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KRUISER’S MORNING BRIEF: UK Tells Its Leftist Loons to Bugger Off. “To the horror of leftists worldwide, people who don’t think like they do have once again spoken in an election. The rubes from the hinterlands got their knuckles off the ground just long enough to send the anti-Semitic Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour libs to defeat.”

Hail, Britannia. Or maybe “Hale Britannia.”

IF TRUMP DOES BETTER AT THE POLLS THAN IN THE POLLS, THIS FROM OHIO IS WHY:

Many of my family, friends, former teachers, coaches, classmates and church congregates — and all their friends — in this county of 30,000 people are Trump supporters, and I didn’t want to put them out there, by name, for the trolls to feast on.

I love my hometown and its people too much.

These folks already get made fun of enough for being from Appalachia. They’re good, respectful people who are focused on taking care of their families. They want to be left alone. They don’t care about stupid Twitter wars, and I don’t want to be responsible for thrusting them into the vicious rhetorical crossfire between leftist activists and Trump sycophants.

I quickly came to the realization that this was going to be a challenge soon after arriving for my 2½-day stay in early September. I found that a lot of folks didn’t want to talk about Trump. They didn’t want to put themselves out there for fear of being verbally bludgeoned on Facebook and Twitter or in the grocery store or even at church.

And those who did want to talk, well, they seemed to speak for those who wanted to remain silent: They’re tired of certain cable news networks and the leftist political class stereotyping them as a bunch of toothless, racist, backwoods rubes.

“I don’t want to talk about it because you can’t have an opinion unless it’s their opinion,” an African American Trump supporter said about the left. “Either you believe the way they believe, or you’re a racist or a homophobe. The reason I’m working is because of what Trump’s done. I just want to put my hard hat on and go to work every day.”

The man, who added he’s a registered Democrat, talked to Enquirer photographer Albert Cesare and me for nearly an hour on his front porch on a hot evening. He said a lady at his church had given him grief for supporting “racist” Trump, but the man said he’s seen no hard evidence that’s true.

The man then abruptly said he wanted no part of the story, stepped inside his house and closed the front door, leaving us sitting on the porch dumbfounded.

I didn’t blame him one bit.

So yeah, sure, he’s going to tell a stranger on the phone how he plans to vote.

THIS IS KNOWN AS “COOLING THE MARK OUT:” ‘I’m not for impeachment,’ Pelosi says, potentially roiling fellow Democrats. The impeachment buzz was just to excite the rubes for the midterms. It’s downright toxic for the Dems’ chances in 2020 (especially since they don’t have any actual impeachable offenses) so now the angry base has to be steered in another direction without fully realizing how it was conned.

MICHAEL BARONE: Trump’s State of the Union was surprisingly reflective and disciplined.

“ This year,” President Trump stated in the seventh paragraph of his widely viewed and positively rated State of the Union address, “America will recognize two important anniversaries that show us the majesty of America’s mission and the power of American pride.”

“On D-Day, June 6, 1944, 15,000 young American men jumped from the sky and 60,000 more stormed in from the sea,” he said. And then in July 1969, “brave young pilots flew a quarter of a million miles through space to plant the American flag on the face of the moon.”

None of the commentators I’ve seen have questioned why Trump chose to spotlight these events. He is not usually given to historical references; even his trademark slogan is vague about just when American was great. Celebrating others’ past achievements has not been his thing. But beginning the speech by celebrating these two American triumphs provided a shrewd framing with the potential to elevate his image. . . .

The larger point made at the beginning, underlined by the appearance of three D-Day veterans and astronaut Buzz Aldrin, is a refutation, without specific mention, of an argument that underlies so much of the upscale loathing of Trump and his politics.

That is the idea—call it the cosmopolitan argument—that nationalism is always bad, a primitive and unsophisticated bias in favor of the home team, a short step (if that) from Nazism. The argument is attractive to many because it makes them feel more sophisticated than the rubes who always praise America.

But the argument is weak if you know more history. “I ask you to join with me in prayer,” Franklin Roosevelt said in his radio fireside chat on the evening of D-Day, “Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.”

