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THE BBC LISTS SEVEN OF CHUCK BERRY’S GREATEST SONGS: OK, it’s the Beeb’s music reporter. But it’s a decent list. Here it is: Maybellene. Roll Over Beethoven. School Days (“American history and practical math”). Brown Eyed Handsome Man. You Never Can Tell (“They had a hi-fi phono, boy, did they let it blast, Seven hundred little records, all rock, rhythm and jazz”). Memphis, Tennessee. Johnny B. Goode.

Note: The BBC post says “School Day” not “School Days.” It’s both. In 1957 schools still taught American history and practical math. I selected the line from You Never Can Tell because it’s one I particularly like.

UPDATE: OK, seven of his best, not necessarily greatest. The article’s a fun read.


The tale of Tim Long, one of several head writers hired during the show’s run, was typical. Unable to deal with the host’s constant rejections and dark moods, Long took to chewing Coke cans — and swallowing pieces of tin.

* * * * * * * *

Comic Rich Hall, a writer for Letterman’s NBC show, was floored by the host’s new, abrasive nature when he appeared as a guest. Hall followed actress Andie MacDowell, who had just flopped in her segment. Before the cameras came on, Letterman leaned over and snarled, “How’d you like to be married to that c—?”

* * * * * * * *

The feeling of foreboding was exacerbated by the 1980 cancellation of his NBC morning show, “The David Letterman Show,” within months of its debut.

His girlfriend at the time and for years to come, Merrill Markoe, was a brilliantly inventive comedy writer and instrumental in shaping the show…[Markoe] told the author about the resulting fallout.

“If it weren’t for you and your crazy ideas,” Letterman shouted at her on the street, “I’d still have a talk show like John Davidson!”

It’s a comment funny only in retrospect.

“A veteran staffer who served under Letterman through both his late-night shows” quoted in the article “observed that getting close to the boss was perilous: ‘There comes a moment when he turns on you.’”

Shades of Letterman’s idol turned boss Johnny Carson, who, by the end of the 1980s had dispatched both Joan Rivers and longtime business advisor Henry Bushkin to the Los Angeles-equivalent of Siberia, and whose inner-circle at the time of his retirement, at least as depicted by biographer Laurence Leamer was down to his wife Alexis and Ed McMahon. Both Leamer and later Bushkin describe Carson as a miserable man when the cameras weren’t rolling. As Rob Long, who knows a thing or two about television, wrote in his 2014 review of Bushkin’s book:

We’re all primed to hear stories of movie stars and celebrities and their creepy emotional problems. But for actors—who, after all, appear only on screen, in character, or in a few carefully stage-managed publicity appearances—it’s easy to cover up the seams of a psychotic or broken-down personality.

But Johnny appeared on television every weeknight. He was playing himself—or, rather, an idealized version of himself: jovial, chummy, witty, warm. The strain of that kind of acting must have been monumental. It’s no wonder that real movie stars—Jimmy Stewart, Michael Caine, a whole bushel of A-listers—respected him so much. In one of the best stories in a book filled with great stories, when Johnny arrives late to a very exclusive industry event filled with movie stars, he lights up the room. He wasn’t just the king of late night television. He was the king of managing not to appear like the rat bastard he clearly was.

Of course, in the ‘60s, every guy in America wanted to be as cool, handsome, and outwardly charming as Carson. (My businessman dad, who never missed at least the first half-hour of every episode of the Tonight Show during its entire run also owned a couple of Carson-branded sportcoats in the early 1970s, as I recall.) I doubt few guys watching Letterman, even during Late Night’s mid-‘80s peak, wanted to be Letterman, with his famously prickly on-air persona and all of its weird tics. But the brand of irony that Letterman’s show launched is absolutely omnipresent in American culture. Or as Markoe warned Salon in a 2015 interview:

More broadly: Does the knowing, ironic style you and the others traded in in the ‘80s seem to have filtered more deeply into comedy in specific and American culture in general? Do you see or hear echoes of it now as you go through your day?

Yes. It’s frequently the language of advertising and corporate P.R. now. It is the voice of what [musician Andy Prieboy of the rock group Wall of Voodoo, her longtime companion] calls “Your buddy the corporation.” Everyone’s hip. Everyone’s ironic. Everyone who is selling you something wants you to know they have the same limitations and daily strife that you do. You definitely should be wary when you hear this voice now. It’s not to be trusted. Unless you’re in the market for an aluminum cookware set or an Apple watch.

And politics as well – to those of us who didn’t drink the Second Coming Kool-Aid in 2008, Obama’s eight years frequently seemed like a postmodern Letterman or Saturday Night Live sketch come to life, from his Ten Commands-like shtick while receiving the Democratic nomination to his interviews with YouTube “stars” who bathe in milk and Cheerios to his vicious “The 1980s are now calling” Letterman-esque putdown of Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential debate, when Romney warned of the geopolitical dangers of Russia. And Obama flashed more than a hint of Jerry Seinfeld’s “it’s a show about nothing” detached wry bemusement throughout it all. (Perhaps the apocalyptic doomsday-fury of the hypersensitive SJW screaming campus garbagebabies* is in part explained as a reaction to a generation of detached leftwing irony — or nihilism with a happy face, to paraphrase Allan Bloom.)

And yet, between the earlier, funnier SNL of the 1970s, the 1980s-era Letterman, and Jerry Seinfeld in the ’90s having set the tone of the American overculture, the left seemed astonished that another veteran of NBC television could have bested the plonking Hillary Clinton. Funny, that.

* A registered trademark of Iowahawk industries.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS! Oh, wait, that’s not the country they’ve got in their hands. . . Nearly 100 bureaucrats caught viewing ‘copious’ porn at work. ‘In one case, the employee acknowledged watching porn for up to six hours a day for ‘several years.'”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAVID HARSANYI: Republicans Should Make Elizabeth Warren The Voice Of Democrats.

It seemed pretty obvious to me that the nomination of Jeff Sessions as attorney general was likely a done deal. So it was unlikely any persuadable voter would have even heard about Warren’s grandstanding if it weren’t for the kerfuffle. If it were up to me, however, I’d let Warren speak whenever she wanted to — ceding my time, if necessary — for as long as she wanted on any stage she demanded. The more she speaks, the better for conservatives.

As The Washington Post points out, however, McConnell probably gave Warren’s 2020 presidential aspirations a huge “in-kind contribution” by forcing her to follow rules of decorum. It’s possible, I suppose, that the GOP is playing the same 3D chess mastered by Donald Trump. Maybe shutting down Warren was a surreptitious means of making her the de facto voice of the Democratic Party and #TheResistance (formerly known as “unprecedented obstructionism”). Maybe it was just good luck.

Warren as the voice of the Left might be the best-case scenario for Republicans. For one thing, Warren is no Barack Obama on the charisma front. For another, Warren saves conservatives the trouble of going after socialist strawmen. They’ll have a real one.

Right now it looks like Republicans won’t have to do anything at all — Democrats seem to think they have a real winner on their hands.

JOHN MCGINNIS: Our Laws Should Encourage Business Leaders To Become Cabinet Secretaries.

One of the best disruptions of Donald Trump has been his decision to nominate many officials to the Cabinet who have been enormously successful in business. Such appointees have run major organizations and thus can use their substantial management experience to impose order on the sprawling government bureaucracy. They also bring the perspective of business into the heart of government. A commercial republic can thrive only if, from time to time, officials set about lifting off the dead weights that democratic practices tend to place on the economy.

It is thus disheartening, if not surprising, that many Democrats in the Senate now want to eliminate most of the tax law that facilitates the transition of business people to government. This law permits appointees to an administration to defer their capital gains on the stock they must sell to avoid conflict of interest. It thus encourages wealthy individuals to take government posts, because otherwise they would face an unpalatable choice: Pay a huge capital gains bill or hold on to stock that would create conflicts of interest in their new positions. The legislation greatly aids in eliminating conflicts of interest, because in exchange for the tax deferral, appointees must put their money in treasuries or index funds.

Thus, it is not an interest in good government, but in insular government that is behind the push to change this law.One of the most striking aspects of the modern left-liberal agenda is the effort to create a politics run by and for the symbolic class—people who talk or write for a living. This impetus is most obviously demonstrated by the interest in campaign finance reform. Such reform does not touch the very substantial influence of the media or of the academy on the long term shape of politics, groups almost entirely on the left side of the political spectrum. But campaign finance reform would curtail the capacity of those who create and improve our material world from using their own resources to rent the media and get their own views out the public.

The attempt to gut this sensible tax provision is yet another part of the effort to protect the power of symbolic class and make it harder for the sensibility of business to infuse government.

Nothing in the performance record of the “symbolic class” suggests that we gain from putting more power in its hands.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GENTRIFICATION AND GHOST TOWNS — Two types of losers in the white liberal world order:

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Everyone always talks about how the “white working class” votes against their best interests, but I often wonder, don’t people of color do this too? The democrats, have overseen a massive concentration of wealth into privileged hands, and are the driving force behind global community destruction via gentrification. This… doesn’t really seem good for POC who generally not in existing positions of privilege. However, the democrats can secure their vote by being overtly not racist (yet, it benefits them to provoke or exaggerate racism in republicans — so they’re likely to create conditions that increaseracism in conservative arenas if they can’t be caught doing it, or disproportionately highlight it when it does occur.)

