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Shot: King Hilariously Defends Yachting with Obamas; ‘Not Political’ at All.*

NewsBusters, yesterday.

Chaser: CBS and Low Journalist Ethics: On June 13, 2015,Gayle King attended private party with Prince at the White House. In 2011, King donated $35,800 to the Obama Victory Fund and $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee.

Newsalert, today.

* And given the benchmarks previously set by her colleagues at CBS, she may even believe that to be true.


As we approach Trump’s hundredth day in office, however, I am happy to say that I sense a change in the anti-Trump dynamic. The anti-Trump venom is as widespread and hysterical as ever. But as the days go by and Trump governs not as Hitler but as a deliberate executive, toting up victories here, setbacks there, rain checks and extenuations and opportunities, more and more people will say, “This guys is the real deal. He gets things done. He delivers on his promises. He really is making America great again.” The effect of that sentiment will be to marginalize the mainstream media.  If you want a vivid example of exactly how that is done, contemplate what’s about to happen next Saturday when Trump skips the White House correspondents’ dinner and holds a big rally in Pennsylvania instead. I’m sure there will be lots of snide remarks, anti-Trump jokes, and the air will be thick with contemptuous self-satisfaction.  What might not be obvious to the attendees, but what will be blindingly obvious to the rest of us, is that no one who is not crowded into that fetid atmosphere will care. A process of marginalization and emasculation is underway.  If Trump’s second 100 days is as successful as his first 100 days, that process should be essentially complete by the end of the year.

Read the whole thing – and note that in regards to the DNC-MSM’s Trump-as-Hitler meme, as Glenn would say, all is proceeding as Scott Adams has foreseen.

WELL, YES: Time For The GOP To Get Moving.

Far more daunting for GOP prospects is the vibe of the Trump movement. His rallies were/are more akin to revival meetings. But high octane rhetoric produces high expectations. The customers now expect a return on their emotional (and voting) investment. And a fever pitch is difficult to maintain over four years. What to do?

Well, one sure way to beat an unfriendly demographic tide is to do something productive. Newly sworn in Justice Neil Gorsuch was a nice first step. A willingness to use U.S. military might against the world’s miscreants is also a welcome change from Obama era disengagement and the slow start to tax reform. But reducing healthcare premiums and growing the economy are the real “have to’s” this term.

Few will stress over the not-ready-for-prime-time Obamacare “replace” effort once legislation actually moves. Remember: Really big things tend to get done in hyper-partisan Washington when one party possesses the cards.

But is Paul Ryan up to the job?


FBI Director James Comey distrusted former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and senior officials at the Justice Department, believing they might provide Hillary Clinton with political cover over her email, according to a new report published Saturday by The New York Times.

The Times described Comey’s “go-it-alone strategy” in the Clinton probe as emerging largely from his suspicions that Lynch and others at Justice might seek to subtly downplay the Clinton investigation.

As an example, the Times reported that Lynch, during a meeting in September 2015, called on Comey to use the word “matter” instead of “investigation” when publicly discussing the case, three people who attended the meeting told the Times.

Lynch reportedly reasoned that the word “investigation” would raise a number of other questions. Furthermore, she argued that the department should maintain its policy of not confirming investigations.

After referring to the FBI the question of whether classified information had been improperly handled by Clinton through her use of a private server, a step toward a criminal investigation, Justice clarified that it was not a “criminal referral.”

This also raised suspicions at the FBI, according to the Times. Clinton seized on the wording to say that what the FBI was conducting was “not a criminal investigation.”

Lynch came under pressure to recuse herself from the investigation entirely after she had a discussion with former President Bill Clinton in June 2016 on he plane as it sat on the tarmac of Phoenix’s airport.

Lynch did not recuse herself, but the situation did lead her to say she would accept what ever conclusions career prosecutors and the FBI reached.

The DOJ under Lynch (and Obama) was corrupt and politicized. And most of the people who were there then are there now.

I CAN MAKE A FEW GUESSES: Why Is the Obama Administration Trying to Keep 11,000 Documents Sealed?

RISK? Scientists’ March on Washington: Do researchers risk becoming just another leftwing interest group?

Although as somebody said on Twitter, I haven’t seen a marcher yet who looked capable of handling a quadratic equation.


The mission statement also declares, “The application of science to policy is not a partisan issue. Anti-science agendas and policies have been advanced by politicians on both sides of the aisle, and they harm everyone—without exception.”

I thoroughly endorse that sentiment. But why didn’t the scientific community march when the Obama administration blocked over-the-counter access to emergency contraception to women under age 17? Or dawdled for years over the approval of genetically enhanced salmon? Or tried to kill off the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facility? Or halted the development of direct-to-consumer genetic testing?

One problem is that many of the marchers apparently believe that scientific evidence necessarily implies the adoption of certain policies. This ignores the always salient issue of trade-offs. For example, acknowledging that man-made global warming could become a significant problem does not mean that the only “scientific” policy response must be the immediate deployment of the current versions of solar and wind power.

The mission statement proclaims that the marchers “unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.” Setting aside the fact that the march was conceived in the immediate wake of the decidedly partisan and specifically anti-Trump Women’s March on Washington, how credible are these claims to non-partisanship?

As it happens, I received an email on Thursday from the publicist for Shaughnessy Naughton, who is a chemist, a cancer researcher, and the founder of the activist group 314 Action. Naughton’s group is one of the March’s 170 partner organizations. 314 Action’s political action committee is recruiting scientists, engineers, and other technologists to run for political office, and it plans to provide them with the “resources they need to become viable, credible, Democratic candidates.”

This march makes me feel better, not worse, about budget cuts. . . .

ACTUAL “SMART DIPLOMACY” IN ACTION: “White House officials said Mr. Trump took a personal interest in her case…. He just said, ‘Let’s bring her home.’”

It’s hard — isn’t it? — for the liberal media to give President Trump credit for anything, but they should gracefully give him the credit he genuinely deserves. Imagine what the NYT would look like if President Obama had brought Aya Hijazi home! Trump was portrayed in a negative light for cozying up to Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, but the Obama administration tried and failed to bring Hijazi home. . . .

Let’s talk about which is better, Obama’s words or Trump’s words? Do Trump’s words seem ridiculous and clownish — calling Sisi “fantastic” — when we see that Trump got results? . . .

Successful action is camouflaged in verbiage about things that have been said. Some of his words may sound like confusion, but that doesn’t mean Trump is confused about what he is saying. Maybe he knows how to use words. There’s an awful lot of evidence that he does. You can look down on him and call him confused, but when the results come in, you ought to question your analysis of what he is doing with words.

Acknowledging that would interfere with the smugness.

OH, NO, THEY WEREN’T DISINTERESTED, THEY WERE SHOCKED BY THE HERESY:The man behind “SNL’s” President Obama impersonation reveals the show’s disinterest in Barack-based gags.

FAKE NEWS? Old-school journalists ‘pissed’ about Gayle King’s vacation with Obamas:

Gayle King’s serious CBS colleagues had a lot to say about her recent yacht jaunt with former first couple Barack and Michelle Obama in Tahiti, and it wasn’t positive.

“The ‘Capital J’ journalists are pissed and raving mad that she was on a yacht with the Obamas over the weekend. The old-school people were talking about it. She shouldn’t be doing that. She’s an anchor of a news program that covers the White House. You’re held to a different standard. It’s one thing to be friendly. It’s another thing to go vacationing on a yacht,” a source told us of the backlash at CBS.

CBS is denying that there’s any rancor internally directed at King, which makes sense, considering that her colleague Charlie Rose pretended to have no clue about candidate Obama’s foreign policy stance on the eve of the 2008 presidential election, and last year sat with two of Obama’s speechwriters while all three laughed on air about the Big Lie of Obamacare — the over 36 times Obama told Americans, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

CBS Nightly News anchor and 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley once compared global warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers, and admitted recently to accepting at face value the Hillary campaign’s story and not investigating further the cause of her infamous collapse on September 11th last year.