Yes, it’s nationalism, and it’s a prayer. Roosevelt mentioned allies only at the end and in passing. Trump underscored Roosevelt’s assertion that American nationalism is for the good by introducing (and leading the singing of Happy Birthday) for 81-year-old Holocaust survivor Judah Samet, recalling how, when their train “suddenly screeched to a halt, a soldier appeared. Judah’s family braced for the worst. Then his father cried out with joy, ‘It’s the Americans!”

Today, Trump argued, American nationalism continues to be benign, whether it’s trying to stop Iran’s genocidal nuclear ambitions by withdrawing from the Obama nuclear deal or it’s seeking to oust the disastrous Nicolas Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela.

This State of the Union can also be seen as a refutation of the identity politics conceit that white cisgendered males are inevitably the villains of history, ever-ready to oppress women and people of color, and that virtue inheres only in their intended victims.

That just doesn’t compute when you watch Trump’s salute of SWAT officer Timothy Matson, who “raced into gunfire and was shot seven times” and brought down the hateful murderer at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

There was less emphasis than many predicted on divisive issues — the border “barrier,” as Trump has taken to calling it, and abortion. On these, Democrats are at risk of getting out on flimsy limbs.

The reflection and discipline are less surprising if you’ve been paying close attention.

Related: Laurence Jarvik: Conductor In Chief.

OCASIO CORTEZ’S GREEN NEW DEAL IS INSPIRING LAUGHTER ALL OVER:

The reception was so bad they took it down, but you can read it here.

Related: Green New Deal Excludes Nuclear And Would Thus Increase Emissions — Just Like It Did In Vermont. Well, remember, this stuff is never about saving the planet, that’s just for the rubes. It’s about advancing an agenda. The issue is never the issue, the issue is always the revolution!

#JOURNALISM: Washington Post reporter calls Trump supporters ‘rubes’ on podcast. They don’t take sides, remember.

Also, really embarrassing mustache in the accompanying photo.

UPDATE (From Ed): “Rubes” is among the more polite words that Dave Weigel has used to describe Republicans.

DAMON LINKER ON THE INTELLECTUAL LAZINESS OF OUR RULING CLASS:

For members of a centrist establishment under siege, it’s far more comforting to dismiss as illegitimate the motives of those who support Donald Trump’s presidency, who voted for Brexit, who travel from the French provinces to don yellow vests on the streets of Paris, and who have empowered populist parties in Poland, Italy, Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic. They’re racists, xenophobes, rubes, bigots, and entitled whiners who are stomping their feet like spoiled, resentful children, empowering fascists rather than deferring to the experts who actually know how the world works and how to govern the liberal international order.

But of course things look quite different on the other side of the dispute.

Related: To understand events around the world today, one must think in terms of the class struggle. Plus: “Immediately, the protesters were denounced as xenophobes, anti-Semites and homophobes. The elites present themselves as anti-fascist and anti-racist, but this is merely a way of defending their class interests. It is the only argument they can muster to defend their status, but it is not working anymore.”

FRANCE: The Yellow Vests Are Unstoppable.

Not only does peripheral France fare badly in the modern economy, it is also culturally misunderstood by the elite. The yellow-vest movement is a truly 21st-century movement in that it is cultural as well as political. Cultural validation is extremely important in our era.

One illustration of this cultural divide is that most modern, progressive social movements and protests are quickly endorsed by celebrities, actors, the media and the intellectuals. But none of them approve of the gilets jaunes. Their emergence has caused a kind of psychological shock to the cultural establishment. It is exactly the same shock that the British elites experienced with the Brexit vote and that they are still experiencing now, three years later. . . .

We have a new bourgeoisie, but because they are very cool and progressive, it creates the impression that there is no class conflict anymore. It is really difficult to oppose the hipsters when they say they care about the poor and about minorities.

But actually, they are very much complicit in relegating the working classes to the sidelines. Not only do they benefit enormously from the globalised economy, but they have also produced a dominant cultural discourse which ostracises working-class people. Think of the ‘deplorables’ evoked by Hillary Clinton. There is a similar view of the working class in France and Britain. They are looked upon as if they are some kind of Amazonian tribe. The problem for the elites is that it is a very big tribe.

