on President’s Obama’s achievements.” Not all Democrats were pleased with the occasion. “The DA itself should be called into question,” said one attendee. “You can make a very good case it’s nothing more than a social club for a handful of wealthy white donors and labor union officials to drink wine and read memos, as the Democratic Party burns down around them.”

Read the whole thing.


ROBERT TRACINSKI: When you read a science report claiming that 2016 was the hottest year on record, you might expect that you will get numbers. And you would be wrong.

I just got done combing through a New York Times report titled, “Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year.” The number of relevant numbers in this article is: zero.

We are not told what the average global temperature was, how much higher this is than last year’s record or any previous records, or what the margin of error is supposed to be on those measurements. Instead, we get stuff like this.

Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported on Wednesday that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016—trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014. It is the first time in the modern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row.

Note to the New York Times: “trouncing” and “blown past” are phrases appropriate to sports reporting, not science reporting. Except that no sports reporter would dare write an article in which he never bothers to give you the score of the big game.

Yet that’s what passes for “science reporting” on the issue of global warming, where asking for numbers and margins of errors apparently makes you an enemy of science. Instead, it’s all qualitative and comparative descriptions. It’s science without numbers.

It wasn’t just the New York Times. Try finding the relevant numbers ready at hand in the NASA/NOAA press release. You get numbers comparing 2016’s temperature with “the mid-20th century mean” or “the late 19th century.” But there’s nothing comparing it to last year or the year before except qualitative descriptions. So the government’s science bureaucracy is setting the trend, making reporters dig for the relevant numbers rather than presenting them up front.

It’s almost like they’re hiding something.

Almost! Read the whole thing to find out exactly what they’re hiding.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Warren vs. DeVos: How a Perceived Handshake ‘Snub’ Exposed The Right Wing’s Cultural Ignorance.

Yes, that headline appears to send up dangerous smoke signals, but I urge you to read the whole thing, Kemosabi…

QUIN HILLYER: Saul Alinsky Leaves the White House.

Obama and company also waged bureaucratic war against independent inspectors general; tried their hardest (even illegally) to hobble fossil fuels industries; evaded Congress’s intent by sending cash and uranium to a near-nuclear-ready Iran; fumbled and stumbled while veterans suffered virtually criminal neglect; wasted hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars on projects that were not “shovel-ready” and did not create many jobs; oversaw an economy in which the workforce participation rate dropped to historically low levels while real median household income also fell and personal debt rose, and in which food stamp rolls grew to a number larger than the population of Spain; horrendously politicized the Justice Department; and saw race relations worsen for the first time in decades.

In what should have been treated by the media as major scandals (or more major than the media represented them), the Obama administration encouraged illegal gun-running to Mexican cartels, with untold numbers of resultant deaths; failed to provide adequate security before or rescue during the Benghazi tragedy; provided tax subsidies in return for campaign cash from useless “green energy” companies; spied on journalists; freed five killers in return for a deserter; failed to police or protect email use at the State Department; polluted a river through the ineptitude of the Gold King Mine Disaster; illegally (arguably) granted, to political allies only, numerous “waivers” from Obamacare; and of course committed the actions I related in the first paragraph of this piece, including the dismissal of the New Black Panther case and the IRS targeting of conservative groups.

And in almost every case, they covered up and/or lied about these actions, often egregiously and sometimes, quite arguably, criminally.

And those are only the major scandals and embarrassments.

Read the whole thing.

STEPHEN HAYES: Obama’s Shameful Legacy.

There was a time, early in Barack Obama’s presidency, when it was considered outrageous to worry out loud that the new president might treat enemies better than allies, run down friends and elevate foes, show solidarity with anti-American leaders, maybe even release dangerous terrorists or sympathize with traitors.

And here we are.

Obama has accommodated leaders hostile to America, like Vladimir Putin in Russia and Bashar al-Assad in Syria. He strengthened a rogue regime in Iran and boosted despotic leaders in Cuba. At the same time, he chastised and isolated Israel and abandoned friendly governments in places like Afghanistan and Ukraine.

He’s freed from Guantanamo dozens of jihadists and high-ranking al Qaeda terrorists, including some who have promised to kill Americans upon their release, and he’s done this even as U.S. men and women in uniform and in the intelligence community fight and die to protect us from the threat that these enemies represent.

Read the whole thing.


Help! Donald Trump has taken over my body and he won’t get out!

Politico reporter Annie Karni wrote an inadvertently hilarious story about how a Hillary aide worked so intently to acquire the personality of Donald Trump as part of debate prep that now the President-elect is still lingering inside his soul to the extent that he can channel him.

The extreme lengths to which Philippe Reines went to become Donald Trump is the stuff of which comedy movies are made. In fact, Reines could not only write the script from first hand experience but he could also conjure up his inner Donald Trump to negotiate the movie deal. Even the title of the Politico article could also serve as the movie title, The Man Who Became Donald Trump:

Read the whole thing; it’s a hoot.

Found via Kathy Shaidle, who writes, “I don’t know what to say about this.” Me neither, but here’s the most recent video footage of the still-detoxing Reines we could find:

ROSS KAMINSKY: Today’s Blood Libel: A Democrat Specialty.

This race libel has been on full dismal display in recent days from the venomous President Barack Obama, the venerable Representative John Lewis, and the venal Senator Cory Booker.

In his not-a-moment-too-soon “farewell address,” following a remarkably out-of-touch call for economic growth through — wait for it — more unionization and higher taxes on successful individuals and corporations, Obama turned to the issue of race.

