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POLITICO: ‘Game Over’: Republicans Rejoice After Mueller Concludes.

I read the piece — it took three people to write it — and it turns out “Republicans rejoice” is just a variation on “Republicans pounce.”

Saved you a click.

REPUBLICANS POUNCE! Mueller report reprieve becomes Trump’s re-election weapon.

REPUBLICANS POUNCE! Trump begins post-Mueller ‘reset’ by attacking Democrats, media.

Why is “reset” in quotes? Did someone from the White House call for a post-Mueller reset, and now they’re acting hypocritical about it?

No. The “reset” is an imaginary state, a wish of the Left and the Deep State to sweep two years of their own hype, lies, and misdirection under the rug. Or as longtime reader RBJ commented yesterday, “We spent over two years sh!tting on the horrible Drumpf and his deplorable supporters. Now that he’s been cleared these ingrates selfishly don’t want to make nice.”

This is where “He fights!” really pays off, I hope.

PAYBACK: McCarthy demands Schiff step down as intel chairman.

“[Schiff] owes the American public an apology,” McCarthy said. “Schiff has met the standard that he has imposed on other members of Congress of when they should step back from their positions. He has exceeded that standard, and there is no question he should step down from the Intel chairmanship.”

The GOP offensive comes as Schiff is forging ahead with a renewed congressional investigation of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia. His committee is slated to publicly interview on Wednesday Trump associate Felix Sater about his efforts to strike a deal for a Trump Tower Moscow during the 2016 campaign. On Thursday, the committee has a second Russia-focused hearing on how the Kremlin used oligarchs and their money to influence U.S. politics in 2016.

Democrats are privately raising concerns that Americans won’t have the stomach for a new, heavily politicized Trump-Russia probe, and Republicans are seizing the momentum from the Mueller findings to lash out at Schiff. Top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway called for Schiff to resign immediately. And Donald Trump Jr. — who bristled over Schiff’s question’s after a closed-door interview with the House Intelligence Committee in 2017 — tormented him on Twitter.

It’s Politico, so the “Republicans pounce!” angle is more reflexive than anything.

NEVER INTERRUPT YOUR ENEMY WHEN HE IS MAKING A MISTAKE. The Politico has a sad: “GOP strategy on Omar: Let Dems struggle on their own.”

House Republicans are sitting back and letting Democrats inflict damage on themselves as they struggle to respond to the growing firestorm over Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

GOP leaders had been weighing whether to take their own action against Omar, who sparked an uproar for suggesting that pro-Israel activists and lawmakers hold “allegiance to a foreign country.” The freshman firebrand has emerged as a top target on the right in recent months.

But Republicans, who already successfully used procedural tools to rebuke Omar for using anti-Semitic tropes last month, are instead choosing to not respond right now, forcing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to pick from a difficult set of options.

“I would like to see what the Democrats are going to do,” Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday. “We’ve already led on this issue.”

Republicans, who saw years of infighting when they were in the majority, are now relishing watching the other side erupt into chaos and are eager to exploit those intraparty divisions.

Republicans pounce! By, err, not pouncing.

As Jim Treacher said during Benghazi hearings, “Here’s the rule: When a Republican screws up, that’s the story. When a Democrat screws up, the Republican response is the story.”

And speaking of Treacher’s rule, if you are looking for “actual” pouncing,“There It Is! Reporter for the The Hill says National Republican Campaign Committee ‘pounces’ on Jim Clyburn’s Ilhan Omar comments.”

That’s more of a “seize” than a “pounce” in my book, but I’ll defer to the judges.

REPUBLICANS POUNCE! Left-Leaning Media Runs Interference For Jussie Smollett.

HOW DARE THEY: GOP Pounces By Allowing Democrats To Vote On Their Own Resolution. “Mitch McConnell seizes on actual liberal positions to paint Democrats as radicals.”

If you think this is an exaggeration of the illogical position of Democrats and their Green New Deal, I give you Sen. Ed Markey.

This week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s was going to put the Green New Deal up for a vote. Or, here’s how the Associated Press put it: “McConnell wields Green New Deal as bludgeon against Dems.” Now, of course, such a vote would be a political stunt; because the Green New Deal, introduced last week by Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is, in many ways, a political stunt.