The middle-class reaction to the yellow vests has been telling. Immediately, the protesters were denounced as xenophobes, anti-Semites and homophobes. The elites present themselves as anti-fascist and anti-racist but this is merely a way of defending their class interests. It is the only argument they can muster to defend their status, but it is not working anymore.

Now the elites are afraid. For the first time, there is a movement which cannot be controlled through the normal political mechanisms. The gilets jaunes didn’t emerge from the trade unions or the political parties. It cannot be stopped. There is no ‘off’ button. Either the intelligentsia will be forced to properly acknowledge the existence of these people, or they will have to opt for a kind of soft totalitarianism.

I bet I know what they’ll choose, if they’re allowed the choice.

Plus:

First of all, the bourgeoisie needs a cultural revolution, particularly in universities and in the media. They need to stop insulting the working class, to stop thinking of all the gilets jaunes as imbeciles.

Cultural respect is fundamental: there will be no economic or political integration until there is cultural integration.

But this is hard when your whole sense of self is based on being superior to the rubes in flyover country.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.”

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. . . .

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.

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:

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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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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 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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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.”

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.

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.

RACHEL LU: What Marco Rubio Actually Got Wrong About Philosophy:

Not everyone needs to read the Greek philosophers, but some people should. Greek philosophy helps us understand what it means to be human. It sheds light on who we are as a society, and on how we got this way. These are absolutely critical texts for anyone who would understand the human condition more fully. Bashing the Greeks isn’t quite as bad as dismissing the Bible, but it’s moving into that territory. Historically, most people who loved the one have also valued the other.

By contrast, the modern university is filled with small-minded tinkerers who waste countless taxpayer dollars running studies on useless or obvious things. It is filled with “grievance study” departments, in which whole groups of people devote years to revisionist history and whining about “privilege.” It is filled with overpaid administrators who draw six-figure salaries so they can spend their days trying to game the U.S. News and World Report rankings.

Against all of this, you’re going to reserve your contempt for the intellectual pillars of Western Civilization? Come on, Rubio. That just makes you look like a young Keanu Reeves, which is not what the Republican Party needs.

By all means, let’s rail against the wasteful impracticalities of higher ed! It’s got plenty of pork to spare. In the process, however, let’s not make ourselves look like illiterate rubes who care for nothing but widget-making. Philosophy has value, and so do welders. A healthy society must find ways to value both.

My guess is that his handlers didn’t want him to diss Gender Studies because of fears that it might alienate women. Nobody cares if you alienate philosophers. . . .

OF COURSE HE DOES: Obama looks to use pope as leverage in climate fight.

Pope Francis’ visit to Washington next week will give President Obama a real chance to breathe new life into a climate change agenda that faces several obstacles, including growing opposition in Congress and doubts from foreign leaders that a deal on global warming can be reached at the end of the year in Paris.

The pope has been a prominent supporter of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that many scientists blame for causing the Earth’s temperature to rise, causing more floods, droughts and other catastrophes.

Francis has framed climate change as a moral issue. Obama will likely use the pope’s time in Washington to draw attention to the challenge of global warming, and the need for putting away political differences in support of actions to reduce emissions.

The pope will also address a joint session of Congress following talks at the White House. In that address, he is expected to underscore points he made earlier this year in issuing his climate change “encyclical,” which outlines his thoughts on the issue of global warming. In the encyclical, he advocates for reductions in manmade emissions from fossil fuels.

Meh. I don’t feel that the Pope has any particular authority on this issue. And neither does Obama, he just hopes the rubes don’t know any better.

OBAMACARE HEALTH CO-OPS: DOING ONLY MARGINALLY BETTER THAN OBAMA’S SYRIA POLICY.

Late last month, the Nevada Health Co-op became the third casualty among 23 insurance start-ups created under the federal health care law to inject competition for coverage in certain parts of the country.

Set up as nonprofits with consumer-led boards, the co-ops were designed to provide affordable insurance coverage to individuals and small businesses. They were intended under the law to offer alternatives — and hopefully cheaper prices — to the plans sold by large established insurance companies in some regions.

But as the new co-ops begin failing just a year into the effort to remake the health care industry with more competition and lower costs, the marketplace is proving hostile to newcomers trying to break into an industry dominated by powerfully entrenched businesses.

