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REVISITING 2016 MEDIA BIAS: With the elite media increasingly suggesting that they were too harsh on Clinton and not hostile enough to Trump in 2016, it’s perhaps time to revisit just how biased elite media outlets were in 2016. Consider, for example, this NPR interview with the executive editor of the New York Times, Dean Baquet. Baquet explains why the newspaper decided to use the word “lie” when referring to what seems like ordinary campaign obfuscation: “I think the moment for me was the birther story, where he has repeated for years his belief that President Obama was not born in the United States.” This, for some reason, justifies using the word “lie” more generally with regard to Trump and his campaign, but not with regard to any false statements by Clinton: “I don’t think Hillary Clinton, to be honest, has crossed the line the way Donald Trump did with the birther issue.” Thus, in NewYorkTimesworld Clinton merely obfuscates and exaggerates, while Trump lies. You can’t make this stuff up.

My guess is that Clinton lost far more votes because they resented the elites were shoving Clinton down their throats than because of the “Russian interference” the elites now want to blame for Clinton’s defeat. The response, apparently, is for the elite media to double-down on its strategy of overtly favoring whomever runs against Trump, which, I suspect, is how we get more Trump in 2020.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: VIDEO: Students shocked that Obama also sent troops to border.

I THINK IT’S SIGNIFICANT THAT THIS IS IN THE WEEKLY STANDARD: NeverTrumpers: What if Trump really is making America great again?

They are afflicted with a nagging suspicion. Trump might, how shall they whisper it, Make America Great Again.

The tax bill has given the economy a bit of a tailwind, most Americans have more money in their pockets, and corporations have greater incentives to step up spending and to bring some funds home. The NAFTA trade agreement with Mexico and Canada likely will be revised to America’s advantage. The president’s decision to punish Assad for crossing the red line that Obama refused to enforce is popular and his decision to defer to his military advisers and keep the response targeted so as not to induce a response from Russia has met with broad approval. His threats against North Korea—my nukes are bigger than your nukes—appalled the fastidious members of the establishment diplomatic community, but have Kim Jong-un claiming to be willing to negotiate a peace treaty with South Korea and détente with the United States.

Then there is China. Trump has done what previous administrations failed to do: forced China to make some concessions, opening at least a crack in the wall it has erected against imports. Majority-owned American financial firms will gain entry into several sectors, and tariffs on made-in-America automobiles will come down, while the United States tightens restrictions on intellectual property theft by the Chinese regime, in part by limiting China’s ability to buy tech-heavy U.S. firms. Even dyed-in-the-cotton-apparel free-traders are now conceding that the president’s negotiating tactic—threaten to bring down the international system, unless it gets fixed—is working. And should have been tried administrations ago. . . .

So here is BT and AT:

Before Trump, Assad could use chemical weapons with impunity; after Trump, he pays a steep price. BT, China could plunder American intellectual property and disregard the rules of the trading system that it has manipulated in its rise to power; AT, it fears Trump’s tariffs sufficiently to begin modifying its unfair trading practices. BT, Russia could wage cyberwar on the U.S. electoral system without fear of response from America; AT, Putin and his oligarch cronies find themselves being cut off from access to the world financial system. BT, the economy was mired in sub-trend growth; AT and his tax cut, growth is up. BT, in the post-war years most presidents projected a dignity of sorts; AT, presidential dignity is not even considered a virtue.

Seems like a fair deal.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS. MSNBC: Get It? Trump Is Like the Mob Boss in The Godfather:

Trump is like mobster Don Corleone in The Godfather because he kinda quoted a line from the classic gangster movie. Twice (so far) on Thursday, MSNBC played a clip of Marlon Brando saying, “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.” This was to introduce discussions of the President.

Why? Because Trump said of the possibility of re-entering TPP: “Unless they offer us a deal that we cannot refuse, I would not go back into TPP.” Not quite the line, but close enough for MSNBC hosts apparently. Co-host Willie Geist opened Morning Joe with both the clip from the film and Trump. He marveled, “Going right to The Godfather this morning.”

And of course, CNN, with no memory of their past excesses, in February, saw Trump as “a mafia boss gone mad!” But why is that a problem to them? I’m old enough to remember back when a president posing as a gangster was seen as being cool, hip and desirable by the MSM, including this 2010 headline at CNN by Rev. Wright acolyte Roland Martin: “Time for Obama to go ‘gangsta’ on GOP.”

Choose the form of your destructor

THEY’RE NOT GOING TO LIKE THE NEW RULES: Far Left Protesters Target NRA Lobbyists’ Home. “Mr. and Mrs. Cox have been targeted over the past few months by repeated acts of criminal and unlawful conduct, including having their home vandalized on two occasions and Mrs. Cox’s business on another occasion.”

Plus:

“I don’t think the Cox family is getting enough social pressure,” said [Amanda] Gailey, a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “Nobody from their kids’ school or their yoga class sees [a protest] happening” at the NRA headquarters…

“If I made him uncomfortable at his house, too bad, he deserves it,” [Catherine] Koebel said in an interview. “I felt unsafe in my home because of his product.”…

“It is aggressive,” Gailey acknowledged. “I wouldn’t do that unless we were protesting someone who I believe is a truly indefensible human being.”

Yeah, I’ve got a little list of that kind of people myself. And you’re on it. And if this is the standard, a lot of lefties better watch out. They have an awful lot of indefensible human beings in their ranks.

Chaser: “Amanda Gailey is the leader of a group called Nebraskans Against Gun Violence. In 2016, she was invited by the Obama White House to personally meet President Obama when he gave a speech in Omaha.”

They did the same thing to Ajit Pai, and his wife and kids, over Net Neutrality. Because everything’s life-and-death to the left.

Maybe Trump supporters should start targeting anti-Trump politicians and media folks, now that we’ve established a precedent — going back to Obama’s busloads of SEIU astroturfers — that it’s okay to target people’s homes. But if that happens, we’ll get a lot of have-you-no-decency pushback that’s mysteriously missing from these incidents.

UPDATE: Hey, look, the NRA is having a membership drive.

JULIE KELLY: A Very Bad Week for #TheResistance. “Several polls this week show the double-digit lead that Democrats had in the generic congressional ballot at the end of last year is nearly gone. Issues such as immigration and gun control are backfiring, while most voters credit Trump—not Obama—with the strong economy: The Democratic Party is bitter, listless, and devoid of any winning message or policy agenda. Which brings us to the week’s worst news for the Left and NeverTrump Republicans, who have devoted 100 percent of their energy to taking down the president via Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government before the 2016 election: The credibility of the investigation and the key players involved in the scam is disintegrating.”

WE CAN’T AFFORD A THIRD OBAMA TERM ANYWAY:  Eric Holder for Prison, Not President.

JIM GERAGHTY: James Comey’s Stellar Windiness.

Comey mentions that the New York Times editorial board called Bill Clinton’s pardon of Rich “a shocking abuse of federal power,” and he adds that Clinton’s pardon of a fugitive was, to his knowledge, unprecedented. But he also writes, “In the end, we did not find sufficient evidence to bring any charges and closed the case.” From his mention of the Times editorial and the unprecedented nature of the pardon, we get a vague sense that Comey disapproved of Clinton’s pardon, but no real elaboration about how this shaped Comey’s perspective on him.

He moves on to the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails, and quickly swats away the claim from Clinton defenders that this was merely a harmless mistake. “There were thirty-six e-mail chains about topics that could cause ‘serious’ damage to national security and eight that could be expected to cause ‘exceptionally grave’ damage to the security of the United States if released.” But he spends a lot of time discussing the difficulty of proving intent. Does Comey really believe that every one of these emails was an innocent mistake, and that Clinton never realized what she was doing?

Comey offers a passage lamenting the absurdity of Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s request that he refer to the questioning about Clinton’s e-mails as a “matter,” not an “investigation.” But Comey went out and did it anyway, telling reporters that he was confident that “personnel assigned to the matter” would be “able to do it in a professional, prompt, and independent way.”

Comey points out that in October 2015 and April 2016, President Obama declared that Clinton had merely made a “mistake” that had not endangered national security, but laments, “To this day, I don’t know why he spoke about the case publicly and seemed to absolve her before a final determination had been made.”

It’s weird that someone who spent almost two decades relieving the Clintons of the burdens of their criminality would fail to recognize someone else doing the same thing.

RICH LOWRY: Why has the Republican Congress given up on doing anything?