“This isn’t a new Republican trick,” tweeted Markey, who co-sponsored this non-binding resolution that will save the planet, “By rushing a vote on the #GreenNewDeal resolution, Republicans want to avoid a true national debate & kill our efforts to organize. We’re having the first national conversation on climate change in a decade. We can’t let Republicans sabotage it.”

If I’m reading Markey correctly, Democrats don’t merely want to rearrange the global economy is ways which would return billions to poverty and strip Americans of their ability to travel, eat what they like, and otherwise infringe on our civil rights and pursuit of happiness. But first they want to bore us to death talking endlessly about it.

M. CATHARINE EVANS: The Virginia train wreck has set the stage for 2020.

Thanks to Virginia’s embroiled leaders, the Democrats have become not only the party of drugs, human-trafficking, open borders, MS-13, a Green New Deal, and socialism; they have now outed themselves as the Party of Infanticide, Racism, the KKK, Sexism (“F— the B—-“), and Rapists.

President Trump and the Republican Party should get a lot of mileage out of the Racist & Rapist party’s double standard. There’s little doubt among conservatives in Virginia and across the nation that if these were three Republican leaders simultaneously being accused of racism and rape, Antifa, MoveOn, Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, and #MeToo would be blocking traffic, threatening riots, and surrounding the capitol in Richmond until all three resigned.

In spite of the Democrats’ long history of getting away with everything, including murder (Ted Kennedy), the explosive and quickly moving chain of events in Virginia these past few weeks has made ignoring this political earthquake impossible for the media.

Yes, but… in recent years the media has largely taken a different tack on stories too big too ignore, but too damaging to their (D) friends:

• Coverage that’s as perfunctory as can be gotten away with

• Framed whenever possible as a (D)-said/(R)-said “controversy”

• In which “Republicans Pounce!”

• While applying no direct pressure on (D) for an investigation/resignation/etc

• And then when nothing like an investigation or resignation happens, present the story, if at all, as “old news.”

Oh, and one last thing. “Old news” is usually combined with “Republicans still obsessed with ‘old news’.”

It’s dirty work, but our media elites seem to thrive on it.

REPUBLICANS POUNCE: The “Far Right” Sees “Opportunity in Tragedy” and Uses a Teen’s Death as “a Political Weapon.”

SO NOW “BIGOTED” IS SPELLED “UNCOMPROMISING:”

Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota were hailed as symbols of diversity when they were sworn in last month as the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, Ms. Tlaib in her mother’s hand-embroidered Palestinian thobe, Ms. Omar in a tradition-shattering hijab.

Four weeks later, their uncompromising views on Israel have made them perhaps the most embattled new members of the Democratic House majority. Almost daily, Republicans brashly accuse Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar of anti-Semitism and bigotry, hoping to make them the Democrats’ version of Representative Steve King as they try to tar the entire Democratic Party with their criticism of the Jewish state.

And while Democratic leaders publicly defend them, some Democratic colleagues are clearly uneasy.

Republicans pounce!

REPUBLICANS POUNCE! Republicans seize on liberal positions to paint Democrats as radical.

Legalized infanticide, outlawing private insurance, a wealth tax, drastically increasing the income tax, taking control of the entire economy in order to micromanage the climate… nothing radical to see here, nope.

BAD, PRESS: How the media fail.

To watch Stelter’s show, Reliable Sources, after a reporting debacle is to watch a master class in whataboutism and faux-persecution, followed by the insistence that even the most egregious lapses in judgment or professionalism are to be expected from time to time and that we should actually be worrying about the real victim here: the media’s reputation. This, suffice it to say, is not helpful. Were a football commentator to worry aloud that a team’s ten straight losses might lead some to think they weren’t any good — and then to cast any criticisms as an attack on sports per se — he would be laughed out of the announcers’ box.