The thing is, city gentrification and rural ghost towns are part of the same problem; more people are leaving the towns they grew up in to live in the city. So, the original towns suffer without enough people to keep them running, and the people already living in the city suffer as they are displaced with the recent migrants. Any effort to halt this drain would benefit both groups of people, yet people getting gentrified and people in ghost towns tend to be politically split. This ensures they don’t gang up against the ruling classes and cause real change.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Kathy Shaidle.)


He just couldn’t help himself.

The President-elect of the United States took a soft swipe at the quality of the football game he was watching in Baltimore on Saturday between two branches of the armed forces.

During the annual Army-Navy game — during which he was loudly cheered by the cadets in the stands — Donald Trump was interviewed by CBS Sports’ Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson. In Trump parlance, he attempted to tell it like it is. In this case, that meant saying the Black Knights and Midshipmen football players weren’t the best he’s seen.

“I just love the armed forces, love the folks. The spirit is so incredible. I mean, I don’t know if it’s necessarily the best football, but it’s very good,” said Trump…“But boy do they have spirit. More than anybody, it’s beautiful.”

It’s not like the president-elect actually owned a professional football team or something. Oh wait:

The Generals went from 6-12 in their first season to 14-4 in their first season with Trump.

In the third and final season of the league, the Generals went 11-7, making Donald Trump 25-11 as the owner of a professional sports team. The team was 0-2 in playoff games under Trump. Strong in the regular season, fading down the stretch. That’s a little literary device Shakespeare like to call foreshadowing.

Or not. Et tu, Fox Sports?

FILE - In this March 8, 1984, file photo, Donald Trump shakes hands with Herschel Walker in New York after agreement on a 4-year contract with the New Jersey Generals USFL football team. The New Jersey Generals have been largely forgotten, but Trump’s ownership of the team was formative in his evolution as a public figure and peerless self-publicist. With money and swagger, he led a shaky and relatively low-budget spring football league, the USFL, into a showdown with the NFL. (AP Photo/Dave Pickoff, File)

In this March 8, 1984, file photo, Donald Trump shakes hands with Herschel Walker in New York after agreement on a 4-year contract with the New Jersey Generals USFL football team. The New Jersey Generals have been largely forgotten, but Trump’s ownership of the team was formative in his evolution as a public figure and peerless self-publicist. With money and swagger, he led a shaky and relatively low-budget spring football league, the USFL, into a showdown with the NFL. (AP Photo and caption/Dave Pickoff, File)

WHY ARE DEMOCRAT MONOPOLY INSTITUTIONS SUCH CESSPITS OF RACIST HATE SPEECH? “Roberto Orci, a producer for ‘Star Trek,’ says he has a special bond with one of the franchise’s most popular characters. Orci, a Mexican-born filmmaker, likens Mr. Spock to an illegal* alien in modern society, and would refer to the fictional character as ‘Mr. Spic’ when developing the ‘Star Trek’ movies and TV series. ‘I always thought of Mr. Spock as a Latino, he’s an alien, an immigrant,’ the Latino producer said at Variety’s #Inclusion Summit on Tuesday. ‘Just between us, and only I can say this, I personally used to call him Mr. Spic.’”

As with the country itself, the Hollywood institution that Gene Rodenberry built a half century ago is in the very best of hands.

* I don’t recall the backstory where Spock entered the Federation illegally, do you?

SHOULD, BUT WON’T: John Kass: Democrats should ask Clinton to step aside.

It’s obvious the American political system is breaking down. It’s been crumbling for some time now, and the establishment elite know it and they’re properly frightened. Donald Trump, the vulgarian at their gates, is a symptom, not a cause. Hillary Clinton and husband Bill are both cause and effect.

FBI director James Comey’s announcement about the renewed Clinton email investigation is the bombshell in the presidential campaign. That he announced this so close to Election Day should tell every thinking person that what the FBI is looking at is extremely serious.

This can’t be about pervert Anthony Weiner and his reported desire for a teenage girl. But it can be about the laptop of Weiner’s wife, Clinton aide Huma Abedin, and emails between her and Hillary. It comes after the FBI investigation in which Comey concluded Clinton had lied and been “reckless” with national secrets, but said he could not recommend prosecution.

So what should the Democrats do now?

If ruling Democrats hold themselves to the high moral standards they impose on the people they govern, they would follow a simple process:

They would demand that Mrs. Clinton step down, immediately, and let her vice presidential nominee, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, stand in her place.

Democrats should say, honestly, that with a new criminal investigation going on into events around her home-brew email server from the time she was secretary of state, having Clinton anywhere near the White House is just not a good idea.

Since Oct. 7, WikiLeaks has released 35,000 emails hacked from Clinton campaign boss John Podesta. Now WikiLeaks, no longer a neutral player but an active anti-Clinton agency, plans to release another 15,000 emails.

What if she is elected? Think of a nation suffering a bad economy and continuing chaos in the Middle East, and now also facing a criminal investigation of a president. Add to that congressional investigations and a public vision of Clinton as a Nixonian figure wandering the halls, wringing her hands.

The best thing would be for Democrats to ask her to step down now. It would be the most responsible thing to do, if the nation were more important to them than power. And the American news media — fairly or not firmly identified in the public mind as Mrs. Clinton’s political action committee — should begin demanding it.

In a different America, one less fundamentally transformed, that would be imaginable. In this America, not so much.

And this is the real key:

I’ve always figured that, as secretary of state, Clinton kept her home-brew email server — from which foreign intelligence agencies could hack top secret information — so she could shield the influence peddling that helped make the Clintons several fortunes.

The Clintons weren’t skilled merchants. They weren’t traders or manufacturers. The Clintons never produced anything tangible. They had no science, patents or devices to make them millions upon millions of dollars.

All they had to sell, really, was influence. And they used our federal government to leverage it.

If a presidential election is as much about the people as it is about the candidates, then we’ll learn plenty about ourselves in the coming days, won’t we?


ANN ALTHOUSE: Maybe It’s Okay That Half Of Academic Papers Are Never Read.

Oh, I don’t think we really want to put academics to work building up society and addressing its problems. It might be a very good thing to contain these academic types in a place where they won’t do too much damage. It may be that we have marginalized these very intelligent people who live deeply in their own minds and conjure up new ideas because it’s best to keep them separated and deactivated.

No one forces anyone to go into academics, and the people who go there may know — on some level — that they don’t belong in the world of business and politics, that they shouldn’t have their hands directly on any levers of power. The academy is a structural safeguard. We don’t lock these people up. We give them a place they can choose to go, where they will be comfortable. Don’t worry too much about the waste in not using them more… not until you’ve calculated the waste they would cause if set free to solve our problems.

Both Obama and Hillary are former professors.


“You know that I’m going to first of all denounce the utilization of this intrusion by Wikipedia through the Russian intrusion,” Jackson Lee said in an interview with MSNBC on Friday. “This is what it’s about. Espionage just like what was said over these last couple of days. We need to be concerned about the intrusion of Russia and Putin in these elections.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) confuses Wikipedia with WikiLeaks (Video.)

“JUST TURBOCHARGE IT ALREADY:” Review: 2017 Subaru BRZ Manual. “At this rate, the BRZ and its counterpart, the Toyota 86, are destined to suffer the same fate as the late Nissan 240SX—another coupe with a fantastic chassis that desperately needed an engine to match. The Nissan died at the hands of bean counters disgruntled about low sales volume. The benefits a turbocharged engine would bestow on the BRZ are too great to ignore,­­­ both for driving enthusiasts and for its longevity. Are you listening, Subaru?”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: E.P.A. Waited Too Long to Warn of Flint Water Danger, Report Says.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: How Could NSA Contractor Harold Martin Have Been Taking Home Classified Info For 20 Years Without NSA Noticing?

SNIFFING AT TRUMP: Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter and the elite’s anti-Trump puritanism, as explored by Andrew Ferguson in the Weekly Standard:

[P]uritanical is precisely the tone of the Trump haters on the left. (We Trump haters on the right are another story.) But why? Consider Trump himself. Here’s a man who’s famous for his wide-ranging sex life, his disdain for conventional marriage, his eager embrace of divorce, his public use of profanity, his non-judgmental attitude toward unconventional sexual minorities—a man whose way of life seems unrestrained by religious impulses of any kind—a man who, in short, is a walking summation of our present-day cultural principles. Yet on each of these scores, from his many marriages to his cursing in public, he is vilified by journalists, politicos, TV starlets, right thinkers of every kind. After years of egging on potty-mouthed rappers and scolding religious believers, our cultural guardians suddenly sound like the General Conference of Methodist Bishops circa 1922.

A case in point is an article in the November number of Vanity Fair by the magazine’s editor, a man named Graydon Carter. He is best known for…well, not much. Carter helped found Spy magazine in the 1980s, and for the last twenty-some years he has filled his present magazine with more than enough throne-sniffing and celebrity-whoring to keep advertisers and a certain kind of reader happy. Also, to judge by a passing reference in his article, he owns a restaurant. Downtown, is my guess.

His article is titled “The Ugly American.” I don’t know why. The Ugly American is a 1950s novel about an American in Southeast Asia, about foreign relations generally, and Carter’s piece has nothing to do with foreign relations. The ugly American of his headline is (of course) Trump. An interesting article might be written about how the election of a professional buffoon like Trump would affect America’s image in the world, and then it would make sense to use the cliché about the ugly American as the title. For Carter it’s just a handy, off-the-shelf phrase he heard somewhere.