Hey, the demise of competition and the shoring-up of powerfully entrenched businesses was always what ObamaCare was about. The rest was just for the rubes.

TRUE! Yes, Computers Have Improved. No, Communism Hasn’t.

At the New Republic, Malcolm Harris asks an interesting question: Was the Soviet Union’s problem that Communism can never work? Or did the Soviets just need a lot more MacBook Airs?

Actually, Harris is channeling Paul Mason, the author of the book he is reviewing, and unfortunately, he doesn’t really try to answer the question. Instead he makes the stridently timid argument that this won’t happen because the capitalists won’t let it, at least without a healthy dose of revolutionary action.

I’ll swing for the fences and argue that no, even with better computers, Communism isn’t going to work. Nor some gauzy vision of post-capitalism that looks like Communism, but with YouTube videos.

In retrospect, Communism seems wildly stupid, or at least, incredibly naive. Did the people who dreamed up this system not understand the enormous incentive problems they were creating? As Ayn Rand dramatized the problem in “Atlas Shrugged”: “It’s miseries, not work, that had become the coin of the realm — so it turned into a contest among six thousand panhandlers, each claiming that his need was worse than his brother’s. How else could it be done?” The incentives of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” drive toward falling production, which means there won’t be enough to cover the needs.

Or as a former colleague who fled Communist Poland once told me, “They pretended to pay us, and we pretended to work.” There is a reason that basically all the Communist and Socialist regimes ended in some degree of authoritarianism.

To most people espousing communism, the authoritarianism isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. All the talk about “sharing” and “compassion” is just to fool the rubes. People espousing communism should be treated as if they are on the same moral plane as people espousing Nazism, because they are.

TWEET OF THE DAY: Terrorists.

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.29.18 AM

Totally different. They’re Democrats, and needed votes from those dumb flyover rubes, and any trick that can convince those low-sloping-forehead types to vote right is admirable.

SALENA ZITO ON JOURNALISM: Arrogant media elites mock Middle America. Most of these media folks come from flyover country, and their main source of self-regard lies in feeling superior to the rubes they left back home, who never properly appreciated them in high school. . . .

DEBLASIO’S NEW YORK: Forward, Into The Past!

Is this Christmas 2014 — or 1974?

A stark reminder of New York City’s bad old days appeared on the streets of Manhattan Thursday , as three-card monte dealers turned out in force on Fifth Avenue.

An army of the shady gamblers — offering both crooked card and shell games — set up between West 53rd and 56th streets, fleecing Christmas tourists like hapless rubes in an old-time movie.

Go ahead, bite the Big Apple. Don’t mind the maggots!

JAMES TARANTO: Socialist Supermodel: Not long ago, the left raved about the VA.

Paul Waldman, Greg Sargent’s deputy, sees broader ideological implications. “If Democrats are going to argue that government can be a force for good, their most basic responsibility is to make government work,” he writes. (An odd statement. It seems to us making government work is the “most basic responsibility” of anyone who chooses a career in the public sector, regardless of ideology.)

“As troubling as some of these allegations are, this controversy presents an opportunity for the administration,” Waldman continues. “This isn’t some kind of phony scandal like Benghazi: it’s a real issue with real consequences.” Christopher Stevens could not be reached for comment.

If, by the end of Obama’s term in 2017, “officials can say that every veteran who needs care is getting it without having to wait an unreasonably long time,” that “wouldn’t be just a victory for this administration” but also “a victory for the liberal vision of effective government.”

To which we’d add that if officials can truthfully say it, it’ll be a victory for the veterans too. . . .

The “secret” of the VA’s “success,” Krugman argued, “is the fact that it’s a universal, integrated system.” That saves on administrative costs and allows for efficient record-keeping. Krugman acknowledged that the VA had a history of mismanagement and mediocre care, until “reforms beginning in the mid-1990’s transformed the system.” But wait. Hasn’t it been a universal, integrated system all along? Maybe the secret is something else. At any rate, the Phoenix revelations suggest it’s the system’s failures that are being kept secret.

Well, as a former Enron adviser, Krugman has experience with spectacular failures that are preceded by hype aimed at the rubes.

Plus: “If Krugman is to be believed–a big ‘if,’ to be sure–the Bush administration did a far better job running the VA than the Obama administration is doing now.”

