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OBAMA’S LEGACY: Richmond Trooper Killed by Gunfire, Cop-Killer in Custody After Overnight Manhunt.

IT’S NOT THAT I DISAGREE WITH THIS NECESSARILY, it’s just that the “it’s compassionate to provide less care” thing sure seemed to pick up as soon as ObamaCare passed. Can Comfort Care At The ER Help Older People Live Longer And Suffer Less? “Ouchi had pursued emergency medicine to rescue victims of gunshot wounds and car crashes. He was unprepared, he says, for what he encountered: a stream of older patients with serious illnesses like dementia, cancer and heart disease — patients for whom the life-saving techniques he was trained to perform often only prolonged the suffering.”

JUDICIAL WATCH: Hundreds Vote Illegally in North Carolina after Court Bans Election Integrity Law. “Less than a year after a federal appellate court sided with the Obama administration to strike down North Carolina’s election integrity reforms, a state audit reveals that hundreds of votes were illegally cast by felons and non-citizens in just one election. Voter impersonation, double voting and irregularities in absentee ballots sent via mail also tainted the election, according to the investigation conducted by the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE). The probe analyzed records from the 2016 general election.”

The reputation of the judiciary is already sinking. If voters believe that it’s allowing voter fraud, it will sink much further.

UPDATE: Related: Paul Mirengoff: Trump resisters in robes: the Fourth Circuit’s travel ban decision.

ILLEGAL DOMESTIC SURVEILLANCE: How Team Obama tried to hack the election.

New revelations have surfaced that the Obama administration abused intelligence during the election by launching a massive domestic-spy campaign that included snooping on Trump officials.

The irony is mind-boggling: Targeting political opposition is long a technique of police states like Russia, which Team Obama has loudly condemned for allegedly using its own intelligence agencies to hack into our election.

The revelations, as well as testimony this week from former Obama intel officials, show the extent to which the Obama administration politicized and weaponized intelligence against Americans.

President Trump needs to launch a major investigation, and fire a lot of people. And maybe prosecute some folks from the Obama Administration. This is much worse than Watergate, which only involved bugging a single office. Obama basically bugged America.

TO BE FAIR, A LOT OF PEOPLE CONSIDER THE SURGE IN POLITICALLY-MOTIVATED LEAKS FROM THE CIA TO BE SEDITION: Ex-(Acting) CIA Director: CIA would consider Kushner actions ‘espionage.’

UPDATE: From the comments: “Seems to me that if anyone is doing Russia’s bidding, it’s jackasses like this guy and Brennan and Comey and the Democrat Party.” Well, if you assume the Russians’ goal is to divide and weaken the United States, whose actions since the election have contributed more to that?

FOR STRCITLY PEACEFUL PURPOSES: Iran says it has built third underground ballistic missile factory.

Or maybe this one should have been filed under “Thanks, Obama.”

JUST THINK OF THEM AS DEMOCRAT OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES, AND IT ALL MAKES SENSE: Dylan Byers admits on CNN that reporters tell a progressive story defined by Obama and Hillary.

Earlier: “Why would you trust a campaign?”

TO DO THAT, DON’T YOU HAVE TO GO AWAY FIRST? Obama Attempts Government In Exile.

The unprecedented extent to which the Democrats have tried to delegitimize Trump’s presidency, starting the day after the election, has done tremendous damage. But most of the tongue-clucking from pundits is aimed at Trump, for some reason.

WHY TRUMP GOT ELECTED, PART 1,322,217. “‘Far Cry 5’ Is About Living Under Fear in America. The game will put the player up against a Montana based cult and militia that has plenty of real world analogues:”

Dan Hay, creative director and executive producer of Far Cry 5, is standing in front of a TV displaying the word pressure, written out in all caps. PRESSURE. He’s telling a room of games journalists about the game he’s wanted to make since the 2008 recession, one that engaged with the rise of rural, American militias during Obama’s presidency. What if, Hay said, one of these groups so dedicated to preparing for the end days of America decided to actively push for it, instead.

But he couldn’t find enough support for the game: the core premise seemed “unrealistic.” After all, the world—the western world, it is implied—was “a global village.”

* * * * * * * *

Though the game’s “key art” and first teaser trailer focus only on the cult, Hay’s presentation (and many of the assets that Ubisoft sent to the games press for today’s embargo lift) additionally evoke a more mundane, almost idyllic Hope County: Bait shops. Main street bars. Little league fields. Two bedroom homes with flags out front. Taken alone, these parts of the FC5 press blast read like a love letter to the “fly over states” like Montana.

Responses to that key art over the past few days has been mixed, including arguments that FC5 will simply be about killing stereotypical, white “rednecks.” This response (and Far Cry’s own history) shows why this focus on “everyday” Montana is necessary. Far Cry as a series has always labored over transforming beautiful, distant places into chaotic playgrounds—these are even the words Hay uses to describe the series, “beauty and chaos”—and it has often done so with limited or mishandled interest in the inhabitants of these places.

Hat tip, Kathy Shaidle, who adds, “No word on when the same company will be doing a video game about Muslim terrorists.”

That’s different because shut up and maybe they’ll all go away.

Related: 7 Virtue-Signaling Celebrities Silent on Massacre of Coptic Christians.

ROGER SIMON: Leakers and Journalists Are Destroying Our Republic.

Like former President Obama and his colleagues, I doubt many of either group are losing much sleep over that.

THAT WOULD MEAN DEPARTING FROM THE NARRATIVE:

It would be wise for the nation’s objective and center-left media outlets to join the right in dedicating some attention to a bombshell scoop alleging the systemic violation of American civil rights in the Obama years.

According to an unsealed document obtained by Circa’s reporters, an opinion authored by a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court disclosed that about 5 percent—or one out of every 20—intercepts of foreign communications by the National Security Agency swept up data on American citizens. Intercepts increased by three-fold following the Obama administration’s loosening of U.S. privacy rules in 2011. Those intercepts were self-reported by the Obama administration in late 2016, but the court issued an uncommon rebuke of the administration for failing to make those disclosures sooner. That “institutional lack of candor” concealed a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” the court document read.

This is no small matter. In January, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Attorney General Loretta Lynch approved of new rules for the NSA that would further loosen standards regarding what raw intelligence data it was allowed to share with the rest of the intelligence and law-enforcement community. At the time, privacy advocates demanded the administration rein in the powers of the presidency if only to box in Trump. Not only did the Obama administration do precisely the opposite, “former Obama administration officials” bragged to reporters about the obvious trail of intelligence gleaned from foreign intercepts they left behind for anyone interested in investigating the Trump campaign’s links to Russia.

Our “intelligence community” is looking more and more like a political machine.

EXCLUSIVE: Erdogan thug is Democrat donor.

A significant portion of the political left has a penchant for violence these days. From May Day protestors in Portland, Oregon, to Antifa rioters and arsonists at UC Berkeley, to melee-creating students at Middlebury College, for too many fists and Molotov cocktails are an appropriate response to opinions they don’t like.

Add to that list Eyup Yildirim, identified by beating victim Lucy Usoyan as one of the thugs who beat her up while she was protesting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last Tuesday (May 16) outside the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C. At least 11 of the protesters were reportedly injured.

A check of Federal Election Commission records shows that Eyup Yildirim of Manchester, New Jersey, has donated to several Democratic Party candidates.

The FEC’s online database shows the following contributions in his name: $1,000 to Hillary Clinton for President; $1,000 to Rush Holt for Congress (Holt was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey’s 12th district from 1999 to 2015); $5,000 to the Obama Victory Fund; $2,300 to Obama for America; and $2,700 to the Democratic National Committee.

Read the whole thing. Yildirim seems like an excellent prospect for swamp-draining.

IT’S TRUE. HE LACKED COURAGE AND INTELLECT. Obama whines he just didn’t ‘have the tools’ to act on Syria.

Related: Obama seems eager to massage his legacy as it’s being written. We, therefore, are obliged to get the record right.

Well, here’s some history for you:

Rachel Maddow Tries to Rewrite History of Obama ‘Ending the War’ in Iraq.

Flashback: No Doubt About It — We’re Back in a Ground War in Iraq.

Without much fanfare, Obama has dramatically reversed his Iraq policy — sending thousands of troops back in the country after he declared the war over, engaging in ground combat despite initially promising that his strategy “will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.” Well, they’re on foreign soil, and they’re fighting.

It would have been easier — and would have cost far fewer lives — if we had just stayed. But Obama had to have a campaign issue.

And I suppose I should repeat my Iraq War history lesson: Things were going so well as late as 2010 that the Obama Administration was bragging about Iraq as one of its big foreign policy successes.

In the interest of historical accuracy, I think I’ll repeat this post again:

BOB WOODWARD: Bush Didn’t Lie About WMD, And Obama Sure Screwed Up Iraq In 2011.

[Y]ou certainly can make a persuasive argument it was a mistake. But there is a time that line going along that Bush and the other people lied about this. I spent 18 months looking at how Bush decided to invade Iraq. And lots of mistakes, but it was Bush telling George Tenet, the CIA director, don’t let anyone stretch the case on WMD. And he was the one who was skeptical. And if you try to summarize why we went into Iraq, it was momentum. The war plan kept getting better and easier, and finally at the end, people were saying, hey, look, it will only take a week or two. And early on it looked like it was going to take a year or 18 months. And so Bush pulled the trigger. A mistake certainly can be argued, and there is an abundance of evidence. But there was no lying in this that I could find.