Nobody tell Carter that “The Ugly American” was actually the good guy in the novel:

The title of the novel is a play on Graham Greene’s 1955 novel The Quiet American and was sometimes confused with it.

The “Ugly American” of the book title refers to the book’s hero, plain-looking engineer Homer Atkins, whose “calloused and grease-blackened hands always reminded him that he was an ugly man.” Atkins, who lives with the local people, comes to understand their needs, and offers genuinely useful assistance with small-scale projects such as the development of a simple bicycle-powered water pump.


The novel takes place in a fictional nation called Sarkhan (an imaginary country in Southeast Asia that somewhat resembles Burma or Thailand, but which is meant to allude to Vietnam) and includes several real people, most of whose names have been changed. The book describes the United States’s losing struggle against Communism due to the ineptness and bungling of the U.S. diplomatic corps stemming from innate arrogance and their failure to understand the local culture. The book implies that the Communists were successful because they practiced tactics similar to those of protagonist Homer Atkins.

Trump is an unlikely populist hero, but his lifestyle and worldview, as Ferguson goes on to write, is surprisingly much closer to the common man than the vast majority of cork-sniffing, virtue-signaling Manhattan elites, as Trump lives out Groucho’s famous motto that he would never belong to any club that would have me as a member.

Speaking of which, Rod Dreher spots the New Yorker’s Douglas McGrath, who occasionally moonlights as a screenwriter for Woody Allen, savaging Mike Pence for dining at the Red Lobster in Times Square.  Not coincidentally, Dreher’s piece is titled “Where Trump Voters Come From.” Not to mention, Trump’s GOP successor, if Trump himself fails next month.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Daily Beast Suggests FBI ‘Egged On’ 2015 Jihad Attack on TX ‘Draw Muhammad’ Contest.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: FBI Undercover Officer Hunting Homegrown Terrorists Was at Cartoon Contest During Shooting. “On Thursday a federal court in Ohio unsealed the affidavit of an FBI agent that chronicles the chase of a homegrown, ISIS-supporting terrorist cell during the lead-up to an armed attack on a Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland. The documents show that an FBI agent was in touch with one shooter on social media and had discussed the attack before it happened with an alleged plotter who helped set the attack in motion last year.”

UPDATE: FBI Agent Apparently Egged on ‘Draw Muhammad’ Shooter.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Justice Department Knew of IRS Scandal Two Years Before Congress but Did Nothing.

As Hillary said earlier this month, can you imagine electing a vindictive man who might send the IRS after his critics?

Who would even “joke” about it beforehand? Just imagine it!



THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: DNC disarray is the foreshadowing of a Clinton administration.

GINNIE MAE HIRED A FAKE CPA TO RUN A $1.5 TRILLION MORTGAGE PORTFOLIO: No, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group is not making this one up. Officials at the Government National Mortgage Association — aka Ginnie Mae – hired David Fender as vice president and chief financial officer in April 2014.

They did this despite a background check that revealed Fender’s highly dubious credentials, including falsely claiming to be a registered CPA, being fired from his previous job for working for another company on company time, and much, much more.

“Fender was hired as Ginnie Mae’s CFO despite an undistinguished resume of failed business deals in Japan and jobs with U.S. companies he didn’t keep for long. His pet project was Cold Energy Systems, which sells steel tanks to governments,” Rosiak reports.

“The reference check done during Fender’s Ginnie Mae background investigation revealed his penchant for taking and neglecting corporate jobs to pay the bills while he brokered big-dollar side deals.” And then there was that $128 million tax deficiency he claimed not to know about. Sleep tight tonight, folks, because your Government Sponsored Entities are in the best of hands.



Of course, CBS’s on the record correspondence with the DNC is nothing to sneeze at either:

And it’s worth noting that the president of CBS’s news division is David Rhodes, brother to Ben “Lonesome” Rhodes, the now infamous “Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru.”

The country’s in the very best of hands, as is its media.

Related: Five Biggest Scoops from the #DNCLeaks WikiLeak.

TO BE FAIR, IT’S VOX WE’RE TALKING ABOUT HERE: Pokemon Go Reveals Everything Wrong With Conventional Wonk Thinking.

Because mainstream policy thinkers lack creative ideas for reinvigorating the American economy and helping the middle class, they issue familiar calls for more wealth redistribution and stimulus. We’re not necessarily opposed to a more progressive tax code or demand-boosting policies like infrastructure spending, but neither looks to us like a serious fix for deep structural problems.

A great deal of policy proposals today are rooted in a sense of resignation: capitalism naturally causes inequality, so the best we can do is have the government take more and more from the rich and give more and more to the poor.

That approach bespeaks a lack of imagination and historical awareness. Time and again, doomsayers have bewailed free market; time and again, their fears have proven to be greatly exaggerated. In the late nineteenth century, as the United States transitioned from agriculture to heavy industry, new technologies were making farm hands obsolete and rapid urbanization was creating social disorder and depleting rural communities. But no worried mother in 1890 could imagine that her young children would grow up to become mechanics or telephone operators. Those jobs didn’t exist because automobiles and sophisticated landline infrastructure didn’t exist. In any age, it’s difficult and often impossible to know what the jobs and industries of the future will be.

Instead of simply redistributing wealth and doubling down on short-term stimulus policies, we should be looking at ways to make it easier for people to start businesses and move jobs. Relaxing licensing requirements and confronting the gatekeepers who lobby for them so that more people can compete for jobs in traditionally-protected industries would be a good place to begin. So would faster implementation of portable pension plans. In addition to reforming housing policies in urban centers, we ought to think about how telework can allow more people who don’t live in San Francisco to make money off of the tech boom.

Rather than resigning ourselves to managing “late stage capitalism”, we should be creating a regulatory and commercial framework that can support an information economy. The jobs of the future may be unknowable, but that shouldn’t stop us from imagining and starting to build a country in which they are more likely to be created.

Then again, if all our creative energies are directed toward debating the merits of catching virtual Pikachus instead of toward building a new economic model, humanity may indeed be doomed.

The thing is, redistribution of wealth provides superb opportunities for graft. But it’s fair to assume that any author using the phrase “late stage capitalism” unironically has nothing useful to contribute.


Trump, with his unerring instinct for the identifying the growling beast within us all, understands that Americans don’t trust Hillary for one crucial reason: they think, correctly, that she’s out for herself. And he hit this point over and over in his well-crafted (!) speech. Trump first had to position himself as an altruistic candidate driven by concern for country, which he did in lackluster fashion. But when he turned his guns on Hillary, he hit paydirt. He called Hillary a “world class liar,” concluding, “Brian Williams’ career was destroyed” for lesser lies than Hillary has told.

He slammed Hillary for her corruption. “Hillary Clinton has perfected the politics of personal profit and theft,” he said. “She ran the State Department like her own personal hedge fund – doing favors for oppressive regimes, and many others, in exchange for cash.” He added, “She gets rich making you poor.”

Yes. Yes, yes, and yes.

He rightly attacked Hillary’s foreign policy:

The Hillary Clinton foreign policy has cost America thousands of lives and trillions of dollars – and unleashed ISIS across the world. No Secretary of State has been more wrong, more often, and in more places than Hillary Clinton. Her decisions spread death, destruction and terrorism everywhere she touched. Among the victims is our late Ambassador, Chris Stevens….She started the war that put him in Libya, denied him the security he asked for, then left him there to die. To cover her tracks, Hillary lied about a video being the cause of his death.

He added:

Perhaps the most terrifying thing about Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy is that she refuses to acknowledge the threat posed by Radical Islam…. I only want to admit people who share our values and love our people. Hillary Clinton wants to bring in people who believe women should be enslaved and gays put to death.

Excellent stuff.

And here’s Trump on Hillary’s private email server:

Then there are the 33,000 emails she deleted. While we may not know what is in those deleted emails, our enemies probably do. So they probably now have a blackmail file over someone who wants to be President of the United States. This fact alone disqualifies her from the Presidency. We can’t hand over our government to someone whose deepest, darkest secrets may be in the hands of our enemies.

The best line of the speech, by a long shot, was this one: “She believes she is entitled to the office. Her campaign slogan is ‘I’m with her.’ You know what my response to that is? I’m with you: the American people. She thinks it’s all about her. I know it’s all about you – I know it’s all about making America Great Again for All Americans.”

This goes right to the heart of Hillary’s failures as a candidate.

Yes, it does.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: AG Lynch Admits the FBI Has Lost Track of Omar Mateen’s Wife.

“I’m half convinced they’re actually helping her get out of the country to avoid the embarrassing trial,” Iowahawk tweets in response.


THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: It Was John Brennan Himself Who Halted LEO Training on Islam, Jihad.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Syrian Immigrant Who Said 9/11 ‘Changed The World For Good’ Is A Homeland Security Adviser.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: What The Heck?! Reporters Allowed to Casually Tour Orlando Killer’s Apartment.

Flashback: Frenzied Media Pore Over Home Of San Bernardino Killers During Live Broadcasts.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS. Irony: Jeh Johnson Says Gun Control Now a Matter of Homeland Security…Orlando Terrorist Worked For DHS.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Orlando shooter was on, then off watch list.

The man who police say killed 49 people in a brutal rampage in Orlando, Fla., early on Sunday morning was on a federal watch list for roughly 10 months in 2013 and 2014, while he was the subject of an FBI probe.

