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UNDER THIS DEFINITION OF PRESIDENTIAL OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE, I’m pretty sure that Barack Obama is indictable.

NO MEANS NO: Trump Education Secretary DeVos Pressured to Keep Obama ‘Rape Culture’ Guidelines.

MARRYING BEARS AND FROGS: Great title for an article discussing integrating the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) into the Department of State.

The USAID-State integration debate has churned for at least thirty years, but it has never been consummated because the two organizations have wildly discordant cultures, missions, and modus operandi. The work of both agencies is focused overseas, and both are deeply invested in globalization. Beyond that, they are as different as bears and frogs.

The article suggests the Trump Administration “repudiate USAID’s 2015 manifesto on non-cooperation” with the Dept of Defense. Thank the Obama Administration for that decision. Here’s an important recommendation: “…focus development assistance in countries where we have truly compelling U.S. national security or economic interests. The bulk of USAID tax money goes to largesse, and the biggest savings by far will be in this area.” Ouch — but a great point.

KIMBERLY STRASSEL: Our Self-Interested Senators.

The House bill isn’t perfect—no bill ever is—but it amounts to the biggest entitlement reform in history. It repeals crushing taxes. It dramatically cuts spending. And it begins the process of stabilizing the individual health-care market and expanding consumer freedom.

None of this is good enough for a handful of senators, so now it’s time to make this exercise all about them. Mr. McConnell should make clear that the overwhelming majority of the Republican Party stands ready to make good on its repeal-and-replace campaign promise—and that it would have done so already were it not for a cynical or egotistic few. It’s time for some very public accountability.

That rests in Mr. McConnell giving his caucus a drop-dead date to broker a compromise, after which he will proceed to bring up the House bill. And any Republican who votes against moving forward, “a motion to proceed,” will forever be known as the Republican who saved ObamaCare. The Republican who voted to throw billions more taxpayer dollars at failing entitlement programs and collapsing insurance markets. The Republican who abandoned struggling American families. The Republican who voted against a tax cut and spending reductions. The Republican who made Chuck Schumer’s year.

And that’s only a short list of the real-world accountability.

The Democrats could agree on almost any “reform” bill, so long as it brought more money and power to Washington — the important thing was to bring more booty to Washington for divvying. What the Republicans have to do is much tougher, as any repeal or genuine replacement means less booty.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: America’s Media Meltdown. “Between 2008 and 2016, the media were unapologetic about their adoration of President Barack Obama. Now, they are energized by their thorough loathing of President Donald Trump. In tragic fashion, the hubris of deifying Obama has now come full circle to the nemesis of demonizing Trump. The common denominator of the two extremes is the abandonment of disinterested reporting.”

UNEXPECTEDLY!: The Obama-Ayatollah Nuclear Collusion Fraud isn’t working.

OK, The National Interest article is titled “The Iran Nuclear Deal Isn’t Working,” but I think my title is more accurate.

RELATED: Not so unexpectedly. (I’m so old I remember 2015.)

WELL, ONCE THE WALL STREET CONTRIBUTIONS TO OBAMA CAME IN, YES: Did The US Government Stop Caring About White Collar Crime?

“BOY OH BOY. REMEMBER WE SAID THAT AFTER OBAMA LEFT OFFICE, WE’D FIND OUT THE DAMAGE HE DID? It’s much worse than I imagined.”

Just think of the Democratic Party as “what it really is: a criminal organization masquerading as a political party,” and it all makes sense, to merge the favorite sayings of Glenn and Michael Walsh.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

MSNBC’s Jonathan Alter: Trump ‘Voter Suppression Commission’ Is ‘Threat to Democracy.’

NewsBusters, today.

Jonathan Alter Demands Gore Presidency In Spite Of Outcome.

—The Media Research Center, November 9th, 2000.

UPDATE: “MSNBC analyst, Jonathan Alter (Democrat-Barack Obama -Hillary Clinton) Is Textbook Example of Democrat party operative with Byline. Alter’s parents are Chicago Democrat machine hacks,” Steve Bartin writes at Newsalert. Just keep scrolling for the details.

IRAN THREATENS U.S. TROOPS NEAR ITS BORDERS:

The head of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard warned the U.S. that it better move its forces away from his country if Washington imposes new sanctions on his paramilitary group.

The Trump Administration just certified Iran as compliant with the Obama-Ayatollah Nuclear Collusion Arrangement and this is the thanks we get.

LEFTIST POLITICAL VIOLENCE: Police release video of ‘person of interest’ in Heller threat.

Las Vegas police have released a video of a person of interest in the investigation into a threatening note that was left on the door of Sen. Dean Heller’s (R-Nev.) district office.

Police described the individual as a white adult male between 50 and 60 years old wearing a black baseball cap, shorts and a collared shirt.

A threatening note telling Heller to vote against the legislation was found taped to the door of his district office on Sunday.

The Nevada Independent reported the note warned Heller that the individual would loser their healthcare if the senator voted for the ObamaCare repeal and replace plan, and Heller would die in return.

I hope they find this person, and give him free government healthcare in prison.

THIS IS MY SHOCKED FACE: Fmr. U.N. Amb. Power Emerges As Central Figure In Obama Unmasking Investigation.

BUT MICHELLE OBAMA ASSURED ME LAST YEAR THAT “WHEN THEY GO LOW, WE GO HIGH.” Bill Maher Goes Too Far: ‘Does Trump Have to Actually Blow Putin?’

Earlier: Stephen Colbert’s Shocking Attack On Trump Concludes With A Homophobic Slur: “In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster,” which elicited gasps from the studio audience.”

Why are Democrat monopoly institutions such cesspits of homophobia, especially considering that Trump supported gay marriage even before Dick Cheney did?

SAMANTHA POWER, NOT CONTENT WITH KILLING HORDES OF PEOPLE IN THE MIDEAST AND NORTH AFRICA, MEDDLES IN POLITICS: Fmr. U.N. Amb. Power Emerges As Central Figure In Obama Unmasking Investigation: Congress demands answers on why Obama officials demanded classified intel that harmed Trump. I think I know why.

ONLY MOSTLY DEAD? After Deciding to ‘Just Let Obamacare Fail,’ Trump Again Lobbying for Healthcare Bill.

“CIVIL FORFEITURE IS INHERENTLY ABUSIVE:” Institute for Justice Statement Responding to DOJ’s Announced Policy Change Increasing Use of Civil Forfeiture.

Sessions has been a big disappointment. He let Obama holdovers bully him into an unnecessary recusal, which let Comey fake DOJ into appointing Mueller, and is wasting time and trampling the Constitution with this sort of crap. Trump should replace him with somebody competent.

UPDATE: I incorrectly said that Sessions appointed Mueller. Fixed.

ALLIES: Turkey Leaks Secret Locations of U.S. Troops in Syria.

The list published by the Anadolu news agency points to a U.S. presence from one end to the other of the Kurdish self-administration region—a distance of more than 200 miles. The Anadolu news agency even listed the number of U.S. troops in several locations and in two instances stipulated the presence of French special forces.

Turkey has openly criticized the Trump administration—and the Obama administration before it—for relying in the battle against ISIS on a militia led by Kurds affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK. A separatist movement now at war with Turkey, the PKK has been listed by the U.S., EU, and Turkey as a terror organization.

To avoid the appearance of allying with such a group, the U.S. military set up the Syrian Democratic Forces, which have a large component of Arab recruits. But they are led by officers from the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian affiliate of the PKK.

Although Turkey’s powerful president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, regularly vents his anger at the U.S., it is still highly unusual for a NATO ally to reveal details of a U.S. military deployment during active operations in a war zone.

Ya think?

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Democrats Will Soon Regret That Republicans Failed To Repeal ObamaCare. ObamaCare was never sustainable. Something that can’t go on forever, won’t.

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S NEW IRAN SANCTIONS: We need to add a few more.

The U.S. Treasury Department designated 16 entities and individuals for supporting “illicit Iranian actors or transnational criminal activity,” according to a statement.

Some of those targeted had supported the Iranian military or Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) by developing drones, fast attack boats and other military equipment. Others stole U.S. and western software programs, which were sold to the Iranian government, according to the statement.

For the record, the Obama-Ayatollah “nuclear agreement” is a bad joke.

BYRON YORK: No surprise: On Obamacare, GOP senators don’t do what they don’t want to do.

Collins, who opposes the current bill, is the only Republican in the Senate who voted against repeal back in 2015. But look at the GOP senators who voted in favor of repeal: Dean Heller, the Nevada senator who’s been very publicly reluctant to support the current effort. Shelley Moore Capito, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman, and more. Would they all vote the same way again with a Republican in the White House and a majority of voters opposed to the bill?

The answer is that it is exceedingly unlikely they will have to cast that vote. Look carefully at what McConnell said. First, the Senate will “vote to take up the House bill.” And then, after it votes to take up the House bill, the first amendment to be considered and voted on will be that December 2015 Obamacare bill. But remember, McConnell’s statement came after it became clear that Republicans would not vote to take up the bill in the first place. So if they are true to their words and vote against sending the bill to the Senate floor, then they will never have to vote on any amendments to it — meaning they won’t have to re-affirm their December 2015 support for repealing Obamacare.

The searing test of Republican hypocrisy — what radio host Hugh Hewitt called #TheHotSeatForHypocrites — won’t happen.

That doesn’t mean Obamacare repeal is dead forever. Just as it happened after initial failure in the House, Republicans will realize they have to do something after agitating for repeal for seven-plus years.

Maybe they’ll do the right thing, once they’ve exhausted all the other alternatives.

NO, ACTUALLY SHE’S STANDING UP AGAINST A LYNCH MOB — WHICH, JUST LIKE A CENTURY AGO, IS MADE UP OF DEMOCRATS: Betsy DeVos Isn’t “Enabling Rape Deniers” by Pushing for Due Process on College Campuses: As Columbia University settles a case with a student found innocent of sexual assault, the Secretary of Education is rolling back a bad Obama-era policy.

BACKLASH: RIGHT WING TWITTER BEGINS DIGGING FOR DIRT ON CNN EMPLOYEES. “This is not the world I want to live in,” one of Ace of Spades’ co-bloggers writes, and I concur. “When I first saw that they’d embarrassed this guy, I laughed. I thought he was an on-air personality and at least a minor political player. After I realized he was just an editor, I cringed a little. I can’t bring myself to endorse it, but neither can I condemn it. This is what they’ve done to time and time again us and they won’t stop. What alternative is there?… This is only the beginning of an ever-growing pushback, one that’s only going to get nastier and more ugly. And everything that happens is on them. This is the rotten, worm infested harvest they have sown and they’re going to be choking on it for some time to come.”

As Ace himself warned the media last November, a week after Trump won, this backlash was coming. “You dominate this culture. You made the rules. You now get to live in the savage world you made brick-by-brick, media…The media loves to ride the tiger of Mob Hatred when that tiger is devouring a plebeian. Well, sometimes the tiger bucks, old chaps.”