Plus:

Woodward was also asked if it was a mistake to withdraw in 2011. Wallace points out that Obama has said that he tried to negotiate a status of forces agreement but did not succeed, but “A lot of people think he really didn’t want to keep any troops there.” Woodward agrees that Obama didn’t want to keep troops there and elaborates:

Look, Obama does not like war. But as you look back on this, the argument from the military was, let’s keep 10,000, 15,000 troops there as an insurance policy. And we all know insurance policies make sense. We have 30,000 troops or more in South Korea still 65 years or so after the war. When you are a superpower, you have to buy these insurance policies. And he didn’t in this case. I don’t think you can say everything is because of that decision, but clearly a factor.

We had some woeful laughs about the insurance policies metaphor. Everyone knows they make sense, but it’s still hard to get people to buy them. They want to think things might just work out, so why pay for the insurance? It’s the old “young invincibles” problem that underlies Obamcare.

Obama blew it in Iraq, which is in chaos, and in Syria, which is in chaos, and in Libya, which is in chaos. A little history:


As late as 2010, things were going so well in Iraq that Obama and Biden were bragging. Now, after Obama’s politically-motivated pullout and disengagement, the whole thing’s fallen apart. This is near-criminal neglect and incompetence, and an awful lot of people will pay a steep price for the Obama Administration’s fecklessness.

Related: National Journal: The World Will Blame Obama If Iraq Falls.

Related: What Kind Of Iraq Did Obama Inherit?

Plus, I’m just going to keep running this video of what the Democrats, including Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton, were saying on Iraq before the invasion:

Because I expect a lot of revisionist history over the next few months.

Plus: 2008 Flashback: Obama Says Preventing Genocide Not A Reason To Stay In Iraq. He was warned. He didn’t care.

And who can forget this?

Yes, I keep repeating this stuff. Because it bears repeating. In Iraq, Obama took a war that we had won at a considerable expense in lives and treasure, and threw it away for the callowest of political reasons. In Syria and Libya, he involved us in wars of choice without Congressional authorization, and proceeded to hand victories to the Islamists. Obama’s policy here has been a debacle of the first order, and the press wants to talk about Bush as a way of protecting him. Whenever you see anyone in the media bringing up 2003, you will know that they are serving as palace guard, not as press.

Related: Obama’s Betrayal Of The Iraqis.

Plus: Maybe that Iraq withdrawal was a bad thing in hindsight. Obama’s actions, if not his words, suggest that even he may think so.

EIGHT YEARS OF DIPLOMATIC FAILURE: YIKES: News out of Iran provides ANOTHER reason to say ‘thanks Obama!’

CHARLIE MARTIN: Stop the Leaking! Just Stop!

This week, the New York Times and other U.S. papers published the name and photograph of the Manchester suicide bomber, as well as detailed explanations of how he avoided security, and photographs of essential components of the bomb itself, and they did so before the bomber’s — yes, I’m consciously not naming the son of a bitch — before the bomber’s network had been rolled up.

Worst of all, it turns out that this information was leaked to the New York Times by a member of the U.S. intelligence community from information shared by the Brits.

Prime Minister Theresa May was quite blunt about it this morning: the U.S. can forget further intelligence sharing on this topic. I expect she was quite firm with President Trump when they met privately later.

This has got to stop.

There are people in positions of trust within the United States government who are leaking very sensitive secrets because they have decided the Trump presidency must be undermined By Any Means Necessary (as they say in Berkeley).

There are people in positions of trust within the United States government leaking sensitive information about the murderers of little children, making it harder to catch them, and to prevent other attacks on other little children.

They are doing it with motivations I simply do not understand.

I cannot conceive of someone who would interfere in the capture of child murderers simply to damage Trump.

Or maybe I can. “By any means necessary,” right? “Got to break a few eggs.”

It’s wrong. It’s evil. It has got to stop.

Because they think that Trump is unfit for the job the voters, their alleged employers, elected him to, they’re demonstrating that they are unfit for the job they currently occupy. These leaks are, remember, criminal, and they’re crimes engaged in for political purposes. It’s a disgrace, and if Trump decides to go scorched-earth on them he’d be well within his rights to do so. And hey, Obama was already spying on journalists and government employees, so it shouldn’t be hard to find the leaker.

REMEMBER, THIS IS SOMEHOW THE GOP’S FAULT: Nearly 19,000 in Missouri could be stranded after insurer pulls out of Obamacare.

DOES BARACK OBAMA HAVE A BEARD IN THIS ONE? Scientists think they found proof of a parallel universe.

CBS ‘NEWS’ SPOTS ‘DOWNSIDE’ TO IMPROVING ECONOMY – ‘MORE TRAFFIC DEATHS.’

When does the DNC-MSM play the angle that economic growth will also harm Gaia, as top Democratic scientists John Kerry and Claire McCaskill did, early in the Obama era?

IT’S DIFFERENT WHEN THEY DO IT:

Obama isn’t hiding behind his wall. He’s merely pining for the fjords.

NYT: How the G.O.P. Sabotaged Obamacare.

Sold on a lie, authored and passed by Democrats, and designed to fail — ObamaCare’s failures are due to G.O.P. sabotage.

THE EVIDENCE OF THE LAST NINE YEARS SUGGESTS OTHERWISE: Rule of Law Actually Applies to Democrats, Too: Those critiquing Trump for flouting norms should take a look at Obamacare’s unauthorized spending.

So Obamacare required insurers to make special accommodations for people whose incomes were below 250 percent of the poverty line. The companies have to provide these individuals with silver plans (the second-lowest benefit tier) with lower deductibles and co-payments. This is, of course, quite expensive for insurers to do. So the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also granted subsidies to go to the insurers to cover the cost. Well, to be precise, lawmakers who dreamed up Obamacare promised the payments to insurers, but did not appropriate any money to actually pay them.

Yes. Congress can mandate subsidies without also mandating a funding source. Medicaid is another example. This is crazy, but there it is.

For once the Constitution is admirably clear on how the executive branch should handle this quandary: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.” The law appropriated no money for these cost-sharing reduction payments. But the Obama administration went ahead and paid them anyway.

The House of Representatives then sued the Obama administration to halt those payments. That’s how Trump and the cost-sharing reduction ended up in headlines together: The Trump administration was on deadline to decide what to do about the case, which is currently wending its way through the courts. (SPOILER ALERT: They punted.)

This whole mess illuminates sadly well our current tug-of-war over the rule of law — what it means, and how much it matters.

Our ruling class has chosen not to be bound by the law, because it’s inconvenient. This will not end well.

FROM SHARYL ATTKISSON: Obama’s Surveillance of American Citizens: A Timeline.

SMART DIPLOMACY! Trump has done what Obama didn’t: Scare NATO into closer tracking of defense spending. “He wasn’t the first to raise concerns: President Barack Obama had frequently lamented NATO members’ failure to spend enough on defense. But it was Trump’s undiplomatic rhetoric that got the issue to the top of the group’s agenda this week, when NATO’s members are expected to accept the idea of public report cards to make sure everyone’s meeting the requirements of the alliance.”

Maybe effective diplomacy sometimes calls for undiplomatic rhetoric.

ON THE SHELF: Weiner’s Book Deal Terminated After Guilty Plea.

It was revealed in 2016 that Weiner, 52, had been sexting with the underage girl. The federal investigation seized Weiner’s laptop and emails to his wife, top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, led former FBI Director James Comey to publicly re-open an investigation into Clinton’s own private email server that ended shortly before Clinton’s presidential loss. Abedin had been separated with the former congressman for nine months before she filed for divorce the day he pleaded guilty.

But Weiner is not only losing his wife: his book deal with Foundry Literary + Media has also been severed, Page Six reported Tuesday. Foundry reportedly held onto the option of honoring the book deal with Weiner, but this was aborted after he tearfully testified to sending explicit messages to a North Carolina teen.

“I have a sickness but I do not have an excuse,” Weiner said while crying in court.

Prior to his career of exposing himself to women on the internet, Weiner was best known as the Democratic Congress’s go-to pitchman for ObamaCare.

SPYING: Obama intel agency secretly conducted illegal searches on Americans for years. “More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.”

SORRY NOT SORRY: Sorry, But Terrrorism Is Not a ‘Fact of Life’

Tammy Bruce:

In 2004, Sen. John Kerry, then the Democratic presidential nominee, was interviewed by The New York Times. When asked “What it would take for Americans to feel safe again,” Mr. Kerry answered, “We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance.”

Even with the Sept. 11 attacks just a few years earlier, making the nature of the Islamist terror threat clear, Mr. Kerry exposed the left’s surrender to carnage and chaos. The suggestion that terrorism should be viewed as a nuisance indicates an acceptance of it as a regular part of our lives.

All normal human beings reject the grotesque suggestion we simply adapt, but his comment wasn’t a lark. It ended up being one of the first articulations of liberal Western leadership’s strategy of management of the scourge, abandoning the idea of destroying it.

Fast forward to August 2016. Sensing that terrorism was an actual problem, Mr. Kerry had another idea. Speaking in Bangladesh he noted, “If you decide one day you’re going to be a terrorist and you’re willing to kill yourself, you can go out and kill some people. You can make some noise. … Perhaps the media would do us all a service if they didn’t cover it quite as much. People wouldn’t know what’s going on.”

Genius. Let’s just not mention it, and everything will be OK.

I wonder how the parents of Manchester feel about “absorbing” another attack.

OH: Obama intel agency secretly conducted illegal searches on Americans for years.

More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.

The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.

The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.

Maybe when Obama said “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” he meant he had a pen and access to your phone.

FASTER, PLEASE: FCC Begins Rolling Back Obama’s Net Neutrality Rule.

GOLDEN STATE BLUES: How some Southern California drug rehab centers exploit addiction.

His hair is dirty and matted. His voice is raspy. And on this sunny Tuesday, Solomon is dragging around a bag full of cans and bottles that he hopes to sell to the RePlanet Recycling station behind the Ralph’s in San Clemente.