In a gift for the ages, Republicans won all elected branches of the federal government in 2016. They had no reason to expect Trump to win the presidency, and, in fact, very few of them expected it. The initial ecstasy over Trump “signing their stuff” has given way to the reality that they don’t have stuff to send him.

Republicans couldn’t roll back ObamaCare, in part because the party hadn’t thought through what the Republican alternative was — even though anyone could have known this would be the central question if the GOP ever got a legitimate shot at repeal.

They passed a tax cut that included important reforms that even the Democratic repeal bills don’t want to completely undo and that are boosting the economy.
That’s all to the good. But tax cuts aren’t a magic political elixir.

First, Trump is right, as he said at an event a couple of weeks ago when he tossed away his script, that they are boring. They don’t have the emotive appeal of issues like trade and immigration. Second, there are limits to how effectively you can run on the one big thing you accomplished last year (and as of this November, it will be almost exactly a year ago).

This is the truly extraordinary aspect of the current situation. Republicans are content not to do anything else of significance in Congress this year. They passed an omnibus spending bill that was rightly denounced as a disgrace by Trump even as he signed it, and the Senate is working to confirm Trump appointees.

That’s pretty much it.

I keep saying the GOP should legislate like there’s no tomorrow. Instead, they’re legislating (or rather, not legislating) like they don’t care if they have a tomorrow.

MICHAEL BARONE: Collusion, Anyone?

As the likelihood of the charges of Trump campaign “collusion” with Russia seems headed toward zero, the likelihood of proof of a different form of “collusion” seems headed upward toward certainty.

The Russia collusion charge had some initial credibility because of businessman Trump’s dealings in Russia and candidate Trump’s off-putting praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was fueled by breathless media coverage of such trivial events as Jeff Sessions’ exchange of pleasantries with the Russian ambassador at a Washington reception.

And, of course, by the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel. But Mueller’s prosecutions of Trump campaign operatives were for misdeeds long before the campaign, and his indictment of 13 Russians specified that no American was a “knowing participant” in their work.

Now, there’s talk that Mueller is winding up his investigation. Whenever he finishes, it seems unlikely his work will fulfill the daydreams so many liberals have of making Trump go the way of Richard Nixon.

Meanwhile, the evidence builds of collusion by the Obama administration’s law enforcement and intelligence personnel in trying to elect Hillary Clinton and defeat and delegitimize Donald Trump in and after the 2016 presidential election.

The investigation of Hillary Clinton’s illegal email system was conducted with kid gloves. One glaring example of impropriety came when FBI Director James Comey was given (and accepted) Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s order to call it a “matter” rather than an “investigation.” Clinton aides were allowed to keep her emails and destroy 30,000 of them, plus cellphones. They were not subject to grand jury subpoenas, and a potential co-defendant was allowed to claim attorney-client privilege.

On June 27, 2016, Lynch clandestinely met with Bill Clinton on his plane at the Phoenix airport — a meeting that became known only thanks to an alert local TV reporter. Lynch supposedly left the decision on prosecution to Comey, who on July 5 announced publicly that Clinton was “extremely careless” but lacked intent to violate the law, even though the statute punishes violations intentional or not.

Contrast that with the collusion of Obama officials with the Clinton campaign-financed Christopher Steele/Fusion GPS memorandum alleging Trump ties with Russians. Comey and the Justice Department used it, without divulging who paid for it, to get a FISA warrant to surveil former Trump campaign operative Carter Page’s future and past communications — the “wiretap” Trump was derided for mentioning.

Similarly, when Comey informed Trump in January 2017 of the contents of the then-unpublished Steele memorandum, he didn’t reveal that the Clinton campaign paid for it. Asked on his book tour why not, he blandly said he didn’t know.

Well, we know.

SURPRISE! STUDENTS WHO MISBEHAVE A LOT GET DISCIPLINED MORE OFTEN THAN OTHER STUDENTS: It’s really stunning when one hears of school districts getting in trouble because they discipline disabled students at higher rates than non-disabled students. The problem is that we DEFINE students who chronically misbehave as “disabled.” So, of course, they get disciplined more often than non-disabled students. How could they not? Teachers have to maintain order in the classroom if any learning is to take place.  The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a briefing on this and other discipline-related topics recently. It had a certain Alice-in-Wonderland feel to it.

For my law review article of the racial aspects of the topic, read The Department of Education’s Obama-Era Initiative on Racial Disparities in School Discipline: Wrong for Students and Teachers, Wrong on the Law.

DAVID HARSANYI: No, Republican Presidents Aren’t Responsible For Most Of America’s Debt.

Leonhardt, for example, makes a bunch of inconvenient debt that resulted from spending liberals deem “necessary” simply disappear. The stimulus bill championed and signed by President Obama was pegged at $787 billion, but the cost grew to around $2.6 trillion when “automatic stabilizers” — Keynesian spending increases embedded into law — were included. The above graph discounts “automatic stabilizers,” which are both supported by Democrats and a reflection of economic conditions.

While ignoring $1.8 trillion might be politically convenient, the fact is that the day Obama left office, the debt was almost $20 trillion, nearly double what it was when he got there. According to the Office of Management and Budget, the deficit went from just over 52 percent of gross domestic product at the end of fiscal year 2009 to 77 percent of GDP at the end of fiscal year 2016. With all that spending, Obama still oversaw the weakest recovery in American history.

The only other way a person can argue Obama “lowered deficits” is by comparing his first year of historically high deficits — fueled by outlays that he either signed into law, voted for, or supported — to his other years (akthough deficits were again rising by the end of his term). That is deceptive, to say the least.

Many presidents are guilty of growing the debt, but no president in history had ever taken on more than Obama did. And when we stop tipping the scale, and solely compare debt to the percentage of total economic output under all these presidents, we are left with a far different picture than Leonhardt’s selective framing.

Similar trickery was used to minimize American deaths to terrorist attacks, by ignoring the attacks of 9/11/2001.

UNPOSSIBLE, HE USES NONE OF THE APPROVED STOCK PHRASES: Roger Simon: Trump Vastly Better than Obama at Foreign Policy.

Now that we have learned CIA director and secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jung-un over Easter, it is time to acknowledge the obvious: the foreign policy of political novice Donald Trump has been vastly more successful that that of the supposedly experienced Barack Obama.

And vastly is an understatement. Obama’s foreign policy was a disaster, beginning with the peculiar apology tour that mystified much of its Middle Eastern audience, through the yet more peculiar (misspelled) reset button with Russia that further mystified Sergei Lavrov, on to Obama’s overheard whisper to Medvedev telling Putin he would be more accommodating on missile defense after the election (imagine the apoplectic reaction of our media if Trump did that!) to the Libyan war leading to the assassination of Qaddafi (the only Arab leader to voluntarily denuclearize) that created a failed state and a raft of refugees to Italy and elsewhere, and, of course, the rapid exit from Iraq that gave rise to ISIS.

And this omits the equally egregious examples – the failure to enforce the red line on Assad’s use of chemical weapons, about which he naively believed Putin, and the never-signed, never published Iran Deal itself, which has done nothing but enrich the mullahs who wreak havoc from Venezuela to Yemen. This duplicitous and unverifiable non-agreement prolonged the monstrous Syrian civil war, causing the greatest refugee crisis since World War II and changing the character of Europe possibly forever.

There’s more but you get the point. Not even Jimmy Carter had that bad a record. And this is without Obama’s sickening lack of response to the freedom demonstrators in Iran. (“Obama, Obama, are you with us or are you with them?” Well, we know.)

And Trump?

To begin with, there’s the near-annihilation of ISIS. Then there’s the renewed alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States without, miracle of miracles, the ostracism of Israel. Indeed, while announcing the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem (with little protest by ME standards), the Israeli-Saudi alliance has flourished. Does this mean an solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem is imminent? Probably not. But at least the decades of moribund unchanging policy since Oslo have finally been bypassed and new perspectives made possible.

Read the whole thing.

SUPREME COURT: Supreme Court sides with immigrant facing deportation, Gorsuch casts deciding vote. Despite the partisan slant here, I’m not so sure he was wrong. Burglary isn’t a “crime of violence.” And note that although he ruled against Trump, he also voted against Obama: “The Trump administration had defended the law, as the Obama administration did.” Giving administrative agencies broad powers based on vague statutes isn’t a good idea.