Related: Regarding their actual news coverage, or the lack thereof, “Our Corrupt Media Is Now Haunted By All The Precedents They Set While Colluding With Obama.”

CANCER SCREENING: Better Save Than Sorry? “Doctors and medical organizations often advise that past a certain age, older adults can forgo various screening tests for cancer. But many patients, no matter how old or sick they may be, are reluctant to abandon tests they’ve long been told can be lifesaving.”

I still question the timing regarding how “early detection is key!” switched overnight to “many tests are a waste” after ObamaCare passed.

ROGER SIMON: Obamacare Survives Thanks to Republican Moral Narcissism.

Shades of P.J. O’Rourke’s famous line that “The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.”

TRUMP, MCCONNELL, PENCE CALL FOR CLEAN OBAMACARE REPEAL. That should pass handily. It did in 2015, right? . . .

POINTS AND FIGURES: Leadership is Hard: “Yesterday the Senate which is barely controlled by Republicans failed to repeal and replace Obamacare. Too bad. To be honest, it had a hard time getting through the House. This shows you how hard laws are to repeal once installed. Especially laws that come with lots of free benefits you don’t pay for until later years. It also illustrates something else. Leadership is hard. Being a true leader can be lonely.”

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Our Corrupt Media Is Now Haunted By All The Precedents They Set While Colluding With Obama.

Barack Obama trafficked guns to Mexican drug lords, secretly delivered pallets filled with billions in cash to Iran’s America/Jew-hating mullahs, left four Americans to die in Benghazi and then lied about it, allowed his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to exchange government favors for hundreds of millions of dollars slushed into the Clinton Foundation, sic’d his IRS on everyday, law-abiding Americans, and used a trillion dollars in “stimulus” funds to pay off his cronies, like those behind a boondoggle called Solyndra.

And all along, over eight terrible years, our media did a whole lot more than just let Obama get away with it. They wholeheartedly colluded. They allowed Obama to persecute them through the Department of Justice and to lie to our face (remember: I just now read about it in the newspaper, the IRS did nothing wrong, you can keep your insurance). And when that wasn’t enough, the media mercilessly attacked as racist anyone who criticized the Precious and ginned up nothingburgers like Todd Akin to distract from those four dead Americans. And when even that wasn’t enough, they themselves lied and obfuscated, covered up and dissembled, and most of all they set all kinds of precedents that, in a delicious form of irony, are now driving this utterly failed institution to the edge of insanity. . . .

And now — now! — this very same media (with the help of #NeverTrump’s forever-preening moral narcissists) is using the spear of Muh Principles to demand that those of us on the political right agree to destroy ourselves in their corrupt crusade, that we acquiesce like second-class citizens to their separate sets of rules?

Like hell.

People do notice hypocrisy.

SALENA ZITO: Why these Canadians would take Trump over Trudeau.

It is fascinating to listen to their impressions of the US president. Given the coverage of him throughout Ontario and America — you would think any Canadian would conclude the opposite. The Bowens are well versed in the policy entanglements Trump faces with health care and tax reform and are aware of every House special election since January that’s happened in Kansas, Montana and Georgia.

They are also very pragmatic about his approach.

“The man has his weaknesses, that is for sure, but voters knew that going in, and he has as much admitted he is not a groomed politician. Any problem he has faced has mostly come from his use of social media, but his policies are spot-on,” said Dave.

While many Americans point to the universal health care enjoyed by our northern neighbors as a point of envy, Dave says his countryfolk have reason to admire the US — especially on the issue of immigration.

Imagine how things would be for Trump, abroad and at home, if he got the fawning coverage that Obama got.

WHOA – CNN TURNED OBJECTIVIST SO SLOWLY, I HARDLY EVEN NOTICED! Journalist Carl Bernstein Declares ‘Cold Civil War’ In America:

On Sunday, appearing on CNN’s Reliable Sources, Carl Bernstein, who along with Robert Woodward, broke the story of Watergate for The Washington Post,  claimed, “We are in the midst of a cold civil war in this country.”

Bernstein, who along with Woodward relied on anonymous sources to discover information related to the Watergate break-in, made his comment about a “cold civil war” to distinguish the era of Watergate from the current political climate.

I wonder if Bernstein thinks he invented that phrase – when perhaps its very first use was by Ayn Rand in a 1962 column with that same title, back when she was giving speeches and proposing book titles railing against JFK’s “Fascist New Frontier.”

(She lost her long-suffering editor, the famous Bennett Cerf, a What’s My Line panelist, over that title – but she may have been more right than she knew.)

Hit the “Continue reading” link for a lengthy look at the “Cold Civil War” phrase in the 21st century and some background on Carl Bernstein’s radical past.

Continue reading ‘WHOA – CNN TURNED OBJECTIVIST SO SLOWLY, I HARDLY EVEN NOTICED! Journalist Carl Bernstein Declares…’ »

RAND PAUL: Retaining instead of repealing Obamacare will be Republicans’ undoing.

If we are to subsidize health insurance, why not food? Or water? Or housing? You may respond, yes, but we already do that. You are right we have subsidized, for the poor, food and housing, but we didn’t, until now, attempt to subsidize a market item for all.

With this bill, Senate Republicans declare they have overcome Hayek’s protestations about the pretense of knowledge — the idea that no central planner can know enough to engineer an economy successfully.

With this bill, Senate Republicans declare they have the knowledge to determine and correct prices for millions of Americans who purchase health insurance. Pretense? You bet it is.

Markets are incredibly complex interactions between millions of people in a nearly simultaneous bazaar of trading. No one man or woman possesses that knowledge, so anyone who sets or attempts to set prices for health insurance is doomed to fail.

And mark my words, this Senate Healthcare bill will fail just as its twin Obamacare has, for they suffer from the same pretense of knowledge. No one is smart enough to plan even the simplest of marketplace prices — no matter how much data is available.

Entitlements are just as addicting for politicians of either party as they are for their beneficiaries — a fact Democrats have been counting on for generations.

NO WONDER THE LEFT IS SO ANGRY AT BETSY DEVOS: DoE Civil Rights Office To Once Again Be “Neutral.” “In what appears to be yet another move to roll back the Obama era precedent of cabinet level “guidance memos” having the force of law, the Department of Education Civil Rights division will be transitioning back to being a “neutral” office rather than an activist force in the social justice movement. . . . One might imagine that the idea of ensuring that a government oversight agency remained a ‘neutral, impartial investigative’ entity wouldn’t be a controversial idea, but one would be wrong. It’s obviously plenty controversial in the eyes of many Democrats who had grown used to having their way on such matters under the presidency of Barack Obama. DeVos gave an apt description of many of the agency’s tactics when she described them as regulations issued via administrative fiat.”

JOHN BOLTON: Trump must withdraw from Iran nuclear deal — now.

President Trump has repeatedly made clear his view that the Iran deal was a diplomatic debacle. It is not renegotiable, as some argue, because there is no chance that Iran, designated by Ronald Reagan as a state sponsor of terrorism in January 1984, will agree to any serious changes. Why should it? President Obama gave them unimaginably favorable terms, and there is no reason to think China and Russia will do us any favors revising them.

Accordingly, withdrawing from the JCPOA as soon as possible should be the highest priority. The administration should stop reviewing and start deciding. Even assuming, contrary to fact, that Iran is complying with the JCPOA, it remains palpably harmful to American national interests. It should not have taken six months to reach this conclusion. Well before Jan. 20, we saw 18 months of Iranian noncompliance and other hostile behavior as evidence. The Trump transition team should have identified abrogating the deal as one of the incoming administration’s highest policy priorities.

Within the Trump administration, JCPOA supporters contend that rejecting the deal would harm the United States by calling into question our commitment to international agreements generally. There is ominous talk of America “not living up to its word.”

How convenient that only one side in the Iran deal is expected to do so.

DEMOCRATIC PARTY OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES: How The Press Ignored Bill Clinton’s Foreign-Donation Scandal. “I’m glad the news media is pursuing the Trump–Russia scandal, but let’s not forget the differences between how they are covering Russia compared with how they reported a similar story — this one involving Communist China — that developed during Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign. . . . Many people still believe that a major cover-up of that scandal worked — in part because the media expressed skepticism and devoted only a fraction of resources they are spending on the Trump–Russia story. Network reporters expressed outright skepticism of the story, with many openly criticizing the late senator Fred Thompson, the chair of the Senate investigating committee, for wasting time and money.”

They were in the tank for Bill Clinton nearly as much as they were in the tank for Obama and Hillary.

FAKE NEWS: Remembering Journolist and progressive media’s bag of tricks.

A couple weeks ago I came across an old article about Journolist which I found striking. In particular, I was struck by the ways in which some of the debates taking place among left-leaning journalists back in 2008 still seem to encompass the ways the left-wing media operates today.

For those who don’t remember it, Journolist was just a listserv created by Ezra Klein. The list was invitation only and was mostly made up of progressive journalists. In theory, the list was a kind of digital water cooler where like-minded people could talk to others in the field. That may have been all it was much of the time, but when candidate Obama got in trouble in 2008, it also became a place for partisans to discuss a coordinated media strategy.

And the Journolisters are at Big Media outlets today, rising in fake umbrage if you call them partisan.

HAVE YOU HUGGED A FRACKER TODAY? Look out, OPEC! U.S. to become top 10 oil exporter by 2020. The big damage comes from supplying U.S. demand that OPEC used to fill. But this just twists the knife. Remember when President Obama said we couldn’t drill our way out of our energy problems?

SHUT UP AND SING! U2 Concerts Would Be Better If the Band Preached Less and Sang More:

For much of the show, the band projected an earnest slideshow of Native Americans and other immigrants onto the screen. Those pictured were unsmiling, trudging down roads and living in shacks. This is U2’s version of what the immigrant experience looks like in America, and it’s all pretty bleak. But the message was muddled and totally unclear.

The album’s greatest songs—“Running to Stand Still” and “Red Hill Mining Town”—are about, respectively, heroin abuse and the death of a mining town. America is experiencing an explosive surge in opioid deaths, and the death of the steel and car industry has decimated cities like Pittsburgh and Detroit. It’s hard to understand how the relentless stream of grim portraits of immigrants connected to the songs themselves.

Last year, Bono declared Trump “potentially the worst idea that ever happened to America” and reportedly “sought favorable access to Hillary through [the] Clinton Foundation.”  In January, as Spin reported, “Obama Walked Out to U2’s ‘City of Blinding Lights’ for His Farewell Address,” and had lunch with Bono in March. So it’s rather odd for U2 to resurrect a song lamenting the death of a mining town, when Obama vowed to bankrupt the coal industry, and last year, Hillary chortled at the prospect that “we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

(Classical reference in headline.)

VIOLATING THE CONSTITUTION IS ONLY BAD WHEN THE NARRATIVE REQUIRES IT TO BE: Chuck Schumer Admits Obama Health Payments Violated The Constitution. Can we get some prosecutions here?

