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IN THE MAIL: From Adam Josephs and Brad Rubenstein, Risk Up Front: Managing Projects in a Complex World.

Plus, fresh Gold Box and Lightning Deals.

SALENA ZITO: Hollywood Desperately Needs to Fill the Hole Left by Roseanne: 

If the lesson the left takes away from this is that all Trump voters are racist, it will be making the same mistake the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, the national news media and the NFL have made in misunderstanding this coalition of people. But if wisdom prevails, the left will step back and realize there was a void in the market that even Roseanne Barr could fill — a person who conservatives have reviled for years.

If there was a hole that big in Hollywood, then we should take an honest look at our programming and how our entertainment industry treats Middle America. Plenty of lessons are coming out of this chapter of Barr’s life. Most of them are obvious: Words matter, and there are consequences for hateful behavior.

But people will miss two other very important lessons. The first is we have to stop leaping to the assumption that all people who voted for Donald Trump are racist and everything they like has tinges of racism — from guns to how the NFL has handled the national anthem controversy.

The second is that Hollywood hasn’t been serving a great big chunk of this country for a long time. As a result, a show no one predicted would be popular broke all the records. I sincerely hope ABC is able to revive some version of “Roseanne” under a different name and with some of the same characters, as has been reported. Because right now, people in a large swath of the country are hungry for something that authentically reflects their lives. That’s where the story is.

Much like Jimmy the Greek handing CBS all the reason they needed to fire him after his freshness rating had long expired, Roseanne was axed because her racist tirade gave Disney the perfect excuse to both dump a TV series whose premise they hated, and send a symbolic warning shot to flyover country to know your place, rubes. Disney is such an enormous conglomerate of broadcast and cable TV channels, movies, amusement parks, and a bottomless merchandising well that the revenues lost from cutting Roseanne’s series is little more than tip money. But as with dumping Tim Allen’s conservative-friendly series after Trump was elected president, the frisson of pleasure that Obama and Hillary-supporting Disney executives felt when sacking yet another flyover country favorite makes any minor financial imposition feel all worth while. Roseanne should have had the common sense to know that she was on double-secret probation, and that in television, even the biggest names are ultimately replaceable.

POWER LINE: What’s Wrong With Those Texans?

That’s the question the Associated Press asks, following the school shootings in Santa Fe: “School shooting may not bring change to gun-loving Texas.” . . .

What’s interesting is that the AP never hints at what “gun restrictions” the State of Texas ought to adopt. Indeed, it becomes obvious that the AP reporter, speaking for liberals and the mainstream of the Democratic Party, doesn’t much care: any restrictions will do.

Because it’s all about sticking it to those rubes in Flyover Country and showing them who’s boss.

ROGER SIMON: Schneiderman Scandal Should Be a Spiritual Crisis for Democrats.

Since now five women (the NY Post has a new one) have reported near identical pathologies on the part of Schneiderman, didn’t anyone know about this?

Donald Trump clearly had a suspicion. In September 2013, Trump tweeted, “Weiner is gone, Spitzer is gone — next will be lightweight A.G. Eric Schneiderman. Is he a crook? Wait and see, worse than Spitzer or Weiner.”

Was Trump alone? Hardly likely. And yet the man who suddenly was revealed to be quite literally a human monster, who evidently passed on his proclivities to his daughter, was supposedly a surprise to the good people (read: liberal bourgeoisie of NYC). The man who led the charge against Harvey Weinstein turned out to be as bad, or possibly worse, if that’s possible, we don’t know yet, than Weinstein himself.

And you’re telling me haute New York did not know about this, just as so many in Hollywood “didn’t know” about Weinstein? Well, in that case, I have a Brooklyn Bridge to sell you.

They knew about it, but he was useful and nobody was making them act on it until the rubes found out. Then they professed shock and indignation at the behavior they had known about and tolerated all along.

SALENA ZITO: The 2016 election was far from a fluke.

America’s political experts got it wrong in 2016 — not because they took too few polls, but because they made the false assumption that American elections are immune to societal change.

They are, in large part, still getting things wrong, not only by failing to understand a new group of voters who put President Donald Trump in the White House but also by ignoring why they voted the way they did.

When explaining the Trump voter, the media usually offers portraits of isolated, uneducated, working-class rubes who are driven by anger, race and nationalism. To the experts and those who didn’t support Trump, it’s hard for them to see it any other way.

And while the media obsesses over the future demise of the president, they aren’t pausing to consider the strength and durability of the coalition that swept him into office.
They aren’t asking why people in the Rust Belt counties who voted for former President Barack Obama twice suddenly switched to Trump.

But they should. Because Trump was not the cause of this movement, he was the result of it. In order to fully appreciate his rise to the White House, you need focus on the people who put him there.

That of course, is what her terrific book (with Brad Todd), The Great Revolt, does. But here’s a thought: I’ve been reading an advance copy, and it sounds like a preference cascade among a lot of traditionally Democratic voters. Now you’ve got black voters teetering on the brink . . .

YEAH, I’M IN THE MEDIA, SCREW YOU: Jim Acosta says voters too stupid to grasp Trump ‘act’: ‘Their elevator might not hit all floors.’

Mr. Acosta then lamented what he perceives as a large-scale intellectual void afflicting the population.

“The problem is that people around the country don’t know it’s an act,” the reporter said. “They’re not in on the act, and they take what he says very seriously, and they take attacks from [former White House press secretary] Sean Spicer and Sarah Sanders and what they do to us on a daily basis very seriously. They don’t have all their faculties in some cases — their elevator might not hit all floors. My concern is that a journalist is going to be hurt one of these days.”

As John Nolte adds at Big Journalism, “If Acosta wants to claim he misspoke at the end, fine. Even so, there is no getting around the fact that he opens this part of the interview clearly insulting ‘people around the country’ as rubes who can’t see through Trump’s act.”

Perhaps due to the “infection” they’re suffering from, as Acosta’s colleague Brian Stelter tweeted yesterday, to remind you just how badly CNN despises half their potential viewers.

(Classical reference in headline.)

IT’S LIKE THE WHOLE THING IS JUST A SHOW FOR THE RUBES: Zuckerberg Being Grilled on Hill by His Company’s Cash Recipients.

JACOB SULLUM: Irrational Fear of Mass Shootings Can’t Justify Unconstitutional Gun Control: Stinging insects kill more Americans than mass shooters do. It’s got nothing to do with safety. It’s all about humiliating the flyover rubes and showing them who’s boss.

IN CASE YOU MISSED THIS: Robert Levy: Why the Stevens gun manifesto is beyond irresponsible.

What makes the Stevens manifesto especially irresponsible is that it would rupture the social fabric in this country — leading to turmoil, lawlessness and violence. Considering the fervor of many gun-rights advocates, it’s quite possible that not even reversal of Roe v. Wade would incite such rage. And to what end?

Ultimately, it’s all about humiliating the flyover rubes and letting them know who is boss. Everything else is window dressing.

A PREVIEW OF WHAT A DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY WOULD LOOK LIKE: Dem vows to press ban on Pentagon paying for border wall.

“We can’t allow Donald Trump to steal already-limited resources from our troops to fund a pointless border wall that will serve little other purpose than to satisfy his own fragile ego,” Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said in a statement Wednesday. “This money is meant to help our men and women in uniform — not to fulfill ill-advised campaign promises.”

“Last year, I introduced an amendment that would have prevented Trump from irresponsibly siphoning our defense funds to pay for a useless wall that will do nothing to keep our nation safe. I plan to reintroduce that amendment this spring when the House Armed Services Committee marks up this year’s defense spending bill.”

We’ll see what happens in committee — or beyond.

IT’S NOT MEANT TO “SOLVE MASS KILLINGS,” IT’S MEANT TO HUMILIATE THE FLYOVER RUBES AND SHOW THEM WHO’S BOSS: 6 Reasons Gun Control Will Not Solve Mass Killings.

WAIT, WHAT? Shocker! WaPo Fact Check Agrees With Rubio’s Statement On New Gun Laws.

A funny thing happened during the current national scream that Congress must do something about gun violence. A Republican lawmaker made a common-sense statement about the limits of government and the left went nuts. Then, wonder of wonders, a Washington Post fact-checker agreed with him.

While Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) preens before television cameras and proclaims his own love of hunting and guns, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is held responsible for the horrific school shooting on Valentines Day in Parkland, Florida. Rubio accepts campaign donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA) so he must be vilified. The willing cohorts of the left, the media, are only too happy to advance the notion that the NRA is evil and must be relieved of its First Amendment rights.

So, when Rubio was asked about pursuing legislation – gun control measures – he answered with a question of his own: wouldn’t it be best to wait until all the facts are in before everyone starts demanding that something is done by the government? He dared to say that new legislation may not have stopped this latest tragedy. . . .

The Washington Post went back to the Newtown shooting in 2012 and chose 12 mass shootings to analyze. Fact-checkers concluded that none of the shootings would have been avoided by passing new laws currently under discussion. What a disappointment that must have been to the newspaper.

Remember, this isn’t about saving lives or protecting children. It’s about asserting cultural superiority and showing those flyover rubes who’s boss.

And while the Democrats accuse the NRA of having blood on its hands — for, you know, daring to disagree with them on policy — look who Democrats are hanging out with.

BEN RHODES WAS RIGHT: Katie Couric, the ̶b̶u̶b̶b̶l̶e̶h̶e̶a̶d̶e̶d̶  bubbly journalist is mocked for showing her intimate knowledge of people in European cities, telling us rubes that people in Amsterdam skate everywhere all the time:

“As you all know, it has lots of canals that can freeze in the winter,” Couric said, “so for as long as those canals have existed, the Dutch have skated on them to get from place to place, to race each other and also to have fun.”

Now, this. Either the guys in the control room were really hungry for generic Chinese food, or they need to buy an atlas. Ben Rhodes was right: they don’t know anything.

JOHN RUBERRY: Trump Year 1: Yes, He’s A Conservative.

ANOTHER RUBE SELF-IDENTIFIES: I’m A Brown Woman Who’s Breaking Up With The Democratic Party: I realize now that the love has been one-sided.

The first vote I ever cast, at 18, was for Bill Clinton. The last vote I cast was for his wife, Hillary. My adoration for Hillary bordered on mania. In college, I named my ficus plant after her. Twenty years later, I canvassed, held fundraisers, dragged my 8-year-old daughter door to door, proudly wore HRC’s face on T-shirts and housed campaign volunteers in my home.

I loved you so much that I cried each time I voted. Thinking about the women who died fighting for my right to vote did it every time. I cried when I voted for Bill. For Barack Obama. I wept when I voted for Hillary. You’ve been that kind of mad love to me.

And now I want to break up.

I realize now that the love has been one-sided, unrequited. You’ve never recognized me, as a brown woman. You’ve taken my love, my money, my tokenism, with nary anything in return. You married the white woman and hooked up with me on the side.

Oh dear. It’s much worse than that.

NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF OUR BETTERS: Nevada Dem says he won’t resign despite calls from party leaders.

Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-Nev.) said Tuesday he will not resign from his post amid allegations of sexual harassment from a former staffer.

Kihuen asserted in an ABC News interview that party leaders knew last year about the woman’s allegations of sexual misconduct, but did not take action against his campaign.

Well, yeah, but it’s one thing when they know. It’s another thing entirely once we know.

WHY IS CONGRESS SUCH A CESSPIT OF SEXUAL PREDATION? Democrats Call For Rep. Ruben Kihuen To Resign After Sexual Harassment Claim. I can’t help but notice, though, that the Dems are a lot quicker to call for resignations from minority members like Kihuen or Conyers, than from a white guy like Al Franken. Sad!

OUR RULING CLASS, STILL CLUELESS: On Safari In Trump’s America:

Hale and Watson’s opening remarks to focus groups were an honest statement of the group’s animating worldview: that all things are possible when politicians make the right sales pitch to a fundamentally reasonable electorate that can agree on a lot of things. That in a time of division, they could find the things that still bound Americans together. That with enough research and focus groups and listening tours and charts and graphs, they could figure out—and cure—what ails the body politic.

It was a thesis that would not go unchallenged, even in flyover country. In rural Wisconsin, it turns out, the natives have Google.

We had come to the final stop on our listening tour, and the hippies were wary. Viroqua, a town of less than 5,000 people, has in recent years become home to a tiny progressive community. Earnest college graduates toil on organic farms; a “folk school” offers classes in sustainable living, from rabbit butchering to basket-weaving. Migrants from the likes of Madison and Berkeley are attracted to a rural idyll of food and electric co-ops, alternative schools, and locally sourced everything.

“Isn’t this underwritten by the DNC?” a local cafe owner asked Watson after his just-here-to-listen opening spiel. “I read somewhere you’re spending $20 million,” another man said. Another participant asked about corporate donors.

See, that’s their real problem. The rubes have wised up.

NAOMI SCHAEFER RILEY: Cornell’s Black Student Disunion: A radical group calls on the university to disfavor immigrants.

The BSU argued that “the Black student population at Cornell disproportionately represents international or first-generation African or Caribbean students. While these students have a right to flourish at Cornell, there is a lack of investment in Black students whose families were affected directly by the African Holocaust in America.”

There’s a contradiction here. For years liberal writers have blamed black poverty and undereducation on racism—the experience of being more likely to be pulled over by police, to be looked at suspiciously in department stores, to be discriminated against in schools and the workplace.

But it doesn’t seem to be the case, at least not to the same degree, among immigrants. “The more strongly black immigrant students identify with their specific ethnic origins, the better they perform [academically],” Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld observed in their 2014 book, “The Triple Package.” . . .

Why does racism not seem to keep black immigrants down? The answer is obvious: Black immigrant culture tends to value academic achievement and believe it is possible no matter what happened to your ancestors. As one business school graduate born to Nigerian parents tells Ms. Chua and Mr. Rubenfeld: “If you start thinking about or becoming absorbed in the mentality that the whole system is against us then you cannot succeed.”

Groups like the Cornell BSU insist that the system is out to get them and they cannot succeed. This makes the presence of high-achieving immigrant black students inconvenient. Between diversity and victimhood as the highest good in today’s academia, it’s hard to know where to place your money.

None of this is doing anything to shore up higher educations diminishing reputation.

ACTUALLY, GUN CONTROL DOESN’T MAKE ME FEEL GOOD: Feel Good Remedies Like Gun Control Won’t Stop Mass Shootings.

There are about 300 million guns in this country—nearly one for every man, woman, and child. Congress can pass all the regulations it wants—and even declare an outright ban on guns. Anyone who wants a gun badly enough would still be able to get one. Substantially reducing America’s stockpile of guns might make it more difficult for a potential killer to get a firearm undetected, but accomplishing that won’t require a ban on guns, but a war on guns, whose constitutional implications are identical to those of the conservative war on terrorism. Indeed, it won’t just require liberals to end their “truce with the Second Amendment”—as The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik wants—but also eviscerate other aspects of the Constitution.

There is no good or easy way to get Americans to voluntarily surrender their guns. Asking them nicely won’t do the trick.

Liberals like to tout Australia’s “buyback” programs as a possible model, but the success of that program in actually reducing the number of guns—and gun-related homicides—is deeply disputed. Indeed, one indication that the program wasn’t all that it is cracked up to be is that illegal gun ownership in Australia is up again, necessitating yet another amnesty initiative by the country this year.

Besides, Australia’s love affair with guns is nowhere as strong as America’s—which is why Australia doesn’t have the Second Amendment to begin with and America does. That, combined with the greater number of guns in this country, might make any buyback program prohibitively expensive for taxpayers.

So what is the alternative? Basically, forcing people to give up their guns. But the kind of intrusive searches of the homes and property of gun owners this would entail would make the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance of telecommunications look positively restrained. Nor are Americans likely to simply lie down and take it. They will likely resist and fight back, which would require the government to crack down even more—or, in other words, declare war on its own people.

There’s nothing that would provoke more “gun violence” than an attempt to seize guns. But gun control isn’t about preventing violence, it’s about forcing those rubes in Flyover Country to knuckle under.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Conservative, Inc., Is Being Replaced By Us Militant Normals. “Gosh, I would have thought from all those cruise panels about how our crumbling culture is slouching toward Babylon and the need to resist the liberal onslaught that maybe we ought to actually resist the liberal onslaught, but see, that was my mistake. I took it seriously when Conservative, Inc., promised to fight the leftist blitzkrieg against normal Americans. It was all a scam, a lie, a pose for us rubes. The Tru Cons didn’t actually mean it. There’s a lot of that not meaning it going on in the GOP right now. . . . Conservatism has become a racket, and everything happening now is a result of its members hoping to wait out Trump and the demand for change he represents. Maybe if they do nothing, but say all the right things, we normals will get tired and go back to our jobs and keep providing those votes and renting those cruise cabins. But that’s not happening. . . . Militant normalcy is the result of normal people roused to anger and refusing to be pushed around anymore. We prefer a free society based on personal liberty and mutual respect. But if you leftists veto that option, that leaves us either a society where you rule and oppress us, or one where we hold the power.”

NOAH FELDMAN: Feinstein’s Anti-Catholic Questions Are an Outrage.

Related: Notre Dame, Princeton to Senate: Quit imposing religious tests for public office.

UPDATE: Prominent Criticism of Senate Democrat Bigotry Against Amy Barrett.

Even more noteworthy (given that he had no institutional incentive to speak out on the matter) was Princeton president Christopher Eisgruber’s letter to the Judiciary Committee. Eisgruber, a former clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens and a constitutional scholar with expertise on religious freedom and judicial appointments, objects that “the questions directed to Professor Barrett about her faith were not consistent with the principle set forth in the Constitution’s “no religious test” clause.” He further observes (as I did here) that the law-review article of Barrett’s that Democrats used to attack her expresses views that “are fully consistent with a judge’s obligation to uphold the law and the Constitution.”

And today’s New York Times—often home to anti-Catholic bigotry—even includes an excellent op-ed by Sohrab Ahmari, titled “The Dogma of Dianne Feinstein,” that likewise objects to Feinstein’s display of “religious animus” and notes that her “accusations were based on a mangled understanding of Ms. Barrett’s work.”

Make this sort of thing painful and they’ll do it less often.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless America. We need it.

IT’S AS IF ALL THIS “GREEN” STUFF IS JUST PROPAGANDA FOR THE RUBES: Germany Isn’t Anywhere Close to Its 2020 Climate Target.

Germany has fashioned itself a new brand for the 21st century as the global green leader, but it’s nowhere close to meeting the ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets it set for itself. The German government has targeted a 40 percent reduction of GHG emissions by 2020, as compared to 1990 levels, but with less than three years to go the country remains far from achieving that goal. Berlin already admitted that the 40 percent goal likely wasn’t possible, and instead lowered its sights to a 35 percent reduction, but even that seems unlikely now. A new study from the green think tank Agora Energiewende says Germany is likely to achieve only a 30-31 percent reduction.

That report lays the blame for this “drastically missed” target at the feet of bargain prices for both oil and carbon. The global crude market is awash in supplies today, which has meant cheap oil products (like transportation fuel) for consumers. People are driving further and more often, and that’s not helping German efforts to cut emissions. The European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is similarly flooded with supplies, though in this case it’s emissions allowances rather than barrels of crude. This glut of permits has produced a price of carbon far below what is necessary to incentivize heavy emitters to alter their behaviors, which (again) has made the German quest to cut GHGs more difficult.

Europe’s broken carbon market and today’s new oil reality are important trends to help understand why Germany is so far away from that 40 percent target, but the elephant in the room here is nuclear power. As part of Germany’s clean energy transition—its energiewende—nuclear power was phased out, a process hastened following the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Some environmentalists will have told themselves that the zero-emissions power produced by these nuclear reactors was replaced by Germany’s surging renewables sector, but wind and solar produce a much more intermittent type of power, unlike reliable nuclear workhorses. The perverse result is that even as Germany has lauded the “greening” of some parts of its energy mix, it’s had to increase its reliance on lignite coal—just about the brownest energy source around—to compensate for its shuttered nuclear fleet.

Who could have seen this coming?

AS A MAN WHO’S BEEN CALLED GOD HIMSELF* ADVISED HIS FOLLOWING, GET IN THEIR FACES, AND PUNCH BACK TWICE AS HARD: D. James Kennedy Ministries Sues SPLC, GuideStar, and Amazon Over “Hate” Labeling.

* By people who should – and did – know better.

PRIVACY: AccuWeather caught sending user location data, even when location sharing is off.

We independently verified the findings, and were able to geolocate an AccuWeather-running iPhone in our New York office within just a few meters, using nothing more than the Wi-Fi router’s MAC address and public data.

When the location is enabled, it sends the down-to-the-meter precise coordinates of the user, including speed and altitude, back to the data firm.

That’s where Reveal Mobile comes in. The data firm isn’t an advertiser per se but helps provide data for advertisers. Reveal says it “turns the location data coming out of those apps into meaningful audience data,” and “we listen for [latitude and longitude] data and when a device “bumps” into a Bluetooth beacon,” according to a brochure on its website.

For its part, Reveal Mobile executives said on a call last week with ZDNet that though company does collect Wi-Fi data and MAC address information, it “does not use it” for location data.

Tech blogger John Gruber adds:

In other words, if you deny AccuWeather permission to use the Location Services APIs on you iPhone, they’ll go around your back and send your Wi-Fi router name and the router’s MAC address to these shitbirds at Reveal Mobile, and they maintain a database that maps Wi-Fi routers to locations.

To me this is a one strike and you’re out situation. Apple should remove this version of the AccuWeather app from the App Store, and any of you reading this who have it installed should delete it from your devices and never re-install it. How can you trust them?

You can’t.

RUBEN NAVARRETTE: Trump and the media love mud wrestling:

In keeping with the recent meme of recognizing bad behavior “on many sides,” there was something that was painfully obvious during last week’s improv news-conference-like-no-other in the lobby of Trump Tower: President Trump and the media deserve each other. Both are driven by ego and take criticism personally. Both will twist the facts to defend themselves and push their agenda. And both love to wrestle in the mud.

Americans are fed precooked narratives by the Fourth Estate. We’re told what’s important and what isn’t, what to focus on and what to ignore, and — above all — what to think.

Last week’s serving was that Trump is providing aid and comfort to a loathsome bunch of misfits — neo-Nazis, Klansmen and white supremacists.

Nevertheless, for my money, the more important takeaway from that no-holds-barred presser was that we have entered scary and uncharted territory in the relationship between the president and the media. It’s very personal. . . .

All I could think was: The media have lost their collective mind. They used to be content to just tell us what to think. Now, in the era of Trump, they go further and tell us not to trust what we see with our own eyes or hear with our own ears.

Trump does a superb job of getting in his own way, and turning every policy disagreement into a junior high school fistfight.

Still, the last few days have been excruciating for me. Not because I have any affection for Trump or neo-Nazis or white supremacists. I don’t. The country would be better off without the lot of them. However, I have become quite fond of journalism.

I sure miss it.

Don’t we all.

TRUMP AND THE MEDIA LOVE MUD WRESTLING:

Trump is right to complain about how he never gets any credit for doing the right thing because the media and the rest of his critics are always waiting to pounce on him for doing the wrong thing.

All I could think was: The media have lost their collective mind. They used to be content to just tell us what to think. Now, in the era of Trump, they go further and tell us not to trust what we see with our own eyes or hear with our own ears.

Trump does a superb job of getting in his own way, and turning every policy disagreement into a junior high school fistfight.

Still, the last few days have been excruciating for me. Not because I have any affection for Trump or neo-Nazis or white supremacists. I don’t. The country would be better off without the lot of them. However, I have become quite fond of journalism.

I sure miss it.

Me too. Note that this syndicated column by Ruben Navarrette, Jr. is running in the San Francisco Chronicle, which buried its editors’ videotaped interview with Obama in January of 2008 in which he vowed to bankrupt the coal industry, instead of putting his words in giant 72 point type on its front page the next day. A serious presidential candidate vowing to wipe a major industry should be major news no matter what your political leanings or your views on environmentalism. Its omission by the Chronicle served as a stark reminder that long ago, old media morphed into Democratic operatives with bylines, who merely produce content as a side function of their main goal of keeping their team in power and accumulating more of it.

OBAMACARE ARCHITECT JONATHAN GRUBER FIRED AFTER FRAUDULENT-BILLING PROBE:

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan said his office has concluded an investigation into the invoices and billing practices of Dr. Jonathan Gruber, an economic consultant who contracted with the state to provide policy expertise, research and economic modeling for Vermont’s abandoned single-payer healthcare system.

Former Gov. Peter Shumlin sought to create the single-payer system, known as Green Mountain Care, but eventually walked away from the plan after determining it would cost too much. The attorney general’s office’s began the investigation into Gruber’s billing after receiving a referral by State Auditor Doug Hoffer.

Donovan said Thursday his office and Gruber reached an agreement to settle the state’s potential legal claim that Gruber submitted false claims to the state under Vermont’s Civil False Claims Act. Donovan said his office concluded that Gruber’s conduct violated the Vermont Civil False Claims Act. Gruber denied a violation, but in order to resolve the case, he agreed to forgo any further payments from the state that he might be owed.

Donovan said Gruber’s personal services contract with the state was a standard “time and materials” contract that specified Gruber would be paid only for services actually performed. The contract required Gruber to submit monthly invoices describing the work performed and the amounts billed for such work.

Donovan’s office found that Gruber submitted at least two invoices that were false with respect to the amount of work performed by a research assistant working for Gruber. The supporting documentation provided by Gruber did not reflect the actual hours worked by the research assistant, nor did the assistant keep records accurately reflecting the hours he devoted to the state project, Donovan said.

Gruber’s contract was originally supposed to pay him as much as $400,000 to test economic models related to Shumlin’s health care proposal. The contract allowed the state to use the Gruber Microsimulation Model that Gruber developed to simulate the implementation of Shumlin’s plan and test various financing mechanisms.

Gruber, InstaPundit readers will remember, basically confessed that ObamaCare was a scam.

Plus: “[I]n 2013 Gruber referred to the ‘stupidity of the American voter’ and the ‘huge political advantage’ the healthcare legislation’s lack of transparency would provide in getting the bill passed. The ensuing public furor against Gruber for his comments caused the Obama administration to distance themselves from the former adviser.”

OPENNESS — OR ELSE: Some Apple employees may quit over new ‘open’ office floor plan.

If you’re an Apple employee this is a big change. Up until now you’ve been used to having your own office space. But the new Apple Park will change all that. The programmers, engineers, developers and other employees who work there will be rubbing elbows with each other over long tables that they’ll be sharing in the company’s new open space environment. And some are not thrilled.

Jon Gruber, a podcaster and blogger that follows the company is reported to have received emails from employees who threatened to leave the company if the workplaces aren’t suitable. “Judging from the private feedback I’ve gotten from some Apple employees, I’m 100% certain there’s going to be some degree of attrition based on the open floor plans,” he said in this Macrumors report.

Open office designs have been popular with many companies over the past few years. But they’ve also been controversial. Executives believe that an environment without cubicles fosters collaboration, innovation and creativity. Research has backed up some of these claims. But many workers aren’t so crazy about the lack of privacy–and that guy who noisily eats his lunch just a few feet away. Tuna salad again?

The new campus is gorgeous, but forcing all 12,000 or so employees into an open office seems optimistic at best.

SEARCH AND RESCUE IN THE CORAL SEA: This photo was taken August 5, right after a Marine MV-22 Osprey crashed and three Marines went missing. 23 others were rescued. The Australian ship HMAS Melville located the downed MV-22. The Marine Corps has determined the missing Marines are dead: 1st Lt. Benjamin Cross, 26, Cpl. Nathaniel Ordway, 21, and Pfc. Ruben Velasco, 19. All of us regret their loss and thank them for their service.

RELATED: The V-22 is an expensive aircraft.

LATE-STAGE SOCIALISM: Venezuela inches closer to default.

Inches?

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, “Chávez loyalists hold firm amid chaos.”

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

AND NEITHER DOES YOURS: Al Gore’s Carbon Footprint Doesn’t Matter.

Emily Atkin:

Gore is hardly the only climate advocate whose personal energy use has been attacked by the right. It’s a familiar, longstanding tactic among conservatives [actually, it’s Alinsky’s fourth rule. -Steve] who don’t accept the truth about climate change. Republican pollster and consultant Frank Luntz told me he thinks Rush Limbaugh “started the argument that the Hollywood Left flew their private jets to global warming conferences.” The first reference I could find was in 2006, when the conservative Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Debra Saunders, then writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, bemoaned what she called “Learjet liberals who burn beaucoup fossil fuels in the sky as they soar around the planet fighting global warming.” Fox News host Sean Hannity picked up “Learjet liberals” soon after, using it in numerous segments in 2007 and 2008 and as recently as January.

“Learjet liberals” isn’t as prolific as it used to be, but the underlying argument is. Leonardo DiCaprio has been a frequent target for his use of private jets and yachts. Elon Musk was called out in June for flying in a private jet. Conservative outlets attacked former President Barack Obama in May for attending a climate change conference in a private jet and a 14-car convoy. Fox News’ Tucker Carlson’s segment on this, featuring Ann Coulter, was an orgy of incredulous outrage.

Leading by example is for the rubes, apparently.

VIDEO: John Boehner Says Republicans Are Never Going to Repeal & Replace Obamacare.

The vitriol spewing from the Left, and the Right’s mostly tepid response to it, has me half-convinced that there won’t even be any meaningful reform to Obama’s Rube-Goldberg-on-a-Vegas-bender monstrosity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They hope that the rubes will think so.

BLESS THEIR HEARTS: Media mourning for America on Independence Day.

As Jonathan Last noted in a brilliant juxtaposition of DNC-MSM op-ed columns from both November of 2008 and shortly before the GOP took Congress in November 2010 called “Paradise Lost — America was great, once (in November 2008):”

The American people are in for it. When Republicans lose elections, they blame each other: Talk radio blames the RINOs; the squishes blame the pro-lifers; the social conservatives blame the Big Business types, and so on. Each faction maintains that their party will never find acceptance with voters until the rest of the movement looks just like them.

When Democrats lose, on the other hand, they blame America. They tut-tut about gullible voters being way-laid by crafty messaging. Or rubes foolishly voting against their self-interest. Or middle Americans being a bunch of fundamentalist crazies. (Remember the “Jesusland” map after 2004?) With a Republican wave about to wash over the Obama administration, the public is due for a good talking-to. On the nation’s op-ed pages, it’s already started.

And will continue right around this time for the next four to eight years.

(Classical reference in headline.)

GOSH, I CAN’T UNDERSTAND WHY THOSE FLYOVER COUNTRY RUBES WHO VOTED FOR TRUMP DON’T TRUST NORTHEAST CORRIDOR ELITIST TECHNOCRATS:

We’re the greatest city in the world and our subways suck.

—Headline, the New York Post, June 20th.

Let’s face it: Washington, DC’s Metro is the worst in the world.

—Headline, the Washington Examiner, June 19th.

And the pun that was probably ancient when my dad repeated it frequently to me when I was a kid is really true this year: “Lead us not into Penn Station.”

RIP: Powers Boothe, star of Tombstone, Guyana Tragedy, MacGruber, dies at 68.

He and the late J.T. Walsh conveyed intelligent menace better than any other actors I can remember.

THE GOOD NEWS: OUR IMMIGRANTS ARE CATCHING UP TO MARIN COUNTY. THE BAD NEWS: OUR IMMIGRANTS ARE CATCHING UP TO MARIN COUNTY. Measles outbreak in Minnesota sickens dozens. “An outbreak of measles in Minnesota has sickened more than 30 children in recent weeks, primarily in the state’s large Somali-American community, where many parents avoid the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine because of unfounded fears that it causes autism.”

But maybe this whole thing is just a bit of disguised anti-immigrant activism: “With Somalis, we know that it’s a community that’s been targeted for misinformation from the anti-vaccine community and so that’s a bit distressing.”

FLASHBACK, ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: The Smug Style In American Liberalism. “Finding comfort in the notion that their former allies were disdainful, hapless rubes, smug liberals created a culture animated by that contempt. The result is a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

It hasn’t gotten any less smug, despite crushing defeat. . . .

VIDEO: RUBE GOLDBERG’S PASSOVER SEDER.

Heh, indeed. Watch the whole thing™.

ROGER KIMBALL: “What if?” The Evelyn Farkas Fracas.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that conservatives and Republicans (no, they are not necessarily the same) enjoy playing the counter-factual game of “What if?”

What if a Republican had presided over Benghazi instead of Ms. “At-this-point-What-Difference-Does-It-Make” Clinton?
What if a Republican administration had intervened to prevent Arizona from enforcing federal immigration laws?
What if a Republican had decided to enforce provisions of the Affordable Care Act selectively, omitting, for the time being, those that were politically inexpedient?
What if a Republican had made a deal with Iran that all-but guaranteed their acquisition of nuclear weapons within a few years?
What if a Republican administration had spied on a rival presidential candidate, who then, to the surprise of wise men everywhere, became the disfavored president-elect?
What if a Republican administration had illegally leaked, from classified intelligence reports, the names of private citizens to the media?
What if, what if, what if?

You know the answer: The well-oiled outrage machine of the media-industrial complex would have been wheeled into action. Oh my God, Mitt Romney once carried his pet dog on the roof of his car! Can you believe it? There are reports that he was mean to a kid in his high school! Obviously the heartless bastard is not qualified to be president. When asked in 2012 what was the most serious national security America faced, he said Russia. Russia! What a rube. And there was Barack Hussein Obama, really letting him have it: Now the 1980s are calling and asking for their foreign policy back! Yuk, yuk, yuk.

It’s as if our media is a bunch of politically partisan Mean Girls. Plus:

This story is in the process of putting itself together even as I write. Klavan is correct that what we are looking at here—“that the Obama Gang was using intelligence on Republicans to try to thwart a Trump administration from erasing Obama’s legacy”—is a “huge story.” He says “almost as big as the fact that Obama used the IRS to decimate the Tea Party movement.” In fact, it’s much, much bigger.

On Thursday, Kimberly Strassel wrote a blistering piece in The Wall Street Journal describing how 1) House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes saw and reported on classified information detailing such surveillance, 2) How Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the Committee, went into full flak mode, emitting a storm of obfuscations, non sequiturs, and procedural cow patties, and 3) how the cold-light-of-day finger of accusation is pointed directly at the heart of the Obama administration. “Mr. Nunes,” Strassel wrote, “has said he has seen proof that the Obama White House surveilled the incoming administration—on subjects that had nothing to do with Russia—and that it further unmasked (identified by name) transition officials. This goes far beyond a mere scandal. It’s a potential crime.”

Big time. As Michael Goodwin put it in The New York Post on Sunday, “If it can be proven that a sitting president used government authorities to spy on a candidate who then became president and orchestrated leaks of classified material, Watergate, by comparison, really would be a second-rate burglary.”

And the longer they cover for Obama now, the less they’ll be able to protect him later.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Single-payer, here we come.

A broad national consensus is developing that health care is indeed a right. This is historically new. And it carries immense implications for the future. It suggests that we may be heading inexorably to a government-run, single-payer system. It’s what Barack Obama once admitted he would have preferred but didn’t think the country was ready for. It may be ready now.

As Obamacare continues to unravel, it won’t take much for Democrats to abandon that Rube Goldberg wreckage and go for the simplicity and the universality of Medicare-for-all. Republicans will have one last chance to try to convince the country to remain with a market-based system, preferably one encompassing all the provisions that, for procedural reasons, had been left out of their latest proposal.

Don’t be surprised, however, if, in the end, single-payer wins out. Indeed, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if Donald Trump, reading the zeitgeist, pulls the greatest 180 since Disraeli dished the Whigs in 1867 (by radically expanding the franchise) and joins the single-payer side.

That would be a less than 180-degree turnaround, given that Trump has on more than one occasion talked about “insurance for everybody” as part of his repeal & replace promise.

IRONY ALERT: ObamaCare Scammer Jonathan Gruber says Republicans setting up a ‘scam.’ “Gruber has stirred up controversy on a number of occasions after videos surfaced of him calling the American public “stupid” for allowing the Affordable Care Act to pass in the first place while being the public face of the legislation.”

CHRIS CILLIZZA: 10 years ago today Obama made a huge promise. He didn’t keep it.

Ten years ago today, then-Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois announced he was taking the first steps to run for president in 2008. In a three-minute video, he explained why — and what he hoped to accomplish.

It’s remarkable as a historic artifact — God bless YouTube! — but if you watch the whole thing (it’s only 187 seconds long!), you are reminded of the central reason Obama ran for president: to fix broken politics.

The big idea at the heart of Obama’s candidacy was that he — because of his background, proven résumé and the historic nature of his candidacy — was uniquely suited to solve the partisan gridlock that had seized our politics under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. That he could bring us all together through an appeal to our better angels and our shared values — and, in so doing, create a government that worked for all of us.

Another rube self-identifies.

GEORGE SCOVILLE: “Fake News?” Media, Heal Thyself.

In December, PolitiFact awarded its “2016 Lie of the Year” award to “Fake news.” But mainstream press deserves plenty of blame. We can’t all be gullible rubes, after all. Why are American news consumers turning away from mainstream media? The answer is simple: contemporary reporting is awful.

According to George Mason University economist and political scientist Tim Groseclose, whose work has focused on measuring partisan bias in the press, news editors and reporters overwhelmingly skew left on the American political spectrum. To wit, the Center for Public Integrity found that, of the over $396,000 that members of the press gave in 2016 to the two major presidential campaigns, 96 percent of the funds went to Clinton.

Recent headlines claiming that malicious foreign actors “hacked” the 2016 election suggest that editors make deliberate choices to try to shape how we think about current events. Although federal officials have found no evidence of vote-tampering, the damage is already done: over 50 percent of Democrats in a recent YouGov poll think Russians hacked actual vote tallies to help Trump. This conspiracy theory rivals the belief that President Obama is a Kenyan Muslim.

Michael Cleply, a former New York Times reporter, wrote after the election that his editors often assigned stories to him with prepackaged narratives. His job was to gather facts and comments from sources to support the storyline. This is not “reporting.” It is little wonder that many people distrust mainstream media.

Nope.

RICH WEINSTEIN: “Interested in how we got to this Obamacare craziness? This is pretty much a Gruber confession video.”

THAT VOW WAS JUST FOR THE RUBES: Whatever happened to that smooth presidential transition Obama vowed?

Andrew Malcolm:

Since Obama vowed to run a smooth presidential transition, what’s the real point of picking a tardy diplomatic scuffle with Putin? What’s the real point of setting Israel (and the annoying Netanyahu) adrift at the United Nations now?

Why issue all these offshore drilling bans and new federal regulations? Why commute more federal prison sentences than a dozen past presidents combined? Why keep releasing Guantanamo terrorists when so many return to their homicidal careers?

Might it be to plant political IEDs for his annoying successor, as Democrats seek to restore their party? For the first time in nearly a century a former president decided to reside in Washington. Obama has rented a mansion and office space where he’ll be easily accessible to media friends for, say, kibitzing his successor – unlike Obama’s predecessor, who went silent for more than a year.

Obama is the Loki of presidential politics.

ANTHONY BOURDAIN: The “utter contempt with which privileged Eastern liberals such as myself discuss red-state, gun-country, working-class America as ridiculous and morons and rubes” helped elect Trump.

At least he understands he’s chosen the form of his destructor.

Read the full interview with Reason’s Alexander Bisley.

DON SURBER:

Never Trump and its Obamanaut friends think we are a bunch of rubes being played for suckas by President Trump because he held a meeting with Al Gore, or someone in his upcoming Cabinet donated to Planned Parenthood, or someone associated with him lobbied sometime somewhere.

Just remember: Never Trump and its Obamanaut friends got the election wrong. They want to plant seeds of doubt. Why listen to those losers? Listen to a real expert, billionaire Conrad Black.

You should also listen to Surber, one of the few who clearly saw the Trump Train coming. Scholars of this election should read his Trump The Press. But probably won’t.

A DEMOCRAT’S LAMENT: America is held hostage by flyover states.

The predominant narrative coming out of the 2016 Presidential post-election analysis is: The flyover states have spoken.

A flyover state is the huge region between the coasts. As opposed to the eastern seaboard, northern post-industrial states and Pacific Ocean states. They’re overwhelmingly Republican, stanchly conservative, regressive right wing, evangelical Christian and working class, well, the loudest, most ill-informed of them are. The term wasn’t commonly used in a political manner until recently with the emergence of the Tea-Party and the election of Obama.

A visit to Wichita, Kansas isn’t on the bucket list of many Americans. Whereas most travelers fly over Fayetteville, Arkansas and Springfield, Missouri. They’re not destination spots. The flyover state gripe has nothing to do with the tourist industry of Oklahoma or Nebraska or Iowa. This is about their perceived feelings of abandonment and disrespect from their government.

You know, if the federal government had less power, they couldn’t hold you “hostage” by winning elections. But you wanted the federal government to have a lot of power, so you could really lord it over those rubes in flyover country.

Well:

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-6-35-32-pm

YEARS AGO, IN A BAD PLACE, I FOUND A BOOK OF DA VINCI WORKS FED SOMETHING I NEEDED FED. I HAVEN’T FOUND THE SAME IN MODERN WORKS.  APPARENTLY I’M NOT ALONE: Room for Rubens and Rembrandt.

CHANGE: From Victims to Victimizers: The Left’s Long Journey.

Some of the shock of Trump’s victory is surely due to the bubble that exists in Hollywood and New York, the Pauline Kael–esque sense that nobody could have voted for Trump. But some of it also derives from celebrities’ self-assured belief that they have an outsized impact in the world of politics.

Clearly that view infused the Clinton campaign: Hillary trotted out Lena Dunham of Girls fame, she of the false rape accusations and gleeful admissions of sexually abusing her sister, on the campaign trail all year long; Clinton advocates such as Elizabeth Banks took time off from producing bad a cappella sequels to film ads; singers and actors all joined to make a difference by producing a glossy version of Rachel Platten’s maddening “Fight Song.”

And not only didn’t those things matter, they actually helped drive voters away from Clinton. They exacerbated the image of Clinton as an out-of-touch elitist who spent her free time hanging out with Katy Perry, even as Donald Trump, at a stadium in rural Ohio, took yet another boisterous swipe at elitism. But it wasn’t just because these celebrities were rich and out of touch that Americans were put off by them.

It’s because those celebrities were the people most likely to judge red-state Americans as rubes — nasties intent on targeting Muslims and gays and blacks and women. The unearned moral superiority of America’s celebrity class rests in their open condemnation of flyover Americans as brutish louts, and their self-parodying belief that they are civil-rights heroes.

We are patronized by our inferiors.

FAKE-NEWS HYSTERIA IS WHY OUR ELITES AREN’T TRUSTED:

Jack Shafer of Politico has the best piece yet examining the post-election phenomenon of “fake news” panic—the idea, which spread rapidly among establishment figures in the wake of the election, that Americans were fooled en masse into voting for Donald Trump by nefarious propaganda, funded in part by the Russians. His key contribution is to highlight the elitism at the heart of this idea:

The shrillness of the propaganda debate reveals a deep distrust of citizens by the elites. The Ignatiuses and Stengels of media and government don’t worry about propaganda infecting them. Proud of their breeding and life experience, they seem confident they can decode fact from fiction. What they dread is propaganda’s effect on the non-elites, whom they paternalistically imagine believe everything they read or view. But they don’t. The idea that naïve and vulnerable audiences can be easily influenced by the injection of tiny but potent messages into their media feedbag was dismissed as bunk by social scientists as early as the 1930s and 1940s. According to what academics call the hypodermic needle theory (aka magic bullet theory, aka transmission-belt model), there is little evidence that the public was the defenseless prey of mini-doses of propagandists. Larger doses don’t seem to be very effective, either.

We noted earlier this week that elite media figures actually were fooled on a large scale by a fake story about fake news because it seemed to confirmed their pre-existing assumptions. Everyone is vulnerable to misinformation and spin—to suspend disbelief when it is convenient to do so. As Shafer says, the self-righteous conceit behind the sudden preoccupation with fake news is that this tendency is somehow more pronounced among Trump voters than everyone else—indeed, that many people could only have voted for him because they were misinformed. . . .

But the collapse in public trust in the mainstream press is also driven by politics and social divides. Much of the public believes that big city reporters do not understand them or their way of life, and hold their values in contempt. And the degree of hysteria that media elites are exhibiting about “fake news,” and the rubes who were supposedly taken in, will only reinforce this perception further.

Yep.

REMEMBER WHEN IT WAS THE GOP THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO SELF-DESTRUCT AFTER THE ELECTION? Dems delay vote on picking leaders.

Facing heavy pressure from House Democrats, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday delayed the party’s leadership elections until the end of the month.

The move came amid a growing groundswell of frustration within the Democratic Caucus that the party’s message has failed to resonate with much of the country –– particularly among the rural, working-class voters who have shifted steadily toward the Republicans in recent cycles, lifting Donald Trump to his presidential victory last week.

Dozens of rank-and-file Democrats had pressed Pelosi to delay Thursday’s vote to allow “an internal conversation” about the party’s strategic path back to power, in the words of Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), who led the charge. That push reached a fever pitch at a closed-door Democratic meeting Tuesday morning in the Capitol, where a long string of Democrats, siding with Moulton, voiced their opposition to a vote this week.

“The American people cried out last week and we’ve got to listen,” Moulton said afterward.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), another vocal proponent of delaying the vote, said the move was not a shot at Pelosi, but a signal to voters that Democrats are aware the party’s message has failed to resonate, and they’re seeking ways to be more effective.

“This is a message to our constituents, saying we have heard you, we have clearly missed the mark [in] regards to legislation and messaging, and we’re going to work on this to make sure that we’re an effective caucus to put up the opposition to Donald Trump and to make sure that he is only a one-term president,” Gallego said.

Those lawmakers have stopped short of calling for new leadership, but the two-week delay until Nov. 30 conceivably gives more time for lawmakers to mount a potential challenge to Pelosi.

I don’t see why the Democrats would want to have Pelosi as leader, when everyone from Lena Dunham to Samantha Bee to the Hillary campaign survivors has been telling us that white women are the worst.

THE REVENGE OF SCOTT BROWN: Election 2016 — It All Started With Obamacare.

As Trump’s critics have noted, it’s always sad to see a populist huckster selling snake-oil that he doesn’t believe is true, uttering the same old lies over and over again, figuring the rubes won’t notice when what he’s offering turns out to be vaporware.

IS THE U.S. ON THE “RIGHT TRACK OR THE WRONG TRACK”?: It’s a pollster question. Democrat whines to the contrary, ObamaCare is collapsing. It’s definitely “wrong track.” My last Observer essay documented that legislation’s miserable history.

Which leads to a point worth making this election day.

The language in the ObamaCare law was intentionally obscure.

James Madison in Federalist 62 warned us that “incoherent” legislation was wrong track:

“…It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood…”

But “incoherent” served the Obama Administration’s political aims. My essay quotes one of the liars who helped concoct the law, the infamous Jonathan Gruber and links to an article at The Hill which which documents Gruber’s pride in falsehood:

“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” Gruber said. “And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass.” Gruber made the comment while discussing how the law was “written in a tortured way” to avoid a bad score from the Congressional Budget Office. He suggested that voters would have rejected ObamaCare if the penalties for going without health insurance were interpreted as taxes, either by budget analysts or the public.

ObamaCare was a fraud from the get-go. Even after passing it no one really knows what’s in it. Donald Trump knows at least half of America is totally fed up with this kind of political fraud.

FUNDAMENTAL TRANSFORMATION: Gallup: Support for ban on assault weapons hits all-time low. “What makes this really surprising is that it isn’t a standard partisan effect in which Republican opposition to a ban is outpacing Democratic support for it. All three partisan groups have seen sharp declines in support since 2012.”

I think two things are going on. First, gun control got a boost from the psychological damage and ensuing hysteria after the JFK, RFK, and King assassinations, and that’s worn off, prompting a reversion to traditional American attitudes. Second, it’s become obvious over time that gun control is a dumb political gimmick, mostly designed for virtue-signaling at the expense of flyover rubes.

TAKE FIVE: Hillary email leak reveals that Clinton flacks Huma Abedin and Doug Band didn’t know who Dave Brubeck was.

And as Johnny Fever would say, “If I die, who will teach the children about Bo Diddley?”

(Saw Bo Diddley in a Philadelphia dive bar in the mid-‘80s, in case you’re asking. Very sorry I never saw Brubeck in concert.)

OBAMACARE PROBLEMS ARE A CAMPAIGN ISSUE: Small businesses are screaming about reporting requirements as well as rising costs. At the end of this month individual voters will start screaming when they see next year’s premiums. The linked article quotes some “fix it” advocates. OK, “fix it” is an option — of sorts. However, the mess that is ObamaCare is a Democrat mess, so fixing it starts with Democrats “fixing” the bitter partisan divisions they created. Republicans offered legislative fixes when ObamaCare was proposed. Democrats and their media allies harshly ridiculed Republican proposals. Moreover, the ridicule became very personal. Over time, media denied that there were any Republican alternatives. So, if you’re in the “fix it” crowd, demand Democrats take responsibility for the following: (1) the flawed legislation; (2) the “Gruber experts” that lied about the flawed legislation — lied to Congress and the media; (3) the completely pig-headed Democrat political maneuvers that jammed the idiocy through Congress; and (4) the program’s flawed implementation (which continues). Democrats should also apologize, profusely, for the vicious propaganda attacks they and their proxies made on critics of ObamaCare. Turns out the critics cared more about quality medical insurance for the American people than Obama and Congressional Democrats.

TWILIGHT OF THE ELITES: Colin Powell’s Emails Provide A Window Into Why We Got Trump:

Even as Democrats have accused Republicans of “epistemic closure” in their beliefs, the bipartisan governing class may have similar problems of its own. Powell’s emails make clear that he lives a life of television appearances, lucrative paid speeches, and expensive parties at which he runs into a bipartisan assortment of colleagues. Recalling his frustration over being dragged into email controversy by Clinton’s staff, Powell writes, “I had to throw a mini tantrum at a Hamptons party to get their attention.”

Having a cozy elite that gathers in the Hamptons isn’t all bad. If political foes were mortal enemies at all times, the system would break down and peaceful transfers of power would become impossible. But one is left wondering if Powell or any of those who agree with him have any sense of the “average folks” of whom they speak. In the circles in which Powell travels, it’s taken for granted that globalism must be on the march, that bridges must supplant walls, and that better education must be the ticket to middle-class existence. Meanwhile, Trumpian ideas of building a border wall or restricting outsourcing won’t help struggling Americans because—they just won’t. So stick with the current consensus program, which will pay off any minute now.

Powell shares not just the assumptions of the establishment but also its lenience in self-assessment. In email exchanges with Condoleezza Rice about Iraq, Powell and his former colleague take comfort in blaming Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney for the primary mess-ups in Iraq, implicitly absolving themselves. When former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw emails about the release of an inquiry into the Iraq War called the Chilcot Report, he seems troubled primarily by the idea of bad publicity and calls Brexit a “silver lining” for distracting attention to it. Powell is even less troubled, writing, “Didn’t amount to anything over here.” One gets the sense their sleep is not terribly disturbed.

Life is good in Capital City. Less so in the provinces, but who cares about those rubes?

SO NOW IT’S THE 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11. Back then, InstaPundit was shiny and new new. Now it’s not, and some people have been warning of “blogger burnout.” But I’m still here. On prior 9/11 anniversaries, I’ve given shooting lessons to a Marine, I’ve taken the day off from blogging, and I’ve even gone to a Tea Party with Andrew Breitbart.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating today.

One thing I guess I didn’t believe 15 years ago is that America would elect such a feckless President in 2008, and stand idly by while he flushed our global position, and security, down a left-wing toilet. But we did, and we’ll be paying the price for a long time.

God bless America. We need it.

CHOOSE THE FORM OF YOUR DESTRUCTOR. “How Jon Stewart’s Culture of Ridicule Left America Unprepared for Donald Trump,” as explained by Jesse Bernstein of the left-leaning Jewish-themed Tablet magazine:

The process went something like this: Someone said something on Fox News that mainstream liberalism didn’t like; Stewart and/or Colbert aired a sustained critique of the idea and the thinking behind it; liberal internet publications hailed it as the greatest rhetorical victory since Darrow argued for Scopes; liberals’ Facebook feeds full of liberal friends filled up with clips of the takedown. No one learned anything, no one engaged with an idea, and nothing outside of a very specific set of ideas was given any real credence. As Emmet Rensin so perfectly put it:

Finding comfort in the notion that their former allies were disdainful, hapless rubes, smug liberals created a culture animated by that contempt. The result is a self-fulfilling prophecy. … Over 20 years, an industry arose to cater to the smug style … and culminated for a time in The Daily Show, a program that more than any other thing advanced the idea that liberal orthodoxy was a kind of educated savvy and that is opponents were, before anything else, stupid.

As Rensin deftly discerns, this sort of intellectual elitism is probably part of the reason that the Democratic Party went from getting 66 percent of the manual laborer vote in 1948 to outpolling the GOP by just 2 points in 2012. It’s the inevitable consequence of eight years of reducing George W. Bush and all of his supporters to dumbass hicks, and choosing to denigrate the poor and uneducated (if only they read The Atlantic!), rather than doing real outreach to them.

But having won WWII, the aging New Dealers of 1948 could at least look to a world-changing accomplishment with pride. (The New Deal itself, on the other hand…) In contrast, as Richard Fernandez writes, the only thing that today’s left can offer middle America is smug itself:

But to anyone outside the echo chamber the joke was on Stewart and his cronies. The average person could see the invidious contrast; how easily the email accounts of 100 Democratic bigwigs could be hacked, with what contemptuous ease someone could make off with the DNC’s emails, steal all the OPM records. They watched as time after time suspects “well known to the police” executed successful terror attacks in Western cities despite the assurances of the laughing men.

They saw ISIS run off with billions of dollars of foreign military aid; saw the “smartest people” in history rolled. They were regaled by the spectacle of Putin booting Obama out of the Middle East with a midget air force and a rustbucket navy. They witnessed a bunch of armed thugs torch a US consulate in Benghazi without the dying ambassador even able to make that 3 am call to Hillary Clinton. They watched Turkey wobble and Europe overrun by migrant tides.

It hit them:  it was these ineffably superior people who were the jokers, the clowns whose only tangible skill was to make fun of everybody so nobody would notice that’s all they were good for.  In fact the only person they could stop with any probability of success and only if they ganged up on him was Donald Trump. That was it.  They can’t see the audience in darkness beyond the footlights heading for the exits.

And with Stewart and Colbert having departed their spawning grounds, “Donald Trump Is Jon Stewart’s True Successor,” Robert Tracinski adds at the Federalist:

The real giveaway is Trump’s employment of a classic Jon Stewart trope: Clown Nose On, Clown Nose Off.

This approach dates back to Stewart’s famous, or infamous, appearance on “Crossfire” in 2004, when “The Daily Show” was still fairly new and “Crossfire” was very, very old. In a fit of insufferable self-righteousness, Stewart denounced the hosts for “hurting America,” I guess because of the way they promoted bitter partisan bickering as a form of entertainment. Because Stewart is all about Democrats being nice to Republicans, don’t you know.

Yes, there was something to this. I did my first TV appearances about this time, and the big revelation to me was that it’s no accident that people always shout each other down on today’s cable news shows. Producers deliberately induce this style because they think it makes the show more exciting than if everybody just waited his turn to engage in some kind of Dullsville substantive discussion.

But in retrospect, I think we can tell which show “hurt America” more. One was just another fairly forgettable cable TV shoutfest. The other had a transformative effect, convincing a whole generation of millennials to get their news and political opinions from one-sided fake news shows run by blatantly partisan comedians. There are now about a dozen of these, all imitating Stewart. If the sin of “Crossfire” was its attempt to turn political debate into entertainment, it had nothing on “The Daily Show,” which replaced political debate with entertainment.

But for a rather limited audience — the Northeast Corridor ruling class, and those who aspired to be, as Thomas Sowell would say, their mascots.

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QUESTION ASKED: After Trump, can the Republican Party be rebuilt? From Ricochet’s Jon Gabriel, writing in the Arizona Republic:

Accomplishing these recommendations is far from easy. Not only will it require years of hard work, it also will require elites to place their fellow Americans’ welfare above their own vanity, power, and quarterly dividend statements. This cannot be a temporary pose to trick the “rubes,” but a change in heart, mind and direction. The new party bosses must admit that much of the work they do in Washington is either useless or downright counter-productive.

If the GOP isn’t willing to make these changes, a new party will have to rise from its ashes.

Read the whole thing.

Related: When it comes to rebuilding the GOP, “Evolutionary Change Isn’t Going To Cut It Any More,” one of Ace’s co-bloggers posits.

ANOTHER RUBE SELF-IDENTITIES: Once Skeptical of Executive Power, Obama Has Come to Embrace It.

In nearly eight years in office, President Obama has sought to reshape the nation with a sweeping assertion of executive authority and a canon of regulations that have inserted the United States government more deeply into American life.

Once a presidential candidate with deep misgivings about executive power, Mr. Obama will leave the White House as one of the most prolific authors of major regulations in presidential history.

That was always the intention.

ROGER KIMBALL: The College Formerly Known As Yale: Any renaming push on the Ivy campus should start at the top—with Elihu Yale, slave trader extraordinaire.

The English novelist Kingsley Amis once observed that much that was wrong with the 20th century could be summed up in the word “workshop.” On American campuses today, I suspect that the operative word is “committee.”

On Aug. 1, Yale University president Peter Salovey announced that he is creating a Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming. There has been a craze for renaming things on college campuses the last couple of years—a common passion in unsettled times.

In the French Revolution, leaders restarted the calendar at zero and renamed the months of the year. The Soviets renamed cities, erased the names of political enemies from the historical record, and banned scientific theories that conflicted with Marxist doctrine.

At Princeton, Stanford, Georgetown, Harvard and elsewhere, students have demanded that buildings, programs and legacies be renamed to accommodate modern sensitivities. Amherst College has dropped Lord Jeffrey Amherst as its mascot because the colonial administrator was unkind to Indians. Students at the University of Missouri have petitioned to remove a statue of the “racist rapist” Thomas Jefferson. This is part of a larger effort, on and off campuses, to stamp out dissenting attitudes and rewrite history to comport with contemporary prejudices.

But isn’t the whole raison d’être of universities to break the myopia of the present and pursue the truth? Isn’t that one important reason they enjoy such lavish public support and tax breaks?

Well, that’s just the sales pitch for the rubes, Roger. Plus:

I have unhappy news for Mr. Salovey. In the great racism sweepstakes, John Calhoun was an amateur. Far more egregious was Elihu Yale, the philanthropist whose benefactions helped found the university. As an administrator in India, he was deeply involved in the slave trade. He always made sure that ships leaving his jurisdiction for Europe carried at least 10 slaves. I propose that the committee on renaming table the issue of Calhoun College and concentrate on the far more flagrant name “Yale.”

Perhaps “Gramsci University” would be more fitting, these days.

OVER AT POLITICO: “Sunny, edgy” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook continues his ugly Joe McCarthy reanimation. Robby sounds a bit desperate. Hey, Joe McCarthy was edgy and desperate. But, yeah, Robby admits that Hillary is a hard sell. Politico’s Glenn Thrush says the whole Democratic convention was a “Rube Goldberg contraption built for the sole purpose of making a skeptical America trust Hillary Clinton.” Robby was the convention’s Rube — according to Thrush, not me. But I won’t disagree, I’d just employ a lower case “r.” Indeed, Robby, your boss has got a trust problem. For so very many reasons. But let me give you three, with documentation: (1) Loretta Lynch’s compromising encounter; (2) Jim Comey’s sell out of the rule of law; (3) Hillary’s criminal compromise of US national security. We’ll get to Clinton Foundation corruption and her Benghazi fiasco later. I promise.

JOEL KOTKIN: Why the World Is Rebelling Against ‘Experts:’

This arrogance, in part, stems froms what one writer at the Atlantic has called the war on the stupid. In this formulation, those with elite degrees, including the hegemons on Wall Street and Silicon Valley, dismiss local control as rule by the Yahoos. The progressive ideal of government by experts—sometimes seen as “the technocracy”—may sounds good in Palo Alto or London, but often promise a dim future for the middle class. Expert regulation, often with green goals in mind, take hard-earned gains like car and home ownership and cheap air travel all but out of reach for the middle class, while keeping them around for the globe-trotting elites.

Read the whole thing. It’s a great column and Kotkin is a good guy, but note that it’s appearing in a Website whose editor views those who rebel against their betters in DC as “Wingnuts,” and which grew out of the collapse of a magazine owned by the Washington Post who in its death throes declared “We Are Socialists Now,” shortly before being offloaded to an elderly millionaire rube for $1.00. Experts, heal thy selves.

AS A WISE COMMUNITY ORGANIZER ADVISED HIS CONSTITUENTS, GET IN YOUR OPPONENTS’ FACES AND PUNCH BACK TWICE AS HARD: “Vote Properly, You Virulent Racist!” As Dale Franks writes, “The Elites are about to learn that the rubes and hayseeds in flyover country don’t like them.”

MEGAN MCARDLE: ‘Citizens of the World’? Nice Thought, But … “The inability of those elites to grapple with the rich world’s populist moment was in full display on social media last night. Journalists and academics seemed to feel that they had not made it sufficiently clear that people who oppose open borders are a bunch of racist rubes who couldn’t count to 20 with their shoes on, and hence will believe any daft thing they’re told. Given how badly this strategy had just failed, this seemed a strange time to be doubling down.”

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: This isn’t a gun-control debate. This is Kulturkampf. It’s about showing those rubes in Flyover Country who’s boss.

HEY RUBE! “America is under relentless attack — from within,” says…Kathleen Parker?

Democracy, freedom, civilization — it all hangs by a thread. America was always just an idea, a dream founded in the faith that men were capable of great good. It was a belief made real by an implausible convention of brilliant minds and the enduring courage of generations who fought and died. For what?

Surely, not this.

Meh. Parker tacitly asked that question in 2008 as well, and made her choice, thus ensuring this election year.

DEAR YAHOO, FIRE KATIE COURIC: “The case is clear. Katie Couric, a person Yahoo employs to be the face of its news division, was caught in a grotesque deception. Then, when she was publicly exposed, rather than apologizing, she doubled down — defending the choice to cast innocent Americans as ignorant rubes rather than allowing them to speak for themselves. She has lost her credibility. Any news organization that continues to employ her loses its credibility as well.”

Couric no doubt hopes to cease slumming in the Yahoo ghetto and return to broadcast or cable TV. Perhaps she thought this documentary was her ticket out. But any network hiring her has to know she’s now damaged goods and viewers will judge the product of any channel who hires her accordingly.

HEY RUBE! Shepard Fairey, creator of fascistic “Hope” poster, blasts ‘disappointing’ Obama:

Fairey, who’s now a Bernie Sanders supporter, says that after Obama won the presidency, he went “quiet on a lot of things” he promised while running for office.

“I think history will be fairly kind of his presidency but I want things to move further in the direction that he promised as a campaigner,” he said. “He’s been more outspoken in the last 18 months.”

“I think he’s going out having done some good things and said some good things, but there were about six years there where I think he could have done more.”

Fairey said he had “high hopes” for Obama and that the president couldn’t blame his failures entirely on congressional gridlock.

“If he had been as outspoken as he was as a campaigner, I would give him a pass on not being able to push through some of the progressive things I hoped he would, but he was quiet on a lot of things,” he added. “That to me was unfortunate.”

Yet another rube self-identifies.

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MOMMY BLOGGER JOSI DENISE CALLS MOST OF HER ARTICLES ‘FAKE NONSENSE:’

Josi Denise became a “mommy blogger” in 2013, building up her American Mama blog until it reached “tens of thousands” of monthly readers, generating the mother of three “thousands of dollars” in some months.

But the blog came to an abrupt end late last week, when Denise had a crisis of conscience and quit.

In a splenetic rant on her new namesake blog (which is worth reading in full), Denise said much of the content posted to her mommy blog — and countless like it online — was garbage. She has deleted many of those posts, she said, “Because, like 90% of the fake nonsense I used to share on the internet as a mommy blogger writing about my fake life and oh-so-happy marriage, they are pure b——t.”

I have no idea what Denise’s politics are, but as these examples from the last 15 years of the left illustrate, as a nation, we’re entering into dangerous territory when so many journalists (and political operatives such as Ben Rhodes and Jonathan Gruber) are gleefully admitting to the public that they lie through their teeth.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON ON THE PAJAMA BOY WHITE HOUSE:

In a case of life imitating art, Ethan Krupp, the Organizing for Action employee who posed for the ad, offered a self-portrait of himself that confirmed the photo image. He is a self-described “liberal f***.” “A liberal f*** is not a Democrat, but rather someone who combines political data and theory, extreme leftist views, and sarcasm to win any argument while making the opponents feel terrible about themselves,” he explains. “I won every argument but one.” I suspect that when Krupp boasts about “making opponents feel terrible about themselves,” he is referring to people of his own kind rather than trying such verbal intimidation on the local mechanic or electrician.The ad was no right-wing caricature of an urban twerp. Through photo, text, and commentary, Krupp confirmed the self-portrait of an in-your-face adolescent who somehow ended up with his 15 minutes of notoriety.

Krupp is emblematic of an entire class of young smart-asses found in Silicon Valley, on campuses across the nation, and in Hollywood, and now ensconced at the highest levels of American government and journalism.

Including — but not limited to — Ben Rhodes, Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Jonathan Gruber, and Josh Earnest. “Who hires and promotes Pajama Boys?”, VDH asks “Why, of course, Barack Obama, the Pajama Boy in Chief.”

Read the whole thing.

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ANOTHER RUBE SELF-IDENTIFIES: Sorry, We Don’t Take Obamacare.

AMY MOSES and her circle of self-employed small-business owners were supporters of President Obama and the Affordable Care Act. They bought policies on the newly created New York State exchange. But when they called doctors and hospitals in Manhattan to schedule appointments, they were dismayed to be turned away again and again with a common refrain: “We don’t take Obamacare,” the umbrella epithet for the hundreds of plans offered through the president’s signature health legislation.

“Anyone who is on these plans knows it’s a two-tiered system,” said Ms. Moses, describing the emotional sting of those words to a successful entrepreneur.

They were warned.

TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE: Cass Sunstein: We’ve Entered the Age of Partyism—It Might Get Worse Than Racism.

Wait ’til Sunstein discovers how viciously the left acted from, oh, mid to late November of 2000 until January of 2009. Speaking of which, a flashback to a Jonah Goldberg column from February of 2008 on “Terrorists Who Never Have To Say ‘Sorry:’”

What fascinates me is how light the baggage is when one travels from violent radicalism to liberalism. Chicago activist Sam Ackerman told Politico’s reporter that Ayers “is one of my heroes in life.” Cass Sunstein, a first-rank liberal intellectual, said of Ayers and Dohrn, “I feel very uncomfortable with their past, but neither of them is thought of as horrible types now – so far as most of us know, they are legitimate members of the community.”

Why, exactly, can Ayers and Dohrn be seen as “legitimate members of the community”? How is it that they get prestigious university jobs when even the whisper of neocon tendencies is toxic in academia?

And from Sunstein himself in mid-2008:

“This is the Barack Obama I have known for nearly 15 years — a careful and evenhanded analyst of law and policy, unusually attentive to multiple points of view. . . . Obama has a genuinely independent mind, he’s a terrific listener and he goes wherever reason takes him. . . . In recent weeks, his speaking talents, and the cultlike atmosphere that occasionally surrounds him, have led people to wonder whether there is substance behind the plea for ‘change’ — whether the soaring phrases might disguise emptiness and vagueness. But nothing could be further from the truth. He is most comfortable in the domain of policy and detail.”

What a rube.

HEY RUBES! Salon: “Did the New York Times just accidentally tell the truth about the Obama administration? A startling piece pulls back the curtain on how our foreign policy is created — and sold to willing media dupes.”

Willing media dupes like Salon; here’s their hagiographic fan boy article in November of 2008 on “Barack Obama’s Epic Win:”

Barack Obama earned his ticket to the Oval Office by running a technically near-flawless campaign, dominating three debates and picking a vice president, Joe Biden, worthy of the office. It was, of course, Ronald Reagan’s slogan, but as the sun comes up Wednesday on a land that has dramatically turned away from the Bush-Cheney years, it will feel for tens of millions like “morning in America.”

Suckers.

EVER GET THE FEELING YOU’VE BEEN CHEATED?  The Washington Post on “Why the Ben Rhodes profile in the New York Times Magazine is just gross — Absurdity, self-regard, hypocrisy, chumminess between writer and subject — it’s all there.”

Here’s a flashback to Newsweek’s Obama cover stories between July 2007 and July 2008, back when the magazine was still owned by the Washington Post. Absurdity, self-regard, hypocrisy, chumminess between magazine, parent company and subject — it’s all there. Hey, rubes!

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K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING? St. Paul Schools Seek Disciplinary Equity, Find Chaos Instead.

Some St. Paul public schools are unsafe for students and teachers, writes Katherine Kersten, a senior policy fellow at the Center for the American Experiment, in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

A Central High teacher was “choked and body-slammed by a student and hospitalized with a traumatic brain injury,” while another teacher was knocked down and suffered a concussion while trying to stop a fight between fifth-grade girls. There have been six high school riots or brawls this school year.

Hoping to close the racial suspension gap, the district has spent millions of dollars on “white privilege” and “cultural competency” training for teachers and “positive behavior” training, an anti-suspension behavior modification program, writes Kersten.

When that didn’t work, “they lowered behavior standards and, in many cases, essentially abandoned meaningful penalties,” she writes. Students can’t be suspended for “continual willful disobedience” any more. Often, students “chat briefly with a ‘behavior specialist’ or are simply moved to another classroom or school where they are likely to misbehave again.”

Behavior has gotten worse, wrote Aaron Benner, a veteran elementary teacher, in the Pioneer Press. “On a daily basis, I saw students cussing at their teachers, running out of class, yelling and screaming in the halls, and fighting.”

Teachers say they’re afraid, writes Pioneer Press columnist Ruben Rosario. He quotes a letter from an anonymous teacher, who says teacher are told there are no alternative placements for violent or disruptive K-8 students. . . .

At this teacher’s high-poverty, highly diverse school, “I have many students in my class who are very respectful, work hard and care about doing well in school,” the teacher writes. “The disruptive, violent children are ruining the education of these fantastic, deserving children.”

On March 9, a veteran high school teacher was suspended for social media posts complaining about the discipline policy, when Black Lives Matter activists charged him with racism.

All is proceeding as I have foretold.

COMING FULL CIRCLE PART II: Howard Kurtz: Liberal pundits experiencing Hillary buyer’s remorse.

Earlier this week: ANOTHER RUBE SELF-IDENTIFIES: “Bill Press, a liberal radio and television host, has authored ‘Buyer’s Remorse,’ a distillation of the Obama years that comes down to ‘yes, but’…‘The transformative new era of leadership Obama promised never happened,’ Press laments. ‘His presidency looms as a huge opportunity wasted.’”

What policies would a president who didn’t disappoint his far left backers implement?

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ANOTHER RUBE SELF-IDENTIFIES: “Bill Press, a liberal radio and television host, has authored ‘Buyer’s Remorse,’ a distillation of the Obama years that comes down to ‘yes, but’…‘The transformative new era of leadership Obama promised never happened,’ Press laments. ‘His presidency looms as a huge opportunity wasted.’”

Sucker. Or as David Brooks once admitted, “I’m a sap, a specific kind of sap. I’m an Obama Sap,” but Press (and Brooks) are far from alone in that department.

SORRY, TRUMP, AMERICA CAN’T BE GREAT AGAIN — Our economy can no longer deliver the fast growth the candidates are promising. But that hasn’t stopped the demagoguery,” Michael Lind writes in the Politico.

Alternate headline: lefty writer discovers that Obama’s seven years in office have been a disaster. Especially since in December of 2008, a month before Obama would take office with both houses of Congress under the control of his fellow Democrats, Lind was predicting a rosy quick-start go-go economic future in Salon*:

Obama’s priorities make excellent sense. After emergency measures to stabilize the economy, public investment aimed at accelerating U.S. economic growth should be domestic reform priority No. 1. That’s because raising the rate of economic growth is the reform that makes all subsequent reforms easier. Accelerating the long-term growth of the productive economy will get us out of the recession faster, refill depleted federal, state and local government funding for public services sooner, and permit larger investments to be made with the same or lower tax rates in areas of needed reform like social insurance, energy and education. And the more rapidly the economy grows, the more quickly the colossal but necessary deficits the U.S. is now running up will melt away.

Another rube self-identifies — but he’s far from alone in that department on the left.

* That was before Salon decided it would be better to nationalize everything in America that wasn’t already socialized.

NO JOKE: TRUMP CAN WIN PLENTY OF LATINOS: So says the Daily Beast’s Ruben Navarrette:

Latinos for Trump? Oh yeah, that’s a thing.

Keep in mind three points. First, you have to understand that we’re talking here primarily about Latino Republicans, many of whom might live in red states such as Arizona or Texas. Those Latinos who are Democrats (as about 80 percent of them are, according to surveys) are busy dividing up their support between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, with most of it going to Clinton. . . .

Finally, if it’s true that Trump is inspiring voters who feel alienated and abandoned by the political process, then the fact that there might be Latinos who support Trump makes sense. America’s largest minority knows about alienation and abandonment. . . .

new poll confirms it. In the national survey, which was conducted by Beck Research on behalf of the American Federation for Children, 38 percent of Latinos favor Trump. Ted Cruz got 15 percent. Jeb Bush pulled in 14 percent. And Marco Rubio, the guy who’s supposed to be the one who could unite the party and win? Just 8 percent. . . .

And interestingly enough, with most Puerto Ricans and Dominican-Americans solidly in the Democratic camp, and Cuban-Americans splitting their allegiance between Rubio and Cruz, it is in the Mexican-American community in the Southwest where you are most likely to find Latinos lining up with Trump.

They’re in red states like Texas and Arizona, and the battleground state of Colorado. There’s a lot they like about Trump, including his independence, plainspokenness, success in business, and disdain for political correctness. They see him as strong and resolute, and not having to cater to moneyed interests since he is self-funding his campaign. And either they don’t buy the idea that he is anti-Mexican, or they don’t care.

Let’s not forget that the relationship between U.S.-born Latinos and Latino immigrants, and even between foreign-born Latinos who have been naturalized and Latino immigrants, is complicated to say the least. There is an ambivalence there.

As a Mexican-American, I can tell you that many Mexican-Americans think that Mexican immigrants who come to the United States illegally are taking advantage—of a porous border, of the social-services safety net, of loopholes in immigration law, and of an insatiable appetite among U.S. employers for cheap and dependable labor. And they’re not wrong about that.

That’s a problem. Trump isn’t the solution. But there are some Latinos who give him credit for even starting the conversation.

It’s an interesting perspective. Hispanics are not a homogenous group, so I assume that some will support Trump, as well as every other candidate. We should stop trying so hard to stereotype individuals.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Howard Dean: ‘Labor unions are super-PACs Democrats like.’

All campaign finance “reform” talk is just about keeping out “bad” Republican money while protecting and enhancing “good” Democratic money. Everything else is just sloganeering for the rubes.

BLUE ON BLUE. Reminder: Bernie Madoff Donated Mostly to Democrats.

And it was mostly Democrats* who donated to Madoff, thus completing the circle.

* While feeling oh-so-superior to the naive rubes in the big empty space in the middle of  Saul Steinberg’s “View of the World from 9th Avenue” New Yorker cover.

HITLER, STALIN, POL POT, SADDAM HUSSEIN, OBL, JIMMY CARTER ALL BREATHE A SIGH OF RELIEF:  Richard Dreyfuss: Dick Cheney Is the ‘Most Despicable’ Man in History:

Liberal actor Richard Dreyfuss on Wednesday couldn’t resist trashing Dick Cheney as he promoted his new film role of Bernie Madoff. After Good Morning America co-host Amy Robach suggested he was playing “the most despicable man in modern history,” Dreyfuss derided, “Actually, he is the second most despicable man because I’ve already played Dick Cheney.”

Incidentally, the vast majority of Madoff’s investors were his fellow elite New York City Democrats who imagine themselves to be infinitely more sophisticated than the rubes in the heartland. I wonder how they could have been so gullible to the charms of a charismatic left-leaning conman selling them impossible pie-in-the-sky fantasies?

 

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Blow Up The Administrative State. “A smaller government would mean fewer phony-baloney jobs for college graduates with few marketable skills but demonstrated political loyalty. It would mean fewer opportunities for tax dollars to be directed to people and entities with close ties to people in power. It would mean less ability to engage in social engineering and “nudges” aimed at what are all-too-often seen as those dumb rubes in flyover country. The smaller the government, the fewer the opportunities for graft and self-aggrandizement — and graft and self-aggrandizement are what our political class is all about.”

QUESTION ASKED AND ANSWERED: “Can D.C. afford a $15/hour minimum wage?”, the left-leaning Brookings Institute asked in July.

Yesterday’s Washington Post article headlined “District leaders furious Walmart breaking promise to build stores in poor neighborhoods” is a succinct response:

Evans said that, behind closed doors, Walmart officials were more frank about the reasons the company was downsizing. He said the company cited the District’s rising minimum wage, now at $11.50 an hour and possibly going to $15 an hour if a proposed ballot measure is successful in November. He also said a proposal for legislation requiring D.C. employers to pay into a fund for family and medical leave for employees, and another effort to require a minimum amount of hours for hourly workers were compounding costs and concerns for the retailer.

“They were saying, ‘How are we going to run the three stores we have, let alone build two more?’ ” Evans said.

“The optics of this are horrible; they are not going to build the stores east of the river, in largely African American neighborhoods? That’s horrible; you can’t do that,” Evans said. “A deal’s a deal.”

As Tim Worstall responds at Forbes,“Obviously, the people who brokered the deal aren’t happy about this. Yet those same people are the very people that passed the laws that Walmart, informally at least, is saying have led to the change of mind. It is, obviously, always nice to see the biter bit, someone hoist on their own petard. But the people who will lose out from this are the consumers of those poorer areas of the capital. And the reason they’ll lose out is because the politicians have been loading costs onto Walmart by insisting upon higher wages in several different ways.”Additionally, Worstall notes that “Higher minimum wages mean fewer jobs as companies that would have expanded do not. And note again that not only do the workers not gain those higher wages the consumers also lose out on their benefits.”

Plus a reminder that “The correct minimum wage is, as it always has been, $0 per hour, as once even the New York Times knew.”

Why, it’s as if minimum wage laws were designed by the original “Progressives” to hurt low-skilled workers, not help them.

Related: Early evidence suggests that DC’s minimum wage law is also having a negative effect on the city’s restaurant employment.

STORM CLOUDS FORM: Bob Woodward Compares Hillary Scandal to Watergate.

No wonder, when they were still at the Post, before Jeff Bezos banished them to Siberia Vox.com, the juicebox mafia was so eager to destroy Woodward.

HEY RUBE! “True-Blue Obama — The lament of a conservative who really, really wanted to like him,” in this case, one “Matt Latimer, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush…co-partner in the literary agency and communications firm Javelin and contributing editor at Politico Magazine:”

Obama stood as a symbol that all things were possible. That governing could be different. That our country could be different.

More than that, I simply liked him. I even came very close to voting for him—and wasn’t alone: Twenty percent of Americans identifying themselves as conservatives, including many prominent Washington Republicans, did just that.

For the nearly eight years that have followed, I’ve tried very hard to remember that feeling. To not be that kind of conservative. You know the kind I mean—one who reflexively hates everything Obama says or does simply because he says it or does it, or who truly believes the president is a closet Muslim who gleefully sets American flags on fire when he sneaks back to his “real” home in Kenya or Tatooine or wherever.

But now I’ve come to the sobering conclusion that I’ve long since lost that feeling—about the country, and about him. Washington is very much the same, if not worse, at the close of these long, bitter, brutal years. That’s not all Obama’s fault, to be sure. Maybe mostly not his fault. But it is in part. And it isn’t what he promised to people like me.

Sucker.

Or as Mark Steyn wrote in March of 2009, when the scales began to fall from the rubes at the Economist, “This is the point: The nuancey boys were wrong on Obama, and the knuckledragging morons were right. There is no post-partisan centrist ‘grappling’ with the economy, only a transformative radical willing to make Americans poorer in the cause of massive government expansion. At some point, The Economist, Messrs Brooks, Buckley & Co are going to have to acknowledge this. If they’re planning on spending the rest of his term tutting that his management style is obstructing the effective implementation of his centrist agenda, it’s going to be a long four years.”

It’s been a long seven years — but at least those of who didn’t buy Barry’s conman shtick in 2008 weren’t under any illusions as to how “long, bitter, brutal” things were going to be.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

When The New York Times tells the rubes that it’s time to hand in their guns, when The Washington Post suggests that Jesus is ashamed of them for not welcoming Syrian refugees the week after a terrorist attack, people react not because they love guns or hate Syrians, but because their natural urge to being told by coastal liberals that they’re awful people and that they should just obey and shut up is to issue a certain Anglo-Saxon verb and pronoun combination with all the vigor they can muster. And if they can’t say it themselves, they’ll find someone who will, even if it’s a crude jerk from Queens who can’t make a point without raising his pinky like a Mafia goon explaining the vig to you after you’ve had a bad day at the track.

—“How the P.C. Police Propelled Donald Trump,” Tom Nichols, the Daily Beast.

Nichols’ editor at the Daily Beast certainly did his part.

ULTIMATE RUBE SELF-IDENTIFIES: Clinton emails: Billionaire Soros said he regretted backing Obama.

Still though, he must have found the chaos he financed over the last eight years to be awfully exhilarating.

LAWS ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: US Attorney declines prosecution of former VA execs.

Federal prosecutors have decided not to press criminal charges against two former executives at the Department of Veterans Affairs who were accused of manipulating the agency’s hiring system for their own gain.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said Thursday it has declined a referral from the VA inspector general for criminal prosecution of Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves.

The inspector general said in a report this fall that Rubens and Graves forced lower-ranking regional managers to accept job transfers against their will. Rubens and Graves then stepped into the vacant positions themselves, keeping their pay while reducing their responsibilities.

Rubens had been earning $181,497 as director of the Philadelphia regional office for the Veterans Benefits Administration, while Graves earned $173,949 as leader of the St. Paul, Minnesota, regional office. Before taking the regional jobs, Rubens was a deputy undersecretary at the VA’s Washington headquarters, while Graves was director of VBA’s 14-state North Atlantic Region.

Rubens and Graves were accused of obtaining more than $400,000 in questionable moving expenses through a relocation program for VA executives, the inspector general’s report said.

The U.S. Attorney’s office said it has “referred the matter to the VA for any administrative action that is deemed appropriate.”

Rubens and Graves were demoted in November, but their demotions were rescinded this month after a paperwork mix-up.

Tar. Feathers.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

Elizabeth Lauten quit Monday as communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., after her Facebook criticism of Sasha and Malia Obama sparked a huge media backlash.

“It is one of the few rules that the news media and the mob usually both adhere to: Leave families out of the fight. However, tonight a Republican staffer is out of a job after something she wrote on social media about the first daughters,” NBC News’ Brian Williams said during Monday’s evening newscast.

“CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” followed suit: “[E]lizabeth Lauten: A congressional aide whose Facebook post about President Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha, sparked a firestorm.”

“Nets instantly jumped on GOP Hill aide story; ignored Gruber flap for days,” the Washington Examiner, December 2nd, 2014.

The morning after Washington Post cartoonist Ann Telnaes published (then unpublished) a disgusting piece depicting Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s daughters as toy monkeys and “fair game” since they appeared in a campaign ad, ABC’s Good Morning America ignored the story completely while CBS This Morning and NBC’s Today excused it as merely a “feud” and part of “increased scrutiny” for Cruz as he ascends in the polls.

On CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O’Donnell complained in one of the show’s opening teases that it was Cruz who was “lash[ing] out at a top newspaper over his kids” while chief White House correspondent Major Garrett ruled minutes later that the racist cartoon is part of the territory: “With Cruz’s climb in the polls has come increased scrutiny. This Washington Post editorial cartoon depicting his children as holiday props drew Cruz’s wrath.”

Garrett also made sure to hit Cruz for issuing fundraising e-mails last night concerning the smear: “[B]y late last night, the Cruz campaign were sending out fundraising e-mails asking for emergency contributions. The subject line read: ‘They attacked my children.’”

In the 8:00 p.m. Eastern hour, fill-in co-host Vinita Nair explained that “[Donald] Trump isn’t the only candidate who is bashing the press this morning” as “Ted Cruz is angry with The Washington Post editorial cartoon” that “showed him in a cartoon as an organ grinder, using his daughters as holiday props.”

As many on Twitter have pointed out, it seems as though the liberal media have trotted out their tired strategy of already wondering if a conservative will ‘overreach’ concerning their response to a scandal.

“ABC Skips WashPost Smear on Cruz Girls; CBS, NBC Excuse It as a ‘Feud,’ Part of ‘Increased Scrutiny,’” NewsBusters, today.

RACISM STRAIGHT UP: Washington Post cartoonist Ann Telnaes depicts children of Hispanic presidential candidate as monkeys:

Commenting on Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s daughters appearing in a campaign ad on Saturday, Washington Post cartoonist Ann Telnaes created a disgusting GIF early Tuesday evening depicting Cruz’s young daughters as toy monkeys being played with and arguing that “[t]hey are fair game.”

In attempting to explain her arguably racist GIF, Telnaes argued that because daughters Caroline and Catherine appeared in a humorous Christmas-themed ad, they have decided “to indulge in grown-up activities” and allowed their father to play them “as political props.”

Here’s the cartoon:

racist_washington_post_cartoon_12-22-15-1

“Tell me, if Obama’s daughters were, hypothetically, in his most famous campaign ad, the 30 minute ad he ran on most networks on the eve of the 2008 election, would they be ‘fair game’ too?”, Ace asks, noting that at about the twenty minute mark, “You know what I see there? ‘Fair game,’ according to the Washington Post. That’s what I see there.”

As  T. Becket Adams adds at the Washington Examiner, “In 2014, an obscure GOP Hill staffer was forced to resign from her job after a Facebook post criticizing President Obama’s daughters, Sasha and Malia, went viral on social media:”

Outside of social media, Lauten’s comments also created a media firestorm, and even led the networks one evening in December.

“It is one of the few rules that the news media and the mob usually both adhere to: Leave families out of the fight. However, tonight a Republican staffer is out of a job after something she wrote on social media about the first daughters,” then-NBC News anchor Brian Williams said on Dec. 1, 2014.

Spokespersons for the Post did not respond to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment.

Not to mention, the Washington Post’s staffers twisted themselves into knots in 2006 to depict George Allen’s impromptu response to his omnipresent Mohawk-coiffed Democrat video tracker as a racist slur — and then proceeded to run an estimated 100 stories on Allen’s “racism” from mid-August to election day to simultaneously swing the race to his opponent, hand the Senate to the Democrats, and knock out a leading 2008 GOP presidential candidate. But hey, the Post’s excuse for practicing racism towards Republicans and their kids? Eh — “fair game.”

Noted.

UPDATE: “‘You slimeballs’: Why won’t Politico tell the truth about the disgusting Cruz cartoon?”

To ask the question is to answer it.

MORE: Post editor pulls Telnaes’ cartoon, but not before more damage was done to the Post brand and to Telnaes’ reputation.

RELATED: Here’s the ad by Cruz Telnaes attacked, which debuted this past weekend on Saturday Night Live — and now has over 1.5 million views on YouTube:

And here’s Cruz’s response to the slur by Telnaes and the Post:

cruz_response_to_washington_post_racism_12-22-15-1

Indeed.™ Marco Rubio also condemns the Post’s racist hit on Cruz and his kids.

NARCISSIST-IN-CHIEF: “It’s because I’m black, isn’t it?”  Kevin Williamson over at NRO explains President Obama’s narcissistic trait of turning around criticism about his presidency, implying that his critics are racist:

In a pre-vacation interview with NPR, the president argued that (as the New York Times decodes the message) “some of the scorn directed at him personally stems from the fact that he is the first African American to hold the White House.” I.e, “It’s because I’m black, isn’t it?”

This is kind of clever, in a way. The president says that much of the unhappiness with his administration is “pretty specific to me, and who I am and my background,” which is slippery in that by saying it’s about him, he’s really saying it’s about his critics, and their bigotry and prejudice. “It’s not me, it’s you.”  . . .

The really maddening thing, though, is that President Obama thinks the reason he isn’t perceived as being especially good at his job is that we yokels aren’t smart enough to understand how spectacularly spectacular he is. Barack Obama is a man almost entirely incapable of self-criticism, and in the NPR interview, he repeated one of his favorite claims: He has had trouble with public opinion because he didn’t explain his awesome ideas well enough. That’s a very politic way of saying: “These rubes don’t get it.”

Yep, this is the way narcissists behave. It’s never their fault. They are so perfect, so awesome, that ordinary mortals cannot comprehend their greatness. Those who dare to criticize The Great One must be haters or idiots.