But then Omar Mateen was taken off the list soon after the investigation ended in March of 2014, FBI Director James Comey said on Monday

“He was watch-listed with the opening of the preliminary investigation and he was taken off the watch list when the investigation was closed,” Comey told reporters.

That preliminary investigation was launched after coworkers complained that Mateen, who at the time was the guard at a Florida courthouse, reported that he had boasted about having connections to al Qaeda and other extremist groups. As part of the investigation, the FBI followed Mateen and had confidential sources meet with him, but the results were not enough to press forward, Comey said.

Had Mateen remained on the list, federal officials would have received a flag when he purchased two guns earlier this month, but he would not have been banned from making the purchase.

Democrats in Congress have fought to change the rules for purchases firearms and enact restrictions against people on various government databases from buying the weapons. Those calls have returned in the wake of the shooting in Orlando, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

This whole “watch list” thing is sketchy.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Omar Mateen Worked For Company That Provides Security to Federal Buildings.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS:  The Daughter of Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) Is Using His Car With Congressional Plates To Drive For Lyft.

Hey, just try doing that in Austin…

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS. Report: Hillary Clinton and Staff Compromised Counterterrorism Ops With ‘Sloppy Communication.’


What makes Trump so appealing to so many voters is that the establishment does seem unusually clueless these days. The great American post-Cold War project of seeking peace and security through the construction of a New World Order based on liberal internationalism and American power doesn’t seem to be working very well, and it’s not hard to conclude that neither the neoconservatives nor the Obama-ites really know what they are doing. When it comes to the economy, it’s been clear since the financial crisis of 2008 that something is badly awry and that the economists, so dogmatic and opinionated and so bitterly divided into quarreling schools, aren’t sure how the system works anymore, and have no real ideas about how to make the world system work to the benefit of ordinary voters in the United States. With the PC crowd and the Obama administration hammering away at transgender bathroom rights as if this was the great moral cause of our time, and with campus Pure Thought advocates collapsing into self parody even as an epidemic of drug abuse and family breakdown relentlessly corrodes the foundations of American social cohesion, it’s hard to believe that the establishment has a solid grip on the moral principles and priorities a society like ours needs.

Trump appeals to all those who think that the American Establishment, the Great and the Good of both parties, has worked its way into a dead end of ideas that don’t work and values that can’t save us. He is the candidate of Control-Alt-Delete. His election would sweep away the smug generational certainties that Clinton embodies, the Boomer Progressive Synthesis that hasn’t solved the problems of the world or of the United States, but which nevertheless persists in regarding itself as the highest and only form of truth. . . .

Myself, I don’t think the system is quite as corrupt as some Trump supporters believe or, perhaps more accurately, I lack their confidence that burning down the old house is the best way to build something new. But it would be equally wrong and perhaps more dangerous to take the view that there is nothing more fueling his rise than ignorance, racism and hate. The failure of the center-Left to transform its institutional and intellectual dominance into policy achievements that actually stabilize middle class life, and the failure of the center-Right to articulate a workable alternative have left a giant intellectual and political vacuum in the heart of American life. The Trump movement is not an answer to our problems, but the social instinct of revolt and rejection that powers it is a sign of social health. The tailors are frauds and the emperor is not in fact wearing any clothes: it is a good sign and not a bad sign that so many Americans are willing to say so out loud.

Those of us who care about policy, propriety and the other bourgeois values without which no democratic society can long thrive need to spend less time wringing our hands about the shortcomings of candidate Trump and the movement that has brought him this far, and more time both analyzing the establishment failures that have brought the country to this pass, and developing a new vision for the American future.

The Control-Alt-Delete candidate. Heh. And our political class is Windows ME.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will skip his own Congressional impeachment hearing.

Related: IRS Employee Admits He Would Go After, Target, and Try to End Conservative Groups.


THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Veterans Affairs Secretary: Waiting For Medical Care Is Like Waiting In Line At Disneyland. “‘When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important? What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience?’, [Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald] said according to the Washington Examiner. “‘And what I would like to move to, eventually, is that kind of measure.’”

Of course he would.


THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Terrifying Report: TSA’s Cybersecurity May Be Worse Than Its Customer Service.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Yukking It Up with the Obama Kiddie Korps. As Michael Walsh writes, DC is being run by small children — who are also generating most of the fawning news of their escapades.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS, FONDLING OUR JUNK: Huge security lines force passengers to sleep in cots at Chicago O’Hare — where four thousand passengers have missed flights while waiting for the TSA this year.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS, FONDLING OUR JUNK: DHS Secretary: Long Airport Screening Wait Times Not a ‘National Crisis.’

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS, FONDLING OUR JUNK: TSA Nightmare Security Lines ‘Inevitable,’ Says DHS Secretary.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: CDC labs cited for mishandled bioterror germs.

Maybe the CDC needs a little more focus.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Teacher who allegedly raped student landed job at DOE: probe.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: D.C. ‘Terror Analyst’ Still Thinks Muslim Brotherhood a ‘Firewall Against Violent Extremism.’

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: 7-Year-Old Writes Excuse Note, Goes Home From School.

“I want Rosabella to go too dus (sic) 131 today!” the second-grader wrote on half a sheet of notebook filler paper in large print, addressing the note to the staff person underneath.

Though the girl was supposed to attend an after-school program on Monday, the note she wrote and delivered to the staff herself worked. The staff excused little Rosabella Dahu, she boarded the school bus and went home.

Charlie Dahu, her father, said Sheldon Elementary in Houston has promised him that “disciplinary action” will be taken against the caretakers from the after school program who excused the girl from school on the basis of her ‘parental’ note.

“Obviously they didn’t have proper procedures in place,” Dahu told ABC News. “This is clearly the school’s fault. How a seven-year-old can trick you, it boggles my mind.”

Public education is in the very best of hands.

CALIFORNIA’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: “California Board of Equalization Chairman Jerome Horton should apologize to Rob Lowe for anti-Semitic slur,” the Sacramento Bee reported in March:

Horton should have one two-word response to actor Rob Lowe and his wife, Sheryl Berkoff: I’m sorry.

In a year when politicians seem to think crass is cool, Horton embarrassed himself and the constitutional office he holds as an elected Board of Equalization member by asking Lowe and Berkoff in a private meeting whether they had “Jewed down” contractors who had built their house.

In an email reported first by Bloomberg BNA, Lowe explained: “Appalled, we asked him to explain his comment. He doubled down, saying, ‘C’mon. You know what I’m saying. Did you Jew them down? You must have.’ ”

The Los Angeles-area Democrat invoked a term that is at once an example of casual anti-Semitism and reflective of ancient prejudices toward one ethnic group. Horton should have known better, having spent 20 years in public life, first as an Inglewood City Council member and later in the Assembly. Clearly, he doesn’t.

But it gets better:California tax official got $130,000 worth of office furniture,” the Bee reported last week:

Last fall, more than $118,000 of designer furniture rolled into to a new downtown Sacramento high-rise office suite for Jerome Horton.

Then the chairman of the tax-collecting Board of Equalization, Horton had moved operations a few months earlier from the ninth floor of U.S. Bank Tower to its 21st floor. The new space offers a stunning view of the Statehouse and grounds out his office window, 300 feet above Capitol Mall. Some board staff privately call the office “Jerome’s aquarium” for its conference room’s floor-to-ceiling glass walls embossed with the agency’s seal.

Horton’s new furniture, some of it stashed away unused in another building as of last week, reflected the office upgrade.

According to purchase records obtained by The Sacramento Bee, more than 150 items on one invoice from Sacramento-based Miles Treaster & Associates included 24 white-leather-and-walnut chairs ($1,172 each), a matching couch ($2,267) and 21 wall-mounted cabinets with frosted-glass doors and “grooved edge top-silver undertrim” ($11,248 total). A separate invoice listed, among other items, eight satin-finish metal coat racks for $88 each and one “Blomus Symbolo Umbrella Stand (Stainless Steel, 20” tall)” for $115.

With delivery and installation of $12,000, taxpayers spent slightly more than $130,000 to outfit Horton’s office.

Related: “SBOE Chair Jerome Horton (D) has reported $731,835 in donations by organizations at his request, with that money going mostly to or through nonprofit organizations tied to his wife, a Bloomberg BNA analysis found,” in a piece from December titled, “California Scheming? Funneled Donations Raise Ethics Queries.”

“And you’re working for no one but me,” as a wise Beatle once sang about his country’s tax collectors. That sounds like Horton’s motto as well.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Exclusive: These Expensive DOJ Offices, Rented With Your Money, Are EMPTY!, J. Christian Adams writes.

So how do we empty the rest of them?

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: ICE Director Admits ‘Sanctuary’ Policies Put Agents At Risk, But Refuses To Force Cities To Scrap Them.



There was a telling confrontation on Obama’s third day in office, when he visited the West Wing pressroom to say hi, then bristled when a Politico reporter asked why he had nominated a Raytheon lobbyist to a Pentagon job despite having recently banned lobbyists from top posts in his administration. “I can’t end up visiting with you guys and shaking hands if I’m going to get grilled every time I come down here,” Obama complained. When the reporter tried again, Obama told him to save his questions for a news conference. Politico’s headline: “Obama Flashes Irritation in the Press Room.” To the president, it was an example of no good deed going unpunished—not just that he was grilled when he was trying to be polite, but that he was grilled over an exception to his rule against hiring lobbyists instead of credited for the groundbreaking rule. To the reporters, it was an early example of Obama feeling entitled to avoid probing questions about matters of public importance. They wouldn’t see much more of him in the press room.

