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SPEAKING OF HILLARY: Look, I told my friend not to go on reading Hillary’s book.  I told her it would have Necronomicon-like effects.  She was warned.  She was told to watch her liver damage.  And yet she persisted.  You might as well enjoy the results.  HRC: A New Deal, A Square Deal or How She Wanted to be the Next Roosevelt.  Also, wait, I THOUGHT Obama was the new Roosevelt.  Progressives.  Living in the past. Again.

MICHAEL BARONE: Will political setbacks unite the Republican Party? “Now, things look different. With Republicans holding the White House and majorities in both houses of Congress, the purism that resulted in defeat of the House’s first attempt at Obamacare revision, followed by the defeat of a second in the Senate, leaves Republicans double digits behind Democrats on the generic which-party-would-you-back-for-Congress question. Democrats’ big victories in the Virginia and New Jersey governor races also struck a chord. These states, dominated by high-education suburbs in major metro areas, tilt more Democratic than the nation. But Republicans have been losing legislative special elections even in red-state Trump districts.”

LIBYA: The Forgotten Reason North Korea Desperately Wants Nuclear Weapons.

It is unlikely that the DPRK will ever return to nuclear virginity. Pyongyang has multiple reasons for retaining its nukes. For a country with an economy roughly the size of Paraguay’s, a bizarre political system that has no external appeal, and an increasingly antiquated conventional military force, a nuclear-weapons capability is the sole factor that provides prestige and a seat at the table of international affairs. There is one other crucial reason for the DPRK’s truculence, though. North Korean leaders simply do not trust the United States to honor any agreement that might be reached.

Unfortunately, there are ample reasons for such distrust. North Korean leaders have witnessed how the United States treats nonnuclear adversaries such as Serbia and Iraq. But it was the U.S.-led intervention in Libya in 2011 that underscored to Pyongyang why achieving and retaining a nuclear-weapons capability might be the only reliable way to prevent a regime-change war directed against the DPRK.

Thanks, Obama.

CHANGE: Israel Ready To Share Intel With Saudis “Against Iran” Ahead Of Possible War.

If a Israeli/Arab-Iran War does break out, we should call it Obama’s War in honor of the man who made it necessary.

VICTIM SHAMING? MSNBC’S KASIE HUNT: FRANKEN’S ACTION ‘NOT ACTUALLY GROPING.’

Question: Will anyone at MSNBC or NBC News interview the man who gave Franken his start in show business and employed him for decades? He should be easy enough for them to find – since he’s still an NBC employee.

Related: Matthew Dowd, ABC’s Chief Political Analyst, tweets, “This is a man. Al Franken blames himself. Roy Moore and Donald Trump blame the women. That is a huge difference,” adding, “This is the statement of a man. A man who has the courage to admit his own mistakes and want to do better. Why can’t Roy Moore be a man?”

In contrast, the head of the former Obama administration lights the Bat-Signal that it’s OK to push Franken out of his (safely Democratic) Senate seat:

FLASHBACK: Obama speechwriter photographed groping Hillary Clinton likeness.

Plus: Obama’s White House Boys’ Club: New Obama White House Memoir Reveals Staff Drinking, ‘D*ck Jokes,’ and Womanizing.

I mean, who could’ve seen that coming when it started out with things like this scene, involving Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau:

Imagine the difference in treatment if these had been Trump staffers. “Fraternities have been closed for less.”

Related: In Early Obama White House Female Staffers Felt Frozen Out.

BOOTS ON THE GROUND BATTLING THE ISLAMIC STATE: A U.S. Army artillery unit shells Islamic State fighters in positions near al-Qaim, Iraq. The U.S. unit is supporting Iraqi forces. Obama said he wouldn’t put American boots on the ground in his coalition war against the Islamic State. Obama lied. The artillerymen are wearing boots.

RELATED: As this StrategyPage update notes, the Islamic State pulled out of the town of al-Qaim in late May. (See the May 22 post.)

SPOILER: BECAUSE THEY AREN’T TRUSTWORTHY. Why Trump Doesn’t Trust His Spies. “It’s no mystery why Trump doesn’t trust U.S. intelligence agencies. As the old saying goes: Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. Trump understandably believes the intelligence agencies are out to get him. Let’s start with the 2016 election.”

Related: “Why couldn’t the Obama era intelligence community detect Russian meddling?”

USA TODAY EDITORIALIZES: Texas church massacre might have been stopped if Clinton, Obama administrations had heeded warnings.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: “Why couldn’t the Obama era intelligence community detect Russian meddling?” “There are too many coincidences for it to be just bad luck. Some journalists are belatedly realizing they are living through the aftermath of the Big Bang. A huge strike happened without them even being aware of it and the scale of it is boggling. The Obama administration failed to detect the rise of the Islamic state, was surprised by the Russian invasion of Crimea and Putin’s intervention in Syria, did not see the rapid development of Kim’s nuclear arsenal and, publicly at least, ascribed the assault on the Benghazi consulate to a video — and as the New Yorker points out, were even blindsided by Russian election interference openly happening on Facebook.”

JAMES BOVARD: Do Trump’s liberal critics seem increasingly unhinged?

Many Democrats sound ready to rush to impeachment regardless of what Trump has actually done. They seem inspired by the Soviet secret police chief who allegedly declared: “Show me the man and I will show you the crime.” Desperate assertions that $3,000 in Russian-linked Facebook ads swung the election results in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin are indicative of the pathetic logic of many Trump critics.

Many Trump opponents are the same type of zealots who, in the late 1700s, proudly labeled themselves “Friends of Government.” In their eyes, Trump’s greatest sin is tarnishing the majesty of the presidency and the federal government. Trump is exposing the sham of a Leviathan Democracy which pretends that presidents will be philosopher kings — instead of merely talented vote catchers. However, Trump cannot be blamed for destroying Americans’ trust in Washington. This was already achieved by presidents such as George W. Bush and Obama who the media occasionally exalted to the skies.

Trump’s critics are correct that the president has too much arbitrary power. But many people happy to believe the worst about Trump will heave all their skepticism overboard when the next political savior is anointed. Such naivete is being encouraged at the highest levels of the Democratic Party. Recall that Hillary Clinton’s recent book declared that the lesson of George Orwell’s “1984” is that people should trust their leaders and the media.

Hysteria remains the 2017 political badge of honor. Last Wednesday, thousands of people gathered across the nation to shout at the sky to protest the anniversary of Trump’s victory. But righteous rage is no substitute for focusing on the real perils that Trump and any other president poses to our rights. The Friends of Freedom need to keep their intellectual ammo dry.

Among other kinds.

TOO SOON? The Best Albums of the Obama Presidency.

END OF AN ERA: Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the last unbreached stronghold of leftist bureaucracy in DC, is to resign at the end of the month. The President should really have fired him months ago, although it looks like Cordray might have bamboozled some senior White House staffers into letting him stay on. Whomever the President  nominates to take over has a big job to do to reform this rogue agency, as I explain in The Case Against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Ruling Out the ABA on Judges: The Senate needn’t listen to the lawyers’ guild on nominees.

If Republicans are serious about getting President Trump’s judicial nominees confirmed, they will have to rid themselves of the fiction of a politically neutral American Bar Association. The outfit’s recent antics provide ample reason to remove it from Senate vetting.

The ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary last week informed the Judiciary Committee that Brett Talley is “not qualified” to serve as a federal judge. This is the fourth “not qualified” rating the ABA has slapped on Trump nominees, including Leonard Steven Grasz for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mr. Grasz’s “not qualified” rating rests on a misrepresentation of the former Nebraska chief deputy attorney general’s views on judicial precedent. Mr. Grasz once argued in a 1999 article that lower courts shouldn’t stretch Supreme Court rulings into broader rights, but the ABA contorts this to suggest Mr. Grasz would ignore Roe v. Wade. Mr. Grasz explicitly wrote in the same article that “lower federal courts are obliged to follow clear legal precedent regardless of whether it may seem unwise or even morally repugnant to do so.”

As for Mr. Talley, nominated for the district court in Alabama, the ABA says he lacks the “requisite trial experience,” having never tried a case. This ignores that the 36-year-old has clerked for a federal district judge and a federal appellate judge, has worked at the whiteshoe Gibson Dunn & Crutcher firm, and served as the Deputy Solicitor General of Alabama.

Many nominees have been younger than Mr. Talley, and the ABA called Barack Obama nominee Goodwin Liu “well-qualified” despite no experience as a trial judge. The ABA also called Elena Kagan “well qualified” for the Supreme Court, as indeed she was, despite her lack of trial experience. But since the ABA found nothing amiss with Mr. Talley’s “integrity” or “temperament,” it settled on a concern with “requisite” experience.

Hacks gonna hack.

GOOD: Senate GOP tax bill will include repeal of ObamaCare mandate. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Tuesday that the Senate tax bill will include language to repeal ObamaCare’s individual mandate, which could make it tougher for moderate Republicans to support. Conservatives led by GOP Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) pushed hard to include the provision, which would eliminate the federal penalty on people who do not buy health insurance. President Trump has also pushed for the provision to be part of the tax bill. McConnell told reporters that adding the individual mandate repeal will make it easier to muster 50 votes to pass the bill.”

Better late than never.

WELL, GOOD: Inside the Decades-Long Fight for Better Emergency Alerts.

Earlier this month, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced the commission would move forward with an Obama-era order calling for wireless carriers to pinpoint emergency alerts down to the cellular tower level. Until recently, these alerts have targeted entire counties, an area so vast that, typically, people either receive alerts that are irrelevant to them, or emergency managers forgo alerts altogether—with potentially disastrous consequences. The alerts will also include embeddable links that can redirect people to additional information.