* * * * * * * *

Sometimes consciously, but most often unwittingly, journalists treat Democrats as normal and Republicans as abnormal and proceed accordingly in their coverage. Once one understands the rules, the whole setup becomes rather amusing. When a headline reads “Lawmaker Involved in Scandal,” one can immediately deduce that the lawmaker is a Democrat. Why? Because if he were a Republican, the story would make that clear in the headline. Without fail, stories that begin with “Republicans pounce” are actually about bad things that Democrats have done or said, while stories about bad things that Republicans have done or said begin with “Republican does or says a bad thing” and proceed to a dry recitation of the facts. A variation on this rule is “Republicans say,” which is used when a Republican says something that is so self-evidently true that, had a Democrat said it, it would have been reported straight. For a neat illustration of how farcical things have become, take a look at the Washington Post’s most recent “fact check,” which helpfully informs its readers that the claimed “one thousand burgers” President Trump bought for the Clemson football team were not, in fact, “piled up a mile high” because, “at two inches each, a thousand burgers would not reach one mile high.”

Democracy dies in darkness, indeed.

It’s not at all “unwittingly.” Just think of the media as Democratic party operatives with bylines, and you won’t go wrong.™

JOHN HINDERAKER: Republicans Pounce!

JUST NBC THE HYPOCRISY:

Shot: ‘SNL’ Mocks ‘Gross’ GOP Candidate Who Lost His Eye to an IED Blast:

The vile attack came during the SNL’s faux news segment “Weekend Update” where Davidson was mocking multiple Republican politicians for their looks. The comedian stated he’d “realized there are some pretty gross people running for office this year”. When a picture of Crenshaw was put on the screen, co-star Michael Che blurted out: “Oh, come on, man!”

“Hold on,” Davidson told him. “You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hitman in a porno movie,” he ridiculed Crenshaw to the uproarious laughter of the liberal crowd. “I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war or whatever.”

—Nicholas Fondacaro, NewsBusters, today.

Chaser: Why comedians and ‘SNL’ are shielding President Obama:

We learn this from Jim Downey, the longtime “Saturday Night Live” specialist in political japery. “If I had to describe Obama as a comedy project, I would say, ‘Degree of difficulty, 10 point 10,’” the writer says in the expanded new edition of the “SNL” oral history book, “Live from New York.”

“It’s like being a rock climber looking up at a thousand-foot-high face of solid obsidian, polished and oiled,” Downey says. “There’s not a single thing to grab onto — certainly not a flaw or hook that you can caricature. [Al] Gore had these ‘handles,’ so did Bush, and Sarah Palin, and even Hillary had them. But with Obama, it was the phenomenon — less about him and more about the effect he had on other people and the way he changed their behavior. So that’s the way I wrote him.”

—Kyle Smith, the New York Post, August 24, 2014.

UPDATE: “Crenshaw responded to Davidson’s comments on Twitter Sunday morning. ‘Good rule in life: I try hard not to offend; I try harder not to be offended. That being said, I hope @nbcsnl recognizes that vets don’t deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes,’ he wrote.”

Meanwhile, The Hill goes into full “Republicans Pounce” mode:

AND THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING: Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema Attacked ‘Bullshit’ Stay-At-Home Moms For ‘Leeching Off Their Husbands.’

Related: From the “Republicans Pounce!” School Of Journalism: Kyrsten Sinema’s Hilary Rosen Moment, and Her Persistent Verbal Flubbery.

They’re not “flubs” or botched jokes — the quotes from Sinema are what she honestly believed at the time she uttered them, and likely still does. As Michael Kinsley famous said, “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.” Or at least his or her personal “truth,” to borrow from former NJ governor Jim McGreevy.

DISPATCHES FROM THE PARTY OF SCIENCE: Witches to ‘hex’ Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh; exorcists pray in response.

Curiously, the Washington Post didn’t assign Sally Quinn to cover their take on the story, which is written from the “Republicans pounce” angle.

THE MEDIA & THE MOB: Responding to a Washington Post reporter, who as Twitchy notes, “does the Republicans pounce angle on the out-of-control Kavanaugh mob,” Rod Dreher writes:

Here’s the thing: though there is no question that the GOP, like Democrats, play to the anxieties of its base — this is normal politics — there really were, and are, mobs out to get conservatives. 