MORE RUBES SELF-IDENTIFY: Unions Suffer For ObamaCare:

The first problem is that Obamacare regulations are already pushing up the cost of multiemployer insurance plans. Moreover, many of the regulations don’t really fit the plans — for example, many multiemployer plans do not distinguish between single and family policies, offering everyone the same insurance at the same cost.

The second problem is that the 40 percent excise tax on especially expensive plans — the so-called Cadillac tax — is going to hit union plans especially hard. Unlike most people negotiating compensation, union negotiators make an explicit trade-off between wages and other benefits, and the benefit that they seem most attached to is generous health plans. Union plans are made more expensive still because union membership is heavily skewed toward older workers. They are thus very likely to get hit by the Cadillac tax, which takes effect in 2018.

And the third problem is that Obamacare undercuts one of the key benefits of being in a union. Take a low-wage service worker who is currently insured through her union’s multiemployer plan. If she went to work for a nonunion shop, she could get a substantial wage hike, use part of it to buy a heavily subsidized exchange policy, and still be better off. As I heard one expert say, Obamacare turns health insurance from an organizing tool to a disorganizing tool.

Oft evil will shall evil mar.

JAMES TARANTO: 1930-Something: Old-school leftists are unhappy with Obama’s America.

Reed disdains what he calls “the cult of the most oppressed,” the idea “that there’s something about the purity of these oppressed people that has the power to condense the mass uprising. I’ve often compared it to the cargo cults. . . . As my dad used to say, ‘If oppression conferred heightened political consciousness there would be a People’s Republic of Mississippi.’ ” (This all seems a bit out of place in Salon, whose usual stock in trade is exotic identity-based grievances. Last week the site ran an article by Randa Jarrar, an Arab-American novelist, titled “Why I Can’t Stand White Belly Dancers.”)

Conservatives share Reed’s and Frank’s aversion to identity politics, though of course for different reasons. They (we) see it as anathema to the classical liberal ideas of individual freedom and equality of opportunity. Reed pointedly rejects what he calls “a neoliberal understanding of an equality of opportunity.”

What Reed wishes for instead, in his Harper’s article, is a radical “redistributive vision,” which “requires grounding in a vibrant labor movement.” There’s more than a bit of nostalgia here: He opens by observing that the left “crested in influence between 1935 and 1945, when it anchored a coalition centered in the labor movement,” and that “at the federal level its high point may have come in 1944, when FDR propounded what he called ‘a second Bill of Rights,’ ” including “the right to a ‘useful and remunerative job,’ ‘adequate medical care,’ and ‘adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.’ “

What we actually have is a coalition of Wall Street — they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing — and gentry liberals, with enough minorities included as electoral fodder to provide key votes. But look who’s getting richer these days. It’s the .1 percent. A few rubes are just starting to catch on.

MORE RUBES SELF-IDENTIFY: Liberal labor union makes Republican arguments against Obamacare. “A new labor union research report offers a scathing indictment of how Obamacare affects middle-class workers. The report features a series of arguments that conservatives have long made about the law, right down to mentioning the language of ‘unintended consequences.'”

THE RUBES ARE CATCHING ON: The Uninsured Are Turning Against Obamacare. That’s A Problem. “Fifty-six percent of those who identified as uninsured in a new poll conducted in February by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a research institution, had an unfavorable view of the health care reform law, compared to just 22 percent who said they view it favorably. The uninsured now see Obamacare less favorably than they did when the enrollment period began in October. As recently as September, more uninsured approved of the law than disapproved.” Well, that was before people knew it was a train wreck.

PEGGY NOONAN: OUR DECADENT ELITES:

Watching Season 2 of “House of Cards.” Not to be a scold or humorless, but do Washington politicians understand how they make themselves look when they embrace the show and become part of its promotion by spouting its famous lines? Congressmen only work three days a week. Each shot must have taken two hours or so—the setup, the crew, the rehearsal, the learning the line. How do they have time for that? Why do they think it’s good for them?