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: DeVos sets stage to rewrite Obama-era sexual assault guidance.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday blasted President Obama’s sexual assault policy for failing to foster an environment of safety and fairness on college campuses.

“We need to get this right,” DeVos told reporters following her meeting with sexual assault victims and those who have been wrongly accused under the current policy, saying that federal guidance should take both the victim and the accused into account.

“No student should feel that the scales are tipped against him or her.” Tweet This

“No student should be the victim of sexual assault. No student should feel unsafe,” she declared. “No student should feel like there isn’t a way to seek justice, and no student should feel that the scales are tipped against him or her.”

President Trump’s administration has indicated openness to reforming the current sexual assault guidance in light of criticism that it violates the due-process rights of the accused.

The Office of Civil Rights’ “Dear Colleague Letter,” a document that outlined certain school policy expectations when it comes to sexual assault on college campuses, is said to be the primary culprit behind the ineffective trial system adopted by most universities around the country.

Report crimes against persons and property to the police. Use the student-conduct system for things like cheating and plagiarism.

Related: Professor calls DeVos “a powerful handmaiden to a hegemonic white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.” It’s weird that feminists in the 21st century seem to be living in a mediocre 1980s novel. But this type of talk isn’t exactly going to build a wave of popular opposition to reform.

POLAND FINDS ANOTHER WAY TO ANNOY RUSSIA: The Poles will be acquiring the latest version of the U.S. Army’s Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile missile. The Trump Administration made that deal with Poland this month. (Poland announced it July 6.) As the article notes, in 2015 the Obama Administration agreed to sell Poland eight Patriot batteries but armed with a less-capable PAC-3.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MIKA BRZEZINSKI AND THE VICTIMIZED MEDIA:

The morning after Trump’s vicious attack on Brzezinski’s facelift — she admitted that she had her chin “tweaked” — MSNBC promoted that she and her co-host Joe Scarborough would appear (on their own show!) to respond (delaying a planned vacation).

Taking on the air of two freed hostages suffering PTSD, Brzezinski and Scarborough assured a shaken nation that they were “okay.”

“I’ve been getting a lot of texts and hearing you all talking,” Brzezinski said. “Thank you. I’m fine. My family brought me up really tough.”

“We’re okay,” said Scarborough, a defiant hero.

Less than two weeks after their trauma, the pair appeared this past Tuesday on late-night TV to giggle about it and promote Scarborough’s side hustle as an aspiring rock artist.

Before a live performance of his song “Welcome to the Monkey House” — the music magazine Spin described it as “pretty bad” — Scarborough took the opportunity to announce in front of a sympathetic audience that he’s switching his party identity from Republican to independent.

Applause followed and the look of pure satisfaction on Scarborough’s face said that the tweet about Brzezinski, his new fiancé, paid off.

This is what the media do with Trump: Criticize him, await the blowback, then play dead before cashing in.

Or as Ace of Spades quips, “Say It Ain’t So, Joe: Legendary Vanity-Rock Sensation Joe Scarborough Quits the GOP on Steven Colbert, After Admitting He Buys Into Liberal Progressive Line 100%:”

[Scarborough] has announced to his millions of adoring fans that he’s decamping the Republican Party, making this announcement on the place where Republicans come to discuss issues, the Stephen Colbert show.

David Harsanyi only briefly hints at how miserable this fink’s (double hand finger airquotes) “music” is, to instead talk about his rampant hypocrisy for having done everything in his power to get Trump nominated as GOP candidate, then becoming a loud-and-proud liberal Democrat the moment he succeeded in getting Trump to that position.

Alternate hypothesis for your consideration: It wasn’t hypocrisy, it was covert action. Maybe Scarborough has been a Democrat for a good long while, and was following the Democrat Conventional Wisdom that Trump was the weakest candidate the GOP could field and so it was in ever Democrats’ interest to pump him up — until he secured the nomination at the convention.

Really? The guy who took on-air real-time story corrections from the Obama administration is bolting the Republican party? I’d cover more of that, but first I’m off to investigate the reports that there’s gambling going on at Rick’s Café.

HOT AIR’S JOHN SEXTON IS REMEMBERING THE JOURNOLIST IN 2008 AND THE “PROGRESSIVE” MEDIA’S BAG OF TRICKS:

For those who don’t remember it, Journolist was just a listserv created by Ezra Klein. The list was invitation only and was mostly made up of progressive journalists. In theory, the list was a kind of digital water cooler where like-minded people could talk to others in the field. That may have been all it was much of the time, but when candidate Obama got in trouble in 2008, it also became a place for partisans to discuss a coordinated media strategy.

Author Jonathan Strong wrote this particular piece about the Journolist response to a crisis in the 2008 campaign. Rev. Jeremiah Wright, as you probably remember, was the pastor of the church Obama attended. He was the pastor who married Barack and Michelle and the person who inspired the title of Obama’s book: The Audacity of Hope. Wright was also a far-left crank who regularly denounced America…Obama would eventually denounce Wright and quit the church in June, but in the interim, it seemed possible the issue could seriously damage his campaign. Journolist members discussed various ways to respond to the Rev. Wright story. Michael Tomasky (now at the Daily Beast) wanted members of the list to “kill ABC” and thereby kill the story[.]

Read the whole thing.

Between 2000 and 2017, the Democrats pivoted on a host issues ranging from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, and gay marriage. But few moments have had the full “Oceania has always been/has never been at war with Eastasia” (which Orwell based on how the British left flip-flopped under Stalin’s orders in WWII) feel as the week between Rev. Wright’s racist 2008 NAACP speech, which CNN’s Soledad O’Brien (herself a Wright acolyte) proclaimed “a home run” to anchor John Roberts asking on-air then-candidate Obama if it was OK with him to declare the network “a Wright-free zone.” If CNN is angry that it’s now constantly being called “fake news,” transparently politics-motivated flip-flops such as this are a big reminder of how they brought that well-deserved epithet upon themselves:

UPDATE: From a 2010 Free Republic post, “JournoList: 157 Names Confirmed (With Organizations).”

TRUMP NOT AS FRIENDLY TO CUBA AS OBAMA WAS, complains Raul Castro.

NOT BORN TO BE WILD: Harley-Davidson sales are struggling ‘because millennials don’t like riding motorcycles.’

Decline is a choice, America.

(Montage created using multiple AP photos.)

UNUSED OPPO TRICKLES OUT: Hillary Clinton’s plan to attack Bernie Sanders’ wife.

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ claims that an ongoing FBI probe of his wife is based on partisan politics don’t square with the fact that it began under President Obama and appears to closely track Democratic opposition research revealed in the hacked emails of the Hillary Clinton campaign.

The FBI and U.S. Attorney in Vermont are investigating Jane O’Meara Sanders for her role in a failed 2010, $10 million college land deal that she orchestrated during her seven-year stint as president of Burlington College in Vermont.

According to a series of 2015 emails to and from Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, leaked to and published on Wikileaks, the Clinton team wrote an extensive political opposition memo entitled “Sanders Top Hits-Thematics.” The memo details Mrs. Sanders’ role in the college’s financial failure, and parallels the ongoing FBI investigation, now before a grand jury, into the scandal. Other email correspondence shows the Clinton team believed scandals surrounding the college and Jane Sanders provided an opportunity to knock the Vermont senator’s reputation and chances to win the Democratic primary election.

I’m sure they would have rolled this out if Bernie had done better. Hillary had a plan for every contingency, except being unpopular and a bad candidate.

TRIGGER WARNING, DEMOCRATS: Your Path To Political Revival Is Through Trump Voters.

To win again, the Democrats don’t need to adopt an alien agenda or back away from policies aimed at racial justice. But their leaders would be well advised to change their rhetorical priorities and more directly address the country’s bastions of gloom. The party has been crushed—not just in the recent presidential election, but in countless down-ballot elections—by its failure to develop a message that can resonate with people beyond the core members of the Obama coalition, and by its unwillingness to blare its hostility to crony capitalism.

The makings of a Democratic majority are real. Demographic advantages will continue to accrue to the left. The party needs only to add to its coalition on the margins and in the right patches on the map. Doing that does not require the abandonment of any moral principles; persuasion is a different category of political activity from pandering. A decent liberalism, not to mention a savvy party, shouldn’t struggle to accord dignity and respect to citizens, even if it believes some of them hold abhorrent views.

It may take a generational shift before Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” remark is not longer the Democrats’ brand with the white working class voters who were already fleeing the party.

Meanwhile, younger Americans are trending more conservative than is widely appreciated on economic issues. That gives the GOP an opening to pursue the youth vote — although doing so will probably require a tricky combination of accepting defeat on certain social issues (gay marriage, aspects of the Drug War) while doubling down on others (religious liberty, campus reform, and the like).

THE RISE OF THE INTERNET’S ‘DIRTBAG LEFT’ — How a new strain of progressive leftism is using humour, irony, and diaper jokes to push back against the emerging alt-right:

What Michelle Obama—or Canadian writer Jonathan Kay, who recently issued a critique of social media boorishness in a National Post essay—miss in their clarion calls for civility is that, for many, politics isn’t just some academic discussion or reimagining of a collegiate debate club: It’s a battle. It’s about drastically opposed visions of society rubbing against each in open conflict. The reinvigorated left doesn’t want to debate; it wants to disgrace.

The fact is that there are many on the left who don’t want to be civil—who want to mock and joke and hurl ad hominem and be as baseless and vulgar as possible. And why? Well, for one thing, it’s productive (and fun!) to unnerve those in power, and to make them feel uncomfortable in their laziness and privilege. And if it’s acceptable for members of the utterly powerless online liberal #Resistance to tweet at Donald Trump calling him a “Cheeto” or a “carrot” as if he’ll miraculously resign when he’s read it for the 17-millionth time, why is it not also valid to needle more immediate villains with harsher, more pointed criticisms?

These tactics will likely present a problem for some. The valuing of vulgarity and snarky hostility (“so much for the tolerant left!”) may scan as cannibalization and in-fighting among those with loosely shared agendas (i.e. anti-Trumpism). The dirtbag left understands this. What they reject are progressive-leftists being neglected, despite the foundering of the liberal/Democratic institution. They’re tired of sitting, slouched and bored, elbows on the table, at the kids’ table. And unlike the purely anarchic alt-righters doing it “for the lulz,” the alt-left offers a coherent, practical, progressive political agenda. As Chapo co-founder Will Menaker put it on a recent episode of the show, addressing an imagined audience pragmatist liberals and centrists: “Yes, let’s come together. But get this through your f–king head: you must bend the knee to us. Not the other way around. You have been proven as failures, and your entire worldview has been discredited.”

As Marcus H. Johnson of the Huffington Post tweets, with a screen cap highlighting that last sentence, “Imagine being a wealthy white guy and telling this to poor minorities who vote for Democrats.”

It’s like there’s a fascistic side to liberalism, or something.

WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO CREATE HEINLEIN’S “FAIR WITNESS” AS MACHINE RECORDS BECOME EASIER AND EASIER TO FAKE: AI Creates Fake Obama.

DON SURBER: Obama trapped Donald Jr. to justify spying on Trump. Well, if true that would explain why Loretta Lynch allowed a Russian who had been denied a visa to enter the country.

COLLUSION? Obama DOJ Allowed Russian Lawyer to Enter U.S. Without Visa Before Trump Team Meeting.

I REMEMBER WHEN ANYONE WHO DOUBTED “PEAK OIL” WAS CALLED A SHILL FOR EXXON, AND WHEN BARACK OBAMA SAID WE COULDN’T DRILL OUR WAY OUT OF OUR ENERGY PROBLEMS: Significant Oil Discovery off Coast of Mexico:

An international consortium of oil companies has struck oil in shallow waters off the coast of Mexico in what could be one of the five largest discoveries in the past five years, and among the top fifteen in the last two decades. The find could be good for 1.4 to 2 billion barrels of light crude. . . .

This is a big win for Mexico, which two years ago decided to allow private companies to participate in energy projects. If this find turns out to be as significant as early indicators seem to have it, expect even more international companies to get interested.

It’s also yet another reminder of just how off the “peak oil” prognosticators have been. This is a substantive find of easy to process light crude in shallow waters; no fracking or next-gen technological requirements will be necessary to exploit it. Greens may not love it, but the age of oil appears to not quite yet be over.

Well, to be fair, the Greens are just colluding with Russia to weaken Western petroleum reserves.

SO WHO IS THIS “SMOKING GUN” ACTUALLY AIMED AT? The Hill: Obama DOJ let Russian lawyer into US before she met with Trump team. “The Russian lawyer who penetrated Donald Trump’s inner circle was initially cleared into the United States by the Justice Department under ‘extraordinary circumstances’ before she embarked on a lobbying campaign last year that ensnared the president’s eldest son, members of Congress, journalists and State Department officials, according to court and Justice Department documents and interviews. This revelation means it was the Obama Justice Department that enabled the newest and most intriguing figure in the Russia-Trump investigation to enter the country without a visa. . . . The Moscow lawyer had been turned down for a visa to enter the U.S. lawfully but then was granted special immigration parole by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch for the limited purpose of helping a company owned by Russian businessman Denis Katsyv, her client, defend itself against a Justice Department asset forfeiture case in federal court in New York City.”

IT’S A DEFLECTION TOOL: David Harsanyi: Why The ‘Whataboutism’ Charge Is Dishonest.

Folks who complain to me about “whataboutism” have a weird propensity to lecture me about historical precedents. Can we talk about the past or not? Take Paul Begala — a guy who led the mocking of Mitt Romney when the candidate called out Barack Obama’s Russian appeasement — who recently asserted that in his “34 years of campaigns, [he] never, ever heard of getting help from a hostile foreign power.” Never? He’s never heard of Charlie Trie, the man who was funneling millions to the Clintons on behalf of Chinese interests? He’s never read the leaked emails that showed the Clinton campaign working with Ukrainians to find information damaging to Trump? Never?

Well, not that he’ll admit today.

SEE, THIS IS WHY CNN SHOULDN’T HAVE THREATENED TO DOX “HAN ASSHOLESOLO.” “How a Montana mom became the target of a neo-Nazi troll,” reports CNN. A Colorado real estate agent named Tanya Gersh was bombarded with threatening emails and phone calls, “after contacting tenants of a local building:”

Gersh says she was then called by the building’s owner, Sherry Spencer, the mother of white supremacist Richard Spencer.

Gersh says she warned Sherry Spencer about looming protests at the building in Whitefish, a Montana town of 7,300 where both women live.

Gersh says she advised Spencer to disavow the views of her son, including that the United States is a country for white people.

She says she offered to sell Spencer’s property as a way of defusing tensions in town. Gersh suggested Spencer donate money to a human rights group.

Sherry Spencer refused to speak to CNN when we reached her on the phone. Earlier, she wrote in a blog post that Gersh, a Realtor, had threatened her, saying protesters and media would turn up and drive down the building’s value if she didn’t sell.

That’s when, according to CNN, “DailyStormer.com, which spews neo-Nazi propaganda” went into full-on #hastanyalandedyet mode:

Andrew Anglin, the site’s founder, accused Gersh of extortion in a blog post. And he exhorted readers to send Gersh — whom he also identified as Jewish — enough messages to make a point.

“Let’s hit ’em up,” he posted. “Are y’all ready for an old-fashioned Troll Storm?”

He then told them: “(I)t’s that time.”

Obligatory reminder: it is never that time. And it shouldn’t be for CNN either, which makes their putting their mafia-like warning that “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change” into their piece on the now infamous “Han Asshole Solo” all the more abhorrent.

“Now, before we move on, someone is going to point out that the meme guy is kind of a jerk and said stuff that offends decent people,” as Kurt Schlichter wrote last week. “So? How is that the point? This is a multi-billion dollar media corporation using all its power to threaten an individual into not criticizing it. How is that ever okay? And don’t pretend for a minute this media extortion precedent gets limited to outlier Reddit guys. Normal Americans are next.”

But normal Americans have already gotten the full troll storm from the left. Just ask the owners of Indiana’s Memories Pizza, who had the mob from a 1930s Universal Frankenstein movie dropped onto them as a result of badthink in response to a hypothetical question by a local journalist. Or Elizabeth Lauten, the low-level Republican staffer who had the temerity to write on her Facebook page that Obama’s daughters should “try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play,” and ultimately quit her job, after social media was whipped into a frenzy by the DNC-MSM (including, of course, CNN):

Lauten apologized for her remarks last Friday, but the backlash continued to grow. She later made her apology statement “private” on Facebook after threatening messages were posted in the comments section.

Both ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today show devoted segments to the controversy on Sunday and Monday, according to Newsbusters. Meanwhile, the Smoking Gun reported that Lauten had been arrested for shoplifting when she was 17 years old, and photos of her drinking beer were posted on Twitter with the caption “Yes America. This is the person who told Sasha and Malia to have some class.”

Lauten has also allegedly received threatening phone calls. On Twitter, dozens of users called for her to “die,” “choke,” and “kill yourself.”

Or Justine Sacco, which brings us back to last week’s threatened doxxing by CNN:

This isn’t [senior CNN editor Andrew] Kaczynski’s first attempt at destroying a private citizen’s life. As a BuzzFeed reporter, he gained notoriety for publicizing a lame joke Tweeted by a 30-year-old PR director named Justine Sacco. As Sacco was boarding a plane from London to Cape Town, South Africa, she poked fun at many people’s poor understanding of the continent. Kaczynski decided the joke was racist and helped gin up a digital lynch mob while she was in the air for 11 hours sans internet. By the time Sacco landed, she was mobbed by reporters, was fired from her job, and had to go into hiding. [Update: Another link demonstrating Kaczynski’s role is here.]

If it’s wrong for an alt-right group to combine doxxing with intimidation – and it is – it’s also wrong for CNN to threaten the same tactics, knowing full well, as Kaczynski does, that outing Mr. AssholeSolo will send up the Batsignal for the Twitter mobs. Or as CNN contributor Mary Katharine Ham wrote yesterday at the Federalist,Going To The Mats For Free Speech Sometimes Means Letting Trolls Go Unpunished:”

HanA**holeSolo isn’t some great modern-day pamphleteer whom we should ensure at all costs can keep delivering us (and the president) hot memes from his den of racist sh*tposters. He’s not, and the fact that the White House finds inspiration in these corners of the Internet is newsworthy. Some of his other creations, including a a composite with Stars of David next to the Jewish CNN employees, are truly disgusting.

But media should be very careful about when they expose private citizens for the sin of political speech. They should be especially careful not to imply that content of political speech that crosses a big media entity is the reason for exposure. The media don’t owe every troll on the Internet his or her anonymity, but doing disproportionate warfare with them can endanger and chill the speech of others.

As Vox’s German Lopez put it simply, “The Internet is not proportional.”

“The problem here is that the internet is not proportional. People wouldn’t merely react to this guy making some offensive remarks on the internet by making some offensive remarks to him. They would react as the internet has reacted before to these kinds of situations — with potentially thousands of hateful messages, death threats, attempts to get him fired, and harassment not just against him but also his family. Lines would quickly be crossed.”

And it’s not just the Internet that’s not proportional. Media has shown an inability to gauge its coverage of the online speech of private citizens.

Bravo for CNN for reporting on Tanya Gersh – but their reasons for doing so appear to be more than a little self-serving. And in threatening “HanA**holeSolo” with doxxing – and with it, the implicit threat that they would the sturm und drang of social media down upon his life, they are yet the latest reminder that the left shouldn’t be surprised when the alt-right adopts the odious tactics they themselves popularized.

THE KIDS ARE ALT-RIGHT: Angela Nagle’s Kill All Normies Explores Alt-Right’s Roots & Rise:

Nagle has many arch observations. This right wing learns quickly from the online Left and imitates or parodies its tactics. The movement’s transgressive performances are a way of effecting its “final detachment from any egalitarian philosophy of the left or Christian morality of the right.” And its commitment to itself as a vanguard means it has rejected Buckleyite conservatives’ belief that “the masses were their naturally traditionalist allies.” (“If one imagines where Milo would line up politically in terms of the infamous William F. Buckley v. Gore Vidal televised presidential debates of 1968,” Nagle writes at one point, “It would probably be closer to that of Vidal, whose libertinism and mischievous gay rhetorical style was so abhorrent to Buckley.”)

Kill All Normies is just as sharp, and perhaps twice as cutting, when it observes the young online Left. At points, Nagle dances close to suggesting that the Left brought this on itself: “After crying wolf throughout these years, calling everyone from saccharine pop stars to Justin Trudeau a ‘white supremacist’ and everyone who wasn’t With Her a sexist, the real wolf eventually arrived.”

Even as they pose as owning the moral high ground, the left runs around shouting “white privilege” at everyone from college students to Hollywood and Sillicon Valley moguls, while calling its own middle class supporters “bitter,” because “they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” It increasingly believes (once again) in separate but equal education. Last year, multiple leftwing sources offered cheers and guffaws in response to the North Koreans’ slow-motion murder of Otto Warmbier because, as Comedy Central host Larry Wilmore told his audience last year, “You’ve got to read the fine print on your American frat bro warranty. It says, ‘Frat Bro Privilege not valid in totalitarian dystopias” – or as Steve Green summed up the left’s tone regarding Warmbier, “White men deserve whatever happens to them, because justice.” More recently, CNN employees alternately hold up a severed head of the president and threaten to dox his supporters.

Naturally, like Claude Rains in Casablanca, leftists are shocked – shocked! – that some on the right have begun imitating their tone and tactics. As Kurt Schlichter warned them, the left isn’t enjoying living under the rules, and morality, they created.

OH: The awesome, unstoppable revolutionary electric-car revolution that doesn’t actually exist.