GRAVY TRAIN: HUD Let Nearly $2 Billion Go To People Barred From Getting Federally Protected Loans.

The loans were distributed in 2016 to 9,507 borrowers who were either delinquent on federal debt or hadn’t paid their child support, according to HUD’s inspector general (IG). The IG reviewed 60 of the nearly 14,000 loans Federal Housing Administration (FHA) closed in 2016 and found more than three-quarters were given to barred borrowers.

“FHA faced a higher risk due to an increased likelihood of default on the ineligible loans,” the report said. The borrowers had a delinquency rate “twice as high as those of the general population.” (RELATED: At Least A Quarter Of Every Tax Dollar For HUD Grants May Be Wasted)

The agency’s guidance prohibits lenders from giving out FHA-insured loans to borrowers with delinquent federal debt, according to the IG report.

The sources lenders used “to identify ineligible borrowers lacked sufficient current information, and FHA did not adequately guide lenders on reviewing child support,” the report said.

This happened during Barack Obama’s “amazingly scandal-free” administration.

RAISE THE CONE OF SILENCE: Watchdog finds EPA broke law by spending $43K on Scott Pruitt’s soundproof booth and not telling Congress.

In a report issued Monday, the Government Accountability Office said the agency violated the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2017 when it failed to notify both House and Senate appropriations committees prior to obligating the money to install a soundproof privacy booth in Pruitt’s office.

Any office expenditure above $5,000 requires lawmakers be notified, according to the eight-page GAO report. The total cost of the soundproof booth and its installation amounted to $43,238.68.

The privacy booth cost $24,570, including delivery and assembly, according to the GAO. The remaining expenses included: “Concrete Floor Leveling” ($3,470); “Drop Ceiling Installation” ($3,360.97) “Prep and Wall Painting” ($3,350); “Removal of CCTV Equipment” ($7,978); and “Infrastructure Cabling and Wiring” ($509.71).

EPA Spokeswoman Liz Bowman said the agency would comply with the findings and alert lawmakers.

It’s important to cross all the I’s and dot all the T’s, especially when the press is out to get you.

EXHIBIT A IN THE NEW HOLLYWOOD BLACKLIST: Hollywood Blacklisted Lee Ermey for Thought Crimes Against Barack Obama.

Why, it’s like five decades of anti-Blacklist movies was just the world’s longest modified limited hangout or something.

CARL CANNON: Special Prosecutorial Abuse.

We’re supposed to be reassured that the FBI agents who raided the offices and home of Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael A. Cohen, were, in Cohen’s words, “courteous” and “respectful.”

The president’s attorney was understandably grateful that the agents didn’t replicate the FBI’s tactics at the home of Paul Manafort, Trump’s onetime campaign manager. Busting in before dawn, guns drawn, with a “no knock” warrant while Manafort and his wife were in bed, the agents frisked Mrs. Manafort while she was still in her nightclothes.

Perhaps Cohen thinks if he sounds reasonable, he can appease Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor who ordered Manafort’s arrest, or his other federal prosecutors behind this raid. Or maybe Cohen simply developed the quickest case of Stockholm syndrome in history. Whatever his reasons, a line has been violated. The government is going after lawyers now, as part of an investigation that feels as though policy differences and partisan politics have been criminalized.

Since the day Trump entered political life, liberals, Democratic activists, and media pundits have issued ominous warnings about the coming authoritarianism. When Trump shocked his critics by winning the presidency, this alarm became a crescendo. The “f” word was bandied about: Fascism, we were admonished, was in our future if we didn’t “resist” this presidency.

The resistance has taken many forms: marches and school walkouts; myriad lawsuits against the president; the refusal by Senate Democrats to vote in favor of administration Cabinet nominees; sustained attacks on those appointees who were confirmed; national ad campaigns demanding impeachment; showy resignations from career foreign service officers; leaks of national security information by Obama administration officials; and the suspension of journalistic objectivity by entire news organizations.

It’s as if these people don’t believe in democracy.

Plus:

The Palmer Raids, as they were known, begat the ACLU. I grew up in a family where that organization was respected and where Gene Debs was a household name. My mother once described Debs to me matter-of-factly as a political prisoner. Today’s ACLU doesn’t defend Donald Trump from prosecutorial overreach. It’s now a partisan organization unconcerned with due process. On its website, you’ll be met with a solicitation: “Donate monthly to fight Trump’s attacks on people’s rights.”

Okay, but what about the FBI’s attacks on Trump’s right to legal counsel — and, by implication, the rights of the rest of us? Because if they can do it to his lawyer, they can do it to yours. Do the ends justify the means? Or do we live by rule of law? Choose one.

Oh, the ACLU has chosen.

MARK PENN IN THE HILL: Comey’s Last Stand For The Deep State.

They were among the most powerful men of the last decade. They commanded armies of armed agents, had the ability to bug and wiretap almost anyone, and had virtually unlimited budgets. They were the leadership of the FBI, the CIA and the director of national intelligence under President Obama. Each day, it becomes clearer that they are the real abusers of power in this drama.

The book by former FBI Director James Comey and the daily hyperbolic John Brennan sound bites are perhaps the final reveal of just how much hubris and vitriol they had. Comey’s book, according to reports, contains nothing new of legal consequence to Trump (while suggesting that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch has something to worry about), but it unmasks the hatred that Comey had for Donald Trump from the beginning. It impeaches Comey’s fitness to have ever held high, nonpartisan office.

Whether you are a Democrat who can’t stand Trump, a Hillary Clinton supporter who feels robbed by Comey, or a Trump supporter, any use of wiretapping and vast prosecutorial machinery against our political campaigns and sitting presidents always has to be viewed skeptically and should meet the highest standards of conduct and impartiality. The post-election actions of these former officials makes suspect their actions as officials.

Yes, they’ve called into question the very legitimacy of government as it operates nowadays.

WELL,  SHOWING HER WOULD DEFINITELY PUT THE LIE ON THEIR PRAISE OF MICHELLE OBAMA’S BEAUTY:  Magazine editors turn blind eye to Melania.

MORE DEEP-DIVING FROM REALCLEARINVESTIGATIONS: Broward School Violence: Cruz’s Massacre Is Far From the Full Story.

Broward County, Fla., school officials portray as a great success their Obama administration-inspired program offering counseling to students who break the law, instead of having them arrested or expelled. They insist that it played no role in February’s school massacre by Nikolas Cruz. They also claim that in fact juvenile recidivism rates are down and school safety is up, thanks to the program.

The evidence tells a far different story.

Broward County juvenile justice division records, federal studies of Broward school district safety and the district’s own internal reporting show that years of “intensive” counseling didn’t just fail to reform repeat offender Cruz, who allegedly went on to shoot and kill 17 people at his high school. Records show such policies have failed to curtail other campus violence and its effects now on the rise in district schools — including fighting, weapons use, bullying and related suicides.

Meanwhile, murders, armed robberies and other violent felonies committed by children outside of schools have hit record levels, and some see a connection with what’s happening on school grounds. Since the relaxing of discipline, Broward youths have not only brazenly punched out their teachers, but terrorized Broward neighborhoods with drive-by shootings, gang rapes, home invasions and carjackings.

But the policy makes the schools’ numbers look good, which is all they care about.

WAIT, YOU MEAN OBAMA’S DACA ENCOURAGES ID THEFT BY ILLEGAL ALIENS? Yes, that’s exactly what Dale Wilcox of the Immigration Reform Law Institute contends and he’s got the data to prove it. As Glenn famously says, read the whole thing.

THE IMPORTANCE OF STRIKING SYRIA’S SCIENTIFIC STUDIES AND RESEARCH CENTER: As Claudia Rosett writes, “Leading from in front, President Trump is finally redrawing the red line that President Obama erased in 2013. Whatever the threats and criticisms that will surely follow, the world will be safer for it. The vital message is that America is no longer the hamstrung giant of the Obama era.”

Read the whole thing.

TO BE FAIR, HE WAS JUST TOO DARN BUSY BEING GUIDED BY THE BEAUTY OF OUR WEAPONS. Doofus: Brian Williams is trending because he referred to President Trump as President Obama (video).

(Classical reference in headline.)

ANDREW MCCARTHY thinks the Michael Cohen investigation poses a real threat to Trump.

Meanwhile, from Lee Smith: Robert Mueller’s Beltway Cover-Up: By using the justice system as a political weapon, Mueller and his supporters in both parties are confirming what many Americans already believe: We are not all equal under one law. “Mueller’s job is to obscure the abuses of the US surveillance apparatus that occurred under the Obama administration.”