“The Selling of Obama — The inside story of how a great communicator lost the narrative,” Michael Grunwald, the Politico, today.


Still, the baseline hostility between campaign and press corps was dictated by the candidate himself, and from the start Trump, often through his alter ego Lewandowski, sought to dominate and demean us. And besides, it quickly became clear that the campaign didn’t need more conventional tools of media management, given that its messaging operation primarily consisted of Trump’s mouth—and he often said outrageous and provocative things that guaranteed negative coverage.

* * * * * * *

For all its brass, though, the New York tabloid environment is insular, small and transactional, with an established set of protocols and a relatively limited cast of characters. Trump has a great instinct for what will hit, and has always served as his own publicist, cultivating relationships with reporters who play ball, planting tips, navigating negative stories through sheer bombast, ditching anyone who causes too much trouble—often by feeding scoops to competitors at their own organizations.

But the national press is much, much bigger and much harder to control. And it probably doesn’t help that, at 69, Trump faces a press pack chock full of millennials he’s never dealt with before. Ali Vitali at NBC, Sopan Deb at CBS, Jeremy Diamond and Noah Gray at CNN, and Kevin Cirilli at Bloomberg are all around my age—a few years out of college. It makes for a volatile mix, and might help explain Trump’s zigzag path between flattering and threatening, avoiding and bulldozing reporters as he searched out the elusive route to controlling our message.

Which is why if there’s one consistent theme to what I’ve experienced covering Trump, it’s the unpredictability. The handshakes sometimes come after the hardest slaps, and the doghouse is a short elevator ride away from the penthouse.

“Inside Trump’s Press Pen — A reporter’s first campaign job blows up into the biggest story in America,” 26 year old Ben Schreckinger, in way too deep at the Politico and apparently forgetting Saul Alinsky’s Rule #5, Rule 12, and a few other Rules for Radicals as well.

(Classical reference in headline.)


THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Author: U.S. Official Who Issued Visas to 9/11 Hijackers Still Works for State Department.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Corruption, Incompetence Scandal at DOJ’s Ferguson Unit Widens.

CHRISTIAN ADAMS: DOJ Employees in Ferguson and Trayvon Unit Used Taxpayer Cash for Airfare, Dentist Visits, and Dinners at Emeril’s.

The country’s in the very best of hands, to coin an Insta-phrase.

OCCUPY LE CORBUSIER! “Will a silent majority rise against architecture’s elite?”, David Brussat asks at the American Conservative:

In most cities and towns, the way new buildings look is not influenced by public taste, which is generally traditional. Instead, it is the purview of municipal and institutional facilities committees, design-review panels, the developers who hire architects who cater to the tastes of officialdom, and the local circle of professionals, academics, and journalists who may be relied upon to cluck at any deviation from the elite fashion in the design of new buildings.

Maybe we should be glad that voters are not faced with yet another set of reasons to shout at each other, as building design stays absent from public debates. But it is far from clear that traditional architecture and urban design, if they became a political issue, would be as divisive as immigration, abortion, or gun control. In fact, such an agenda would likely prove appealing across ideological divides—so the first party to politicize architecture could steal a march on its rival.

Architecture is not intrinsically conservative or liberal, let alone Democratic or Republican. Yet a quiet consensus favors traditional styles in architecture. It seems an awful lot like a “silent majority.”

Except that, as Tom Wolfe noted in From Bauhaus to Our House 35 years ago, virtually all modern architecture flows from the early socialist worker housing concepts drawn up inside the Bauhaus, the pioneering modernist German design school, which lasted from 1919, when it was founded by Walter Gropius, until it was shuddered by the Nazis in 1933, when its last leader was Mies van der Rohe. As historian Jonathan Petropoulos wrote last year in his book Artists Under Hitler: Collaboration and Survival in Nazi Germany, both Mies and Gropius, dedicated avant-garde socialists in the 1920s, were much more willing to stay onboard with the National Socialist regime that succeeded the socialism of Weimar-era Germany than most-postwar historians were aware of. At least until 1937, when Hitler finally made hatred of modernism official Nazi policy via his very public attendance at the infamous Degenerate Art exhibition in Berlin that year.

Even as he was championing European modern architecture in America in the 1930s (in particular, introducing Mies’s work to the US), via his perch as the first director of architecture for the nascent Museum of Modern Art in New York, Philip Johnson (1906-2005) was an open admirer of the Nazis. Writing as a correspondent to Father Coughlin’s publication Social Justice*, Johnson accompanied one of the Nazis’ raids on Poland in the fall of 1939, after which, he chilling wrote in a letter to a friend, “The German green uniforms made the place look gay and happy. There were not many Jews to be seen. We saw Warsaw burn and Modlin being bombed. It was a stirring spectacle.”

Eventually, he too came to his senses and worked very hard to expunge this period of his past; it wasn’t until very late in his career, when first Spy magazine in 1988 and then in 1996, veteran architectural historian Franz Schulze began writing about Philip’s dark past as the Zelig of Liberal Fascism. In the 1920s, France’s Le Corbusier, the subject of the witty title of the above-linked article, began his hothouse career designing beautifully minimalist white stucco homes for wealthy patrons such as Villa Stein (built for the sister-in-law of Gertrude Stein), and coining the phrase the ur-1920s modern architectural aphorism that “the home is a machine for living in.” But in 1932 he entered into (and subsequently lost) a design competition to build Moscow’s Palace of the Soviets, before volunteering his services to the Nazi-puppet regime of Vichy France in 1940. As Henry Samuel of the London Telegraph wrote last year on a recent French biography of Corbusier titled, Le Corbusier, un fascisme francais, “In August 1940, the architect wrote to his mother that ‘money, Jews (partly responsible), Freemasonry, all will feel just law’. In October that year, he added: ‘Hitler can crown his life with a great work: the planned layout of Europe.’”

In America, because of the influence of Mies and Gropius as instructors to a whole new generation of architecture, as Tom Wolfe noted, virtually all pre-modernist architectural styles died in the public sphere and as a medium for large-scale corporate architecture. Long before today’s college campus began to live out the nightmare “thoughtcrime” and book-burning scenarios depicted in Orwell’s 1984 and Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, postwar modern architects were all too eager to self-lobotomize.

The best of the pre-war European architecture designed by Corbusier, Gropius and especially Mies was remarkable stuff, and postwar American modernism could produce, on occasion, handsome buildings such as Mies’ legendary Seagram building. And modernism is still inspiring to many today. But there’s no doubt, as Brussat writes, a vast swatch of the American public feels left out of the debate.

So Occupy Le Corbusier? It’s certainly an idea that the grandmasters of European modern architecture would all have endorsed during the radical early years of their careers.

* Gee, with a title like that, it’s as if Father Coughlin was a leftist himself. Who knew?!

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Former Tax Court Judge and Husband Indicted For Tax Evasion.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: CIA left explosive material on Virginia school bus after training exercise.


California’s in the very best of hands…

THE COUNTRY’S PLANET’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: That horrible feeling when you realize the entire Western world is being run by the mayor from ‘Jaws.’

REPORT: ILLINOIS HAD A BANNER YEAR FOR CORRUPTION IN 2015. “We are so lucky Barack Obama doesn’t know anything about Illinois corruption!”

The country’s in the very best of hands.™

CAPITAL MATTERS: “Detroit is a dramatic example, but every time you write a too-large check to a terrible utility monopoly, the same dynamic is at work. All those people standing in line at the DMV or seeing potentially productive days wasted because our airport authorities are so completely incompetent, all those millions of man-hours wasted during any given work week by the traffic in Houston or Los Angeles — every one of these represents a theft from the future. Every instance of overregulation and political favoritism that keeps capital in the hands of less-able users and away from its best use makes us all — all of us — poorer, even if it is in ways that are not always plainly visible to us. What’s the plan for Detroit? Politicians and their plans did this to Detroit — and they’ll do it to the rest of us, too, if we let them.”

Read the whole thing.


One producer at a cable news outlet said the process of covering Trump is like being held captive against your will.

“He’s absolutely exploited the media environment to his advantage,” the producer said. “He understands every single tendency that producers of this business have and he tailored his strategy to hold us hostage.”

The producer, like many media professionals interviewed for this article, spoke on condition of anonymity because the campaign still needs to be covered. But also because there’s evidence that speaking even remotely critically of Trump will incite the candidate and may spur him to retaliate by either blocking access to him or by publicly ridiculing the source of the criticism.

So in other words, Trump believes in arguing with his neighbors, getting in their faces, and punching back twice as hard when crossed. He doesn’t bring a knife to a gunfight. Which politician popularized those phrases? How is he covered by the media?

The northeast corridor DNC-MSM overculture has been a cesspool for decades — it’s not surprising that somebody finally figured out how to best them at their own game. (Of course, he could take the GOP with him if and when he implodes, but not all detonations can be controlled.)

Related: “Rubio Tangles with CNN’s Bash in CPAC Question and Answer Session over Media’s Trump Obsession:”

Before finally moving away from Trump (until she snuck in a question about Trump’s flip-flops on torture), Bash earmarked one more question for the state of rhetoric in the campaign:

BASH: Just to follow up, but the rhetoric has been, I mean, I understand you’re saying that you are trying to answer him in some of the things he has been saying, but you know, I can’t explain to my kid about the you’re talking about hands and things like that.