Going by the ballyhoo, you’d think EVs were an unstoppable juggernaut. But it’s one that has yet to even get started. In his 2011 State of the Union address, then president Barack Obama predicted one million electric cars on the road by 2015. Four years later, there wasn’t even a third that many. California offered so many different subsidies for electric vehicles that low-income families could get rebates of up to US$13,500, but it still isn’t even close to reaching its target of having zero-emission vehicles make up 15 per cent of California auto sales by 2025, being stuck at three per cent since 2014. Ontario’s Liberal government last year announced to much laughter its plan to ensure that every family would have at least one zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) by 2024, and Quebec made a plan to make ZEVs worth 15.5 per cent of sales by 2020. Let’s see how that’s going: Currently, ZEVs make up 0.16 per cent of new vehicle sales in Ontario and 0.38 per cent in Quebec.

I love the idea of electric, but until the problems of range, cost, and recharge speed are solved, I’m sticking with my diesel.

EPA’S PRUITT ASKS FOR TV CLIMATE DEBATE, Jon Gabriel writes at Ricochet:

The science may not be settled, but EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wants it televised. He raised the idea of a TV climate change debate in an interview with Reuters:

“There are lots of questions that have not been asked and answered (about climate change),” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told Reuters in an interview late on Monday.

“Who better to do that than a group of scientists … getting together and having a robust discussion for all the world to see,” he added without explaining how the scientists would be chosen.

Asked if he thought the debate should be televised, Pruitt said: “I think so. I think so. I mean, I don’t know yet, but you want this to be open to the world. You want this to be on full display. I think the American people would be very interested in consuming that. I think they deserve it.”

We do deserve it, especially since every proposed solution involves raising our taxes, damaging our economy, and making citizens more submissive to federal and global bureaucracies.

Please make this happen — Pruitt will compile hours of potential footage for the Trump reelection campaign video b-roll. In addition to the smug condescension of haughty climate scientists speaking to Pruitt as if he’s Cletus The Slack-Jawed Yokel, the apocalyptic doomsday rhetoric and proposed solutions would be a riot. I wonder if John Holdren, Obama’s “Science” “Czar,” could be invited to discuss eugenics (i.e. forced abortions and mass sterilization) and shooting rockets into the atmosphere filled with pollution to blot out the sun?

NO. #BringBackObama?

RAND PAUL ON SENATE HEALTH COVERAGE BILL: I’ll vote “no” as it stands now.

WINNING: American LNG exports blow past 2016 tally.

April’s exports alone quintupled on the year to 50.6 billion cu. feet, according to data released at the end of June by the Energy Information Administration. Latin America and the Caribbean account for 44% of exports, and Asia for 28%, said Executive Vice President Anatol Feygin of Cheniere Energy, the sole company constructing and operating LNG export terminals in the lower 48 states.

The U.S. now exports its LNG to 23 countries. Poland began imports in June, and Japan’s Chubu Electric Power imported the first American LNG derived from shale gas in January.

The shale revolution has made the U.S. the world’s top producer of natural gas. The Obama administration greenlighted projects to help export LNG from the mainland, such as a Louisiana terminal that began exports in February 2016. By the end of last year, America had turned from an importer into a net exporter.

Its 2016 exports amounted to a paltry 4% of top exporter Qatar’s total, according to statistics from BP. But tougher competition will be unavoidable as more large-scale LNG export projects come online in the second half.

Have you hugged a fracker today?

WEIRD HOW THE PRESS DIDN’T REALLY COVER THIS: Obama’s White House Boys’ Club: New Obama White House Memoir Reveals Staff Drinking, ‘D*ck Jokes,’ and Womanizing.

I mean, who could’ve seem 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.

A DAY OF ACTION FOR NET NEUTRALITY, A DAY CLOSER TO ACTION ON ANOTHER OBAMACARE REPLACEMENT, AND A FRENZY ABOUT INACTION ON RUSSIA: All that and more in Liz Sheld’s morning brief.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Trump’s Warsaw Speech Was The Antithesis Of Obama’s Cairo Speech.

About five months after the inauguration of Barack Obama, the president gave a strange address in Cairo. The speech was apparently designed to win over the Muslim world and set Obama apart from the supposed Western chauvinism of the prior and much caricatured George W. Bush administration. Obama started off by framing past and present tensions between Muslims and the West largely in the context of explicit and implied Western culpability: past European colonialism, and the moral equivalence of the Cold War and disruptive Westernized globalization. . . .

Donald Trump’s speech in Poland was an implicit corrective to Barack Obama’s Cairo speech. Whereas Obama had blamed the West for many of Islam’s dilemmas, Trump praised the singular history and culture of the West. (His implicit assumptions might have been that “better than the alternative” was good enough, and American sins are those of humankind, but its remedies are uniquely Western.) Whereas Obama listed supposed cultural achievements of Islam (most of them of dubious historicity), Trump rattled off examples of Western exceptionalism, its unmatched culture, values, and concrete achievements, all of them persuasive.

The West is the most successful culture in history. The argument to the contrary is just more Gramscian Damage.

YOU STAY CLASSY, ABC. Nasty: Jimmy Kimmel Airs Fake Interview with Grotesque Puppet of Kellyanne Conway.

Just ask the media — there’s no bias. But don’t hold your breath waiting for Spitting Image-style Hillary or Michelle Obama puppets from Kimmel anytime soon.

FLASHBACK: Ban AC for DC: If our rulers think global warming is a crisis, let them be a good example for the rest of us..

This makes sense to me. We’re constantly told by the administration that “climate change” is a bigger threat than terrorism. And as even President Obama has noted, there’s a great power in setting an example: “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.”

Likewise, it’s hard to expect Americans to accept changes to their own lifestyles when the very people who are telling them that it’s a crisis aren’t acting like it’s a crisis. So I have a few suggestions to help bring home the importance of reduced carbon footprints at home and abroad.

Read the whole thing.

FLASHBACK: Censorship: 38 journalism groups slam Obama’s ‘politically-driven suppression of news.’

In unprecedented criticism of the White House, 38 journalism groups have assailed the president’s team for censoring media coverage, limiting access to top officials and overall “politically-driven suppression of the news.”

In a letter to President Obama, the 38, led by the Society of Professional Journalists, said efforts by government officials to stifle or block coverage has grown for years and reached a high-point under his administration despite Obama’s 2008 campaign promise to provide transparency.

Worse, they said: As access for reporters has been cut off, the administration has opened the door to lobbyists, special interests and “people with money.”

Weird how now they act like this never happened.

EXCLUSIVE: Libyan Army Spox Says Obama, Clinton ‘Abandoned the Libyan People’ to the Terrorists.

THIS SEEMS PRUDENT: Trump administration considering government-wide ban on popular Russian software.

The Obama Administration, for all of its late worries about Russian meddling, had eight years to implement a similar policy, yet never did.

HENRY PAYNE: Did Trump Just Save the U.S. Auto Industry?

In condemning the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Accords, media darling and former Obama EPA official Marge Oge told the New York Times that “the rest of the world is moving forward with electric cars. If the Trump administration goes backward, the U.S. won’t be able to compete globally.”

In reality, the opposite is true. Thanks to less-stringent emissions rules and low gas prices, the U.S. is essential to most automakers’ profits, driving as it does the high-margin sales of popular pickup trucks and SUVs that can’t be sold elsewhere in the world. GM, for example, withdrew from the European market this year because its small cars are unprofitable there.

Ford joined the corporate chorus in condemning Trump’s Paris withdrawal saying that “we believe climate change is real, and remain deeply committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our vehicles and our facilities.” Yet the politically correct statement would seem a financial death wish. Some 80 percent of Ford’s profit reportedly comes from U.S. pickup sales. A France-like gas-engine ban to satisfy CO2 targets would destroy the company’s bottom line.

Selling vehicles people want at prices they can afford while earning a healthy profit? Outrageous.

SHOT: The new culture war targeting American universities appears to be working.

CHASER: Long After Protests, Students Shun the University of Missouri. To the point of a 35% enrollment decline. Key quote: “I didn’t want to be that person who I guess was stereotyped because I was white.”

Related: That higher education is hurting America should be the consensus left-wing position too.

Well, campuses gradually drifted left, but — with the direct connivance of the Obama Administration — became much harder-left in recent years, and as a result have done more damage to higher education’s brand than any right-wing conspiracy could have managed. The result is something that looks like a preference cascade. With good reason.

Flashback: Professors are overwhelmingly liberal. Do universities need to change hiring practices?

Plus: Exclusive Test Data: Many Colleges Fail to Improve Critical-Thinking Skills.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: How Did Trump Earn an Unprecedented Progressive Backlash?

Celebrities, academics, and journalists have publicly threatened or imagined decapitating Donald Trump, blowing him up in the White House, shooting him, hanging him, clubbing him, and battering his face. They have compared him to Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin. And some have variously accused him of incestuous relations with his daughter and committing sex acts with Vladimir Putin, while engaging in some sort urination-sex in a hotel in Moscow.

Yet all this and more is often alleged to be the singular dividend of Trump’s own crudity, as if his own punching back at critics created the proverbial progressive “climate of fear” or “climate of hate” that prompted such uncharacteristic venom.

In truth we are back to 2004-2008, when the Left did to George W. Bush what it is now doing to Donald Trump. . . .

Yet there is one difference. The Bush Administration, to paraphrase Michelle Obama, went high as progressives went low, and thus chose not to respond in kind. The result in part was that a battered Bush accordingly left office demonized, with a scant 34 percent approval rating.

The difference with Trump hatred is not some unique intensity or prior provocation, but rather Trump’s singular counter-punching. It may not be traditionally presidential, but the Trump mode is to nuke those who first attacked him, in an effort to create a sort of deterrence. CNN, to take one example, or Barack Obama to take another, at least knows that their smug, chic Trump putdowns will receive a reply in a manner that is neither smug nor chic. Trump in Samson fashion is quite willing to pull the temple down on top of himself, if it means his enemies perish first.

And since — as with Samson — the temple isn’t worth preserving, that’s a good move.

Plus: “Separate Trump the president from Trump the media ogre, and then most of his policies seem traditionally conservative, logical, popular, a return to normality, and a much needed corrective to the past eight years, which is the true lost era. What is weird is not Trump the ex-reality TV star and tabloid sensation, but his critics who cannot separate the man from message—much less concede that just possibly Trump might succeed because, not despite, who he is.”

CHARLIE MARTIN IS ANGRY. YOU’LL LIKE CHARLIE MARTIN WHEN HE’S ANGRY: And They Claim TRUMP Is Collaborating With Russia?

Golly, folks at WaPo, does no one see the problem here?

The article starts out:

Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

Okay, look: if it’s so sensitive that it can’t be in the Presidential Daily Brief but it’s delivered “eyes only” to Obama and three aides, what is it doing in the Washington Post?!

Oh, and just in passing, we have Clapper, Obama and three aides. Which three aides? You’ve just told us that someone revealed that information to you, and it pretty much has to be one of those five people. Unless there’s a secret pardon for them, one of them just violated the Espionage Act.

Read the whole thing.

BEGINNING TO DECONSTRUCT A FAILED PRESIDENCY: Politico: How the World Fell Out of Love with Obama: In countries key to the president’s legacy, people express profound disappointment in a man from whom they expected great things.

Heck, Obama even disappointed me, and my expectations were fairly low.

ITS ORIGIN AND PURPOSE, STILL A TOTAL MYSTERY:

Shot:

Trying to regain their footing, the mainstays of consensus thought have focused on domesticating the threat. Who are these Tea Partiers and internet recluses, these paleoconservatives and tech futurists, and what could they possibly want? The Atlantic mapped the coordinates of the “rebranded” white nationalism or the “internet’s anti-democracy movement” in the previously uncharted waters of 4chan and meme culture. In Strangers in Their Own Land, Berkeley sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild peers over the “empathy wall” between her and her rural Louisiana Tea Party contacts, while in Hillbilly Elegy, Ohio-born lawyer J. D. Vance casts a melancholic look back—from the other side of the aisle, but, tellingly, from the same side of the wall—on the Appalachian culture he left behind for Yale Law and a career in Silicon Valley.

— “Final Fantasy: Neoreactionary politics and the liberal imagination,” James Duesterberg, The Point, July, 2017.

Chaser:

Everywhere, they flew the colors of assertive patriots. Their car windows were plastered with American-flag decals, their ideological totems. In the bumper-sticker dialogue of the freeways, they answered Make Love Not War with Honor America or Spiro is My Hero. They sent Richard Nixon to the White House and two teams of astronauts to the moon. They were both exalted and afraid. The mysteries of space were nothing, after all, compared with the menacing confusions of their own society.

The American dream that they were living was no longer the dream as advertised. They feared that they were beginning to lose their grip on the country. Others seemed to be taking over–the liberals, the radicals, the defiant young, a communications industry that they often believed was lying to them. The Saturday Evening Post folded, but the older world of Norman Rockwell icons was long gone anyway. No one celebrated them: intellectuals dismissed their lore as banality. Pornography, dissent and drugs seemed to wash over them in waves, bearing some of their children away.

But in 1969 they began to assert themselves. They were “discovered” first by politicians and the press, and then they started to discover themselves. In the Administration’s voices–especially in the Vice President’s and the Attorney General’s–in the achievements and the character of the astronauts, in a murmurous and pervasive discontent, they sought to reclaim their culture. It was their interpretation of patriotism that brought Richard Nixon the time to pursue a gradual withdrawal from the war. By their silent but newly felt presence, they influenced the mood of government and the course of legislation, and this began to shape the course of the nation and the nation’s course in the world. The Men and Women of the Year were the Middle Americans.

— “Man and Woman of the Year: The Middle Americans,” Time magazine’s cover story, January 5, 1970.

Why yes, the left does churn these “who are these strange aliens on the right” pieces out like clockwork the year after a president with an (R) after his name is elected. (Though the alt-right angle that Duesterberg focuses on makes for interesting reading.) Or as James Lileks wrote in response shortly after GWB was reelected, “once upon a time the major media at least pretended that the heart & soul of the country was a porch in Kansas with an American flag. Now it’s the outlands, the Strange Beyond. They vote for Bush, they believe in God, they’d have to drive 2 hours for decent Thai. Who are these people?”

Note this passage Duesterberg wrote:

Amid the diffuse politics and intractable ironism of the alt right, neoreaction promises a coherent ideology, a philosophical backbone and a political program directly opposed to what we have: they call it a “Dark Enlightenment.” If these thinkers are especially disturbing to read it is because, unlike the meme warriors of 4chan and Twitter, they seem to have reasons for the nasty things they say.

As Fred Siegel wrote in his 2014 book, The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class, “The best short credo of liberalism came from the pen of the once canonical left-wing literary historian Vernon Parrington in the late 1920s. ‘Rid society of the dictatorship of the middle class,’ Parrington insisted, referring to both democracy and capitalism, ‘and the artist and the scientist will erect in America a civilization that may become, what civilization was in earlier days, a thing to be respected.’”

That’s been the spoken or sotto voce motto of the left since the days of H.G. Wells and Woodrow Wilson. It helps to explain why Obama was dubbed “President Spock” by his DNC-MSM supporters for his distanced view of Americans, and why he seemed far more eager to wage war against Republicans and the middle class than he did ISIS and Al Qaeda. I don’t truck with alt-right racism or violence, but the left shouldn’t be surprised after decades of openly wanting to “rid society of the dictatorship of the middle class,” and reporting on it with the distance of Dian Fossey in Gorillas in the Mist (when not viewing it with racist contempt), that some on the right might begin to reciprocate those gestures.

(Via Kathy Shaidle.)

UNEXPECTEDLY: Even By Keynes’ Standards, Cash For Clunkers Was A Complete Failure.

Three economists (from MIT and Tex A&M) have crunched the numbers and discovered that Obama’s Cash-for-Clunkers scheme back in 2009 was a failure even by Keynesian standards.

The abstract of the study tells you everything you need to know.

The 2009 Cash for Clunkers program aimed to stimulate consumer spending in the new automobile industry, which was experiencing disproportionate reductions in demand and employment during the Great Recession. Exploiting program eligibility criteria in a regression discontinuity design, we show nearly 60 percent of the subsidies went to households who would have purchased during the two-month program anyway; the rest accelerated sales by no more than eight months. Moreover, the program’s fuel efficiency restrictions shifted purchases toward vehicles that cost on average $5,000 less. On net, Cash for Clunkers significantly reduced total new vehicle spending over the ten month period.

This is remarkable. At the time, the most obvious criticism of the scheme was that it would simply alter the timing of purchases.

And scholars the following year confirmed that the program didn’t have any long-run impact.

But now we find out that there was impact, but it was negative.

You don’t create wealth by destroying it, and you don’t alleviate stagnant incomes by making things more expensive — which shouldn’t be news to anyone but the most devoted followers of Keynes.

FASTER, PLEASE: Obamacare’s Basket Of Insurance Mandates Should Be The First Thing To Go.

Repeal of the mandates in this session, preferably in 2017, is a bottom line. If the mandates are not repealed, it would be a serious betrayal of voters, and grounds for mounting primary challenges to incumbents. DC politicians don’t seem to grasp that the mandates, as originally conceived, are fascistic. Justice John Roberts seemed to understand that in NFIB v. Sebelius when he wrote that the Commerce Clause doesn’t allow Congress to command Americans to buy things. But then he concluded that the command (i.e., mandate) was really an option, and that the penalty was really a tax, thus saving Obamacare (while creating a whole new chapter in American jurisprudential incoherence).

If the mandates are repealed, many young folks will opt to go without health insurance. But that can be a rational decision. A young person wishing to amass funds to buy a house, or start a family or a business might decide that taking the risk of having no health insurance is worth it. Maybe youngsters would decide differently if health insurance weren’t so damned expensive.

And maybe, just maybe, they should be allowed to make that decision for themselves without coercion.

YES: Does Trump have a point about Obama and Russia?

What’s the penalty for breaking Betteridge’s Law of Headlines?

YEAH, THAT’S HOW IT LOOKS TO ME, TOO: Michael Walsh: The Times ‘exposé’ on Donald Trump Jr. is a big yawn.

The news was delivered by the New York Times in the breathless tones that might announce a cure for cancer or the discovery of life on Mars:

“President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, according to three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it.”

To which a rational response is … who wouldn’t? And also: so, what? A third response is unprintable. . . .

According to the younger Trump, the Clinton angle was just a ruse: “Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered,” he told the Times.

“The real reason, it seems, was that Veselnitskaya wanted to lobby for the repeal of the Magnitsky Act, an Obama-era law that allows the US to deny visas to Russians thought guilty of human-rights violations.” In retaliation, the Russians promptly ended the adoption of Russian orphans by Americans.

And that’s what all the fuss is about? No campaign in its right mind would turn down an offer of information on their opponent. That is what opposition research is all about. You can bet Hillary wouldn’t have hung up on the person who claimed to have dirt on the Donald. After all, the Clinton campaign lobbied the comedian Tom Arnold two days before the election to release potentially embarrassing footage from Trump’s TV show, “The Apprentice.” Arnold declined.

But in the end, the lawyer had nothing, gave nothing, got nothing in return, in a meeting that lasted 20 minutes. This is a scandal?

They hope that the rubes will think so.

SHOCKING NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF ECONOMICS: Cash for Clunkers Was a Complete Failure.

Three economists (from MIT and Tex A&M) have crunched the numbers and discovered that Obama’s Cash-for-Clunkers scheme back in 2009 was a failure even by Keynesian standards.

The abstract of the study tells you everything you need to know.

The 2009 Cash for Clunkers program aimed to stimulate consumer spending in the new automobile industry, which was experiencing disproportionate reductions in demand and employment during the Great Recession. Exploiting program eligibility criteria in a regression discontinuity design, we show nearly 60 percent of the subsidies went to households who would have purchased during the two-month program anyway; the rest accelerated sales by no more than eight months. Moreover, the program’s fuel efficiency restrictions shifted purchases toward vehicles that cost on average $5,000 less. On net, Cash for Clunkers significantly reduced total new vehicle spending over the ten month period.

This is remarkable. At the time, the most obvious criticism of the scheme was that it would simply alter the timing of purchases.

And scholars the following year confirmed that the program didn’t have any long-run impact.

But now we find out that there was impact, but it was negative. Here’s the most relevant graph from the study. It shows actual vehicle spending and estimated spending in the absence of the program.

Much more at the link.

WHY ARE DEMOCRAT-MONOPOLY CITIES SUCH CESSPITS OF VIOLENCE? A longtime Insta-reader from Chicago explains one huge reason why:

As you are aware, the murder rate in Chicago soared in 2016 and this year it is well on its way to equal last year’s numbers.  There have been a couple of recent cases where they have arrested people for selling guns to the gangs.  The appalling part of the stories are the way the courts are dealing with these cases.  I stumbled onto this one today through [a blog called Second City Cop]:

Man who sold gun used to shoot 2 cops released on $4,500 bond: sources.

There was another case where a woman was sentenced to probation for selling guns to a man with gang ties:

Mount Prospect woman gets probation for illegal gun sales.

Police: Woman with FOID card bought and sold guns for profit.

And as the long-running Chicago-area blog NewsAlert notes, Mayor Rahm Emanuel stands ready to take full national credit for his city’s stunning success: Rahm Emanuel May Run For President in 2020. “One source claims Rahm is very realistic and knows it is not likely he can win the Democrat party nomination: so his ultimate goal is to get the VP nomination. Stay tuned…”

I’d make the usual “Run, Rahm, Run!” jokes, but to be fair, his drafting of leftist “crash test dummies” to pose as centrist “Blue Dog” Democrats for the 2006 midterms was a huge strategic success for his party — and a disaster for the rest of us, leading to Nancy Pelosi as speaker, runaway gas prices, the Great Recession, Obama in the White House, and the Democrats’ passing of Obamacare on a party-line basis.

LARRY KUDLOW: Trump Has Putin Over a Barrel.

Russia still has a lot of oil and gas reserves. And it uses this to bully Eastern and Western Europe. It threatens to cut off these resources if Europe dares to complain about Putin power grabs in Crimea, eastern Ukraine, the Baltics and elsewhere.

But enter President Donald Trump. In his brilliant speech in Warsaw, Poland, earlier this week, he called Putin’s energy bluff.

It may well have been the best speech of his young presidency. Trump delivered a stirring leadership message, emphasizing the importance of God, freedom, strong families and democratic values.

And while unambiguously pledging to uphold NATO’s Article 5 — which commits the members to protect one another — Trump went even deeper. “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” he said. “Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? … if we do not have strong families and strong values, then we will be weak and we will not survive.” He also spoke several times of the religious leadership and bravery of Pope John Paul II.

It was a bold strike for the West.

But in an absolutely key part of the speech, he took direct aim at Putin’s energy bullying.

Trump said, “we are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy.”

Thanks goodness the real Kremlin stooge has exited the White House, and been replaced by an honest defender of the West.

ROGER KIMBALL: DONALD TRUMP AS PERICLES:

Trump mounted a wide-ranging and spirited defense of core Western values and achievements. It’s not just that we are rich and powerful. It is also that we cherish such enabling civilizational values as individual liberty, the rule of law, the political equality of women, religious freedom, and a generous and innovative spirit of curiosity and exploration. “If we don’t forget who are,” Trump said. “we just can’t be beaten.” . . .

These were the sentiments that wretched Lefties like Peter Beinart, writing in The Atlantic, castigated as evidence of “The Racial and Religious Paranoia.” “Donald Trump referred 10 times to ‘the West,’” quoth Beinart, “and five times to ‘our civilization,’” as if that was evidence of some especially twisted perspective.

It was the same throughout the gigantic and odiferous midden of “progressive” commentary. A writer for Slate screamed about “the white nationalist roots” of the speech, Eugene Robinson emitted his usual incontinent drivel in The Washington Post, sniffing about Trump’s historical ignorance and cultural chauvinism, and a former Obama advisor picked up the baton to warn about Trump’s “Dark Views Of Clash Of Civilizations.”

What would these pathetic tools have to say about Pericles’s funeral oration, delivered near the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, when the great statesman addressed the people of Athens to commemorate their war dead and remind them of what made their city such a distinctive and admirable place?

Something on the order of “who’s Pericles?” or “just another dead white male,” would be my guess. . . .

PEGGY NOONAN: Trump’s Defining Speech:

The White House description of Donald Trump’s speech Thursday in Warsaw was simply, “Remarks by President Trump to the People of Poland.” In truth, Mr. Trump’s remarks were directed at the people of the world. Six months into his first term of office, Mr. Trump finally offered the core of what could become a governing philosophy. It is a determined and affirmative defense of the Western tradition.

To be sure, Mr. Trump’s speech also contained several pointed and welcome foreign-policy statements. He assured Poland it would not be held hostage to a single supplier of energy, meaning Russia. He exhorted Russia to stop destabilizing Ukraine “and elsewhere,” to stop supporting Syria and Iran and “instead join the community of responsible nations.” He explicitly committed to NATO’s Article 5 on mutual defense.

But—and this shocked Washington—the speech aimed higher. Like the best presidential speeches, it contained affirmations of ideas and principles and related them to the current political moment. “Americans, Poles and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty,” he said. This was more than a speech, though. It was an argument. One might even call it an apologia for the West. . . .

This is a warning to the West and a call to action. By remembering the Poles’ invocation of God, Mr. Trump is clearly aligning himself with the same warning issued to Europe some years ago by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict.

Cardinal Ratzinger’s argument was that Europe needed to recognize that its turn toward aggressive secularism posed a real threat to its survival. In Mr. Trump’s formulation of that threat, we are obliged to “confront forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the South or the East, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are.” He warned about a “lack of pride and confidence in our values.”

Mr. Trump is taking a clear stand against the kind of gauzy globalism and vague multiculturalism represented by the worldview of, say, Barack Obama and most contemporary Western intellectuals, who are willing, even eager, to concede the argument to critics of the West’s traditions.

This is the speech Mr. Trump should have given to introduce himself to the world at his Inauguration.

Actually, if you go back and read that speech, they’re not as different as you might think.

RICH LOWRY: TRUMP IS WINNING THE IMMIGRATION DEBATE.

With his penchant for tweeted insults and GIFs, Donald Trump will never be mistaken for a master of the sweet art of persuasion. Yet he is clearly winning the public argument on the issue of immigration.

He isn’t doing it through sustained, careful attention. He tweeted the other day that the media will eventually have to cover his success at the border, even though he himself has devoted more energy to his war with CNN than promoting the reduction in illegal border crossings.

No, it is the sheer fact of his November victory, and the data showing the importance of the issue of immigration to it, that has begun to shift the intellectual climate.

It had been assumed, even by many Republicans like Sen. John McCain, that opposition to amnesty and higher levels of legal immigration would doom the GOP to minority status forevermore. Trump blew up this conventional wisdom.

Now, intellectuals on the center-left are calling for Democrats to rethink the party’s orthodoxy on immigration, which has become more and more hostile to enforcement and to any skepticism about current high levels of immigration.

The swing here was enormous. A Trump defeat in November after running on an exaggerated version of immigration restriction would have sent Republicans scurrying back to the comfortable, corporate-friendly cliches about so-called comprehensive immigration reform. And if Hillary Clinton had won on a platform that doubled down on Obama’s executive amnesties, serious immigration enforcement would have lost its political legitimacy.

Trump probably wouldn’t have won without running so directly into the teeth of the elite consensus.

That’s true. Plus: “The pull of the left’s cosmopolitanism is strong. In an attack on Beinart, Dylan Matthews of Vox argues that the left’s egalitarianism can’t stop at the nation’s borders—’it means a strong presumption in favor of open immigration.'”

Well, if Trump can get the Dems to double down on open borders, while also calling Western Civilization fascism and praising Jihad, he could take 45 states in 2020.

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO POLITICAL SCIENCE PROF. CHARLES LIPSON: Trump’s Powerful Speech In Poland. “It was everything the Poles had hoped for, and more. They remember, with a shudder, how President Obama tried to buy goodwill from the Russians in 2009 by reneging on the United States’ promise to Poland to install an anti-missile defense system. Obama got nothing in return, and the Poles were left twisting.”

EVEN OBAMA CRONIES ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT CNN THESE DAYS: James Clapper Confronts CNN’s Narrative — While on CNN.

AUSTRALIA CONSIDERING TRADE SANCTIONS ON CHINA OVER NORTH KOREA?: The Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is clarifying an earlier statement by the deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce. Australia doesn’t support sanctions against China but against Chinese companies that violate UN sanctions on North Korea. But the subject has been raised. Beijing will read it as a diplomatic signal.

On July 6 Joyce, commenting on North Korea, said:

“The United States is not going to allow the capacity for a despotic dictator from North Korea to fulfill his rhetoric and develop a nuclear warhead that could hit the US or its allies — for which, we are one.”

Joyce said North Korea is testing the resolve of the U.S. and in his opinion “that’s a very foolish thing to do.”

Well, it’s a foolish thing to do when Donald Trump is president. If Barack Obama were still in charge — perhaps not so foolish.

HMM: Ships Exporting Iranian Oil Go Dark, Raising Sanctions Red Flags.

Some 47 of 55 ships carrying Iranian oil products from Iran to the United Arab Emirates for two U.A.E.-registered companies failed to emit signals from the system that transmits their position and course, for part or all of their journey, according to an analysis of the two firms’ shipments that was completed for The Wall Street Journal by ship-tracker Windward Ltd., an Israeli firm that uses satellite imaging to map shipping routes.

The shipments, made by two U.A.E.-registered traders, Silk Road Petroleum FZE and Petrochemix General Trading LLC, accounted for 17% of Iran’s fuel-oil and gas-oil exports during the six-month period, according to records compiled by the oil-product traders.

The records, based on information from state-run National Iranian Oil Co. that shipping agents combine with their own information and provide to traders, listed the vessels’ cargo as fuel oil or gas oil. Iranian authorities didn’t return calls and emails seeking comment about the shipments.

Thanks, Obama.

A PROMISE OR A THREAT? Republicans are starting to admit they may have to work with Democrats on healthcare.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday said during an event in Kentucky that if GOP senators fail to reach an agreement on a bill that can get 50 votes in the chamber, they would have to work with the other party on a way to stabilize the Obamacare insurance markets.

“If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to the private health insurance market must occur,” McConnell said.

McConnell pointed to increasing premiums in the individual insurance marketplaces as the reason Republicans would have to reach across the aisle.

This sounds to me like making your E.R. doc take advice from the madman who slipped a mystery poison into your drink.

If you thought RyanMcConnellTrumpCare was just ObamaCare Lite, wait until you see RyanMcConnellTrumpSchumerCare.

WELL, WELL: Congress joins Trump war on regs, cuts a year’s worth in one week.

Congressional lawmakers have gone all in on President Trump’s bid to slash Obama-era regulations, targeting $19 billion in rules and the elimination of enough red tape to free up 5,200 federal workers, according to a new analysis.

The cuts proposed by the House Appropriations Committee this week amount to a year’s worth of regulations under the Obama administration, said the report from American Action Forum.

Analyst Sam Batkins wrote, “The suite of appropriations bills released this week goes further, curtailing more than $19 billion in total regulatory costs and eliminating 10.4 million hours of paperwork, the equivalent of eliminating all regulations from 2006 and freeing 5,200 employees from paperwork compliance.”

His report, provided to Secrets in advance of its release today, said that the committee’s funding bills target regulations in the areas of financial services, agriculture and energy. The biggest ticket item: “Repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill’s Volcker rule, which originally estimated $4.3 billion in costs and 2.3 million new paperwork burden hours.”

Batkins, AAF’s director of regulatory policy, explained that Congress can be very slow in cutting regulations, but added that appropriators are moving with unusual speed at the same time Trump’s team is also targeting rules within federal agencies for elimination.

Faster, please. Related: Could Trump Really Be Draining The Swamp? The water appears to be receding at key Beltway bureaucracies.

The Senate still hasn’t voted on ObamaCare reform, U.S. workers are still waiting for tax cuts to drive economic growth and President of the United States Donald Trump is trading insults with the co-hosts of an MSNBC talk show. Yet Mr. Trump appears to be making progress in what might have seemed the most difficult task given to him by voters in 2016: reducing the power of Washington’s permanent bureaucracy.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wasn’t exactly dying to move to Washington to run a federal department, but he seems to have warmed to the task. Max Bergmann, a former Obama Administration official now at the leftist Center for American Progress, writes in Politico that the “deconstruction of the State Department is well underway.” Discounting for the usual Beltway hyperbole, this probably isn’t as good as it sounds.

All kidding aside, the State Department is one federal agency that was actually contemplated by America’s founders. Conducting foreign policy is an important and necessary task for our central government. But like so much of the Beltway bureaucracy State has been overfunded and undermanaged for years. Now, despite what you may have read about untouchable bureaucrats unaccountable to the public they are supposed to serve, Mr. Tillerson has found ways to clean house. . . .

The former Obama appointee is apparently so unnerved by the Trump-Tillerson era at State that he lets slip the fact that the career staff didn’t think much of the previous management either, and that the conservative critique of the department is at least partly true.

More, please.

THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SHOULD INVESTIGATE THIS THOROUGHLY: House Dem IT Suspects Wanted Untraceable Payments — And Sure Enough, Millions Disappeared.

A Pakistani family under criminal investigation by the U.S. Capitol Police for abusing their access to the House of Representatives information technology (IT) system may have engaged in myriad other questionable schemes besides allegedly placing “ghost employees” on the congressional payroll.

Imran Awan, his wife Hina, and brothers Abid and Jamal collectively netted more than $4 million in salary as IT administrators for House Democrats between 2009 and 2017. Yet the absence of signs of wealth displayed among them raise questions such as was the money sent overseas or did something other than paychecks motivate their actions?

Capitol Police revoked the Awans’ access to the congressional IT system in February 2017 after a major data breach was detected. Their access had allowed them to read emails and files of dozens of members, including many serving on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

House Democrats have been nonchalant about the allegations, with some saying it was just a misunderstanding or the Capitol Police framed the Awans due to Islamophobia.

But official documents, court records and multiple interviews suggest the crew may have engaged in tax fraud, extortion, bankruptcy fraud and insurance fraud and the money could have been funneled overseas. Abid has hired high-profile attorney James Bacon who specializes in anti-money laundering litigation.

The Awans share modest homes, drive unremarkable cars and report little in the way of assets on congressional disclosures. The family owns significant amounts of Virginia rental properties, which are heavily financed, with second mortgages sometimes taken out. It’s unclear where the rental income goes because the Awans insist tenants pay in odd ways.

Weird that this is getting so little attention. Okay, not all that weird.

UPDATE: A reader emails: “Has anyone made the connection between the DNC protecting the Pakistani IT staff that might have hacked their email and the sudden claims of Russia hacking? Plus if this was an inside hack wouldn’t that explain Seth Rich, Obama not “acting sooner” on the ‘Russia hack?’ And every other claim the left had made?” Something’s happening here, but what, exactly, isn’t clear.

SURE QUACKS LIKE A DUCK:Obamacare’s “People Will Die” Canard.

TELL CFAKENN HIS RHETORIC IS MUCH COOLER THAN OBAMA’S BECAUSE HE DOESN’T DRAW A RED LINE: Trump says North Korea will receive “some pretty severe things” for its bad behavior.

President Donald Trump, speaking on Thursday in Warsaw, Poland, said he was considering “some pretty severe things” to respond to the North Korean nuclear threat.

Trump made the comment during a press conference after holding a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda. Pyongyang on Tuesday said it conducted a successful intercontinental ballistic missile test.

“We’ll see what happens — I don’t like to talk about what we have planned — but I have some pretty severe things that we’re thinking about,” Trump said during the press conference. “They are behaving in a very, very serious manner, and something will have to be done about it.”

North Korea is responsible for this very dangerous situation. China has been its silent partner. That makes the dangerous situation even worse.

MARK PENN AND ANDREW STEIN: Back to the Center, Democrats.

In the early 1990s, the Democrats relied on identity politics, promoted equality of outcomes instead of equality of opportunity and looked to find a government solution for every problem. After years of leftward drift by the Democrats culminated in Republican control of the House under Speaker Newt Gingrich, President Bill Clinton moved the party back to the center in 1995 by supporting a balanced budget, welfare reform, a crime bill that called for providing 100,000 new police officers and a step-by-step approach to broadening health care. Mr. Clinton won a resounding re-election victory in 1996 and Democrats were back.

But the last few years of the Obama administration and the 2016 primary season once again created a rush to the left. Identity politics, class warfare and big government all made comebacks. Candidates inspired by Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and a host of well-funded groups have embraced sharply leftist ideas. But the results at the voting booth have been anything but positive: Democrats lost over 1,000 legislative seats across the country and control of both houses of Congress during the Obama years. And in special elections for Congress this year, they failed to take back any seats held by Republicans.

Central to the Democrats’ diminishment has been their loss of support among working-class voters, who feel abandoned by the party’s shift away from moderate positions on trade and immigration, from backing police and tough anti-crime measures, from trying to restore manufacturing jobs. They saw the party being mired too often in political correctness, transgender bathroom issues and policies offering more help to undocumented immigrants than to the heartland.

There currently doesn’t seem to be much inclination among the party faithful to move back towards the center, but a few more losses might help shake off the stupor. And if Democrats do pick back up the mantle of the DLC, that would be the final repudiation of Barack Obama’s legacy.

DAVID GELERNTER ON THE FAILURE OF THE “CONSERVATIVE RESISTANCE:”

Conservative thinkers should recall that they helped create President Trump. They never blasted President Obama as he deserved. Mr. Obama’s policies punished the economy and made the country and its international standing worse year by year; his patronizing arrogance drove people crazy. He was the perfect embodiment of a one-term president. The tea-party outbreak of 2009-10 made it clear where he was headed. History will record that the press saved him. Naturally the mainstream press loved him, but too many conservative commentators never felt equal to taking him on. They had every reason to point out repeatedly that Mr. Obama was the worst president since Jimmy Carter, surrounded by a left-wing cabinet and advisers, hostile to Israel, crazed regarding Iran, and even less competent to deal with the issues than Mr. Carter was—which is saying plenty.

But they didn’t say plenty. They didn’t say much at all. The rank and file noticed and got mad. Even their supposed champions didn’t grasp what life under Mr. Obama was like—a man who was wrecking the economy while preaching little sermons, whose subtext was always how smart he was, how dumb they were, and how America was full of racist clods, dangerous cops and infantile nuts who would go crazy if they even heard the words “Islamic terrorism.” So the rank and file was deeply angry and elected Mr. Trump.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. They’d rather see the country collapse than risk being called a racist by Rachel Maddow. “Country over party” indeed. But Trump has brought along his own people, who are doing a lot better at engaging the left than the Bill Kristol/David Frum beltway types. As I wrote:

Yet the tea party movement was smeared as racist, denounced as fascist, harassed with impunity by the IRS and generally treated with contempt by the political establishment — and by pundits like Brooks, who declared “I’m not a fan of this movement.” After handing the GOP big legislative victories in 2010 and 2014, it was largely betrayed by the Republicans in Congress, who broke their promises to shrink government and block Obama’s initiatives.

So now we have Trump instead, who tells people to punch counterprotesters instead of picking up their trash.

When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.

But if you don’t like Trump, you really won’t like what comes after Trump, if the “resistance” succeeds. Luckily for Trump, the resistance seems mostly to be a bunch of self-important clowns and Antifa thugs.

KURT SCHLICHTER: We Should Cheer CNN’s Ritual Suicide. “If you ever had any doubt that Donald Trump was right that the mainstream media is the enemy of the American people, CNN corrected your inexplicable inability to comprehend this painfully obvious truth by choosing July 4th to threaten some guy for daring to make fun of Its Medianess Holiness. Apparently, if you dare defy the media it has the right to wreck your life – as long as you are an anti-Obama rodeo clown or a meme-making rando on Reddit. If you are a zillionaire like Anthony Scaramucci with the bucks to hire top flight law firms and Gawkerize its lame carcass – which I would have done in a split-second if CNN had lied about me the way it did about him – then you get a free pass. . . . Now, before we move on, someone is going to point out that the meme guy is kind of a jerk and said stuff that offends decent people. So? How is that the point? This is a multi-billion dollar media corporation using all its power to threaten an individual into not criticizing it. How is that ever okay? And don’t pretend for a minute this media extortion precedent gets limited to outlier Reddit guys. Normal Americans are next.”

Plus: “As much as it is a joy to see CNN shred its pretenses and act openly as we always knew it wanted to, this sort of thing is not good. There is a cultural war underway already, and this only makes it more likely to get worse. When the media takes a side, it makes the other side its enemy. That’s a conscious choice. And CNN seems happy to help feed the fire by embracing its liberal fascist id.”

GOOD: As Trump Visits, U.S. Agrees to Sell Missile Defense to Poland.

Trump’s visit also strengthened Poland’s defense. Wednesday night, the U.S. agreed to sell Patriot missile defense systems to Poland in a memorandum, Poland’s Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz said.

“A memorandum was signed tonight that the U.S. government has agreed to sell Poland Patriot missiles in the most modern configuration,” Macierewicz said in a news conference broadcast on public television Thursday morning.

“I am glad that I can pass on this information on the day of President’s Trump visit to Warsaw,” Macierewicz added.

President Obama was caught off mic promising Vladimir Putin “more flexibility” on missile defense after his reelection. Trump is delivering Patriot missiles to Poland.

Tell me again who the Kremlin stooge is?

BY THE NUMBERS: How Many Jobs Does ObamaCare Kill?

The ACA includes a penalty on employers that fail to provide “adequate” insurance for full-time workers. Thanks to the ACA, hiring the 50th full-time employee effectively costs another $70,000 a year on top of the normal salary and benefits.

Many business owners have described how this penalty prevents them from hiring and has caused them to reduce work hours to below the full-time threshold. ACA supporters dismiss these statements as “mere anecdotes” not corroborated by national sampling and statistical analysis. But did any of them rush out to gather the national samples, especially after Jan. 1, 2016, when the employer penalty took full effect?

If you have to ask…

More:

In partnership with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, in March 2017 I was able to commission Hanover Research to survey small businesses nationwide regarding their hiring and compensation practices. The result was a sample of 745 small businesses, representing every major industry and together employing almost 50,000 people.

We asked managers (almost evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans) how many people each business employed and whether it offers health insurance. Many businesses, when they do not offer coverage, keep their payrolls just below 50 full-time employees and thereby narrowly escape the ACA’s penalty. This pattern is not visible among businesses that offer coverage.

When we followed up, the businesses employing just fewer than 50 often said the ACA caused them to hire less and cut hours below the full-time threshold. The penalty caused payrolls to shrink or prevented them from growing.

Nationwide, we estimate the ACA-inspired practice of keeping payrolls below 50 has cost roughly 250,000 jobs. This does not count jobs lost when businesses close (we didn’t survey closed businesses) or shrink because of other ACA incentives.

The tally of lost jobs is bound to grow because the penalty itself automatically grows and the IRS is still learning how to enforce it.

tl;dr: Yes, ObamaCare is a jobs killer and it doesn’t save any lives.

Thanks, Obama.