For public safety and communications experts, including Wheeler, these upgrades represent a crucial step in a multiyear battle with the cell phone industry.

“It is great the FCC has announced they’re going to do something,” Wheeler says. “Too bad it took tragedies to get that to happen.”

It usually does.

MOLON LABE: Hand over your weapons.

At a New Hampshire forum in the fall of 2015, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke approvingly of an Australian gun buyback program that collected more than 650,000 weapons — a buyback that, she neglected to mention, was compulsory.

And just a few months earlier, then-President Barack Obama offered coded support for the same confiscatory approach. “When Australia had a mass killing — I think it was in Tasmania — about 25 years ago, it was just so shocking, the entire country said, ‘Well, we’re going to completely change our gun laws,’ and they did,” he said.

Democrats have even let the word “confiscation” slip out, on occasion. After the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. in 2012, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a radio interview that when it came to assault weapons “confiscation could be an option, mandatory sale to the state could be an option.”

It was an option Cuomo didn’t pursue. But five years after that slaughter of schoolchildren — and with fresh tales of murdered kids on the floor of a Texas church — might gun-control advocates expand their agenda?

The logic of gun control lies, at bottom, in substantially reducing the number of deadly weapons on the street — and confiscation is far and away the most effective approach. Is there any conceivable turn of events in our politics that could make confiscation happen? And what would a mass seizure look like?

It would not look the way David Scharfenberg thinks it would look.

NOW? Now It’s The Democrats Who Have A ‘Russian Problem.’

Richard Pollack with a Daily Caller exclusive:

Democratic fingerprints are all over a growing number of Russia-related scandals, including payments to Fusion GPS for its Russian-sourced Trump dossier, lobbying on behalf of Russia’s largest bank to lift economic sanctions, former President Barack Obama’s administration’s approval of the sale of Uranium One to Russia, and giving twenty percent of America’s uranium reserves to Moscow.

Republican Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Chuck Grassley of Iowa have called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to look into the mounting scandals tying Democrats to Russia.

“The bottom line is very simple, says former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The Russian connection now is owned by the Democratic Party.”

What are the Democratic ties to Russia?

Read on.

I’M EXPECTING AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: Justice Dept. to Weigh Inquiry Into Clinton Foundation.

The department, in a letter sent to the House Judiciary Committee, said the prosecutors would examine allegations that donations to the Clinton Foundation were tied to a 2010 decision by the Obama administration to allow a Russian nuclear agency to buy Uranium One, a company that owned access to uranium in the United States, and other issues.

The letter appeared to be a direct response to Mr. Trump’s statement on Nov. 3, when he said he was disappointed with his beleaguered attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and that longstanding unproven allegations about the Clintons and the Obama administration should be investigated.

Any such investigation would raise questions about the independence of federal investigations under Mr. Trump. Since Watergate, the Justice Department has largely operated independently of political influence on cases related to the president’s opponents.

That’s rich.

WHAT A MESS: U.S. Admits Possible Role in Arming Iranian-Backed Militants in Iraq.

U.S. lawmakers and military insiders are concerned by what they described as the American government’s continued arming and training of Iranian-backed fighters in Iraq, an ongoing policy that multiple sources described to the Washington Free Beacon as one of the U.S.’s chief foreign policy failures in the region.

Top lawmakers and others have begun to present evidence showing that the State Department continues to provide widespread support for Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, a program that first begun under the Obama administration.

This has helped solidify Iran’s presence in key Iraqi territories and appears to directly conflict with the Trump administration’s newly outlined push to combat the Islamic Republic’s regional military efforts, which have included targeting U.S. forces in Syria and other locations.

Multiple sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon both on and off the record accused the State Department of making “common cause” with the IRGC, which they say has benefited from ongoing American efforts to arm and train Iraqi militia groups, many of which have direct ties to Iran.

These sources pointed to the continued presence of senior Obama administration officials in government as one of the primary drivers of this ongoing policy.

Rex Tillerson needs to get serious about State’s serious personnel problem, but after almost a year in office shows zero interest in doing so.

WELL, GOOD: GOP nears initial victory on tax reform.

House Republicans are on the precipice of a big victory on tax reform, but the legislation still faces enormous hurdles before it can reach President Trump’s desk and be signed into law.

Legislation is expected to receive a vote on the House floor this week after clearing the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee in a party-line vote with no GOP defections.

At this point it would be a surprise if Republicans weren’t able to pass the bill through the House.

The number of Republicans publicly opposed or leaning against the bill is in the single digits, and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) appears poised to meet his ambitious timeline of having the tax bill introduced in early November and passed by Thanksgiving.

“I do believe that the momentum continues to move us forward,” Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, told The Hill.

He said Republicans can’t afford to hold off the bill after the failure to approve ObamaCare repeal. Last week’s losses in off-year elections across the country just added urgency for Republicans.

Yes, they need to start delivering.

BARACK OBAMA: EGOTISTICAL SPENDTHRIFT? Donna Brazile Lays Out How Obama’s Obsession With ‘His Image’ ‘Leeched’ The Democratic Party ‘Of Its Vitality.’

“Barack never had seen himself as connected to the party. He had not come up through it the way Joe Biden and Hillary had, but had sprung up almost on his own and never had any trouble raising money for his campaigns,” Brazile wrote.

Obama “used the party to provide for political expenses like gifts to donors, and political travel.” Because he “also cared deeply about his image,” he used DNC funds for “his pollster and focus groups” late into his second term, even though he couldn’t run for president, Brazile said.

Paying of the party’s debt made the DNC beholden to Clinton and her the de facto head of the party, Brazile wrote. Most decisions had to be run through Clinton’s Brooklyn, N.Y., headquarters. Brazile referred to it as the “high command of Brooklyn” on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos Sunday.

Despite blaming Obama, Clinton and Wasserman Schultz for the party’s troubles, she admitted that the three do love the Democratic party.

They only abuse it because they love it so much.

FLASHBACK: The Obama Whisperer: No one has understood Valerie Jarrett’s role, until now. “When I asked a longtime source who left the Obama White House years ago for his impressions of Jarrett, he confessed that he was too fearful to speak with me, even off the record.” With so many czars, there was bound to be a Rasputin.

THANKS, OBAMA! US Air Force official: Missile targeting Saudis was Iranian.

RUSSIAGATE: Judicial Watch Sues Department of Justice for Communications Relating to ‘Russian Lawyer’ Immigration Parole.

Fox News recently reported on a meeting between Fusion GPS and Veselnitskaya:

The co-founder of Fusion GPS, the firm behind the unverified Trump dossier, met with [Veselnitskaya] before and after a key meeting she had last year with Trump’s son, Fox News has learned. The contacts shed new light on how closely tied the firm was to Russian interests, at a time when it was financing research to discredit then-candidate Donald Trump.

The opposition research firm has faced renewed scrutiny after litigation revealed that the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign paid for that research. Congressional Republicans have since questioned whether that politically financed research contributed to the FBI’s investigation of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – making Fusion’s 2016 contacts with Russian interests all the more relevant.

“The ‘Russian lawyer’ who finagled a meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. evidently wasn’t supposed to be in the country,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We want to know what the Obama Justice Department knew and when it knew about what Ms. Veselniskava was up to.”

“No good” is the easy answer, but I do wish Congress were investigating more effectively since we can no longer trust our counterintelligence outfit at the FBI.

IT’S DIFFERENT WHEN THEY DO IT: Obama, Clinton Have Long History of Meddling in Foreign Elections.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: College expelled male student after coordinated sexual assault claims fell apart, suit says.

A jealous boyfriend convinced four female students to falsely accuse a graduating male of sexual misconduct years after the alleged behavior, according to the former student’s lawsuit against a small New York liberal arts school.

“John Doe” accuses Hamilton College of changing its sexual-misconduct investigative procedures so drastically in response to Obama administration Title IX “guidance” – since rescinded by the Trump administration – that it effectively denied him due process and discriminated against him based on his gender.

As with other lawsuits alleging procedural and gender-related violations by colleges in response to Title IX investigations prompted by accusers, Doe’s complaint alleges Hamilton ignored his text-message evidence that the accusations were a setup.

“Hamilton was under enormous pressure to show it was willing to take a hard line against male students accused of sexual assault in order to dispel the notion that its campus was an unfriendly and unsafe environment for women,” the suit reads.

Cost of attending Hamilton College: $66,250 per year. That’s a lot of money to pay to be presumed a rapist if you possess a penis.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: 5 Takeaways On Virginia’s Election Sweep For Democrats.

Here’s one:

Democrats are finally focusing on statehouse races, and this should terrify Republicans. Democrats lost some 958 state legislative seats during the Obama administration. Those years saw a strong federal executive, but very little attention paid to Democrats at the state and local level.

The Washington Post had a story last week that suggested the huge win for Democrats in Virginia was no accident, but the result of a carefully crafted campaign being tested for nationwide rollout:

For a new crop of Democratic groups, Virginia is the opening salvo and a testing ground ahead of what they hope is a wave election in 2018.
Virginia is the first state to hold a competitive contest for governor after Trump moved into the White House, and both parties want to win it — the Democrats as a rebuke of Trump, and the Republicans to show they are not blemished by an unpopular president.

It’s also a purple state where Democrats have been winning statewide since 2009, but Republicans hold 66 of the 100 seats in the House of Delegates. Democrats are running in 54 GOP-held districts this year, and scores of groups — some well-financed, some loosely organized, are looking to leave their mark on those contests.

There’s a Democratic super PAC planning to spend $1 million — with an eye to a bigger goal of raising $100 million to take control of state houses across the country.

An organization founded by wealthy Virginia donors and bankrolled by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur is beta-testing technology to help low-budget campaigns run more efficiently.