He offered this premise for what purported to be a deep thought: “After all, if every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hard-working white middle class and undeserving minorities…” What follows this clause is irrelevant because this introduction disqualifies the statement, if not the speaker, from consideration as a serious or honest person.

Read the whole thing.

REASON: The Case Against Hamilton: The hit Broadway musical was all that was wrong with 2016, and will likely be wrong with 2017, too.

On first take, I thought it sounded a bit like a University of Iowa freshman—the kind who only listens to “real hip-hop”—attempting his first mixtape. One of my Twitter followers corrected me, however. It’s closer to a Braintree elementary school making a rap song for parents’ night. The latter description hints not merely at the simple, formulaic quality of the material, but also the cloying, bourgeois quality of it all. From the reference to “ten-dollar Founding Father without a father” to “when the British taxed our tea we got frisky,” the whole affair sounds more like something made by precocious children than a professional composer.

We have Lin-Manuel Miranda to blame for this cultural atrocity, a scion of a psychologist and an advisor to New York mayor Ed Koch, who attended the same elementary and high school as Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. Sure, he got bullied by Immortal Technique in school, but how much street cred is that really worth? After this he attended Wesleyan University, a top-10-ranked school that costs $65,000 a year, according to Forbes, before making his mark writing jingles for noted prostitute-enthusiast Eliot Spitzer’s 2006 campaign. The original version of Hamilton debuted at a Vassar College workshop. All this is, of course, an attempt to firmly establish Miranda’s street cred, which is unassailable.

Some are irritated about the people who aren’t white playing white people, but I’m not. The whole production plays so fast and loose with the truth that it’s hard to pick any particular piece to criticize, there’s a reality correlation approximating that of the Weekly World News. At the top of the list, though, has to be casting Alexander Hamilton as some sort of proto-multicultural progressive. That’s either stupidity or mendacity, take your pick. Hamilton was, if anything, the most aristocratic of the Founding Fathers, the closest thing to a Colonial Tory. You know that electoral college you’ve been gnashing your teeth over for the last couple months? Guess whose idea that was?

Of course, shit music and feels-over-reals weren’t the whole problem with America in 2016—and they aren’t the biggest deal facing us in 2017, either. No, the worst thing about this present moment in time is the smugness with which zillionaires and their sycophants on the coasts piss all over anyone who does actual work for a living.

That’s not just one of the main reasons that Trump won the election. That attitude makes for garbage art.

Read the whole thing.

ANDREW FERGUSON: Golf Comes to the Killing Fields.

Read the whole thing.


As the nation became more urban and its wealth soared, the old Democratic commitment from the Roosevelt era to much of rural America—construction of water projects, rail, highways, land banks, and universities; deference to traditional values; and Grapes of Wrath–like empathy—has largely been forgotten. A confident, upbeat urban America promoted its ever more radical culture without worrying much about its effects on a mostly distant and silent small-town other. In 2008, gay marriage and women in combat were opposed, at least rhetorically, by both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in their respective presidential campaigns. By 2016, mere skepticism on these issues was viewed by urban elites as reactionary ignorance. In other words, it was bad enough that rural America was getting left behind economically; adding insult to injury, elite America (which is Democrat America) openly caricatured rural citizens’ traditional views and tried to force its own values on them. Lena Dunham’s loud sexual politics and Beyoncé’s uncritical evocation of the Black Panthers resonated in blue cities and on the coasts, not in the heartland. Only in today’s bifurcated America could billion-dollar sports conglomerates fail to sense that second-string San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protests of the national anthem would turn off a sizable percentage of the National Football League’s viewing audience, which is disproportionately conservative and middle American. These cultural themes, too, Trump addressed forcefully.

Read the whole thing.

THE FATHER OF PINYIN WRITING SYSTEM DEAD AT 111: Zhou Youguang’s efforts helped raise literacy rates in China. He became a critic of the dictatorship. He was born in 1906 during the Qing dynasty. Read the whole thing.


The language of fairness and respect, when deployed by many on the left (especially in the Cathedral), is not about fairness and respect at all, but is a cover for a naked power grab, in classic Marxist-Leninist “Who, Whom?” style. In the case of race, the Cathedral and its favorite sermonizers demand that white people behave more humanly, while simultaneously denying their capacity to do so. And it holds academic and media elites like Michael Eric Dyson up as oppressed, simply because of the color of his skin, while framing poor and dispossessed whites as oppressors, solely because of the color of their skin.

(This, by the way, is why Meryl Streep’s speech got on my nerves: the way she began it by flattering herself and her audience as “vilified”; it takes real nerve to tell a room full of Hollywood millionaires that they are in league with the oppressed.)

I don’t believe the alt-right’s view of the world any more than I believe the Cathedral’s. If the alt-right’s racist ideas are going to gain ground in American politics, they aren’t going to do it through my agency. But here’s what the Cathedral left needs to know: you aren’t going to be able to count on conservative people like me to help you oppose the alt-right, because you are their “respectable” left-wing mirror image.

Read the whole thing.  And for background on Dreher’s “Cathedral” reference (shorthand for the DNC-MSM-academia-Hollywood overculture), click here.

CONSPIRACY THEORY OF THE DAY: Assange offering an extradition deal?