Conservatives didn’t just imagine the anti-Kavanaugh protesters filling the halls of Congress, harassing GOP senators. Conservatives aren’t imagining campus mobs shouting down conservatives. Republican political consultants didn’t invent the mob at Middlebury College last year that chased Charles Murray off of campus, and physically injured a (liberal) professor who was his host. Nor did the GOP conjure the Yale mob that abused the Christakises over Halloween costumes in 2016.

And on and on. More to the point, Republicans did not invent the mob-like behavior of the news media in the Kavanaugh affair. In the last 24 hours, I’ve heard from three friends — two Democrats, and one anti-Republican independent — who have written to express profound concern about this political moment, and the behavior of the liberal mob. One of the Democrats — no fan of Trump or Kavanaugh — told me that her party has lost her over all this. The independent told me he hasn’t voted GOP in 30 years, but that may change this November, because of the “malice” (his word) on the left. And the third remains a devoted Democrat, but he is agonizing over the demons now taking over his political side, and worries if they can ever be reined in.

In “After Kavanaugh,” Kevin Williamson adds, “The Democrats have created an environment that will render ordinary political discourse almost impossible for years to come:”

This has been shameful, and there should be a reckoning.

That reckoning will not come from the New York Times or from the faculty of the Yale Law School. And it will not come from mind-killed partisans who will believe — or at least pretend to believe — anything that justifies and facilitates their pursuit of power. “She sounded credible to me!” they say. People who are telling us what we want to hear often do. That isn’t good enough — and this cynical smear campaign cannot be allowed to go unanswered. Everybody likes to think that they would have had the good sense and spine to stand against Senator Joseph McCarthy or the House Un-American Activities Committee.

But as the Democrats in rodential retreat go slinking sideways away from this failed attempt at character assassination, what will we do? Not only in November, but after? They would very much like to make this election about Donald Trump, but this has very little to do with the president. They tried to do the same thing to Mitt Romney that they tried with Brett Kavanaugh, and they would have done the same thing if it had been President Romney naming a new justice.

If you don’t punish a political party for this, what do you punish one for?

Indeed. And how does the media recover from their role in the anti-Kavanaugh debacle? The Washington Free Beacon notes that Joe Scarborough(!) “issued a pointed challenge to editors across the country:”

“I challenge New York Times reporters this morning — not reporters, editors — I challenge Washington Post editors, I challenge Wall Street Journal editors, I challenge editors across America, write that story. What happened with Dr. Ford’s agreement with a congresswoman, with Dianne Feinstein? Why did they leak that story? And more importantly, look at yourself and ask yourself the question, why didn’t we report on this in real time when you sure as hell would have reported on it if [Sen. Chuck] Grassley (R., Iowa) and his office had done the same thing?”

Just think of the media as Democratic operatives with bylines, and it all makes sense — or as “Comfortably Smug” tweets, “Journalists are the most insidious of paid protesters.”

UPDATE: Forget ‘boobs’! CNN’s Brooke Baldwin now clutching her pearls over ‘the M word.’

REPUBLICANS POUNCE! Texas GOP shares arrest mug shot to attack Beto O’Rourke for skipping debate with Cruz. “The mugshot appeared to reference a DWI arrest O’Rourke experienced more than 20 years ago. It was one of several photos posted on the Texas GOP account mocking O’Rourke over his decision not to debate Cruz on Friday in Dallas. O’Rourke is challenging Cruz for his Senate seat in November.”

The October Surprise reveal of a 24-year-old DUI conviction nearly sank George W. Bush’s presidential election in 2000, which the press certainly did not dismiss as something Bush “experienced” in his youth.

REPUBLICANS POUNCE: NY Times Accuses Conservatives Of ‘Pouncing’ On Vatican Sexual Abuse Scandal.

The most recent flare up in this controversy occurred earlier this week, when Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a former top Vatican diplomat to the U.S., released a letter accusing Pope Francis of covering up Cardinal McCarrick’s abuses while also taking his counsel on appointing bishops. (RELATED: Former Vatican Diplomat Accuses Pope Francis Of Complicity in Covering Up McCarrick’s Abuses, Calls For His Resignation)

According to the article, conservatives are using the letter and the scandal to push for a stronger condemnation of homosexuality from the Catholic Church.

The article said, “An ideologically motivated opposition has weaponized the church’s sex abuse crisis to threaten not only Francis’ agenda but his entire papacy.”

Related: Pope Francis Concerned With Climate Change Over Sexual Predator Clergy.

Is there anyone the NYT won’t cover for if they’re pushing a “progressive” agenda?

ANDREW CUOMO SAYS ‘AMERICA WAS NEVER THAT GREAT’ IN JAB AT TRUMP SLOGAN:

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo mocked President Trump’s ubiquitous “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan on Wednesday, quickly drawing the ire of Republicans for saying that America “was never that great.”

“We are not going to make America great, America. It was never that great,” Mr. Cuomo said. “We have not reached greatness. We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged.”

Welcome back my friends, to the malaise that never ends.

Related: “Cuomo’s remarks slamming America starkly contrasted with those delivered by his father, former three-term New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, to the Democratic National Convention in 1984. In that address, Mario Cuomo praised America as the greatest country on earth and said he learned about America’s greatness by watching and learning from his parents, Andrew Cuomo’s grandparents, as they built their lives together in New York.”

Naturally, Cuomo’s office quickly issued a statement backtracking on the New York Democrat’s remarks, but not before, as the Times notes in the first link:

The clip was quickly packaged by Republicans, and Marcus Molinaro, the Republican candidate for governor, said that Mr. Cuomo owed the nation an apology. “America, with its imperfections, has always been great,” Mr. Molinaro said.

Republicans pounce!

SPANISH REPUBLICANS POUNCE: Spain’s right whips up fear as migration surge hits Andalucian shores.

Thirty years after Spain was first shocked to find the body of a migrant washed up on its shores, and scarcely six weeks after the new government took in 630 people on the rescue ship Aquarius who had been turned away by Italy and Malta, some rightwing politicians have begun to talk of identity papers, more border controls and “millions of Africans” wanting to come to Europe.

In a country that has traditionally been pro-immigration and devoid of a significant far-right party since its return to democracy, their words have raised eyebrows and concerns. “The first thing we need to be clear about is that there’s a bit of unwarranted alarm over the arrivals we’ve seen over the past month,” said Villahoz, president of Algeciras Acoge, the local branch of an Andalucian NGO that works to protect, educate and integrate migrants and refugees.

We’ve seen how well a virtual open-borders policy has worked for Germany, where 40% of five-and-under kids are from migrant families.

(Classical allusion in the headline.)

WHERE DO THESE COME FROM? Hand Grenades and Gang Violence Rattle Sweden’s Middle Class. “Sweden’s far right-wing party blames the government’s liberal immigration policy for the rising crime, and will thrust the issue to the fore in the fall campaign.” This is a Swedish version of “Republicans Pounce.”

IT’S COME TO THIS: A City Attorney Spraying Anti-Trump Graffiti While Drinking Wine Is All We Have Left.

For the liberal elites, it’s come to this. We’ve been reduced to this. We are all Duncan Lloyd, an assistant city solicitor in Philadelphia. Lloyd was busted by surveillance cameras videoing a buddy spraying “Fuck Trump” on the side of a newly opened Fresh Grocer. Lloyd is pictured below in his civil disobedience uniform.

Yes. That’s a man, wearing an ascot, holding a glass of wine, who tagged an upscale supermarket.

This is our life now, hyper-educated coastal elites. We’re not going to stock up on guns and insta-waffles. We’re not going to hop in a Prius and ethanol-roll motorists we disagree with. We’re not going to burn an American flag, because we don’t own an American flag, because what kind of jingoistic prick can find space for a freaking flag in a one-bedroom apartment?

All we can do is turn up our noses, drown ourselves in an earthy vintage, and tastefully vandalize what establishments we pass. We are a broken, beaten people. It’s just like high school. We’ve got our books and our vastly superior reservoirs of knowledge and empathy, they’ve got a viselike grip on our underpants. . . .

Republicans are all too happy to pounce on our weakness and despair.

