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WHAT AGAIN?  SIGH. THIS MEANS WE’LL HAVE A REALLY HARD WINTER.  SOMETHING THERE IS THAT DELIGHTS IN THWARTING ENVIROWEENIES:  New Irish End of Snow Prediction.  They should cut it out, before it turns into an ice-age.

AIRSTRIP ONE’S MINISTRY OF TRUTH FIRES UP THE AIRBRUSHES AGAIN: “The poppy has become a symbol of racism – I will never wear one again,” Robert Fisk* writes in the London Independent**.

For who are they commemorating? The dead of Sarajevo? Of Srebrenica? Of Aleppo? Nope. The television bumpkins only shed their crocodile tears for the dead of First and Second World Wars, who were (save for a colonial war or two) the last generation of Britons to get the chop before the new age of “we-bomb-you-die” technology ensured that their chaps – brown-eyed, for the most part, often Muslims, usually dark skinned – got blown to bits while our chaps flew safely home to the mess for breakfast.

Yes, I rage against the poppy disgrace every year. And yes, my father – 12th Battalion The King’s Liverpool Regiment, Third Battle of the Somme, the liberation of burning Cambrai 1918 – finally abandoned the poppy charade when he learned of the hypocrisy and lies behind the war in which he fought. His schoolboy son followed his father’s example and never wore his wretched Flanders flower again.

Classy stuff. But then, self-loathing*** has been a hallmark of the British left since the end of WWI.

* Yes, the same.

** Yes, the same.

*** QED.

I WAS EXPECTING AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: Turns Out Magma Is Locked in ‘Cold Storage’ Before Volcanoes Dramatically Explode.

“The older view is that there’s a long period with a big tank of molten rock in the crust,” says geoscientist Nathan Andersen from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“A new view is that magma is stored for a long period in a state that is locked, cool, crystalline, and unable to produce an eruption. That dormant system would need a huge infusion of heat to erupt.”

Such a huge infusion of heat is what’s thought to have unleashed a violent supereruption in California some 765,000 years ago. . . .

Unfortunately, while scientists are doing everything they can to read the signs of volcanic supereruptions – something NASA views as more dangerous than asteroid strikes – the reality is, the new findings don’t bring us any closer to seeing the future.

“This does not point to prediction in any concrete way,” Singer explains in a press statement, “but it does point to the fact that we don’t understand what is going on in these systems, in the period of 10 to 1,000 years that precedes a large eruption.”

Well, that’s comforting.

BRANDEIS STUDENTS OFFENDED BY PLAY ABOUT OFFENDED STUDENTS: Administrators canceled the play after student backlash over the Lenny Bruce-inspired production. In the 2015 documentary “Can We Take a Joke?” (I am an executive producer), I claimed “Lenny Bruce wouldn’t last five minutes on the modern college campus.” Because the influential comedian died in 1966, we can’t know the answer for sure, but this is about as close to confirmation of that prediction as we are likely to get. A lack of sense of humor on campus is apparently no laughing matter.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

● Shot: UK weather latest: Britain to face coldest winter in five years, say meteorologists.

—Headline, the London Independent, Tuesday.

● Chaser: Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.

—Headline, the London Independent, March 20, 2000.

JOEL KOTKIN: The New State Role Models:

New York, California, Connecticut, Illinois and New Jersey are all tilting left with policies driven by powerful public employees, greens, urban real estate speculators as well as ethnic and gender activists.

To be sure, kowtowing to these interests has landed these states among the worst fiscal situations in the nation. Yet some blue regions also have grown economically well above the national average since 2010, largely driven by asset inflation, particularly real estate and stocks, and technology. California’s robust growth, although now slowing, and its world-dominating tech sector has made it a creditable role model for similarly minded states.

But what has been good in the aggregate has not worked so well for most Californians. Despite all the constant complaining about inequality and racial injustice, California, notes progressive economist James Galbraith, has also become among the most economically unequal parts of the country, topped only by Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. Particularly damaged have been the prospects for the young and minorities, particularly in terms of achieving homeownership.

Texas and the red state alternative

Texas, California’s only real rival for national power and influence over the past 20 years, has out-performed its golden rival almost two to one in job growth, including in many high and middle-income sectors. It has also still managed to produce more jobs per capita since 2010. The Texas model is now being tested by the oil bust, and the controversy over Hurricane Harvey, both of which have intensified criticism of its development model.

I have a prediction as to how it will turn out.

RAY KURZWEIL AND PETER DIAMANDIS, on Disruptive Technologies, Mind-Boggling Predictions, and ‘Dangerous Ideas.’

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU RAM THROUGH UNPOPULAR LEGISLATION ON A PARTY-LINE VOTE: Obamacare Was Built With the Flaws Trump Now Exploits: Executive orders allowed the past administration to keep the program alive. They allow this administration to destroy it.

Do I just hate the poor so much that I can’t stand to see them getting help paying for health care? Well, no. I have no particular objection to the payments as policy. Except for one small thing, which is that they seem to be sort of illegal.

But at this point, such arguments are moot. It might be more fruitful for Obamacare’s supporters to ask what role they themselves played in bringing us to this pass.

A few years ago, as we all stood gaping at the disastrously bungled launch of the Obamacare exchanges, I was invited by Intelligence Squared to participate in a debate: “Resolved: Obamacare Is Beyond Rescue.” Longtime readers know that my motto is “Predictions are hard, especially about the future.” I was thus reluctant to declare, without equivocation, that Obamacare was already dead, dead, dead. But I’m a huge fan of Intelligence Squared, so I accepted, and then I resorted to a time-honored debate-weasel: 2 I reframed the question.

Thus I chose not to argue that Obamacare was going to collapse and be repealed in its entirety, but rather, that Obamacare would not, and could not, be the program that had been promised or intended. It had already failed to deliver on key promises for coverage, affordability and of course, the infamous promise that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” It was also dangerously unstable, requiring steady executive intervention just to keep the program from collapsing. I argued that these executive interventions, enthusiastically supported by the law’s proponents, were setting a precedent that would eventually be used against it. Worried that health care was too hostage to the vicissitudes of the markets, Democrats had instead made it the prisoner of politics.

“Essentially they’ve made it so that Republicans can undo two-thirds of this law with a stroke of the presidential pen,” I said at the close of my opening statement. “Obamacare is now beyond rescue. The administration has destroyed their own law in order to save it.” Four years later, we are watching those dominos fall.

Indeed. But there’s a bright side: By Cutting Off Obamacare’s Insurer Subsidies, Trump Might Help More People Get Health Coverage: The president has finally brought the law into constitutional compliance.

EUGENE VOLOKH ON TWITTER’S BAN OF MARSHA BLACKBURN’S AD:

Twitter advertising policies indeed forbid “Inflammatory or provocative content which is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction,” though it’s hard to see what political ads these days wouldn’t “evoke a strong negative reaction” or be seen as “inflammatory or provocative” by some. . . .

Internet site operators, such as Twitter, have the same First Amendment rights as newspapers and other fully protected media, and that would include the right to choose what not to publish.

Nonetheless, how users should react to private company decisions such as this is an interesting and important question; and it will also be interesting to see how Twitter applies its policy to other political ads.

My prediction: Unfairly and dishonestly.

FOURTH WOMAN COMES FORWARD TO ACCUSE DIRECTOR ROMAN POLANSKI OF RAPE.

Why are Democrat-run industries such cesspits of sexual predation?

UPDATE: As Alex Griswold of the Washington Free Beacon tweets, “Well, this op-ed makes a lot more sense now.” The headline of the 2009 article at the London Independent* says it all:

Harvey Weinstein: Polanski has served his time and must be freed

* Yes, the “Snowfalls are now a thing of the past” guys. Can they pick ’em, or what?

 

TEXAS MONTHLY: “DID HOUSTON AUTHORITIES HIDE HARVEY PREDICTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC? Houston politicians may have misled the city’s residents about the ferocity of the storm. If they did lie, they did the right thing.”

Why are Democrat-run cities such cesspits of duplicity, and why have journalists increasingly been willing to defend both the lies of their fellow Democrats and their own deceptions? (And why do they act so surprised that the media culture they created ultimately resulted in Trump becoming president?)

PREDICTION: Spacex Big Rocket will go down in history like DC-3 and Caravel sailing ships.

SO I SPOKE AT AN EVENT TONIGHT, TALKING ABOUT CIVILIAN DISASTER RELIEF AND SOCIAL COHESION, and a guy came up to me afterward saying that since Robert Putnam found that diversity is associated with decreased social trust, how did I feel about a bunch of white people going off to start their own country. (My response: Unenthused). But you see this sort of thing on the Internet enough that some people believe it, and while Putnam’s point is supported by research, I don’t think it actually supports the solution. “Diversity,” I suspect, is one of those things that actually is a social construct. If you make people hyperaware of their differences — as is done on college campuses today — you can make things much worse than they otherwise would be. (See also Tito’s Yugoslavia). If you encourage people to think about what they have in common, you can make things much better. And where it suits their interests, politicians will create ethnic cleavages. (Hutus and Tutsis are both “black” in American conception, but politicians were still able to inflame passions that led to genocide.) My prediction is that if you created some sort of racially segregated society, politicians would soon be at work finding other differences to inflame, differences that nobody’s even aware of now. The only real answer is a strong social norm that supports, for example, our common humanity and, in this country, our common Americanness. This seems to be what ordinary Americans believe, and act upon, but politicians will do whatever it takes to gain power. Keeping politicians in check is the key to getting along. Can we do more of that?

PERHAPS SARAH HOYT WILL LET ME BORROW HER SHOCKED FACE: Climate Change Overreported by Media.

The way the media operates today does not help increase the public’s trust. Day after day, the media publishes biased news to push a one-sided agenda. Recently, The New York Times printed a front-page, headline-grabbing story alleging that a draft climate change report had been leaked supposedly to prevent the administration from hiding it. Further investigation revealed that this draft of the report had been public for months. In an interview, multiple authors of the report said they had not heard or seen any sign of suppression or censorship by the White House.

So what exactly was The New York Times reporting? It appears the only purpose of this false story was to push the alarmist view that the world is doomed unless Obama-era regulations are enforced. The media is spewing alarmist rhetoric and scare tactics to intimidate Americans into believing their bias. Americans deserve better than to be misled about important issues such as climate change. Instead of painting a dire future, media outlets should accurately report all the varying climate scenarios, not just the worst-case, catastrophic ones.

Perhaps no one is better at reciting false claims about climate change impacts than former Vice President Al Gore. In his 2006 movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” Mr. Gore made many predictions about the impact of climate change that have failed to materialize.

Deceitful alarmism has hardly been inconvenient for Gore’s net worth.

AND FASTER, TOO, PLEASE: The U.S. Navy Needs to Build More Attack Submarines.

There is an absolute requirement to modernize both the SSBN and SSN fleets. The Los Angeles-class boats are reaching the end of their nominal 33-year service life although life extension of 5 – 10 years is possible. The oldest of the Los Angeles-class SSNs, the USS Bremerton, was commissioned in 1981 and the youngest, the USS Cheyenne, was commissioned in 1996. So even with the most optimistic predictions about the Los Angeles class’ service life, the remaining 36 boats will have to be decommissioned over the next two decades.