He wants to raise $20 so he can get high one last time before he goes into rehab.

As a kid, Solomon was taught not to steal or use drugs. But today, at 28, he’s grown up to become a shoplifter and a junkie, addicted to heroin and meth and benzodiazepines, one of the hardest drugs to kick.

Those aren’t the only contradictions in Solomon’s life.

As broke as he is, Solomon is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Chronic drug users like Solomon are commodities, exploited by a growing world of drug and alcohol rehab operators who put profit ahead of patient care. Everything from the opioid epidemic and Obamacare to prison realignment and legal loopholes has created conditions in which unethical operators can flourish, using addicts to bilk insurance companies and the public out of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Though many legitimate centers remain, critics and long-time insiders say a darker version of the industry is emerging, built around an illicit world of patient recruiters, fraud-driven clinics and drug-testing mills.

Southern California, where the implementation of Obamacare makes it easy for recent arrivals to sign on for insurance, is on the front line of the conflict.

Read the whole thing, if you can.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Regime Change by Any Other Name?

Truth or consequences? Obama skated for far worse misdeeds. Election machines in three states were not hacked to give Donald Trump the election. There was never a serious post-election movement of electors to defy their constitutional duties and vote for Hillary Clinton. Nor, once Trump was elected, did transgendered people begin killing themselves in alarming numbers. Nor were there mass resignations at the State Department upon his inauguration. Nor did Donald Trump seek an order to “ban all Muslims” from entering the U.S. Instead, he temporarily sought a suspension in visas for everyone, regardless of religion, from seven Middle Eastern states that the Obama administration had earlier identified as incapable of properly vetting travelers to the U.S. The first lady did not work for an elite escort or prostitute service. She never said that she and young Barron Trump would not be moving to the White House. Barron does not have autism. Trump’s father never ran racist ads as a supposed candidate in a purported political campaign. Kellyanne Conway denies that in a private conversation between segments on MSNBC, she privately remarked to hosts that she had to take a shower after working for Trump. Donald Trump never suggested to the Mexican president that the U.S. was going to invade Mexico. Nor did Trump plan to mobilize the National Guard to send back illegal aliens. He did not remove a Martin Luther King bust from the White House. There was no evidence that he ever promised to ease Russian sanctions (much less that he promised the Russians he would be “flexible” after he was elected). He did not short the FBI of resources to conduct an investigation into supposed Russian collusion. He did not go to Moscow and watch prostitutes in his bed urinate where Barack Obama had previously slept. His deputy attorney general did not threaten to resign over the Comey firing. . . .

Fake news crowds out real news. Here is what we do not read much about: North Korea, long appeased, could well send missiles against our allies, perhaps even with nuclear payloads. Afghanistan is at a crux and will either implode or need more American troops. China’s role is in the balance, and it may or may not help defang North Korea. The greatest tax- and health-reform packages in years are now in the hands of Congress. Executive orders have revolutionized the domestic energy industry and achieved a stunning and historic reduction in illegal immigration. The stock market is soaring, employment is up, and confidence in the economy has returned. Wall Street seems to dip only on talk of impeaching Donald Trump. Commensurate Worry? And here is what no longer troubles us at all. In 2008, candidate Barack Obama used back channels to communicate flexibility to the Iranians (as in the later assurance he gave, on a hot mic, to the Russians), which may have helped undermine the ongoing Bush-administration negotiations with Iran. Hillary Clinton set up an illegal server, distributed classified information in an illegal and unsecured fashion, lied about it, and destroyed thousands of e-mails central to an investigation — and got off without an indictment. In the 2016 election, the head of the DNC conspired to massage the debates and help swing the nomination to the Clinton campaign. The prior attorney general of the United State met with the spouse of a presidential candidate under investigation, in a stealthy conversation on an airport tarmac, did not inform officials of that meeting until the get-together was discovered by a reporter, semi-recused herself under pressure only to turn over her prosecutorial discretion to the head of the FBI, in a fashion that was both improper and perhaps unconstitutional. We do not hear how exactly Russian interests at Uranium One obtained market control over 20 percent of U.S. uranium holdings, or the connections between Uranium One and their prior multimillion-dollar donations to the Clinton Foundation, or that the Podesta Group had numerous financial dealings with Russian interests, or that Bill Clinton received $500,000 in 2010 from Russian oligarchic interests while his wife was secretary of state — ten times more than what Michael Flynn was alleged to have received. . . .

The effort to remove the president is conducted by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the wire services, and the major networks. And we have seen nothing like it in our time.

It’s like we’ve been living in a banana republic for a decade.

EIGHT YEARS OF OBAMA? How Donald Trump seized the mantle of hope and change.

Looking back, the sign-stealers were a portent of sorts, an early indication that 2016 would be like no election in recent memory.

While it is not uncommon for people to steal campaign signs from other people’s lawns in the heat of an election campaign, normally people confiscate the signs of candidates they oppose.

But something quite different happened in Robeson County, N.C., as Donald Trump started to gain traction in the presidential campaign. As Bo Biggs, treasurer of the county’s Republican Party, tells it, “People were stealing [Trump] signs to put them in their own yard.”

Trump won North Carolina and its 15 electoral votes by claiming seven rural counties that had voted for Barack Obama in 2012. Among them was Robeson County, the state’s largest county, and one of its poorest and most violent.

An easy explanation of Robeson County’s transition from blue to red focuses on economic stagnation and cultural despair. But from another vantage point, one my brother Jordan Allott and I saw during a recent visit to the county, Trump’s 5-point victory had more to do with his ability to tap into the same desire for hope and change that Obama retained in an 18-point victory four years earlier.

So now he needs to do what Obama didn’t do, and deliver.

BECAUSE WE CAN’T AFFORD IT:Insurers Request Double-Digit Premium Rate Increases for Obamacare Plans Next Year.

THIS REALLY DOESN’T FIT THE NARRATIVE. Historically Black College Leader: So Far, Trump a Step UP From Obama.

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Anyone who loves clothes can be a designer now. Ha! You think that’s the case now? Wait ten years.

CHANGE: Historically Black College Leader: So Far, Trump a Step UP From Obama.

YEAH, BUT HACKING FROM THE OBAMA ERA ISN’T NEWSWORTHY BECAUSE SHUT UP: House IT Aides Fear Suspects In Hill Breach Are Blackmailing Members With Their Own Data.

Congressional technology aides are baffled that data-theft allegations against four former House IT workers — who were banned from the congressional network — have largely been ignored, and they fear the integrity of sensitive high-level information.

Imran Awan and three relatives were colleagues until police banned them from computer networks at the House of Representatives after suspicion the brothers accessed congressional computers without permission.

Five Capitol Hill technology aides told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group that members of Congress have displayed an inexplicable and intense loyalty towards the suspects who police say victimized them. The baffled aides wonder if the suspects are blackmailing representatives based on the contents of their emails and files, to which they had full access.

Well, these guys pretty much only display “intense loyalty” to someone who’s got them by the balls, so it’s a fair inference.

Plus: “The investigation goes far beyond the theft of millions of dollars. The employees could read all emails dozens of members of Congress sent and received, as well as access any files members and their staff stored. Court records show the brothers ran a side business that owed $100,000 to an Iranian fugitive who has been tied to Hezbollah, and their stepmother says they often send money to Pakistan.”

KURT SCHLICHTER GIVES TRUMP AN A+ SO FAR: “There can be no serious debate. Donald Trump has done a truly outstanding job of not being Hillary Clinton. His not being Hillary Clinton was and remains my sole expectation of Donald Trump’s presidency. Nothing else matters in the end; it is enough that Trump foiled Felonia von Pantsuit’s creepy scheme to subjugate forever the deplorable mass of normal people she despises.”

Plus:

Here’s the brutal reality: No matter what Trump does, he will always be evil, awful, criminal, and/or treasonous. It doesn’t matter if he does something good. It’s doesn’t matter if Obama famously did the same thing – or worse. It doesn’t matter if it’s an outright and obvious lie. It will never stop. The soft coup plotters’ plan is to generate a constant barrage of bullSchumer designed to eventually browbeat the weak-hearted among the GOP into going along with their impeachment scheme as the first step on the road to the left retaking power and consolidating it so that we normals can never again have our voices heard.

If you want to blame Trump for the phony “controversy” surrounding him, ask yourself – what actions could he take that would stop the liberal feeding frenzy? Be nicer and gentler and act like “the bigger man? Worked great for W.

Puh-leeze.

True. Weirdly, it’s the people claiming that Trump’s a tool for Putin to destabilize American politics who are taking the actions that destabilize American politics.

GRABBY SAYS WHAT? “Joe Biden blasts Donald Trump in Colby College speech over his ‘coarse rhetoric’ and ‘political chaos’ before congratulating graduates with hugs and handshakes — and the ladies seem to get the lion’s share of the cuddles.”

Speaking of “coarse rhetoric,” “Biden: I’ve Never Criticized The Tea Party, Just Those Times I Said They Were Crazy And Acted Like Terrorists.”

And speaking of “political chaos,” Biden referred to the passing of Obamacare, which was preceded by arguably the greatest non-wartime lie in American political history, as a “big f***ing deal.” (Which he meant as a compliment, apparently.)

(Classical allusion in headline.)

ROGER KIMBALL: “Let’s play ‘One of these things is not like the other one.’  Compare, if you will, Barack Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo to the Muslim world with Donald Trump’s speech today in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.”

TO BE FAIR, WHO DIDN’T HACK THE U.S. IN THE OBAMA ERA? Did China Hack The CIA In Massive Intelligence Breach From 2010 To 2012?