You would need a heart of stone not to be.

JOURNALISM: We now enter the Republicans Pounce portion of our narrative pageant.

THE OLD “REPUBLICANS POUNCE” TROPE: Trump seizes on leaked memo to blast ‘corrupt’ Clinton World.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Thursday jumped on a leaked memo revealing the interplay between the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton family’s business interests, calling the revelations “outright corrupt.”

At a rally in Springfield, Ohio, Trump addressed a 12-page internal memo leaked Thursday by WikiLeaks and penned by Clinton confidante Doug Band outlining his “unorthodox” dual role within Clinton World. Band was principal for Teneo, a private consulting firm tasked with raising millions for the Clinton Foundation, while also helping former President Bill Clinton with for-profit opportunities.

“The more emails Wikileaks releases, the more lines between the Clinton Foundation, her State Department and Clinton’s personal businesses, they all get blurred,” Trump said.
“We read about Clinton confidant Doug Band bragging he had funneled tens of millions of dollars to Bill Clinton Inc. through the foundation donations, paid speeches and consulting contracts. Mr. Band called the arrangement ‘unorthodox.’ The rest of us call it outright corrupt.”

Trump’s campaign sent out a statement after the rally that reiterated his criticisms of the interplay revealed in the memo.

Trump has repeatedly accused Hillary Clinton of “pay-to-play” schemes while serving as secretary of State, alleging she gave access to foreign governments and corporations who donated to the Clinton Foundation.

A better headline: Leaked Memo Reveals Clinton Corruption. But I’m not holding my breath.

QUESTIONS NOBODY IS ASKING: ‘Basket of Deplorables’ — What Happened to Hillary the Uniter?

Did anybody actually think Hillary actually would be some sort of uniter, either during her campaign or if she wins? And note how quickly her gaffe entered the “Republicans pounce” phase, as her palace guard circles the wagons to protect her:

nyt_republicans_pounce_tweet_9-10-16-1

What an unintentionally brilliant self parody, Gray Lady. You too, New York Times.

UPDATE: While Hillary “acknowledged her stumble,” note that she didn’t walk back her comments – merely the size of the basket.

THE HILL: GOP warns of ‘long summer for Crooked Hillary.’

Hillary Clinton is facing a long summer of scrutiny over her emails and use of a private server during her tenure as secretary of State, the Republican National Committee (RNC) said Wednesday.

As news and criticism about the Democratic presidential front-runner’s personal email setup trickle out in the coming weeks, the Republican Party appears primed to pounce, it indicated in a memo released to the press.

“Clinton’s credibility has been torn to shreds, and as her team struggles to spin her obvious breach of the law, her persistent dishonesty has only created a new set of hurdles,” Sean Spicer, the RNC’s communications director and chief strategist, wrote in the memo.

In the memo, Spicer makes clear that Republicans are not going to let up on Clinton over her server, which is set to come under new public scrutiny as the summer heats up.

Wednesday’s memo comes a week after the State Department’s inspector general released a critical report claiming Clinton violated department record-keeping rules and that the server arrangement would not have been approved had she sought approval. The report also unearthed new emails from Clinton that she did not deliver to the department.

The “report reinforces what everyone knows and dislikes about Hillary Clinton,” Spicer said, pointing to a clear vulnerability for the leading Democratic presidential candidate.

“Her use of a secret email server was clearly for the purpose of keeping her public business away from anyone who might hold her accountable,” Spicer wrote.

“If she can’t be trusted with email, how can she be trusted with the White House?”

Moreover, the State Department’s watchdog report “proved Clinton has been lying from the get-go” by claiming that the arrangement was allowed and that she had given all work-related emails over to the State Department, Spicer said.

“Secondly, her top aides are also stonewalling on the investigation because of the spider web of lies Clinton and her team have woven,” Spicer added, pointing to the fact that few of Clinton’s top aides responded to the inspector general’s questions.

She had things to hide from the public, and she did so in a way that left the country open to its enemies.