The problem for the submarine force is that the need for attack boats is rising precisely as the Los Angeles class is being retired. According to recent Congressional testimony, U.S. Pacific Command operates about half the number of SSNs it requires and this is in peacetime. At the same time, both China and Russia are building large numbers of advanced conventional and nuclear-powered attack and cruise missile submarines.

The Navy once believed that 48 SSNs as part of an overall force level of 308 ships would be enough into the middle of the century. The Navy’s new goal is to maintain a 355-ship fleet, of which 66 would be SSNs. Unfortunately, the Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan does not build enough Virginias even to meet the prior, lower goal for the SSN force.

The oceans aren’t getting any smaller, and the Virginia-class attack boats have been a rare procurement success story for the US Navy — now coming in ahead of schedule and under budget.

VOX: How Venezuela went from a rich democracy to a dictatorship on the brink of collapse.

As New York University historian Greg Grandin has pointed out, Chávez “submitted himself and his agenda to 14 national votes, winning 13 of them by large margins, in polling deemed by Jimmy Carter to be ‘best in the world.’”

“Chávez was always careful to maintain electoral legitimacy,” Francisco Toro, editor of Caracas Chronicles, an opposition-friendly news and analysis site, told me. Toro says that Chávez had big advantages with friendly media and his tendency to use state money on his campaigns, but that he didn’t “steal or cancel elections blatantly.” Chávez even allowed his opposition to run a recall referendum against him in 2004 just two years after surviving a coup attempt. He won the referendum by a huge margin.

When Chávez picked Maduro to succeed him, it was because he expected Maduro to be an effective champion for his ideas after his death. But while Maduro shared a great deal with Chávez ideologically, he has not been able to repeat his political or economic success. Instead, he’s overseen Venezuela’s descent into economic catastrophe, lost swaths of Chávez’s committed political base, and become one of Latin America’s newest autocrats.

Just last month I wrote on this page, “It’s an easy prediction to make, that the Left will portray Maduro as they eventually portrayed Stalin — the brute who betrayed the revolution of his noble predecessor.”

And, well, here you go.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: The Quote Investigator Website explores if a statement by the late management consultant and author Peter Drucker regarding higher education’s future – or the lack thereof – is apocryphal or true.

In 2011 an article in “The New Republic” about online education reprinted remarks of Drucker:

As early as the Internet mania of the late ’90s, higher education has been singled out as ripe for a technology-driven revolution. And looking back at the grandiose predictions of the time, it’s fair to say that such claims deserve a dose of skepticism. In 1997, for instance, legendary management guru Peter Drucker predicted that “Thirty years from now the big university campuses will be relics. Universities won’t survive. It’s as large a change as when we first got the printed book.” Fourteen years later, the big universities are bigger and (after a stellar year for endowment investments) richer than almost ever before.

In conclusion, Peter Drucker did deliver the quotation during an interview published in “Forbes” in 1997. The thirty year prediction runs until 2027.

Based on their current implosion, that timeline seems somewhat generous.

JOHN B. JUDIS: I argued that demographics favored the Democrats. I was wrong.

Phillips writes in his book, Brown Is the New White, “progressive people of color” already combine with “progressive whites” to make up 51 percent of voting-age Americans. “And that majority,” he adds, “is getting bigger every single day.” The strategy prescription logically follows. Rejecting the notion that Democrats must woo Trump voters as a “fool’s errand,” Phillips says the party must be “race-conscious and not race-neutral or color-blind.” Demographics are destiny. “The concerns of people of color,” he concludes, “should be driving politics today and into the future.”

This isn’t a new argument, of course—and I bear some responsibility for it. The book I co-wrote in 2002 with demographer Ruy Teixeira, The Emerging Democratic Majority, laid out an overly optimistic forecast of the party’s prospects in an increasingly diverse America. By and large, Teixeira still holds to the view that the growth of minority populations will provide a long-term “boost to the left.” In his new book, fittingly titled The Optimistic Leftist, Teixeira notes that by the 2050s, eleven of the 15 largest states will be “majority-minority.”

On one level, there’s no arguing with the math. If you take the percentage of Americans that the U.S. census defines as “minorities” and project their past voting habits into the next decade and beyond, you’ll come up with a very sunny version of the Democrats’ prospects. There are only two problems with this line of thinking, but they’re pretty big ones. For starters, the census prediction of a “majority-minority” America—slated to arrive in 2044—is deeply flawed. And so is the notion that ethnic minorities will always and forever continue to back Democrats in Obama-like numbers.

Democrats need ideas, not colors.

SO NOW IT’S THE 16TH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11. Back then, InstaPundit was shiny and new new new. Now it’s not, and some people have been warning of “blogger burnout.” But I’m still here. On prior 9/11 anniversaries, I’ve given shooting lessons to a Marine, I’ve taken the day off from blogging, and I’ve even gone to a Tea Party with Andrew Breitbart.

This year, as in most past years, it’ll be blogging as usual. And here’s a link to my original 9/11 coverage — just scroll on up. At this late date, I don’t have anything new to say on 9/11. But these predictions held up pretty well. Which is too bad.

The picture above is by my cousin-in-law Brad Rubenstein, taken from his apartment that day. You might also want to read this piece by James Lileks.

And here’s a passage from Lee Harris’s Civilization And Its Enemies.

Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe.

They forget that in time of danger, in the face of the Enemy, they must trust and confide in each other, or perish.

They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the Enemy. And that, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the Enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn’t done enough for — yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, or an oversight on our part — something that we could correct. And this means that that our first task is that we must try to grasp what the concept of the Enemy really means.

The Enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the Enemy always hates us for a reason — it is his reason, and not ours.

I’ve said all this before, but it bears repeating today. And if I don’t have anything new to say at this late date, well, it’s been a long time.

One thing I guess I didn’t believe 16 years ago is that America would elect such a feckless President in 2008, and stand idly by while he flushed our global position, and security, down a left-wing toilet. But we did, and we’ll be paying the price for a long time.

God bless America. We need it.

PREDICTION: SpaceX Will Have Decades Of Commercial Launch Dominance.

DA TECH GUY: A Simple Proof of the Insanity of Global Warming Hysteria.

When it comes to Hurricanes we have exact data that can be gleamed in real time of every aspect of a storm as it happens to add to the various computer models. Additionally we have live data dating back to the mid 19th century that has been studied by experts in the field for a century and a half to tell us how hurricanes have acted in the past including information made by first hand observation by the most advanced instruments available at the time.

Furthermore the computers now being used are leaps and bounds over machines of just a decade or two ago and unlike the mid 19th century we many venues all over the world that are a source of training in this information and an even larger pool of potential meteorologists available to allow those tasked with making these predictions to choose the very best.

Yet even with all of this, two weather services each with all the advantages listed, have 850 mile gap between where they think this storm will go over the next 72 hours.

Now as a person familiar with both mathematics and computer science, this variation is not odd, in fact it’s completely understandable. After all a computer model is based on the best possible guesses from the available data and hurricanes are “complex natural phenomena that involve multiple interacting processes” so there is nothing at all odd about there being a 850 mile variation as to where it will it. As we get closer to Sunday and we have true data to input the variation in the models will correspondingly decrease.

Now apply this to climate change models telling us we face disaster in 100 years.

Read the whole thing. A simpler explanation can be found in my old axiom: Hysteria is never whipped up for the benefit of the hysterical.

WHEN THAT’S THE ONLY OPTION LEFT: Prediction: Hard Brexit.

PREDICTION: Hard Brexit.

CHANGE: Advertisers move away from using pictures of white, straight customers for fear of being seen as racist or gay-hating. Prediction: Ads grow less effective on average consumers, ad revenue for media outlets drops. The GOP’s political-correctness Screwfly Solution for the left continues to work!

WILL ROBOTS STEAL HUMAN JOBS?

In recent years, there has been increasing concern about the effects of artificial intelligence and robots on humans. Some people have worried that humans will be marginalized to the point of being put out of work. Why hire a human when a much cheaper robot can do the job without being distracted? Of course, we can never be sure about the future. But a look at technological revolutions in the past should make us more optimistic than pessimistic about the fate of human labor in the age of AI.

In the past, the introduction of more and more machinery made people more and more productive. And since real incomes—wages and salaries—are closely tied to productivity, machinery caused people’s real incomes to increase. The same will be true of robots, whether we define robots narrowly as human-looking machines that move purposely on a factory floor or more broadly as machines that involve artificial intelligence. The fear of robots is similar to the fear of automation that was common only a few decades ago—and just as bogus.

In 1930, British economist John Maynard Keynes, reflecting on the progress of technology, predicted that his generation’s grandchildren would have a 15-hour workweek. Assuming that a generation is 30 years, we should have had that 15-hour workweek in 1990. Did we? Not even close. Twenty-seven years after 1990, we still don’t. But why don’t we? Where did Keynes go wrong?

It wasn’t in his assumption about increasing productivity. Rather, Keynes was probably assuming that people would work enough to get the same standard of living they had in 1930. If that was his assumption, then he was quite accurate in predicting our productivity per hour. In the four score and seven years since Keynes made his prediction, our productivity has doubled and doubled again. We could easily have what we had then if we worked 15-hour weeks now.

Read the whole thing. But how far forward can we project the trends of the past?

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS. Shameful: Markos Moulitsas spreads ‘dangerous lie’ about ‘NRA and American conservatives:’

Daily Kos founder and Vox co-founder Markos Moulitsas wasted no time in using the tragedy in Charlottesville, Va. to propagate a disgusting smear about conservatives and the NRA.

Moulitsas tweets, “NRA and American conservatives/Nazis are one and the same.”

Curiously, two of the other founders of Vox have each written:

Not everything the Nazis touched was bad. Hitler was a vegetarian. Volkswagen is a perfectly good car company. Universal health care is a perfectly good idea. Indeed, the Nazis actually did a pretty good job increasing economic growth and improving standards of living (they were, many think, the first Keynesians, adopting the strategy even before Keynes had come up with it), pushing Germany out of a depression and back into expansion. Unfortunately, they also set out to conquer Europe and exterminate the Jews. People shouldn’t do that.

“Nazi Ideas,” Ezra Klein, The American Prospect, September 11(!) 2006.

And fellow Voxer Mathew Yglesias tweeted last year:

Perennial question from last year: Is GE happy to be associated with Vox?

LATE-STAGE SOCIALISM: Venezuela inches closer to default.

Inches?

The country, which is engulfed in crisis, owes $251 million to bondholders on Monday.

The payment comes after a weekend in which the attorney general was kicked out of office, a controversial legislature took power, and the military thwarted an alleged attack by a small paramilitary group.

Experts anticipate that Venezuela will make the payment to bondholders. But it has other payments coming due in the near future and could fall short on those if the economy continues to tailspin and the United States hits it with heavy sanctions.

“This model is broken, and default is inevitable,” says Siobhan Morden, an expert in Latin American bonds at Nomura Holdings. Oil “sanctions will probably arrive sooner and force default sooner.”

Meanwhile, “Chávez loyalists hold firm amid chaos.”

It’s an easy prediction to make, that the Left will portray Maduro as they eventually portrayed Stalin — the brute who betrayed the revolution of his noble predecessor.