John Dickerson, the host of Face the Nation and the “political director” for CBS, wrote an article for Slate in 2013 charmingly titled “Go for the Throat! Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party.” This was followed last year by his asking Obama, ‘Is honesty overrated as a presidential quality?’

And the boss of CBS’s news division is David Rhodes, the brother of Obama’s infamous former deputy national security advisor, Ben Rhodes.

Just think of them all as Democrat operatives with bylines and lavaliere microphones, and it all makes sense.

OF COURSE THEY DID: Clinton Camp Instituted ‘Loyalty Scores’ Following 2008 Loss.

Clinton had two staffers “toil” to rate every Democrat members of Congress on a scale of one to seven — one being the most loyal — after she lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama in 2008. Her husband Bill Clinton then deliberately campaigned against the disloyal “sevens” in subsequent primary elections, and succeeded in getting some of them removed. Some of those who remained apparently took note, and were quick to endorse Hillary in 2016.

The idea of this person controlling the weaponized Executive Branch is beyond unnerving.

SEC DEF MATTIS SAYS: Syria still has chemical weapons. Well, Obama lied, people died.

DAN MCLAUGHLIN: Repeal Obamacare now. Here’s why it would work.

Lengthy piece, but worth your time.


Costa grew up in Bucks County, Pa., idolizing TV personalities Tim Russert and Charlie Rose. He graduated from University of Notre Dame and studied Winston Churchill in graduate school at University of Cambridge. He considered Ifill, who died of cancer in November, both a friend and a mentor. And his primary goal at “Washington Week,” which has been on the air for 50 years, will be to uphold Ifill’s legacy.

“She had such integrity with how she led the discussions,” he said. “I wanted to make sure the show kept Gwen’s spirit and kept that commitment she always had to first-class reporting. I wanted the show to sustain everything she did. Not to change anything.”

What could go wrong?

QUESTION ASKED: Do You Want Reagan’s Economy or Obama’s?

How is this even a question?

MORE ON SYRIA’S CHEMICAL STRIKE: The L.A. Times is reporting that the Syrian government used weapons of mass destruction in a zone created by “reconciliation deals.” Rebels in other contested regions were given safe passage to the zone if they would leave. After the rebels moved they were attacked. The attacks included attacks with chemical weapons. Well, Bashir al-Assad is a liar.

SECSTATE TILLERSON: If left unchecked, Iran could follow North Korea’s path. That’s obvious to everyone except Obama. Here’s the background on North Korea’s nuclear quest.

PAUL RYAN: GOP putting ‘finishing touches’ on healthcare bill.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Republicans are putting the “finishing touches” on an effort to revive their ObamaCare replacement bill.

“We’re in the midst of negotiating sort of, finishing touches because our members want to make sure that we lower premiums,” Ryan said Wednesday during a question-and-answer session during a trip to London.

Talks on the healthcare measure have continued during Congress’s two-week recess. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), co-chairman of the centrist Tuesday Group, have said they have spoken to Ryan’s office and Vice President Mike Pence about the next steps.

MacArthur, while declining to discuss details, said Tuesday he is proposing amendments to the GOP measure that he thinks could help bridge the gap between moderates and conservatives, according to

MacArthur said he thinks a vote on the measure could happen as soon as next week.

Well, don’t blow it this time.

YOU DON’T SAY: Blue States May Be Green, But They Have Very Pricey Energy.

Someone living in one of least “green” states paid less for energy than the national average or the greener states, spending 9.89 cents per kilowatt-hour and $2.29 per gallon of gasoline.

Expensive power and gasoline disproportionately hurts poorer families and other lower-income groups since the poor tend to spend a higher proportion of their incomes on “basic needs” like power.

The average Americans’ power bill rose nearly 11 percent since former President Barack Obama took office, according to an analysis of government data previously published by TheDCNF.

When essential goods like electricity or gasoline becomes more expensive, the cost of producing goods and services that use electricity increases, effectively raising the price of almost everything. The higher prices are ultimately paid for by consumers, not industries.

Well, yes. But green energy makes those who can easily afford it feel better about themselves for “saving the planet” on the backs of those who can least afford it.

IF I WERE TRUMP, I’D THREATEN A LOT OF ACADEMIC FEEDLOTS. AFTER ALL, ACADEMIA HAS CLEARLY CHOSEN SIDES: President Trump Threatens Law Schools’ $350 Million Revenue From Foreign LL.M. Students. In fact, I’d find a lot of popular issues I could use against higher ed, and push them to the hilt. Heck, Obama laid the foundation.

QUESTION ASKED: Is Donald Trump’s Unpredictability an Advantage in Handling North Korea?

“Strategic ambiguity” doesn’t leave any mystery about where you stand, but rather about what you might do.

U.S. DIPLOMATIC STRATEGY FOR DENUCLEARIZING NORTH KOREA: My latest Creators Syndicate column. (Yes, it has a credible military spine, to include Trump’s cruise missile strike in Syria.)

SIGNS POINT TO YES: Is Iran Pushing the Envelope on Its Nuclear Deal?

The comments by Rouhani and Salehi parallel those made last month by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who was quoted in Iranian media saying that Iran had “succeeded to make operational the most advanced centrifuges that were just an idea at the time of approving the [nuclear deal].”

“Zarif has, in a sense, been able to generate a fundamental lie about this whole deal, that somehow these centrifuges make economic sense for a civil program,” said Albright.

Florida senator Marco Rubio told TWS that such statements about advanced centrifuge development cement long-standing concerns about the nuclear deal.

“A bipartisan majority of Republicans and some Democrats in Congress warned President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran would enrich the radical regime and ultimately bring it closer to acquiring nuclear weapons, and that is exactly what is happening,” Rubio said.

Rubio is a co-sponsor of legislation introduced in March that slaps sanctions on Iran over its non-nuclear illicit activities. The bill has the backing of several pro-Iran deal Democrats.

The Iranians may be making progress on centrifuges beyond what’s allowed under the nuclear deal, in part through a so-called “quality assurance” loophole that Iran is exploiting to test centrifuges, Albright said.

“You have this undercurrent where Iran is either violating the deal, it’s inconsistent with the deal, or it’s just pushing the envelope,” he said.

The Obama administration was not willing to rebuff Iran’s inconsistencies with or violations of the deal, Albright added. “There needs to be a really hard push back,” he said. “I’m hoping that the Trump administration will do that, because the Obama administration just refused.”

If President Trump would just release the hidden details of Obama’s deal, we could all judge whether Iran is in compliance.


President Trump on Tuesday asked voters to pressure their congressmen to support legislation to partially repeal and replace Obamacare, and said figuring out a healthcare bill is still key to tax reform.

“We’re also working with Congress on tax reform and simplification, and we’re on time if we get that healthcare approval,” he said in a speech in Kenosha, Wisconsin. “So press every one of your congressmen, press everybody, because we want to get that approval.”

“And it just makes the tax reform easier, and it makes it better, because it’s gonna make it steeper, it’s gonna be bigger, and that’s what we want to do,” Trump said.

Stay tuned. They need to deliver or 2018, which should be a GOP romp, will be bad.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Hillary ran the worst presidential campaign ever.

John Podhoretz:

Campaign honcho Robby Mook “was worried about overspending . . . so he declined to use pollsters to track voter preferences in the final three weeks of the campaign.” Mook had learned from his time on the Obama 2012 campaign, Allen and Parnes write, that “old-school polling should be used for testing messages and gauging the sentiments of the electorate and that analytics were just as good for tracking which candidate was ahead and by how much in each state.”

Guess not.