Given the success this high-dollar, high-technology strategy yielded, expect to see many more resources applied in a state near you to achieve the same effect.

The Democrats seem to be learning the lessons of 2016. Will the GOP learn the lessons of Virginia 2017?

EX-WEINSTEIN EMPLOYEE WONDERS IF WARREN BEATTY IS NEXT. Maybe not next, but I imagine like many powerful Hollywood men, he’s probably sweating a bit right now.

His fellow leftists spent the Obama era weaponizing the culture. Just look at the language invented or popularized over the last eight years: “Toxic whiteness.” “White privilege.” “Male privilege.”  “War on Women.” “Income inequality.” “Rape culture.” Didn’t they think their culture war on the rest of us would turn on them eventually?

As Jonah Goldberg wrote in 2005, while gathering the material that would become Liberal Fascism:

Liberals are geniuses at unleashing social panics because A) it never occurs to them that their motives are anything but pure and B) because they are almost exclusively focused on short term tactics. And yet they are invariably shocked when these moral frenzies come back to bite them. McCarthyism was a direct consequence of both the Red Scare and the Brown Scare. And when the tactics they mastered were turned on them, they acted as if they came from nowhere.

They’re not going to like living under the new rules they created, to coin a phrase.

HEALTH: FDA Releases New Guidance on Calorie Rule. “Does regulation apply to beer? ‘It depends’.”

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday released draft guidance to help chain restaurants and groceries comply with an Obamacare regulation that requires calorie labeling on menus.

FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the guidance is “practical, efficient and sustainable,” in an attempt to alleviate concerns from pizza chains and grocers that the government was moving forward with an onerous Obama administration rule that carries criminal penalties for “misbranding” food.

Questions about the rule remain, since the guidance only contains “nonbinding recommendations.” In addition, chain restaurants could be confused by language in the guidance related to what draft beers must be labeled. The FDA says, “It depends.”

Complying with “It depends” could be problematical, to say the least.

And:

Pizza chains represented by the American Pizza Community—including Domino’s, Papa John’s, and Little Caesars—raised the issue that pizza can contain up to a billion topping combinations, making the rule unworkable unless they can comply online. Domino’s has said the vast majority of their orders are already placed online, where customers can use a calorie tracker for any pizza they order.

The new FDA guidance does not allow pizza chains to comply online but attempts to provide more flexibility with allowing companies to use calorie ranges.

The regulatory state marches on.

STEPHEN MOORE: Why the Left Has Been So Wrong About the Trump Boom.

But so far the Trump haters have missed the call on the economy’s trajectory. Doubly ironic is that the same Obama-era economists who are trashing Trump’s increasingly realistic forecast of 3 percent growth are the ones who predicted 4 percent growth from the Obama budgets. Obama never came anywhere near 4 percent growth, and at the end of his second term, the economy grew at a pitiful 1.6 percent.

Under Obama, free enterprise and pro-business policies were thrown out the window. What was delivered was the weakest recovery from a recession since World War II, with a meager 2.2 percent average growth rate. Middle America felt it, which is why Trump won these forgotten Americans.

One reason that economist Larry Kudlow and I and others assured Donald Trump that 3 to 4 percent growth was achievable was that Trump could capitalize on the underperformance of the Obama years. Under Obama, business investment fell almost two-thirds below the long-term trend line — thanks to higher taxes on investment. Now, partly in anticipation of the tax cut, business spending keeps climbing.

“Get the hell out of my way!” the wise man once said.

TRY THIS HEADLINE WITH ANY OTHER ETHNICITY AND SEE HOW WELL IT PLAYS: Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel looking at white people with ‘new intensity’ after Trump’s election.

If Weigel’s old intensity at the Post was any indication, I’d hate to see him dial the amps up to 11:

In a thread with the subject line, “ACORN Ratf*cker arrested,” Journolisters discussed how James O’Keefe, whose undercover reporting showed officials from activist group ACORN willing to help a fake prostitution ring skirt the law, had been arrested in another, failed operation at Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) office.

Weigel’s response: “HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.”

“Deep breath.”

“HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHHAHAHA.”

“He’s either going to get a radio talk show or start a prison ministry. That’s was successful conservative ratfuckers do for their second acts,” Weigel wrote, likely alluding to Nixon aide Charles Colson who converted to Christianity after a stint in prison for obstruction of justice and founded Prison Fellowship.

Republicans? “Ratfucking [Obama] on every bill.” Palin?  Tried to “ratfuck” a moderate Republican in a contentious primary in New York. Limbaugh? Used “ratfucking tactics” in urging Republican activists to vote for Hillary Clinton in open primaries after Obama had all but beat her for the Democratic nomination.

So just to recap, in 2008, voting for Hillary in the primaries was “ratfucking.” In 2016, voting against her was racism.

And note that the ratfucking stuff on the JournoList was written by Weigel back when he was still posing as the token young conservative at the Post. Choose the form of your destructor, indeed.

JEFF DUNETZ: The REAL Reason Donna Brazile Wrote Her Book.

Since her election loss Hillary Clinton has been a constant media presence trying to explain all the reasons lost the election (my latest count is 30 excuses). Along with her blame game, at times Ms. Clinton has hinted she might run again in 2020. By drawing the coverage, Hillary’s been squeezing out other Democrats from receiving coverage.

Enter Donna Brazile, whose book “Hacks” feeds the rumor her winning of the nomination wasn’t fair, claims that the campaign was incompetent, had racist and misogynistic elements, and was too arrogant in its belief they had the election won to listen to advice that they were in trouble.

If Hillary Clinton’s book is named, “What Happened,” Brazile’s book could have been titled “What Really Happened.” Donna Brazile is a long-time Democratic Party operative who twice served as interim chairman of the party. She wouldn’t have written a book bashing Hillary Clinton if she wasn’t trying to free the party from the grasp of the Clinton machine.

Eight years of Obama nearly destroyed the Democrats as a national party, and Clinton’s lousy campaign just about sealed the deal. I doubt Brazile’s book is 100% honest (ahem), but I don’t doubt it’s an honest attempt to save the party from the Clinton Kleptocracy and from the far-left Obama/Sanders Progressives. Instead, the Democratic Remnant is doubling down on the radical identity politics and associated culture wars which cost the party so much since 2009…

…and I can’t think of anything more except to pop some corn.

ASHE SCHOW: Betsy De Vos May Have To Use Obama-Style Funding Threats To Force Campus Justice Reform.

ANNALS OF FAKE NEWS: Erik Wemple: CNN, others hyperventilate over President Trump’s perfectly fine fish-feeding.

That’s apparently what CNN was doing when it published a story Monday under the headline, “Trump feeds fish, winds up pouring entire box of food into koi pond.” How is that newsworthy? Well, it’s newsworthy if Trump acted like a boor and pounded the precious koi with an overabundance of food. Such appears to be the case if you look at the video below, which starts with a shot of Trump, alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, flicking spoonfuls of food from a wooden box into the koi pond below. Then the shot narrows to Trump himself, and he empties the entire box.

Another instance of presidential boorishness abroad? As Mediaite pointed out, that’s how it played out among some media types. There’s that CNN headline, for starters, which places outsize significance on the president’s handling of the box. Jezebel headlines, “Big Stupid Baby Dumps Load Of Fish Food On Japanese Koi Pond.” The New York Daily News: “Photo of Donald Trump dumping fish food into koi pond during Japan visit draws Obama comparisons.” And more than one prominent journalist wrote tweets fixated on the fish-food box-dump.

A wider shot of the proceedings, however, shows that Trump was merely following the lead of his host. . . . So Trump was acting as a responsible guest, merely following the actions of Abe.

They’re like middle-school girls.

DOG BITES MAN: Barack Obama Touts Gun Control After Texas Church Massacre.

RENT SEEKERS GOTTA SEEK RENTS: Insurers make billions off Medicaid in California during Obamacare expansion.

Medicaid is rarely associated with getting rich. The patients are poor, the budgets tight and payments to doctors often paltry.

But some insurance companies are reaping spectacular profits off the taxpayer-funded program in California, even when the state finds that patient care is subpar.

Health Net, a unit of Centene Corp., the largest Medicaid insurer nationwide, raked in $1.1 billion in profit from 2014 to 2016, according to state data obtained by Kaiser Health News. Anthem, another industry giant, turned a profit of $549 million from California’s Medicaid program in the same period.

Overall, Medicaid insurers in the Golden State made $5.4 billion in profits from 2014 to 2016, in part because the state paid higher rates during the inaugural years of the nation’s Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Last year, they made more money than all Medicaid insurers combined in 34 other states with managed care plans.

There’s something rotten in California.

WEIRD HOW BILL KRISTOL STILL SEEMS SO CHAFED: Despite the chaos, Trump has managed to push the most conservative agenda in a generation. “This hitherto ideologically unmoored man has set in motion an administration arguably more conservative than Ronald Reagan’s. While the Congress controlled by his adopted party remains gridlocked, Trump is rolling back regulations and a number of the Obama administration’s most controversial achievements, including the internal structure of Obamacare and the Clean Power Plan. His foreign policy resets look increasingly sure-footed. His judicial nominees are uniformly conservative. It is inconceivable that any of the other leading Republican candidates from the 2016 cycle would have governed as boldly as Trump has.”

HOW BAD IS GEORGE CLOONEY’S SUBURBICON? So bad that the New York Times reviewer chokes on its “moral piety.”

By the final bogusly optimistic shot, it’s obvious what “Suburbicon” wants you to know: This movie voted for Obama.

If Hollywood movies are in trouble, something as confused as this one signals a hastening of their demise.

As even David Brooks admits, the problem with our elites is that “they really do stink.”

Related: The Suicide Of Expertise.