Flashback: “Hypothesis: The spying-on-Trump thing is worse than we even imagine, and once it was clear Hillary had lost and it would inevitably come out, the Trump/Russia collusion talking point was created as a distraction.”

Plus: “But if they thought Hillary was sure to win, why bother spying on Trump? A sinister reason: To prosecute him — for something, anything they could discover — after he lost, so as to properly cow Hillary’s opposition. That might be true, but on the other hand, LBJ spied on Goldwater when his win was assured, and Nixon did the same vs. McGovern. Why would unthreatened incumbents spy on opponents they expect to lose? Maybe they do it for the same reason a dog licks himself: Because he can.”

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: Losing perspective — and understanding — in the era of Trump.

We have left the simple and reassuring rhythms of the progress of legislation, of the White House “message of the day,” of the ritualized game of hide and seek between the press and officials elected and appointed, of Republican and Democratic squabbling over the 50-yard lines of majority rule, of debate and discussion in which civility and decorum, manners and deference, are prized above all.

We have left all this and moved instead into a march played at the fastest tempo, in 6/8 time, where a given week brings us the FBI raid of the offices of a presidential lawyer, an impending military strike on Syria (“Get ready Russia!”), the testimony of a Silicon Valley Titan before Congress, the retirement of a Speaker of the House who practically defines not only the establishment of his party but also the supply-side ideology that has dominated its thinking for a generation, hearings for secretary of State, and much else besides. This is a song filled with contradictions, in which porn stars and Playmates haunt the presidency of a man backed by a supermajority of self-identified evangelical Christians; in which a genius innovator and entrepreneur faces his most skeptical questioning from members of the pro-business party; in which a liberal New York crowd erupts in cheers at the mention of Paul Ryan’s retirement, without giving even the slightest thought to the politics that might replace him.

I am not saying that the weirdness, the distortion, began with President Trump. This story opens years earlier, with a financial crisis in which those responsible paid no price, with economic stagnation and the rise in deaths of despair in the American interior, with the decline in race relations during the second half of the Obama presidency, with mass migrations of peoples across borders and progressive governments unable or unwilling to stop them, and with sudden bureaucratic announcements that public school restrooms are to be made gender neutral, that the population covered by DACA is to be expanded beyond what the president said was legal just months before, that teachers and principals cannot enforce discipline in the public schools without coming under suspicion of racism.

These really are Heinlein’s Crazy Years.

THE… WHAT? Obama judge OKs lawsuit forcing companies to hire DACA recipients.

JUST THINK OF THE MEDIA AS DEMOCRATIC ACTIVISTS AND IT ALL MAKES SENSE: Five Times the Media Didn’t Ask Obama to Resign.

 

 

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Former Obama Defense, CIA Chief: U.S. ‘Has Really Never Had a Strategy’ on Syria.

MICHAEL LEDEEN: The Road to Damascus.

It has long been possible to subvert the failed mullahcracy. Most Iranians detest the regime. Keen-eyed mullahs and ayatollahs know this, and know that they will cease to matter to the majority of Iranians the minute the Islamic Republic falls. They all know, because they have heard the words from Washington, that Trump has no sympathy with the regime. Unlike Obama, he does not want a strategic alliance with Tehran. He prefers Jerusalem and Jedda. As do most Iranians.

So we should be supporting the internal opposition. Perhaps we are, but our leaders and pundits, even now, keep talking as if we must choose between a bigger war and the survival of the regime. I find that unfortunate and deplorable. Why are our leaders not openly calling for democratic revolution in Iran?

Indeed.

IRAN IS ON THE BRINK OF HYPERINFLATION: The Iranian rial is in free fall. Still seem like a good idea for President Obama to provide the regime with hard currency that will help it weather a crisis? Did it ever?

BYRON YORK: If Comey talks to sell books, why not to Congress?

Comey’s promised openness is particularly tantalizing for some congressional investigators who have been trying unsuccessfully to get Comey to answer questions in the months since he was fired. The FBI has treated the Comey memos as if they are classified at the super-duper highest levels — they’re not, with some not being classified at all — and forbidden note-taking by the few lawmakers who have been allowed to see them. And as far as Comey sitting down with, say, the Senate Judiciary Committee as it investigates aspects of the Trump-Russia affair? Forget it.

On May 17, 2017, after Comey was fired, the Judiciary Committee asked him to testify about the circumstances of his firing and his dealings with the Trump and Obama administrations in the Trump-Russia and Clinton email investigations. Comey declined. (He agreed to just one session, with the Senate Intelligence Committee, which had different sorts of questions.)

On May 26, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top two Republicans and top two Democrats — Chairman Chuck Grassley, ranking minority Dianne Feinstein, plus Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Whitehouse — wrote Comey again. “Given our role in considering the nomination of the next FBI director, the still unanswered questions from your last oversight hearing, and our role in oversight of the Justice Department and the FBI, your testimony will be essential to our constitutional duties,” they wrote. Specifically, the lawmakers wanted to know as much as they could find out about Comey’s memos.

On June 1, Comey sent a brief response. “I have received the letter,” he wrote the committee. “As a private citizen now, I respectfully decline to answer the questions. Wishing you the best, Jim Comey.”

Comey has not exchanged a word, spoken or written, with the committee since then.

He’s a hack. Or maybe an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks.

BEN DOMENECH: How Paul Ryan Went From Young Gun To Gone.

In the aftermath of the Democratic waves in 2008, Ryan, McCarthy, and Eric Cantor presented themselves to Republican voters as The Young Guns – a new generation of conservatives largely untainted by the poor decisions of the Bush Administration, ready to lead in a time when Republicans were downtrodden and Democrats ebullient about the possibilities of the Obama years. Of the three, only Ryan had something particularly interesting to say: he was a blue-eyed salesman for the cod liver oil of entitlement reform. And he achieved something truly amazing: he got Republicans, at least for a time, to grasp that third rail. They voted for his reform plans reluctantly at first, but once they discovered the “throw granny off a cliff” ads had little power, their cowardice gradually dissipated.

Ryan was the most important Republican in Washington from 2009 to 2016. He now seems like a throwback from a bygone era, when voters expected their politicians to be straight-laced, honest, and sincere. He was serious, and dedicated himself to trying to tell stories to the American people about the fiscal direction of the country – stories which voters mostly ignored because they always seemed to involve hard news and histograms. Wisconsin nice and a truly decent person, Ryan’s approach was doomed in an era that values none of those things. It values the ferocity, the abandon of confrontational politics, not grand bargains and compromise.

After Eric Cantor crashed into a pile of earmarks, there were a number of political movers and shakers who fixed themselves to Ryanism as a method of grasping at power, not an expression of ideological dedication. They were never really in it because of a belief in Ryan’s refined Citizens for a Sound Economy message (whatever will Henry Olsen write about now?), but because they saw Ryan as a handsome, smart young family man who donors love and see as made for leadership. But leading this herd of cats is a tiring and thankless task Ryan took on out of obligation, not ambition.

It showed — Ryan’s enthusiasm seemed to die as soon as he grabbed the Speaker’s gavel.

JOHN HINDERAKER: Washington Lies In A Parallel Universe.

In the real world, the Trump administration is humming along. Its domestic policies are sensible and have been remarkably successful in a short time. Abroad, the administration has pursued American interests, again with considerable success. It has also made progress, at least, at cleaning up the appalling messes left behind by Barack Obama in Iran, Syria, Russia and North Korea. By any objective standard, the Trump administration is, so far, a major improvement on its predecessor.

But our “news” organizations have little interest in any of those topics. They are obsessed with tweets, with ten-year-old liaisons, with non-existent collusion and with investigations of nothing that apparently will never end. In their parallel world, Trump is such a failure that he might as well quit and save the Democrats the trouble of impeaching him. (For what? is a question that rarely seems to be asked.)

Take yesterday’s press briefing by Sarah Sanders. As always, she began by describing the substantive work going on in the White House that day. As always, the press corps ignored such mundane topics and went straight to la-la land.

Well, yes.

JON GABRIEL: Yes, Anti-Trumpism Is a Failure — And It Was Always Destined to Be One.

As any longtime reader knows, I was a Never Trumper throughout the election. But when the nation selected him, I laid down that label and accepted reality. Trump was my president for the next four to eight years, I earnestly hoped for his and my country’s success, and I would praise or criticize him based on his actions.