Allen and Parnes report that the Republican National Committee did know — but just couldn’t accept it. The RNC didn’t brief reporters on early November polling data it had developed in Michigan and Pennsylvania, “because the upticks there were so rosy that party officials didn’t believe their own data.”

The day after the election, Hillary asked Mook “which decisions had been misguided, where they had erred in strategy and tactics. ‘Our data was wrong,’ he said . . . ‘OK,’ she replied.”

It is true that, but for 100,000 votes in three states, Hillary Clinton would be president today. It is also true that she ended the election with 3 million more votes than Trump. But it is also true, as “Shattered” makes indisputably clear, that she was unquestionably the worst major presidential candidate in our lifetime.

Others (like Bob Dole) did far worse. But they likely never really had a shot. Hillary had no business losing an election to Donald Trump — but Allen and Parnes pile up headshaking detail after headshaking detail from the very beginning of her campaign to its end showing that she and her people were incapable of making a good call.

But other than that, the question remains: “Why aren’t I 50 points ahead?”

SHE STILL HASN’T APOLOGIZED TO ME OR TO AMERICANS IN GENERAL: Clinton apologized to Obama on election night.


OBAMA’S LEGACY: ‘I hate white people’: What man screaming ‘Allahu Akbar’ told police after he was arrested for randomly shooting dead three people on the streets of Fresno, California. “Kori Ali Muhammad, 39, was arrested shortly after the rampage. His victims were all white males apparently chosen at random.”

All that eliminationist rhetoric from Democrats is having an effect on the weak-minded.

SENIOR OBAMA ENERGY OFFICIAL: ‘I Think the Keystone XL Pipeline Should Have Been Built’

Adam Sieminski, the former administrator of the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration, told Axios on the sidelines of a Brookings Institution event that the pipeline should have been constructed.

“One opinion I don’t have to stifle anymore is that I think the Keystone XL pipeline should have been built,” Sieminski told the news outlet.

Sieminski’s decision to come out in support of the pipeline may be a sign that Democrats are willing to compromise on certain liberal energy positions with Republicans controlling both chambers of congress, Axios noted.

Just yesterday two anonymous former Obama officials were whispering in Fareed Zakaria’s ear that of course Obama would have struck that Syrian airbase.

But where were these people when they had the power to influence Obama Administration policy?

LIBERAL TEARS: Hillary Clinton to President Obama on Election Night: ‘I’m Sorry’ I Lost.

She had to apologize to the man who kept her out of the White House in 2008 for losing the White House in 2016.

OUR POSTMODERN CINCINATTUS: The Obamas just took a luxurious cruise with Oprah and Bruce Springsteen on this billionaire producer’s yacht.

THE OBAMAS PARTY ON BILLIONAIRE’S SUPER YACHT: Gee, Barry snapped Michelle’s picture. How nice. They’re hanging in French Polynesia. Meanwhile, back in Syria, people continue to die.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: My latest Observer essay. Congress must investigate the spurious Syrian chemical weapons deal Obama made with Vladimir Putin.

RELATED: Russia’s Syrian air defense system didn’t work as advertised. Apparently it’s reminding many Russians of the Kremlin’s hollow Cold War-era boasts.

YEAH, PRETTY MUCH: Trump juggles the foreign policy balls Obama dropped.

SORRY, TEAM OBAMA DOESN’T GET TO REWRITE HISTORY TO COVER PRESIDENT OBAMA’S LOUSY FOREIGN POLICY RECORD: Glenn’s posted on the Fareed Zakaria CNN Obama CYA. Truth wills out on Instapundit. In an election year Obama drew a tough guy’s red line forbidding the use of chemical weapons. A year later? Obamanoid fecklessness. The bottom line: Obama lied, Syrians continue to die.

EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE THE TRUMP: Fareed Zakaria: Two Obama officials told me he would have ordered a Syria strike just like the one Trump ordered. Heh.

MORNING JOE: Democrats Have Forgotten How To Win.

• Joe Scarborough said that he’s been asking Dem leaders appearing on the show if they’d be okay with a pro-life person from areas like Alabama or Kentucky, so long as they were progressive on economic issues. Said Scarborough, “and I keep hearing, No. No it’s not, no it’s not.”

• Liberal New York Times columnist Frank Bruni said “if you look at certain swing districts, [Dems] do not nominate the person who’s most likely to win in the general. They nominate someone who’s a purist from the primary, and then they wind up losing the district.” Without citing the specific district, Bruni gave the example of an upstate New York House election. He might well have had in mind the 19th district race. With an open seat in a competitive district at stake, Dems nominated the far-left, Occupy Wall Street/Bernie backer Zephyr Teachout. She lost handily to Republican John Faso.

• Dems got a double-dose of bad news from representatives of the Gray Lady. NYT reporter Jeremy Peters said “there is no leadership right now. There is such a vacuum. The sclerosis in the Democratic party is so overwhelming and crippling that they do not have a bench. They do not have leaders.

Obama took the national party Full Left-Progressive, making it as ideologically pure as it’s ever been. The 2010 & 2014 off-year elections all but wiped out moderates at the state and local level.

Expecting moderation and compromise from what’s left is a fool’s game, at least until the next savvy DLC-type candidate comes along.

CHANGE? Trump’s message to Democrats: Negotiate Obamacare, or payments to insurers will be cut.

President Trump is threatening to cut off critical Obamacare payments to insurers unless Democrats come to the table to negotiate a new health care bill, taking a tough negotiating stance that could force Democratic leaders into a government shutdown by month’s end.

At stake are “cost sharing” payments that Obamacare backers say are supposed to be made to insurance companies to cover their losses from low-income customers.

A federal court has invalidated the payments, saying the Obama administration spent the money even though Congress specifically stripped the funds from its annual spending bills.

The government is still making the payments pending an appeal of the case, but Mr. Trump hinted last week that he would halt the payments himself, forcing Obamacare into a quick death unless Democrats agree to negotiate over major changes to the Affordable Care Act.

“If Congress doesn’t approve it, or if I don’t approve it, that would mean that Obamacare doesn’t have enough money, so it dies immediately as opposed to over a period of time,” he told The Wall Street Journal.

Alternately, Trump could hit them where it really hurts:

Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at the South Texas College of Law, said that if Mr. Trump truly wants leverage, then he should cancel an Obama-era rule that lets members of Congress and their staff keep their federal health care subsidies, even though they are mandated by law to use Obamacare’s exchanges.

Don’t let Congress get away with breaking the law, Mr. President!

Al JAZEERA HAS NO MEMORY OF OBAMA: An Al Jazeera opinionizer slams the Trump Administration for its “ambivalent approach” and a “non-consistent” policy in Syria. He does recognize that “Assad’s hopes of a US-Russian deal to his benefit are fading” and Trump has raised “the moral cost of supporting Assad.” OK, but inconsistent, ambivalent and outright fraudulent describe Obama’s Syrian legacy.

MY LATEST NEW YORK OBSERVER COLUMN: Barack Obama’s Syrian chemical weapons mess. Someone ought to remind Congressional investigators worried about Russian political interference that Obama embraced Vladimir Putin and gave the Kremlin a major role in U.S. Syrian policy vis a vis the use of chemical weapons.

WELL, LET’S HOPE NOT: Trump Won’t Be Punked By Foreign Dirtbags Like Obama Was.

REMINDER: We hated millennials well before ‘Girls’ came along.

To be sure, “Girls” will be contemplated ad nauseum in the days and years to come, likely forever destined to serve as an accepted representation of life in the Obama era.

“Millennials” and their reputations, for better or worse, are permanently hitched to its depiction of inordinately ambitious, overprivileged, socially conscious narcissists struggling to cope with the darker realities of adult life in a politically-charged environment. But one hot take that seems to have found backers in this time of reflection posits that “Girls” itself introduced the world to those stereotypes, engendering a hatred of millennials among our disapproving elders.