TERROR ARRESTS IN SACRAMENTO AND HOUSTON NAB TWO WHO ENTERED US AS IRAQI REFUGEES:

U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced in a statement Thursday that Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, 23, of Sacramento, a Palestinian born in Iraq, was arrested on charges that he allegedly traveled to Syria in 2013 to fight with various terrorist organizations, including Ansar al-Islam. He returned to the United States in 2014.

Naturally, the MSM is downplaying the Syrian connection, Ace writes. “It couldn’t have anything to do with Obama’s political demand that we allow in 10,000 fabulously vetted Syrian refugees, could it?”

Meanwhile, the Atlantic goes with the “Republicans pounced” angle to downplay the news.

THE HILL: White House on defense after Security Council vote on Iran.

The Obama administration was forced to play defense on Monday after lawmakers in both parties criticized its decision to let the United Nations — not Congress — have the first say on the Iran nuclear deal.

Republicans pounced on the decision following the 15-0 U.N. Security Council vote, arguing the White House was giving short shrift to congressional assent in a rush to build international support for the agreement.

The White House appeared to hope that the U.N. vote would build pressure on Congress to back the deal, but the strategy risked backfiring, with some Democrats scolding the administration for the decision.

They deserve more than scolding.

THE HILL: Voter stupidity remark gives GOP new ammo on ObamaCare.

Comments about voter stupidity made by an ally of the Obama administration are turning into conservatives’ newest weapon against the president’s healthcare law.

A series of unearthed videos of ObamaCare consultant Jonathan Gruber insulting U.S. voters while saying a “lack of transparency” helped Congress pass the healthcare law are attracting serious attention on the right just as Republicans prepare to take control of the Senate.

The newly discovered remarks — revealed so far in three videos circulated by conservative media — add fuel to the GOP’s claim that Democrats were deliberately obscuring pieces of the law to assure its passage.

Add a wave of interest from Republican lawmakers and increasing scrutiny from the mainstream media, and you have the latest flashpoint in the abiding partisan war over ObamaCare, just ahead of the start of the law’s second enrollment periodon Saturday.

Gruber, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who also helped craft that state’s healthcare reform law, said Tuesday that he regrets saying ObamaCare passed because of the “stupidity of the American voter.”

Two additional videos have been released since then. In those clips, Gruber said the law’s passage relied on “basic exploitation of [voters’] lack of economic understanding,” and that Americans are “too stupid to understand” the law’s so-called Cadillac tax.

Republicans have pounced on the remarks and are already weighing congressional hearings, which would create an enormous headache for Democrats.

It’s interesting that this stuff didn’t come out before the election.

TEN YEARS AGO ON INSTAPUNDIT:

SOME ADVICE FOR BUSH: Jonah Goldberg warns that the Republicans need to avoid overreaching, as Republicans have done in the past when things went unexpectedly well. (I linked to a similar warning from John Ellis earlier today). Democrats and their friends in the media, after all, will be waiting to pounce on anything that will let them paint the Republicans as corrupt pawns of greedy big business.

I think he’s right, and in particular I think that the Bush Administration needs to do something dramatic that will position it on the side of consumers against Evil Big Business. And I have just the thing: The Bush Administration should take on the crooks and thugs of the recording and movie industries. And it should do so on the side of artists and consumers.

It’s widely believed that the recording industry shafts its artists. As Ken Layne has pointed out, when 9,000 artist accounts were audited, 8,999 were found to have involved underpayments to the artists. Artist retirement funds have been underfunded, too — sometimes to ridiculous levels. And the record companies recently settled a price-fixing suit brought by state attorneys general.

Meanwhile the entertainment industries are trying to take control of people’s computers, televisions, and stereos. Consumers are gouged for ticket prices, radio is ruined by payola and other shady practices, and pretty much everyone knows that the whole industry is rotten to the core. (Heck, it was the topic of the very first post on InstaPundit). And by siding with artists, the Administration will be able to split an industry that’s usually united against the Republicans right down the middle. And voters identify with actors and musicians much more than with the suits who run the record and movie industries.

By taking on this big business that everyone has come to hate, the Bush Administration can position itself as a tribune of the people against greedy corporate interests. (And make media assaults on the Administration easy to discount as a self-interested response to its efforts to enforce the law). That they happen to be greedy corporate interests that give generously to Democrats will only make it more appealing.

This was good advice ten years ago after an unexpectedly large GOP victory. It’s good advice today after a GOP defeat. But will it happen? Experience says not, because Republicans can’t seem to bring themselves to go after big business, even big business that hates them.

MOVING TARGET: The Obama administration has shifted its legal arguments as it prepares to defend the president’s healthcare law before the Supreme Court. “The shift moves the focus of Justice’s argument from the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to the Necessary and Proper Clause, which says Congress can make laws that are necessary for carrying out its other powers. The briefs give a long history of failed efforts to expand healthcare coverage and say the new law’s purpose was to reform the overall system.”

The technical term here is “mere post-hoc rationalization.”

Related: CBO report says healthcare law could cause as many as 20M to lose coverage. “Republicans immediately pounced after the new numbers came out because they appear to violate Obama’s pledge that people who like their health plans will be able to keep them. Last year, CBO’s best estimate was that only 1 million people would lose employer-sponsored coverage.” All of Obama’s promises have an expiration date.

JACOB SULLUM: “I agree with Jesse Walker and Nick Gillespie that the worst thing about President’s Obama’s speech to the students today (aside from the fact that he had no business giving it to begin with, since it’s well beyond his constitutional job description) is the creepy collectivism implied by sentences like these.”

I asked the Insta-Daughter how it went off in her class and she responded, “My class was laughing . . . which really upset Mrs. _____, because she thought it was a great speech.”

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey corrects E.J. Dionne.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More kid reactions rounded up here.

STEM CELL QUESTION FOR KERRY: He invokes Nancy Reagan. (Notice how many Republicans he’s mentioning? Reagan, Eisenhower, McCain, etc.)

Interestingly, though, he takes a question about science — adult stem cells work — and turns it into a question on morality.

Nonetheless, it’s his strongest bit yet, though he overstates Bush’s “ban.”

Bush: Embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of life to create a stem cell. I’m the first President to fund it. (Huh? Bad transition here, I think. . . ) His delivery is good, though: Science is good, but so is ethics. Still, he’s in a tough position, looking like a straddler compared to Kerry.

Kerry: Pounces: Hits Bush here for waffling. He’s got him on this one, I think. Bush is trying to be nuanced.

Bush: My embryos had already been destroyed. I made the decision to balance science and ethics.

Watching both of them, stem cell research must be polling well.

SOME ADVICE FOR BUSH: Jonah Goldberg warns that the Republicans need to avoid overreaching, as Republicans have done in the past when things went unexpectedly well. (I linked to a similar warning from John Ellis earlier today). Democrats and their friends in the media, after all, will be waiting to pounce on anything that will let them paint the Republicans as corrupt pawns of greedy big business.

I think he’s right, and in particular I think that the Bush Administration needs to do something dramatic that will position it on the side of consumers against Evil Big Business. And I have just the thing: The Bush Administration should take on the crooks and thugs of the recording and movie industries. And it should do so on the side of artists and consumers.

It’s widely believed that the recording industry shafts its artists. As Ken Layne has pointed out, when 9,000 artist accounts were audited, 8,999 were found to have involved underpayments to the artists. Artist retirement funds have been underfunded, too — sometimes to ridiculous levels. And the record companies recently settled a price-fixing suit brought by state attorneys general.

Meanwhile the entertainment industries are trying to take control of people’s computers, televisions, and stereos. Consumers are gouged for ticket prices, radio is ruined by payola and other shady practices, and pretty much everyone knows that the whole industry is rotten to the core. (Heck, it was the topic of the very first post on InstaPundit). And by siding with artists, the Administration will be able to split an industry that’s usually united against the Republicans right down the middle. And voters identify with actors and musicians much more than with the suits who run the record and movie industries.

By taking on this big business that everyone has come to hate, the Bush Administration can position itself as a tribune of the people against greedy corporate interests. (And make media assaults on the Administration easy to discount as a self-interested response to its efforts to enforce the law). That they happen to be greedy corporate interests that give generously to Democrats will only make it more appealing.