But if I were one of those dead-enders who kept fighting reality, the last thing I’d do is rehash the same failed strategy that didn’t stop him in 2016. What is obvious to any Army captain or novice entrepreneur was utterly lost on several of our most celebrated pundits and political strategists.

With Trump’s election, the political landscape changed, just as it did when Obama was elected. Declaring either presidency invalid — due to a Russian conspiracy or a forged birth certificate — was doomed to failure since the voters chose both of them. And mocking a president is easily blurred with mocking the millions who selected him.

It isn’t so much that the line is blurred, as it is that there is no line. Obama denigrated many who would become voters as “bitter clingers.” Clinton spoke openly of “deplorables” and “irredeemables.” And the chattering classes largely share those assessments.

The difference between Obama and Clinton is that he had the political skills to ride it out, and she did not.

WITHOUT DOUBLE STANDARDS, THE LEFT WOULD HAVE NO STANDARDS AT ALL:  Obama’s illegal campaign contributions vs. Trump’s.

CHANGE: Trump administration issues rule further watering down Obamacare.

JEFF REYNOLDS: Leftist Double Standards: Bashing Scott Pruitt While Ignoring Obama’s EPA Scandals. “Pruitt’s transgressions pale in comparison.”

Double standards must be twice as good as regular standards, right?

WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH THE NEW YORK TIMES AND THE WASHINGTON POST? Both those newspapers are confused about the Obama-era school discipline policy that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos should disavow.   So says my essay on NRO today.

If you are interested in the school discipline issue more generally (and golly gee you should be, since the country is doomed, doomed, doomed if the federal government can’t even let teachers maintain order in their classrooms), then read The Department of Education’s Obama-Era Initiative on Racial Disparities in School Discipline: Wrong for Students and Teachers, Wrong on the Law.

NONSTOP RACE-BAITING WILL DO THAT: Flashback: Most say race relations worsened under Obama, poll finds.

HIT ‘EM WHERE IT HURTS: End EPA’s Ideology-Driven Slush Funds.

Another, case in point is the Volkswagen AG scandal from 2015. As part of the VW’s emissions settlement, the company agreed to invest $2 billion on electric vehicle infrastructure in the U.S. While this money may seem connected to the emissions cheating, in reality, it went to a nonprofit interest groups unrelated to the settlement and parties involved. The VW settlement follows not one, but two unsuccessful requests for congressional funding for electric vehicle infrastructure by the Obama administration.

VW wasn’t the only company required to pay money to finance third-parties through slush funds. In the $20.8 billion settlement for the Gulf oil spill, the largest settlement in U.S. history, BP was ordered to pay up to $8.8 billion to the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees in order to fund restoration work on the Gulf of Mexico. Again, while this may seem related, the money going to coastal restoration was also used to fund projects not directly related to the spill.

This a problem.

Nah — quasi-legal slush funds are just another feature of Obama’s “remarkably scandal-free” administration.

And if you want to know why the Left is working so furiously to drive Pruitt from office? It’s all about the money.

KATHY GILSINAN: The Terrible Cost of Obama’s Failure in Syria.

Four years ago, it almost looked as if chemical attacks on Syrian civilians would stop. “We struck a deal where we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out,” declared then-Secretary of State John Kerry on Meet the Press in 2014. Kerry was referring to Bashar al-Assad’s declared stockpiles of chemical weapons which, under a 2013 deal struck by the Obama administration following a sarin nerve gas attack that brought the U.S. to the brink of striking Syrian government forces, were dismantled and shipped out of the country.

But there were two important and deadly loopholes. The first was that Assad did not declare everything—a reality that Kerry acknowledged in a farewell memo to staff, in which he wrote that “unfortunately other undeclared chemical weapons continue to be used ruthlessly against the Syrian people.” The second was that chlorine gas, which has legitimate civilian uses, was not part of the deal. The Syrian American Medical Society and the White Helmets civil-defense group have documented 200 chemical attacks in Syria since 2012, many involving chlorine.

Nobody paying attention ever believed that the Obama-Kerry deal “almost looked” as though it had actually disarmed Assad’s chemical arsenal. Assad gave up enough to look like he was complying, and Obama and Kerry got to look like they were doing something.

RULES ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: Chicago officials caught short-circuiting required review of Obama Presidential Center.

WHY THE FBI IS DODGING NUNES. It is “concealing the depth” of Obama Administration election interference.

HE WAS MORE FLEXIBLE AFTER HIS REELECTION: New Russia Sanctions Are ‘What Obama Should Have Done in 2014.’

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Scott Pruitt is the greatest-ever Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

In the Obama era especially, the EPA was used to advance an anti-market agenda in the guise of environmental correctness. Obama’s various federal clean air regulations, for example, were justified by supposedly expert testimony from the EPA that fine particles of soot in the atmosphere were killing hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.

But there was no real evidence for this. Essentially the ‘proof’ had been rigged by parti-pris activist scientists at the EPA – who were permitted to keep their data and methodology secret so that they could not be found wanting in independent experiments.

Hence the new rule just introduced by Scott Pruitt that from now on the EPA cannot engage in “secret science”. Whatever side of the political debate you’re on, this ought to be a good thing: Pruitt is just insisting on something which should have been EPA policy from the start – rigorous observation of the scientific method (part of which stipulates that for any experiment to be valid it must, of necessity, be reproducible).

Pruitt is never going to get any credit for this, either from the greens or the left (not that there’s really much difference). That’s because his opponents recognise it as yet another assault by the Trump administration on the “consensus” science of the Climate Industrial Complex.

The “party of science” is actually the party of “science.”

FIRST CLASS, JEFFREY GOLDBERG, FIRST CLASS: Cowards! The Atlantic has fired Kevin Williamson for actually believing what he says.

To borrow from one of Goldberg’s favorite words during his era of being official court stenographer to the Obama administration, that’s really chickenshit.

BUT I HAD BEEN ASSURED HE WAS AN AUTHORITARIAN MADMAN: Trump National Guard Border Plan to Look Like Bush, Obama Deployments.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Scott Pruitt Is Trump’s Biggest Asset. That’s Why The Left Wants Him Gone.

Mollie Hemingway:

There are poor ways, average ways, and shrewd ways to tackle the constitutional problems that arise from the administrative state. Many Republicans either don’t realize the problems of an unelected bureaucracy’s power, or fail to combat those problems effectively. Pruitt is in the final category, demonstrating competency and a devotion to rule of law. And he has the courage that so many of his GOP peers lack, not being intimidated by the normal media frenzy that intimidates other Republican appointees.

Recently, a coordinated attempt to oust him has taken shape, as this liberal TV producer notes:

Just think of them as Democratic operatives with bylines and… you know the rest.

The most charming of which might have been Bill Kristol, about whom Hemingway notes, “this week tweeted his desire for Michelle Obama to run and defeat Donald Trump, said Pruitt was a parody of sycophancy for supporting a conservative deregulatory agenda.”

DAVID HARSANYI: Democrats, get set to lose your ‘collusion’ delusions.

And the dream of impeachment? Well, that would probably die, as well.

Much of the case for the impeachment of Trump is tethered to the alleged illegitimacy of his election — and much of that case relies on the findings of the Mueller investigation. Judging from the reaction we’ve seen so far to the reports that Trump is merely a subject, but not a target, of the special counsel, it seems most Democrats haven’t fully prepared themselves for the eventuality that the investigation may end up vindicating Trump.

Circumstances can change, obviously, but what happens if election interference amounts to nothing more than Russian hacking, fake Facebook accounts and Twitter bots, all of which went largely ignored by the Obama administration until it became politically advantageous for Democrats to make an issue?

What will Democrats do if Michael Flynn, and others who misled investigators, did so for political and personal reasons having nothing to do with “collusion?”

If the durability of Bush Derangement Syndrome is anything to go by, I suspect not much would change.

NANCY PELOSI: Democrats Will Repeal the GOP Tax Law When We Retake the House.

Either Pelosi thinks this is a winning issue, or she’s already written off November but is trying to keep the base rallied.

Or perhaps it’s just one of those ironclad promises like the one about repealing ObamaCare.

LINDSAY SHEPHARD: GOODBYE TO THE LEFT.