It did not.

In fact, “Girls” exploited that stereotype, injecting its cast of insufferable antiheroes with the very tendencies people had already come to associate with our generation. Some of those stereotypes are fair, others are not. But everyone already hated them before “Girls” reminded us of it.

Yeah, pretty much.


Boris Johnson:

“Assad uses chemical weapons because they are not only horrible and indiscriminate. They are also terrifying.

“In that sense he is himself an arch-terrorist, who has caused such an unquenchable thirst for revenge that he can never hope to govern his population again. In that sense he is himself an arch-terrorist, who has caused such an unquenchable thirst for revenge that he can never hope to govern his population again.

“He is literally and metaphorically toxic, and it is time Russia awoke to that fact. They still have time to be on the right side of the argument.”

He also said British scientists had confirmed that “sarin or a sarin-like substance” was used in the April 4 attack. Sarin is a nerve agent. Obama didn’t get rid of Assad’s chemical arsenal. Obama lied. People continue to die.


Rigs aren’t a perfect metric for measuring the health of the oil industry. When oil prices were high, companies were expansive in their shale ambitions and the rig count ballooned accordingly. Following the crude price collapse, those same firms shut down their least-productive and least-profitable wells, leaving behind the gushers and the real money-makers. While the rig count fell from more than 1,600 down below 400, U.S. oil production dipped just 200,000 barrels per day over that time period.

That said, it’s fair to say that the rig count today, coming off the back of a bearish time in the oil market, is a more accurate measure of how well the U.S. shale industry is doing. The fact, then, that it added 11 rigs in the past week is confirmation of something we’ve been watching carefully in recent months: Shale is booming once again, and the U.S. energy outlook is looking awfully bright.


THE HILL: Seven Regulations Targeted By Trump.

President Trump has spent his first months in office working to fulfill his campaign pledge of rolling back regulations.

On the campaign trail, Trump said that as many as 70 percent of federal agency regulations could be eliminated by his administration.

While the conservative American Action Forum has argued it’s “likely impossible” for Trump to deliver on his promise, the president is using every tool at his disposal to try.

In the last three months, Trump has issued executive orders directing agencies to rewrite Obama-era climate rules and find two rules to repeal for every new rule created. He’s also directed each agency to name a regulatory reform officer and create a task force to carry out his regulatory agenda.

The president has also signed 13 resolutions passed by Congress under the Congressional Review Act that overturned rules the Obama administration finalized before leaving office.

Here’s a look at the top regulations Trump has targeted.

Full list at the link.

CONGRESS MUST INVESTIGATE THE SPURIOUS SYRIAN CHEMICAL WEAPONS DEAL OBAMA MADE WITH VLADIMIR PUTIN: How much influence did Putin have in the Obama Administration? Syrians continue to die and it sure looks like Obama lied. (It’s my latest Observer essay.)


OBAMA’S LEGACY: 21 arrested as hundreds of Trump supporters and counter-protesters clash at Berkeley rally. And the Antifa folks may have met their match:

Stewart Rhodes, founder of the citizen militia group known as the Oath Keepers, said he came from Montana with about 50 others to protect Trump supporters. They were joined by bikers and others who vowed to fight members of an anti-fascist group if they crossed police barricades.

“I don’t mind hitting” the counter-demonstrators, Rhodes said. “In fact, I would kind of enjoy it.”

See, it’s better if everyone respects everyone else’s free speech. If that’s not the norm, then axe handles are a fashion accessory.


The Antifa goons were so thoroughly outclassed, they were chased down and given wedgies.

MY LATEST NEW YORK OBSERVER COLUMN: The April 4th nerve gas attack revealed Obama’s reliance on Russia to remove Syria’s chemical weapons was a delusion if not an intentional masquerade. Obama didn’t eliminate Syrian WMD. He lied and Syrians continue to die.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1437: Lois Lerner Fears For Her Life, Asks Federal Court To Seal Her Upcoming Deposition Testimony. Oh, no. I think this needs to be public.

Unlike President Obama’s allies, the Tea Party has never killed anyone.

MY LATEST NEW YORK OBSERVER COLUMN: Syria’s chemical weapons mess and Obama’s lies. Obama’s media buddies thought his red line meant military action.

JOHN HINDERAKER: How Many Countries Were Spying On Trump?

So just about every Western intelligence service was collaborating with the Obama administration in trying to elect Hillary Clinton. Yet, amazingly enough, they failed.

The blindingly obvious point that the Guardian tries to obscure is that the combined assets of all of these agencies failed to find any evidence of collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russia. We know this, because the Democrats have pulled out all the stops. Both before the election, and especially after the election, they have leaked furiously to try to discredit President Trump. If there were any evidence of collusion between Trump (or even obscure, minor “advisers” like Carter Page) and Russia, there would have been nothing else in the Washington Post or the New York Times for the past five months. But they have nothing.

What was really going on seems clear. Everyone involved in this story thought that Hillary Clinton was sure to win the election. Why? Because they read the Washington Post and the New York Times. Plus Real Clear Politics and 538. The suggestion that the Russian government tried to swing the election to Donald Trump is ridiculous. The Russians thought that Hillary was the certain winner, and if–a big if–they carried out a primitive phishing expedition into Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s email account, and subsequently sent the DNC emails to Wikileaks, it was to cause trouble for Clinton after she became president.

Likewise, British intelligence and the other agencies mentioned by the Guardian thought there was no doubt but that Hillary would win. How could they curry favor with the new administration, expected to be Obama’s third term? By feeding negative information about the opponent who was sure to lose, even though there was no real significance to the intelligence provided.

That’s what happened. The fact that liberals still try to push the “Russia” story, even when it is obvious that they are out of ammo, is pathetic.

Well, no. The story about Trump/Russia collaboration was, I’ve hypothesized, created as a cover once he was elected and it was clear the reality that he’d been spied on would come out.


Assad’s AFP interview reprised the “nothing to see here” trope: “You have a lot of fake videos now,” (Assad) said. “We don’t know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhun. Were they dead at all?”

Assad’s “fake videos” remark intentionally mocked President Trump.

WHITE HOUSE TO KEEP VISITOR LOGS SECRET: What happens in the White House stays in the White House.

Not revealing the logs is more honest than scrubbing them, which was the Obama Administration’s practice, but it still doesn’t appear very swamp-drainy.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. The Supreme Court Was “Politicized” Long Ago.

However unusual the sequence of events leading up to Gorsuch’s confirmation may seem, the reality remains that the Constitution requires presidents to obtain Senate consent before appointing a nominee—a concept dating back at least as far as Marbury v. Madison, which stated that presidential appointments “can only be performed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.” (emphasis added).

Barack Obama was not “entitled” to fill the vacancy: he was entitled to nominate someone whom the Senate was then free to confirm or reject out of hand. Should the people who put the Senate in Republican hands after the 2014 midterms—partly, I suspect, out of concern for the ideological makeup of the Court—not have been able to enjoy the benefits of their electoral victories? Greenhouse seems to think so.

The Senate’s role is to advise and consent. Their advice to Obama on the Garland nomination was “take a flying leap, Mr. President,” which was completely within their prerogative.

WELL, WELL: Judge Andrew Napolitano was apparently right about British surveillance on the American election. “He was openly mocked — and suspended from Fox News — but now, it seems, he was right.” Prediction: Trace it back, if you can, and you’ll find Obama or one of his henchmen asking the Brits to do this. Or henchwomen.

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

As a commenter says to this post, about Obama: “We kept thinking he was Carter and it turned out he was Nixon.” Well, I did say that Carter was a best-case scenario.

THE MESS OBAMA LEFT IN SYRIA: It wasn’t smart diplomacy.