RUBIO: Well, look. I’ll be more than happy to answer another Trump question. I don’t — Donald Trump, he might have grown up the way he did with a lot of money, going to boarding schools. I can tell you this where I grew up, if someone keeps punching someone in the face, eventually someone has to stand up and punch them back.

If Bash wants to have a debate about the level of what’s appropriate rhetoric for cable news, it should be noted that she laughed back on New Years Eve in 2009 going into 2010 at co-host Kathy Griffin’s suggestion that then-Senator Scott Brown’s daughters were whores.

And the MSM wonders why Trump does so well in their environment.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE BEST OF HANDS: Hillary Clinton promises to ‘get to the bottom of UFO mystery’ if elected, and ‘maybe send a task force’ to alleged alien prison Area 51.

Oh, the nonstop howls of laughter the DNC-MSM would generate on the nightly news if the campaign manager of a Republican presidential candidate was a UFO conspiracist. Instead, silence regarding John Podesta’s UFO obsessions.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: The IRS Is Using A System That Was Hacked To Protect Victims Of A Hack—And It Was Just Hacked.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: ‘Trust Us With More Data,’ Say Government Agencies Hacked By A 16-Year-Old.


[In] his 2000 book, The America We Deserve Trump noted Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction and targeted Iraq strikes had little impact on their overall capabilities. The Donald said the best course might be against Iraq to “carry the mission to its conclusion.”

Wrote Trump:

Consider Iraq. After each pounding from U.S. warplanes, Iraq has dusted itself off and gone right back to work developing a nuclear arsenal. Six years of tough talk and U.S. fireworks in Baghdad have done little to slow Iraq’s crash program to become a nuclear power. They’ve got missiles capable of flying nine hundred kilometers—more than enough to reach Tel Aviv. They’ve got enriched uranium. All they need is the material for nuclear fission to complete the job, and, according to the Rumsfeld report, we don’t even know for sure if they’ve laid their hands on that yet. That’s what our last aerial assault on Iraq in 1999 was about. Saddam Hussein wouldn’t let UN weapons inspectors examine certain sites where that material might be stored. The result when our bombing was over? We still don’t know what Iraq is up to or whether it has the material to build nuclear weapons. I’m no warmonger. But the fact is, if we decide a strike against Iraq is necessary, it is madness not to carry the mission to its conclusion. When we don’t, we have the worst of all worlds: Iraq remains a threat, and now has more incentive than ever to attack us.

In August 2004 Trump turned loud and vocally against the war in an interview with Esquire, more than a year after it started and it was clear after the initial successes an insurgency was developing.

Huh — Trump’s for-gainst it pivot on Iraq from 2000 to 2004 is a 180° performed very much like those of many prominent Democrats during that period:

Or as Tennessee state Senator Frank Niceley tweets: “So, the question for Mr. Trump would be: was George Bush lying about WMD or following Trump’s advice?”

Not to mention Bill Clinton’s advice, Al Gore’s advice, Joe Biden’s advice, Hillary’s advice, Howard Dean’s advice, Madeleine Albright’s advice, etc.



Cam Newton may be the best player in football, but as a man he has a lot of learning to do. He needs to study the virtue called humility.

Newton is a braggart, a showboat and a clown. He says things like, “Hear me out. I’m just saying that so much of my talents have not been seen in one person.” (“Just”!) He does elaborate end-zone dances right in the faces of opposing players. (“If you don’t like it, keep me out of the end zone,” he later said.) Even getting a simple first down inspires him to strike a pose. He named his son “Chosen,” he says, because he didn’t want the kid to carry the awful burden of being known as Cam Newton Jr. Apparently those were the only two options. “Saint” was already taken.

After Sunday’s game, win or lose, a remarkable event will occur in the vicinity of Peyton Manning: Opposing players will line up to shake hands with him. That’s the respect that comes with not only being a legendary player but a good man. Manning never humiliated his opponents, never trash-talked them, never forgot the value of sportsmanship. He is the only player ever to win five MVP awards and the only one to beat Tom Brady three times in the postseason. Yet he never acts like he is The Man because he never forgets that he is a man. No one calls him arrogant.

Manning knows the importance of humility.

Humility is good sportsmanship. It increases your value as a celebrity endorser, and it is simply a smart move in the rough-justice subculture of the NFL, in which a respected player simply gets pushed out of bounds but one who has angered the other team can find his knees being taken out instead. Ex-Chicago Bears defensive end Richard Dent, a Hall of Famer and MVP of Super Bowl XX, said if he was playing against Newton today, “I’m going to knock your ass out of the game. That would’ve been my approach.”

—“Cam Newton, Donald Trump and the lost virtue of humility,” Kyle Smith, the New York Post, Saturday, February 6th.



[On losing the Super Bowl]: They just played better than us. I don’t know what you want me to say. They made more plays than us, and that’s what it came down to. We had our opportunities.

There wasn’t nothing special that they did. We dropped balls. We turned the ball over, gave up sacks, threw errant passes. That’s it. They scored more points than we did.

[His message to fans]: We’ll be back.

[On the difference in Panther’s playing style]: They outplayed us.

[On the halftime talk from Coach Rivera]: He told us a lot of things.

[Asked if Denver did anything different defensively]: Nothing different.

[Asked if he can put his disappointment into words]: We lost.

[Asked if the Panthers did anything different to stop Denver running the ball]: No.

—“‘Sore loser’ Cam Newton comes under fire for STORMING OUT of press conference after losing the Super Bowl and throwing on-field tantrums once he realized he would lose,”  the London Daily Mail, today.

Related: “An MVP coaching performance: Wade Phillips finally kicks down that door.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: VA reverses demotion of second disgraced official.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Hmmm: Kerry sent Hillary classified e-mail over his private account.

OUR COUNTRY IS IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: HHS didn’t check homes before giving migrant kids to traffickers.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Hundreds of DHS badges, guns, cell phones lost or stolen since 2012. “The missing badges and guns suggest a shocking lack of security from federal law enforcement officers and represent a significant security risk, experts say.” Ya think?

IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Hundreds of DHS badges, guns, cell phones lost or stolen since 2012.

THE COUNTRY IS IN THE BEST OF HANDS: Clinton Chief Of Staff Lost Her Personal Blackberry, Which Contained Classified Emails.

A LEFTY’S ANALYSIS: The Trouble With Bernie: A Moralizing Scold, But For The Left. Well, that’s where one finds moralizing scolds these days. Still:

Here’s my problem with Bernie Sanders. With few exceptions, I agree with his positions on issues. But I don’t like him or his political temperament. He’d be an awful president.

I followed him carefully when I was editor of the Burlington Free Press in Vermont. Sanders was the state’s sole congressman, lived in Burlington, and would periodically visit with the newspaper’s editors and publisher.

Considering that the Free Press’ editorial positions were very liberal, reflecting the nature of a very liberal Vermont community, one might think that meetings with Sanders were cordial, even celebratory.

They weren’t. Sanders was always full of himself: pious, self-righteous and utterly humorless. . . .

After discussing his favorite issues — corporations, government reform, health care and the like, I asked about his unwillingness to endorse his fellow progressives. He said it wasn’t his role. I suggested voters might expect him to weigh in. He disagreed, clearly annoyed at the persistent questioning. Finally I suggested that he had a larger moral responsibility to the progressive movement.

At which point he jumped out of his seat, told me to go f*** myself and stormed out of the edit board meeting. OK, maybe my persistence bordered on hectoring. But I felt he ought to provide an honest answer. My suspicion was that he resented others for assuming his mantle of progressive leadership and wouldn’t acknowledge them.

He returned to the meeting about five minutes after the outburst and we continued to discuss issues of the day.

The candidate you see on television working crowds, shaking hands and even smiling has undergone a presidential campaign conversion. And there is no doubt that Sanders is a smart, deft politician riding a popular, populist wave. But what is real?

I’m not alone in my opinions about Sanders. Chris Graf, long-time Associated Press bureau chief in Vermont, in an article published Sept. 30 in, had this to say about the senator.

“Bernie has no social skills, no sense of humor, and he’s quick to boil over. He’s the most unpolitical person in politics I’ve ever come across,” Graf said. Others who have covered Sanders agree.

Seven Days, the lively alternative weekly in Burlington, is offering extensive coverage of the Sanders campaign, reporting framed by decades of coverage. A recent article by Paul Heintz titled “Anger Management” featured current and former staff who have experienced the dark side of Sanders.

“They characterize the senator as rude, short-tempered and, occasionally, downright hostile. Though Sanders has spent much of his life fighting for working Vermonters, they say he mistreats the people working for him,” Heintz wrote. Among those he cited was Steve Rosenfeld, Sanders’ press secretary during his 1990 House campaign, and author of “In Making History in Vermont.”

“At his best, Sanders is a skilled reader and manipulator of people and events,” Rosenfeld wrote in his account of the campaign. “At his worst, he falls prey to his own emotions, is unable to practice what he preaches (though he would believe otherwise) and exudes a contempt for those he derides, including his staff.”

Well, that certainly fits the type.

FEDS SPEND $75 MILLION DESIGNING AND CONSTRUCTING SPACIOUS NEW BUILDING … FOR THE WRONG AGENCY! What is about the General Services Administration that attracts such corruption, incompetence and idiocy? Whatever it is – GSA is Uncle Sugar’s housekeeping agency – nobody there consulted with the Federal Protective Service about what it needed in the new building. When the building was completed, FPS looked it over and refused to take it.