MEASURING DEEP ROCK STRESS: This has nothing to do with fretting about music, but it could help improve earthquake prediction. The work on the “anelastic strain recovery method” for analyzing rock stress is being done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Rock stress — the amount of pressure experienced by underground layers of rock — can only be measured indirectly because you can’t see the forces that cause it,” Hiroki Sone, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and geological engineering at Madison, said in a news release. “But instruments for estimating rock stress are difficult to use at great depths, where the temperature and pressure increase tremendously.”

More:

The latest proof-of-concept tests show the anelastic strain recovery method can be used to measure rock stress at extreme depths — as deep as 4.3 miles.

The UPI article is short but informative. It links to this in-depth (so to speak) scientific report.

DAVID BYLER: Five Theories on Trump’s Stable Approval Rating.

Here’s the first theory:

Trump’s 40 percent approval rating might represent something close to his floor. On Election Day 2016, 37.5 percent of voters viewed candidate Trump favorably, yet he won 46 percent of the vote. Since then, Trump may have lost some of those general election voters by pushing an unpopular health-care bill (or through some other actions they disapproved of), but this 40 percent approval rating represents party stalwarts sticking with him.

The polarization theory comes with a few predictions about the future. As long as there aren’t any truly out-of-the-ordinary events (e.g. a terrorist attack, a recession, a historic economic boom, impeachment, etc.) Trump’s approval rating will stick within a relatively narrow band. He won’t lose his loyalists but he also won’t convert many outside that group. This theory doesn’t rule out a Democratic midterm wave or a second Trump term, but it does suggest that there are some guardrails that keep either party from scoring the sort of landslide wins we saw in the last century.

Barack Obama enjoyed this very same phenomenon (albeit with a slightly higher floor) during his two terms, although he had the advantage of a much friendlier press — to say the very least.

SCOTT ADAMS ON THE KELLY APPOINTMENT: The Turn to “Effective, but we don’t like it.”

Prior to President Trump’s inauguration, I predicted a coming story arc in three acts. Act one involved mass protests in the streets because Hillary Clinton’s campaign had successfully branded Trump as the next Hitler. Sure enough, we saw mass protests by anti-Trumpers who legitimately and honestly believed the country had just elected the next Hitler. I predicted that the Hitler phase would evaporate by summer for lack of supporting evidence. That happened.

I also predicted the anti-Trumpers would modify their attack from “Hitler” to “incompetent,” and that phase would last the summer. That happened too. The president’s critics called him incompetent and said the White House was in “chaos.” There were plenty of leaks, fake news, and even true stories to support that narrative, as I expected. Every anti-Trump news outlet, and even some that supported him started using “chaos” to describe the situation.

Now comes the fun part.

I predicted that the end of this three-part story would involve President Trump’s critics complaining that indeed he was “effective, but we don’t like it.” Or words to that effect. I based that prediction on the assumption he would get some big wins by the end of the year and it would no longer make sense to question his effectiveness, only his policy choices.

How does the anti-Trump media gracefully pivot from “chaos and incompetence” to a story of “effective, but we don’t like it”? They need an external event to justify the turn. They need a visible sign of the White House moving from rookie status to professional status.

They need General John Kelly to replace Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff.

Well, stay tuned. I had a similar observation:

NEWSWEEK REACHES FOR THE HARD NEWS: The Solar Eclipse Could Mean Disaster for Trump, According to Astrologers. Keep hope alive, Resistance!

SNOWFALLS ARE NOW JUST A THING OF THE PAST. Why people are getting the hell out of the Northeast:

The cost of living across the region is among the highest in the nation and three of the five most expensive states or districts in the country (New York, Washington, DC, Massachusetts) are in the area. (The other two states are Hawaii and California.) Having to spend so much just to get by can make getting out of debt seem much harder. And housing costs and taxes in many of these states are also sky-high.

The horrendous weather

We told you winter was coming to the North — and it’s so bad that many people are leaving the Northeast in search of better weather. Indeed, the largest migration between states is from New York to Florida, according to data from the Census Bureau. And simple looks at recent winters in the Northeast explain why. For example, in 2015, Boston had its snowiest winter on record and New York City had one of its snowiest blizzards on record in 2016.

Just ask Karen Lanovi, a lifelong New Yorker who says she “left for better weather,” moving to central Florida 12 years ago. “It has proven a great decision for my husband, myself and our three children. We for the most part have a better life,” she says. The same reasons drove tech entrepreneur Jaimyn Chang out of the Northeast to Austin; he says he was “sick of the ridiculous snowy winters and bone-chilling temperatures” and “ the constant seemingly endless gray overcast days.”

Huh – that’s not what the New York Times was predicting at the start of the 21st century – and as recently as 2014. It’s as if the science is not settled or something.

(Classical reference in headline.)

RISE OF THE MACHINES: Professionals and Managers: You’re Next. Automation may replace skilled workers sooner than you expect. “Here’s the dirty little secret about automation: it’s easier to build a robot to replace a junior attorney than to replace a journeyman electrician.”

Prediction: With members of the professional classes at risk, automation will suddenly become much more problematic. You know, kind of like how gerrymandering went from “amusing political shenanigans” to “threat to the Republic” when it stopped helping Democrats and started helping Republicans instead.

CHARLIE MARTIN: Where Does Global Warming Come From?

The essential measurement on which the climate change debate is based is the Global Average Surface Temperature (GAST). Conceptually, this is really pretty simple: you just put a thermometer on every point on the surface of the earth, take continuous readings for an entire year and then divide the sum of all those readings by the number of readings.

Practically, that presents problems: that’s a lot of thermometers and people use the surface of the Earth for doing other things than taking temperature readings. The reality is that the thermometers are anywhere from miles apart to thousands of miles, and they’re not at all uniform. So to estimate the GAST, the temperature measurements are fed into a model, which includes corrections. When I was writing about this in 2013, the difference between GAST and the predictions of GAST was becoming too big to ignore. Climate scientists then looked for reasons and added new corrections — but some of them were controversial.

Those who take the readings decide nothing. Those who model the readings decide everything.

WHAT IF THEY GAVE A DOOMSDAY AND NOBODY CAME? Climate Scientists Move Global Meltdown from 2018 to 2168. You’d think they’d have learned the trick from science fiction writers: make your predictions happen after you’re safely dead.  But at least they’re now catching up.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: “I want to make a prediction: The next successful Republican politician will rally the Right by making America’s universities his punching bag — and the universities will prove even more vulnerable to that politician’s attacks than the media were to Donald Trump’s.”

If Republicans want to change the culture – really change the culture – reforming academy should be their top priority:

The next Trump, then, will play to the worst fears of parents by going after colleges and universities. In doing so, he will unite the best, the worst, and all the other elements of the Right. They will be primed to hear the critique, which will be partially or even largely correct. The next Steve Bannon will seek to “overthrow” the university system from behind the scenes. And the universities, like the media before them, will walk right into the trap, while the Left rejects potential voters as deplorable ignoramuses.

Can you see it yet?

You bet — read the whole thing.

Related: The Closing of the American Mind Now.

SNOWFALLS ARE NOW JUST A THING OF THE PAST:

● Shot: Stephen Hawking says Donald Trump risks ‘turning Earth into Venus’ with 250 degree temperature.

—The London Telegraph, today.

● Chaser: President Obama ‘has four years to save Earth.’

—The London Guardian, January 17, 2009.

Classical reference in headline:

SNOWFALLS ARE NOW JUST A THING OF THE PAST: Hallelujah! Only Three More Years of Climate Hectoring, Steve Hayward quips at Power Line:

The climatistas have issued this definitive declaration:

World has three years to save humanity from climate change, warn experts

Read the whole thing, and note that the above headline Steve quotes appeared in the London Independent, source of this classic prediction from 2000:

A half-century of playing Chicken Little, and climate “scientists” wonder why nobody trusts them. Personally, I blame the Frisbee ion.

RICK MANNING: Missed It By That Much – The Obamacare Enrollee Lie.

Opponents of changes to the failing Obamacare system are using the fairy tale assumptions of the Congressional Budget Office to contend that millions will be left without health insurance coverage next year, when in fact as many as one million more will likely have insurance.

Incredibly, the CBO even goes so far as to guess that seven million people will flee the Obamacare exchange if they are not compelled to use it through the threat of a punitive tax for not having health insurance.

For once their number might inadvertently be right, since seven million people is also their overestimation of how many people are going to be in the exchange at the end of 2017.

Only in the crazy world of Washington, D.C. math could someone wildly overestimate the number of people to use a program, creating a political firestorm that millions will be harmed, and then through their dire predictions actually get the number of Obamacare exchange users back to the real numbers.

An honest press corps would have dug into these numbers weeks ago.

Anyway, do read the whole thing.

ONE OF THEM IS PAUL KRUGMAN: How Two Nobel Prize Winning Economists Got Oil Wrong.

In a May 12 2008 column, Krugman pooh-poohed the idea that speculation was driving the oil price (then at $125 a barrel), saying: “all through the period of the alleged bubble, inventories have remained at more or less normal levels. This tells us that the rise in oil prices isn’t the result of runaway speculation; it’s the result of fundamental factors, mainly the growing difficulty of finding oil and the rapid growth of emerging economies like China.”

Further, he attributed the tendency to blame speculators on conservatives in this instance, a reversal of the usual politic spectrum, and especially because of their failure to recognize that “a realistic view of what’s happened over the past few years suggests that we’re heading into an era of increasingly scarce, costly oil.” He later doubled down on this, describing “the way ideas go from crazy stuff that only DFHs believe to stuff everyone knows, without ever going through a stage in which the holders of conventional wisdom acknowledge that they were wrong. Oh, and the people who were right are still considered DFHs; you see, they were right too soon.

It looks as if peak oil may be going that way.” [DFH is an acronym that can’t be translated here, but consider ‘treehuggers’ as a good equivalent.]

In this case, the problems are that a) Professor Krugman is not an expert on resource economics, b) he has viewed this through political lenses, c), he has assumed temporary price trends are due to long-term changes; and d) cardinal error: he takes a bad price forecast as evidence of bad underlying theory.

Predictions are hard — especially about the future, as Krugman should know.

SO, I’M NO LONGER USING WEATHER.COM.  I COULD TAKE CLICK BAIT.  I COULD TAKE THEIR LESS THAN STELLAR WEATHER PREDICTIONS: But this stupid, ham handed insertion of politics, using stupid science as a justification, I will not take. (Even if the Paris agreement did anything to reduce global warming; even if antropogenic causes of global warming were true, it would be approximately 10000 years before we saw any effect.  I guess Trump is supposed to be immortal.) Oh, the Irony: Trump May Have Sped Up Damage to His Real Estate Holdings By Pulling Out of the Paris Accord.  Seriously.  This is vomit inducing.

CHANGE: More than a decade later, how do original YouTube stars feel about the site?

The changes they describe are much like those that took place in the blogosphere, and in electronic music, as I noted quite some time ago. And these predictions turned out pretty well.

NEW RECORD: America arms itself, ‘necessary steps to defend selves’. “The spurt in terror attacks, including the recent two in England, are pushing gun sales into record territory just months after predictions that the election of a pro-gun president would end the rush.”

OUTRAGE OVER TRUMP’S CLIMATE DEAL WITHDRAWAL IS LIKE GROUNDHOG DAY:

Keep the pangs of outrage in perspective. We’ve seen this movie many times before. Republican president withdraws from cherished international agreement. Left goes into apoplexy. Rinse and repeat.

It’s like Groundhog Day.

The same thing happened when Bush withdrew the US signature from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The Guardian declared it would “provoke anger from the international community, and provide further evidence for what many see as the Bush administration’s increasing unilateralism.” Judge Richard Goldstone, the chief prosecutor at The Hague war crimes tribunal on the former Yugoslavia called it “unprecedented” and “a very backwards step” that “smacks of pettiness” adding, “The US have really isolated themselves and are putting themselves into bed with the likes of China, the Yemen and other undemocratic countries.”

Of course, the left’s outraged cries of “We have only X years left to save the earth from global cooling/global warming/climate change/climate chaos” have been nearly 50 years of Groundhog Day as well.

Related: Let The Hysteria Begin!

Update: Rand Paul to CNN’s Jake Tapper: Make Sure Your Viewers Know The Climate Models Have Been Wrong.

HMM: Millennial Behavior Is About To Make Fools Of Peak Energy Demand Theorists.

Start with the peak-driving proposition that’s been so eagerly advanced over the past half-dozen years. Here, wishful thinking aside, recent trends are unequivocal. America’s affection for cars is far from over.

Over the past couple of years, the data show travel on America’s roads has been growing at a record pace. By year-end 2016 road travel had hit an all-time high, north of 3.2 trillion vehicle-miles. Gasoline demand has followed apace, also hitting new highs. So much for peak driving.

What about the housing market? This sector lags automotive by a couple of years. Houses cost more and take longer to build than cars, but Millennials are starting to buy, rather than continue to share or couch-surf. They already make up over 40% of home buyers. This shouldn’t be surprising. As LendingTree CEO Doug Lebda has noted about Millennials: “I mean, you can’t obviously buy a house without a good job.” And the data show that “starter” homes for Millennials are nearly as big as the average sized home already owned by boomers. What does this imply about average home size as, in due course, Millennials move up market? Do we need to note that bigger homes consume more energy?

Here’s a prediction, given that homes are responsible for nearly 40% of the nation’s electricity consumption: As Millennials have kids and buy houses, the past eight years of flat electric demand will soon follow the same upward curve seen in road-miles. And imagine what happens to household electric meters if automakers finally make affordable and useful electric cars. But without regard to Tesla and its wannabes, peak electric demand is very unlikely.

Student debt loads, the Great Recession, and income stagnation created a situation where Millennials haven’t yet had the opportunity to spend like Boomers and GenX have. I suspect that their P.C. hosannas to the environment are masking a lot of pent-up demand.

The time to start building that Dyson Sphere was yesterday.

MEGAN MCARDLE ON HEALTHCARE AND THE CBO: Republicans are on the right path with their health-care plan: Give so much authority to states that a federal agency can’t even forecast what will happen.

Forget the headline numbers from the Congressional Budget Office’s latest score for the Republican health-care bill. The score tells us something much more important, and much less remarked: Republicans have broken the CBO. They’ve passed a bill that, for all intents and purposes, cannot be scored by the normal CBO process. I don’t say that they’ve done this deliberately, mind you — in fact, I’m pretty sure they it wasn’t premeditated. But they’ve done it just the same.

Oh, the fine folks at the CBO have gone in and given it their best try, and that’s what produced the headline numbers you’ve read: 14 million fewer people insured by 2018, 23 million by 2026, and a net reduction in the deficit of $119 billion in the coming decade. But after that, it starts getting a little weird. Premiums will go up for a while, and then maybe down for some people but up for others, and it’s hard to get an average … this score has a whole lot of caveats, more “difficult to predict” and “estimate uncertain,” than longtime CBO watchers are primed to expect.

The CBO process has never been perfect, for there has always been an uneasy tension between realistically outlining uncertainties and providing enough precision to guide the policy process. This nonpartisan office has at times irked Democrats, other times Republicans. Its estimates are not necessarily accurate — as the saying goes, “predictions are hard, especially about the future” — but they are consistent, giving politicians and the public a single, if imperfect, framework for comparing policy choices.

CBO estimates prefer a single number to a range. They limit the term over which they project the costs, because projecting the policy environment 50 years out is a mug’s game. They have declined to consider some sort of uncertainties, such as “Will future congresses have the guts to see this thing through?” because however real those risks are, analyzing them would put the CBO in the position of political advocate rather than budget wonk.

Naturally politicians have long striven to exploit those tensions. For example, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was stuffed with dodgy “pay-fors” of dubious political economic or viability. Many of these were clearly not ever going to take effect, but they allowed Democrats to claim tidy budget savings from passing the bill. The timeline of the program’s rollout was also set up so that a lot of the costs fell outside the budget window, while new revenue showed up pretty quickly. The CBO tried to make it clear that these things were problems, but ultimately, they were restrained by their principles from saying: “Guys. We’re going to make everyone in America start issuing 1099s to stores? Really?”

Jiggery pokery.

PREDICTION: THIS WOULD GET A LOT MORE ATTENTION IF HE WERE A REPUBLICAN. De Blasio Aide Who’s President of Manhattan Young Democrats Arrested for Horrifying Child Porn.

This will be treated as a “local crime story.”

PREDICTION: MANY PEOPLE WILL SUFFER AVOIDABLE AGONY, BUT THE ADDICTION PROBLEM WON’T GET BETTER. New Jersey’s new opioid law raises concerns among doctors.

“Q” COULD NOT BE REACHED FOR COMMENT: Defense Intelligence Agency’s ‘Shark Tank’ Helps Startups Pitch Spy Apps.

Roy stands in front of a digital projection of a map of Syria. Green and red areas show where his proprietary neural network has determined that unrest or violence is likely imminent. Analysts at DIA can use the tool to look at “precursors to instability,” he explains to a small audience.

The analysts can refine the results by adding or subtracting variables — local economic factors, ethnic and religious makeup, even fresh water availability or food price inflation. This, he explains, is a huge improvement over previous models that relied on just four variables computed by humans. Rhombus’s cloud-based neural net can draw in much more information to help analysts make better predictions.

“It doesn’t give directions. It suggests to help override cognitive bias,” he says.

Fine, but users need to remember that data-driven decisionmaking doesn’t have a perfect track record, either.

WHEN CAN THEY BE WRONG ENOUGH? 18 spectacularly wrong predictions made around the time of first Earth Day in 1970, expect more this year.

13 MOST RIDICULOUS PREDICTIONS MADE ON EARTH DAY, 1970.

But how will mankind humankind otherkin-kind cope with the loss of the Frisbee Ion?

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON ON APOCALYPTIC PROGRESSIVISM:

Progressive narratives insisted that man-caused carbon releases prompted not only record heat and drought but also record coolness and precipitation within a few subsequent months.

And in Alice in Wonderland fashion, just as drilling was supposedly no cure for oil shortages, building reservoirs was no remedy for water scarcity.

In the same manner, neglecting the maintenance and building of roads in California created a transportation crisis. Until recently, the preferred solution to the state’s road mayhem and gridlock wasn’t more freeway construction but instead high-speed rail — as if substandard streets and highways would force millions of frustrated drivers to use expensive state-owned mass transit.

These days, shortages of credit, water, oil, or adequate roads are no longer seen as age-old challenges to a tragic human existence. Instead of overcoming them with courage, ingenuity, technology, and scientific breakthroughs, they are seen as existential “teachable moments.”

In other words, crises are not all bad — if they lead the public to more progressive government.

But the left’s Chicken Little mindset dates back decades. Even before the zany predictions made on the first “Earth Day” in 1970, you can watch 1968 presidential campaign ads by Bobby Kennedy loaded with eco-apocalyptic predictions that explicitly repudiate his brother’s optimistic vision of an expansive “New Frontier.” How can you continually believe the world is coming to end for a half century?

Related: Jerry Brown “acknowledges other states aren’t buying his climate hype.”

(Via Maggie’s Farm.)

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

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

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

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

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

(Classical reference in headline.)

IS UCLA A HOSTILE EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FOR CHRISTIANS? UCLA professor smears Trump and Pence as ‘arrogant Christians in the White House.’

Prediction: In a decade, you’ll be missing their humble and measured approach.

THIS IS YUGE, AND I PREDICT THAT THE DISCOVERY PROCESS WILL LEAD TO YUGE EMBARRASSMENT: Federal judge advances lawsuit challenging academic group’s Israel boycott. Prediction: The extent of antisemitism in academia is even greater than you thought.

BLESS HIS HEART — LEFT-WING ‘HISTORIAN’ ACCUSES TRUMP OF ‘TREASON,’ ‘ASSAULT’ ON ENVIRONMENT:

Appearing on MSNBC’s 3 p.m. ET hour on Tuesday under the guise of being a “presidential historian,” left-wing pundit Douglas Brinkley accused President Trump and his associates – without evidence – of committing an act of “treason.” He went on rant that the President’s new executive order rolling back onerous Obama-era environmental regulations was “an assault on the public lands.”

Anchor Kate Snow started off the discussion by inviting Brinkley to elaborate on recent comments he made to the Washington Post about the administration betraying the country: “You told the Washington Post last week that, quote, ‘There’s a smell of treason in the air,’ when it comes to this [Russia] investigation. Why did you say that and has anything changed about your view in the last week?”

As a reality check on the “smell of treason in the air,” Brinkley is the author of the 2004 hagiography, Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War. As the Weekly Standard noted back then:

Brinkley’s “not worried” about appearing biased, he tells the New Orleans Times-Picayune in a “wide-ranging interview in the soaring lobby of his Uptown home” published August 27. Sure, he says, “I’m sympathetic to Kerry in his 20s.” And “it’s no secret I think he would make a first-rate president.” And, okay, Brinkley’s “angry” about “false accusations made against Kerry’s military record.” Also, Brinkley cohosted a fundraiser for Kerry in February 2003. Plus which, he spoke at a rally for Kerry in New Orleans this past March. . .

But, hell, “I’m not a partisan” or anything, he points out. “I don’t have some ax to grind against President Bush. I try to be judicial.”

A judicial activist, you might call him.

Heh. So Trump is merely razing Obama’s legacy in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, you might say. In 2012, Brinkley wrote a fascinating biography of fellow lefty Walter Cronkite, in which he portrayed Mr. “That’s The Way It Is” as being a less than objective “just the facts, ma’am” journalist, who famously veered from reading the news to injecting his (invariably partisan Democrat) opinion on it during numerous occasions, not least of which were viciously attacking Barry Goldwater in ’64, declaring Vietnam unwinnable in ’68, and becoming an enviro-crank just in time for the first “Earth Day” in 1970, when the Gleichschaltung demanded that all good lefties embrace radical environmentalism and its related doomsday talk. (Here’s a look at some of the zanier predictions from the first Earth Day.)

In Cronkite, Brinkley noted:

Republicans had always liked the idea that Cronkite, even if liberal leaning, was pulling for the United States to whip the Soviets in the space race. But Nixon was now in the White House, and Cronkite’s promotion of the 1970s as the Decade of the Environment was a slap at petroleum companies, forest product industries, auto companies, and corporations seeking minerals. All his heroes in Eye on the World— Senator Ed Muskie (D-Maine), Dr. Barry Commoner, biologist Dr. Paul Ehrlich, and consumer activist Ralph Nader— were left-of-center political figures.

The Big Four villains of Eye on the World were Dow Chemical, the Florida Power & Light Company, Consolidated Edison, and Chevron Oil Company. It seemed that Union Carbide caught a break for sponsoring The Twenty-First Century for so long, as Cronkite took aim squarely at corporate polluters. With uncanny prescience, he scolded them for the damage carbon dioxide was causing the planet’s health. Long before Al Gore made global warming household words in his 2006 Academy Award– winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Cronkite sounded the alarm on CBS Evening News and in Eye on the World. “Every year American power plants pour more than 800 million tons of carbon dioxide into the skies,” Cronkite warned. “Some scientists suspect that carbon dioxide can turn the planet into a kind of greenhouse, sealing in heat so that temperatures gradually rise until the polar icecaps melt and a new deluge covers the lands of the earth.”

Of course, what Brinkley failed to add was the rest of Cronkite’s statement:

“Some meteorologists fear that dust is already filtering out too much sunlight, so that the world’s temperature already has started down toward a new ice age. And that pattern repeats: a science so far behind technology that it can’t predict which of two opposite catastrophes will occur.”

“Unexpectedly,” Brinkey’s book also doesn’t reference Cronkite’s prediction of global cooling, which featured in this memorable 1972 segment:

Five years later, Howard K. Smith, Cronkite’s rival at ABC was similarly predicting that “an ice age is returning to the Earth, with glaciers down to the Mason-Dixon line and freezing temperatures south of that.”

With nearly a half-century of enviro-doomsday crankery and not-so-final countdowns, no wonder Trump is taking a much more balanced approach between man, nature, and the economy. If this be treason, make the most of it – in much the same fashion as another legendary environmentalist, Genghis Khan himself.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: PUTIN LOOKING SHAKY:

A week ago I wrote that “if Putin is the world’s puppet master he’s not doing very well. Russia’s economy has been in crisis since 2014, with no end in sight. The Kremlin has been in the doldrums for two reasons: the continued decline in oil prices and economic sanctions imposed on Moscow for its incursions into Ukraine.”

Those trends continued and indeed worsened in 2017. Despite predictions the Trump administration was eating out of Putin’s hand the evidence was he would soon have his hand out unless oil prices rose and the US military buildup eased. “It is reasonable to suppose that puppetmaster Putin would prefer 1) less US oil production; 2) lower American defense spending; 3) a free hand in Syria; 4) lifting of sanctions,” I wrote “but there is precious little evidence he is getting any of it. On the contrary Putin is doomed if current trends continue.”

Today the headlines were dominated by news of unrest in Russia. “Hundreds of people were arrested across Russia on Sunday as protests erupted against corruption there, according to multiple reports,” reported Politico. Although Putin may well survive the opposition’s efforts to unseat him — what relief is in sight? Public discontent probably reflects elite discontent that in turn is a reflection of a declining GDP.

Putin’s a bad guy. But whoever replaces him will probably be no improvement.

SCOTT ADAMS THINKS THAT THE HEALTHCARE DEBACLE ISN’T AS BAD FOR TRUMP AS IT SEEMS: “With the failure of the Ryan healthcare bill, the illusion of Trump-is-Hitler has been fully replaced with Trump-is-incompetent meme.”

When I first saw this, I thought he was trying too hard to make lemonade when we had lemons, but no sugar. But then I saw this from a friend on Facebook: “I’ve never liked Trump, but I’ve never thought he’s a potential fascist dictator. Those who have thought otherwise might note that he can’t even get a health care reform bill through a Republican-dominated House.”

Anyway, as is his wont, Adams has made a falsifiable prediction:

Look for the new meme to dominate the news, probably through the summer. By year end, you will see a second turn, from incompetent to “Competent, but we don’t like it.”

I have been predicting this story arc for some time now. So far, we’re ahead of schedule.

In the 2D world, where everything is just the way it looks, and people are rational, Trump and Ryan failed to improve healthcare. But in the 3D world of persuasion, Trump just had one of the best days any president ever had: He got promoted from Hitler to incompetent. And that promotion effectively defused the Hitler-hallucination bomb that was engineered by the Clinton campaign.

In all seriousness, the Trump-is-Hitler illusion was the biggest problem in the country, and maybe the world. It was scaring people to the point of bad health. It made any kind of political conversation impossible. It turned neighbors and friends against each other in a way we have never before seen. It was inviting violence, political instability, and worse.

In my opinion, the Trump-is-Hitler hallucination was the biggest short-term problem facing the country. Congress just solved for it, albeit unintentionally. Watch the opposition news abandon the Trump-is-scary concept to get all over the “incompetent” theme.

So let’s see if he’s right. His track record is good.

LE PEN IS NOT MIGHTIER AFTER ALL: Macron on Top After First Presidential Debate of French Race.

Emmanuel Macron, a 39-year-old running for office for the first time, parried attacks from both ends of the political spectrum as he navigated questions on the economy, terrorism and immigration.

Voters are still getting to know Macron who’s been in the public eye for less than three years, so the stakes were high in front of a television audience of almost 10 million. Two snap polls judged the rookie candidate, who has the backing of no established party, the most convincing and markets rose as he stopped the National Front’s Marine Le Pen from landing a knock-out punch.

“Macron managed quite well,” said Bruno Cautres, a political scientist at SciencesPo in Paris. “The challenge for him was to show that he wasn’t just the new and inexperienced one, to show he has the depth and the skills.”

The euro strengthened against most of its major peers after the debate.

Then again, this is a bad time to be making predictions about politics.

SELF-AWARENESS FAIL: Paul Krugman says America has a problem admitting when it’s wrong.

Hey, did I miss a Krugman apology for his egregious election-night market prediction?

IT WORKS ON FAT MICE; SURELY IT WILL WORK ON FAT PEOPLE:Your dreams of effort-free exercise are about to come true. (Note most of MY dreams about exercise involve sea-side walks, will which remain a dream unless California REALLY does slide into the sea as Paul Ehrlich “predicted” decades ago.  Fortunately his predictions about geology are as “good” as his predictions about human population growth or metal prices.)

SNOWFALLS ARE NOW JUST A THING OF THE PAST: Amtrak Train Blasts Waiting New York Commuters With Massive Blast of Global Warming (Video).

Huh – just three years ago, the New York Times was asking in headlines if we were seeing “The End of Snow?”  As always, Betteridge’s law of headlines (“Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no”) is not just a good idea — it’s the law.

(Classical reference in headline.)

HMM: Whoever wins this second referendum, Scotland loses.

Why now? Well, the First Minister, with breathtaking casuistry, insists that Scotland should make its choice once the outcome of the Brexit negotiations is clear. But that is, of course, only one part of the package – it gives us no time to look at what comes next for the UK, the replacement deals, the evolving nature of its economy and society, the evolution of the EU, before us Scots have to make what will this time surely be a final and irrevocable decision.

She’s rushing us, because she thinks that gives her the best chance of winning: while all is chaos and uncertainty, with the UK’s reputation at a global low, when the economic predictions are at their most gloomy, and with, as she put it today, the Tories looking like they’ll be in No 10 till 2030.

The Nats have done their prep work and covered the angles. Ms Sturgeon is a much more attractive and conciliatory salesperson than was the toadish Mr Salmond. She promises a “frank” evaluation of an independent Scotland’s prospects, the lack of which did them so much damage in 2014.

She says that at a moment as definitive as Brexit, it is not for her, one politician, to decide Scotland’s future, it is for the Scottish people: a great line. And the separatists hope the “take back control” mood that drove Brexit will equally persuade Scottish voters to overlook the very real economic challenges of an independent state in favour of a vote based on culture, place and power.

That could be a powerful appeal, and, for good or ill, feels more in tune with our times.

SNOWFALLS ARE NOW JUST A THING OF THE PAST. FLASHBACK: NY Times Predicted The ‘End Of Snow’ In 2014.

Related: Photos: Snowstorm hammers East Coast.

(Classical reference in headline.)

MUCH FASTER PLEASE:Thousands of people could live in space colonies orbiting the Earth in 20 years, expert claims.

SNOWFALLS ARE NOW JUST A THING OF THE PAST: Amtrak train freed after being stuck almost 13 hours in 25-foot ND snowbank.

Found via Maggie’s Farm, video of how global warming is removed from Donner Pass by the Union Pacific Railroad:

(Classical reference in headline.)

MEGAN MCARDLE: Paul Krugman Hardest Hit:

Late in election season, as pundits tried to feign uncertainty about the inevitable Clinton coronation, a few folks considered what might happen to the financial markets if Donald Trump were elected. The answer a lot of them came up with was pretty dire: a big crash. Against all predictions, Trump was elected. And then, right on schedule … the stock market indices soared to new records?

Umm, what?

That’s the question that a lot of folks in the punditocracy are asking: Why do markets seem so happy about Trump?

Pundits who are asking that haven’t paid attention to the last 8 years.

SNOWFALLS ARE NOW JUST A THING OF THE PAST:

Shot: President [Obama] ‘has four years to save Earth.’

— Headline, the London Guardian, January 17 2009

Chaser: Biologists say half of all species could be extinct by end of century.

— Headline, the London Guardian, yesterday.

Wow, either the far-left Guardian engages in some serious eco-hyperbole, or else it must be asked: How could Obama destroy the world like that?

(Classical reference in headline.)

WHO CAN ARGUE WITH SCIENCE? Hundreds of scientists urge Trump to withdraw from U.N. climate-change agency.

More than 300 scientists have urged President Trump to withdraw from the U.N.’s climate change agency, warning that its push to curtail carbon dioxide threatens to exacerbate poverty without improving the environment.

In a Thursday letter to the president, MIT professor emeritus Richard Lindzen called on the United States and other nations to “change course on an outdated international agreement that targets minor greenhouse gases,” starting with carbon dioxide.

“Since 2009, the US and other governments have undertaken actions with respect to global climate that are not scientifically justified and that already have, and will continue to cause serious social and economic harm — with no environmental benefits,” said Mr. Lindzen, a prominent atmospheric physicist.

Signers of the attached petition include the U.S. and international atmospheric scientists, meteorologists, physicists, professors and others taking issue with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC], which was formed in 1992 to combat “dangerous” climate change.

The 2016 Paris climate accord, which sets nonbinding emissions goals for nations, was drawn up under the auspices of the UNFCCC.

“Observations since the UNFCCC was written 25 years ago show that warming from increased atmospheric CO2 will be benign — much less than initial model predictions,” says the petition.

I guess the science is settled. You don’t want to be anti-science, do you?

SNOWFALLS ARE NOW JUST A THING OF THE PAST:

Shot: California Braces for Unending Drought.

—The New York Times, May 10, 2016.

Chaser: S.F. rainfall has now exceeded normal for a full season: Here are the numbers.

—The San Francisco Chronicle, today.

As the Wattsupwiththat.com eco-blog noted last week:

Remember all those predictions of a “permanent drought” in California? Those were examples of why three decades of climate alarmism has not convinced the American people to take severe measures to fight anthropogenic climate change: alarmists exaggerate the science, and are proven wrong — repeatedly. When will the Left learn that doomster lies do not work?

We’re only a month into her administration, but I’m sure President Hillary will help her fellow leftists dial the doomsday talk back a bit.

(Classical reference in headline.)

THE WAR ON MEN: Sex Offenders Are Still Locked up After Serving Their Time. Why?  Richard Bernstein in Real Clear Investigations reports on the troubling trend:

Some 20 states have civil commitment programs for people deemed sexually violent predators. Records show that more than 5,000 Americans are being held this way nationwide. Those numbers have roughly doubled over the previous decade or so, as judges, governors and state legislators have reacted to public concern about violent sexual crimes.

Civil confinement lies at the fraught intersection of crime, sex, and politics, in which sexual crimes, and just the possibility of sexual crimes, are treated differently from other offenses. Murderers, armed robbers, drunken hit-and-run drivers, insider traders, and other criminals are released when their prison sentences have been served.

States operating these programs defend them as necessary to protect the public, especially children, against dangerous sexual predators. The Supreme Court has upheld them, ruling that as long as they are narrowly tailored, with their “clients” subject to regular reviews, they serve a legitimate public interest in keeping potential dangerous offenders off the streets.

But critics of civil commitment argue that men are being locked away (and almost all of the detainees are men), often effectively for life, on the basis of subjective predictions of what a former sex offender might do in the future. They assert that this is a flagrant violation of the 14th Amendment’s requirement that no person shall be deprived of his freedom without “due process of law.”

Recidivism rates for sex offenders are typically lower than for people who commit other types of felonies. But statistics don’t matter when politicians and judges are trying to mollify the mob.

I DON’T THINK MANY TRUMP VOTERS WILL BE MOVED BY THIS STORY AS THE NY TIMES INTENDS: ‘A Sense of Dread’ for Civil Servants Shaken by Trump Transition. I’m not so sure Albert Gallatin would be as upset as career GS types. But really, one would need a heart of stone not to laugh at this:

“It’s almost a sense of dread, as in, what will happen to us,” said Gabrielle Martin, a trial lawyer and 30-year veteran at the Denver office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where colleagues now share daily, grim predictions about the fate of their jobs under Mr. Trump’s leadership.

“It’s like the movie music when the shark is coming,” Ms. Martin said, referring to “Jaws,” the 1975 thriller. “People are just wary — is the shark going to come up out of the water?”

This article is based on interviews around the country with more than three dozen current and recently departed federal employees from the Internal Revenue Service; the Pentagon; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Justice and Treasury Departments; the Departments of Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development; and other parts of the government. They reveal a federal work force that is more fundamentally shaken than usual by the uncertainties that follow a presidential transition from one party to the other.

Federal workers are more likely to be Democrats, according to surveys. But partisanship and ideology explain only some of the intense feelings among workers, many of whom have seen Democrats and Republicans in the White House come and go.

Well, there’s also class-identification and overall smugness. But stuff like this makes serious civil service reform more likely to take place:

At the Environmental Protection Agency, a group of scientists strategized this past week about how to slow-walk President Trump’s environmental orders without being fired.

At the Treasury Department, civil servants are quietly gathering information about whistle-blower protections as they polish their résumés.

At the United States Digital Service — the youthful cadre of employees who left jobs at Google, Facebook or Microsoft to join the Obama administration — workers are debating how to stop Mr. Trump should he want to use the databases they made more efficient to target specific immigrant groups.

Just imagine how differently the New York Times would have played a story about federal employees planning to resist Obama initiatives. But it is more support for my theory that if you want checks and balances, you need a white, male Republican in the White House!

UPDATE: Flashback: Washington’s ‘governing elite’ think Americans are morons. And now they’re scared and unhappy that Americans are returning the sentiment.

I FEEL LIKE LINCOLN ALWAYS MAKES IT ABOUT 90% OF THE WAY TO BEING A REAL LUXURY CAR. AM I BEING UNFAIR? From Expedition to Navigator: our predictions for Lincoln’s SUV.

DON’T GET COCKY: Democrats May Be On The Verge Of Becoming A ‘Permanent Minority’ Party.

No seriously, the cockiness, eschew it, as the Professor likes to warn during times of maximum gloating. Ask Zell Miller how his identical prediction in 2004 played out in November of 2006 and 2008 – and the following year, how James Carville’s equally Nostradamus-like prediction in 2009 that “Democrats Will Rule Washington for 40 Years” – worked out.

THE FAKE NEWS PROBLEM, THEN AND NOW: At Tablet, James Kirchick explains “Why the left is also responsible for the proliferation of inaccurate information—and why the big beneficiary is Donald Trump:”

Now that Trump is in the White House, much of the media feels uninhibited in their campaign to destroy him, seeing the unprecedented nature of his presidency as license to get away with anything. Take Jonathan Weisman, deputy Washington editor of The New York Times. Since he was targeted by pro-Trump, anti-Semitic Twitter trolls last summer, Weisman—a man who is supposed to at least feign objectivity—has completely dropped any pretense of political independence. His own Twitter feed—like the feeds of a growing number of Times reporters—is a constant stream of anti-Trump invective indistinguishable from committed anti-Trump pundits like myself.

Why do I hold myself and Jonathan Weisman to such wildly differing standards? Because my job is to opine and provoke. His job is to accurately report on events, so that I know that the things I am reacting to are real, rather than the products of angry mass hallucinations or partisan messaging campaigns. By publicly refusing to do his job, he makes my job (and all our jobs as engaged citizens) much harder because I can’t reasonably trust that what I read in The New York Times is factual or based on good sourcing. Who in their right mind inside the Trump administration would talk to The New York Times, except to mislead the paper’s reporters and editors, by spinning them up or sending them off on wild goose chases that serve the administration’s own aims? How can I trust that what I read in the paper’s news columns isn’t hopelessly distorted by the angry bias evident in the social-media feeds of the paper’s editors and reporters? Much of the reporting on the Trump administration thus far seems to be so poorly sourced, riddled with caricature and negative wishful thinking as to be actively misleading, for all intents and purposes “fake news.” The beneficiary of the resulting confusion and hysteria is not The New York Times or its readers. It’s Donald Trump.

But Kirchick’s take doesn’t feel all that far removed from how left-leaning media critic Jack Shafer, then with the Washington Post-owned Slate described the state of the MSM in May of 2008, with an assist from the since-deceased Michael Crichton:

In 1993, novelist Michael Crichton riled the news business with a Wired magazine essay titled “Mediasaurus,” in which he prophesied the death of the mass media—specifically the New York Times and the commercial networks. “Vanished, without a trace,” he wrote.

* * * * * * * *

“[T]he American media produce a product of very poor quality,” he lectured. “Its information is not reliable, it has too much chrome and glitz, its doors rattle, it breaks down almost immediately, and it’s sold without warranty. It’s flashy but it’s basically junk.”

* * * * * * * *

As we pass his prediction’s 15-year anniversary, I’ve got to declare advantage Crichton. Rot afflicts the newspaper industry, which is shedding staff, circulation, and revenues. It’s gotten so bad in newspaperville that some people want Google to buy the Times and run it as a charity! Evening news viewership continues to evaporate, and while the mass media aren’t going extinct tomorrow, Crichton’s original observations about the media future now ring more true than false. Ask any journalist.

That was nearly decade ago, building on an article that Crichton wrote a quarter century ago. And yet things have only gotten exponentially worse for the media in the years since, passing through their quasi-religious hagiography of the Obama era along the way. Just think of the MSM as Democrat party operatives with bylines, and it all makes sense.

UPDATE: Mark Hemingway on “The Problem of Two Unreliable Narrators: Trump Versus the Media — When both the person in power and his critics are both perceived as lacking credibility, the person in power is likely to come out on top.”

ROSS DOUTHAT: “The Egyptian deep state’s sabotage of Morsi culminated in a coup. This is not my prediction for the Trump era.”

But:

Meanwhile, on the other side of the divide, the ascent of populism also creates an unusual level of solidarity among elites, who feel moved to resist on a scale that they wouldn’t if similar policies were pursued by normal political actors. Thus Trump, not even two weeks into his presidency, has already faced unusual pushback from the intelligence community, the Justice Department, the State Department and other regions of the bureaucracy, even as the media-entertainment complex unites against him on a scale unseen even in previous Republican administrations, and the Democratic Party is pressured into scorched-earth opposition before policy negotiations are even joined. These tensions ratcheted up over the weekend; it’s difficult to see how they ratchet down.

The more they try to denormalize Trump, the more they denormalize themselves, and the more they undermine the notion of civil society. Which makes either a coup (hint: they won’t like the result) or successful authoritarian rule by Trump or, more likely, a Trump successor, far more likely. But they don’t care because they’re spoiled children with no self-discipline.

Meanwhile, I’ve got this paper on military coups, but my other observation is that with a cabinet heavy with highly-respected generals, Trump has ensured that there won’t be a coup — unless they lead it, in which case he’s ensured that it will be successful.

MICHAEL WOLFF: Why the Media Keeps Losing to Donald Trump.

It is the Trump view that the media has been so wrong in its predictions, and made to look in the eyes of the public so woeful and ludicrous, that it must now double down in an effort to prove its thesis about the president and restore its honor. (The Trump White House now hammers a persistent theme: Why was nobody fired in the mainstream media for such dunderheaded election coverage?)

The media strategy is to show Trump to be an inept and craven sociopath. The Trump strategy is to show that media people are hopeless prigs out of touch with the nation (e.g., CNN’s media correspondent, Brian Stelter, who turns to the camera every Sunday morning and delivers a pious sermon about Trump’s perfidiousness) and nursing personal grudges.

Accordingly, “alternative facts.” It’s curious to pick a battle whose outcome won’t change anything—like over the actual size of the inaugural crowd. But both sides grabbed it. Hence, the argument becomes about relative reaction. Who is perceived as overreacting more? Whose apoplexy is greater?

Trump’s genius is for making his opponents seem crazier than he is — and I’m using “crazy” as a pejorative in the former example, but not in the latter.

PAUL KRUGMAN ON ELECTION NIGHT: “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.”

Today: Dow Breaks 20,000 Milestone. “The Dow Jones Industrial Average finally broke through the psychologically important 20,000 barrier for the first time Wednesday, continuing a sharp rally that began after Donald Trump’s election as the nation’s 45th president. The Dow, which rose 134 points to 20,046 in midday trading on Wednesday, is now up over 1,700 points, or around 9 percent, since Trump’s stunning victory over Hillary Clinton in November, defying some predictions that a win by the unpredictable Republican could hurt stock prices.”

So this suggests that markets don’t believe the Democrats’ inevitable-stagnation explanation for the slow growth of the Obama years, but rather think that it was a problem caused by bad government, that can be fixed by better government.

CRETACEOUS UPDATE: Collagen reportedly extracted from 80 million year-old dinosaur fossil.

Utilizing the most rigorous testing methods to date, researchers from North Carolina State University have isolated additional collagen peptides from an 80-million-year-old Brachylophosaurus. The work lends further support to the idea that organic molecules can persist in specimens tens of millions of years longer than originally believed and has implications for our ability to study the fossil record on the molecular level.

More:

The sample material came from the specimen’s femur, or thigh bone. Using mass spectrometry, the team recovered eight peptide sequences of collagen I, including two that are identical to those recovered in 2009, and six that are new. The sequences show that the collagen I in B. canadensis has similarities with collagen I in both crocodylians and birds, a result we would expect for a hadrosaur, based on predictions made from previous skeletal studies. “We are confident that the results we obtained are not contamination and that this collagen is original to the specimen,” Schroeter says. “Not only did we replicate part of the 2009 results, thanks to improved methods and technology we did it with a smaller sample and over a shorter period of time.”

Great work. I hope the confirmation stands up to future tests.

BRETIGNE SHAFER ON LEFTIES AND TRUMP:

Here’s the thing: I’m a libertarian. I’ve been surrounded by people who don’t agree with me for as long as I can remember and it has never occurred to me to isolate myself from everyone because of our political differences. Certainly not to assault them. Nor am I filled with anxiety by the thought that people who work in my home might have different political views than mine. To me, you’re all a bunch of fascists. But I’ve somehow learned to live with you.

For me, watching people unravel over this election has been instructive. The – yes, I’m going to say it – bigotry of many on the left, in their caricaturing of Trump supporters, has never before been so blatant. Nor has the jaw-dropping, mass-hypnosis level of selective partisan-driven outrage. I understand that a lot of people are worried, upset, even frightened over the prospect of a Trump presidency. Good. They should be. But they should have been worried eight years ago, or at the very least, four years ago.

I was worried four years ago. And I was worried eight years ago. I tried in vain to get my Obama-supporting friends to see what I saw, but with very few exceptions (which I appreciated, thank you) I was met with silence, accused of mean-spiritedness or just told that I should “give him a chance” (did I have a choice?)


I was right in all but one of my predictions for the Obama administration, by the way.

So in case you (like some of my friends) somehow missed out on what’s been happening over the past eight years, let me catch you up:

1. We no longer have a Fourth Amendment, nor the right of habeas corpus (you remember: it was kind of the foundation of our justice system). Yes, the demise of these fundamental protections has been a long time coming, but President Obama delivered the death blow when he gave himself (and all future presidents) the right to imprison indefinitely or even assassinate any human being on the planet with no due process whatsoever.

Number One should be enough. Any normal person should look at the first item on this list and say “OK, I guess that’s a little bit worse than making fun of a disabled reporter.” (And I say this as the mother of an intellectually disabled daughter.) But, because I know it won’t be enough, I’ll continue…

2. Obama has bombed more countries than George W. Bush did, and his drone strikes have killed more than six times as many people as those under Bush, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (killing unintended victims 90% of the time.)

3. He has given himself (and all future presidents) the power to wage war without Congressional approval.

4. He has greatly expanded the mass surveillance of American citizens.

5. He put in place a statist health insurance mandate that has sent insurance premiums skyrocketing.

6. He has continued the same brand of crony capitalism and debt expansion of the previous administration.

7. He has deported more than 2.5 million immigrants – more than any other American president in history.

8. After running on a platform of more government transparency, he has presided over an administration more hostile than any other to whistleblowers and a free press.

9. Police brutality has not abated, nor has the mass incarceration of Americans (and especially black and Hispanic Americans. Maybe it’s only “racism” if the president is a white Republican?)

10. Did I mention he – and all future presidents – now has the legal right to kill anyone on the planet, including American citizens, with no conviction, no charges, no semblance of due process at all. Did I mention that?

It was fine as long as it was Obama. It’s Hitler now that it’s Trump.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: It’s Not 1934, writes Mickey Kaus:

Yet those who adhere to this unnamed tendency — let’s call it ’34ism, unless you can come up with a better name *** –allow the power of their terrifying dream to overwhelm sober consideration of everything Trump does or intends to do, good or bad (on trade, taxes, regulations, immigration, etc). We’re supposed to draw up sides — condemning (and ostracizing) those who are “complicit” in Trump’s administration and welcoming those who “stand on the right side of history” — even before we know whether the authoritarian seed will grow or wither, disregarding all the other positively auspicious seeds (reform of trade, control of borders, fewer foreign miliary adventures,  ending the Republican threat to Social Security and Medicare, etc.) that might flourish instead. In Slate 34ist Yascha Mounk’s head it’s practically Life During Wartime already, with brave Trump critics fired from their jobs, sleeping on the couches of their secret colleagues in the Resistance. Keep the car running.

Suggested alternative: See what happens first! Don’t let the reaction to Trump be dominated by one extremely unlikely bad possibility, at the expense of nurturing the far-more-likely good possibilities.

Those asterisks above connect to a footnote from Mickey that “Better name ideas [are] appreciated — just put them in the comments section below [his post], or tweet them to @kausmickey.”

The month after Obama won the election in 2008, Virginia Postrel noted that a lot of journalists (read: Democrat operatives with bylines) had heavily invested in the notion that it was the 1930s all over again, and had a major case of what Virginia dubbed “Depression Lust,” and were busy cranking out “Depression Porn” in service to the Office of the President-Elect. Not least of which was Time magazine’s infamous cover of Obama Photoshopped into the second coming of FDR and the headline “The New, New Deal,” thinking it was a compliment, and not an ominous prediction of an economy as similarly atrophied as Roosevelt’s. Pretending that Trump is Hitler allows you, oh brave foot-soldier in the DNC-MSM, to pose as the new Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It’s simply the funhouse mirror image version of the same sclerotic meme.

For the modern left, if the economy is relatively good*, and the incoming president has a (D) after his name, he’s the second coming of JFK (see: Clinton, Bill); if the economy is bad, and he has a (D) after his name, he’s FDR — and no matter what the shape of the economy, if the president has an (R) after his name, he’s Hitler (QED: Nixon, Reagan, Bush #43, and Trump).

* And it was, despite Clinton’s rhetoric. Would Time magazine lie to you? Well yes, of course. But look what they admitted in December of 1992.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

Shot:

In 1993, novelist Michael Crichton riled the news business with a Wired magazine essay titled “Mediasaurus,” in which he prophesied the death of the mass media—specifically the New York Times and the commercial networks. “Vanished, without a trace,” he wrote.

The mediasaurs had about a decade to live, he wrote, before technological advances—”artificial intelligence agents roaming the databases, downloading stuff I am interested in, and assembling for me a front page”—swept them under. Shedding no tears, Crichton wrote that the shoddy mass media deserved its deadly fate.

“[T]he American media produce a product of very poor quality,” he lectured. “Its information is not reliable, it has too much chrome and glitz, its doors rattle, it breaks down almost immediately, and it’s sold without warranty. It’s flashy but it’s basically junk.”

* * * * * * * * *

As we pass his prediction’s 15-year anniversary, I’ve got to declare advantage Crichton. Rot afflicts the newspaper industry, which is shedding staff, circulation, and revenues. It’s gotten so bad in newspaperville that some people want Google to buy the Times and run it as a charity! Evening news viewership continues to evaporate, and while the mass media aren’t going extinct tomorrow, Crichton’s original observations about the media future now ring more true than false. Ask any journalist.

“Michael Crichton, Vindicated, His 1993 prediction of mass-media extinction now looks on target,” Jack Shafer, Slate, May 29, 2008.

Chaser:

In his own way, Trump has set us free. Reporters must treat Inauguration Day as a kind of Liberation Day to explore news outside the usual Washington circles. He has been explicit in his disdain for the press and his dislike for press conferences, prickly to the nth degree about being challenged and known for his vindictive way with those who cross him. So, forget about the White House press room. It’s time to circle behind enemy lines.

Washington reporting has long depended on a transactional relationship between sources and journalists. Journalists groom sources, but sources also groom journalists. There’s nothing inherently unethical about the back-scratching. When a reporter calls an administration source to confirm an embarrassing item, the source may agree to confirm as long as the reporter at the very least agrees to listen sympathetically to the administration’s context. But Trump’s hostile attitude toward the press, his dismissal of CNN for attempting to ask a question at the last conference, and his underhanded ploy at the last conference where he loaded the audience with cheerleaders has muted that mutualism. It’s easy to predict that instead of negotiating with reporters as equals, his administration will advance its agenda by feeding more pliant reporters material the way a trainer rewards circus animals.

“Trump Is Making Journalism Great Again,” Jack Shafer, the Politico, today.

Related: “OUCH! IowaHawk burns media, aka ‘the opposition party’, with their OWN words and stats:”

iowahawk_trump_msm_1-16-17-1

Just think of the MSM as Democrat operatives, and it all makes sense – not least of which, their extended hibernation between November of 2008 and November of 2016.

UPDATE: And speaking of that extended hibernation, Michael Ramirez illustrates it as only he can: “Rip Van Reporter.”

FROM PROF. STEPHEN L. CARTER: A SAFE PREDICTION: “Once Trump takes office, the left will swiftly rediscover the virtues of limited government and, in particular, strong constitutional restrictions on the independent exercise of authority by the executive. In a further turnaround, the left will celebrate corporate power as a check on government.”

Since the Left will then change its position immediately whenever it resumes power, Republicans should require that this newfound lefty enthusiasm for small government be put it in hard-to-reverse form, like a constitutional amendment . . . .

THEY CHOSE…POORLY: The National Laughingstock’s Margaret Sullivan: Now That Our Enemy the Right Is Using the Term “Fake News,” It’s Time to Retire It.

So our Wile E. Coyote super-genius DNC-MSM, which over the years has brought you such memes as Barry Goldwater, Crypto-Nazi; nearly 50 years of “we only have ten years to save the earth,” George Bush blowing up the WTC; RatherGate, Hurricane Katrina as Baghdad on the Bayou, accused the US military of deliberately targeting reporters for assassination, and read poetry on their broadcasts to advance Obamacare didn’t think they’d get blowback over “fake news?”

As with Meryl Streep, perhaps it’s time for old media to come clean about what they think about their customers and dust off those old Washington Post-approved “Yeah, I’m in the media, screw you” buttons once again. At least they’d points for honesty for a change.

JEFF JACOBY: The Experts Got 2016 Wrong. They’ll Get 2017 Wrong, Too.

2016! Was there ever such a year for making donkeys out of seers? A whole column could be filled with nothing but the names of sages and savants, supposedly adept in the ways of politics, who confidently assured everyone that Donald J. Trump couldn’t possibly win the Republican presidential nomination, let alone be elected president of the United States.

“If Trump is nominated, then everything we think we know about presidential nominations is wrong,” wrote Larry Sabato, whose highly regarded website at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics is called Sabato’s Crystal Ball. Peering into his crystal ball on Nov. 7, he saw Hillary Clinton poised to harvest 322 votes in the Electoral College, handily defeating Trump in the next day’s election.

Countless experts made similar predictions. “GOP insiders: Trump can’t win,” read a Politico headline last summer. Atop the story was the cocksure analysis of one of those insiders that nothing could keep Trump from losing short of “video evidence of a smiling Hillary drowning a litter of puppies while terrorists surrounded her with chants of ‘Death to America.’ ” Pollsters, politicians, and even the incumbent POTUS announced with perfect certitude that a Trump victory was off the table. Indeed, prophesied Damon Linker, senior correspondent at The Week, not only would Trump lose, he would “lose in the biggest landslide in modern American history.”

By no means was it only in the realm of US presidential politics that experts blew it.

At Fox Sports, Sam Gardner insisted on Opening Day that the Chicago Cubs “weren’t ready to make the leap” to the World Series. He was still insisting six months later that the Cubs’ World Series drought would persist.

Climate experts predicted that in the summer of 2016, for the first time in 100,000 years, the Arctic Ocean would be essentially ice-free. Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University, said the decline in sea ice was unstoppable. But when satellite images for September were released, they showed ice levels greater than they were in 2012.

Fortune magazine played up the doomsaying of Wall Street strategist Albert Edwards, who warned that 2016 would bring the biggest stock market crash in a generation. “The illusion of prosperity is shattered as boom now turns to bust,” Edwards wrote in January, amid a market swoon. Bust? By year’s end, the Dow was flirting with an all-time record high.

British experts of every description made the case for keeping the United Kingdom inside the European Union, and pollsters were sure Brexit would go down to defeat. But on the day of the election, voters tore up the script, handing the “Leave” campaign a victory margin of more than a million votes. Michael Gove, the UK’s justice minister and a leading Brexiteer, had been laughed at when he contended: “People in this country have had enough of experts.” Maybe the experts should have listened.

Maybe all of us should be more skeptical when experts are telling us what to think.

Experts and expertise have their place, but it is smaller than they imagine. And many “experts” fall into the credentialed but not educated category.

MY PREDICTION: THE WORSE 2017 IS, THE MORE HE’LL DOUBLE-DOWN ON THE “SOCIAL-JUSTICE” CRAP. Tim Cook’s terrible year in review.

Some suggestions: Bring back the headphone jack. Let the iPhone 8 be 1/8″ thicker, but with double the battery life. Quit making changes that haven’t been tested on significant numbers of ordinary users.

But I’ll bet we’ll get more “social justice” crap instead.

BLOOMBERG NEWS EDITORIAL: Obama’s Betrayal of Israel at the UN Must Not Stand.

Flashback: Candidate Obama: “Any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”

Plus, Tom Maguire emails:

Since you were early and accurate with your Obama administration prediction that “Jimmy Carter is a best-case scenario”, shouldn’t you be taking a Bold Stand on Obama’s likely behavior as an Ex-Pres?

I think “Jimmy Carter is a best case” will apply to Future Obama as well. And that was before this UN Security Council clown show.

I think that Obama will far surpass Jimmy Carter in both sanctimony and support to America’s enemies. I believe that he will set a new standard in awfulness for ex-Presidents. But sadly, I don’t think this counts as a particularly bold prediction.

THE ATLANTIC: How Barack Obama Failed Black Americans: The country’s first black president never pursued policies bold enough to close the racial wealth gap. That was Obama’s problem. Not enough fundamental transformation.

Prediction: The racial wealth gap will narrow more under Trump than it ever did under Obama.

MATT YGLESIAS’ FAILED PREDICTIONS AND VIOLENT RHETORIC. IS GE HAPPY TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH VOX? THE GREAT MOMENTS OF ONE OF OBAMA’S APPROVED MOUTHPIECES.

And since it’s not highlighted in the above link, let’s recall this great moment, courtesy of Slate, owned by the Graham family, whom until recently, also owned the Washington Post: 

matt_yglesias_memory_hole_10-26-16-5

Just think of Matt as a Democrat operative with a byline creating socialist performance art, and you won’t go far wrong:

yglesias_sophistry_8-10

COOLING OFF PERIOD: The Impending Collapse Of The Global Warming Scare.

Start with the EPA. To the extent that the global warming movement has anything to do with “science,” EPA is supposedly where that science is vetted and approved on behalf of the public before being turned into policy. In fact, under Obama, EPA’s principal role on the “science” has been to prevent and stifle any debate or challenge to global warming orthodoxy. For example, when a major new Research Report came out back in September claiming to completely invalidate all of the bases on which EPA claims that CO2 is a danger to human health and welfare, and thus to undermine EPA’s authority to regulate the gas under the Clean Air Act, EPA simply failed to respond. In the same vein, essentially all prominent global warming alarmists refuse to debate anyone who challenges any aspect of their orthodoxy. Well, that has worked as long as they and their allies have controlled all of the agencies and all of the money. Now, it will suddenly be put up or shut up. And in case you might think that the science on this issue is “settled,” so no problem, you might enjoy this recent round-up at Climate Depot from some of the actual top scientists. A couple of excerpts:

Renowned Princeton Physicist Freeman Dyson: ‘I’m 100% Democrat and I like Obama. But he took the wrong side on climate issue, and the Republicans took the right side. ‘ . . .

Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Dr. Ivar Giaever: ‘Global warming is a non-problem’ – ‘I say this to Obama: Excuse me, Mr. President, but you’re wrong. Dead wrong.’

Now the backers of the global warming alarm will not only be called upon to debate, but will face the likelihood of being called before a highly skeptical if not hostile EPA to answer all of the hard questions that they have avoided answering for the last eight years.

Read the whole thing.

The real “problem” of course is that Trump fights like a Democrat, and the climate justice warriors infesting the EPA are incapable of countering their own tactics.

PROBABLY, BUT PROBABLY NOT FOR VERY LONG: Can OPEC Send Oil To $70?

The latest, by hedge fund manager Pierre Andurand, is that crude will reach US$70 by June 2017. Andurand made this call before the weekend deal between OPEC and external producers was announced, noting that the Vienna agreement reached among the members of the organization was a “major turning point”.

Three months ago, Andurand had forecast that crude would reach US$60 by the end of the year and US$70 in 2017, so he’s now just repeating his earlier prediction, with a sounder basis this time. Back in September, he had said that Saudi Arabia is aware of the long-term implications of a depressed oil market and was ready to take steps to avoid a deficit in the longer run.

And if OPEC and the major non-OPEC states actually stick to their cuts, that’s just more $60 or $70 oil we get to sell to a thirsty world.

JEFF CARTER: Before you get too cheery about the “Trump Rally,” . . .

Yes, it’s fun to mock Paul Krugman’s prediction of an immediate post-election collapse from which there would be no recovery, but just because Krugman was wrong about that doesn’t mean that it’s all beer and skittles. I’ve been expecting a stock downturn for a while.

SO A WHILE BACK I responded to a tweetstorm demanding that I comment on Trump’s “disastrous” cabinet picks by saying that they didn’t look disastrous to me.

I missed it until now, but the WaPo’s Chris Cilizza agreed a few days later:

It’s hard to say that the doomsday predictions for Trump’s Cabinet have come true — or anything close. What we’ve seen so far is a smart melange of close allies, well-respected establishment types and a few picks with helpful political repercussions for the party Trump now leads. Give credit where credit is due.

Yep.

OUT: RUSSIAN ELECTION HACKING. IN: U.S. GOVERNMENT ELECTION HACKING. State of Georgia allegedly accusing Homeland Security of attempted hack.

The state of Georgia is accusing the Department of Homeland Security of trying to hack its voter registration database, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal says it has seen a copy of a letter to DHS making those allegations, wherein Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp writes “At no time has my office agreed to or permitted DHS to conduct penetration testing or security scans of our network. Moreover, your department has not contacted my office since this unsuccessful incident to alert us of any security event that would require testing or scanning of our network.”

Prediction: Now that there will be a Republican in the White House, calls to declare U.S. voting equipment “critical infrastructure” under Homeland Security supervision will dry up.

MAKE APPLE GREAT AGAIN: Apple Supplier Foxconn Plans Expansion in U.S.

Foxconn Technology Group, which manufactures Apple Inc.’s iPhone and other products, said it is in talks to expand in the U.S. The statement comes amid President-elect Donald Trump’s push for a return of manufacturing to the U.S.

Foxconn said the size and scope of its potential U.S. investment hasn’t been determined. . . .

Foxconn’s statement came a day after Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. Chief Executive Masayoshi Son met with Mr. Trump in New York and pledged to invest $50 billion in the U.S. Foxconn’s logo appeared beside SoftBank’s on the piece of paper that Mr. Son held while speaking to reporters.

Mr. Son and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou are longtime friends. SoftBank and Foxconn have collaborated on several investments, including on a joint venture last year with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to sell the Japanese company’s humanoid robot, Pepper.

Well, this doesn’t fulfill my Taiwan-call-based prediction, yet. But . . .

SCOTT ADAMS EXPLAINS Trump And The Taiwan Call.

Meanwhile, my prediction: Sometime next year, Taiwanese company Foxconn will announce that it’s opening an iPhone factory in the United States. . . .

IT’S ALL RELATIVE: Scientists to test theory about light that could completely change our view of the universe and prove Einstein wrong.

If the new theory is right and the speed of light was higher just after the Big Bang, the spectral index will have a very precise figure – 0.96478, according to a new study.

Current estimates of the spectral index are already close to this, at around 0.968 with some margin for error.

Lead scientist Professor Joao Magueijo, from Imperial College London, said: “The theory, which we first proposed in the late-1990s, has now reached a maturity point – it has produced a testable prediction. If observations in the near future do find this number to be accurate, it could lead to a modification of Einstein’s theory of gravity.

“The idea that the speed of light could be variable was radical when first proposed, but with a numerical prediction, it becomes something physicists can actually test. If true, it would mean that the laws of nature were not always the same as they are today.”

Maybe, like “Slower Traffic Keep Right,” the laws of nature are mere suggestions.

SCOTT ADAMS:

Imagine you are one of the anti-Trump folks who believe we just elected a racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-semitic, science-denying dictator. Let’s say that’s the movie playing in your mind. That’s some scary stuff.

Now imagine watching the news as Trump reveals in slow-motion that he’s flexible and pragmatic on just about everything. . . .

As Trump continues to demonstrate that he was never the incompetent monster his critics believed him to be, the critics will face an identity crisis. They either have to accept that they understand almost nothing about how the world works – because they got everything wrong about Trump – or they need to double-down on their current hallucination. Most of his critics will double-down. That’s how normal brains work.

And that brings us to our current situation. As Trump continues to defy all predictions from his critics, the critics need to maintain their self-images as the smart ones who saw this new Hitler coming. And that means you will see hallucinations like you have never seen. It will be epic.

The reason this will be so fun to watch is that we rarely get to see a situation in which the facts so vigorously violate a hallucination. Before Trump won the presidency everyone was free to imagine the future they expected. But as Trump continues to do one reasonable thing after another, his critics have a tough choice. They can either…

1. Reinterpret their self-images from wise to clueless.

or…

2. Generate an even stronger hallucination. (Cognitive dissonance.)

If Trump’s critics take the second option – and most of them will – it means you will see a lot of pretzel-logic of the type that is necessary hold onto the illusion that Trump is still a monster despite continuing evidence to the contrary.

Stay tuned. Buy popcorn.

THIS IS ALL STILL VAPORS AND HOPE, BUT TODAY WAS THE BUSIEST BLACK FRIDAY I’VE SEEN IN A DECADE: Not that we’re usually out shopping, but we normally run errands, and today was the first time we had trouble finding parking and getting on the highway in a decade of black Fridays. Despite NPR Prediction, Monster Black Friday Underway.