BRUISING: Sen. Jeff Flake weathers brutal, 2 1/2-hour Mesa town hall.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake endured a brutal face-to-face confrontation with angry constituents Thursday as liberal voters dominated a standing-room-only audience at a town-hall meeting in downtown Mesa.

Even before he took the stage, the audience chanted “health care for all,” showing their support for former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the health-care-reform law that Flake, R-Ariz., has opposed.

A quick reminder to Sen. Flake and the other 289 or so GOP members of both houses: It isn’t just liberal voters who are disappointed in you.

ANDREW MCCARTHY: Republican Congress AWOL on Syria.

Where is the Republican-controlled Congress on Syria? By all accounts, it is busy cheerleading the president’s firing of 59 Tomahawk missiles at a foreign sovereign – an offensive attack that was unprovoked and unauthorized by Congress, rendering it unconstitutional. With a Republican in the White House, though, Republicans on Capitol Hill are all for executive overreach, despite having spent the last eight years chiding a Democratic president’s excesses and Middle Eastern misadventures.

Of course, the bottom line is the same: Congress does nothing. But at least during the Obama years, legislative spinelessness was swaddled in righteous constitutional rhetoric. Now, lawmakers outright encourage presidential imperiousness and their own consequent irrelevance.

A one-time strike is one thing, given that it could probably be justified on the grounds of a sarin threat to U.S. forces in the area — even if that justification were (ahem) somewhat specious.

But if President Trump wants to enforce some sort of no-chem-zone policy over Syria, which he does seem to want, then that ought to require an authorization from Congress.


MEANWHILE, BACK IN NIGERIA: Boko Haram Islamist militants continue their terror campaign — but they’re having trouble recruiting suicide bombers. So they’ve turned to coercion.

“…by the end of 2016 most of the suicide bombers were women (often teenagers) and children (some as young as ten)…Attacks using female suicide bombers tended to use kidnapped girls convinced or coerced to make such attacks. Sometimes young girls (under 10 years old) are used, usually to wear bomb vests that can be detonated remotely. These bombers often do not know they are wearing explosives.

Where’s the media outrage?

UPDATE: It’s been three years since the mass school girl kidnap in Chibok. How’d Michelle Obama’s “#BringBackOurGirls” work out? Boko Haram still has 195 of the 276 girls. Many of those who were freed ” had babies in captivity.” That tells me they were raped.

ATTENTION, PAUL RYAN: Republicans Had Better Listen to Georgia Wake-Up Call: GOP Faces Enthusiasm Gap In Georgia Race Over Lack of Progress. “If Republicans fail to address Obamacare, tax reform, or immigration in a convincing way, they will likely see some of their voters stay home in 2017. If enough do, control of the House or Senate could be jeopardy.” The GOP was elected to bring real change, not to play nice with K Street. If the House leadership has forgotten this already, their voters haven’t.

SOMEWHERE, CURTIS LEMAY SMILES: Trump’s MOAB Drop Triggered a Tweet You Need to Read. “Excessive American caution has cost American lives and American limbs, and it has left families and friends of the victims with deep psychological wounds. Those wounds would be grievous enough in the best circumstances, but they’re compounded by the fact that many of the decisions not to shoot, not to use artillery, or not to drop bombs were based on a combination of rules of engagement and military misjudgments that were transparently foolish at the time. . . . Soldiers tend not to respect timidity, and they generally have little patience for commanders who seem to place public or political perceptions over their lives and limbs. Watch this Trump statement carefully: He doesn’t say he authorized the use of the bomb itself. He says he authorizes the military. This is a key, wise, statement — one that hopefully empowers the military to act from a proper position of legal, moral, and political strength. Obama was notorious for not only implementing strict rules of engagement but for vacuuming an enormous amount of military decision-making authority straight to the White House. It’s hard to think of a more disempowering practice. It’s hard to think of a practice better calculated to lead to timidity in the field. Trump seems to be bringing a change, and it’s a change that’s long overdue.”

JON GABRIEL EXPLAINS THE PRESS: Republican Bombs Are Bad, M’kay?

Criticizing a bomb for being too lethal is like criticizing a cherry fritter for being too delicious.

The lefties were fine when Obama was droning Yemeni wedding receptions and US military deaths in Afghanistan quadrupled over the Bush years. But now that President Trump is C-in-C, fighting terrorism is a cruel thing.

The main problem critics have with the MOAB is that it’s a Republican bomb. It was designed under George W. Bush and first used by Donald Trump. SEAL Team Six shooting up Osama’s compound made progressives feel butch, but ordnance that kills exponentially more terrorists is vulgar.

One can only imagine the fainting fits if Trump bragged that he’s “really good at killing people.”

SO FIRE THEM: Labor Department Mutiny: Obama’s holdovers refuse to follow Trump’s directive. “Now we know one reason Democrats blocked President Trump’s first nominee to be secretary of Labor: The bureaucracy is in open rebellion against the new President’s directives. The casus belli is the fiduciary rule, the attempt by Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez to rewrite the rules for offering investment advice. The rule was supposed to go into effect Monday.”

IRA STOLL: The McConnell Method Emerges as a Strategy For a Republican Era.

Senator McConnell’s success in getting Neil Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme Court is a reminder that there’s no limit to what can be accomplished in Washington if conservatives don’t waste their time worrying about what the liberal press says about them.


A lesser politician than Mr. McConnell — a politician who cared more what the New York Times, President Obama, or PBS had to say about him — might have caved to the pressure. Instead, the senator from Kentucky stood his ground and held his caucus together.

This disregard for liberal conventional wisdom — and higher regard for the Constitution — is a habit for the Senate majority leader. It was on display during the George W. Bush administration, when Mr. McConnell brought a lawsuit, McConnell v. FEC, arguing that the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law that President Bush had signed into law was an unconstitutional infringement on liberties protected by the First Amendment.

If Mr. McConnell seems at times to relish his role as villain, Mr. Ryan, on the other hand, sometimes seems like he covets the John McCain-Lindsey Graham title of every liberal journalist’s most favorite Republican.

Not giving a damn about what the media said about him — thriving on it, perhaps — won Donald Trump the GOP nomination and then the White House.

BUT OF COURSE: Chicago Tribune Asks Trump To Clear Up The Nuclear Waste Left By Obama. “Suddenly, mainstream media and liberals find all the problems Obama left. Funny, that. . . .”


From rural strip-malls to Manhattan’s avenues, it has been a disastrous two years for retail.

There have been nine retail bankruptcies in 2017—as many as all of 2016. J.C. Penney, RadioShack, Macy’s, and Sears have each announced more than 100 store closures. Sports Authority has liquidated, and Payless has filed for bankruptcy. Last week, several apparel companies’ stocks hit new multi-year lows, including Lululemon, Urban Outfitters, and American Eagle, and Ralph Lauren announced that it is closing its flagship Polo store on Fifth Avenue, one of several brands to abandon that iconic thoroughfare.

Well, this has actually been going on since at least 2009, as the iconic photo below from Barack Obama’s early days illustrates. But now it’s okay to notice it.

JEFF GREENFIELD: Why the First 100 Days Concept Is Bogus.

It “hangs over the West Wing like the sword of Damocles as the unofficial deadline to find their footing—or else,” according to a fascinating story this week by POLITICO’s Shane Goldmacher.

Why? Because it marks the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency. And, according to one White House official, “One hundred days is the marker, and we’ve got essentially 2½ weeks to turn everything around.”

Really? What happens if, in the next 18 days or so, Obamacare isn’t repealed, the new travel ban isn’t upheld and investigators don’t discover that President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower? Do impeachment proceedings start? Do prominent Republicans launch primary challenges to Trump’s renomination?

Well, maybe you can’t blame the White House for panicking; what they really are responding to is the massive media exercise in premature evaluation that has become as inevitable as it is asinine.

“The first 100 days” concept was begun in 1933 by FDR, to spur Congress into passing a flurry of mostly harmful New Deal legislation.

But, it was FDR — and therefore good, and therefore every President who followed must be measured against it.

And, if Republican, found wanting.

HILLARY AND OBAMA’S LIBYA DEBACLE: From Responsibility to Protect to Slave Markets.

If a Republican President had invaded Libya and overthrown its government, then left bloody chaos, terrorism and rampant arms smuggling behind, our courageous press corps would be all over the story like a chicken on a June bug.

But fortunately all this happened under President Obama, so we don’t hear all that much about it. And when we do, nobody tries to assign blame to the arrogant ignoramuses who “organized” this disaster.

But the latest news, that slave markets are now operating in Libya, where desperate black Africans are being bought and sold as slaves, ought to trigger some kind of response. . . .

Again, if Republicans were responsible for this it would be the Biggest. Disaster. Ever.

As it is: crickets.

How about that.


A question CNN will never ask: “Why is Putin covering for Obama?”

THE NATION HEADLINE: A Big Win for Voting Rights in Texas and a Big Loss for Trump.

ALTERNATE HEADLINE: Obama Judicial Appointee Frustrates White House Attempt to Clean Up Texas Voter Fraud.

HOW CAN WE MISS HIM IF HE WON’T GO AWAY? Obama fingerprints at DNC?

Former President Obama’s White House political director is informally providing strategic advice to leaders at the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

David Simas, who is now CEO of the Obama Foundation, is close with DNC Chairman Tom Perez and has been in regular contact with Sam Cornale, a top adviser to Perez.

A source who has been involved in the transition said Simas has provided strategic advice on hiring decisions.

The new chairman has asked for resignation letters from most DNC staff as he begins the process of building his own team, although so far the DNC has only unveiled its communications team.

The talks with one of Obama’s most prominent political aides underscore the delicate line walked by the DNC as it charts a way forward after a divisive presidential primary battle last year.

Any conversations between Perez and political figures who are viewed as being part of the establishment can be greeted with suspicion by liberal Democrats, who want to see the DNC stocked with progressives after the organization tilted the scales in favor of Hillary Clinton and against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) last year during the presidential campaign.

Perez, Obama’s Labor secretary, was seen as the former president’s favored candidate in the race for the chairmanship earlier this year. Progressives were disappointed when he defeated Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who ran with the support of Sanders.

It’s Obama’s personal party.

ABOUT-FACE: Club for Growth Backs New Trump Obamacare Repeal With $1 Million Ad Buy.

SNOWFALLS ARE NOW JUST A THING OF THE PAST: Michael Mann Adjusts the Climate “Turning Point” Out to 2020.

I’m so old, I can remember in January of 2009, when NASA’s climate guru Jim Hansen said that Obama had only four years to save the earth – and 1989, when the UN issued a 10-year global warming tipping point.

(Classical reference in headline.)

YOU DON’T SAY: For Obama, Syria Chemical Attack Shows Risk of ‘Deals With Dictators’

Although friends and foes alike faulted him for not following through on his threat to retaliate when Syria gassed its own people in 2013, Mr. Obama would counter that he had actually achieved a better result through an agreement with President Bashar al-Assad to surrender all of his chemical weapons.

After last week, even former Obama aides assume that he will have to rethink that passage in his memoir. More than 80 civilians were killed in what Western analysts called a sarin attack by Syrian forces — a chilling demonstration that the agreement did not succeed. In recent days, former aides have lamented what they considered one of the worst moments of the Obama presidency and privately conceded that his legacy would suffer.

“If the Syrian government carried out the attack and the agent was sarin, then clearly the 2013 agreement didn’t succeed in its objective of eliminating Bashar’s C.W.,” or chemical weapons, said Robert Einhorn, who was the State Department special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control under Mr. Obama before the agreement. “Either he didn’t declare all his C.W. and kept some hidden in reserve, or he illegally produced some sarin after his stock was eliminated — most likely the former.”

The headline doesn’t have it quite right. Dealing from a position of resolution and strength, President Reagan was able to make some pretty good deals with the Soviet Union. The lesson from Syria is that irresolute naifs have no business conducting affairs of state with more ruthless leaders — or with anyone else, really.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON ON SUSAN RICE: The Obama Administration’s Zelig.

Yet, to be fair, it is difficult to know whether Rice was a seasoned architect of that duplicity. Given her reputation as a useful naïf and loyal fall person, perhaps she was easily manipulated into going on five Sunday shows to mislead and distort. Her subordinate Ben Rhodes needed a vessel to assure the nation that the Benghazi attacks were not due to administration policy failures, and Rice was deemed the ideal vehicle to spread that myth.

And the fable of the supposedly honorable Bowe Bergdahl (currently facing Pentagon charges of desertion)?

Rice was there, too. To prop up an unhinged trade of five terrorists at Guantanamo for an AWOL soldier, Rice falsely claimed that Bergdahl had “served with honor and distinction.” Then she trumped that with a quite unnecessary fillip: “Sergeant Bergdahl wasn’t simply a hostage; he was an American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield.” Left unsaid was that a number of American soldiers were killed as a result of efforts to find his walkabout whereabouts.

Again, note always the weird but characteristic Rice emphatics: Just as she did not go on one show but five to disseminate Benghazi falsehoods, so too it was not enough just to leave Bergdahl’s story at “honor and distinction” without the added “captured on the battlefield” nonsense. Unfortunately, she can be counted on to give a tough, no-holds-barred confirmation of something false — on the logic that bogusness gains credibility the louder and stronger it is expressed.

Her expertise is in telling the Big Lie, yet the media still seems mostly happy to treat her as an expert on most anything else.


Like Trump, he feuded with the mainstream media; like Trump, he used a new medium as a direct pipeline to the people. He also used the government’s machinery to suppress unfavorable coverage, a fate we hope to avoid in the age of Trump. . . .

In the 1936 election, Roosevelt claimed that 85 percent of the newspapers were against him. In the standard work on the subject, historian Graham J. White finds that the actual percentage was much lower and the print press generally gave FDR balanced news coverage, but most editorialists and columnists were indeed opposed to the administration. Convinced that the media were out to get him, Roosevelt warned in 1938 that “our newspapers cannot be edited in the interests of the general public, from the counting room. And I wish we could have a national symposium on that question, particularly in relation to the freedom of the press. How many bogies are conjured up by invoking that greatly overworked phrase?”

Roosevelt’s relationship with radio was warmer. The key distinction was that broadcasters operated in an entirely different political context: Thanks to federal rules and administrators, they had to tread much more lightly than newspapers did. At its inception in 1934, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reduced the license renewal period for stations from three years to only six months. Meanwhile, Roosevelt tapped Herbert L. Pettey as secretary of the FCC (and its predecessor, the Federal Radio Commission). Pettey had overseen radio for Roosevelt in the 1932 campaign. After his appointment, he worked in tandem with the Democratic National Committee to handle “radio matters” with both the networks and local stations.

It did not take long for broadcasters to get the message. NBC, for example, announced that it was limiting broadcasts “contrary to the policies of the United States government.” CBS Vice President Henry A. Bellows said that “no broadcast would be permitted over the Columbia Broadcasting System that in any way was critical of any policy of the Administration.” He elaborated “that the Columbia system was at the disposal of President Roosevelt and his administration and they would permit no broadcast that did not have his approval.” Local station owners and network executives alike took it for granted, as Editor and Publisher observed, that each station had “to dance to Government tunes because it is under Government license.” . . .

Even as he was securing domination of the ether, Roosevelt worked hard to neutralize criticism from the print media. Here he used a combination of manipulation and intimidation. By 1935, the famous Roosevelt charm was much less of a guarantee of success, and his press conferences became increasingly orchestrated. Like Trump, he singled out some reporters who wanted to ask questions and ignored others. Writing for The Washington Post in 1938, Harlan Miller commented that Roosevelt only answered questions which enabled him to “utter an oral editorial.…He selects only those on which he can ring the bell.”

He also gave special access to pro-administration outlets, such as J. David Stern’s Philadelphia Record and Marshall Field’s Chicago Sun. Another Field publication, PM, was probably the closest facsimile to a New Deal Breitbart. In both editorials and news reports, PM repeatedly demonized FDR’s enemies, often comparing them to fascists. These pro–New Deal outlets had a special entrée to top administration officials, who gave them valuable scoops. The collaboration went both ways. In 1942, Field brought an antitrust complaint against the much less Roosevelt-friendly Associated Press.
The Black Committee

Roosevelt’s intimidation efforts reached their apogee in the hands of the Special Senate Committee on Lobbying. The president indirectly recruited Sen. Hugo L. Black (D–Ala.), a zealous and effective New Deal loyalist, as chair. The committee’s original mission was to probe the opposition campaign to the “death sentence” in the Public Utility Holding Company Bill, a provision that would have allowed, under certain circumstances, the dissolution of utility holding companies. The Black Committee gained traction with the public when it brought to light evidence that some lobbyists had concocted thousands of “fake telegrams” sent to Congress to protest the bill. Smelling blood, Black expanded the investigation into a general probe of anti–New Deal voices, including journalists.

The Treasury granted Black access to tax returns dating back to 1925 of such critics as David Lawrence of the United States News. Then he moved to obtain his targets’ private telegrams, demanding that telegraph companies let the committee search copies of all incoming and outgoing telegrams for the first nine months of 1935. When Western Union refused on privacy grounds, the FCC, at Black’s urging, ordered it to comply.

Over a nearly three-month period at the end of 1935, FCC and Black Committee staffers searched great stacks of telegrams in Western Union’s D.C. office. Operating with virtually no restriction, they read the communications of sundry lobbyists, newspaper publishers, and conservative political activists as well as every member of Congress.

Sounds more like Obama than Trump.

Related (From Ed): And then there was that time in 1942, when FDR gave a New York Daily News journalist whose reporting he disagreed with a Nazi Iron Cross medal.

WELL, YES. HENCE ALL THE DISTRACTION. Turns out Obama was the real Russian stooge.

The circumstantial evidence is mounting that the Kremlin succeeded in infiltrating the US government at the highest levels.

How else to explain a newly elected president looking the other way after an act of Russian aggression? Agreeing to a farcically one-sided nuclear deal? Mercilessly mocking the idea that Russia represents our foremost geo-political foe?

Accommodating the illicit nuclear ambitions of a Russian ally? Welcoming a Russian foothold in the Middle East? Refusing to provide arms to a sovereign country invaded by Russia? Diminishing our defenses and pursuing a Moscow-friendly policy of hostility to fossil fuels?

All of these items, of course, refer to things said or done by President Barack Obama.

Walter Russell Mead has made the same point.

GUNS OF AUGUST, VOL. 2: The Balkans Will Be America and Russia’s Next (Virtual) Battlefield.

Russia has meddled extensively in Europe, and Moscow’s attitude toward the United States has become “explicitly belligerent.” That said, Putin has limited opportunities for further provoking the West. That makes the Balkans a more likely target for Russian interference.

Ukraine is an active and debilitating conflict, but it is, in some ways, a frozen one. Putin has failed to live up to his obligations under the Minsk Agreement, and there is scant prospect that the 2015 deal, often called Minsk II, will bring peace. Certainly it doesn’t preclude more war.

At present, however, Minsk II is all that is on the table. Meanwhile, the United States and the Europeans have clearly signaled that, while the sanctions on Russia tied to implementation of the agreement will be reviewed periodically, the near-term prospects for sanctions relief are nil.

At the same time, U.S. officials have signaled continuing support for Ukraine. In February, Trump told a prominent Ukrainian parliamentarian that the United States wouldn’t push for lifting sanctions anytime soon. Only a week later, Trump included a statement of support for Ukraine in a letter to the Lithuanian president. More recently, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has made similar pledges. A recent survey of experts concluded that, “two months into his presidency . . . the Trump administration [is] talking tough and taking diplomatic positions akin to those of his predecessor Barack Obama.”

These developments leave little space for the Kremlin to ratchet up its antics in Ukraine without further antagonizing both the Europeans and the Americans.

Read the whole thing, and remember that even the New York Times seems to have (quietly) dropped the Trump-is-Putin’s-stooge meme.

ELI LAKE: The Frivolous Case Against the House Intelligence Chairman.

The committee is investigating whether Nunes violated rules prohibiting the disclosure of classified information when he held press conferences to discuss the reports he had seen. What is the violation? It’s the fact that Nunes said publicly that he had seen summaries of raw intelligence reports that he said inappropriately contained details about the Trump transition and were not related to Russia. While the chairman never acknowledged that the sources of his information were NSA intercepts, any mention of any information collected under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is technically classified.

This sounds worse than it is. This complaint, brought by a handful of lawyers who have been harsh critics of Trump and by progressive activists like, is a ruse, meant to distract from the bigger question of how the Obama White House was receiving raw intelligence reports on the activities of Trump and his advisers after the election.

The infraction, if it was one, was not serious. Nunes did not disclose the targets of the surveillance or any details about how the information was collected. There is rarely a day that goes by in Washington when someone in the media is not reporting on classified information. It’s a part of the ecosystem. In most cases these leaks are considered to be the cost of doing business and a way for the press and Congress to hold the national security state accountable.

I think it’s fair to conclude after the last few months that the national security state does not want to be held accountable.

And I agree with Glenn that Nunes’ recusal was a “bad idea.”

KEVIN GLASS: If Trump breaks up the White House press cabal, it may be the most important thing he ever does.

Just last month, there were members of the press questioning why The Daily Signal, a news publication affiliated with the Heritage Foundation, was participating in pool reports. Fred Lucas, The Daily Signal’s White House correspondent, has covered the White House for more than 10 years for CNS News, The Blaze, and now The Daily Signal. He’s an award-winning journalist with impeccable credentials.The mainstream media, however, guards every inch of its status, such as writing pool reports, with shocking ferocity. And it should be noted that nobody took issue with the content of any pool reports, merely that someone they perceive to be an outsider from their club was allowed to write them.This isn’t the first time that the media has thrown a hissy fit, and it’s not exclusively about Trump, or even the conservative media. At the dawn of the Obama White House in 2009, the White House press welcomed Politico, The Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, Salon and more, to the shock and outrage of some of the journalist insiders. Politico was an upstart web-focused publication, and The Huffington Post was famous for being a blog platform for Hollywood celebrities.

Mandarins are always opposed to fresh blood, new faces, and different ways of thinking.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: Sorry, Democrats, The Obama Spying Scandal Isn’t Going Away.

RUN IN 2020, HILLARY! 2016 WAS JUST A FLUKE! Here’s a list of everyone Hillary Clinton blamed this week for 2016 (she’s not on it).

She didn’t mention, for example, the fact that she didn’t set foot in Wisconsin once during the entire general election. She didn’t mention her team’s initial decision to frame the campaign in terms of how voters could help her (“I’m with her!”) and not vice versa. She didn’t mention her team’s mind-boggling decision to outsource part of its millennial outreach efforts to Al Gore, 69, and Dave Matthews, 50. She didn’t mention the campaign’s bizarre decision to send Lena Dunham to North Carolina. She didn’t mention the moment she claimed at a fundraiser in New York City that “half” of Trump’s supporters were “irredeemable” bigots.