“House of Cards” very famously does nothing to enhance Washington’s reputation. It reinforces the idea that the capital has no room for clean people. The earnest, the diligent, the idealistic, they have no place there. Why would powerful members of Congress align themselves with this message? Why do they become part of it? I guess they think they’re showing they’re in on the joke and hip to the culture. I guess they think they’re impressing people with their surprising groovelocity.

Or maybe they’re just stupid.

But it’s all vaguely decadent, no? Or maybe not vaguely. America sees Washington as the capital of vacant, empty souls, chattering among the pillars. Suggesting this perception is valid is helpful in what way?

I don’t understand why members of Congress, the White House and the media become cooperators in videos that sort of show that deep down they all see themselves as . . . actors. And good ones! In a phony drama. Meant I suppose to fool the rubes.

Or something.

THEY NEED IT EVEN WORSE THAN WE DO: European Tea Party Movements On The March.

According to The Economist, this “insurgency is doing well partly because the mainstream has done so badly. Governments encouraged consumers to borrow, let the banks run wild and designed the euro as the pinnacle of the European project.” And “in the past five years ordinary people have paid a price for these follies, in higher taxes, unemployment, benefit cuts and pay freezes.” As a result, more Europeans are viewing the modern state as being “designed to look after itself, rather than the citizens it is supposed to serve.”

Uh oh. The rubes are catching on. And the term “global superclass” aptly summarizes the ambitions of transnational progressivism.

WHY THE SOUTH FELL APART IN THE SNOW.

There’s a simple explanation for that one, too. Birmingham is one of those cities that shuts down at the faintest hint of snow. Again, this isn’t because we are rubes who wonder why God’s tears have turned white and fall slower. It’s because the city does not have the infrastructure in place to handle snow, and is self-aware enough to realize it. If you don’t know how to swim, just stay out of the pool. Easy.

This time, though, the city did not shut down. Schools were open. Places of business kept businessing. That’s because as of Tuesday morning, we were being told that all that was coming was a light dusting.

That’s no disrespect to James Spann, who is a wonderful weatherperson and a bit of a local legend. But reports like that meant that when the snow actually started in earnest—and it became clear that it was going to stick—people were in offices and kids were at school, instead of being at home like they normally would.

That, in turn, meant that everyone was trying to get home at the same time, on snowy, icy roads that had not been treated, in cars that do not have four-wheel-drive (why would they?). These are, for the most part, people who do not drive in snow very often, which means that accidents like this one were common.

We got off much lighter here in Knoxville, but it was the same thing, basically: When I went into work, my weather app showed a 30% chance of light snow. By late morning it was already getting icy. I canceled my class and wound up being glad I did. Personally, I have four-wheel drive and snow-rated tires (they’re only all-seasons, but they’re good ones) and I know how to drive in the snow. I got home okay, but a lot of people had problems — and, of course, it doesn’t matter how good your car is, or your driving skills are, if you’re stuck behind jackknifed semi.

RUBES SELF-IDENTIFY: Byron York: Among ‘Obama Coalition,’ Obama approval plunges.

President Obama won re-election with the rock-solid support of what has become known as the “Obama Coalition” — young people, minorities, women, and low-income voters. Without a firm foundation — and high turnout — among those groups, Obama would not be in the White House today.

Now, little more than a year after the president’s re-election, his job approval rating has fallen among all segments of the American electorate. But it has fallen the most among those who did the most to elect him.

For example, according to a new Gallup compilation, Obama’s job approval rating among Hispanic Americans has plunged from 75 percent in December 2012 to 52 percent today — a drop of 23 percentage points, the sharpest decline among any voter group. Among Americans who make less than $24,000 a year, the president’s approval rating has fallen from 64 percent last December to 46 percent today. Among Americans 18 to 29 years of age, it has fallen from 61 percent to 46 percent. Among women, it has fallen from 57 percent to 43 percent.

The only key part of the Obama Coalition that did not experience a double-digit drop in support for the president is black Americans, although his support is down there, too — from 92 percent last December to 83 percent today.

How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya, Obama voters?

MORE RUBES SELF-IDENTIFY:

Pew survey, June 13, 2012: 89% of Germans would like to see Obama re-elected.

Spiegel, June 17, 2013: “If Barack Obama is our friend, then we really don’t need to be terribly worried about our enemies.”

Thanks to reader Roger Heinig for the links.