Shephard was that Canadian university TA who was summoned before a Diversity Kangaroo Court to explain why, as part of an issues-in-media class, she had played a debate (which aired on a liberal Canadian tv station) about the use of made-up trans pronouns. The debate featured Jordan Peterson on the “against” side, and one or more students complained that being forced to listen to a debate (in which the other side was represented, too) about a contentious issue in the media was like Hitler invading the Issues in Media class.

She used to consider herself a leftist, but she says she now knows what leftism actually is, and she’s not that, any longer.

Related: Novelist Lionel Shriver: “…it seems I was cited on Twitter as a ‘racist provocateur’”

We’re well on our way to the label becoming a perverse badge of pride; if you’re outside the far-left faithful, your first charge of racism constitutes a losing of your political cherry, inoculating against any further sense of injury. This commonplace code for ‘not one of us’ is morphing into a meaningless playground taunt, just as forgettable as ‘stupid’.

QED: MSNBC Sees Trump ‘Playing the Race Card’ Against ‘Uppity Black Person’ Obama.

As James Taranto likes to say, if you can hear the dog whistles, you’re the dog.

2013 FLASHBACK: CDC Study: Use of Firearms for Self-Defense is ‘Important Crime Deterrent.’ “The $10 million study was commissioned by President Barack Obama as part of 23 executive orders he signed in January.”

BYRON YORK: The Trump/Russia Investigation Threatens The Rule Of Law.

The intel chiefs’ briefing of Trump soon leaked to the media. And the fact that top officials had seen fit to tell the incoming president about the dossier made it a legitimate news story. Within hours, BuzzFeed published the entire dossier on the Internet.

As Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said as all this was happening: “You take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday of getting back at you.”

With the Logan Act, Obama holdovers used a dead law as a pretense to push the Trump investigation. With the dossier, they used unverified opposition research not only to investigate the Trump campaign but to execute a clever maneuver to make the dirt public.

And this was all done by the nation’s top law enforcement and intelligence officials, targeting a new president. So yes, it is reasonable to say the Trump-Russia investigation endangers the rule of law.

All because the Democrats are psychologically unable to deal with losing an election they thought was in the bag.

IT ISN’T ALWAYS NICE TO MAKE TWITCHY: Yes, Andrea Mitchell. We see the ‘pattern.’ Trump is doing the same things as Obama yet the MSM only freaks out about Trump.

END THE LEFT-RIGHT STALEMATE ON VOTER RIGHTS? John Fund writes:

All across the political spectrum, there’s agreement that our voting system is broken. Academics lament our low voter turnout. Liberals blame that on obstacles to voting, such as registration laws and ID requirements. Conservatives say our rickety system is vulnerable to bureaucratic incompetence and voter fraud.

It’s time to end this Left–Right stalemate, which caused the Obama Justice Department to spend over $50 million to fight ballot-integrity laws. Various civil-rights groups probably spent an equal or greater amount. What if all that money had gone instead into real efforts to put an ID in people’s hands?

It’s an idea being pushed by Andrew Young and Martin Luther King III.

 

THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA’S SINGLE-VOICED CRITICISM OF SINCLAIR’S ‘FAKE NEWS’ PROMOS:

After Barack Obama was re-elected in 2012, a Rachel Maddow-narrated commercial aired for months spiking the football over his victory. For years, the progressive network ran “Lean Forward” ads espousing messages like children belonging to their communities and Republicans being like thieves stealing blueberry pie.

As we’ve shown for years at the Washington Free Beacon, it’s downright eerie how often the media talkers and anchors seem to service a Democratic Party or liberal message, whether it’s on gun controlFire and Fury, tax reform, Oprah Winfrey for president, or how Clinton once had the best 10 days ever, just to name a few.

To hear them all in unison again against a message blasting media biases and agendas is too perfect.

Oh no – it gets even better! Get the Popcorn: Dan Rather Loses It Over Sinclair Promising to Be Factual.

According to Rather, it’s “attacking the press” for Sinclair to have their anchors say: “It’s our responsibility to pursue and report the truth. We understand Truth is neither politically ‘left nor right.’ Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.” And for them to note: “The troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.”

“The faces of the men and women you see delivering this chilling message are befitting those of a hostage video,” Rather bitterly proclaimed. “I suspect that the vast majority of the journalists you see in this video want to be in an environment where they can do their jobs, reporting the news fairly, without favor or bias. They need our support.”

Does Dan Rather even know…he’s Dan Rather?

HMM: Clouds form over Iran deal as Trump deadline nears.

It was Trump’s choice of John Bolton as his incoming national security advisor that Iran deal supporters have seen as the biggest death knell for the deal.

Bolton penned an op-ed while the deal was being negotiated that was bluntly titled, “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” He also encouraged Trump to “abrogate the Iran nuclear deal in his first days in office” last year.

Tillerson may have been hoping for a framework agreement with the Europeans that would allow Trump to save face without killing the deal, experts said, but Pompeo and Bolton are unlikely to accept something that’s mostly symbolic.

“The views of Bolton and Pompeo matter quite a bit” to the success or failure of the European negotiations, Taleblu said. “I don’t think both of them will settle for anything that’s just crossing Ts and dotting Is.”

Before Obama’s 2015 deal, Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons but hemmed in by sanctions — and was believed to be at the “breaking point” as recently as 2014. Under the deal, Iran is still pursuing nuclear weapons (at a slightly slower pace), but is far less hindered by sanctions.

The real trick is whether Trump can pull the Europeans along on a new and meaningful sanctions regime.

#METOO!  Obama is ‘relieved’ to no longer be president.

DAILY TRACKING POLL: Trump Hits 50% Approval. Only 49% disapprove.

Plus: “Trump’s overall job approval rating is now running ahead of where Barack Obama’s was at this stage of his presidency.”

Weird, you’d never guess that from watching the news.

HOW LOW-TRUST SOCIETIES START: “There’s a dentist’s office in Pennsylvania that will report you to Child Protective Services if they think you’re not keeping up with your appointments. I am not making this up.”

Plus: “This trend actually started under Obama, when the regime ‘suggested’ that doctors start asking patients about gun ownership. (If your doctor asks you about gun ownership, I suggest lying.) But it is also a defining characteristic of communist regimes where neighbors are encouraged to spy on neighbors and children are encouraged to spy on parents.”

I’m pretty sure The Lives of Others, the 2006 film on the East German surveillance state was not crafted to be a how-to guide for America in the 21st century.

JOEL KOTKIN: Landless Americans Are The New Serf Class.

The share of homeownership has dropped most rapidly among the key shapers of the American future—millennials, immigrants, minorities. Since 2000, the home ownership among those under 45 has plunged 20 percent. In places like Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Indianapolis, and elsewhere, households with less than the median income qualify for a median-priced home with a 10 percent down payment, according to the National Association of Realtors. But in Seattle, Miami, and Denver, a household needs to make more than 120 percent of the median income to afford such median-priced house. In California, it’s even tougher: 140 percent in Los Angeles, 180 percent in San Diego, and over 190 percent in San Francisco.

Rents are rising as well. According to Zillow, for workers between the ages of 22 and 34, rent costs claim upwards of 45 percent of income in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Miami, compared to closer to 30 percent in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston.

The basic reality: America’s new generation, particularly in some metros, increasingly seems destined to live as renters, without ever enjoying equity in property.

They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please. Plus:

In many regions of the country, conscious government planning discourages single-family home construction, a policy often described oddly enough as “smart growth.” Advocates of this approach suggest that most people, particularly millennials, do not want single-family homes, and prefer to live chock-a-bloc in dense multi-family units.

This does not reflect reality. In survey after survey, an overwhelming majority of millennials, including renters, want a home of their own. A Fannie Mae survey of people under 40 found that nearly 80 percent of renters thought owning made more financial sense, a sentiment shared by an even larger number of owners (PDF). They cited such things as asset appreciation, control over the living environment, and a hedge against rent increases. Roughly four in five purchases made by people under 35 are for single-family detached homes (PDF).

The real problem is a growing gap between what people want and what they can afford. Jason Furman (PDF), the former chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, has warned that price escalations associated with strong housing regulation push many people “out of the market entirely.”

Meanwhile, if the Congressional GOP were smart (I know, I know) they’d amend the Fair Housing Act to pre-empt local zoning and environmental laws that limit the construction of new housing. For the benefit of the less fortunate.