Clinton also ignored all mentions of the fact her team actively ignored and took for granted disaffected white and working class voters whom Obama had won, even after Bill Clinton, who won the rust belt twice, implored them to reconsider their strategy.

The point of this isn’t to pile on or twist the knife, but Clinton and her campaign got a lot wrong. They need to own it instead of just blaming Putin and misogyny.

Oh, let’s twist the knife a little.

SELF-MARGINALIZATION: Clarksville NAACP Opposes U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s Visit To Austin Peay. This is self-marginalization both because it’s stupid (and it is) and because people on the right are no longer quite so willing to forgive and forget this sort of partisan game-playing. As a famous man once said, don’t think we’re not keeping score, brother.

WELL, WELL: Susan Rice Cancels Public Appearance. “There was fallout this weekend from the pending criminal investigation of Susan Rice for her role in Barack Obama’s illegal espionage of President Trump. Just a few hours before her scheduled appearance on Saturday before the Greater Rochester Area Branch of American Association of University Women, Rice canceled her speech.”

CNN NARRATIVE FAIL: Syrian Refugee Slams Clinton, Obama; Praises Trump.

The look on CNN host Brooke Baldwin’s face is priceless. (Bumped, by Glenn).

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: Sorry, Democrats, The Obama Spying Scandal Isn’t Going Away.

But the fact is members of intelligence committees are not perfect about how they handle disclosure of classified information. Schiff has a reputation for lacking discretion, but many other Democratic members would be sure to face problems if mild mention of already public surveillance was cause for censure or oblique denials of FISA warrants. If Republicans wanted to make life difficult for Democrats on the committee, they could. Or as one anonymous official on the committee said, “There is evidence that some Democrats have leaked classified material — both inadvertently and intentionally.”

The House is busy with health care discussions and on a spring break. But Rep. Nunes will continue to dig into the potentially improper handling of information collected on Trump associates. And now he’ll have more time to do so. Those who watched him investigating previous intelligence problems know he is like a dog with a bone when it comes to getting to the bottom of wrongdoing. Whether Democrats agree with Nunes’ decision to go public with the news of the unmasking and dissemination of information about Trump associates, the fact that the public knows about it means that an investigation must continue.


ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST: Left’s Talking Point On Gerrymandering Put To Rest.

During the second half of the Obama era, it became an article of faith among many Democrats that Republicans had essentially stolen the House of Representatives and polarized the government by nefariously redrawing district lines in their party’s favor. But it was always clear to impartial observers that the impact of gerrymandering had been greatly exaggerated, and that demographic changes in the distribution of the population played a far greater role. A new analysis from the nonpartisan Cook Political Report confirms this: “As it turns out, gerrymandering wasn’t as much of a factor in the House’s polarization as some redistricting reform advocates might argue. Of the 92 “Swing Seats” that have vanished since 1997, 83 percent of the decline has resulted from natural geographic sorting of the electorate from election to election, while only 17 percent of the decline has resulted from changes to district boundaries.” . . .

But however comforting it might be to imagine that Congressional polarization is the result of reversible partisan machinations, the fact is that it has much more to do with broad-based geographical sorting. Democrats trying to break out of their “built-in” disadvantage in the House and state legislatures should spend less time railing against gerrymandering and more time trying to reach voters outside of their dense, hyper-sorted urban strongholds.

Hey, toward the end of the campaign, Hillary had a “rural outreach” person at her Brooklyn headquarters.

DOUBTFUL: Can Trump Clean Up Obama’s Mess In Syria?

ALEXANDER BOLTON: McConnell’s shining moment.

Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court is a huge victory for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a frequent target of conservatives who saved Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat for the right.

When Scalia died suddenly in February 2016, in seemed certain that then-President Obama would be able to tilt the court to the left with his third appointment.

Instead, McConnell issued a statement within hours that essentially shut the door on an Obama appointment, stating “this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

The Senate GOP backed McConnell up, and Donald Trump won the presidential election in an upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Months later, Trump nominated Gorsuch. McConnell made good on his promise to see the judge confirmed, even triggering the controversial “nuclear option” to break Democrats’ blockade and end filibusters for Supreme Court nominees.

“When the final chapter in Mitch McConnell’s book is written, this will place very prominently,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

“It prevented the court from going in a completely opposite direction, so in that sense, it’s a huge victory, consequential for decades,” he added.

McConnell on Friday, moments before the Senate confirmed Gorsuch, said the decision to keep the seat open was “the most consequential decision I’ve ever been involved in.”

The strategy leaves McConnell as an unlikely hero of hard-line conservative activists who have sometimes criticized him over as an establishment figure too willing to craft deals with Democrats.


NYT today: Missile Strikes on Syria Put U.S. Relationship With Russia at Risk.

NYT on Monday: Trump Tries to Deflect Russia Scrutiny, Citing ‘Crooked Scheme’ by Obama.

C’mon, fellas — which is it?

MICHAEL F. CANNON: Here’s How Trump Can Get Congress To Repeal And Replace Obamacare.

The Mo Brooks Method still seems the best and most straightforward.


It’s either that or try Rahm Emmanuel’s faux-moderate “Blue Dog” approach of 2006, aka “Nancy Pelosi’s Crash Test Dummies,” most of whom ended up being slaughtered in the 2010 midterms after they voted en masse for Obamacare. Would voters fall for the same strategy once again? Pretending to be moderate and free of drooling Trump Derangement Syndrome would likely be quite a challenging sell.

SALON: Donald Trump, who’s totally not Vladimir Putin’s puppet, warned Russia before airstrikes on Syria.

Can you imagine the headlines if Russia hadn’t been warned — doing so in Syria is a routine matter between Moscow and Washington, and has been since President Obama — and Russian personnel had been killed in the attack?

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Forget it, Steve, it’s Salontown.

ROGER SIMON: Trump Schools Obama and Democrats with Attack on Assad.

If history is any indication, the spin from the left as this plays out will be astonishing to watch, as these flashbacks from 2013 and the late 1990s illustrate:


DO NOT TRUST CONTENT FROM SUSAN RICE: In January, Susan Rice Assured NPR the Obama Admin Removed Chemical Weapons From Syria.

Related: PolitiFact Retracts ‘Mostly True’ Ruling That U.S. Removed ‘100 Percent’ of Syria’s Chemical Weapons. “Subsequent events have proved John Kerry wrong.” Don’t trust content from John Kerry, either . . .

JOHN NOLTE: Cover-Up: 11 Things the Media Won’t Tell You About Obama Spying On Trump.

MATT LEWIS: While the focus is on a few high-profile losses and messes, the president is quietly, steadily racking up big wins.

While the media focuses on sexy topics—Russian spy intrigue, botched Muslim bans, White House palace intrigue, emerging foreign policy challenges, and the health care bill’s collapse—Team Trump has been quietly rolling back job-killing regulations and appointing a boring (by design), yet highly competent, Supreme Court Justice who almost certainly will be confirmed on Friday.

Despite evidence to the contrary, President Trump is making changes in his first 100 days that will affect America for decades to come.

One of his key weapons has been the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a 1996 law that allows Congress to repeal recent regulations. Before Trump took office, this law had been used just once. Since taking office, however, President Trump has signed 11 of these CRAs into law, effectively reversing several last-minute Obama-era regulations.

The window for using this tactic is closing; the CRA can only be used within 60 days of Congress being informed of a new regulation. But here’s where things have the potential to get very interesting: Once a regulation is repealed, agencies are also banned from issuing new rules that are “substantially similar” to the one that was just vetoed.

Use of the CRA isn’t news to Instapundit readers (or to Bill Whittle fans), but Lewis omitted one important detail. Whether due to spite or laziness, many Obama-era agencies never bothered to notify Congress of new regulations — so the 60-day clock has yet to start ticking on regs going back years.