KATE PACKER BEESON: Democrats are so focused on tearing down the GOP they can’t see their own shortcomings.

The Democrats seemed shocked the race between Clinton and Trump remained relatively close because they seemed to stop talking to the white working-class voters who, for decades, had defined their base.

So when they lost the election, there was a reckoning. The leadership of the Democratic Party was drummed up and new, forward-looking leaders took the reins and offered an alternative to what they saw as the disaster of Donald Trump. Wait, no. That isn’t what happened. Instead, they re-elected Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the house. They elected Chuck Schumer as Senate majority leader and completely sold out to the New York and California wings of the Democratic Party.

Instead of talking about middle-class tax cuts, they talked about transgender bathroom access. Instead of talking about fixing Obamacare, which was crushing many in the middle class with high premiums and complicated doctor selections, they walked right into the trap of the alt-right and began tearing down Civil War statues.

In the first big test of party strength: the Virginia governor’s race, they have thrown up all over themselves. Virginia should be easy for them. Clinton won it in 2016. Trump’s numbers are completely under water. The Republican candidate has awkwardly embraced Trump and some of his controversial positions while trying not to hug him too close. But somehow they ended up with one of the least inspiring Democratic candidates Virginia has seen in a long time. And they backed an ad that seemed to depict Virginians who drive pickup trucks as a bunch of rednecks looking to plow down children of color.

As Bill Whittle likes to say, if Republicans had to run unopposed, they’d lose every time.

IT’S ALWAYS NICE TO MAKE TWITCHY.

JUST HEARD THE LIVE NEWS CONFERENCE ABOUT THE MASS MURDERS IN SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, TEXAS: The mass murders were another act of pure evil. According to a statement made during a live news conference introduced by Texas governor Greg Abbott, an armed citizen engaged the mass murderer outside the church. When fired upon, the evil murderer dropped his weapon and fled. Fascinating. Community defense by an armed citizenry. Let’s see how this information plays out in mainstream media. (bumped)

No link yet on press conference but I’m not sure that matters.

UPDATE: Range of age of murder victims runs from five to 72. Fox News now confirms 26 dead in the attack on the First Baptist Church of Sutherland, Texas. Fox News also confirms the murderer was a man named Devin Patrick Kelley. He shot two people outside the church before he entered the church sanctuary then shot and killed another 23 inside the church. The 26th person died of wounds. Police found Kelley dead in his vehicle after he fled his crime scene. At this moment authorities have not determined if Kelley died of a self-inflicted wound or died from shots fired by the armed citizen.

DEVELOPING MEME THAT CHALLENGES LEFTIST MAINSTREAM: The armed citizen who fired on the mass murderer is being described on Fox News as “a good Samaritan.” I agree. The as yet unnamed armed citizen was rendering aid to fellow human beings in life-threatening, life-taking circumstances. The armed citizen who engaged the murderer –engaged the murderer with bullets– was saving lives. Bullets saving lives. How will the mainstream media address this? Commenters, please, like the chorus you are, explain this evolving history. Will “An Armed Citizen’s Bullets That Are Protected By The Second Amendment Saved Lives” ever be a mainstream media headline?

UPDATE 2: How many people have to die before benighted Democrats like Barack Obama laud the Second Amendment?

UPDATE 3: The armed citizen is now being described as “a local resident.” OK, I buy it. This isn’t a Texas phenomenon. This is the physical display of an American civil right doing what it is intended to do. September 7, 1876 — the James-Younger gang attacks Northfield, Minnesota. Armed local residents defend their town against the thugs.

NOT SOMETHING TO ASPIRE TO: Clemson’s Colin Kaepernick moment.

Jaren Stewart, a college junior at Clemson University in South Carolina, has found himself at the center of a campus-race-and-sexual-assault-fiasco.

Stewart is the sitting Vice President of Clemson University’s Student Government Association [SGA]. He made national news because he faced impeachment for allegations of voyeurism and trespassing during his time as a resident assistant (RA).

According to an illegally leaked incident report filed last spring, Stewart, who is black, entered students’ residence without permission and stole food and cleaning supplies. And it gets worse: Stewart allegedly “would enter…while women were changing their clothes” and refused to leave when asked.

Stewart maintains that the complaints against him are “exaggerated.” The embattled VP said that racial animus at the South Carolina school triggered the impeachment controversy. And that the report that detailed his alleged misconduct was leaked in retaliation for his refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at a meeting of student senate. In an interview with the Anderson Independent Mail Stewart was defiant:

“This is a social lynching…There’s a deeper systemic issue in which people are choosing what they want to hear, choosing what they want to believe exists and that’s why sitting for the pledge was so important,” he said.

But Clemson SGA senators said that the question before the governing body is one of fitness, not race. Stewart “abused his power” as an RA when he violated his female residents’ privacy.

Others have speculated about why the university was and remains tight-lipped about the damaging accusations, or why Stewart didn’t receive a harsher punishment for his misconduct. According to USA Today, school officials suspended Stewart from residential duties for eight-days and he was not invited to return to the program this fall. He was also issued a no-contact order.

There are other reasons to doubt Stewart’s “Jim Crow” explanation: under the guidelines set in the infamous “Dear Colleague” letter in 2011, Stewart’s actions were plainly sexual harassment. And if we consider reports that black male students are disproportionately sanctioned for sexual misconduct, he should consider himself lucky he wasn’t expelled.

Lucky for him Obama’s out and Trump’s in.

HE’S RIGHT. THEY STINK ON ICE:

Shot: David Brooks: Those Of Us Trying To Rebut Trump Have The Disadvantage That “Our Elites Really Do Stink.”

Real Clear Politics today.

Chaser: David Brooks is Still in Love with the Crease in Obama’s Pants.

—Neo-Neocon, February 11, 2016.

DON SURBER: 20 Who Feuded With Trump And Lost. “Oh, not everyone winds up worse, I suppose. But enough do that a wise man would ask, why risky it? . . . Notice the pattern is hating Trump in public, and being a cretin in private.”

But this is my favorite:

During the campaign, Trump tweeted, “President Obama will go down as perhaps the worst president in the history of the United States!”

Obama went on Jimmy Kimmel’s show, read the tweet, and replied, “At least I’ll go down as a president.”

Fifteen days later, we elected Trump as Obama’s successor.

Ouch.

MICHAEL BARONE: Keep Calm And Carry On:

Keep calm and carry on. Those words, though not appearing as widely on posters in wartime Britain as often supposed, are good advice for Americans now appalled by the presidency of Donald Trump.

It is widely proclaimed that he is a president unlike any other, a threat to the institutions of republican government and democratic processes, an ignoramus whose impulsiveness may lead to nuclear war.

It’s true that every president since 1945 has had access to the nuclear trigger. And Trump’s insult-laden style and constant tweeting strikes many people (including me) as repugnant and, if sometimes momentarily effective in framing issues, often self-defeating in both the short and long run.

All that said, Trump’s actions, in contrast to many of his words, strike me as comparable to other presidents. One can argue that an office designed for someone as sternly self-disciplined as George Washington is overly powerful and prominent, but no one seriously contemplates restructuring the Constitution.

On a multitude of issues, the Trump administration has operated like others replacing a president of the opposite party. His judicial nominations, starting with Justice Neil Gorsuch, have been just what one expects from a Republican president.

His appointees have reversed predecessors’ regulations: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on college and university sexual assault kangaroo courts, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on regulations aimed at shutting down coal mining.

The Trump team is operating in a target-rich environment, due to Barack Obama’s legally dubious “pen and phone” executive orders like the DACA “Dreamers” amnesty and spending unappropriated funds on Obamacare’s cost-saving reduction payments. The Congressional Review Act, a 1996 Newt Gingrich innovation that lay dormant for 20 years, has enabled narrow Republican congressional majorities to overturn more regulations than Democrats ever anticipated.

The nonstop freakoutrage about Trump was intended to “denormalize” him, but it’s had the effect of denormalizing his opposition, which would be a lot more effective if it behaved normally.

ANN ALTHOUSE ON “COLLUSION” BLOWBACK: “Who started the use of this term? Who propagated it? I think it has been Trump’s antagonists. If so, it’s ironic that it now makes Trump look less culpable. I believe the term came into general use because it allowed everything to count as evidence and to cast a wide net and to generate as much suspicion and doubt as possible and deprive the newly elected President of the power and dignity of the office. Trump appropriated the term for use against his accusers, and now Obama and Hillary supporters have to worry that the public’s sensitivity to ‘collusion’ endangers their side. Sad!”

SOMETHING SEXIST, OBVIOUSLY: What on earth was Michelle Obama trying to say about men?

YOU DON’T SAY: Steny Hoyer Says Jamming Obamacare through Congress ‘didn’t work.’

The law cost the Democrats the House and eventually the Senate and cost millions the insurance and doctors they liked and forced people to buy coverage they can’t afford to use and is a regulatory mess and turned the insurance industry into unsatisfiable welfare queens and can’t be successfully implemented as written and outed Barack Obama as an unscrupulous liar… but other than that it’s worked just fine.

PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS CORRECT: ELECTIONS DO HAVE CONSEQUENCES. A week ago, reporters and editors in the combined newsroom of www.dnainfo.com and Gothamist voted to join a union. On Thursday, they lost their jobs, as Joe Ricketts, the billionaire founder of TD Ameritrade who owned the sites, shut them down. The owner’s logic is unfathomable to the denizens of the People’s Republic of Zabar’s:

“DNAinfo is, at the end of the day, a business, and businesses need to be economically successful if they are to endure.”

**DISCLOSURE** I was a member of The Newspaper Guild for many years when I worked at Time Inc., but those were in flush times when the First Amendment was basically a license to print money.

 

 

ANOTHER BRICK FROM THE WALL: House Votes To Abolish Obamacare Board That Conservatives Called A ‘Death Panel.’

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: How Class Realignment Broke the Democrats.

I live in the bubble. Always have, even if I have come to disagree with what my college professors would call the “hegemonic discourse” of postmodern liberalism, and to gag at the vanity and solipsism of many of my fellow residents. But never, especially after the 2016 campaign, would I mistake the confines of the bubble for the whole of reality. That is the mistake Hillary Clinton made when she decided that she could win the presidency without the support of a white working class mangled by economic stagnation, family breakdown, and drug addiction. And it is the same mistake the Democrats at the Obama Foundation and on Capitol Hill are making now, in real time, as they wrap themselves in the illusions that growing minority populations will carry them ineluctably to power, and that identity politics is somehow an electoral winner.

As racially and sexually diverse as the crowd at the Obama Foundation summit may have been, everyone at the breakout session on “Who Narrates the World?” had, I’d wager, the following in common: a college or postgraduate degree, the mark of distinction and privilege and wealth in our society today. Yet most Americans do not possess such credentials, and live very different existences from those who do. Recently I asked an elections expert to describe the modern analogue to the “Dayton Housewife,” the prototypical swing voter of the late ’60s and ’70s behind the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. My friend told me the median voter is a believing Catholic woman with children who works part time, attends Mass sporadically, dropped out of college, lives in a household earning between $50,000 and $65,000 a year, votes in general election years, and resides in the Columbus exurbs.

Do you suppose that our hypothetical Westerville mom would write on a chalkboard that she hopes her son will be rescued from “toxic masculinity”? Or cares in the slightest about José Andres? She probably voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 because he talked a good game, has a nice family, and sympathized with the challenges of working people. But then Obama’s second term brought no real improvement in her prospects, and a lot of ancillary cultural and social upheaval besides.

I’d argue that the “cultural and social upheaval” was far from ancillary, but instead was the deciding factor in making enough Obama-to-Trump voters to tip the election. The Democrats could get away with disdaining or even hating white and/or male voters for so long before they went somewhere else.

YOU SPELLED DEMOCRAT ACTIVISTS WITH BYLINES WRONG: “Americans Are Officially Freaking Out Almost two-thirds say this is the lowest point in U.S. history—and it’s keeping a lot of them up at night,” claims an, umm, slightly hyperbolic Bloomberg headline this week.

But didn’t the equally “objective” AP already write this story back in mid-2008 as battlefield prep for presidential candidate Barack Obama, when it was titled “Everything Seemingly is Spinning Out of Control”?

Of course, the freakouts and the out-of-control spin-outs  depend upon your point of view. As an article by the Agence France-Presse wire service earlier this week notes, “For many in Trump’s America, a year to crow about.”

Not least of which is this simple fact: Hillary Clinton is not in the White House.

THEY’RE REALLY TRYING TO STOP HER FROM RUNNING AGAIN: Donna Brazile Throws Hillary Under The Bus: Yes, the election was rigged to stop Bernie Sanders. Brazile is pretty kind on her own role, here, though . . . .

She also throws Debbie Wasserman Schultz under the bus. And she slides right over the fact that Obama left the Democratic Party $24 million in debt.

EVER GET THE FEELING YOU’VE BEEN CHEATED?

THEN: We Are All Socialists Now; Obama is the Second Coming of God, JFK and FDR; the Democratic Party will rule unchallenged for 40 years.

Now: Democrats slowly realize Obama destroyed the party.

(Classical reference in headline.)

CONRAD BLACK: Focus of Russia Probe Needs To Be on Clintons.

The fact that, on the same day as the Manafort and Gates indictments, Tony Podesta — who was intimately connected with the Uranium One dealings that were contemporaneous with extraordinarily large pledges to the Clinton Foundation and the celebrated $500,000 speech-making payment to the former president, Bill Clinton — retired as head of the firm that bears his name — may indicate that Special Counsel Mueller is shifting gears with the evidence and broadening his attack, conducted by his largely Clintonian lawyer group. Mr. Gates had so little notice of what was coming that he had not even hired a criminal lawyer; he had a public defender enter his plea.

I presume Mr. Mueller raced out with the Manafort-Gates charges in the hope that, if there were anything Mr. Manafort could say that would be damaging to Trump, an indictment such as this — the usual U.S. prosecutorial technique of throwing all the spaghetti at the wall (“conspiracy against the United States” is one of the more extreme charges) — will bring him to the standard plea bargain: giving extorted and false but incriminating testimony against the big target (Mr. Trump), in exchange for a reduced sentence with an immunity for perjured testimony. Mr. Mueller and his protégé, James Comey, are superstars in the firmament of this profoundly rotten system, but Mr. Manafort’s lawyer gave them clear notice that it won’t work.

At the same time, to shake Mr. Podesta out of his own company, and incite rumors in the Democratic press that the Podestas are being investigated (Tony Podesta’s brother, John Podesta, was Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager), means that Mr. Mueller is already much closer to lifting the rock all the way on the Clintons and President Obama than he is to finding anything vulnerable around President Trump or his campaign.

Months of “Russia, Russia, Russia” may prove to be the Clinton’s worst own-goal yet.

DONNA BRAZILE: When I was asked to run the Democratic Party after the Russians hacked our emails, I stumbled onto a shocking truth about the Clinton campaign.

I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process, as a cache of emails stolen by Russian hackers and posted online had suggested. I’d had my suspicions from the moment I walked in the door of the DNC a month or so earlier, based on the leaked emails. But who knew if some of them might have been forged? I needed to have solid proof, and so did Bernie.

So I followed the money. My predecessor, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had not been the most active chair in fundraising at a time when President Barack Obama’s neglect had left the party in significant debt. As Hillary’s campaign gained momentum, she resolved the party’s debt and put it on a starvation diet. It had become dependent on her campaign for survival, for which she expected to wield control of its operations.

Debbie was not a good manager. She hadn’t been very interested in controlling the party—she let Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn do as it desired so she didn’t have to inform the party officers how bad the situation was. How much control Brooklyn had and for how long was still something I had been trying to uncover for the last few weeks.

By September 7, the day I called Bernie, I had found my proof and it broke my heart.

Read the whole thing.

Brazile has been nothing if not a Clinton loyalist, so there must be a heavy change in the winds for her to have written this piece. And for Politico, no less, which is basically the DNC’s unofficial house organ.

SEE ALSO: The previous post on the Democratic Civil War.

STRATEGERY: Michelle Obama starts blazing Dems’ 2020 trail by letting men know they’re a REAL disappointment.

She needs to stay in her lane, instead of womansplaining how men should act and feel. She has no idea what it’s like to be a man and never will. To even suggest that a woman can tell men how to be men is insulting and bigoted.

There, am I doing that right?

GETTING? The Democratic Civil War Is Getting Nasty, Even if No One Is Paying Attention.

Clinton was guilty of “malpractice” in how she conducted her 2016 Presidential campaign, Greenberg told me. Even worse, he said, Democrats were repeating the same political mistakes a year later. “Look at Virginia right now,” Greenberg said, as soon as we sat down in his second-floor office. “We have a candidate”—Ralph Northam, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee—“running as Hillary Clinton. He is running on the same kind of issues, and has the same kind of view of the world. It’s the Republicans who talk about the economy, not the Democrats.” This was the approach that doomed Clinton against Trump. The electorate was angry in 2016 and remains angry now, Greenberg said, and Northam, a Norfolk doctor, didn’t get it. Neither did Clinton and the team of Obama veterans who staffed her Brooklyn headquarters. “If you live in the metro areas with the élites, you don’t wake up angry about what’s happening in people’s lives,” Greenberg said.

His rant was notable for a variety of reasons, not least because Greenberg was the pollster who helped Bill Clinton win the White House in 1992, and he has been a participant in every Democratic nominee’s Presidential campaign since, including Hillary Clinton’s. His criticism illuminates an urgent question for the Democratic Party, not just in next week’s governor’s race in Virginia but in the midterm elections of 2018 and beyond. Could Trump, as deeply polarizing and unpopular as he is, even be reëlected?

Greenberg and other prominent Democrats still furious about last year’s Clinton campaign think it’s entirely possible, unless the Party figures out, and fast, a way to tackle the problem that sealed Clinton’s fate in 2016: how to appeal to the disaffected white working-class voters who provided Trump’s unlikely win a year ago.

Too late. The deplorable bitter clingers have caught on.

JAYVEE: New York City Terrorist Was Following ISIS Instructions, Law Enforcement Reveal.

If Obama had ordered the military to act as vigorously against ISIS in 2014 as Trump did in his first months as POTUS, instead of dismissing the threat, we might have been spared some of these stories.

HEY, WHAT CHANGED THIS TIME AROUND?

● Shot: Obama: Mass shootings are ‘something we should politicize.’

The Hill, October 1st, 2015.

● Chaser: Democrats Suddenly Find Politicizing Death Uncouth.

Noah Rothman, Commentary, yesterday.

WAR ON MEN: Michelle Obama says men are ‘entitled,’ ‘self-righteous’ because women protect them too much.

Related: Democrats to White Males: You’re Not Wanted Here.

With all the Democrats’ paranoia about what Russians may have done for Trump’s 2016 campaign, Democrats sure seem to be pulling out all the stops on behalf of Trump’s 2020 campaign. . . .

NORMA DESMOND IS STILL NOT READY FOR HER CLOSE-UP. ‘Beyond pathetic’: Hillary says she’ll ‘go as the president’ this Halloween.

Lefties really had the measure of Hillary when they were busy destroying her to clear a path for Obama in 2008:

Click to watch.

THIS IS A FEATURE, NOT A BUG. Time: Trump’s Cabinet ‘Wrecking Crew’ Is ‘Dismantling Government As We Know It.’ 

Not surprisingly, just as they didn’t realize that comparing Obama to FDR and “The New, New Deal” in November of 2008 was in reality quite a damning statement, Time doesn’t understand that “dismantling government as we know it” is exactly what Trump was elected to do – and in Betsy DeVos’s case, it’s even Jerry Brown-approved.

Faster, please.

STACY MCCAIN: No Mercy for @KevinSpacey? Welcome to the Sexual Harassment Apocalypse. “It would be unfair to impugn all gay men as complicit in this, in the same way as it is unfair for feminists to imply that Harvey Weinstein is representative of all heterosexual men.”

Plus: “As recently as November 2016, Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein, like every other liberal, were going all-out to elect Hillary Clinton president, to continue the merciless Title IX regime on university campuses, where more than 100 males students have filed lawsuits claiming they were falsely accused and denied due process in kangaroo-court hearings imposed at the behest of the Obama administration. Karma is a deeply ironic bitch.”

U.S. CAPTURES KEY ISLAMIST MILITANT INVOLVED IN BENGHAZI ATTACK: (bumped)

American special operations forces captured a militant Sunday who was allegedly involved in the attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, two US officials confirmed to Fox News.

US official identified the suspect as Mustafa al-Imam.

The attack resulted in the death of the American ambassador and three other Americans.

The White House is expected to release more details shortly.

The officials say U.S. commandos captured the unidentified man in Libya and are transporting him back to the U.S. The officials say the mission was approved by PresidentTrump and carried out in coordination with Libya’s internationally recognized government.

Remember, the Obama Administration lied about Benghazi. For about three weeks Obama’s minions insisted it wasn’t a planned attack. A crowd of demonstrators was “triggered” — probably by an on-line anti-Muslim video. Here’s what I wrote about it in September 2012.

UPDATE: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson praises the arrest:

I am deeply grateful to the U.S. military, law enforcement, and intelligence community for their efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. The Department of State family continues to mourn the loss of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, and Tyrone Woods, and we will spare no effort to ensure that justice is served for these dedicated Americans and public servants. I spoke with some of their family members to underscore the U.S. government’s unwavering support.

Yes, terrorist attacks.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

● Then: Sexual assault – “it’s on us” to stop it:

● Now: Jimmy Kimmel is making next year’s Oscars a Harvey Weinstein-free zone.

Exit quote: “Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion.”

—Harvey Weinstein, as quoted by the Los Angeles Times, October 1st, 2009.

Related: There’s an Awakening Against Sexual Assault, So Why Is No One Talking About Bill Clinton?

IN OTHER NEWS: Judge denies mistrial in Menendez bribery case. “Prosecutors say Menendez pressured high-level officials in the Obama administration and other career diplomats to help Dr. Salomon Melgen resolve his business disputes in exchange for political contributions, free rides on Melgen’s private jet, and a posh hotel suite at the Park Hyatt in Paris.”

OH: Bill Gates Tacitly Admits His Common Core Experiment Was A Failure.

“Based on everything we have learned in the past 17 years, we are evolving our education strategy,” Gates wrote on his blog as a preface to a speech he gave last week in Cleveland. He followed this by detailing how U.S. education has essentially made little improvement in the years since he and his foundation — working so closely with the Obama administration that federal officials regularly consulted foundation employees and waived ethics laws to hire several — began redirecting trillions of public dollars towards programs he now admits haven’t accomplished much.

“If there is one thing I have learned,” Gates says in concluding his speech, “it is that no matter how enthusiastic we might be about one approach or another, the decision to go from pilot to wide-scale usage is ultimately and always something that has to be decided by you and others the field.” If this statement encompasses his Common Core debacle, Gates could have at least the humility to recall that Common Core had no pilot before he took it national. There wasn’t even a draft available to the public before the Obama administration hooked states into contracts, many of which were ghostwritten with Gates funds, pledging they’d buy that pig in a poke.

But it looks like this is as close to an apology or admission of failure as we’re going to get, folks. Sorry about that $4 trillion and mangled years of education for American K-12 kids and teachers.

Read the whole thing.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Mueller Indictment, Obama and the Dossier, and Much, Much More.

WELL, YES: To win in 2018, Democrats must resist moving further left.

Democratic strategist Tyler Jones:

Instead of pursuing the unrealistic goal of single-payer healthcare in 2017, we should be laser-focused on putting a stop to the opioid epidemic that is literally killing off thousands of young people every day in small towns across the country.

We must demonstrate a priority and commitment to jobs and opportunities for American citizens who work hard and play by the rules.

Instead of looking to figures like Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to move the party forward, we should be listening to Governors like Steve Bullock of Montana and Roy Cooper of North Carolina who actually won elections in red states.

If we want to win again, Democrats must get out of the bubbles of New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., and listen to the rest of America again.

Democrats mistook Barack Obama’s personal popularity for approval of his progressive agenda, which voters chose to frustrate in every Congressional election since 2010 — and in local elections, state houses, and governors’ mansion, too. As has been noted many times before, Obama presided over the loss of about 1,000 Democrat-held offices.

The “bubbles” Jones worries about are the Democrat Remnant’s safe spaces. And while Jones is correct that Democrats need to start listening to Americans outside of those safe spaces — that’s not what safe spaces are for. They’re places to retreat, to close ones eyes, cover one’s ears, and chant “Na-na-na-na-na I can’t hear you.”

I’m not saying Democrats can’t change, but that they probably won’t until they’ve been beaten badly enough to understand that they can’t win elections and openly the disdain bitter clingers and all those other undesirables out in Flyover Country.

WELL, HOW ABOUT THAT? Obama’s Campaign Paid $972,000 To Law Firm That Secretly Paid Fusion GPS In 2016. “Former president Barack Obama’s official campaign organization has directed nearly a million dollars to the same law firm that funneled money to Fusion GPS, the firm behind the infamous Steele dossier. Since April of 2016, Obama For America (OFA) has paid over $972,000 to Perkins Coie, records filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show. The Washington Post reported last week that Perkins Coie, an international law firm, was directed by both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to retain Fusion GPS in April of 2016 to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump.”

If the parties were reversed, Perkins Coie would be radioactive now. People would be targeting their clients to drop them, students protesting their recruiting presence at law schools, complaints to nonprofits with Perkins partners on the board: The full Koch treatment.

THIS  IS CNN:

This is reality:

How did Gillespie almost steal Virginia’s senate seat from Warner? The key was outreach in communities outside the Republican Party’s normal comfort zone, Gillespie says, emphasizing his own experience as a first-generation American. “I am the son of an immigrant myself, and would make that point in these communities,” Gillespie recalls. “My father came here as a boy from Ireland. My grandfather was a janitor, and I got to grow up to be counselor to the president of the United States of America.” He used that experience as an entrée to these communities, emphasizing his desire to duplicate it for their families. “I want the same opportunities for future generations,” he told them during his campaign.

Gillespie also focused on themes and issues that resonated across community lines, emphasizing “upward mobility and job creation, economic growth, lifting people out of poverty, and higher wages,” as well as “education, a reform-and-replace plan for ObamaCare, energy production, and more affordable energy.” More important than the message itself was where and how Gillespie communicated it.

“I went into the black churches in Prince William, and to places a lot of Republicans have not gone,” he says. County Republican Party vice chair D. J. Jordan, a leading African American conservative in Prince William, corroborates this. “Grace Church Dumfries is a church that Ed Gillespie visited in October 2014,” Jordan recalls, “and he was very well received. They welcomed him from the pulpit and he was able to talk to those who were out in the lobby afterwards.”

Related: ‘Reeks of subtle racism’: Black Democrat omitted from campaign fliers in Virginia.

UPDATE: Gross: A Former Hillary Spokesman Published the Worst Tweet of the Week.

STUART TAYLOR, JR.: What Betsy DeVos Gets Right About Campus Sexual Assault. “The Obama Administration’s actions on campus sexual assault were a textbook example of regulatory overreach.”

CLIFFORD D. MAY: The Kurdish test. “Iran’s mullahs are betting that Trump, like Obama, will choose appeasement.”

Now the Kurds are imperiled. Here’s what’s happened: On Oct. 13, President Trump announced his Iran strategy. He declined to recertify the nuclear arms deal concluded by his predecessor. Among the reasons: Iran’s compliance cannot be verified so long as international inspectors are barred from the regime’s military facilities.

The president also is unwilling to turn a blind eye to Iran’s continuing development of missiles designed to deliver nuclear warheads, the “sunset” clauses that legitimize the mullah’s nuclear weapons program over time, and the terrorism that those mullahs sponsor. Notably, he designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization.

The Iranian response has been more than merely rhetorical. On Oct. 16, Iraqi forces, over which Iran’s rulers now exercise considerable influence, and Shia militias, many of them Iranian-backed, drove Kurdish troops out of oil-rich Kirkuk. According to credible reports, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of foreign operations for the IRGC, was on hand to personally coordinate the operation.

Though Kirkuk is beyond the de facto borders of the KRG, Kurds have long viewed it as the Jerusalem of their homeland. It was a Kurdish-majority city until the Saddam regime determined to “Arabize” it, not least through population transfers.

In 2014, however, when the Islamic State was on the march, Iraqi government forces abandoned Kirkuk. The Peshmerga quickly filled the vacuum, defending the city and holding it ever since.

By orchestrating the taking of Kirkuk, Iran’s rulers are testing Mr. Trump. They are betting that, despite the tough talk, he won’t have the stomach to do what is necessary to frustrate their neo-imperialist ambitions.

Lending full material support to the Kurds is the best and fastest way to check Iran’s territorial ambitions.

AND IN A STUNNING DEVELOPMENT, THE SHOCKED FACE MAKES ITS SECOND APPEARANCE OF THE NIGHT!  Emails Show Obama’s DOJ Channeled ‘Slush Fund’ Money To Leftist Orgs.

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: A Crime Or Just ‘Baloney’? Hillary Clinton Russian Scandal Keeps Getting Worse.

Related: The Steele dossier was a Clinton/DNC-funded operation supported by the FBI and influenced heavily by Russian operatives in the Kremlin.

The country has spent the last year with Obama intelligence officials, the media, and Democratic leaders pushing a narrative of Trump collusion with Russia to steal an election that was supposed to be won by Hillary Clinton. A meeting between Trump officials and a Russian who falsely promised dirt on Hillary Clinton is the best evidence — by far — to support this narrative.

Yet here we have the realization that the Clinton campaign, the DNC, and the FBI all worked wittingly or unwittingly with Russians to affect the results of the 2016 election. Far from just meeting with a Russian and not getting dirt on a political opponent, these groups wittingly or unwittingly paid Russian operatives for disinformation to harm Trump during the 2016 election and beyond.

Worse, these efforts perverted our justice system by forcing the attorney general to recuse himself for the crime of having attended meetings with Russian diplomats and spawning a massive, sprawling, limitless probe over Russia. These things are so much more damaging to the republic than a couple thousand dollars in ads on Facebook paid for by Russian trolls about a pipeline protest.

Sessions should un-recuse, fire Mueller, and start investigating everyone involved with this.

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER: Obama-era uranium deal yields new questions, new accusations and new investigation.

FBI investigations are typically not disclosed at the time they are ongoing, so it is possible that the government officials involved in approving the Uranium One deal were not aware of the criminal investigation at the time of the approval. CNN spoke with Ronald Hosko, assistant FBI director in charge of criminal cases at the time of the investigation, who said that he wasn’t aware of the ongoing probe, saying it was handled on the counterintelligence side of the bureau. Counterintelligence investigations are some of the most closely held in the FBI. Former Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, who chaired the House Intelligence Committee at the time of the probe, also told The Hill that he was never informed about the FBI probe either.

The informant who played a crucial role in the FBI investigation is now trying to speak out, but his attorney says he is barred by a non-disclosure agreement the FBI made him sign. A law enforcement source familiar with the process said it is common for cooperating witnesses to sign non-disclosure agreements when the investigation involves national security concerns, as it did in this case. However, these agreements are typically narrowly written, and do not typically prevent individuals from speaking to Congress about what they learned in the ordinary course of business while simultaneously working as an informant, the source said. However, the source says the agreement would prevent any disclosure of information that was gleaned while working closely with federal investigators as it pertained to the investigation itself.

The informant’s attorney tells CNN the informant has a lot of information about corruption that has not come out yet. In particular, the attorney maintains that while the FBI investigation was going on, FBI agents told the informant that President Barack Obama was being briefed on the probe, and that’s why the informant was so stunned when the Uranium One deal was approved in 2010. Obama’s representative declined to comment.

That’s an awful lot of official silence for something which Hillary Clinton says is “baloney.”

HOLMAN JENKINS IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: The FBI’s Political Meddling: Mueller is the wrong sleuth when his ex-agency is so tangled up with Russia.

For anyone who cares to look, the real problem here is that the FBI itself is so thoroughly implicated in the Russia meddling story.

The agency, when Mr. Mueller headed it, soft-pedaled an investigation highly embarrassing to Mrs. Clinton as well as the Obama Russia reset policy. More recently, if just one of two things is true—Russia sponsored the Trump Dossier, or Russian fake intelligence prompted Mr. Comey’s email intervention—then Russian operations, via their impact on the FBI, influenced and continue to influence our politics in a way far more consequential than any Facebook ad, the preoccupation of John McCain, who apparently cannot behold a mountain if there’s a molehill anywhere nearby.

Which means that Mr. Mueller has the means, motive and opportunity to obfuscate and distract from matters embarrassing to the FBI, while pleasing a large part of the political spectrum. He need only confine his focus to the flimsy, disingenuous but popular (with the media) accusation that the shambolic Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin.

Mr. Mueller’s tenure may not have bridged the two investigations, but James Comey’s, Rod Rosenstein’s , Andrew Weissmann’s , and Andrew McCabe’s did. Mr. Rosenstein appointed Mr. Mueller as special counsel. Mr. Weissmann now serves on Mr. Mueller’s team. Mr. McCabe remains deputy FBI director. All were involved in the nuclear racketeering matter and the Russia meddling matter.

Let’s stop here. All this needs to be sorted out, but not in a spirit of panic and hysteria.

We’ve had nonstop panic and hysteria since last November.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The ‘Never Trump’ Construct: The president’s fiercest critics still do not grasp that Trump is a symptom, not the cause of the GOP’s internal strife.

For all the talk of a Civil War in the Republican party over Donald Trump, 90 percent of Republicans ended up voting for him. Bitterness Over the 2016 Election? So a vocal Never Trump Republican establishment had not much effect on the 2016 election. Voters do not carry conservative magazines to the polls. They are not swayed much by talking heads, and on Election Day they do not they print out conservative congressional talking points from their emails.

John McCain and Susan Collins are as renegade now as they were obstructionist in 2004. If in 2016 it is said that John McCain cannot forgive President Trump for his 2016 primary statements, it was also said in 2004 that John McCain could not forgive President Bush for how he won the 2000 primaries. Trump is called a Nazi and a fascist. But so was George W. Bush in 2006. Reagan in the campaign and during his first few months as president was slandered as a pleasant dunce as often as Trump is smeared as a mean dunce.

If neocons are now on MSNBC in 2017 trashing a Republican president, paleocons were doing the same in 2006 over Iraq. Parties always have dissidents. Donald Trump got about the same percentage of the Republican vote (about 90 percent) as John McCain won in 2008 — slightly less than Mitt Romney’s supposed 93 percent in 2012. If Romney’s 93 percent is the standard of party fealty (Obama usually pulled in about 92 percent of the Democratic vote), then it is hard to know whether the 3 percentage points fewer of Republicans who could not stomach McCain were about the same as the 3 percentage points fewer who were Never Trump.

In either case, 90 percent party loyalty was not good enough for McCain, and even 93 percent did not win Romney an election. Both, unlike Trump, lost too many Reagan Democrats and Independents in the swing states of the Electoral College. . . .

Apart from establishment figures, there is a split in perceptions between the vast 90 percent majority of Republicans who voted for Trump and the small 10 percent minority who did not — and it is largely over Trump himself and not his message. Never Trumpers now see the Trump base as prone to demagogic frenzies on immigration and trade; too monolithically white; often-angry blame-gaming losers of globalization; naïve rather than self-critical about so-called white pathologies; and in their populism too dismissive of the importance of political experience, impressive education, and the changing demography of the U.S.

The far more numerous Trump base voters see the Never Trumpers as too self-important; predictably bicoastal careerist; too quick to judge and write off their supposed ethical inferiors; too eager to get along with liberals within their own bubble; too wedded to traditional definitions of political qualifications and success; and more worried about decorum than winning.

Read the whole thing.

Plus: “The war is mostly infighting among politicos, pundits, politicians, and media people and so far does not necessarily change the realities of the voting public. We saw that reality in 2016 when the thunderous damnation Trump received from his own party had no profound effect on his candidacy.”

SOMETIMES IT’S CORRUPTION ALL THE WAY DOWN:  Emails: Obama DOJ Officials Sought to Route ‘Slush Fund’ Cash to Orgs of Their ‘Choosing’.  Future Historians will be fascinated by how the last administration was dirtier than the Augean stables, while bragging of probity.

TEACHING HATRED AT GLOUCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS’ WEST PARISH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: “So mainstream has the hate against the president become that fantasizing about his death is considered school-appropriate humor.”

I remember when a rodeo clown lost his job just for wearing an Obama mask.

DEREGULATION: EPA plans to repeal emission standards for truck components.

Unlike some Obama-era regulations, the rule, which is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, has been widely embraced by the trucking industry.

The rule applies the standards now used for heavy-duty trucks to new truck components called gliders and trailers. A glider, or body, is the front of a truck, including the cab, which fits over the engine. Trailers are the storage components that make up most of the length of a truck.

Currently, trucking companies can install an outdated engine into a new truck body and avoid regulations that would apply to an entirely new truck. Engine manufacturers and public health advocates are in favor of closing that loophole and applying pollution controls uniformly. Heavy-duty trucks have faced tighter emissions standards since 2004, though they have become more stringent over time, thereby widening the gap between new ones and truck bodies that contain older engines.

On Sept. 11, executives from three major heavy-truck and engine manufacturers — Volvo Group North America, Cummins and Navistar — wrote Pruitt urging him not to reopen the rule.

I’m shocked, shocked to find that engine manufacturers oppose re-purposing older engines.

PETER BERKOWITZ IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: James Comey and Robert Mueller Imperil the Rule of Law: The former FBI directors tend to investigate Republicans far more zealously than Democrats.

News broke last week about possible Russian wrongdoing in the U.S., and it didn’t involve the Trump campaign. The Hill reported that in 2009 the FBI “gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States.”

The FBI kept that information from Congress and the public, the Hill reported, even as Hillary Clinton’s State Department in 2010 approved a deal that transferred control of more than 20% of America’s uranium supply to a Russian company. The Hill also reported the FBI had documents showing that during this period Russia engineered the transmission of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation.

The FBI director at the time: Robert Mueller, now special counsel in charge of investigating “Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election and related matters.” The revelations can only heighten anxieties about Mr. Mueller, the FBI and the rule of law. . . .

Then-FBI Director Comey played softball with the 2015-16 Hillary Clinton investigation. Despite the gravity of the matter—military service members can be court-martialed and discharged for sending classified information on nonsecure systems—Mr. Comey mostly avoided issuing subpoenas and cooperated with the Obama Justice Department in obscuring the investigation’s criminal character. He permitted Mrs. Clinton and her team to destroy evidence and granted generous immunity deals to her advisers. He drafted a statement exonerating Mrs. Clinton months before the FBI interviewed her. And his FBI neither recorded the interview nor compelled her to answer questions under oath.

In addition, in a July 2016 press conference, Mr. Comey usurped the authority of Justice Department prosecutors by publicly exonerating Mrs. Clinton. In the process, he confused the pertinent legal issue by asserting she did not intend to violate the law. But intent wasn’t a necessary condition for a crime. Federal law criminalizes “gross negligence” in mishandling classified information. By Mr. Comey’s own account, Mrs. Clinton had been “extremely careless.”

With Mr. Trump, by contrast, Mr. Comey is playing hardball even after leaving government. In May, shortly after President Trump fired him, Mr. Comey—possibly in conflict with FBI policy—leaked notes of an Oval Office meeting with the president. His purpose, Mr. Comey publicly acknowledged, was to “prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”

Mr. Mueller is playing hardball too. Unlike the Clinton investigation into narrowly defined allegations, his mandate authorizes pursuit of unspecified crimes.

Hardball for Trump, softball for Hillary, and how dare you call us biased tools.

HE’S RIGHT, YOU KNOW?  Japanese Defense Minister Sounds Alarm on North Korea.  Of course the reeeee brigade thinks this is somehow because Trump “antagonized” Whoa That Man Fat leader of NK, instead of our passivity and Obama’s laxity in foreign affairs having brought things to this pass.

PATRICK POOLE: Senators Develop Selective Amnesia About US Troop Presence in Niger After Combat Deaths.

It’s different when Obama deploys them, because shut up.

CHANGE? GOP Senate hopefuls reluctant to back McConnell as leader.

The Hill asked nearly two dozen Senate candidates this week if they would support McConnell as leader if elected. Not one campaign said outright that they would support him, although two candidates appear to have expressed support in the past.

Several candidates declared their opposition to McConnell and attacked their GOP primary opponents for not taking a stance on the question. Other candidates deflected, or spoke on background about the bind they’re in over the question of McConnell’s leadership. Most candidates were eager to avoid the question entirely, and ignored multiple requests for comment.

The candidate survey underscores the tricky balancing act facing Republican Senate candidates in 2018, which is shaping up to be a proxy war between the party establishment and its grass-roots base.

Part of the reason the Democrats are in such bad shape is the huge number of Obama-to-Trump Democrats, who seem to be mostly sticking with the GOP in the 2017-18 cycle. Those voters are reshaping the Republican party in new and sometimes uncomfortable ways, but at a best guess, the GOP has maybe two election cycles to deliver to their new constituents before they start looking elsewhere — again.

ROBERT EHRLICH: Chaotic White House aside, Trump is achieving Reaganesque policy wins.

The narrative includes criticisms that have grown familiar during Trump’s first year in office. Here, the president is viewed as a shoot-from-the-hip neophyte too undisciplined to govern and quite dangerous in a world populated by despots who wield nuclear weapons.

Sen. Bob Corker’s recent broadsides qualify here. The retiring Republican Senator from Tennessee sees an overmatched executive lacking in “competence” and “stability,” albeit surrounded by a competent senior group daily engaged in the task of keeping the leader of the free world from careening off the rails. (Whatever did happen to keeping family disputes within the family?)

Make no mistake, this is how today’s Washington views the president and his administration. Note that this particular indictment is distinguished from the “all hands on deck” Trump haters who continue to be transfixed by a Trump/Russian collusion conspiracy story that lacks credible supporting evidence after two years of exhaustive investigation and desperate mainstream media attention.

In striking contrast are a series of Trump administration policy initiatives that not only define Trump as the anti-Obama, but also as more Reaganesque than a “Never Trumper” could ever have imagined. How else to describe a president willing to buck the status quo, and a powerful establishment press, in pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords and now refusing to recertify a notoriously deficient nuclear deal with the mullahs in Tehran.

As expected, these decisions have propelled the left (and numerous feckless allies) into yet additional anti-Trump tirades. But this president seems more intent on serving America’s long-term interests than attempting to curry favor with a hostile media or spiking his approval numbers in foreign countries. (That even President Obama never dared submit either agreement to Congress in the form of a treaty provides insight into how viable he viewed the respective agreements, but I digress…)

Trump’s aggressive contrariness is not confined to foreign policy initiatives. Witness his insistence on a return to the rule of law with respect to both DACA (undocumented children brought to the U.S. at a young age) and Obamacare. Here, the layman executive manifests a better understanding of executive restraint than his Constitutional law professor successor. How refreshing, and old school, to find an administration intending to operate within established Constitutional constraints. How stunning to see a president disinclined to unilateral executive action even when the stakes are extraordinarily high.

How revealing that most of the political class is appalled.

YEAH, I REMEMBER WHEN HE SENT HIS AIDES TO MORNING SHOWS TO SAY IT WAS ALL ABOUT A MOVIE AND THE WHOLE MEDIA COVERED FOR HIM:  Dems hope to spin Niger ambush as Trump’s Benghazi.  Also, Trump told potential rescuers to stand down, right?  Oh, wait, my bad.  All that was Obama.  Sorry Democrats. No Sale!

ANDREW MCCARTHY: It’s Not Just The Clintons: The Obama Administration’s Uranium One Scandal. “The Clintons were just doing what the Clintons do: cashing in on their ‘public service.’ The Obama administration, with Secretary Clinton at the forefront but hardly alone, was knowingly compromising American national-security interests. The administration green-lighted the transfer of control over one-fifth of American uranium-mining capacity to Russia, a hostile regime — and specifically to Russia’s state-controlled nuclear-energy conglomerate, Rosatom. Worse, at the time the administration approved the transfer, it knew that Rosatom’s American subsidiary was engaged in a lucrative racketeering enterprise that had already committed felony, extortion, fraud, and money-laundering offenses.”

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG: The Hill: Bill Clinton sought State’s permission to meet with Russian nuclear official during Obama uranium decision.

As he prepared to collect a $500,000 payday in Moscow in 2010, Bill Clinton sought clearance from the State Department to meet with a key board director of the Russian nuclear energy firm Rosatom — which at the time needed the Obama administration’s approval for a controversial uranium deal, government records show.

Arkady Dvorkovich, a top aide to then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and one of the highest-ranking government officials to serve on Rosatom’s board of supervisors, was listed on a May 14, 2010, email as one of 15 Russians the former president wanted to meet during a late June 2010 trip, the documents show.

“In the context of a possible trip to Russia at the end of June, WJC is being asked to see the business/government folks below. Would State have concerns about WJC seeing any of these folks,” Clinton Foundation foreign policy adviser Amitabh Desai wrote the State Department on May 14, 2010, using the former president’s initials and forwarding the list of names to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s team.

The email went to two of Hillary Clinton’s most senior advisers, Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills.

And it sounds like even they were dubious:

Current and former Clinton aides told The Hill that the list of proposed business executives the former president planned to meet raised some sensitivities after Bill Clinton’s speaker bureau got the invite for the lucrative speech.

Hillary Clinton had just returned from Moscow and there were concerns about the appearance of her husband meeting with officials so soon after.

In addition, two of the Russians on the former president’s list had pending business that would be intersecting with State.

On a related note, a reader emails:

You know…when Hillary “fell on stairs” and “broke her toe” and then cancelled all the remaining interviews, I DID wonder if she was going into hiding b/c a story was about to break. Seems the uranium deal story is it. Yet she’s still being protected. I’m actually surprised at that. Figured if the DNC was really tired of her, they’d let it rip.

Yeah, the press hasn’t stopped covering for her the way it stopped covering for Harvey Weinstein. But I think that’s mostly because covering for her on this is a necessary part of covering for Obama.

UPDATE: And on that last note, see this from Andrew McCarthy. “The Uranium One scandal is not only, or even principally, a Clinton scandal. It is an Obama-administration scandal.”

MICHAEL BARONE: “Administration lawyers made complex, sophisticated arguments that Obama’s clearly illegal actions were actually legal. I’m a graduate of Yale Law School; I know how this is done. Many Americans suspect that condescending elite law school graduates are contemptuous of them and their naive belief that words mean what they say. My experience is that those suspicions are well-founded. “

HAVING WRECKED EVERY OTHER INSTITUTION FROM WITHIN OR WITHOUT, the left goes after the military. Of course, 8 years of Obama did enough damage there.

FRUGALITY IN THE WHITE HOUSE: Melania Trump cuts bloated first lady payroll from Michelle Obama days.

VIDEO: Tucker Grills Former Obama Lackey Over Uranium One Story.. “This is your Russia story.”

HMM: IRS to block, suspend tax returns that lack Obamacare disclosures.

“Taxpayers remain obligated to follow the law and pay what they may owe at the point of filing,” the IRS said in a description of the new policy.

The ACA requires most people to have some form of health insurance coverage or pay a tax penalty — a requirement known as Obamacare’s individual mandate.

That penalty is the higher of 2.5 percent of adjusted gross household income or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child under age 18.

The agency, in an online notification to tax professionals, said that in the upcoming tax filing season “the IRS will not accept electronically filed tax returns where the taxpayer does not address the health coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act.”

“Returns filed on paper that do not address the health coverage requirements may be suspended pending the receipt of additional information and any refunds may be delayed,” the IRS said.

I had thought the White House had more or less gutted the individual mandate.