And back then, nobody much cared about foreign hacking. But then, that was before it was thought to cost Democrats power. Now it’s a crisis!

REMINDER: FOOTIE PAJAMA OBAMACARE BOY WAS A WARNING, NOT A HOW-TO GUIDE. The percentage of American adults who are living with their parents has reached its highest level in 75 years.

HOW ROGER AILES REMADE OUR REALITY:

Ailes and Fox News would never have had the footprint they had, or been able to command the audience that they did, were it not for Ailes’ other lightbulb-above-the-head moment. Ailes realized from inside the media bubble that during the entire heyday of Fox News, the “mainstream” media (very much including the broadcast Fox Network) had been deliberately throwing Fox News’ target audience into the demographic trashcan.

Over the past 25 or 30 years, American pop culture diversified itself to a previously almost-unimaginable degree, with gangsta rap and hip-hop, banda and mariachi and “press 2 for Spanish”, Japanese and Korean-made cars and home appliances, out-and-proud LGBTs, and hijab-wearing Muslims. The Obama era delivered a bumper crop of films and TV shows specifically dedicated to the African-American experience, with Moonlight, Chi-Raq, Twelve Years a Slave, Django Unchained, The Butler, The Help, Precious, For Colored Girls, Loving, Hidden Figures, Talk To Me, Miles Ahead, The Birth of a Nation, and Fences joining top TV shows like Empire, Scandal, Blackish, and How to Get Away With Murder. Empowered LGBT millennials likewise insisted on seeing themselves represented in the media—and not just as token sidekicks or victims, but as sexualized, three-dimensional characters in movies and TV shows like Milk, Brokeback Mountain, Six Feet Under, Queer as Folk, The L Word, Will & Grace, and Shondaland Thursdays. People from once-marginalized racial and sexual minorities spent the entire Fox News era bursting with pride, and celebrating how long-overdue and nice it was that they could finally “see people who look like me!” reflected in the magic mirror of the media.

For better or worse, it was almost natural that the rural and Rust Belt lower-middle and working classes would react with shock and awe to seeing their once-dominant pop culture (not to mention political) “white privilege” get revoked.  Suddenly, it seemed to many of them as though everybody else had a platform in the media, while they – the older and whiter, the outsourced and downsized and early-retired, the ones who didn’t live in a hip Chelsea flat or Silicon Valley split-level with a bunch of sexy, glammy 30-year-old Friends to hang out (and have Sex in the City) with, had just as suddenly disappeared. Where could they “see people who looked like me” in modern pop media?

But Fox News would never have been as successful as it was during Ailes’ reign if it wasn’t for his innate sense of showmanship; in his obit Thursday, Andrew Ferguson dubbed him “The Ziegfeld of Political Theater:”

One of the few extended conversations I had with him came many years later, not long after he had conceived of and then launched the Fox show The Five. He needed a program to fill the time slot left by Glenn Beck, who had quit Fox in a blaze of controversy and bad feeling. Ailes couldn’t replace Beck’s hourlong gasworks with another show built around a single performer. “No matter who it was,” he told me, “the comparisons with Beck would kill ’em.”

And so, like a theatrical producer, he put together an ensemble show. He made it clear he didn’t care much about its political content, which would be the usual Fox palaver. What he worried over was its look, its “dynamic,” he said. It would air at 5 p.m. Eastern Time and would have five stars and would be called The Five. But the key was the set of types that would make up the ensemble.

“Go around the table,” he told me, delighting in his own ingenuity. “Over on this end, we’ve got the bombshell in a skirt, drop-dead gorgeous.” He raised a chubby finger: “But smart! She’s got to be smart or it doesn’t work.” Next, he said, “we have a gruff longshoreman type, salty but not too salty for TV. In the middle there’s the handsome matinee idol. Next to him we have the Salvation Army girl, cute and innocent—but you get the idea she might be a lotta fun after a few pops. On the end, we need a wiseguy, the cut-up.”

He sat back in triumph.

In addition to his showmanship and casting decisions, populism, not his conservatism, is what made his channel work, Jonah Goldberg adds:

“My first qualification” for running Fox News, Ailes once said, “is I didn’t go to Columbia Journalism School.” Dramaturgically, Ailes’s vision for Fox News was predicated on the belief that America is a decent country — particularly in the vast middle where coastal elites do not dominate — and that there is no inherent contradiction between good reporting and the sort of patriotism common to journalists such as Walter Cronkite and Ernie Pyle.

As Mark Steyn writes, “It’s not often that a man builds a 24/7 television channel in his own image, and keeps it that way for two decades.”

QUESTION ASKED — AND ANSWERED: Convincing your gullible flock that we live in a republic easily annexed by a rickety former superpower is not putting your country above your party.

David Harsanyi:

To see the world from this prism, Time magazine visualizes the Kremlinizing of White House. The magazine’s newest cover merges St. Basil’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral with the White House (the substance of the feature doesn’t even really reflect the cover).

The true “constitutional crisis” is the concerted effort to “resist” or undermine the “norm” of a peaceful transfer of power after election.
— Randy Barnett (@RandyEBarnett) May 18, 2017

One wonders what the reaction would be if a major magazine had run a cover of the White House conflated into an Iranian mosque while Barack Obama was sending pallets of cash to the Islamic Republic? Of course, that cover would have been hysterical—and not in a funny way. Simply because the former president believed that appeasing the Iranians was in the strategic interests of the United States doesn’t make him treasonous, just a terrible president. Not the first, or last.

Does putting your country above party mean never being skeptical of the intentions of an intelligence community—one that has lied to the American people repeatedly over the years—that is trying to overturn an election?

The Party always comes first, comrade.

LET’S MAKE AN ARMS DEAL: Saudis Said to Forge $6 Billion Lockheed Deal for Littoral Ships.

The final letter of agreement includes a better-armed version of the ships, support equipment, munitions and electronic-warfare systems, according to the people, who asked not to be identified in advance of an announcement that may come as early as Saturday morning Washington time. That’s when Trump is scheduled to arrive in Riyadh on the first leg of an eight-day trip that will take him across the Middle East and to Rome.

The Trump administration is promising to improve relations with the Saudis that were strained under former President Barack Obama. For its part, Saudi Arabia has pledged to buy billions of dollars of U.S. military equipment in the next decade and invest about $40 billion from its sovereign wealth fund in American companies.

The LCS is another one of those American weapons systems garnering foreign interest even after a troubled development process.

HMM: Senate Demands White House Tapes, Comey Memos On Just About Everyone. “Interesting that they also demand all the ‘Hillary’ related memos too… If Comey ‘memorialized’ all his interactions – like he said he did for the Trump memo – then he must have the ones discussed with Obama, Lynch, Yates etc… regarding the Clinton case?”

THAT’S DIFFERENT, BECAUSE SHUT UP: Three Times Barack Obama Attempted to Obstruct Justice.

THAT WOULD EXPLAIN A LOT: Former Bush AG On Comey’s 2007 Brush With Scandal: ‘Jim’s Loyalty Was More To Chuck Schumer.’

Sean Davis:

In fact, the current episode is not the first time Comey and his associates plotted to oust a sitting Republican official through highly orchestrated political theater and carefully crafted narratives in which Comey is the courageous hero bravely fighting to preserve the rule of law. To understand how Comey came to be FBI director in the first place, and how he operates in the political arena, it is important to review the last scandal in which Comey had a front-row seat: the 2007 U.S. attorney firings and the fight over the 2004 reauthorization of Stellar Wind, a mass National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program designed to mitigate terrorist threats in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

The pivotal scene in the Comey-crafted narrative, a drama that made Comey famous and likely paved the road to his 2013 appointment by President Barack Obama to run the FBI, occurred in a Beltway hospital room in early 2004. In Comey’s view, Comey was the last honest man in Washington, the only person standing between a White House that rejected any restraints on its power, and the rule of law protecting Americans from illegal mass surveillance.

A former White House counsel and attorney general with extensive first-hand experience dealing with Comey, however, paints a very different picture of what happened in that hospital room, and disputes numerous key details. In this account, Comey’s actions showcase a duplicitous, secretive schemer whose true loyalties were not to the officials to whom he reported, but to partisan Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). To fully understand and appreciate Jim Comey’s approach to politics, the writings and testimony of Alberto Gonzales, who served as both White House counsel and attorney general during the events in question and is intimately aware of Comey’s history of political maneuvering, is absolutely essential.

Read the whole thing.

THE MASK SLIPS: Net Neutrality Supporters Want to ‘Ban Drudge.’

Alt-left advocates for net neutrality, who say they want a “free and open internet,” want to ban the Drudge Report.

Members of the alt-left who have been tied to violent protests in the past picketed outside the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday in protest of Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to reverse net neutrality rules. The FCC will vote to undue the Obama era Title II rule that classified Internet service providers as utilities, subjecting them to more federal regulation.

Protesters covering their faces held signs that read “Ban Drudge,” with a no symbol over the Drudge Report, the highly trafficked news website run by Matt Drudge. Other protesters held signs to ban other news websites, including Breitbart and InfoWars.

If you’re covering your face while demanding censorship, you’re a fascist.

GREAT MOMENTS IN PROJECTION.

Shot: “What Does Barack Obama Really Think of Donald Trump? ‘He’s Nothing But a Bullsh–ter.’”

People magazine, today.

Chaser:

Every now and then in Renegade [a history of Obama’s 2008 campaign by leftwing journalist Richard Wolffe — Ed], a moment arrives when it seems Obama might reveal something, some tiny thing, about himself. “You know, I actually believe my own bullshit,” Obama told Wolffe with a smile. But what for a nanosecond seemed like candor—would the candidate actually examine his own B.S.?—was just another talking point, as he explained to Wolffe that he truly wanted to bring change to America for better health care, for better schools, and especially for “the kid on the streets.”