Let’s start with the claim that Assange wants Chelsea Manning pardoned or given clemency and released in exchange for his surrender to authorities in the United States. Isn’t it odd that he’s bringing this up only days after the White House floated a trial balloon suggesting that Manning might be in line for just such a favor in the next few days? For the complete background on that story and its possible implications, read Ed Morrissey’s analysis from Wednesday. Obama ostensibly has political reasons to do it – i.e. tossing a huge bone to the LGBT community on his way out the door – but he also has a serious beef with Wikileaks in general over all of the leaked email brouhaha and Manning is irreversibly tied to Assange. But if Manning were already in line for possible release, what benefit accrues to Assange in exchange for giving himself up?

Unless, of course, this was part of a prepackaged deal. We all found it shocking that Obama would even be considering releasing Manning, LGBT benefits aside, but if there was a possible deal with Assange in the works behind the scenes, was this the reason for the trial balloon? And if so, was Assange worried that the deal was going sour, leading to his decision to blast out the tweet to try to move things along?

Read the whole thing, and remember that anything is possible in the Mad Duck’s final days.

FUSION GPS: The Sordid History of the Firm Behind the Trump-Russia Dossier.

Mark Hemingway:

That’s not all Fusion GPS has been up to in recent years. In 2015, Planned Parenthood was stung by a video expose that detailed its involvement in human organ trafficking—organs harvested from the bodies obtained after abortions. Those behind the expose, David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress, knew they would be severely scrutinized so they released dozens of hours of raw footage that their documentary evidence was culled from to show that their reports had not been selectively edited. Nor were they misrepresenting the shocking statements of Planned Parenthood officials.

Nonetheless, Planned Parenthood produced a “forensic report” concluding that the videos had in fact been manipulated. The author of that report was none other than Fusion GPS. If you bothered to read the details of Fusion GPS’s report it made some damning concessions, even admitting there was no “widespread evidence of substantive video manipulation.” But overall, the report was calculated to be misleading and was nothing but an underhanded PR stunt for Planned Parenthood. Naturally, Fusion GPS’s report was uncritically covered by a credulous media. Politico’s headline was “Report for Planned Parenthood finds sting videos manipulated.” The New York Times went with “Planned Parenthood Videos Were Altered, Analysis Finds.” Neither report mentioned the controversy about Fusion GPS’s attacks on GOP donors or otherwise suggested the firm had partisan motivations.

Indeed, it seems that the media have been uncritically amplifying Fusion GPS’s disinformation campaigns for years now.

Read the whole thing.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Hey Hollywood, Smugness Isn’t a Political Strategy.

The problem with Hollywood people making political speeches is not that their political ideas are worse than anyone else’s, or that they enjoy sharing their half-baked ideas. This is a minor and forgivable social sin, like arriving five minutes early for a party. No, the problem with Hollywood people making political speeches is that the speeches themselves are bad, at least at their presumed goal of producing political change.

Take Streep. She’s right that Trump should not have made fun of a disabled reporter. However, she surrounded that point with an extended discussion of how mean everyone was being to actors and journalists.

This was a double mistake. First, it accepted Trump’s frame: it’s a handful of liberal elites against the rest of the country. That’s an argument he just won, so it’s unwise to try for an immediate rematch. And second, there is in this whole world no sight less rhetorically compelling than that of successful people with fun and rewarding jobs, and a decent income, complaining that they’re victims of the unglamorous folks who labor at all the strenuously boring work required to make their lives nice. Even I, who have one of those jobs, am rolling my eyes and saying “Good heavens, suck it up.” The only people who don’t recoil from this sort of vacuous self-pity are those similarly situated in elite liberal institutions — but since those folks already hate Trump, you haven’t actually changed anything.

Perspective is difficult for those working in an isolated and highly paid field which devotes an entire season to self-congratulation.

FAKE NEWS: Media trips over itself to make hate-crime narratives converge.

The picture became clearer as police departments and college campuses across the country responded to media and public pressure to address the “post-election hate spike.” Nearly every hate crime detailed in the article, which used the word “alleged” once, turned out to be a hoax or investigations remain ongoing, though some have been suspended due to lack of evidence.

Police suspended the investigation into “the robbery of a Muslim student at San Diego State University who wore traditional religious clothing” in December after no corroborating evidence emerged to confirm her account that two Trump supporters ripped off her hijab and stole her car. “The victim in this case you are referring to decided she no longer wanted to pursue the matter criminally,” a police spokesman told the Daily Caller on Dec. 23, adding that the report of a stolen car was “unfounded as the victim forgot where she parked her vehicle.”

The Washington Post mentioned the alleged incident six times in hate crime posts, including a Dec. 15 article contrasting it with a New York City hate crime hoax: “Muslim advocates expressed concern that Seweid’s episode would hurt the credibility of real anti-Muslim attacks and other hate crimes.” It never mentioned it again after the Caller’s report, nor did it update any previous stories that included the anecdote.

Read the whole thing. Although as you can probably guess, WaPo comes across as either sloppy, partisan, or just another purveyor of leftwing fake news.

HATERS GONNA HATE: A Window Into A Depraved Culture. Heather Mac Donald in City Journal on the Chicago Facebook torturers:

We live in Ta-Nehesi Coates’s America, characterized by the assumption that blacks are the eternal targets of lethal white oppression. Coates’s central thesis in Between the World and Me, his acclaimed phantasmagoria of racial victimology, is that America continuously aspires to the “shackling” and “destruction” of “black bodies.”

Chicago’s four torturers certainly have not read Between the World and Me. But the book’s worldview echoes throughout our society, including in the inner city.

Read the whole thing.