TUNKU VARADARAJAN INTERVIEWS HARVEY MANSFIELD ON TRUMP AND MASCULINITY:

In 2016, Mr. Mansfield continues, Mr. Trump won “a majority of white women—and women are attracted to manly men, I think.” He agrees that there’s a connection between the campaign for gender-neutrality in the U.S.—seeking, as he sees it, to erase all differences between the sexes—and the “hunger” that made Mr. Trump’s political rise possible.

In Mr. Mansfield’s view, Mr. Trump’s success wasn’t a racial reaction to President Obama as much as a backlash in favor of masculinity. Mr. Obama “had the scolding demeanor of a schoolmarm—very much, I think, following the temper of today’s feminists. It’s all a matter of correcting the behavior of misbehaving juveniles, and of condescension.” Here, he checks himself, allowing that this observation “is a little unfair to Obama, because some of his speeches were pretty good, and he did have a vision of America and the way America ought to be.” But it was not an America that “throws its weight around. That’s precisely what he wanted to avoid. So, in his foreign policy, and in his domestic role as condescender-in-chief, he showed his hostility to manliness.”

Mr. Trump saw the electoral opportunity. “Trump’s not a clever man,” Mr. Mansfield says, by which he means that the president has little propensity for abstraction or intellectual complication. “But he’s shrewd. He saw that there was a way to be appealing, and to knock off the competition of his rivals in the Republican Party, by a display of manliness and an attack on political correctness.” Mr. Trump is “really the first American politician to use that, to see that there was a political opening there.”

Indeed.

WHY MILLENNIAL WOMEN WANT TO DATE OLDER MEN.

The article is well worth your time, but if time is short, I can sum up 992 words in a single image:

 

OBAMA DIDN’T KNOW HEALTHCARE COULD BE SO COMPLICATED.

As a wise woman warned in 2008, “My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery.”

Naturally, she was pummeled into oblivion for such an observation.

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: Starbucks forced to put cancer warning on its products in California.

Ahh, California’s Proposition 65, the gift that keeps on giving. What doesn’t cause cancer in California?

Back when I was still living there, I stopped going to the local Starbucks when the Obamacare laws required them to list the calories in their products on the menu boards. It just didn’t seem worth it for bad coffee, milk and flavoring. But such laws won’t stop Starbucks and most other corporations to  reflexively keep pushing for bigger and more intrusive government.

CHANGE: EPA Prepares to Gut Obama’s Signature Move on Autos.

The Obama-era rules would have required cars and SUVs to hit 55mpg by 2025, but Trump and EPA chief Scott Pruitt, both of whom have voiced public doubts about climate change, think the mark is too high and therefore problematic for manufacturers. The revised standards are still being worked out, but the Los Angeles Times notes that the move sets up a huge fight with California, which has a waiver under the 1970 Clean Air Act to set its own standards. Another dozen states, including New York, typically follow California’s lead, which the NYT notes raises the possibility of the US essentially having two auto markets, with some states—say, those on the coasts—abiding by tougher emission rules.

It’s called federalism.

WELL, GOOD: Saudi Prince Calls for Stepped-Up Pressure on Iran. “An opponent of the nuclear deal with Tehran, Crown Prince Mohammed cautions that the alternative to pressure is military conflict.”

Saudi Arabia has been a fierce critic of the deal the Obama administration and other world powers made in 2015 to lift some crippling economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program.

Under Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia has severed diplomatic ties with Iran and pressured countries in the Middle East and Africa to curtail their relationships with Tehran, accusing it of meddling in Arab affairs.

“We have to succeed so as to avoid military conflict,” said Prince Mohammed, who is Saudi Arabia’s day-to-day ruler. “If we don’t succeed in what we are trying to do, we will likely have war with Iran in 10-15 years.”

Iran has emerged as a more potent force in the Middle East following the nuclear deal and the dismantling of Islamic State, building its influence in Syria and Iraq, and allegedly supplying Yemeni rebels with weaponry used against Saudi Arabia in a three-year war.

Gee, whatever happened to those “snapback provisions” John Kerry promised in case Iran got frisky after the deal was signed?

HOPEY-CHANGEY: Team Obama’s smear machine-in-exile mobilizes to destroy Iran-deal critics.

SCHOOL DISCIPLINE SHOULD BE  A LOCAL ISSUE:  I have a USA Today op-ed today.

WAPO: Trump taps his doctor to replace Shulkin at VA, choosing personal chemistry over traditional qualifications.

Flashback, NYT: The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru — How Ben Rhodes rewrote the rules of diplomacy for the digital age.

It’s almost as though there’s one set of standards for inexperienced Republican appointees, and a completely different set for Democrats.

IF WE START LISTING ALL THE THINGS OBAMA DIDN’T KNOW, WE’LL BE HERE ALL NIGHT:  Obama didn’t know healthcare could be so complicated.

OUR LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE COULD SOON BE OVER: Jorge Ramos Eyeing Return to Mexico.

In the midst of wrapping up a media tour hawking his latest book and on the heels of what he considers – because of the election of Donald Trump – the ‘worst time’ of his 35 years in the United States, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos now says he’s pining to return to Mexico.

In an extensive interview with Spanish-language television personality Jaime Bayly, Ramos, who turned 60 this month, confessed he would like to live in Mexico again, at least “for a while.” “I would like to return to the country I left,” Ramos said with evident nostalgia, calling his desire to return to his homeland “a pending assignment.”

Bayly also singularly succeeded in both confronting – and getting the Univision anchor to admit – that the type of journalism Ramos practices includes activism, specifically when it comes to U.S. immigration policy.

Which brings us to…Children’s March Spokesmoppet Tells CNN’s Media Analyst Brian Stetler That “Journalism is Activism.”

Read: “Progressive” activism.

Stelter, whose frequent guest is Dan Rather (see also: origin of PJ Media’s name) doesn’t argue with her, and Matt Pearce of the L.A. Times concurs, tweeting, “Journalism *is* activism in its most basic form. The entire basis for its ethical practice is the idea that a democracy requires an informed citizenry in order to function. Choosing what you want people to know is a form of activism, even if it’s not the march-and-protest kind.”

Note the admission of bias by selection with “Choosing what you want people to know is a form of activism.” Of course, when conservatives cheer a photo such as this, which has become symbolic of newspaper declines across the country…

… The DNC-MSM immediately switch back to “How dare you impugn our reputations and cheer for our demise. We’re totally objective, we just want the facts,” as if they’re the modern incarnation of Jack Webb’s Detective Joe Friday. The media knew the bell was tolling ever louder in both 2008 and 2016, when it went all-in on first Obama and then Hillary in the hopes of bailouts and subsidies that would have kept the gravy train alive a little longer. Without them, the bill is coming due for decades of “Yeah, I’m with the media, screw you” arrogance — which is also one of the many reasons for their vaporish reaction to Trump.

Oh and speaking of Jorge Ramos and activism: Flashback: Ramos Discloses Daughter Works for Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign.

UPDATE: CNN goes all in as David Hogg fanboys.

DAN MCLAUGHLIN: The Supreme Court Proves It Didn’t Mean What It Said in King v. Burwell.

In June 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare provided subsidies to buyers of health insurance on the federally operated exchanges, not just exchanges established and operated by a state. Many legal observers at the time, myself included, argued that the decision in King v. Burwell was a politically driven outcome that disregarded longstanding rules for how the Court reads statutes, and that the Court in the future would have to either accept a dramatic sea change in those rules or admit (at least implicitly) that King v. Burwell was a political, not a legal, decision. Well, what do you know? The Court’s decision last month in Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers makes it crystal clear that the Court does not take King v. Burwell seriously as a legal precedent, and would have decided that case differently if it had not been so politically charged.

To recap, the Court in King v. Burwell upheld a rule passed by Obama’s IRS that extended subsidies to buyers on the federal exchanges. To reach that conclusion, however, the Court had to leapfrog the language of the statute, which made its meaning obvious in four ways.

Read the whole thing.

I’d just add that for all the charges against Trump for incivility, it was Obama who all-but-threatened a political war with the Supreme Court to force decisions he wanted on his namesake health insurance law.

BREAKING: UNWORKABLE INSURANCE SCHEME STILL UNWORKABLE. States scrambling to avert Obamacare sticker shock after Dems balk at stabilization effort.

Politicians at all levels of government are fearing another round of sticker shock for consumers this fall as insurers jack up prices, blaming both the original 2010 health law and the moves Congress and the Trump administration have made to undercut it in the years since.