There’s much about this quote that’s revealing. First, there’s the serious message Obama is trying to deliver within the joke about bs: “I truly believe that I can make people’s lives better.” But if he really does believe that, then why insert a subtle disclaimer (it’s all “bullshit”) inherent in the casually deprecating tone that seems to negate its seriousness and casts an ironic and juvenile eye on the entire enterprise?

—“Believing his own bullshit,” Neo-Neocon, November 30th, 2013.

CHANGE: President Trump Is Sticking With the Iran Nuclear Deal.

As I’ve written here before, the Iran Deal is probably the most difficult (if not impossible) “accomplishment” of the Obama Administration to unravel. The benefits to Iran were almost all front-loaded, so about the best that can be hoped for now is that Iran lives up to its obligation to do a better job of pretending to hide its nuclear weapons program.

VIDEO: Trey Gowdy Stops Just Short Of Calling Collusion On The Clintons And The DOJ.

From the clip:

“Jim Comey had access to additional information that I am convinced left him with no other choice but to make the decision he made in July,” Gowdy said.

McCallum asked if he was implying that Comey was pressured into clearing Clinton of all wrongdoing.

“No…he wanted to safeguard the integrity of the investigation, the integrity of the process, and I probably ought to just leave it right there,” Gowdy replied.

“Trust me when I tell you this, Martha — I know what it was and I have been a critic of James Comey in the past. But he made the only decision he could have made with respect to appropriating that decision away from the Department of Justice and making the decision himself.”

“I only take away from that that you are suggesting that there were more entanglements between the Clintons and perhaps the Justice Department than everyone understands,” McCallum guessed.

“You’re very perceptive,” Gowdy confirmed.

Comey did have other options, but perhaps no option more personally palatable. That aside, there is publicly-known evidence of collusion between the Clintons and the Obama DOJ, plus whatever Gowdy claims to know.

ELIZABETH PRICE FOLEY IN THE NEW YORK TIMES: Trump’s Statements Are Not an Obstruction of Justice.

Widespread howls erupted, including by editors of this paper, asserting that President Trump obstructed justice. But as distasteful as the president’s statements may be, they do not constitute an obstruction of justice. Indeed, if they did, virtually every communication between criminal defense lawyers and investigators would be a crime. . . .

Even assuming, for the sake of argument, that Mr. Trump intended an implied offer of continued employment in exchange for Mr. Comey’s dismissal of the Flynn investigation, it would be implausible for Mr. Comey to construe it as such. Mr. Comey was aware that he was an at-will employee who could be fired by the president at any time, for any reason. Indeed, when President Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in June 2016 — during the height of the F.B.I.’s investigation into Secretary Clinton’s private email server — it would have been similarly implausible for Mr. Comey to construe Mr. Obama’s pro-Clinton remarks as an implicit offer of continued employment, in exchange for dropping the Clinton investigation. Even though Mr. Comey dropped the investigation one month later, he presumably knew that although it would please both Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, it would not insulate him from being fired.

But even if one adopted an unprecedentedly broad conception of bribery, Mr. Trump’s purported statement still would not violate Section 1510. The statute is designed to preserve the free flow of information, prohibiting only acts that obstruct investigators’ access to information. Bribery of a potential witness, for example, is behavior prohibited by Section 1510. But telling the F.B.I. director that someone is a “good guy” and expressing the hope that an investigation will cease does not obstruct the free flow of information.

Another, broader federal obstruction statute is Section 1505 of Title 18, but even this statute does not fit. Specifically, Section 1505 declares that anyone who “corruptly” endeavors to obstruct the proper administration of law “under which any pending proceeding is being had before any department or agency of the United States” is guilty of a felony. Even putting aside the difficulty of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that President Trump’s brief and generalized words evinced the necessary “corrupt” mind-set, Section 1510 applies only to a “pending proceeding.”

Read the whole thing. Also note that the Obama Administration made sure that Lois Lerner — who ran a corrupt, political effort to target political opponents using the power of the federal government — didn’t face charges. This was not called obstruction of justice, but “prosecutorial discretion.”

Plus: “Principled objections to Mr. Trump’s policies and leadership style should not blind opponents to the dangers of repeated, knee-jerk calls for criminal prosecution of the president of the United States. Let the evidence unfold, and reserve serious charges if and when the evidence warrants it. Crying wolf undermines the credibility of the opposition, further divides an already deeply divided country and breeds cynicism about American institutions that is as dangerous to our republic, if not more, than outside meddling.”

The childish response of Democrats — and “NeverTrump” Republicans — to the 2016 election has done more damage to American politics and institutions than any foreign meddling could do.

FAKE NEWS: “By the way, it’s double hearsay, since we’re asked not only to believe what Comey wrote but the unnamed individuals who told the NYT about the memo. The NYT has not seen a copy of the memo.”

Hey, Lois Lerner — who executed a corrupt scheme to target Obama’s political enemies with federal power, remember — got off scot-free due to “prosecutorial discretion.” How’s this different, except, you know, for the lack of a corrupt scheme to target political enemies with federal power?

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Tips For Reading Washington Post Stories About Trump Based On Anonymous Leaks: In the midst of an active shooter situation, we have tips for how to judge breaking news. We need similar tips to manage anti-Trump breaking news.

Previous Washington Post stories sourced to anonymous “officials” have fallen apart, including Josh Rogin’s January 26 report claiming that “the State Department’s entire senior management team just resigned” as “part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior Foreign Service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.”

The story went viral before the truth caught up. As per procedure, the Obama administration had, in coordination with the incoming Trump administration, asked for the resignations of all political appointees. While it would have been traditional to let them stay for a few months, the Trump team let them know that their services wouldn’t be necessary. The entire story was wrong.

Rogin also had the false story that Steve Bannon had personally confronted Department of Homeland Security’s Gen. John F. Kelly to pressure him not to weaken an immigration ban. . . .

Each of these stories were explosive breaking news that served an anti-Trump narrative but later turned out to be false.

This week, the Washington Post reported that President Trump threatened national security during his meeting with Russians last week. The story was based on anonymous leaks regarding a real meeting that took place. The report was immediately slapped down as false by multiple high-level Trump officials who were present in the meeting.

It was thoughtful of the Democrats to warn us of this “fake news” phenomenon in November, as they unleashed it.

IT’S DIFFERENT WHEN THEY DO IT: Obama Gave Classified Intel to Russia.

Chief executives share intel when it suits them, but it’s less often that the leader of one country reminds another that “After my election I have more flexibility” to deliver on things his own people might not approve of.

CAN WE RELITIGATE OBAMACARE WITH OBAMA’S MOTIVES IN MIND? Judges Who Fret Over Trump’s Motives Are Ignoring US Judicial History.

IF YOUR ANSWER ISN’T “EIGHT YEARS OF OBAMA,” YOU’RE LYING. How America became a lost, exhausted superpower.

THAT’S DIFFERENT BECAUSE SHUT UP: Obama Ordered The U.S. Intelligence Community To Share Intel With Cuba.

TO BE FAIR, HE ALSO SAID THAT IF YOU LIKE YOUR PLAN, YOU CAN KEEP YOUR PLAN: Obama Once Said The American Dream Is To ‘Be Donald Trump’.

BUT OF COURSE: Convicted Puerto Rican Terrorist, Whose Prison Sentence Obama Commuted, Going Home to Parade.

JAMES MORROW: Not every scandal is a magic bullet, and the hysteria is helping Trump.

The pattern of the Trump-shared-secrets-with-the-Russkies story is predictable.

As is so often the case the Washington Post, which has made itself the unofficial house organ of America’s anti-Trump establishment with its new self-regarding slogan, “Democracy dies in darkness”, kicked things off.

They did this with an article citing “anonymous sources” who claimed that the president — whether in a fit of braggadocio, stupidity, or in partial payment for Moscow’s meddling with the election the Post leaves to the reader to decide — passed on exceedingly sensitive and restricted intelligence to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister in a meeting last week.

The information was so top secret, said the Post, that America hadn’t even shared the information with key allies.

All of this conjured images of Trump letting the Russians in on something really big, like exactly when all the generals take smoko at NORAD (“I tell you Vlad, they’re out there every morning at 9:30 like clockwork. And if they’re talking about what happened on Last Resort, they’re not back at their stations for, like, half an hour, easy.”)

And it immediately set commentators abuzz, with everyone who’d just settled down over the firing of FBI Director James Comey once again demanding Trump’s impeachment, this time for grievously damaging national security.

But as so often happens, the extent of what Trump actually told the Russians reality may be a bit more pedestrian.

The information in question is now said to have been about ISIS plots to sneak a bomb on to an airliner in a laptop, a plot device easily imagined by any Hollywood TV writer or paperback spy thriller author.

Indeed, if no other allies knew about the plot, then all credit to British officials who instituted a similar ban in the wake of the US’s move to ban laptops on flights from a number of Muslim-majority countries, as well as to Malcolm Turnbull, who is also said to be looking “very closely” at putting such a policy in place for flights to Australia.

And for what it’s worth, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster has denied anything inappropriate was shared with the Russians, though whether the word of a three star general can hold a candle to unnamed sources is an open question.

This is not to defend Trump so much as it is to plead for some sense of reality on the part of his critics, who see in every scandal a magic bullet that might restore the world to the way they think it should be.

Well, I’m still not sure exactly what’s going on — see Stephen’s post below for more — but what is clear is that they hope that if they gin up enough controversy, baseless or not, maybe it’ll give cover to an impeachment or 25 Amendment removal, or something. I don’t think it will happen and if it does — barring something a lot bigger and more uncontrovertible than anything they’ve come up with so far — you will have literal riots in the streets if Trump’s removed, far beyond anything you’ve seen from Democrat constituency groups like Black Lives Matter. Trump supporters have had it with the establishment, and are unlikely to go along quietly with a system they regard as deeply corrupt and devoted to their destruction. To the extent it’s interested in impeachment, the anti-Trump establishment, which likes to present itself as responsible and sensible, is playing with fire here, in a room full of gasoline that the establishment itself has pumped.

Exit question: We know of one clear-cut crime here, the leak to WaPo. Which senior Republican White House official — because who else could it be? — was behind that leak? And will Trump follow Obama’s lead and use the Espionage Act to try to find out and punish the leaker? Because Trump’s practically a dictator, and that’s what a dictator would do, right? Oh, wait . . .

THE TEA PARTY WAS DEMONIZED FOR FAR LESS: The “Resistance” Moves Towards Violence and Intimidation as Key Tactic. Yeah, the Tea Party cleaned up after its opponents, it didn’t clean their clocks.

Early in Obama’s first term, completely peaceful Tea Party protests happened around the country. The liberal media routinely denounced the Tea Party as dangerous and hostile.

Since the night of Trump’s election, the left has been engaging in protests which often look more like riots. Windows have been smashed, people have been punched and the media sits by ignoring the whole thing.

In 2010, Tea Party protesters showed up at town hall meetings to protest the passage of Obamacare. Again, the media called them racist and dangerous. Now leftists are showing up at town halls, but the media coverage is vastly different.

To the media, and the Democrats — but I repeat myself — it’s only “dangerous” when the normals hit the streets. Democratic Party interest groups have violence privilege. “While all of this is unfolding, no one on the left is calling for calm. Quite the opposite, actually. The Huffington Post, one of the most influential publications on the left is demanding more.”

Well, whatever comes after the Tea Party on the right won’t be as polite. The media and the Democrats — and quite a few Republicans — have seen to that.

A WIN FOR FREE SPEECH: Fire Investigator, Crystal Eschert, Fired By Charlotte Over Pro-Law Enforcement Post, Sues, Is Now Gonna Be A Millionaire.

Charlotte, NC – A jury just sent the city of Charlotte a strong message: You can’t fire employees for saying things on Facebook you disagree with, and you can’t use those posts to justify an unlawful firing.

The jury found that the city of Charlotte was retaliating against Crystal Eschert when they fired her for a Facebook post that she made in the days following the shooting of Michael Brown. The jury awarded her $1.5 million. . . .

“White guy shot by police yesterday near Ferguson … Where is Obama? Where is Holder? Where is Al Sharpton? Where are Trayvon Martin’s parents? Where are all the white guys supporters? So is everyone MAKING it a racial issue? So tired it’s a racial thing. If you are a thug and worthless to society, it’s not race – You’re just a waste no matter what religion, race or sex you are.”

Somebody named Linda Havery later emailed then-police chief Rodney Monroe and Jon Hannan to complain about the Facebook post, according to Charlotte Observer. The e-mail complained that, even though the Facebook post was private, it “could cause unrest in the community.”

The city fired Eschert over the Facebook post, arguing that she could not do her job if she used words like, “thug.” . . .

Plus: “The complainant, ‘Linda Havery,’ doesn’t exist. This non-existent person somehow had access to Crystal Eschert’s friends-only Facebook page.”

DON SURBER: Trump Busts Warren Buffett Monopoly. “Buffett pocketed $3 a barrel from transporting 1 million barrels of oil a day on his railroad. Obama did not care about the environment or the danger of mile-long trains carrying crude oil. Obama was TCB — taking care of Buffett.”

JUDD GREGG: How the GOP can win on healthcare.

I’m not sure how solid Gregg’s plan is, but he’s correctly diagnosed the root of the problem:

The purpose of ObamaCare was to gather all these [groups of uninsured] people into some type of healthcare coverage and have that coverage be highly subsidized by the rest of the population.

This was to be accomplished either directly, through subsidies that depended on taxes; or indirectly, through increasing the premiums of those who had insurance.

The outcome would be that most of these 40 to 45 million would have new benefits that they themselves paid little for.

This effort was to be undertaken by creating exchanges, which were actuarially unsound; and by expanding by fifty percent the Medicaid enrollment, which was grossly underfunded.

The creators of ObamaCare knew of the structural failures of the proposed approach. It was their expectation that the financial stress on the insurance industry and the huge tax subsidies needed to pay for the migration from private insurance into exchanges would lead to some sort of reordering of the system.

They knew that states, and especially doctors, could not handle the underfunded addition of millions of patients.

They also understood political reality, in which it is extremely difficult to take back a subsidized benefit once it has been given. This is especially true when it involves millions of people.

Thus, as ObamaCare crumbled, a single-payer system would be the default position to which the country would turn.

ObamaCare is crumbling, all right. What remains to be seen is if the GOP has the courage of its oft-stated convictions.

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK! $697,177 for a ‘Climate-Change Musical’: You Call That Science?

The [National Science Foundation], whose mission is to ensure U.S. leadership in areas of science and technology that are essential to economic growth and national security, frequently funds politically correct but low-value research projects. A few doozies include the veiling-fashion industry in Turkey, Viking textiles in Iceland, the “social impacts” of tourism in the northern tip of Norway, and whether hunger causes couples to fight (using the number of pins stuck in voodoo dolls as a measure of aggressive feelings). Research funding in the geosciences, including climate change, is certainly legitimate, but not when it goes to ludicrous boondoggles such as a climate-change musical that cost $697,177 to produce.

The primary culprit is the NSF’s Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, known as SBE. Underlying its ability to dispense grants is the wrongheaded notion that social-science projects such as a study of animal depictions in National Geographic and a climate change musical are as important as research to identify early markers for Alzheimer’s disease or pancreatic cancer.

In January President Obama signed the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, which accomplished little with respect to setting funding priorities other than endorsing the only two criteria NSF had previously used to evaluate grant applications—the “intellectual merit” of the proposal and its “broader impacts” on society. The bill’s lead proponent, House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, had wanted to include a “national interest” criterion defined by several factors including improving economic competitiveness, health, national security, the STEM workforce and scientific literacy.

In the end the national interest standard was retained, but only to provide examples of how grant applicants can satisfy NSF’s “broader impacts” requirement. In other words, SBE will continue funding marginal research by social scientists—what a former NSF official characterized as “the inmates running the asylum.”

It’s an intellectually pretentious New Deal-type make-work program for progressives.

Zero out its budget and shut it down.

BECAUSE IT WILL CATCH THEM CHEATING. NEXT QUESTION? Why Are Democrats Afraid of the Election Integrity Commission? “Indeed, smart liberals are already moving away from the mantra that ‘there is no voter fraud’ to a more nuanced position. They know that it’s likely that if Kobach and his fellow commissioners allow states to examine federal databases of permanent legal aliens, holders of temporary visas, or alien filers of tax returns, they will probably find people who are illegally registered to vote — and voting. Kobach told me in an interview that states have tried to run those databases against their own voter-registration lists for years, but the Obama administration turned down all their requests.” And it’s pretty obvious why.

THIS WOULD MATTER IF IT WEREN’T FOR “THE REID OPTION:” Democrats stack up ways to torpedo Trump’s nominations.

Undeterred by its failed effort to stonewall Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, the Democratic leadership is going on a full-court press to resist President Trump’s nominations for judgeships and FBI director in the Senate. However, if they commit, the party risks losing the moral high ground it hung over the Republican Party’s head when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to schedule confirmation hearings for former President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland.

In the clearest symbol yet of the Democrats’ coming intransigence was Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that he “would support” fellow Democratic Sen. Mark Warner’s push to hold the not-yet-announced FBI director nominee hostage if the Trump administration doesn’t agree to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

There are currently 54 Republicans in the Senate, 44 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the Democrats. If Republicans unite behind a Trump pick to head the FBI, Democrats will have no way to block consideration of the nominee because in 2013 the then-Democratic-led Senate went through with the “nuclear option” on executive branch nominees. This altered the rules to require only a simple majority of 51 senators, instead of 60, to overcome a filibuster.

Acknowledging that his party doesn’t have the votes to actually block the FBI nomination, Schumer pressed Republicans to choose country over party.

Hint to the Senate GOP: You never “choose country” by going along with a Schumer scheme.

SUPERMAN CHECKED OUT OF THE SUPERMARKET:

It was all very easy for a skeptic to mock, but the image of the redeemer prince, much embellished by Obama’s media devotees, proved immensely appealing in a secular age bored with secularism, a scientific age that found no salvation in science. John Stuart Mill described how, in a moment of disenchantment with the spiritual dullness of liberal progress, he turned for consolation to the poetry of Wordsworth. In 2008, the poetry, the spiritual consolation that a good part of the American electorate sought as an antidote to its own discontents, was Barack Obama himself—or rather, the image that that gifted fabulist impressed upon them.

It wasn’t entirely new. In his 1960 Esquire article on John F. Kennedy, “Superman Comes to the Supermarket,” Norman Mailer argued that a charismatic leader could liberate America’s hidden potential, all that virtù and desire that had been forced underground both by an unsatisfactory politics and by “mass civilization,” in which so many “electronic circuits” made “men as interchangeable as commodities.” Kennedy, Mailer believed, was the “existential hero” whose “royal image” could be a salve for America’s “malnourished electronic psyches.”

A rambling, self-indulgent piece of writing, Mailer’s essay was more a symptom of the hysteria that Kennedy aroused than a sober analysis of it. What he called his “rich chocolate prose” anticipated the inanities of the more outré expositions of Obama’s own splendors in 2008. Was America brave enough, Mailer asked,

to enlist the romantic dream of itself, would it vote for the image in the mirror of its unconscious, were the people indeed brave enough to hope for an acceleration of Time, for that new life of drama which would come from choosing a son to lead them who was heir apparent to the psychic loins?

This was a roundabout way of saying that it was not Kennedy’s policies that were liberating but his image. It was not his “prefabricated politics” but his charismatic person that would rouse the country from its dogmatic slumbers. That Kennedy was “young, that he was physically handsome, and that his wife was attractive were not,” Mailer maintained, “trifling accidental details but, rather, new major political facts.” A Kennedy presidency, he believed, would “touch depths in American life which were uncharted” and promised to usher in a post-political age in which the nation would “rise above the deadening verbiage of its issues, its politics, its jargon, and live again by an image of itself.”

And thus was born what Ace of Spades brilliantly dubbed the DNC-MSM’s “MacGuffinization of American Politics.” and after Kennedy’s assassination, their desire to dub every presidential candidate the next JFK, no matter how far to the left the party has drifted from Kennedy’s centrist worldview and no matter how ludicrous the comparison.

STEPHEN CARTER: I Side With the ‘Bad Guys’ on Encryption: Law-enforcement agents want the power to break into secure devices. Why should we trust them?

One of the more intriguing pearls in FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week was his disclosure that the Bureau has been unable to penetrate the encryption on about half of the 6,000 cell phones seized in the course of various investigations between October and March. To Comey and the senators, this was plainly a problem. I will confess that my own feelings are more mixed. . . .

When the head of the FBI says to the tech companies, “Please help us,” he is in effect saying to ordinary users, “Please trust us.” And that’s where the problem lies. Little in recent history — or, for that matter, not-so-recent history — offers any particular reason to believe that government officials, once granted a power, will use it sparingly.

Moreover, a warrant requirement offers little protection. The courts rarely say no, and recent administrations, including those of President Donald Trump’s two predecessors, have found ways to get around judicial scrutiny. Nor has Trump himself given the impression that his use of such powers would be sparing. But even if we imagine a government run entirely by angels, we live at a time when intelligence agencies can hardly protect their own secrets, including their hacking tools. If the tech companies yield to official pressure and begin to build backdoors into their encryption, how long will it be until the details show up on WikiLeaks, and the actual methods are being bartered in various corners of the Dark Web?

Actually, the Dark Web is used these days by journalists, who try to evade the vast networks of official surveillance by offering sources the ability to remain anonymous while sending encrypted communications via SecureDrop. SecureDrop uses the Tor network of hidden servers to allow sources and reporters who never meet to exchange untappable messages. Among the many news outlets that have signed on are the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the New Yorker.

Now suppose that the U.S. government demanded that a backdoor be built into SecureDrop. After all, in the view of law enforcement, to disclose classified information to the news media is a crime. Under the Obama administration, more leakers were prosecuted for espionage — espionage! — than in all prior administrations combined.

Well, sure but that was okay because he was a Democrat.

THE GRAY LADY HAS A FEVAH AND SHE NEEDS MORE COWBELL! COMMUNISM! Last week, Jonah Goldberg explored “The Times’ Postcard for Communism,” noting, “The New York Times has a lengthy, melancholy essay celebrating the role of Communism in American life by Vivian Gornick. It’s getting all of the predictable — and mostly deserved — blowback from conservatives.”

Yesterday, the Times ran a piece by Henry Scott Wallace, the grandson of Henry A. Wallace, who was FDR’s Secretary of Agriculture from 1933 to 1940, then his vice president from ’41 through ’45, and succeeded by Harry Truman in the last year of FDR’s life, for fear that Wallace was too far to the left, even for the Roosevelt administration. To make a long story short, that fear proved rather spot-on. (Pro tip: when Oliver Stone is lionizing your career, you may have lost the thread somewhere.)

The essay by Wallace’s grandson is titled “American Fascism, in 1944 and Today,” in which he claims that ol’ granddad predicted the rise of Trump:

Seventy-three years ago, The New York Times asked the sitting vice president to write an article about whether there are fascists in America, and what they’re up to.

It was an alarming question. And the vice president took it quite seriously. His article, “The Danger of American Fascism,” described a breed of super-nationalist who pursues political power by deceiving Americans and playing to their fears, but is really interested only in protecting his own wealth and privilege.

That vice president was my grandfather, Henry A. Wallace. And in my view, he predicted President Trump.

To be clear, I don’t think the precise term “fascism” — as in Mussolini and Hitler — is fairly applied to Mr. Trump. Mussolini was a proponent of “corporatism,” defined by some as “a merger of state and corporate power.” And through that lens, using that term, my grandfather’s warning looks prescient.

OK, now do Obama’s brand of corporatism, including how Obamacare transformed the insurance industry into public utilities, and Solyndra, Fisker Automotive, and other “green” sinkholes, financial beneficiaries of the previous administration’s disastrous brand of venture socialism.  Or heck, corporatism under FDR himself.

Speaking of which, since when does the New York Times run pieces condemning “a merger of state and corporate power”?? (Answer: when the wrong people are running the state. Just think of the Times as the house organ for the Democrat party, and it all makes sense.)

Also missing from Wallace’s piece, FDR’s 1944 State of the Union address, in which he slanderously dubbed Calvin Coolidge’s laissez-faire administration fascism, bellowing “If history were to repeat itself, and we were to return to the so-called normalcy of the 1920s, then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of fascism here at home.”

As George Orwell wrote in his 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language,” “The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable.’” Corporatism, an ideology essential to the functioning of the modern left, is running a close second.

HAVE YOU HUGGED A FRACKER TODAY? OPEC Sees the Writing on the Wall.

The oil cartel roped eleven other petrostates into an agreement to curtail production in 2017 and are currently working on extending that deal, but the output cut’s ultimate goal of eating away at the oil market’s glut of crude is being undermined by the actions of suppliers outside of OPEC—U.S. shale producers chief among them. Now, OPEC is revising upwards its estimates of how quickly supplies will grow outside of its membership this year by a whopping 64 percent. . . .

This supply-side surprise comes courtesy of American frackers, who have seized the opportunity afforded them by the petrostate cuts and have ramped up their own production over the past nine months. By cutting costs and boosting efficiencies, U.S. shale has made itself capable of profitably producing $50 per barrel oil.

This is the worst-case scenario for OPEC: whatever success its production limits have in inducing a price rebound, the fruits of those labors will be enjoyed first and foremost by U.S. companies who will find more of their shale operations profitable at higher prices.

I remember when Barack Obama told us we couldn’t drill our way out of our energy shortage.

WELL, OF COURSE SHE DOES: Michelle Obama slams Trump school meals decision.

EVERGREEN HEADLINE: The American Left Is Talking Itself Into Violence — The recent violence that’s marked our college campuses is seeping into the rest of society, and the vast majority of it comes from the intolerant Left.

On March 18th, 1968, Bobby Kennedy told the students at Kansas State University:

As Kennedy began [to speak at Kansas State U.], his voice cracked, and those near the stage noticed his hands trembling and his right leg shaking.After praising [Al] Landon’s distinguished career, he said, “I am also glad to come to the home state of another great Kansan, who wrote, ‘If our colleges and universities do not breed men who riot, who rebel, who attack life with all their youthful vision and vigor then there is something wrong with our colleges. The more riots that come on college campuses, the better the world for tomorrow.’ ” …

At first he seemed tentative and wooden, stammering and repeating himself, too nervous to punctuate his sentences with gestures. But with each round of applause he became more animated. Soon he was pounding the lectern with his right fist, and shouting out his words.

Rene Carpenter watched the students in the front rows. Their faces shone, and they opened their mouths in unison, shouting, “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!”

Hays Gorey, of Time, called the electricity between Kennedy and the K.S.U. students “real and rare” and said that ” .. John Kennedy … himself couldn’t be so passionate, and couldn’t set off such sparks.”

Kevin Rochat was close to weeping because Kennedy was so direct and honest. He kept telling himself, My God! He’s saying exactly what I’ve been thinking! ..

Kennedy concluded by saying, “Our country is in danger: not just from foreign enemies; but above all, from our own misguided policies–and what they can do to the nation that Thomas Jefferson once said was the last, great hope of mankind. There is a contest on, not for the rule of America but for the heart of America. In these next eight months we are going to decide what this country will stand for–and what kind of men we are.”

He raised his fist in the air so it resembled the revolutionary symbol on posters hanging in student rooms that year, promised “a new America,” and the hall erupted in cheers and thunderous applause.

As he started to leave, waves of students rushed the platform, knocking over chairs and raising more dust. They grabbed at him, stroking his hair and ripping his shirtsleeves. Herb Schmertz was left with a lifelong phobia of crowds. University officials opened a path to a rear exit, but Kennedy waved them off and waded into the crowd …

Or as a rather prominent far left community organizer said in various speeches to his constituents decades later, punish your enemies, If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun, get in their faces, and punch back twice as hard, I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry, etc.

WSJ EDITORIAL BOARD: The fastest way to lose Congress is by not repealing ObamaCare.

I’ve been saying this for three months.

THEY’LL GET RIGHT ON THAT, KEITH: Keith Olbermann Pleads with Spy Agencies Around the World to Help Him Take Down Trump.

It hardly seems likely that even the Deep State Obama holdovers in the American intelligence community want to get on board with Olbermann.

IT’S THE FRANCISCO FRANCO OF POLICY INITIATIVES: Obamacare Is Still Failing.

It’s worth remembering amid the brouhaha over the GOP’s tumultuous efforts to come up with a replacement: Obamacare still isn’t working. Many of its most valuable achievements are not sustainable. . . .

In any case, the thing that is slowly killing Obamacare, with or without Republican help, is the same thing that is making it so hard for the GOP to come up with an alternative: American health care costs too much. Solving this problem isn’t just about litigating the merits of Obamacare or Trumpcare; it’s about ensuring that the American people have access to the health care they want and need while keeping the country solvent.

We can’t do this all at once by some mighty government fiat—or, for that matter, through a blind faith in private markets. It took two generations for us to work ourselves into our present mess, and it will take time to work our way back to a sane and sustainable system.

America’s problem is that we have too many areas like this: Decades of gradual screwing-up by can-kicking politicians, with the bills now coming due in ways that can’t be fixed short of catastrophe.

YES: You Want Checks And Balances? Stop Ignoring The Constitution When You’re In Power: The Democrats’ newfound adoration of separation of power isn’t credible. And that helps Trump.

Fact is, we’ve had (at least) two norm-busting presidents with authoritarian impulses in a row. Both believe in ruling with a pen and a personality, disregarding process whenever it suits their political purposes. One was a thoughtful-sounding, charismatic force, and a talented fibber; a virtuoso at erecting strawmen and offering false choices. He pushed his party farther to the Left than it has ever been. The other is a clumsy and transparent fibber, an incompetent novice, pushing his party into whatever ideologically untethered position is catching his fancy at the moment. Only one of these men, however, was given a free pass by most people in the institutional media because his progressive ideological outlook pleases their sensibilities.

You don’t trust Donald Trump to name an FBI director, even though it’s within his purview to do so? Well, I don’t trust Barack Obama to enter into faux treaties with a bunch of nations without Senate approval or to unilaterally legalize millions of people without Congress. I understand that you find those unilateral decisions morally comforting, but if process and norms matter they should always matter. (An example of the opposite would be an ACLU lawyer who argues that Trump’s immigration order might have been constitutional had Hillary signed it. This undermines trust.)

While there is plenty of hypocrisy to go around, Democrats’ newfound adoration of checks and balances simply isn’t credible. And once that trust has been eroded, it’s difficult to regain it. Most Americans aren’t impressed by procedure. So why would they surrender power when they’re certain you will abuse it again four years from now?

Yes, I have zero trust in — or respect for — all the people suddenly concerned about nonpartisan bureaucracies and the rule of law after eight years of Obama getting a pass. To hell with you people, to coin a phrase.

WHY THE FBI KEPT HAVING TO CLEAN UP OUR POLITICAL MESSES: “You say Donald Trump sometimes sounds like he’s nuts? If he is, he’s not even in the top five nuttiest figures to get elected recently.”

And this fellow didn’t even make the list:

Related: “My job is to be so persuasive that if there’s anybody left out there who is still not sure whether they will vote, or is still not clear who they will vote for, that a light will shine through that window, a beam of light will come down upon you, you will experience an epiphany…and you will suddenly realize that you must go to the polls and vote for Obama.”

HMM: Senate GOP fails to repeal Obama’s methane rule.

The resolution of disapproval will now have one day to be reconsidered for repeal and get it to the president’s desk for signature.

The House passed a similar resolution using its authority under the Congressional Review Act back in February. Under the review act, the Senate only has until Thursday to pass the rule.

The rule is considered duplicative due to an EPA rule already in place that requires drillers to control their methane emissions from natural gas and oil wells.

Rules within rules within rules…

MY GOD, WHAT DID WE DO TO DESERVE HIM? Obama: You get the politicians you deserve.

IF THEY’D DONE THAT FROM THE BEGINNING IT NEVER WOULD HAVE PASSED: ‘Lie of the Year’ Winner Barack Obama Admonishes Congress to ‘Speak the Truth’ About Obamacare. If you like your shameless hypocrisy, you can keep your shameless hypocrisy.

HOW QUICKLY WILL THE DNC-MSM MEMORY HOLE THIS STATISTIC? Comey: 15 Percent of Terror Cases Came as Refugees.

Flashback: Former President Obama, who believed that America could always “absorb” another terror attack, “frequently remind[ed] his staff that terrorism takes far fewer lives in America than handguns, car accidents, and falls in bathtubs do,” as his stenographer Jeffrey Goldberg chillingly noted last year.

UPDATE: Trump fires Comey.

SHOCK-JOCK POLS: Democrats are projecting competence by swearing.

Noah Rothman:

A New York Magazine profile of obvious 2020 hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand featured the esteemed gentlewoman from New York unleashing cascade of profanity upon her interlocutor. Her interview included “one ‘f***,’ two ‘f***ings,’ one ‘bulls***,’” and a variety of other lesser but equally crude expletives, according to Politico’s Alex Caton. At a public event, while sitting across from several former speechwriters for Barack Obama, California Senator Kamala Harris (another likely 2020 candidate) castigated Representative Raul Labrador for claiming that Americans do not die for want of health insurance. “What the f*** is that?” she remarked. Her audience roared and ate it up.

Republicans “don’t give a s*** about people,” barked newly elected Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez in an attack on the GOP’s approach to health-care reform. Perez employed similarly salty language to attack the Trump White House’s spending proposals. “They call it a skinny budget,” he said. “I call it a sh***y budget.” Representative Beto O’Rourke can often be seen weaving the occasional “s***” into stump speeches as he prepares to challenge Senator Ted Cruz. “Mr. President: If there was a wiretap at Trump Tower, that means a fed judge found probable cause of crime which means you are in deep s***,” tweeted Representative Ted Lieu, whose garment-rending online persona has attracted a devoted following of hysterical liberals.

Once is sui generis. Twice is a coincidence. Forty-seven times is a campaign.

Indeed. It’s about keeping the base riled up until November, 2018.

As to what that says about the base, I’ll leave as an exercise for the reader.

OBAMA WASTING NO TIME SETTLING INTO THE HECTORING JIMMY CARTER PHASE OF HIS POST-PRESIDENCY:

Obama now lecturing America on food waste and eating meat, gets fact-checked by his former chef.

Barack Obama Jets to Milan to Deliver Climate Change Speech, says there that Climate Change ‘Created by Man’ and ‘Can Be Solved.

Crucial for Americans to Resist ‘Hate,’ Obama Says in Rare Address.

That last item is pretty rich coming from a guy who before his last State of the Union address, met with a rapper who featured an illustration of a gang posing with a recently murdered judge in front of the White House on his then-most recent album.

POLITICS: Barack Obama Almost Married a White Woman, But Ambition and Race Got in the Way.

AND YOU THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Why Everything We Know About Salt May Be Wrong. And yet Nannies like Mike Bloomberg and Michelle Obama wanted to socially engineer America’s diet based on science that turned out to be wrong.

JON GABRIEL: So, the Obama Presidential Library Is Really Ugly. “A discarded Chinese take-out box. The backside of a Star Wars sand crawler. The Washington Monument with the interesting bits lopped off.”

Heh. He’s too kind.

BUT OF COURSE: Islamic State Threatens More Attacks on Egypt’s Christians, Obama DHS Adviser Says They Have It Coming.

They shouldn’t have worn such short skirts.

POP: The debt-bubble landmine Obama left for Trump.

When this debt bubble bursts, just as the last one did, the manufacturing jobs Trump wants to save will be in even greater peril.

The country’s last bubble was in housing. Between 2000 and 2007, Americans nearly doubled their mortgage debt, from $5.9 trillion to $10.6 trillion.

This didn’t bother anyone in a position of power. The housing boom created millions of jobs, from construction to home-furnishing, and people felt rich.

What bothered the pols was when the illusion broke.

Since the 2008 crash, neither Democrats nor Republicans have been interested in creating a sturdier economy. Instead, they’ve built up another bubble, this time in the car and SUV industry.

How? The same way: cheap debt. In 2010, Americans owed $809 billion on their cars (after adjusting for inflation). Today, they owe nearly $1.2 trillion, according to the New York Fed.

That’s a 50% increase in an economy which has barely grown since 2009. And as Glenn likes to remind you, anything that can’t go on forever will stop.

AETNA CEO: Obamacare Will Continue to Deteriorate If Nothing Happens.

Aetna, one of the largest insurers in the United States, announced last week that it planned to exit the Obamacare exchanges in Iowa and Virginia, citing major losses.

“Looking beyond 2017, we continue to evaluate our footprint with a view towards significantly reducing our exposure to individual commercial products in 2018,” said Shawn Guertin, Aetna’s chief financial officer. “We have already disclosed our planned 2018 exit from one of our 2017 state-based exchanges and intend to communicate other 2018 footprint decisions when appropriate.”

Bertolini mentioned that Medica, another health care insurer, notified Iowa last week that it was also pulling out of the exchanges which means there will be no one in Iowa with coverage.

I’m so old I can remember when ObamaCare was touted as the salvation for private health coverage.

NBC NEWS: Crucial for Americans to Resist ‘Hate,’ Obama Says in Rare Address.

His previous rare address was two weeks ago.

VIDEO: Obama Communications Director Doubts Hillary Would Have Won Before Comey.

IF BARACK OBAMA HAD A SON, would he be sitting on this giant pink flamingo pool float? It does kinda look like a younger, buffer Barack. His companion, however, doesn’t look much like Michelle.

MY HUSBAND WOULD HAVE DIED WITH OBAMA CARE: A woman compares ObamaCare denials and deceits to what the private insurance market provided for her husband.

A JOKE LIKE THIS ABOUT THE OBAMA FAMILY WOULD BE A CAREER-ENDER: Real Time host Bill Maher is accused of crossing the line with tasteless incest joke about Ivanka Trump. Instead, this isn’t even the first time Maher’s done this.

This is why I’m unmoved by lefty claims that the right lacks decency or humanity.