THIS IS FROM BEFORE THE ELECTION, BUT STILL VALUABLE: The Original Underclass: Poor white Americans’ current crisis shouldn’t have caught the rest of the country as off guard as it has.

As Isenberg documents, the lower classes have been disregarded and shunted off for as long as the United States has existed. But the separation has grown considerably in recent years. The elite economy is more concentrated than ever in a handful of winner-take-all cities—as Phillip Longman recently noted in the Washington Monthly, the per capita income of Washington, D.C., in 1980 was 29 percent above the average for Americans as a whole; in 2013, that figure was 68 percent. In the Bay Area, per capita income jumped from 50 percent to 88 percent above average over that period; in New York, from 80 percent to 172 percent. As these gaps have grown, the highly educated have become far more likely than those lower down the ladder to move in search of better-paying jobs. . . .

So why are white Americans in downwardly mobile areas feeling a despair that appears to be driving stark increases in substance abuse and suicide? In my own reporting in Vance’s home ground of southwestern Ohio and ancestral territory of eastern Kentucky, I have encountered racial anxiety and antagonism, for sure. But far more striking is the general aura of decline that hangs over towns in which medical-supply stores and pawn shops dominate decrepit main streets, and Victorians stand crumbling, unoccupied. Talk with those still sticking it out, the body-shop worker and the dollar-store clerk and the unemployed miner, and the fatalism is clear: Things were much better in an earlier time, and no future awaits in places that have been left behind by polished people in gleaming cities. The most painful comparison is not with supposedly ascendant minorities—it’s with the fortunes of one’s own parents or, by now, grandparents. The demoralizing effect of decay enveloping the place you live cannot be underestimated. And the bitterness—the “primal scorn”—that Donald Trump has tapped into among white Americans in struggling areas is aimed not just at those of foreign extraction. It is directed toward fellow countrymen who have become foreigners of a different sort, looking down on the natives, if they bother to look at all.

I recently read J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, and I’m currently reading Nancy Isenberg’s White Trash. I think this is a good review of both. And boy, you really see that the “deplorables” language has a long pedigree. As do actions intended to get rid of the deplorables.

SALENA ZITO: Kellyanne Conway unplugged.

Conway’s conversion from pollster to campaign manager came on a Friday that she describes as the low point of the campaign.

“The worst day of the campaign was the day before I became the campaign manager. It was Aug. 11, it was a Thursday, and I went out on the road with Gov. Pence, who I adore, who has been a client and a friend of mine for 10 years,” she says.

Conway describes in detail a creeping malaise that filled the organization, and people wondering aloud, “Is it worth it? Can we win? What is going on? What are they meeting about? Why did he say that? Who is in charge?”

At the time, Manafort, Trump’s second campaign manager after Corey Lewandowski, reportedly didn’t get on with the candidate, and there was dark talk about political work he had done in Ukraine.

When the New York Times reported Manafort may have received cash payments from a political party affiliated with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the atmosphere reportedly within the campaign began to turn sour and despairing.

The next day Conway was back in Trump Tower, helping with a video shoot in which Trump “was doing different commercials and appeals and videotaped messages to groups that were holding meetings that he could not attend.” They had been working on it for an hour or so and were about to leave for Pennsylvania when Trump asked everyone but her to leave the room.

After the others had gone, Conway asked Trump what was going on. “You are running against the most joyless person in presidential political history,” she told the candidate, “and you don’t look like you are having fun anymore.”

Read the whole thing.

If any one person other than Trump himself can be credited with Trump’s victory, it’s Conway.


4. The mechanism for this homogenization is not obvious. Unlike the Catholic Church, the Cathedral has no pope (although I read recently that Warren Buffet owns 71 newspapers, and the New York Times is owned in part by Carlos Slim, whose vast fortune has a lot to do with his special relationship with the Mexican government). One factor is that the credibility of a set of information sources depends on their being able to agree on a story (coordination games, the peloton effect, the parliament of clocks). Another factor is self-dealing: people with high verbal skills tend to support a system of government that is controlled by people with high verbal skills, and once they control it, they tend to want it to be unlimited in scope. Another factor is self-selection: once an institution becomes dominated by members of a political movement, it tends to become unpleasant and career-limiting for anyone else to work there. Another factor is that the easiest way to write a newspaper story is to copy it from a politician’s press handout. To a considerable extent, these institutions are deliberately manipulated by politicians (broadcast licensing, educational and research funding, journalistic access, selective leaking of secrets, etc., aka Gleichschaltung; in many cases, journalists are literally married to political operatives or are involved in “revolving door” relationships with the political institutions they write about, such as Jeff Immelt of GE, MSNBC and the Obama administration). But the two biggest factors are probably that (1) intellectuals are seduced by political power (the Boromir effect), and (2) these institutions are quasi-religious, and have taken on the peculiar characteristics of the dominant quasi-religion of the day.

5. Three things make an intellectual movement quasi-religious: (1) the outputs that they produce are credence goods, (2) they provide a framework for competition for social status, and (3) this basis is insecure. The fact that credence goods are involved means that conflict about them will tend to be irrational. The fact that social status is involved, and that the basis for social status is insecure, means that this conflict will be relatively vicious, and will carry a strong odor of a witch hunt.

6. The Cathedral is powerful partly because its relative homogeneity allows it to serve as a gatekeeper of politically relevant mass-market information and interpretation. But its real power comes from control of what ideas are associated with high status. Everyone thinks, “I’m my own man. I think for myself.” But unconsciously, people tend to copy the opinions of people who are one step above them on the social ladder. This was explained in the Cerulean Top scene in The Devil Wears Prada.

Read the whole thing; and don’t miss the clip of that aforementioned “Cerulean Top” scene from The Devil Wears Prada, a nifty variation on the line Claude Rains’ sly ambassador character tells Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia: “If we’ve been telling lies, you’ve been telling half-lies. A man who tells lies, like me, merely hides the truth. But a man who tells half-lies has forgotten where he put it.”

ANDREW KLAVAN: Atrocity in Chicago and in the Media:

In fact, the Chicago torturers don’t represent “black people” any more than do Thomas Sowell or Clarence Thomas or Martin Luther King. Dylann Roof doesn’t represent “white people” or “American culture” any more than John Glenn or George Washington. These are individuals acting on good and bad ideas and doing good and evil according to those ideas. If there is a bigger story behind any of it, it’s the ideas not the color of people’s skins.

But if  journalists reported that story rather than their tired black versus white fairy tales, they would not only expose the truth behind these horrible incidents but also the malevolence of their own political bias. They will not do it.

Read the whole thing.

BRENDAN O’NEILL: Why are people so terrified of Milo Yiannopoulos’s book?

The response to Milo Yiannopoulos getting a big-bucks book deal with Simon & Schuster has been nuts. Even by today’s standards. The cry has gone up that S&S — or SS, amirite? — is endangering the wellbeing of women and gays and blacks and other minorities that have felt the sting of Milo’s camp polemics. Please. It’s a book, not a bomb. It’s words, sentences, ideas, not fire and pogroms. Everyone needs to calm down.

Milo is the Breitbart editor turned darling of the agitated, anti-PC right, given to manicured fuming against feminism, Islam, censorious students, ‘Black Lives Matter’ and other things that apparently threaten Western civilisation. When it was revealed that Simon & Schuster would be publishing his first book in March, and that it is called ‘Dangerous’, and that Milo has been remunerated very handsomely indeed for it, Twitter went epileptic; snowflakes melted; literary doyens called for a boycott.

The New Yorker went full haughty, calling on its readers to protest ‘vociferously’ against S&S, ‘in emails, letters, tweets, phone calls — you name it’. The publishing house should be made to ‘answer for the harm it condones through [this] decision’, it said, as if S&S were making landmines rather than bits of paper with words on them. Leslie Jones, the Ghostbusters actress subjected to vile racist abuse by alt-right morons on Twitter, said S&S is helping the alt-right to ‘spread their hate’. S&S-published author Karen Hunter said she was rethinking her relationship with the publishing house.

Most perversely, the Chicago Review of Books said it would not review any S&S books through the whole of 2017, in protest against what its editor, Adam Morgan, calls the ‘deadly consequences’ of Milo-style ‘hate speech’. Morgan says rhetoric like Milo’s, whether on race or transgenderism, has ‘real-world consequences’ — it nurtures violence. ‘It arguably encourages people such as Omar Mateen [the Florida nightclub shooter] and Dylann Roof [the Charleston Church shooter] to think of entire groups of people as less than human,’ he says. In short, publish Milo’s book and people will die. This is bonkers, and indistinguishable from the fuming of pointy-hatted policers of heresy in the past, who likewise feared that certain ideas, certain words, might warp minds and destroy souls.

Ultimately, this is about status anxiety. If they can’t silence and marginalize people, what have they got left?

But they’re not doing a very good job of silencing and marginalizing Milo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

FASTER, PLEASE: Obama’s Coming Obscurity.

Emmett Tyrrell:

The last time I drew attention to Obama’s lamentable condition some readers scoffed at me and pointed to Obamacare, which has practically wrecked the healthcare system for millions of Americans. Surely that disaster casts a long and dark shadow behind the 44th president, whom they admonished. I remained serene. And what about Obama’s dealings with Israel, our most loyal ally in the Middle East? Just the other day, one of his henchpersons ambushed Israel in the U.N. Security Council. Admittedly, there have been setbacks suffered by the United States while this incompetent was in office, but I believe they will be short-lived. President-elect Donald Trump is coming to town, and he is bringing with him an exceptional Cabinet. Already he is threatening to erase Obama’s foolishness, and he is doing it on Twitter. Wait until he is seated in the Oval Office with the power of the other two branches of government behind him. In the end it will be seen that I was right, as I was right in calling the election. Obama leaves no shadow, not even a legacy — Trump won on Nov. 8.

President Trump will arrive at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue carrying an attache case bulging with executive orders to rescind and agency regulations to nullify. I am sure he is aware that for years the 44th president and his servitors have been promulgating regulations large and small to give the bureaucracy evermore intrusive control over business and the citizenry. Trump will, as he promised, cut the waste, rein in government and drain the swamp.

Read the whole thing — although as I’ve become much more hopeful about the cutting and reining, I’ve become more suspect of the draining. But that particular two outta three would be amazing.

IN THE (LONDON) TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT, a very positive review of my colleague Maurice Stucke’s book (coauthored with Oxford’s Ariel Ezrachi), Virtual Competition: The Promise and Perils of the Algorithm-Driven Economy. Excerpt:

Unravelling the competition (or, to our American friends, antitrust) dimensions of the data-driven economy demands someone of the fearless but measured tenacity of Holmes or, indeed, Vestager. It requires penetrating a wall of rhetoric and myth, and a deep familiarity with competition policy’s objectives and limitations.

This is the task that two of the world’s leading competition law scholars, Ariel Ezrachi and Maurice Stucke, have set themselves in Virtual Competition: The Promise and Perils of the Algorithm-Driven Economy. This highly readable and authoritative account sets out the ways that platforms have replaced the invisible hand with a digitised one – a hand that is human-engineered, subject to corporate control and manipulation, and prone to charges of unlawfulness, on three fronts in particular. First, collusion. Second, behavioural discrimination. And third, asymmetric “frenemy” dynamics, such as that between Uber and the super-platforms Google and Apple, which distort competition through extraction and capture.

Read the whole thing!

GUT FEELING: Scientists confirm a ‘new’ human organ.

For centuries, the mesentery (which links the intestine to the abdomen) has been treated as a group of distinct structures in your digestive system. It wasn’t anything special. However, the medical world now has to rethink that belief. Scientists recently determined that the mesentery is really one, cohesive entity — that’s right, they confirmed the existence of a ‘new’ organ. Researchers first discovered the continuous nature of the mesentery through microscopic examinations in 2012, but the past few years have shown that it has enough function to be considered an organ.

This doesn’t mean that the scientific community understands exactly what the mesentery does. With that in mind, the very act of classifying it as an organ should have a far-reaching impact. On a basic level, it’s shaking up education. The medical field had to update its definitive Gray’s Anatomy textbook to account for the new findings, and students are already learning about the mesentery as a matter of course.

More importantly, it’s opening up a line of inquiry that hadn’t been available before — it’s a “whole new area of science,” the discovery team’s J. Calvin Coffey says. If scientists can learn more about how the mesentery interacts with the digestive system, they could develop better treatments for diseases and identify conditions that are specific to this part of the body.

It’s unusual to wake up one day to learn you have an organ you never knew you had before.

THEY VOTED OVERWHELMINGLY FOR TRUMP: The Scots-Irish As Indigenous People: “The academic ‘discourse’ about white privilege acknowledges rhetorically the reality of class differences amongst whites, but in practice this issue never realizes itself in any actionable manner.”


All this leads to the strangeness of American in 2012 which might perplex outsiders. For example, Malia Obama, the daughter of two individuals with law degrees from Harvard, would be able to benefit from affirmative action,* because she lacks white skin privilege. In contrast, the child of a poor family from Appalachia who was white would not gain any preference, because by their nature as a white person they had the right of white skin privileged from which they benefited. You might assert here that there are points in favor for geographic and class diversity at elites schools. But from what I have read Thomas Espenshade’s work shows that elite universities tend to discriminate against rural and lower class whites (as well as Asians) to maintain diversity through admissions of sufficient numbers blacks and Hispanics. Note: well connected whites with high socioeconomic statuses are doing fine under the current dispensation.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: In the comments, a reference to David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed. Though as a single subject knockoff, Jim Webb’s Born Fighting: How The Scots-Irish Shaped America isn’t bad. I see Webb as a plausible 2020 Democratic nominee if the Democrats are smart, which is to say probably not . . . .

AN OPEN APOLOGY TO EVAN MCMULLIN: “I’m writing to tell you how much I regret my part in making you someone who sucks up to Shaun King.”

Heh. Read the whole thing.

WITH FIRE: To Fix the Department of the Navy; Kill the Mabus Legacy.

Global warming and political incorrectness are the greatest threats to the United States, and it is the job of America’s Navy to protect us from those threats. For the past eight years, that has been the strategic legacy of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, and the primary goal of his successor should be to ensure that Mabus has no legacy. The traditional mission of the US Navy has been to deter potentially hostile navies, or failing to do that, defeat them. Getting the US naval services back to that philosophy is going to be a big job for the new administration.

The Mabus priorities have been making the naval services more caring, inclusive, and environmentally protective. Discipline, combat effectiveness, and readiness have been secondary goals at best. Under Mabus, the Navy has sunk to readiness levels approaching those of the post-Vietnam Carter era.

Read the whole thing — although Instapundit readers have long known that Jimmy Carter was Obama’s best-case scenario.

“ONE OUGHT ALWAYS TO BE ON THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY:” The 21st century left has quite a schizophrenic relationship with the concept of history, don’t they? It’s a very different relationship than that of midcentury liberals, who had their own concept of “Whig history,” and teaching that all of history, including the Founding Fathers, set the stage for Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, the New Deal, and America’s victory in WWII.

In contrast, today’s far left views virtually all history until the arrival of Kennedy, Martin Luther King and the Beatles as little more than a non-stop series of brutal oppressions, ugly stuff that’s hardly worth learning, and famously dubbed “Black Armband History,” by Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey. The effect renders virtually all western history prior to about 1962 as original sin, with the left rejecting every historic figure from Christ to Columbus to the Founding Fathers as each being uniquely destructive individuals.

(And they’re slowly turning on their own. QED, Princeton students’ recent attack on Woodrow Wilson, once seen as such a vital linchpin of “Progressivism,” his racism, brutal crackdowns on free speech, and indeed much of the domestic history of America during WWI were largely expunged from classroom study, a real-life version of Woody Allen’s gag in Sleeper about Nixon being airbrushed from history.)

And yet, simultaneously, as Brendan O’Neill writes at Spiked, in an essay titled “History Begins,” in recent years, the left has weaponized history, in the form of the cliché frequently uttered by Mr. Obama to demonize the other side of the aisle when and if they dared challenge his policies as being “on the ‘wrong’ side of history,” as if history was a quasi-religion like the Force in Star Wars, with a good side and a dark side:

What ends up happening is that history, in the objectified and even weaponised sense it is understood today, becomes the enemy of history-making. History is conjured up to counter change, to weaken and dilute the very urge to make history. 2016 has made this clear. It has confirmed a profound fear of change among the West’s intellectual and political classes, which look upon Brexit and Trump and other events with an extraordinary sense of dread. They fear in particular for the standing of the Third Way, of what they view as the stability conferred on Western affairs by the wrapping up of the Cold War and the winding down of the historical political conflict of left vs right. In their eyes, that was history’s greatest achievement — history being the bestower of occasional fortunes — and now a more vengeful history threatens it, and threatens to unleash uncertainty, violence and possibly fascism. So they marshal history, objectified history and its warnings and threats, against change, against the making of history, against human agency. History becomes, not Marx’s ‘activity of man pursuing his aims’, but a check on the activity of man. It becomes a means of questioning and slowing man’s activity and thinking and choices. History becomes the controller of men, and a warning against change.

In this situation, it is imperative that we argue against history, against history as power. That we rage against it, in fact. The wonderful thing about 2016 has been its rekindling of the historical imagination. Vast numbers of people, using their intelligence and will, decided to impact on history. To strip away a temporary institution that had been naturalised by the elite as the normal and historically correct way of doing politics: the EU. And to deliver a salvo against an American establishment that presumed its way of politics is the only way of politics. People said, ‘There must be an alternative’, and in doing so they thought and acted historically, upon history.

As O’Neill writes, “in 2017, do not heed ‘history’; challenge it. Challenge the dead lessons dredged up by a new political, expert and history class keen to correct our estimation of ourselves as the potential makers of history. Use the ‘daring, courage, imagination and idealism’ that technocracy has sought to decommission, and think and act historically. One ought always to be on the wrong side of history.”

Read the whole thing.

(Via Kathy Shaidle.)

JOEL KOTKIN: Obama’s Not So Glorious Legacy.

Like a child star who reached his peak at age 15, Barack Obama could never fulfill the inflated expectations that accompanied his election. After all not only was he heralded as the “smartest” president in history within months of assuming the White House, but he also secured the Nobel Peace Prize during his first year in office. Usually, it takes actually settling a conflict or two — like Richard Nixon or Jimmy Carter — to win such plaudits.

The greatest accomplishment of the Obama presidency turned out to be his election as the first African American president. This should always be seen as a great step forward. Yet, the Obama presidency failed to accomplish the great things promised by his election: racial healing, a stronger economy, greater global influence and, perhaps most critically, the fundamental progressive “transformation” of American politics. . . .

Whenever race-related issues came up — notably in the area of law enforcement — Obama and his Justice Department have tended to embrace the narrative that America remains hopelessly racist. As a result, he seemed to embrace groups like Black Lives Matter and, wherever possible, blame law enforcement, even as crime was soaring in many cities, particularly those with beleaguered African American communities.

Eight years after his election, more Americans now consider race relations to be getting worse, and we are more ethnically divided than in any time in recent history. As has been the case for several decades, African Americans’ economic equality has continued to slip, and is lower now than it was when Obama came into office in 2009, according to a 2016 Urban League study.

And that’s just the beginning of his failures. Read the whole thing.

SALENA ZITO: The art of getting to know Trump.

Obama’s books defined his public image in a large part because the political class gushed and plowed their way through his words for insights into the candidate; who was he? Was there evidence in his words that pointed to the central promise of his campaign? Could he of all people reconcile a divided country?

It literally was the most vetted book in American politics.

Donald Trump’s “The Art of the Deal”? Not so much. Which is a shame because any reporter who read the book before embarking on covering this presidential candidate, eventual nominee and now president-elect would have a much deeper understanding of who he is, how he operates and how he’ll behave going forward.

Written nearly 30 years ago (along with Tony Schwartz) it is just as revealing as Obama’s was, in terms of insights into the way this man thinks, his experiences and how he approaches business.

It serves as a blue-print for how he ran his campaign.

Read the whole thing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

JEFF JACOBY: The Experts Got 2016 Wrong. They’ll Get 2017 Wrong, Too.

2016! Was there ever such a year for making donkeys out of seers? A whole column could be filled with nothing but the names of sages and savants, supposedly adept in the ways of politics, who confidently assured everyone that Donald J. Trump couldn’t possibly win the Republican presidential nomination, let alone be elected president of the United States.

“If Trump is nominated, then everything we think we know about presidential nominations is wrong,” wrote Larry Sabato, whose highly regarded website at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics is called Sabato’s Crystal Ball. Peering into his crystal ball on Nov. 7, he saw Hillary Clinton poised to harvest 322 votes in the Electoral College, handily defeating Trump in the next day’s election.

Countless experts made similar predictions. “GOP insiders: Trump can’t win,” read a Politico headline last summer. Atop the story was the cocksure analysis of one of those insiders that nothing could keep Trump from losing short of “video evidence of a smiling Hillary drowning a litter of puppies while terrorists surrounded her with chants of ‘Death to America.’ ” Pollsters, politicians, and even the incumbent POTUS announced with perfect certitude that a Trump victory was off the table. Indeed, prophesied Damon Linker, senior correspondent at The Week, not only would Trump lose, he would “lose in the biggest landslide in modern American history.”

By no means was it only in the realm of US presidential politics that experts blew it.

At Fox Sports, Sam Gardner insisted on Opening Day that the Chicago Cubs “weren’t ready to make the leap” to the World Series. He was still insisting six months later that the Cubs’ World Series drought would persist.