Capitol Hill had a chance to lower rates with a stabilization bill Republicans had hoped to attach to last week’s spending package. But Democrats balked, and Congress likely missed its last chance to act before the new rates are set.

Clearly, Democrats hate sick people.

COLLUSION: Did Facebook’s ‘favors’ for the Obama campaign constitute a violation of federal law? “Facebook reportedly voluntarily provided data on millions of its users to the re-election campaign of President Obama. If true, such action by Facebook may constitute a major violation of federal campaign finance law as an illegal corporate campaign contribution. The matter should be investigated by the Federal Election Commission – an agency I am quite familiar with, because I served as one of its commissioners from 2006 to 2007. The commission enforces campaign finance laws for congressional and presidential elections.”

Dinesh D’Souza got felony time for much, much less.

THE OMNIBUS CONTAINS AT LEAST ONE SMALL PUSHBACK AGAINST UNLIMITED GOVERNMENT:  Congress defunds Obama’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing program at HUD.

BET KICKS OUT WASHINGTON POST WRITER ROBIN GIVHAN FOR RUINING MICHELLE OBAMA’S ‘SACRED SPACE.’

They told me that if Donald Trump was elected president, he would usher in the theocracy — and they were right!

I HOPE IT’S TRUE: Paul Sperry reports that the Dept. of Education will withdraw the ghastly Obama-Era Dear Colleague Letter on school discipline this summer. Good. It has caused nothing but trouble and misstates the law to boot.

MICHAEL WALSH: Fallout Continues as Obamacare Collapses.

TO SAY NOTHING OF THE FAILURES OF OBAMA:  How Obama’s Portrait Reveals the Failures of the Elitist Art World.

IF IT WEREN’T FOR DOUBLE STANDARDS …  Scott Pruitt slammed for spending less on travel than Obama’s EPA chiefs.

THIS IS SO SURPRISING FOR LEFTISTS.  WHERE IS THAT SHOCKED FACE?   Obama Regs on For-Profit Colleges, Finance, Railroads, and Airlines All Profited His Best Friend.

I’M SHOCKED, SHOCKED:  Michelle Obama admits her vegetable garden shtick was all a ruse.

ANDREW KLAVAN: What is John Brennan Hiding?

It now seems clear that Barack Obama, in transforming the federal government into a Chicago-style machine, allowed and perhaps encouraged the leadership of the Department of Justice and the FBI to behave in shamefully political and dishonest ways.

Read the whole thing.

I HAD BEEN ASSURED HIS WAS “A REMARKABLY SCANDAL-FREE ADMINISTRATION”: Obama Regs on For-Profit Colleges, Finance, Railroads, and Airlines All Profited His Best Friend.

Tyler O’Neil is on this story like no one else I know of.

ELIZABETH WARREN’S RESEARCH HARDEST HIT: Study: Medical bankruptcies may not be as common as thought.

Medical bills can push patients over the financial cliff, but a new study says this may not happen as often as previous research suggests.

Hospitalizations cause only about 4 percent of personal bankruptcies among non-elderly U.S. adults, according to an analysis published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

This contrasts with previous research by former Harvard professor and current U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others that pointed to medical reasons as the trigger for more than 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies.

Background on Elizabeth Warren’s shady research here. Remember that her conclusions were among the major arguments for ObamaCare.

Related: ” I don’t know which is worse: the notion that Elizabeth Warren understood what she was doing, or the notion that she didn’t.”

I should note that Gail Heriot exposed Warren’s research as bogus back in 2006, but the Post continued to hold her up. Had the more-or-less fraudulent nature of her work gotten national attention then, would Warren be a Senator today? Would ObamaCare have passed?

TOM MAGUIRE LOOKS INTO THAT NAZI WHO “WON” A PRIMARY IN ILLINOIS:

The Times coverage is decent but overlooks a lot. The short version is this: the incumbent, Dan Lipinski, is a pro-life anti-ObamaCare Blue Dog Democrat who was locked in a near-death struggle with a progressive challenger. The Nazi, Jones, had been kept off the ballot in cycles past by the invocation of technicalities. So the plan was to DQ Jones and let Republican crossover voters in the primary keep Lipinski alive. Since Lipinski won, barely, that part of the plan succeeded.

In 2016, for example, the Republican Party also failed to run a conventional candidate. Jones was the only one to submit signatures but the party managed to disqualify him to keep him off the primary ballot. They had the same plan for 2018 but Jones outmaneuvered them with a last-minute filing. . . .

The peril and promise of these ballot access rules is that ordinary registered voters are empowered – the party bosses cannot unilaterally dismiss reform minded, “rage against the machine” candidates like in the good old days. On the other hand, sometimes shit happens. . . .

Apparently Republicans will muster a write-in sacrificial lamb for the November vote. And Krugman, Oliver and the other progressive entertainers will have their fun.

Personally, I hate Illinois Nazis.

WINNING: Small-town America has gotten an economic jolt under Trump.

Smaller communities, lifted by higher prices for oil, gas and other commodities and some gains in manufacturing, last year clawed back a significantly larger share of new job creation than in the final years of Barack Obama’s presidency, the analysis found. While this economic revival in Trump country so far has been driven mostly by cyclical changes in global markets, particularly for energy, Trump can plausibly argue that his agenda of promoting domestic manufacturing and oil and gas production can help sustain those gains in the non-metropolitan places that disproportionately house those industries. And that could create another electoral obstacle for Democrats in smaller communities, where the President has also connected far better culturally and stylistically than in urbanized areas.

This might be yet another way to get more Trump.

TENNESSEE: New poll finds Bredesen with narrow lead over Blackburn in US Senate race.

LIKE HILLARY, THE HUFFINGTON POST ALSO HATES HALF OF AMERICA:

● Shot: “In America, White Women Can Get Away With Almost Anything.”

—Koritha Mitchell, associate professor of English at Ohio State University, the Huffington Post, Friday.

● Chaser:

This is an election about whether the people of Pennsylvania hate blacks more than they hate women. And when I say people, I don’t mean people, I mean white men. How ironic is this? After all this time, after all these stupid articles about how powerless white men are and how they can’t even get into college because of overachieving women and affirmative action and mean lady teachers who expected them to sit still in the third grade even though they were all suffering from terminal attention deficit disorder — after all this, they turn out (surprise!) to have all the power. (As they always did, by the way; I hope you didn’t believe any of those articles.)

To put it bluntly, the next president will be elected by them: the outcome of Tuesday’s primary will depend on whether they go for Hillary or Obama, and the outcome of the general election will depend on whether enough of them vote for McCain. A lot of them will: white men cannot be relied on, as all of us know who have spent a lifetime dating them. And McCain is a compelling candidate, particularly because of the Torture Thing. As for the Democratic hope that McCain’s temper will be a problem, don’t bet on it. A lot of white men have terrible tempers, and what’s more, they think it’s normal.

—The late writer-director Nora Ephron, “White Men,” the Huffington Post, April 20, 2008

● Hangover: Huffington Post Op-Ed Editor Brags About Using Racial, Gender Quotas In Submissions: ‘Less Than 50% White Authors (Check!).’

—Ben Shapiro, the Daily Wire, Thursday.

Why, it’s like the mainstream left are the mirror image of the alt-right, or something.

As Andrew Breitbart wrote about his role in helping to create the Huffington Post, “I went in with dual purposes. While the Huffington Post in theory served Arianna’s and the left’s goals of creating a battlefront where they could fight their battles, it served my ulterior purpose of creating preparation for talk radio and cable news, where everyone could see what lunacies constituted the thought processes of the richest noblesse oblige liberals in our land, the people who benefit the most from our way of life and yet craft the culture of our land in opposition to that way of life. Frankly, I wanted to put them on display. And, for different reasons, so did Arianna.”

His eeeeeeevil plan continues to succeed wildly.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Hillary Should Just Admit She Hates Half of America.

Just as we did to Obama, why do we keep failing her so badly?

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Obama used executive powers to benefit close friends’ private investment firms.

WE SHOULD PROBABLY SHUT DOWN FACEBOOK, IN THE INTERESTS OF NATIONAL SECURITY AND OF PROTECTING THE CHILDREN: Facebook faces new crisis over Cambridge Analytica data.

Meanwhile, here’s a whole Twitter thread on how Obama’s 2012 team scraped social media data, for which they were hailed as geniuses.

And Facebook let them do it, because they were on their side: