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HE’S ACCOMPLISHED MUCH FOR THE GOP: The First 117 Days of Chuck Schumer.

Schumer is no dummy when it comes to reading polls and he knows that being labeled a Democrat these days isn’t what it used to be. In fact, recent Gallup tracking of party identification found just 28 percent of Americans identify as Democrats, down 11 points since Barack Obama was elected president.

In a move that can only be described as savvy, Schumer, responding to this polling, has turned over representation of the party to Sen. Bernie Sanders, who by his own admission is not actually a Democrat. Sanders is traveling the country with national party chairman Tom Perez, holding rallies and doing media interviews in which they openly fight about what policies Democrats actually stand for. CNN charitably called the tour “bumpy.”

Schumer is nothing if not responsive. With 40 percent of registered voters in a recent Harvard-Harris poll saying the party has no leader, turning the thing over to people who aren’t actually Democrats is probably the right tactical move.

Heh.

Read the whole thing.

GEORGE SOROS, INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY: “In Hungary, It’s a Duel to the Death between the P.M. and ‘Dr. Evil,’” Michael Walsh writes, advising, “Keep an eye on Budapest — what happens there will ripple westward. The whole world will soon be watching.”

Read the whole thing.

BEN DOMENECH: Bill Nye and the Politics of Grievance.

When I was much younger, my siblings and I would routinely tune in to watch Bill Nye the Science Guy on PBS. He was a fascinating instructor bent on helping kids achieve a basic understanding of science. When he engaged in politics, it was only very briefly if at all. He has recently returned to Netflix to, as so many of their products attempt, play on the nostalgia of older Millennials. Sadly, he spends most of his new Netflix show yelling at the audience. He also collaborated with Rachel Bloom on this bizarre video on transgenderism which has nothing to do with science, and is as cringeworthy a thing as you will see all year. The whole thing manages to be unfunny, tone-deaf, and hectoring – it mangles the real issues involved and disrespects the audience at the same time.

This isn’t about persecution – it’s disrespect. And the fundamental basis of healthy politics is respect. Real persecution is only a small part of what conservatives object to about the current state of the campus or the public square – the occasional group that is shut down, the florist or cake baker whose livelihood is threatened, the religious group that is berated into breaking their faith – these are the exceptions. The overall issue is a disrespect that now views words as weapons, fueled by an academic culture which has transferred the language of PTSD to simple day-to-day existence.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): On Twitter:

ROSS DOUTHAT: Crime And Different Punishments:

Bring back the stocks and the firing squad.

The tendency in modern criminal justice has been to remove two specific elements from the state’s justice: spectacle and pain. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, pillories and stocks and whipping posts became museum pieces, the hangman and the firing squad were supplanted by more technical methods, and punishment became something that happened elsewhere — in distant prisons and execution chambers, under professional supervision, far from the baying crowd.

All of this made a certain moral sense. But the civilizing process did not do away with cruelty and in some ways it could exacerbate it. With executions, the science was often inexact and the application difficult, and when it went wrong the electric chair or the gas chamber could easily become a distinctive kind of torture. During the last century lethal injection, now the execution method of choice, had a higher “botch rate” by far than every other means of killing the condemned. Meanwhile, the lowest rate of failure (albeit out of a small sample size) belonged to that old standby: the firing squad. . . .

It is not clear that this method of dealing with crime succeeds at avoiding cruel and unusual punishment so much as it avoids making anyone outside the prison system see it. Nor is it clear that a different system, with a sometimes more old-fashioned set of penalties, would necessarily be more inhumane.

Read the whole thing. Or read this article by Peter Salib, which argues for punishments other than imprisonment.

JAMES POULOS: The trouble with Emmanuel Macron.

Yes, fellow Americans, this is how bad it’s gotten abroad: Squeaking out a first-round win by symbolizing a future of niceness now strikes the status-quo-ites as the beginning of a world made new.

The reality is considerably grimmer. How dire it was, throughout the French campaign, to watch centrists left and right insist that only they could beat back the forces of “extremism,” that catchall term which has served the West so poorly in organizing its resources against foes foreign and domestic. The continued rise of populist, nationalist, and, yes, even communist parties in Europe has shown just how extreme a reaction established neoliberalism has provoked in its failings to date — inadequate, costly efforts, by turns ham-handed, shambolic, and impotent, to manage everything from the Eurozone crisis to the immigration debacle.

Yes, it’s all been a tall order; yes, the ruling (or is it managing?) classes should have seen it coming. And yes: However well-intentioned and authentic the likes of Macron and Co., who probably grasp how truly bad it can get in Europe, their ilk are still locked into policies guaranteed to further aggravate political extremism left, right, and Islamic. They think their political stalemate with Le Pen and her fellow travelers is a victory. Really, it spells a fiercer culture war.

Read the whole thing.

ROGER KIMBALL ON TRUMP VS. OBAMA: A STUDY IN CONTRASTS:

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

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

SALENA ZITO: How Trump Voters Feel About His First 100 Days.

And now? “Nothing has changed,” said Rob Hughes, a registered Democrat and retired businessman from Bulger, Pa., who I met on my cross-country trip, told me last week. “Well, that’s probably not entirely true. I think I like him more now that he is the president.”

As I went back to the people on US 30 to ask them how they feel about the man they voted for, Hughes’ sentiment rang true.

Trump’s supporters are unfazed that a new health-care law is not in place (yet), thrilled with the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, weary of the constant accusations of his ties to Russia, supportive of his strike against Syria for using chemical weapons against its people and dismayed that House Republicans and Democrats are unwilling to compromise. To them, the president remains disruptive, unconventional, defiant and willing to change his mind — appealing attributes to his supporters, but not so to the press. . . .

When I called him recently, Hughes picked up his phone from the gun range. “I could not be more optimistic about the future than I am right now,” he told me. “Honestly, I am still on cloud nine that he won and is our president.”

Why is that? Hughes cites Trump’s unconventional approach to politics, his dismissal of political games and his willingness to compromise to get things done: “I am thrilled he has an open dialogue with China, not just on foreign affairs but on trade issues as well, and I am very pleased about how he responded to the atrocities in Syria.”

Estel, 77, who had just finished mowing 10 acres of farmland when we spoke last week, is also “very pleased” with President Trump so far: “I am very concerned about the fragile state of the world right now, but that was not of his doing. That has been decades in the making.”

Read the whole thing.

ANOTHER GREAT MOMENT IN AIRLINE SERVICE: FLIGHT DECK FIGHTS. Ed Morrissey on yesterday’s incident on an American Airlines flight from SFO to DFW: “Finally, perhaps it’s time for the major airlines to consider what their industry is doing to both its customers and its employees. Their commercials depict flying as a serene, relaxing jaunt, but that’s increasingly a bitterly comedic satire on the actual experienceCommercial air travel has become more and more uncomfortable and tense. Both passengers and crews feel increasing pressure from packed flights with smaller spaces, and the security measures from TSA only exacerbate the poisonous environment. Passengers and employees are beginning to snap, and the ubiquitous nature of smartphones guarantees that every incident will go viral — because their customers don’t like them. They just have very little choice in airlines. Until the industry rethinks its direction, this will be the new normal, and executives will get a lot of practice at apologizing and minimizing.”

Read the whole thing.

Related: “American Airlines flight attendant suspended after stroller incident on plane,” Reuters reports.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Rod Dreher on Middlebury’s Obscene Cowardice:

This capitulation to the ideological thugs who attacked [Charles] Murray and others on Middlebury’s campus deserves wide denunciation. A professor from the man’s own department was physically assaulted by these goons, and sent to the hospital — and nobody has been held accountable for any of this by Middlebury. As a scholar and as an American, Bert Johnson, the poli sci department head, should be ashamed of himself. He has shown himself to be a lickspittle to the campus left, and will be treated exactly that way by the radicals he is helping to empower.

Read the whole thing. As Princeton’s Robert P. George asked last night on Twitter, “Do you recall the Maoist ‘struggle sessions’ in which Chinese intellectuals were shamed and forced to confess errors?” But in Communist China, power flowed directly from the barrel of Mao’s gun. The staff at Middlebury capitulated to the mob voluntarily.

The Red Guard parades an official through a Peking street and force him to wear a dunce cap as a mark of public shame on Jan. 25, 1967; photo obtained from Japanese sources in Tokyo. (AP)

VIDEO: RECORDING, 1950s STYLE:

As “Yep,” the recording engineer/producer who wrote the bulk of the posts of the legendary “Why Do Your Recordings Sound Like Ass” thread at the Cockos Reaper DAW forum noted in 2008:

The explosion in prices for “vintage” and “boutique” gear was not driven by professional studios. Even before the home-studio boom, the arrival of cheap, high quality digital and better broadcast technologies made a whole lot of local recording and broadcast studios redundant. There was a small increase in inexpensive project studios, fueled by the rise of punk, hip-hop, and “indie” music, but for the most part, the emergence of the ADAT and Mackie mixers spelled the beginning of the end for mid-market commercial recording studios, and began to turn broadcast studios into cheap, commodity workplaces devoid of the old-school audio “engineers” (who actually wore lab coats in the old days of calibrating cutting lathes and using oscilloscopes to measure DC offset and so on).

The irony is that the explosion of cheap, high-quality digital fostered a massive cottage industry of extremely small home and project studios, that rapidly began to develop a keen interest in high-end studio gear. Even as broadcast and small commercial jingle studios and local TV stations (of which there were a LOT, back then) were dumping their clunky mixing consoles and old-fashioned ribbon mics and so on, there was a massive rise in layperson interest in high-end studio gear. As the price of entry has gotten lower and lower, interest in and demand for truly “pro quality” sound has increased exponentially, and superstition and reverential awe has grown up around anything that pre-exists the digital age.

Dean Amos, the owner of the studio located in Wickford, Essex, UK, in the above new Sound on Sound magazine video has taken that love of vintage tube-based gear and ‘50s-era ribbon microphones to its logical conclusion; he’s recreated the sort of studio that Elvis or Buddy Holly would have recorded in, around 1957 or so, right down to a three track reel-to-reel recorder. But unless you’ve got live performance chops in the neighborhood of either of those two artists, the mixture of vintage mics, pre-amps and compressors with modern-day editing and pitch correction software is likely to yield far better results. But it’s still an incredibly cool looking – and sounding – studio.

REVEALED: Richard Spencer’s Racist Little Secret.

Following the donnybrook that happened in Berkeley, Calif., last week, every media outlet prepared for another showdown between his supposed legion of neofascists and students opposed to his nonsense. I even went to bear witness to the expected tumult.

After his appearance, headlines everywhere documented the thousands of protesters, the brief skirmishes and the First Amendment legal battle that paved the way for his speech. There is one thing they all failed to mention about the brouhaha that ensued:

No one really cared.

That’s right. The whole “celebrity founder of a nationwide ‘alt-right’ movement” narrative is a scam. Richard Spencer is simply an overhyped, racist, Kardashian-like curiosity. He is a media-driven drama queen starring in a reality show that no one cares to watch. He has very few fans and almost no devotees. Richard Spencer is a hoax.

Indeed.

Read the whole thing.

(Hat tip, proud Auburn alum Will Collier.)

ZOMBIE ON THE BATTLE FOR BERKELEY: “Antifa got their asses kicked, and were literally driven from the park and fled. Ooooooh, dearest me, right-wingers threw punches! Let us clutch our pearls! But that’s the point. People’s patience was used up. Saturday’s punches were in response to YEARS of being punched and not being allowed to fight back.”

Read the whole thing.

As David French writes at NRO in “The Battle of Berkley:”

We are now teetering on the edge of a truly terrifying incident, one trigger-pull away from a slaughter. Campus and urban progressives have a choice to make. Is this a nation of laws? If it is, then it’s time to grow a backbone, protect free speech, punish rioters, and expel those who disrupt the educational environment regardless of ideology. There should be no more sympathy or leniency for the lawless social-justice warrior than there is for the lawless neo-Nazi.

Every single time the progressive establishment ignores, minimizes, or whitewashes leftist violence, it sows the wind. Americans have watched mobs attack police and burn buildings in Baltimore, Ferguson, Charlotte, and Minneapolis. They have watched mobs riot over politics and free speech in Middlebury, Berkeley, Portland, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Is anyone at all shocked that when the police hang back, others will step into the void? Leftists are fond of saying “violence begets violence.” If we don’t restore the rule of law, we’ll all find out just how right they are.

The Tea Party was a peaceful protest made up of plenty of middle-aged men and women who saw themselves called Nazis and racists by the Cathedral for their efforts at reforming Big Government. Trump’s core supporters are made of tougher stock – and they know the DNC-MSM’s narrative is pre-written, no matter what happens. No one can say they’re surprised at this past weekend’s news. (OK, maybe the wedgies, though.)

Earlier: “Funny, you never see these freakouts at trade schools.”

JAY COST: As goes Kansas, so goes …?

It is a dicey proposition to read too much into special elections to the House of Representatives. Turnout tends to be quite low, and local factors can skew results one way or another. That could be especially true in this case. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is immensely unpopular in the state, and Mr. Estes, as state treasurer, is naturally linked to his administration.

Still, the results were notable — especially in Topeka, the state capital and the biggest population center in the district. Mr. Trump won Topeka comfortably against Hillary Clinton in 2016, but in the special election, the vote was split more or less down the middle. In many respects, Topeka is your typical Midwestern city. So, to see the Democratic nominee claim half the vote could be a sign of rising voter discontent nationwide.

Or it could just be a fluke. That’s the trouble with special elections.

Still, congressional Republicans would do well to confront the plain fact that, though they have had complete charge of the government, they have no substantive accomplishments to show for their time in power. Worse, they do not even have any big achievements working their way through the pipeline.

Read the whole thing.

My preference would have been for a GOP loss in Kansas last week. The sacrifice of one easy-to-win-back seat would have been worth it, if it had given the House GOP a wakeup call in time to avoid a 2006-style shellacking next year.

SALENA ZITO: A Fragile Hope In Ford Heights.

Nobody ever really moves in here. Nobody ever comes here except to pass on by; you either escape or die.

The only businesses left in the town are one gas station, two liquor stores and a strip club; the strip club, a massive Greek-revival structure, is the largest employer.

Building after building is vacant, litter is everywhere. Businesses are shuttered, modest homes abandoned, and so are a couple of the housing projects.

The community’s connection with hope is fragile.

And the saddest thing is that none of this is new: Ford Heights, located 25 miles from Chicago, has been fighting this battle for decades. In 1987 it was named the poorest black suburb in America.

De-industrialization is color-blind; it doesn’t matter if your town is all white, or predominately black like Ford Heights — when the jobs leave, everyone bleeds red.

A study by the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago showed, in 2014, that Ford Heights’ jobless rate exceeded 60 percent for 20- to 24-year-olds.

The evidence of prosperity passing by this rural black town is everywhere.

The problems are so numerous, so egregious to polite society’s sensibilities, that polite society just doesn’t come here. Like everything in culture, if you don’t hear about it or see it, walk the streets or step in the peoples’ shoes for a week or a day or even an hour, then it mustn’t really be happening.

Except it is.

Read the whole thing.

CONRAD BLACK: A Secular Good Friday Came Early.

The reaction to the cruise missile attack on Syria has been highly encouraging for President Trump. First, Democrats have generally acknowledged that it was a justified action in response to the brazen atrocity of murdering civilians and particularly children with Sarin gas. Second, it has attracted some criticism from the isolationist right, which makes it harder for the president’s opponents to attack him for being an isolationist. Third, although the Russians were advised to remove their personnel from the target area, it clearly debunks the theory that Trump is in dishonorable cooperation with Russian leader Putin.

Trump has therefore managed to cover all the bases with a simple military exercise that put no Americans at risk.

Read the whole thing.

TERROR IS JUST A WORD FOR THE THINGS THEY CHOOSE TO DO TOGETHER: Iranian Airline’s Ties to Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Boeing announced last week it would sell 30 B737 Max aircraft to Aseman Airlines – a government-owned carrier that is Iran’s third-largest – in a deal valued at around $3 billion. The deal appears to be permitted under the 2015 nuclear agreement, which lifted U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic’s aviation sector. There is, however, a problem: Aseman’s CEO, Hossein Alaei, is a decades-long senior member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, which remains under U.S. sanctions.

Since 1979, Alaei has held senior positions in the IRGC’s military establishment. He joined the Guard shortly after the 1979 Iranian revolution and quickly rose to be commander of IRGC forces in two northwestern provinces. In the 1980s, he commanded the Karbala Garrison in the southern front during the Iran-Iraq War. In 1985, then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini appointed him commander of the newly established IRGC Navy. Under his leadership, it began using high-speed boats and mines to target commercial and military vessels during the so-called Tanker War with Iraq.

Like his ideological peers, Alaei openly voiced his desire to confront America. During the Tanker War, the IRGC Navy attacked U.S.-owned commercial vessels and Navy vessels, on one occasion injuring U.S. sailors.

Read the whole thing.

THE HILL: Clinton campaign plagued by bickering.

She’d been humiliated in the Michigan primary the night before, a loss that not only robbed her of a prime opportunity to put Bernie Sanders down for good but also exposed several of her weaknesses. How could she have been left so vulnerable? She knew — or at least she thought she did. The blame belonged to her campaign team, she believed, for failing to hone her message, energize important constituencies and take care of business in getting voters to the polls. And now, Jake Sullivan, her de facto chief strategist, was giving her lip about the last answer she’d delivered in the prep session.

“That’s not very good,” Sullivan corrected.

“Really?” Hillary snapped back.

The room fell silent.

“Why don’t you do it?”

The comment was pointed and sarcastic, but she meant it. So for the next 30 minutes, there he was, pretending to be Hillary while she critiqued his performance.

Every time the Yale lawyer and former high school debate champ opened his mouth, Hillary cut him off. “That isn’t very good,” she’d say. “You can do better.” Then she’d hammer him with a Bernie line.

Read the whole thing.

SCOTT SNYDER AND SUNGTAE PARK: A Menu of Imperfect Strategic Options for South Korea.

One potential option for South Korea is to gradually align with a rising China while loosening its ties with the United States. But this policy relies on the assumption that China will be the next hegemon in Asia.

Given China’s slowing economic growth, internal problems and the fact that it continues to face competition with other regional actors, this outcome is not assured. China also does not share common liberal democratic values with South Korea, and Beijing is highly unlikely to help Seoul in the case of a North Korean attack, or respect South Korean interests. Siding with China would also not inoculate South Korea against losses in the event of rising US–China competition or even military conflict.

Another option is for South Korea to balance against China’s rise, together with the United States and Japan. But this could result in Seoul losing Beijing’s support altogether in dealing with Pyongyang. Moreover, if South Korea were to become the frontline state in a coalition against China, it would bear the brunt of the consequences of a US–China conflict, just as in the Korean War. There is also no knowing whether such balancing against China would succeed, but the price of failing would be costly.

Seoul could instead seek to remain neutral. But when great powers compete, they have incentives to draw a neutral state into their respective coalitions to gain advantage. Without a great power ally, deterring North Korea would also become more difficult.

Read the whole thing.

South Korea is also undergoing a leadership crisis, and voters appear poised to install leftwing presidential candidate Moon Jae-in, who comes with all the expected anti-American baggage.

Our relationship status with Seoul has always been It’s Complicated, but it’s getting more so.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Judge Richard Posner’s unimpeachable honesty; Or, why we should start electing federal judges.

Posner is mostly just being honest. Judges do what he describes all the time, they just usually cloak it behind a smokescreen of legalism that makes it at least somewhat deniable. Indeed, that’s basically what the majority opinion does.

But the job of updating statutes is the job of legislators, not judges, and what legislators have over judges in that regard is that they are elected. Judges can — from within their insular world of life-tenure employment and elite-legal/academic socialization — guess at what contemporary social mores are. Legislators, by virtue of standing regularly for election, don’t have to guess.

So in light of Posner’s new conception of the judicial mission, I have a modest proposal of my own for updating what has become obsolete: Let federal judges stand for election themselves. I’m prepared to exempt trial judges, who have fewer opportunities for such sweeping pronouncements, and whose decisions in criminal trials, for example, probably shouldn’t be affected by electoral prospects. But for those who aspire to function as Platonic Guardians, I think a little more rootedness is called for.

You should read the whole thing. But you knew that, right?

TRUMP’S CONUNDRUM: What Policy Will He Adopt After the Bombing?

Ron Radosh, so read the whole thing.

MICHAEL LEDEEN: The Real War in ‘Syria’ and the Strategy for Long-Term Victory.

Read the whole thing.

ROGER SIMON ON RAND PAUL’S DAY IN THE SUN:

As events continue to evolve in the Susan Rice “unmasking” scandal, my hat’s off to Rand.  He’s my new hero, out there demanding Rice testify and wondering why the former national security adviser was doing investigating that normally would have been done by the FBI.

Read the whole thing.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: The Sovietization of American Politics.

Hope looks like it just left town. To boot there are now allegations that Susan Rice actively requested the “unmasking” of Trump campaign and transition official’s names from intelligence reports. That makes a “dual track investigation” inevitable according to law professor William Jacobson. “I don’t see how the Obama administration does not now become a target of congressional investigation after this revelation.” Both sides are in a race to see who can jail or politically cripple the other side first. Although the pawns will fall first the game won’t end until checkmate traps one of the two rival kings.

No one is backing down, certainly not the Democrats. “Why is Trump flailing?” writes Greg Sargent in the Washington Post, “because Americans hate his agenda, and it’s based on lies” . Uncompromising stands are nothing new for the Democratic party. The difference is that this time the Republicans aren’t giving way. The strange guy with orange complexion has put the progressives out of reckoning by being just as unreasonable as the conservatives thought the liberals were. The strategy of “by any means necessary”, so effective when the Democrats enjoyed a monopoly on its use is now transformed into a pact of mutually assured destruction as the other side adopts similar methods.

Obama and Trump are in a game of chicken that neither seems ready to abandon.

Obama probably can’t afford to, and there’s no reason Trump should want to.

And do read the whole thing.

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S WATERGATE-LEVEL SCANDAL?: Peter J. Wallison at RealClearPolitics examines that question.

The smoking gun in Watergate was President Nixon’s effort to use the CIA to impede an FBI investigation. What kind of “gate” is the misuse of the intelligence community to get inside information on an opposing presidential candidate?

It may turn out that the Democrats, so eager to prove that the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians, have unknowingly blundered into a matter that will come back to damage both their party and the Obama administration.

Read the whole thing.

BILL GERTZ: U.S. Ill-Prepared to Stop Widespread Russian Information Warfare.

In addition to the hacking and leaking campaign during the election, Russian intelligence agencies engaged in covert influence operations that falsely reported terrorist attacks in the United States and against the key U.S. military base in Incirlik, Turkey.

The Russian government also backed the Occupy Wall Street protest movement and trumpeted racially charged news to sow social unrest.

The federal government has been unable to stop Moscow’s propaganda and influence operations. Likewise, it has failed to counter cyber attacks aimed at stealing data or sabotaging critical networks.

“Americans should be concerned because right now a foreign country, whether they realize it or not, is pitting them against their neighbor, other political parties, ramping up divisions based on things that aren’t true,” said Clint Watts, a cyber security expert and former FBI special agent.

Russian information warfare operations seek to erode Americans’ trust in the government.

“If they can do that, if Americans don’t believe that their vote counts, they’re not going to show up to participate in democracy,” said Watts, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

There’s still no evidence that Russia “hacked” the election in any way, although high-level Clinton hand John Podesta was apparently gullible enough to fall for a phishing attack — which revealed embarrassing, but true, details about Hillary’s campaign.

As for the rest, given how much more fragile Russia’s institutions are than ours, a little tit might prevent a whole lot of future tat.

SMOKING GUN? Susan Rice Ordered Spy Agencies To Produce ‘Detailed Spreadsheets’ Involving Trump.

Former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice ordered U.S. spy agencies to produce “detailed spreadsheets” of legal phone calls involving Donald Trump and his aides when he was running for president, according to former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova.

“What was produced by the intelligence community at the request of Ms. Rice were detailed spreadsheets of intercepted phone calls with unmasked Trump associates in perfectly legal conversations with individuals,” diGenova told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group Monday.

“The overheard conversations involved no illegal activity by anybody of the Trump associates, or anyone they were speaking with,” diGenova said. “In short, the only apparent illegal activity was the unmasking of the people in the calls.”

Other knowledgeable official sources with direct knowledge and who requested anonymity confirmed to TheDCNF diGenova’s description of surveillance reports Rice ordered one year before the 2016 presidential election.

Read the whole thing.

The question now most in need of an answer is: What did the former President know, and when did he know it?

THE E.U. CASTS STONES FROM ITS GLASS HOUSE:

Well, this is rich. The European Union is chastising the United States after Donald Trump’s “energy independence” executive order signed earlier this week, saying that it’s now up to the EU and China to take the lead on curbing global emissions. . . .

There’s so much wrong with this posturing that it’s hard to know where to begin refuting it. Let’s start with the fact that a study was published this week that found that only three countries in all of Europe are actually following through on the climate commitments they made in Paris 15 months ago. It’s hard, then, to imagine how Canete was able to keep a straight face when admonishing the United States for “backsliding” from its Paris commitments.

Then, too, the notion that China is ready to take the lead on climate change is in itself laughable. The country’s own ministry for environmental protection is fighting a high-profile struggle with polluters who are serving up phony emissions data. How can China hope to stick to climate commitments when the data by which we’d measure that adherence is so fundamentally unreliable?

Finally, let’s consider the fact that Trump’s executive order didn’t meaningfully change the trajectory of U.S. emissions. Before Trump signed that document, the United States was already helping to keep global emissions relatively level (by reducing our own emissions 3 percent in 2016). Those reductions came about as a result of the shale boom, and Trump isn’t about to get in the way of that.

It’s as if the whole thing is just a bunch of moral posturing, used as an excuse to raise taxes.

Related: Chinese Polluters Still Fudging The Numbers.

PATRICK POOLE: Turkish Government Opened $100m Mosque in D.C. as Turkish Intel Spied From Mosques Across Europe.

On the one-year anniversary of the opening of the Diyanet Center of America, questions about its true purpose are being raised. There are ongoing investigations by European officials into widespread spying allegations implicating Turkish government-funded Diyanet mosques across the continent — just like the one opened outside of Washington, D.C. The investigations center on whether the mosques are spying on behalf of the the Turkish intelligence service, the Milli Istihbarat Teskilati (MIT).

Yesterday I reported here at PJ Media on the investigations in Germany, where authorities have conducted raids targeting Diyanet imams and high-ranking officers of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), the official arm of the Diyanet in Germany.

Read the whole thing.

ED HOOPER: Iconic Medal of Honor discovered in Arkansas.

The faded faces look back at you from the past. An old photograph taken in 1890s Nebraska showing the U.S. Army’s 9th Cavalry’s K Troop or, as they were better known, buffalo soldiers. One of my journalistic quests for the last two decades has been the search for any personal effects belonging to the soldier seated third from the left. The man under that hat is Medal of Honor Recipient First Sergeant George Jordan. He also held a Certificate of Merit – the two highest commendations a U.S. soldier could receive in his era.

Jordan was born in 1847 in Williamson County, Tennessee, enlisting in the Army six months after President Andrew Johnson signed the 1866 bill allowing African-Americans to serve in the post-Civil War Army. Jordan educated himself, learning how to read and write, and joined K Troop four years later. He remained there throughout his career, proving to be one of the best field commanders in the Army west of the Mississippi. No one buffalo soldier so epitomized their motto of “We can. We will.” The white officers in charge of the all-black units often trusted Jordan with half of their commands because of knowledge and skill in the field. He served 30 years in the Army and retired.

Read the whole thing.

THE BOTTOM LINE ON MIKE PENCE: Feminists have managed to create an employment atmosphere where men walk around on pins and needles wondering when something they say might be taken out of context or when a woman might decide to ruin a man’s career with a false accusation.

It’s funny, because all the spinoffs of the Atlantic piece on Pence seem to go on about Christianity, but if you read the comments to the Atlantic piece, they overwhelmingly sound the theme above. Here’s the top-rated one:

1. Greatly expand definition of sexual harassment.
2. Make any accusation of sexual harassment career-ending.
3. Proclaim that women should always be believed when they accuse a man.
4. Complain that men won’t have 1-on-1 meetings with women.

This article reinforces the old stereotype that women aren’t logical…

Ouch. Here’s another:

I have battled to stay awake through more of those HR lectures than I care to recall, and I am long past the point at which I can ace the computerized exams without reading any of the material, because the PC position is usually screamingly obvious. I get the impression that many of those criticizing Pence have never worked in a business, professional, or government position where an inadvertent remark in a social setting can go nuclear. Nor do they seem to realize the danger that the person with whom one is bantering today may be a disgruntled employee two years from now (a bad review, passed over for a promotion), and suddenly everything is subject to retroactive reinterpretation.

But to admit that gives away the whole feedlot. So instead we have to instruct Mike Pence on why he’s doing Christianity wrong.

UPDATE: Rape Culture!!! Rape Culture!!!

SALENA ZITO: THIS IS THE NEXT DEMOCRATIC STRONGHOLD TO CRACK LIKE THE RUST BELT.

As Zito accurately writes, first class in an Amtrak Acela Express on the Northeast Corridor is “a jarring anthropological experience — that is, if you bother to look up from your digital device. Not because it is too fast, or the curves are too sharp; the jarring effect comes from the visual decay of our country swooshing right before your eyes.”

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): In the comments: “President Trump may not be able to fix the carnage. But he was elected because he is the only politician in America willing to admit the carnage is happening.”

MEDIA BIAS GOES FAR BEYOND LANGUAGE: “Recently, New York magazine published a profile piece on Donald Trump’s White House counselor and campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway. The profile itself is well written, and overall I found it to be fair and interesting. That said, when I saw the accompanying photos, I couldn’t help but be taken aback. I’ve been a photographer for over 20 years, and I’ve done editorial and corporate headshots before. What I saw in New York magazine is something I would never present to a client.

Read the whole thing.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. The Climate Yawns — Donald Trump is no more a planet wrecker than Barack Obama (as measured to the third decimal):

So potent and large are these global forces that repealing the Obama rules, costly as they are, not only won’t affect coal jobs, it won’t affect climate.

Gina McCarthy, Mr. Obama’s EPA administrator, admitted as much when confronted, during a 2015 House hearing, with the fact that, by the agency’s own climate models, the effect would be only 1/100th of a degree Celsius. Instead, she said success should be measured in terms of “positioning the U.S. for leadership in an international discussion.”

Read the whole thing.

ANDREW MCCARTHY: Flynn’s Reported Immunity Request.

The object of the Left’s game is to nullify Trump’s presidency, whether by impeachment or withering rebuke. The best way to get there is to demonize his associates, such that they are criminals and their crimes are his crimes. On that list, it doesn’t get higher than Mike Flynn.

Long before riding the front of the Trump Train, Flynn made himself the bête noire of the intelligence community, accusing it of politicizing intelligence analyses and concealing the ineffectiveness of Obama’s approach to jihadist terror – claims which, to the great embarrassment of Obama’s spy chiefs, have been corroborated by intelligence agency operatives. Like Trump, moreover, Flynn – brash, unpolished, and erratic – has a knack for making enemies on all sides, such that Washington is now full of two kinds of people: those out to get Flynn and those who whisper that he has it coming.

Read the whole thing.

SPENGLER: The ‘Racism’ Libel Against the Trump Administration.

The debate over America’s attitude towards the Islamic world has been bitter, even vitriolic. But no-one to my knowledge in the Republican camp ever alleged that racism motivated the opponents of the Bush Freedom Agenda — not until the odious Max Boot denounced Trump’s GOP as “the party of white nationalism” in a March 14 screed at the Foreign Policy website:

This is how the Bannons and [Rep. Steve] Kings view the modern world: The West is threatened by hordes of swarthy outsiders, especially Mexicans and Muslims, and they are lonely defenders of the white Christian race against this insidious threat. There is no evidence that Trump has given this matter as much thought as they have, but, based on his public pronouncements, he has reached similar conclusions. That helps to explain why the administration is building a border wall, expanding deportations, and trying to keep out citizens of as many Muslim countries as possible. This isn’t about fighting terrorism or crime; it’s about fighting changing demographics. And it’s premised on an unspoken assumption that only white Christians are true Americans; all others are “somebody else.”

That is the sort of race-baiting one expects to hear from the extreme left; it is a new and disgusting development to hear it from a supposed conservative (in this case a neo-conservative).

Read the whole thing.

The ongoing right-on-right warfare is a sign that either the right is incapable of governing, or that a major segment of it simply doesn’t want to — or both, depending on who you’re reading.

DUDE, WHERE’S MY UBER? Nevada Kills Plan To Force Ridesharing Apps To Stall for 15 Minutes.

In what can best be described as a rare moment of clarity for a government, the state of Nevada has ditched a plan to require ridesharing apps to delay pickup times by 15 minutes.

This effort was pushed by the taxi lobby in an effort to compete with companies like Uber and Lyft and their growing market share.

Rent-seeking… denied!

Read the whole thing. Apart from the happy ending it’s about as sickening and corrupt as you’d imagine.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: Reaction Time. “The instinctive reaction of politicians when visibility is poor is to repeat the actions which stabilized things in the past.”

Perhaps one reason for the current revolt against giant institutions like the EU, the UN and the Federal government is a subconscious realization among Western voters that technological and social change has gotten inside the loop of bureaucratic response; that whatever is pounding on the door will prove too fast for the sclerotic central planning bureaucracies to handle. There is no longer much confidence in the capacity of legacy institutions to identify problems at long range and to intercept them before it’s too late. Perhaps the most frightening thing about the Obama years was how he laughed at “Governor Romney” for warning Russia might be a problem.

They couldn’t see it coming. They couldn’t seem to see anything coming. Consequently the voters have decided to downsize, not necessarily in the interests of quality leadership but to optimize for reaction time; to appoint someone who will actually act — even in error — before it is too late.

Read the whole thing.

DAVID HARSANYI: Why “Fight Club” Still Matters: Chuck Palahniuk’s story of hopelessness and masculinity is more powerful than ever.

If I were the kind of person who recklessly intellectualized pop culture, I’d contend that Chuck Palahniuk’s novel “Fight Club” was the coda to GenXers’ disaffection with the 1970s and ’80s, a distillation of angst and confusion created by assaults on masculinity. “We’re a generation of men raised by women,” the nameless narrator famously explains. That echoes a familiar complaint these days.

When I first read the book in my mid-20s, it wasn’t a profound literary experience, but rather something visceral — maybe culturally akin to watching “Pulp Fiction” for the first time, if “Pulp Fiction” had a moral (amoral?) center. While “Fight Club” is violent and funny, it’s also a book about despair, isolation, pessimism, and slackerism. Palahniuk’s lean sentences toy with unpleasant notions; his characters speak about men in a ways they understand but rarely express. I’m not sure there is any other book quite like it.

Rereading “Fight Club” might have made me feel older, but its satire and prose still stand out in a culture teeming with phony edginess. Perhaps it’s just sentimentality about the ’90s, but so much of today’s output seems an exercise in back patting. “Mr. Robot” or “Girls” — or, well, any other supposedly socially conscientious film, show, or novel that pops into my head while writing this — are preachy exercises that bolster notions already fully embraced by its audience. No one is challenged, because being challenged means being offended.

Not long ago, I ran across an article in which Palahniuk took credit for the use of the term “snowflake,” a moniker some people on Right use to insult the easily outraged on the Left. The line in the book is: “You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.”

Read the whole thing.

RAYMOND LOEWY WEEPS: Great moments in graphic design — It Took Three People Two Months to Create Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Logo.

Contrast that with how quickly Trump came up with “Make America Great Again:”

Trump told the Post that he first thought of it after the Republican loss in the 2012 presidential election. Republicans were surprised at the loss, having thought their nominee Mitt Romney could have beat President Barack Obama, and Trump was considering how he could brand a run for president as a revival of the party and the country.

“As soon as the loss took place, I said, ‘I’ll tell you what, assuming I’m in a good position, assuming all of the things that you have to assume, which are many, I’m going to run next time,'” he told the Post. “And I sat back and I said, ‘What would be a good expression? And I said, let’s do this.'”

Trump outlined his thought process to the Post: “I said, ‘We’ll make America great.’ And I had started off ‘We Will Make America Great.’ That was my first idea, but I didn’t like it. And then all of a sudden it was going to be ‘Make America Great.’ But that didn’t work because that was a slight to America because that means it was never great before. And it has been great before.”

He continued: “So I said, ‘Make America Great Again.’ I said, ‘That is so good.’ I wrote it down. I went to my lawyers. I have a lot of lawyers in-house. We have many lawyers. I have got guys that handle this stuff. I said, ‘See if you can have this registered and trademarked.'”

One of the designers of the Hillary H-logo was Michael Bierut, who was featured in the (actually really fascinating) film Helvetica, released in 2007 to celebrate the ubiquitous font’s 50th anniversary. When I wrote a long post on the movie in 2010, I dubbed it “Liberal Fascism: The Font,” due to how seamlessly the Helvetica font unites the world of business and government into a seamless corporatist whole.

Bierut is quoted by the Washington Free Beacon today as being quite proud of the Helvetica-derived logo he created for Hillary, and apparently quite astonished that “The majority of the reviews were negative:”

He didn’t know his logo had been chosen by Clinton, however, until he saw it in Clinton’s official launch video in April.

“What we had been working on in secret was suddenly public,” Bierut wrote. “It was really happening.”

The majority of the reviews were negative, which was difficult for Bierut to deal with, but he was told by the campaign to “adopt a no-comment policy about the logo.”

Though he was unable to defend the logo publicly, he believes that “the world noticed” how great it actually was as the campaign went on and its versatility became known.

Bierut also thought that Donald Trump’s visual campaign was awful—”Bad typography; amateurish design; haphazard, inconsistent, downright ugly communications”—and that gave him added confidence as he settled into the Clinton campaign’s election night victory party in New York City.

“It was going to be the most thrilling night of my life,” Bierut wrote. “As I walked the darkening streets of midtown Manhattan toward Jacob Javits Convention Center, from blocks away I could glimpse an enormous image on the JumboTron over its main entrance, a forward-pointing arrow superimposed on a letter H.”

The night, of course, did not go as planned.

Heh.™ In the Helvetica movie, there’s a clip of Bierut that to date as received 94,000 views on YouTube, as it neatly summarizes both the film and its subject matter’s history, which is quite a double-edged sword:

The pre-war socialist modernists of Weimar Germany’s Bauhaus and Holland’s De Stijl produced some genuinely impressive graphic design and architecture, but as with political correctness, another prewar German product that flourished in America after WWII, by the 1960s, architects and designers were trapped by the soul-crushing limitations of its rules: only Mies van der Rohe steel and glass boxes were considered acceptable architectural designs, and only Helvetica-based logos were considered acceptable graphic design, destroying much Americana and great design in their wake.

See also: New York’s Penn Station.

Just as Pauline Kael infamously described Nixon voters as “outside my ken,” no wonder Bierut couldn’t imagine being defeated by “Bad typography; amateurish design; haphazard, inconsistent, downright ugly communications” – everything terrible except a slogan that genuinely resonated with the American people exhausted after eight years of Obama and dreading another four of the same.

And speaking of graphic design and Obama, lest you think I’m reflexively bashing the left, compare Hillary’s soulless H with the iconography of the 2008 Obama campaign. The Obama “O” logo’s brilliant graphic design – the sun rising, the red, white and blue “Morning in America” symbolism all inside Obama’s namesake initial — leaves Hillary’s clunky H in the dust, as PJM’s own Bill Whittle explained in 2009:

DAVID HARSANYI: Why ‘Fight Club’ Still Matters.

Rereading “Fight Club” might have made me feel older, but its satire and prose still stand out in a culture teeming with phony edginess. Perhaps it’s just sentimentality about the ’90s, but so much of today’s output seems an exercise in back patting. “Mr. Robot” or “Girls” — or, well, any other supposedly socially conscientious film, show, or novel that pops into my head while writing this — are preachy exercises that bolster notions already fully embraced by its audience. No one is challenged, because being challenged means being offended.

Not long ago, I ran across an article in which Palahniuk took credit for the use of the term “snowflake,” a moniker some people on Right use to insult the easily outraged on the Left. The line in the book is: “You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.”

“There is a kind of new Victorianism,” Palahniuk told the interviewer. “Every generation gets offended by different things, but my friends who teach in high school tell me that their students are very easily offended.” Palahniuk went on to say that the “modern Left is always reacting to things. Once they get their show on the road culturally they will stop being so offended.”

Read the whole thing.

It doesn’t feel like Fight Club could get written or published today, or if it did that it would find an audience of 20-somethings, such as these campus snowflakes demanding that “We Don’t Want Our Professors to Be People Who Voted for Donald Trump.”

THAT ABOUT SUMS IT UP:

If you’ve missed the latest progressive uproar because you’ve been avoiding WaPo (which I’m paid to read for you) and/or Twitter (which sucks), Tyler O’Neil has you covered.

What is Mike Pence’s alleged “medieval vision?” As Parker reported, “In 2002, Mike Pence told the Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either.”

Perhaps, following the major scandal of President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, Pence decided to avoid any appearance of impropriety or infidelity, no matter how seemingly insignificant. Mike Pence had served in Congress for years, and had major political ambitions. He did end up becoming governor of Indiana and vice president to boot.

Pence and his wife (not to mention his campaign manager or chief of staff) may have set ground rules to make certain no enterprising photographer could snap a picture intended as blackmail later on — or a juicy story on a left-wing website. Stranger things have happened.

But Social Justice Warriors on Twitter had a different interpretation — Pence’s personal self-limitations are … the right-wing version of Sharia law!

Xeni Jardin, who I’ve enjoyed reading on occasion in the past, doesn’t come off well in this piece.

Read the whole thing.

THESE LOOK PRETTY GOOD TO ME: Healthcare Improvements Republicans Could Make. Here are the first three:

1. Price transparency and consistency. Require all providers (hospitals, doctors, etc..) to clearly publish their prices by service and by diagnosis in advance, physically and electronically, in both human and machine-readable formats.

2. Stop gouging the uninsured. Require that providers give people who are paying out of their own pocket “most favored nation” status – giving them the best price that the provider offers to any private insurer.

3. Easier approval for generics in the US – to create more price competition in drugs and devices, and bring prices down.

Read the whole thing.

ROGER KIMBALL: Is Mo Brooks Our Lord Brougham?

But I like Mo Brooks’s approach to the problem, which in some ways is similar to Lord Brougham’s approach to the evil of the income tax, in some ways akin to Alexander the Great’s solution to the problem of the Gordian Knot. On Friday, Brooks filed the “ObamaCare Repeal Act” in Congress. ObamaCare itself runs to thousands of pages. Brooks’s remediation runs one sentence:

“Effective as of Dec. 31, 2017, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted.”

C’est tout. Finis. End of show.

Will it work? Ask yourself this: Do our duly elected representatives really want to repeal ObamaCare? After all, it encompasses some 20 percent of the U.S. economy. Think of the opportunities for graft, for deal-making, for influence-peddling! Think of the opportunities for extending the reach of the government into the lives of the citizens! Doctors, hospitals, other health-care facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and manufacturers of medical equipment: all now transformed into wards of the state, i.e., subject to the whims and regulations of — yep, you guessed it — those very duly elected representatives: what an opportunity! Imagine if someone had told Lord Brougham that, one day in the future in a country pretending to be a democracy, the state required its subjects to buy health care insurance on pain of a special levy if they failed to do so!

Politicians may or may not wish to repeal ObamaCare; those that do also wish to replace it, i.e., promulgate some other “government program,” i.e., opportunity for graft, influence-peddling, regulatory imposition, etc. Mo Brooks, on the contrary, seems to entertain the deeply heterodox idea of simply getting rid of the Leviathan.

Imagine that — a law you could memorize over your first cup of coffee.

Meanwhile, read the whole thing.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The Russian Farce. “Remember when Obama and Hillary cozied up to Putin? And recall when the media rejoiced at surveillance leaks about Team Trump?”

And:

The Obama administration came up with a reset–soft-glove approach to Vladimir’s Russia, characterized by Secretary Hillary Clinton’s heralded pushing of the red plastic button on March 6, 2009, in Geneva. Reset was couched in overt criticism of George W. Bush, who had supposedly alienated Putin by reacting too harshly (like a typical cowboy) to Russia’s aggression in Georgia.

Over the next few years, the reset policy consisted of, among other things, backtracking on previously agreed-on missile-defense plans in Eastern Europe. In the second presidential debate of 2012, Obama portrayed Romney as being too tough on Russia, to the point of delusion:

A few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not al-Qaeda. You said Russia. In the 1980s, they’re now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.

The Obama administration invited Russia into the Middle East for the first time in nearly a half-century to help Obama back off from his own redline threats to attack Syria if evidence of WMD usage appeared. Moreover, after the Crimea and eastern Ukraine aggressions, the perception in most of the Western world was that the U.S. was not sufficiently tough with Putin, largely because of its commitment to a prior (though failed) outreach.

So what ended this one-sided reset in 2016?

The estrangement certainly did not coincide entirely with Putin’s aggressions on Russia’s borders. Nor were Democrats inordinately angry with Putin when he bombed non-al-Qaeda Syrian resistance fighters.

Rather, Democrats’ split with Putin grew from the perception that hackers had easily entered the porous e-mail account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign guru John Podesta and released his messages to WikiLeaks. This led to general embarrassment for Hillary and the Democrats — and they floated the theory that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange were taking orders from Putin or at least operating with the encouragement of the Kremlin’s intelligence services.

Read the whole thing.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: How Not To Die From Loneliness.

Isolation is deadly. So why aren’t we doing anything about it?

For starters, there’s a stigma against admitting loneliness, especially for men, and there’s a whole other taboo against openly wanting to make new friends.

We celebrate lifelong friendships and treat the friends we make earlier in life as more legitimate than the ones who come later. The early friendships are filled with inside jokes, funny stories of crazy nights and that thing that happened that one time that still no one can believe. We know all the background stories, each other’s full biographies. It’s deep, there’s no doubt about it.

It’s also nearly impossible to maintain. The group of friends who hung out until sunrise most weekends in their early 20s will have a hard time keeping it going into their 30s and 40s.

Most friendships end up getting relegated to social media. We like each other’s pictures as a way of staying in touch, but don’t actually make an effort to get together. We fight off screen time inside our families but don’t realize we have friends whose lives we only learn about on Facebook.

Read the whole thing.

KURT SCHLICHTER: We’re Doing Grant, Not Patton, But Neither One Had A Goof Like Ryan Screwing Things Up.

We know the strategy – grind out win after win, big and small, over time until the liberals are broken. It’s the tactics that Ryan has botched; he’s shown no aptitude for the basic blocking and tackling of legislating and consistently falls back on the errors of the past. Here’s how healthcare should have gone. Paully, starting the morning of November 9th, you should have orchestrated an inclusive effort to create a bill based on a consensus that incorporated every stakeholder with the ability to icepick it (the transition team, the Freedom Caucus, the squishes, the think tanks, and most vitally, the Senate). Once you had something everyone agreed on – and 216 sure votes in the House and 51 in the Senate – you all appear with the Prez in front of the cameras to announce it before you actually put out the document, thereby cementing in the narrative about why the people should dig it before the haters can hate it into little pieces. Then you pass it and win.

But what did we get? A tactical clusterflunk. Seven years in and Ryan wasn’t ready. He putzed around with no sense of urgency until there was a sense of urgency. Who was expecting this dog’s breakfast to drop when it did? And it just dropped on us out of the blue – one day, suddenly, there’s this whole plan out there. Surprise! I listened to Hugh Hewitt the morning after it was released; he was stunned that he couldn’t get any of the Republican House leadership [sic] on his show to talk to his conservative audience about the biggest piece of legislation in Trump’s first term.

Paully, you gave the enemy precious hours to set the narrative, and the bill never recovered.

In all fairness, it’s there was just no good strategy for selling ObamaCare Lite to a GOP constituency who had been promised, again and again, ObamaCare Zero.

That aside, somebody really does need to write Legislation for Dummies and give the first copy to Ryan.

BONUS: Kurt coined the word “jebcanned” for this piece, so you’ll definitely want to read the whole thing.

ANDREW MCCARTHY: The Question Is Not Whether Trump Associates Were Monitored.

The reported intelligence collection efforts raise four separate questions that are too often conflated in the commentary:

1) Should the communications of Trump associates (all of whom are U.S. citizens, so far as we know) have been intercepted in the first place?

2) Regardless of whether the interception was proper, should the identities of the American citizens have been “masked” in order to protect them from, among other things, being smeared as subjects of government investigations?

3) Regardless of whether masking was called for, should the fact that the American citizens’ communications had been collected and reviewed in connection with investigations — presumably, intelligence investigations, not criminal probes — have been disclosed throughout the “community” of U.S. intelligence agencies?

4) Should that fact have been publicly disclosed, including in leaks to the media? (Spoiler alert: As my use of “leaked” indicates, public disclosure is a major no-no. In fact, it’s a felony no-no.)

Read the whole thing.

‘PATHS OF GLORY’: STANLEY KUBRICK’S FIRST STEP TOWARDS CINEMA IMMORTALITY: “’There’s a picture that will always be good, years from now,’ the great Kirk Douglas told Roger Ebert back in 1969. ‘I don’t have to wait fifty years to know that; I know it now.” The film he was referring to was Stanley Kubrick’s touching First World War drama Paths of Glory.”

Read the whole thing. Paths of Glory was when it all came together for Kubrick, the visual skill he would display and the intense performances he produced from his actors for the rest of his career was all on there on the screen for the first time, in one of his most accessible (and searing) stories – and much like Welles and Citizen Kane, Kubrick was only 28 when he directed it.

DISPATCHES FROM THE HOUSE OF STEPHANOPOULOS. ABC Targets Trump Supporters After Weekend Rallies Turn Violent:

“In Huntington Beach, California a protester allegedly pepper-sprayed one of the organizers,” [ABC’s David Wright] said sounding doubtful, “Witnesses say a group of flag-waving Trump supporters tackled him and proceeded to beat him up.”

For Wright, it may only have “allegedly” happened, but according to Reuters, it did occur. “Four counter-protesters were arrested, three for illegal use of pepper spray and one for assault and battery, Kevin Pearsall, a spokesman for the California State Parks Police said on Saturday evening,” they reported on Sunday.

Read the whole thing. Just think of ABC News as Democrat operatives with bylines, and it all makes sense.

ROGER SIMON: We Need an Independent Investigation of the Trump Leaks Mystery Now.

Who unmasked Michael Flynn and — so it seems now — others and why did he, she or they do it? Who later leaked (selectively) President Trump’s conversations with the leaders of Australia and Mexico? Is this the same person or are there several?

More importantly, who is watching the watchers and why was their work — this raw data that supposedly is never seen except on the most extreme “need to know” basis — apparently so widely distributed? Who inspired this? And who ordered what is known as a “tasking” to enable this to happen in the first place?

These questions are as or more important than healthcare, immigration, taxes or even how long ISIS will survive because they speak to the very nature of our society and the values for which we stand. Are we still a democratic republic or have we drifted so far into a high-tech Orwellian nightmare that we will never emerge from it again?

Read the whole thing.

MICHAEL LEDEEN: Does Trump Have a Strategy to Win the Global War?

Read the whole thing.

COUNTERING POLITICAL ISLAMISM: A “must read” assessment by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (via the Hoover Institution).

Insisting that radical Islamists have “nothing to do with Islam” has led US policy makers to commit numerous strategic errors since 9/11. One is to distinguish between a “tiny” group of extremists and an “overwhelming” majority of “moderate” Muslims. I prefer to differentiate among Medina Muslims, who embrace the militant political ideology adopted by Muhammad in Medina; Mecca Muslims, who prefer the religion originally promoted by Muhammad in Mecca; and reformers, who are open to some kind of Muslim Reformation.

These distinctions have their origins in history. The formative period of Islam can be divided roughly into two phases: the spiritual phase, associated with Mecca, and the political phase that followed Muhammad’s move to Medina.

MORE:

By not fighting a war of ideas against political Islam (or “Islamism”) as an ideology and against those who spread that ideology, we have made a grave error.

If Islamism is the ideology, then dawa encompasses all the methods by which it is spread. The term “dawa” refers to activities carried out by Islamists to win adherents and enlist them in a campaign to impose sharia law on all societies. Dawa is not the Islamic equivalent of religious proselytizing, although it is often disguised as such by blending humanitarian activities with subversive political activities.

Dawa as practiced by Islamists employs a wide range of mechanisms to advance the goal of imposing Islamic law (sharia) on society. This includes proselytization, but extends beyond that. In Western countries, dawa aims both to convert non-Muslims to political Islam and to bring about more extreme views among existing Muslims. The ultimate goal of dawa is to destroy the political institutions of a free society and replace them with strict sharia. Islamists rely on both violent and nonviolent means to achieve their objectives.

Dawa is to the Islamists of today what the “long march through the institutions” was to twentieth-century Marxists. It is subversion from within, the use of religious freedom in order to undermine that very freedom. After Islamists gain power, dawa is to them what Gleichschaltung  (synchronization) of all aspects of German state, civil, and social institutions was to the National Socialists.

Read the whole thing.

ROGER SIMON: Time To Investigate Obama, Not Just Trump.

The facts are what they are.

What appears at this writing is that Trump transition team members and possibly Trump himself had their identities revealed, were “unmasked” in the parlance, while foreign diplomats were being surveilled. The identities of American citizens were not sufficiently “minimized,” as they are required to be by law. This is a crime one would assume would put the perpetrators in prison. So far it hasn’t. More than that, such behavior is a grave threat to a free society, to all of us.

In effect, Trump was wiretapped — if not in the corny, old sense of the word, something very close. Technologically, he was wiretapped, as were several (actually many) others.

A fair amount of this happened not long before Barack Obama suddenly changed the rules regarding raw intelligence, for the first time ever allowing the NSA to share its data with 16 other intelligence agencies, thus making the dissemination of said data (i. e. leaking) many times more likely. That was done on January 12, 2017, just three scant days before Trump’s inauguration. Why did the then president finally decide to make that particular change at that extremely late date, rather than on one of the previous seven years and three hundred fifty-three days of his presidency? You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes or Watson to smell a rat.

Read the whole thing.

“HACKED”: Podesta Was Board Member Of Firm Linked To Russian ‘Investors’

Podesta — best known as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman and former President Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff — first made contact with the Russian firm in 2011, when he joined the boards and executive committees of three related entities: Boston-based Joule Unlimited; Rotterdam-based Joule Global Holdings; Joule Global Stichting, the company’s controlling interest. All are high-tech renewable energy enterprises.

Three months after Podesta’s arrival, Joule Unlimited accepted a 1 billion ruble investment from Rusnano, amounting to $35 million in U.S. currency. The firm also awarded a Joule board seat in February 2012 to Anatoly Chubais, Rusnano’s CEO, who has been depicted as a corrupt figure.

Podesta has attempted to downplay his relationship with Joule and Rusnano, but it could come to haunt him.

One potential legal problem for him relates to the time he joined former President Barack Obama’s White House staff in 2014 as a senior counselor and failed to reveal his 2011 Joule stock vesting agreement in his government financial disclosure form.

Further, he failed to disclose 75,000 common shares of Joule stock he received, as disclosed in a WikiLeaks email.

After Podesta began working at the White House, his lawyer indicated in a Jan. 6, 2014 email that he had not yet finished the legal work on the private transfer of the stock to a family-owned entity called Leonido Holdings, LLC.

Read the whole thing.

MONASTERIES OF THE MIND: AMERICANS RETREAT WHEN THERE’S NO ESCAPING POLITICS, Victor Davis Hanson writes: “More and more Americans today are becoming Stoic dropouts. They are not illiberal, and certainly not reactionaries, racists, xenophobes, or homophobes. They’re simply exhausted by our frenzied culture. More and more Americans don’t like lectures from the privileged and the wealthy on the pitfalls of privilege and wealth. They don’t like lectures from the privileged and the wealthy on the pitfalls of privilege and wealth. In response, they don’t hike out to monasteries, fall into fetal positions, or write Meditations. Instead, they have checked out mentally from American popular entertainment, sports, and the progressive cultural project in general.”

Read the whole thing.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: The Suicide of Expertise.

In the realm of foreign affairs, which should be of special interest to the people at Foreign Affairs, recent history has been particularly dreadful. Experts failed to foresee the fall of the Soviet Union, failed to deal especially well with that fall when it took place, and then failed to deal with the rise of Islamic terrorism that led to the 9/11 attacks. Post 9/11, experts botched the reconstruction of Iraq, then botched it again with a premature pullout.

On Syria, experts in Barack Obama’s administration produced a policy that led to countless deaths, millions of refugees flooding Europe, a new haven for Islamic terrorists, and the upending of established power relations in the mideast. In Libya, the experts urged a war, waged without the approval of Congress, to topple strongman Moammar Gadhafi, only to see — again — countless deaths, huge numbers of refugees and another haven for Islamist terror.

It was experts who brought us the housing bubble and the subprime crisis. It was experts who botched the Obamacare rollout. And, of course, the experts didn’t see Brexit coming, and seem to have responded mostly with injured pride and assaults on the intelligence of the electorate, rather than with constructive solutions.

By its fruit the tree is known, and the tree of expertise hasn’t been doing well lately.

Read the whole thing!

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: The Suicide of Expertise.

In the realm of foreign affairs, which should be of special interest to the people at Foreign Affairs, recent history has been particularly dreadful. Experts failed to foresee the fall of the Soviet Union, failed to deal especially well with that fall when it took place, and then failed to deal with the rise of Islamic terrorism that led to the 9/11 attacks. Post 9/11, experts botched the reconstruction of Iraq, then botched it again with a premature pullout.

On Syria, experts in Barack Obama’s administration produced a policy that led to countless deaths, millions of refugees flooding Europe, a new haven for Islamic terrorists, and the upending of established power relations in the mideast. In Libya, the experts urged a war, waged without the approval of Congress, to topple strongman Moammar Gadhafi, only to see — again — countless deaths, huge numbers of refugees and another haven for Islamist terror.

It was experts who brought us the housing bubble and the subprime crisis. It was experts who botched the Obamacare rollout. And, of course, the experts didn’t see Brexit coming, and seem to have responded mostly with injured pride and assaults on the intelligence of the electorate, rather than with constructive solutions.

By its fruit the tree is known, and the tree of expertise hasn’t been doing well lately.

Read the whole thing!

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: The Suicide of Expertise.

Well, it’s certainly true that the “experts” don’t have the kind of authority that they possessed in the decade or two following World War II. Back then, the experts had given us vaccines, antibiotics, jet airplanes, nuclear power and space flight. The idea that they might really know best seemed pretty plausible.

But it also seems pretty plausible that Americans might look back on the last 50 years and say, “What have experts done for us lately?” Not only have the experts failed to deliver on the moon bases and flying cars they promised back in the day, but their track record in general is looking a lot spottier than it was in, say, 1965.

It was the experts — characterized in terms of their self-image by David Halberstam in The Best and the Brightest — who brought us the twin debacles of the Vietnam War, which we lost, and the War On Poverty, where we spent trillions and certainly didn’t win. In both cases, confident assertions by highly credentialed authorities foundered upon reality, at a dramatic cost in blood and treasure. Mostly other people’s blood and treasure.

And these are not isolated failures.

Read the whole thing. But you knew to do that, right?

UPDATE: From the comments (here, not at USA Today, where the first one calls me a science-denier and, for some reason, a young-earth creationist):

I think the generation of experts of the 60s looked around and realized that the accomplishments of their elders had bought them enough status as a class that people would just… believe them. And so they did what most people would do if they suddenly discovered the magic power to make people believe anything they said. They abused it.

And this magic power became an attraction for people to join the class. And so people who joined this class of “experts” who are now being told, “no, we don’t believe you” feel like they’ve been aggrieved. This wasn’t the deal they were promised. And, naturally, the reason isn’t because they don’t deserve it; it’s because we’re all inferior.

It’s the corruption of a priesthood, and nothing more. The assumption of moral supremacy, the hunts for heretics and their consequent public destruction, the appeals to authority, the diminishing virtue… it’s all happened before.

True, and well-stated.

HANS A. VON SPAKOVSKY: Why Trump’s Immigration Order Is Legal and Constitutional.

As I have written on a number of occasions, the district-court and appellate-court judges in these cases have ignored the federal immigration-law provision that gives President Trump the authority to issue this order. They’re also ignoring prior precedents from the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the power of presidents to suspend the entry of aliens into the United States. And they have made unjustified findings that the order violates the establishment clause of the Constitution and was intended to discriminate on a religious basis.

But there are also some very good federal judges, and five of the best joined together in a stirring dissent released March 15 that explained in detail why the president has acted fully within the law and the Constitution. Their dissent should be required remedial reading for the federal judges assigned to all of these cases. It was filed in a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that denied en banc review (review by the entire court) of the astonishing recent decision by a three-judge panel; the three judges refused to throw out the injunction issued against the original executive order by a district-court judge in Washington State.

In a dissent written by Jay Bybee and joined by Alex Kozinski, Consuelo Callahan, Carlos Bea, and Sandra Ikuta, the judges explain why the panel’s decision was full of errors that “confound Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit precedent” that will make it impossible for the district courts “to know what law to apply in the future.” Moreover, they note, the personal views of federal judges should be “of no consequence.” “Whatever we, as individuals, may feel about the President or the Executive Order, the President’s decision was well within the powers of the presidency, and ‘[t]he wisdom of the policy choices made by [the President] is not a matter for our consideration.’”

Read the whole thing, but it’s obvious that en banc was denied solely because the decision would not stand greater scrutiny — pure politics.

FEAR AND LOATHING FOR FUN AND PROFIT: The Hate Group That Incited the Middlebury Melee.

Morris Dees is a born salesman who was a committed capitalist before he entered elementary school. “When I was 5, I bought a pig for a dollar. I fattened it up and sold it for $12,” he once told People magazine. “I always had a feel for making money.”

When his mother sent him a fruitcake his freshman year in Tuscaloosa, Morris and classmate Millard Fuller wrote other students’ parents offering to deliver freshly baked birthday cakes. Soon they were selling 350 cakes per month. By the time they left law school, they were making $50,000 a year—$400,000 in today’s dollars.

After graduation, Dees and Fuller hung out a shingle and practiced law. But the real money came from their mail order business, peddling everything from cookbooks to tractor cushions. In 1969, Dees sold the direct-mail firm to the Times Mirror Co. for $6 million. By then, Fuller had cashed out, given away his money, and with his wife gone to live a Christian life building homes for the poor—efforts culminating in the creation of Habitat for Humanity.

Dees also started a nonprofit, which he named the Southern Poverty Law Center. But he gave up neither the high life nor the direct-mail business. He lives in luxury with his fifth wife and still runs the SPLC, which has used the mail-order model to amass a fortune. Its product line is an unusual one: For the past 47 years, Morris Dees has been selling fear and hate.

Read the whole thing.

NORTH KOREAN WEAPONS SMUGGLED TO AFRICA: A lesson in how to evade sanctions. North Korea smuggles weapons to African nations then takes payment in valuable minerals and gems.

In 2016 “UN investigators found evidence of North Korean weapons being used in several African nations, especially ones that themselves were subject to UN bans on receiving foreign weapons. Often this evidence was uncovered by UN peacekeepers, most of whom are assigned to trouble spots in Africa.”

Read the whole thing.

ANDREW KLAVAN: Rachel in Wonderland.

As every wag in the Twitterverse knows, the leftist MSNBC commentator tweeted with breathless excitement around 7:30 EST that evening that “we’ve got Trump’s tax returns. (seriously).” The breathlessness rose to levels rarely seen outside the bedroom when Maddow’s show began at 9:00. Fluttering her hands in front of her face, she told the audience, “There’s a little bit of a hullaballoo around here this evening. I apologize for being a little flustered.” She then proceeded to build to the story with meaningless conjecture for somewhere between twenty minutes and what felt like twelve days. Finally, she produced 2005 IRS documents that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the president made a ton of somolians seventeen years ago and paid a small dumpster load worth of taxes. As Maddow herself was forced to say to Trump: “Mazel tov.”

Now, I like a good laugh as much as the next person whose favored political party currently dominates every level of American government, but really the larger issue is serious. An insulated leftist media — the networks, CNN, the New York Times (a former newspaper), the Washington Post and the rest — have now pied pipered their entire movement into a kind of Fantasy Scandal Wonderland.

Read the whole thing.

SPOILER ALERT: “The documents were phony.”

In the third week of January, an Israeli named Yoni Ariel flew from Tel Aviv to Rome carrying $9,000 in cash on a secret mission to bring down Donald Trump.

There, he met with an Italian businessman. Seated at a table toward the rear of a café, away from the street where they might attract unwanted attention, Ariel recalled, he handed over the cash. In exchange he was given a copy of a potentially explosive set of documents.

Its 35 pages told the story of a $1.6 billion wire transfer from petroleum giant ExxonMobil to a European office of a Chinese mining company, which a day later transferred 1.4 billion euros to the Trump Organization, the privately held conglomerate founded by President Trump.

The transfers appeared to have taken place in mid-June, at the exact same time that Exxon’s then chief executive, Rex Tillerson, was in St. Petersburg at an economic forum, which Russian President Vladimir Putin also attended. Less than six months later, President-elect Trump — victor in an election that the US intelligence community said the Russian government had interfered with — nominated Tillerson to be his secretary of state.

To Ariel, who is married to an American and calls Russia’s tampering in the elections “an act of war,” the implications of these billion-dollar transfers were clear: Exxon had secretly bribed Trump to name Tillerson to the powerful cabinet post.

Just a taste more:

Not long after Trump won the election, Schorer, the former spokesman for Democrats Abroad Israel, told Ariel about the alleged Exxon payments and the documents that supposedly provide proof.

Ariel, intrigued, decided he would need help paying for trips to Rome to acquire the documents and also with authenticating them. A string of contacts, including the chairman of Democrats Abroad France, and a former Democratic National Committee operative in Washington, DC, eventually led Ariel to Brett Kimberlin, a left-wing political activist who is also notorious as a felon convicted of setting off bombs in the American heartland.

This is the same Brett Kimberlin who during the 1988 election claimed to have sold pot to Dan Quayle — attempted meddling in presidential elections seems to be something of a sideline for him.

Read the whole thing, but even at the end we still have no clue who forged the Exxon documents, or why they did just an obviously phony job of it.

DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS: He Got a Bad Grade. So, He Got the Constitution Amended. Now He’s Getting the Credit He Deserves.

The story begins in 1982. A 19-year-old sophomore named Gregory Watson was taking a government class at UT Austin. For the class, he had to write a paper about a governmental process. So he went to the library and started poring over books about the U.S. Constitution — one of his favorite topics.

“I’ll never forget this as long as I live,” Gregory says. “I pull out a book that has within it a chapter of amendments that Congress has sent to the state legislatures, but which not enough state legislatures approved in order to become part of the Constitution. And this one just jumped right out at me.”

That unratified amendment read as follows:

“No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives shall take effect until an election of representatives shall have intervened.”

Basically, it means any raise Congress votes to give itself can’t take effect until after the next election, allowing voters to decide how they felt about that.

The amendment had been proposed almost 200 years earlier, in 1789. It was written by James Madison and was intended to be one of the very first amendments, right along with the Bill of Rights.

But it didn’t get passed by enough states at the time. You see, to ratify an amendment, you need three-quarters of states to approve it.

This amendment, though it was 200 years old, didn’t have a deadline.

Gregory was intrigued. He decided to write his paper about the amendment and argue that it was still alive and could be ratified. He got to work, being very meticulous about citations and fonts and everything. He turned it in to the teaching assistant for his class — and got it back with a C.

Read the whole thing — you’ll love the happy ending.

QUESTION ASKED AND ANSWERED: Why Do Corporate Leaders Became Progressive Activists? Kevin Williamson knows why:

Far from being agents of reaction, our corporate giants have for decades been giving progressives a great deal to celebrate. Disney, despite its popular reputation for hidebound wholesomeness, has long been a leader on gay rights, much to the dismay of a certain stripe of conservative. Walmart, one of the Left’s great corporate villains, has barred Confederate-flag merchandise from its stores in a sop to progressive critics, and its much-publicized sustainability agenda is more than sentiment: Among other things, it has invested $100 million in economic-mobility programs and doubled the fuel efficiency of its vehicle fleet over ten years. Individual members of the Walton clan engage in philanthropy of a distinctly progressive bent.

In fact, just going down the list of largest U.S. companies (by market capitalization) and considering each firm’s public political activism does a great deal to demolish the myth of the conservative corporate agenda. Top ten: 1) Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, is an up-and-down-the-line progressive who has been a vociferous critic of religious-liberty laws in Indiana and elsewhere that many like-minded people consider a back door to anti-gay discrimination. 2) When protesters descended on SFO to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, one of the well-heeled gentlemen leading them was Google founder Sergey Brin, and Google employees were the second-largest corporate donor bloc to President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign. 3) Microsoft founder Bill Gates is a generous funder of programs dedicated to what is euphemistically known as “family planning.” 4) Berkshire Hathaway’s principal, Warren Buffett, is a close associate of Barack Obama’s and an energetic advocate of redistributive tax increases on high-income taxpayers. 5) Amazon’s Jeff Bezos put up $2.5 million of his own money for a Washington State gay-marriage initiative. 6) Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has pushed for liberal immigration-reform measures, while Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz pledged $20 million to support Hillary Rodham Clinton and other Democrats in 2016. 7) Exxon, as an oil company, may be something of a hate totem among progressives, but it has spent big — billions big — on renewables and global social programs. 8) Johnson & Johnson’s health-care policy shop is run by Liz Fowler, one of the architects of Obamacare and a former special assistant to President Obama. 9) The two largest recipients of JPMorgan cash in 2016 were Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, and the bank’s billionaire chairman, Jamie Dimon, is a high-profile supporter of Democratic politicians including Barack Obama and reportedly rejected an offer from President Trump to serve as Treasury secretary. 10) Wells Fargo employees followed JPMorgan’s example and donated $7.36 to Mrs. Clinton for every $1 they gave to Trump, and the recently troubled bank has sponsored events for the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, and other gay-rights groups, as well as donated to local Planned Parenthood franchises.

Even the hated Koch brothers are pro-choice, pro-gay, and pro-amnesty.

You may see the occasional Tom Monaghan or Phil Anschutz, but, on balance, U.S. corporate activism is overwhelmingly progressive. Why?

Read the whole thing.

IT’S DIFFERENT WHEN THEY DO IT: From China With Love.

Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign received millions of dollars in illegal contributions from Chinese donor that were channeled through the Democratic National Committee, according to a Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Reform.

Johnny Chung, a businessman born in Taiwan, had a partner, Liu Chaoying, a high-ranking military leader and intelligence officer in China. Liu wired hundreds of thousands of dollars, which illegally went to the DNC. The duo also sent campaign funds to U.S. Sen. John Kerry for his reelection bid to the Senate. Liu’s father was one of Mao’s fellow travelers.

Chung visited the White House nearly 50 times—most of them authorized by Hillary Clinton. In one visit, Hillary met with Chung and his visiting delegation of Chinese businessmen from state-run companies. After another visit, Chung paid the DNC $50,000. In exchange, Chung was allowed to bring some of his investoCrs to see the president deliver one of his radio addresses.

Another operative for the Clintons was John Huang, who raised millions of dollars for Dollar Bill in the Asian-American community. In 1996, Huang bundled $3.4 million for the DNC—much of which was returned after a Senate investigation found that the contributions were illegal.

Charlie Trie owned a restaurant in Little Rock that was frequented by his friend then-Governor Clinton. After Clinton won the presidency, Trie went to Washington to cash in on their friendship. He thought his association could help him develop more business contacts in Asia. One of them was Hong Kong businessman Ng Lap Seng. Seng would wire a million dollars to Trie. From 1994 to 1996, Trie directly sent $200,000 to the DNC. Trie provided the rest of the money to other people who later sent that money to the DNC. Trie also helped raised another $640,000 for Bill Clinton’s Legal Defense Fund.

According to the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, 94 people were called to testify about the illegal campaign contributions to the 1996 Clinton campaign and the DNC. Of nearly 100 people called before the committee, 57 invoked the Fifth Amendment, 18 fled the country and 19 foreign witnesses refused to testify.

But the China connection to the Clintons didn’t end there.

Read the whole thing.

The Clinton saga is largely forgotten because, hey, Clintons, and also in part because there was no way the Republicans were going to unseat a popular president presiding over a booming economy. Clinton didn’t need Chinese money to beat Bob Dole — he just reflexively took it because, hey, Clintons.

And give Bill credit where it’s due: He was an honest enough politician to stay bought.

THIS COULD BE YUGE: Presidential Executive Order on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch.

Section 1. Purpose. This order is intended to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch by directing the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director) to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies (as defined in section 551(1) of title 5, United States Code), components of agencies, and agency programs.

Sec. 2. Proposed Plan to Improve the Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Accountability of Federal Agencies, Including, as Appropriate, to Eliminate or Reorganize Unnecessary or Redundant Federal Agencies. (a) Within 180 days of the date of this order, the head of each agency shall submit to the Director a proposed plan to reorganize the agency, if appropriate, in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of that agency.

(b) The Director shall publish a notice in the Federal Register inviting the public to suggest improvements in the organization and functioning of the executive branch and shall consider the suggestions when formulating the proposed plan described in subsection (c) of this section.

(c) Within 180 days after the closing date for the submission of suggestions pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the Director shall submit to the President a proposed plan to reorganize the executive branch in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of agencies. The proposed plan shall include, as appropriate, recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs, and to merge functions. The proposed plan shall include recommendations for any legislation or administrative measures necessary to achieve the proposed reorganization.

I’m pretty sure I’ve never said this before about an executive order, but read the whole thing.

ROBERT TRACINSKI: Scott Pruitt Is Absolutely Right About Carbon Dioxide.

There is good reason for skepticism. For one thing, just on the “basic science,” Pruitt is absolutely correct. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, but it is not the most powerful greenhouse gas, by a long shot. Water vapor is far more effective at trapping heat and releasing it back to the atmosphere, primarily because it absorbs a lot more radiation in the infrared spectrum, which is released as heat.

That’s why all of the climate theories that project runaway global warming use water vapor to juice up the relatively small impact of carbon dioxide itself. They posit a “feedback loop” in which carbon dioxide increases temperatures, which increases the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, which increases temperatures even more. These models need a more powerful greenhouse gas to magnify the effect of carbon dioxide.

But does it really work that way? By how much does water vapor magnify the impact of carbon dioxide? And is that effect dampened by other factors? Consider cloud formation: more water in the atmosphere means more clouds, which reflect sunlight back into space and have a cooling effect that counteracts the warming effect. But by how much?

The answer is that nobody really knows.

Read the whole thing.

I’d just add that the EPA was fine at its original mission of cleaning up America’s air, water, and our unparalleled scenery. But then its mission became saving the world, and for a free people, there’s nothing more dangerous than a government agency hellbent on saving the world.

IT’S ALMOST LIKE THE MEDIA CARTOON IS WRONG: Benny Johnson: I Had Dinner With the Afghan Ambassador. What He Said About the Differences Between Trump, Obama Is Stunning.

“I’ve personally met with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago and the president has had two phone conversations with President Ghani [The president of Afghanistan]. One call was after he won the election and one after [Trump] became president. Before the calls, we were advised to keep conversations short because, we were told, Trump will not be interested in the details of the call and does not have a long attention span, so it would be pointless to have a long call.

However, we were pleasantly surprised at how much time President Trump spent asking very informed questions. The first time the presidents spoke, the questions Trump asked impressed us. “How can you win in this fight [against terrorism]?” he asked. “What do you need to become financially independent?” and “How can American business invest in Afghanistan? How can we develop businesses and mining in your country?”

Trump would listen intently after each question, often asking follow-ups. Trump’s second call with our president was even longer than the first. Asking these types of questions for our country is something the Obama administration never did. The Obama administration was the most academic administration we have ever had to deal with but the Trump administration has been the most thoughtful and intelligent.

Read the whole thing.

J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: Federal Judge Blasts Unprofessional Behavior of Justice Department Lawyers: “Another federal judge has scalded the unprofessional conduct of Justice Department lawyers inside the Civil Rights Division.  The first time it was perjury. After that, it was unethical conduct in a trial against New Orleans police officers.  Now it’s unprofessional behavior and bigotry toward the South in a federal court trial challenging Texas legislative districts.”

Read the whole thing.

MEGAN MCARDLE: Republicans Should Kill Obamacare or Let It Die.

This was the problem that Democrats faced with Obamacare. Other countries, it was often observed, had a national guarantee of health insurance; surely, we could build a system very much like those. But the other countries had built their systems earlier, when there weren’t so many concrete towers already in the way. By the time Obamacare came on the scene, America already had government programs that were propping up health care for almost everyone in the country: tax-subsidized employer-sponsored health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, the VA. No one was willing to shoulder the cost of knocking those things down and designing a rational, well-built structure to take their place, so instead the administration threw up an annex next to the Medicaid edifice, and tore down the little remaining patch of ground that wasn’t government-subsidized, and threw up a new tower to hold its residents.

The planning was haphazard, the work shoddily done, and the result kept threatening to collapse.

And yet it was locked in. That whole “political concrete” thing. For the enthusiasts, the very difficulty of alteration was not a bug but a feature, because it meant that it would be hard for Republicans to undo. So we were all left with a subpar system that is difficult to either repair or replace.

That is unfortunate, but it is now a fact, and Republicans, like so many opponents of Brutalist architecture, are going to have to contend with that reality. We cannot simply get rid of what Democrats built, and then perhaps, at some more convenient date, start over with a sounder design. The old structures are gone, and will not spring back up of their own accord if we knock down what’s there now. All you get from a hasty demolition is a big pile of rubble.

That works for me. Both for ObamaCare, and for pretty much every piece of Brutalist architecture ever.

WAIT, I THOUGHT TRUMP WAS PUTIN’S STOOGE: Michael Totten: Brace Yourself for a New Cold War.

American-Russian relations are about to take a sharp turn for the worse.

President Donald Trump, like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton before him, hoped to “reset” Washington’s dismal relationship with Moscow, but that was always the longest of long shots. Vladimir Putin’s ideology and perceived national interests require the West as an enemy, and no matter how many times Trump tweets that he respects Putin’s “strength” and says it would be “a good thing” if we could get along with Russia and unite against ISIS, neither the Kremlin nor permanent Washington will allow it.

To be sure, Russians initially swooned when Trump beat Clinton in the election last November. . . .

That’s over now.

Read the whole thing.

JON GABRIEL: Samantha Bee Called Young Man a Nazi. Then Apologized. Kinda.

Samantha Bee is not funny. She hosts a nightly TBS show named “Full Frontal,” which mimics the hard-left fake-news template of “The Daily Show.” The latter show still exists, hosted by the not-funny Trevor Noah, while the not-funny Seth Meyers and the once-funny Stephen Colbert mine the same depleted vein on their own late-night talk shows.

All of these programs are intended as Comedy, but are better described as Urban Liberals Yelling At Americans Who Disagree With Them. Here’s how the formula works:

•Play an out-of-context clip of a Republican.
•Show the host staring into the camera, crinkling his/her nose, opening his/her eyes wide, or tapping his/her pencil.
•Peals of digitally enhanced laughter from the live audience, as home viewers check Netflix.

You don’t tune into “Full Frontal” for jokes or satire, but common snark and mockery of The Other. It’s Orwell’s Two Minutes Hate with a laugh track.

Ouch.

Read the whole thing.

MICHAEL TOTTEN: Brace Yourself for a New Cold War.

Trump said last September that he loves WikiLeaks, forgetting everything he ever knew about the rogue outfit. (Someone should ask him what he thinks of WikiLeaks dumping a trove of classified material onto the Internet supposedly revealing how the CIA spies on people all over the world through their smart phones.) Its founder Julian Assange is emphatically not a Republican operative. WikiLeaks has spent its entire existence waging geopolitical warfare against the United States, mostly on behalf of itself, but partly on behalf of the Russians and everyone else in the world who wants to pull down the American “empire.” Like the Russians, Assange trained his fire on Clinton not because he likes the Republicans but because the Democratic Party includes roughly half the elected officials in the United States and presumably would have included the next president of the United States.

Assange and Putin hoped to kneecap the incoming president before she could even get started.

Their hostility toward the United States in general isn’t obvious to everyone in this country. Putin’s approval rating actually increased during the last year among Trump’s most die-hard supporters. The rest of us, though—and the rest of us still includes most Republicans—are reacting against Russian malfeasance more strongly than we have at any time since the Berlin Wall fell.

That reaction is blowing up in the Trump administration’s face, but the president can turn it around by taking an unambiguously hawkish stance against Russia. Putin, meanwhile, can’t do anything to recover his reputation in the United States.

Read the whole thing.

DA TECH GUY: Et Tu Vermont? One Year in Rutland Demonstrates why America Elected Donald Trump.

Over the last few weeks the leftist media have elevated several Democrat successes in retaining seats in blue state races that they were already favored to win as a sign that the Trump era is already in retreat.

Oddly enough I haven’t seen them promote a result that, for my money, is not only the biggest election story since November, it is fact one of the biggest stories of a week full of big stories.

It comes from Rutland Vermont where incumbent mayor of 10 years Chris Louras was beaten in a 4 person race by city counselor was beaten in his latest attempt at re-election.

Read the whole thing.

JOHN HINDERAKER: Is GOP Health Care Bill a Disaster? No.

Peter Nelson, my colleague at Center of the American Experiment, is one of the country’s leading experts on health care policy. On the Center’s web site, he urges conservatives to take a deep breath and understand the constraints that Congressional Republicans are working under.

In particular, a full repeal of Obamacare must get through the Senate, which means it must get 60 votes. There are only 52 Republican senators. Therefore, the first bill that has been unveiled is intended to be passed under the reconciliation process, which requires only a bare majority. Only Obamacare provisions that have a budgetary impact can be repealed in the reconciliation bill. Other measures will have to follow afterward.

Read the whole thing, although I’m still not convinced that a bad law with GOP fingerprints on it is an improvement over a worse law with Democrat fingerprints on it. Politically it could be much worse.

There’s an argument to be made that in order to keep up hope, the GOP has to be seen doing something about ObamaCare. But the Reid Option, followed swiftly by a full repeal, would actually accomplish what the Republicans have been promising for seven years and four election cycles now. In other words, doing what their constituents sent them to Washington to do.

The current mess looks more like a “You Had One Job!” meme.

KURT SCHLICHTER: You Can Tell What Leftists Are Doing By What They Accuse Conservatives Of Doing.

It’s Kurt, so read the whole thing.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON:

If the progressive media and intelligence agencies were hand-in-glove leaking damaging rumors about Trump, and if none were yet substantiated, then the issue reversed and turned instead on a new question: How were they trafficking in confidential intelligence information if not from skullduggery of some sort? No wonder that some smarter observers backtracked from the Russian-Trump collusion charges of the past six months, given that the leaks were less likely to be credible than they were criminal. The accusers have become the accused. And who would police the police?

The media and the anti-Trump Republicans decried Trump’s reckless and juvenile antics as unbefitting a president. Perhaps, but they may have forgotten Trump’s animal cunning and instincts: Each time Trump impulsively raises controversial issues in sloppy fashion — some illegal aliens harm American citizens as they enjoy sanctuary-city status, NATO European partners welch on their promised defense contributions, Sweden is a powder-keg of unvetted and unassimilated immigrants from the war-torn Middle East — the news cycle follows and confirms the essence of Trump’s otherwise rash warnings. We are learning that Trump is inexact and clumsy but often prescient; his opponents, usually deliberate and precise but disingenuous.

Read the whole thing. Plus: “Obama officials have written contorted denials that by their very Byzantine wording suggest there is some truth to the thrust of Trump’s accusations. . . . At best, the public is learning that intelligence agencies and the Obama Justice Department deliberately monitored Trump’s campaign effort (and leaked its findings), acts that fit a larger pattern of seeking to oppose his 2016 campaign.”

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Rod Dreher on The Madness At Middlebury:

Middlebury College is on trial now. Its administration will either forthrightly defend liberal democratic norms, or it will capitulate. There is no middle ground.

Read the whole thing.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: How to Survive In the Age of Rage.

Trump Derangement Syndrome is quickly driving formerly smug leftwing elitists such as David Letterman and Mika Brzezinski to the appearance of seeming near-insane. As Ace explains why, “11/8 stole from them the two things most sacred: their sense of superiority and infallibility, and their precious political power over the people they hate…The daily hysteria, paranoia, conspiricizing, meltdowns, tantrums, out of left field accusations — these are not signs of healthy minds. We are used to saying X Derangement Syndrome but I really think there is some actual derangement going on. And I would like to tell everyone reading: Please do not give in to it. Do let their sickness become your sickness. When they panic, do not let their panic cause you agitation… They’re on the crazy train, and they’re trying to sell more tickets. Decline to ride.”

Read the whole thing.

ROGER KIMBALL: “Remember when, during the Presidential debates, Trump said that, if elected, he might have Hillary investigated by the Department of Justice?  Cries of horrors from the locust gallery.  But it turns out that Obama had actually done what Trump only threatened to do: conduct a secret investigation against a political opponent… I suspect that the factions behind these unremitting and partisan efforts to delegitimize a democratically elected head of state are about the discover that two can play at their game. And I’d wager that they are in for a rough time. I certainly hope so.”

Read the whole thing.

ROGER SIMON: “#ObamaGate Is a Lot More than a Hashtag. If I were a Democrat, I’d be afraid.  I’d be very afraid.”

Needless to say, read the whole thing.

PAULINA NEUDING: The Truth About Sweden.

This peculiarity of Swedish public discourse has often allowed politicians and public authorities to deny the problems caused by the country’s migration and integration policies, without being seriously challenged. The Swedish foreign ministry, for instance, launched a PR campaign in response to the debate following Donald Trump’s remarks about the country. It tweeted last week, as part of the campaign:

Does Sweden actually have ‘No-Go Zones’? No, we don’t.

You think that Swedish police have lost control? The ‘no-go zones’ are in fact ‘go-go zones’. #FactCheck

But no-go zones cannot simply be dismissed as a myth. Gordon Grattidge, chairman of a Swedish ambulance trade union, explained to me that no-go zones are a reality for paramedics in Sweden. There are areas where first responders can’t enter without police escort. Grattidge’s assessment is that ambulances are forced to retreat from such areas on a weekly basis.

Yet the government’s use of taxpayer money to deny the existence of no-go zones has not been met with protests from Swedish journalists.

How, then, should we understand the connection between crime and immigration in Sweden? Former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt had the facts right when he tweeted in response to Trump: “Last year there were app 50% more murders only in Orlando/Orange in Florida, where Trump spoke the other day, than in all of Sweden. Bad.” That comparison, while correct, misses the point. Of course Sweden has not turned into Orlando or, for that matter, Chicago. But in a short time—maybe as short as two decades—Sweden has gone from a nation rightly considered a model of social cohesion, equality, low crime, and political stability to a society with growing enclaves of social unrest.

Read the whole thing.

THE STREETWISE PROFESSOR: Obama v. Trump: Strictly Correct & Misleading v. Not Strictly Correct But Fundamentally True.

I won’t comment in detail on the substance of today’s latest outbreak of our fevered politics: Trump’s accusation that Obama ordered wiretapping of Trump Tower and the Trump campaign. I will just mention one fact that strongly supports the veracity of Trump’s allegation: namely, the very narrow–and lawyerly–“denials” emanating from the Obama camp.

Obama and his surrogates – notably the slug (or is he a cockroach?) Ben Rhodes – harrumph that Obama could not unilaterally order electronic surveillance. Well, yes, it is the case that Obama did not personally issue the order: the FISA court did so. But even if that is literally correct, it is also true that the FISA court would not unilaterally issue such an order: it would only do so in response to a request from the executive branch. Thus, Obama is clearly implicated even if he did not issue the order. He could have ordered his subordinates to make the request to the court, or could have approved a subordinate’s request to seek an order. Maybe he merely hinted, a la Henry II – “will no one rid me of this turbulent candidate?” (And “turbulent” is a good adjective to apply to Trump.) But regardless, there is no way that such a request to the court in such a fraught and weighty matter would have proceeded without Obama’s acquiescence.

I therefore consider that the substance of Trump’s charge–that he was surveilled at behest of Obama has been admitted by the principals.

Read the whole thing.

ANDREW KLAVAN: Can Trump Bring Andrew Breitbart’s Dream to Life?

Read the whole thing.

SPIRO AGNEW, PIONEERING PRESS CRITIC: “Agnew was a flawed messenger and livened his discourse with alliterative phrases (‘nattering nabobs of negativism’) clearly designed to needle and provoke. But in hindsight, the overreaction to his arguments, made a half-century ago, largely validates them. And the same might be said about Donald Trump.”

Read the whole thing.

IT IS DECIDEDLY SO: Did the Obama Administration Try Stacking the Deck Against Trump at the Justice Department?

Amid Thursday’s over-hyped brouhaha about Jeff Sessions meeting with the Russian ambassador, a curious detail emerged. In Sessions’s recusal memo, it was explained who at the Justice Department would be handling any investigations into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia. “Consistent with the succession order for the Department of Justice, Acting Deputy Attorney General and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dana Boente shall act as and perform the functions of the Attorney General with respect to any matters from which I have recused myself to the extent they exist,” reads Sessions’s official statement on the matter.

Except that if the Obama administration had its way, Dana Boente wasn’t supposed be the U.S. attorney to handle these matters in the event that Sessions recused himself. On February 10, USA Today reported the following:

Seven days before he left office, President Obama changed the order of succession without explanation to remove Boente from the list. Obama’s order had listed U.S. attorneys in the District of Columbia, the Northern District of Illinois and the Central District of California.

That seems like awfully suspicious behavior.

Indeed.

Read the whole thing.

RICHARD POLLOCK: Exclusive: The American Left’s Love Affair With Putin’s TV Network.

The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned that a host of liberal American political activists and journalists have much more than occasional meetings with RT. Many of them in fact draw regular paychecks from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s flagship TV network.

It’s rarely reported in the U.S. news media, but many of the liberal activists and journalists who participate in RT programming openly bash the United States and defend Russia.

The American “star” at the Dec. 10, 2015, RT celebration was Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. Speaking on a panel titled “Frenemies,” which challenged the view that Russia was an “enemy state,” Stein condemned “this very simplistic defense of who is our friend and who is our enemy is counterproductive.”

RT also was the sole television sponsor of the Green Party event that chose Stein as the party’s 2016 standard-bearer.

Besides Stein, other American participants included Max Blumenthal — son of Sid Blumenthal, who worked with 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Read the whole thing.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: A ‘living Constitution’ on the right? What would it look like if right-leaning judges ruled like lefties?

Well, I’m neither a conservative (I’m a libertarian) or a living constitutionalist, but I can imagine a few places. . . .

Likewise for the Warren Court’s “one man, one vote” rule for state legislative apportionment, in which states — unlike the federal government under the U.S. Constitution — were no longer allowed to have a house of their legislature apportioned by geography rather than population. The result has been that states like California or Illinois, which is red almost everywhere but in the Chicago metropolitan area, are totally dominated by the large populations of urban centers. Those states are also governed badly and suffer from considerable degrees of corruption and enormous debt. Perhaps experience turns out to show that the “one man one vote” approach was wrong, and that there was wisdom after all in the Framers’ approach of not apportioning everything according to population. A “living Constitution” changes with the times!

Read the whole thing.

TWICHY: Mary Katharine Ham to Dems on Carryn Owens: ‘this moment is bigger than Trump or you.’

You’ll want to read the whole thing.

BILL NYE’S EMBARRASSING FACE-OFF WITH TUCKER CARLSON ON CLIMATE CHANGE — It didn’t end well for the ‘Science Guy:’

Now usually when these charges are made by someone who purports to possess expertise in climate science (Nye has a degree in mechanical engineering), the interviewer acquiesces, immediately surrendering the debate to the climate activist. But Carlson wouldn’t back down: “To what degree is climate change caused by human activity? . . . Is it 100 percent, is it 74.3 percent? If it’s settled science, please tell us to what degree human activity is responsible.”

* * * * * * * * *

While it’s easy to dismiss Nye’s interview as a kooky one-off appearance from an unprepared celebrity scientist, he sadly represents the lack of integrity by most climate-change pushers. They move goalposts, manufacture facts, resist honest debate, and resort to smear tactics when confronted with specific questions they cannot answer. As Carlson said to Nye, “You really don’t know, and you bully people who ask questions.” Good thing Carlson is there to bully back for once.

Read the whole thing; video of the segment online here.

SARAH HOYT: “I know the idea we have in our minds of a populist revolution. But that is not … exactly what we’re facing.”

More:

People underestimate how big a change extremely cheap data storage and processing and communication at a distance have made.

No, mass production for some things is not going away, any more than agriculture went away. But it is going to shrink, products are going to become more customizable. And one size fits all government will be almost impossible, the further we get into that change.

I’ve talked about this, and the necessity to build under, build around, build over to take the weight of the structures that aren’t working.

But it wasn’t until this weekend and the conversations about last week that I GOT it. It’s not just government. If it were just government, it would be easy. But the same stick hitting politics is hitting EVERYTHING from Hollywood to your local grocery store.

Read the whole thing.

The Automation Revolution has been going on for a while now, but so far progress has been relatively slow and steady. The almost-impossible thing to understand is that for all the change and disruption we’ve undergone, we’re just now starting the big swoop where the graph turns all hockey stick.

TALKING TO PEOPLE INSTEAD OF PROTESTERS: Dallas Observer: From Immigrants and American Day Laborers, Two Views of Trump’s Stance on Deportation. Plus, a surprise:

Pacheco supports Trump even though he’s one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants who could be deported. “Trump for me is a good president,” he says. “He has to fix things here. There’s a lot of drugs being sold around here. A lot of people sell drugs. And they hide within the workers. They even come here, or hide other places around here. They hide among us.”

That doesn’t fit the narrative. But read the whole thing.

GOVERNOR MALLOY FORCES COPS TO CHOOSE JOB SECURITY OVER PUBLIC SAFETY, Jack Dunphy writes:

It appears that Gov. Malloy would not endorse the deportation of our hypothetical killer, and that he would support disciplining any police officer who sought to bring it about.

Read the whole thing.

CHANGE: Colorado’s Governor, Who Opposed Pot Legalization in 2012, Is Ready to Defend It.

The president, whose press secretary last week predicted “greater enforcement” of the federal ban on marijuana in the eight states that have legalized the drug for recreational use, may be interested in what Hickenlooper had to say in an interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press yesterday:

Todd: If this were put on a ballot today, I know you opposed it before, but if it were put on a ballot today, would you now support it?

Hickenlooper: Well, I’m getting close. I mean, I don’t think I’m quite there yet, but we have made a lot of progress. We didn’t see a spike in teenage use. If anything, it’s come down in the last year. And we’re getting anecdotal reports of less drug dealers. I mean, if you get rid of that black market, you’ve got tax revenues to deal with, the addictions, and some of the unintended consequences of legalized marijuana, maybe this system is better than what was admittedly a pretty bad system to begin with.

Hickenlooper’s views on legalization have been evolving since 2014 based on what has actually happened in Colorado, which suggests the “big problems” that Trump perceived in 2015 may have been exaggerated by the prohibitionists who were feeding him information. Even if legalization were a disaster in Colorado, of course, that would not mean the federal government should try to stop it. The federalist approach Trump has said he favors allows a process of trial and error from which other states can learn.

Indeed.

Read the whole thing.

DAVID GOLDMAN: A deplorable vote for Angela Merkel.

Deplorably, I would vote for Angela Merkel, and urge my American friends to support the present Christian Democratic-Social Democratic coalition rather than the alternative: a “Red-Red-Green” coalition (Social Democrats plus the successor to the old East German Communist Party plus the Green Party. If Merkel loses Germany will be ruled by Russian stooges. That’s the opposite of what some of Donald Trump’s closest supporters think. Most of them agree with British gadfly Nigel Farage, who told Germany’s national radio yesterday:

Well, I wouldn’t vote for Angela Merkel, that’s the first piece of advice I’d give. I mean, look at the catastrophic errors she made: opening up the doors to so-called refugees, it turned out that 70 percent of them were young males, economic migrants. And because she’s given up border controls, the most wanted man in Europe if not the world is able to catch a train to France, and then to Italy, without anyone checking who he is.

Farage is right, but he’s wrong. Many of my friends are making the same mistake that the neo-conservatives did, that is, attempting to export American ideas to place where they don’t belong. When they look at any part of the world, Americans ask: Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? In most places, there aren’t good guys and bad guys. There are just bad guys and worse guys. Merkel’s migration policy is bad, but it is neither stupidly bad, nor wickedly bad. Rather, it is tragically bad. Germany has a gap in its soul. In between the citizen-of-the-world liberalism that characterizes its elite and the atavistic nationalism that attracts a small fringe, there is nothing there at all.

This is a lengthy piece, but a fascinating one. It would be well worth your time to read the whole thing, even if you don’t reach the same conclusions.

SALENA ZITO: Women with guns: The next threat to the Democratic Party.

As Democrats continue to make gun control a wedge issue in elections, they underestimate the damage they are doing to their own chances among women, who have been flocking to buy guns in the past few years.

These same voters, whom the NRA calls the “shy voters,” also flocked to Donald Trump, and they are unlikely to reverse course before next year’s midterm elections. So as wedge issues go, this one is becoming more of a loser for the Left. . . .

In a large survey of people who voted in November’s presidential election, conducted for the NRA by On Message, Inc., pollsters found that nearly 20 percent of those who chose Trump never told anyone they intended to do so. They interviewed voters in Florida, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The OnMessage survey of 5,100 battleground voters was fielded in December, and stratified by county to match actual 2016 turnouts, in order to give the most granular view of voter preferences.

Eighteen percent of those interviewed in the battleground states said they were “uncomfortable telling people they supported Donald Trump.”

Who were these voters? They were more female than male and twice as likely to live in suburban counties compared to the rest of Trump’s vote, according to On Message.

They also were a little more educated than average voters — 24 percent had a post-graduate degree — and, while right-of-center, they’re not as conservative as the rest of Trump’s voters.

A very important nugget from the poll: Like every woman interviewed at the outdoor show, an overwhelming 80 percent of them support the goals and objectives of the NRA.

Read the whole thing — but it’s a Salena Zito piece, so you knew that. And can we credit Dana Loesch for this change?

ARMY REVISES TRAINING FOR COMBAT IN URBAN TERRAIN: Training to fight and defeat a “near peer” in cities and towns.

In Iraq and Afghanistan the troops got used to a foe who had no air power, few real electronic weapons and that enabled many American troops to acquire some bad habits for anyone trying to fight a more conventional opponent.

Read the whole thing.

ANDREW KLAVAN ON TRUMP, CPAC AND THE WALDO CONGRESS: “Day by day, it’s beginning to dawn on me: there is a fourth stage, too, a stage that is so far dark. Congress. The Waldo Congress, I call them, because — where the hell are they?”

Read the whole thing.