Climate experts predicted that in the summer of 2016, for the first time in 100,000 years, the Arctic Ocean would be essentially ice-free. Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University, said the decline in sea ice was unstoppable. But when satellite images for September were released, they showed ice levels greater than they were in 2012.

Fortune magazine played up the doomsaying of Wall Street strategist Albert Edwards, who warned that 2016 would bring the biggest stock market crash in a generation. “The illusion of prosperity is shattered as boom now turns to bust,” Edwards wrote in January, amid a market swoon. Bust? By year’s end, the Dow was flirting with an all-time record high.

British experts of every description made the case for keeping the United Kingdom inside the European Union, and pollsters were sure Brexit would go down to defeat. But on the day of the election, voters tore up the script, handing the “Leave” campaign a victory margin of more than a million votes. Michael Gove, the UK’s justice minister and a leading Brexiteer, had been laughed at when he contended: “People in this country have had enough of experts.” Maybe the experts should have listened.

Maybe all of us should be more skeptical when experts are telling us what to think.

Experts and expertise have their place, but it is smaller than they imagine. And many “experts” fall into the credentialed but not educated category.

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

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

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

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

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

Read the whole thing.

LIKE A BOSS: Iowahawk expertly dismantles media’s ‘election hacking’ B.S.

Read the whole thing, as the locals are wont to say in both Des Moines and Austin.

ANDREW MALCOLM: Mysterious missives to distant strangers.

In an age of instant communications, we get annoyed if we must wait 30 minutes for a reply. I’m still awaiting replies to messages I launched decades ago – in bottles.

One day around 1950 on a ferry far off the New England coast, my father suggested we write a note, slip it into a bottle and toss it into the North Atlantic to see what might happen.

That was the first of many times we did that. We called it “doing a bottle.” It became an avocation I continue to this day.

Back at home after a bedtime story, Dad would reach to turn off the light. Just before darkness captured my room, he’d say, “I wonder where our bottle is tonight?”

Do yourself a favor and read the whole, lovely thing.

AND IT’S THE GOVERNMENT’S FAULT: Your Shower Is Lame, Your Dishwasher Doesn’t Work, and Your Clothes are Dirty. “Anything in your home that involves water has been made pathetic, thanks to government controls. . . . But wait: what about the need to conserve water? Well, the Department of the Interior says that domestic water use, which includes even the water you use on your lawn and flower beds, constitutes a mere 2% of the total, so this unrelenting misery spread by government regulations makes hardly a dent in the whole.”

MARK STEYN: License to Dye.

Let’s just run that again: In Illinois, if you don’t do your domestic-abuse training course every two years, you’ll lose your hairdressing license – and your livelihood.

As I write in After America, in the Fifties one in 20 members of the workforce needed government permission to do his job. Now it’s one in three. The original justification for requiring a government permit to cut another person’s hair is that a salon contains potentially dangerous chemicals such as coloring products. Making the license conditional upon acing sexual-assault training courses is not just the usual Big Government expansion but the transformation of the relationship between a private business and the state:

The rule was inspired by the spirit of camaraderie in hair salons, said State Senator Bill Cunningham, one of the chief sponsors of the amendment. For some women, those salons are a safe space, where they can sit among other women, drop their guard and confide about life as their hair is braided or colored, or their nails trimmed and painted….

As Ann Althouse comments:

So, it’s a great place for government to plant informants…

Just so. Just as the Stasi turned neighbors and relatives into spies, the State of Illinois is making your stylist one.

Read the whole thing.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Some New Year’s Resolutions for Our Progressive Pals. “The year 2016 was a great one for our progressive friends – except for that whole utter repudiation unpleasantness of last November. Now, as a concerned conservative friend eager to help, let me offer you some New Year’s resolutions that will keep you on the path to success. The bottom line: stay the course!”

UPDATE: From the comments: “Heh – you should have given that both a “read the whole thing” and a ‘don’t read while drinking or eating’ warning.”

THE LAST DAYS OF BARACK OBAMA: “There will surely be others like him, and that should frighten us more than it does.”

Kevin Williamson:

To be a republican in the 18th century was to be a radical. The American founders were deeply suspicious of pomp and circumstance: It is not mere coincidence that the ban on an official national church (that, and not having a manger scene at city hall, is what “establishment of religion” means) came in the first item on the Bill of Rights. Many republicans of the founding era were so suspicious of religious bureaucracies that it was not a foregone conclusion that the Catholic Church would be tolerated throughout the colonies. (Indeed, for a time it wasn’t.) And they were even more suspicious of the claims of royalty. In the person of the English king, they found a compound of those sources of suspicion: a hereditary monarch who was head of state and church both.

The idea that a large, complex society enjoying English liberty could long endure without the guiding hand of a priest-king was, in 1776, radical. A few decades later, it became ordinary — Americans could not imagine living any other way. The republican manner of American presidents was pronounced: There is a famous story about President Lincoln’s supposedly receiving a European ambassador who was shocked to see him shining his own shoes. The diplomat said that in Europe, a man of Lincoln’s stature would never shine his own shoes. “Whose shoes would he shine?” Lincoln asked.

As American society grows less literate and the state of its moral education declines, the American people grow less able to engage their government as intellectually and morally prepared citizens. We are in the process — late in the process, I’m afraid — of reverting from citizens to subjects.

Read the whole thing.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Jim Geraghty on Ariana Grande, the Objectification of Women, and Our Culture.

Read the whole thing.