Why? Because, it turns out, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group’s Katie Watson, GSA didn’t talk to FPS because GSA thought it was building the facility for the Army Corps of Engineers! Trust me, Watson isn’t making this up, her report is based on a Government Accounting Office analysis. GSA oversees more than 5,900 federal facilities. Your government is in the best of hands.

SPIN MAGAZINE: Live Aid: The Terrible Truth — On the 30th anniversary of Live Aid, we’re republishing SPIN’s 1986 exposé on the so-called “global jukebox:”

The assignment was simple — all this money had been raised, where was it going, was it actually doing good?

He discovered it was not doing good, but, horrifically, unimaginably, the exact opposite. The Ethiopian dictator, Mengistu, until then deadlocked in the war, was using the money the west gave him to buy sophisticated weapons from the Russians, and was now able to efficiently and viciously crush the opposition. Ethiopia, then the third poorest country in the world, suddenly had the largest, best equipped army on the African continent.

By this time we had all seen the pictures and TV footage of Bob Geldof, the figurehead of Live Aid, bear hugging and playfully punching Mengistu in the arm as he literally handed over the funding for this slaughter. It was on TV now alright, but as an endless, relentless reel of heroic Bob Geldof highlights. He drenched himself in the adulation and no one begrudged him it, until our investigation exposed the holocaust that Live Aid’s collected donations had help perpetrate on the Eritrean independence fighters.

Most damningly, Keating reported that Geldof was warned, repeatedly, from the outset by several relief agencies in the field about Mengistu, who was dismantling tribes, mercilessly conducting resettlement marches on which 100,000 people died, and butchering helpless people. According to Medicins Sans Frontiers, who begged Geldof to not release the money until there was a reliable infrastructure to get it to victims, he simply ignored them, instead famously saying: “I’ll shake hands with the Devil on my left and on my right to get to the people we are meant to help.”

And that’s pretty much what happened. Back in 2004, I did a piece for the Weekly Standard that came to the same conclusion, in response to the release of the original concert footage on DVD. (Sans Led Zeppelin’s stillborn reunion gig; the band’s lawyers refused to release the footage, though it’s now readily available on YouTube.) The concert itself was a spectacular event; the climactic moment for both the musical generation that began with the Beatles and the original, watchable iteration of MTV. But just as Altamont killed off the hippie ethos 15 years prior, the brand of rock music that many of us grew up with similarly began to tumble rapidly downhill after Live Aid, unfortunately.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: IRS Employee Whose Job Was Assisting Victims Of Identity Theft Charged In $1 Million Identity Theft Tax Fraud.


Then there’s John Lewis, a legitimate civil rights hero who allowed politics to get the best of him when he stood by Andre Carson, a colleague who falsely told the press that tea party activists had repeatedly shouted racial epithets at him on Capitol Hill. The problem was that no such incident appeared on video footage. When challenged, Lewis clammed up but never apologized. Perhaps he thought that tainting political opponents with the racism label would avoid the need to argue the question of government overreach on its merits, but all Lewis did by clinging to an easily disprovable racism charge was to soil his own reputation.

Protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, after the August 9, 2014, police shooting of teenager Michael Brown, who had just robbed a convenience store. Civil rights activists claimed that police executed Brown after he had put his hands up and asked them not to shoot. Against the backdrop of such outrage, protests spread, millions of dollars in property damage occurred, and several police officers lost their lives in revenge killings in the anti-police fervor that followed Ferguson and other similar incidents. The problem was that the whole “hands up, don’t shoot” line was a myth, unsupported by eyewitnesses or forensic data.

Or to put it another way:



THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: In Latest Mishap, Secret Service Agent Is Robbed of Badge and Gun. “A Secret Service agent was robbed of his gun, badge, radio and handcuffs near the agency’s headquarters, according to a police report, the latest in a string of embarrassments for a law enforcement agency charged with protecting the president. The report also lists a flash drive among the items stolen from the agent’s car.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: U.S. lets in four times as many suspected terrorists as it keeps out. “An examination of State Department records by American Enterprise Institute researcher Justin Lang found that since 2001, the State Department had denied visas to just 2,231 individuals because the applicant was suspected of terrorist ties or activity. Yet during that same period, the State Department granted U.S. visas to 9,500 people who it later figured out posed a terrorist threat — and had to go back and retroactively revoke those individuals’ visas.”

THE FORCE AWAKENS: Saw the new Star Wars movie yesterday afternoon in San Jose; the theater was virtually packed; standing a few people behind us in line was a paunchy fellow in Han Solo’s red-striped pants and collarless pullover from the Empire Strikes Back; another gentleman wore a “HAN SHOT FIRST!” T-shirt. A woman in a wheelchair was sporting Princess Leia bun-shaped earmuffs. As in 1999, everyone cheered when the Star Wars logo appeared and John Williams’ triumphant score roared back to life. Unlike 1999’s The Phantom Menace and the rest of the prequels, the crowd applauded at key moments throughout the movie: the surprise first appearance of the Millennium Falcon; the first appearance of its best-known pilot and navigator; the first appearance of everyone’s favorite pair of robotic comedic relief, and the first appearance of Princess, err, General Leia.

Beyond that, no spoilers; I’m pretty sure everything I just mentioned can be seen in the film’s trailers. As someone tweeted on Friday, “This No-Star-Wars-Spoilers thing is the closest I’ve seen Americans work together since 9/11.” I’m not sure when the expiration date expires for that consensus, but for now, if you’d like more detailed — and equally spoiler-free reviews, check out Kyle Smith in the New York Post, John Nolte at Big Hollywood, C.T. Rex at Hot Air, and “Yid With Lid’s” Jeff Dunetz.

If there’s a consensus they share, it’s this, as Nolte wrote:

In ways big and small, TFA’s main story is shockingly similar to “A New Hope,” which is actually a distraction as you compare the two.

Overall, I walked away with the sense that Abrams is using TFA to cleanse the franchise’s palate. Disney wants to pop one of these out every year until the end of time, and TFA feels like an apology, a repentance for the sins of creator George Lucas. Abrams and Disney are saying, “We hear you. We’ve fixed it. Let’s kiss and make up so we can hold hands and walk off into a marvelous future together.”

Which makes the achievement of 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back all the more rarefied — the only Star Wars sequel that both unabashedly worked and didn’t crib major plot elements and story beats from the original 1977 movie.

But unlike the clunky, cringe-inducing (“Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo!”) prequels, The Force Awakens is a fun, enjoyable ride, and a seamless merging of physical sets and atmospheric special effects. And atmosphere seems to be the right word — unlike the other movies, several of the major spacecraft battles were fought in planetary atmospheres, adding, particularly in the climactic shootout, the weather enveloping the ships. It was as they were returning to the original source material for the Death Star trench scenes, WWII aerial dog-fighting movies such as 633 Squadron and The Dam Busters.

There is one thing that’s troubling me, one of those once you see it, you can’t unsee it things. Lucas has said that buried deep within the subtext of the original Star Wars was a parable about the Vietnam War, with Palpatine as Nixon and eventually, the Ewoks as the Vietcong. (No, really.) Lucas would later claim that Revenge of the Sith was had overtones concerning the War On Terror. And as numerous bloggers wrote, J.J. Abrams’ second Star Trek movie, Star Trek into Darkness was an exercise in 9/11 trutherism and Michael Moore-style conspiracy theories. So am I seeing things with 500 stormtroopers tromping around The Force Awakens with black Ws – Dubyas, get it? get it? – cut into the mouthpieces of their newly revised headgear?

It’s just a weird coincidence…right?


BASICALLY, IT’S A JAYVEE ADMINISTRATION: Defense Secretary Ash Carter Used Personal Email for Work.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter occasionally used his personal email for work-related matters, the Pentagon acknowledged late Wednesday.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said Carter believed it “was a mistake,” adding in a statement that the defense secretary had stopped such use of his personal email.

The statement from Cook follows a report in the New York Times which said Carter used personal email to conduct some work matters during his first months at the Pentagon — a violation of Defense Department rules — and even after Hillary Clinton came under fire for doing the same while secretary of state.

There was no comment from Carter himself, who on Thursday arrived in Erbil, Iraq, for meetings with U.S. commanders and personnel there.

The country’s in the very best of hands.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS. DHS Official Struggles To Answer Basic Security Questions:


VETTED: U.S. Visa Process Missed San Bernardino Wife’s Zealotry on Social Media. “Tashfeen Malik, who with her husband carried out the massacre in San Bernardino, Calif., passed three background checks by American immigration officials as she moved to the United States from Pakistan. None uncovered what Ms. Malik had made little effort to hide — that she talked openly on social media about her views on violent jihad. She said she supported it. And she said she wanted to be a part of it. . . . Had the authorities found the posts years ago, they might have kept her out of the country. But immigration officials do not routinely review social media as part of their background checks, and there is a debate inside the Department of Homeland Security over whether it is even appropriate to do so. . . . In an era when technology has given intelligence agencies seemingly limitless ability to collect information on people, it may seem surprising that a Facebook or Twitter post could go unnoticed in a background screening.”

The country’s in the very best of hands, and even the New York Times is noticing the fail.

The accompanying photo is likely to appear in some political ads.

IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS:DHS Official Unable to Give  Number of Syrians in U.S. or Number of Expired Visas.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Former U.S. State Department Employee Pleads Guilty to Extensive Computer Hacking, Cyberstalking and “Sextortion” Scheme.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Pentagon chief Ashton Carter just fired his top military aide over ‘misconduct.’

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Secret Service Agent Charged With Sexting 14-Year-Old From White House.


“Photojournalism Student Tim Tai Wins 2 Awards in National Hearst Championship.”

—Headline, University of Missouri School of Journalism Website, June 24, 2015. As the Website notes, Tai received a $1,500 scholarship for placement as one of the six finalists, and additional $1, 000 for “Best Single Photograph” in the competition, with a photo the site captioned, “Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, sheds a tear during a vigil for her son on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri. The vigil later turned into a march protesting Brown’s death. Photo: Timothy Tai.”

Flash-forward to yesterday:

“Hey, who wants to help me get this reporter out of here,” the media professor then hysterically exclaimed to the assembled mob. “I need some muscle over here!”

* * * * * * *

“You need to back up if you’re with the media!” a voice in the background yelled to the journalists trying to document the protest. “You need to respect the students! Back up!”

“I am a student,” Tim Tai, a student photographer trying to cover the protest, responded.

After Tai protested that the crowd was trying to push him, several people in the crowd laughed, tried to cover the camera with their hands, and responded, “Okay, then we’ll just block you.”

“You don’t have a right to take our photos,” one of the protesters asserted, apparently unaware that he was on taxpayer-funded public property that is by law open to the press.

Later in the video, the crowd aggressively started pushing the reporter around in an attempt to get him to stop covering their behavior.

—“Meet The Mizzou Media Professor Who’s Trying To Ban Media Coverage,” Sean Davis, the Federalist, yesterday.

And speaking of Ferguson:


THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Hackers breach FBI-run site, email account of top bureau official. “The hackers, who call themselves Crackas With Attitude, on Friday posted personal data of law enforcement officials that appears to have been stolen from the Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal. The site connects local and federal law enforcement officials and allows local, state and federal agencies to share information, including of ongoing investigations. Three U.S. law enforcement officials confirmed the site, also known as, was breached and user personal data was stolen.”

THE COUNTRY IS IN THE BEST OF HANDS: Commerce Department digs deep into Census Bureau.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: NASA Supervisors Charged in Chinese Spy Case. Plus, a connection to Hillary’s email problems. And note that Hillary’s casual attitude toward security looks a lot like Administration policy:

A knowledgeable NASA official who requested anonymity said “the whole Bo Jiang incident was brought to management’s attention. They ignored it. They asked us to ignore it.”

The official said foreigners have more, not less, access to NASA operations at present.

Before the Bo Jiang case all foreign nationals, including green card holders, could be monitored and restricted. But now green card holders are treated like U.S. citizens with unrestricted access to all parts of the space research facility.

“If you have a green card, your allegiance may still be to China, but the green card gets you legal authority to work in the United States,” he said. “Therefore we don’t track them. They don’t have restrictions to transfer technology control plans. They’re given access the same exact way as a U.S. citizen because they have a green card.”

Well, that’s just great. But don’t worry, it’s not as if there are no consequences at all here: “Whistleblowers who went out on a limb to disclose the Bo Jiang case continue to face difficulties.”

AUSTRALIAN JOURNALIST VISITS EXOTIC FOREIGN COUNTRY, REPORTS BACK ON STRANGE COMINGS AND GOINGS TO HIS ASTONISHED READERS. “Texas is like Australia with the handbrake off,” Tim Blair writes in the UK Spectator. Needless to say, read the whole thing; this is just a tasty sample:

There is no individual income tax and no corporate income tax, which explains the state’s rapid economic and population growth. A recent downturn has sparked some concern, however. Apparently Texas will only create another 150,000 jobs during 2015 – about the same number as Australia, from a population only a few million larger. In a good year, that number of jobs is easily generated by a single Texan city.

* * * * * * * * *

Well, here’s one reason to head for Austin. I’m staying at the sprawling compound of mysterious internet identity David Burge, among America’s most perceptive and hilarious online commentators. A routine is quickly established. By night, the Burges take me around Austin’s finest and lowest establishments (often they’re the same). By day Dave runs whatever business he’s involved in – stolen human organs, for all I know – while Mrs Burge and I check out the sights. I buy a pair of shoes at a store that also sells pistols, rifles and semi-autos, drop by Torchy’s for a Trailer Park Taco (experienced hands know to order them ‘extra trashy’) and then we wheel the Burge family’s train-sized Ford F150 through a car wash. Remarkably, the car wash is beneath a scale replica of the University of Texas tower – a structure notorious for gunman Charles Whitman’s 1966 killing spree, which reduced the university’s need for graduation diplomas by 14.

* * * * * * * * *

As a general rule, the shabbier a barbeque joint, the more delicious will be its various briskets, ribs and sausages. Texas isn’t big on regulation, but many of its best barbeque sites must be in breach of a building law or two. Some seem so aged and fragile that they’re defying the law of gravity.

Analysis: mostly true.


SURE GLAD WE WON: Remember during the Clinton administration, the big battle to prevent the census bureau from just “extrapolating” (aka making stuff up) instead of counting?  Yeah.  That sure worked.  See this: Department of Labor needs to own up to fake unemployment numbers.  And this: Sex, lies and threats at the Census Bureau.  … the country is in the very best of hands.

THE ISIS INTEL THAT WAS CHANGED FOR POLITICAL REASONS: The intelligence pros said killing certain ISIS leaders might not diminish the group and that airstrikes might not be working. The bosses didn’t like those answers—not at all.

Senior intelligence officials at the U.S. military’s Central Command demanded significant alterations to analysts’ reports that questioned whether airstrikes against the so-called Islamic State widely known as ISIS were damaging the group’s finances and its ability to launch attacks. But reports that showed the group being weakened by the U.S.-led air campaign received comparatively little scrutiny, The Daily Beast has learned.

Senior CENTCOM intelligence officials who reviewed the critical reports sent them back to the analysts and ordered them to write new versions that included more footnotes and details to support their assessments, according to two officials familiar with a complaint levied by more than 50 analysts about intelligence manipulation by CENTCOM higher-ups.

In some cases, analysts were also urged to state that killing particular ISIS leaders and key officials would diminish the group and lead to its collapse. Many analysts, however, didn’t believe that simply taking out top ISIS leaders would have an enduring effect on overall operations.

“There was the reality on the ground but it was not as rosy as [the leadership] wanted it to be,” a defense official familiar with the complaint told The Daily Beast. “The challenge was assessing whether the glass was half empty, not half full.”

Some analysts have also complained that they felt “bullied” into reaching conclusions favored by their bosses, two separate sources familiar with analysts’ complaints said. The written and verbal pressure created a climate at CENTCOM in which analysts felt they had to self-censor some of their reports.

Some of the analysts have also accused their bosses of changing the reports in order to appeal to what they perceived as the Obama administration’s official line that the anti-ISIS campaign was making progress and would eventually end with the group’s destruction.

The country’s in the very best of hands. At least if by “best” you mean, politicized and not particularly concerned about what’s going on in the world so long as they enhance their position here.

OBAMA THROWS HILLARY UNDER THE BUS: “The central mission of Barack Obama’s White House in the waning days of his administration is to communicate to the public that none of this is his fault,” Noah Rothman writes at Commentary:

The aim was to identify reasonably secular moderate fighters in Syria, transfer them to third-party countries in the region, train them, equip them, and reintroduce them into the theater of operations. By August of this year and $500 million later, the Pentagon acknowledged that only 54 Syrian rebels had been prepared for combat. Less than a month later, almost all of them had been killed or captured. General Lloyd Austin told Congress this week that only “four or five” are continuing the fight against ISIS in Syria.

This self-evidently failed half-measure is a substantial embarrassment for this White House, and the administration’s insular and paranoid handlers cannot allow that. As is the wont of this pathologically defensive administration, they have gone about looking for blame-worthy figures outside the ever-shrinking circle of Obama loyalists. “The finger, it says, should be pointed not at Mr. Obama but at those who pressed him to attempt training Syrian rebels in the first place,” New York Times reporter Peter Baker revealed, “a group that, in addition to congressional Republicans, happened to include former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

The White House all but washed its hands of the training program after General Austin’s testimony.

“It is true that we have found this to be a difficult challenge,”[White House Press Secretary Josh] Earnest said. “But it is also true that many of our critics had proposed this specific option as essentially the cure-all for all of the policy challenges that we’re facing in Syria right now. That is not something that this administration ever believed, but it is something that our critics will have to answer for.”

Forget for the moment a craven and humiliating self-defense that rests on the notion that the president was led by the nose into executing this flawed strategy, and the inescapable conclusion inexplicably promoted by this White House that the commander-in-chief is simply too pliant and irresolute. The desperation of blaming not merely Republicans but the Democrats’ best hope for retaining the presidency and preserving Obama’s achievements in office, Hillary Clinton, is pusillanimous in the extreme.

Read the whole thing. And get ready for the most surreal final year of a president ever. Pass the popcorn — and at the rate Obama is going, perhaps the anti-radiation pills as well.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Watchdog finds widespread fraud at U.S. Census Bureau.

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Obama’s Messy Iraq Intelligence Scandal: We’ve heard tales of ‘cherry-picked intelligence’ before—it hasn’t ended well.