AUSTIN BAY: Benghazi Revisited: The Dead Get Pinocchios.

In a column published on Sept. 18, 2012, I argued that verified tactical military details of the engagement, the iconic date itself, and subsequent, very explicit statements by Libyan government authorities, left no doubt that on 9-11-2012 the U.S. consulate in Benghazi suffered a planned attack by an organized anti-American militant Islamist militia. A terrorist force had hit us with another 9-11 terror attack, and Americans had died, among them our ambassador to Libya.

Given the facts, the Obama administration’s bizarre claim that a sacrilegious Internet video had inflamed peaceful Libyan demonstrators — and in an outburst spurred by overwhelming theological pain, this moody crowd murdered our unfortunate ambassador — just didn’t wash. . . . As for passing major media smell tests before the 2012 presidential election? Of course the blarney passed ’em! But eight months after the attack and six months after the election, even President Barack Obama’s chief media enablers have begun to acknowledge the video-did-it propaganda tizzy the administration orchestrated was stench itself.

And orchestrated propaganda it was, with the video-did-it narrative hedged by presidential statements calculated to slyly finesse terrorist complicity in the attack.

Glenn Kessler, who writes the Washington Post’s fact-checker column, now informs his readers that the president’s claim he called the Benghazi attack an “attack of terrorism” rates four Pinocchios. That’s Kessler’s cute way of calling our president a complete and thorough liar. . . .

The video whopper and the slippery presidential phraseology were coordinated spin — the video to fool the rubes pre-election, the slick rhetoric to fool them now.

Read the whole thing. And note: “On Sept. 16, Libya’s interim president, Mohammed el-Megari, announced that he had no doubts the militia’s leaders had predetermined the date of the attack. That same day U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on five television shows and repeatedly blamed the video.” Scapegoated filmmaker Nakoula is still in jail.

MATT YGLESIAS SAYS 401KS SUCK. Instead he calls for “a much more forceful, much more statist approach to forced savings, whether that’s quasi-savings in the form of higher taxes and more Social Security benefits or something like a Singapore-style system where ‘private’ savings are pooled into a state-run investment fund.”

The problem is, those approaches suck, too. Social Security is going broke. If you want to see a pooled state-run investment fund, look at CalPers. It’s going broke amid horribly politicized mismanagement. And state-run pension funds are subject to all sorts of politicized investment decisions that have nothing to do with the interests of the pensioners. At least with 401k plans, the politicians aren’t involved — though I sense a political move to change that, too . . . .

Ultimately, there’s no magic solution to retirement savings, though a higher economic growth rate would help a lot. But the solutions being peddled all seem to involve putting more power into the hands of the people who have created the problems we face now.

UPDATE: A cynical take from reader John Koisch:

Do you get the feeling this is all battlefield preparation for Obama to start implementing his limitations on retirement savings? We never heard of this as a problem until Obama took office.

The real problem here is that, just as in Healthcare, my sense is that Bambi is going to turn to his friends, the “experts” to manage these funds on behalf of the state. And we will inevitably come across the 401K version of the IPAB … the group who removes funds from your account because of your 18% return and gives them to the other guy’s account who only got 5%.

The common theme in all of these is the co-opting of the corporate world. What government can’t do well, it borgs from the free-market. And when captains of industry face declining rates of return, they turn to the government to protect their fiefdoms and provide “guaranteed” rates of return. And the little guy and small business is left out of all of this … rubes.

Yes, if you’re not connected you get the shaft.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails this link: “It takes two words to show Yglesias’ statist approach is massively unwise: Chrysler bondholders.”

HEH: “So that’s what austerity looks like.”

Related: “Doing without is for the rubes.”

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): The Scary Thing Is That This Bad Jobs Report Wasn’t Even About The Sequester. It’s caused by the end of the payroll tax cut. Wait, does this mean tax cuts help employment, and tax increases hurt it?

UPDATE: Jobs Report? What Jobs Report? Hey Look, Gay Marriage!

We are, however, thrilled that we don’t have a Republican in the White House, because if we did, the press would be incessantly yammering about this bad news until we were all sick of it. As it is, they are likely to say as little as possible about what appears to be a massive failure of economic policy and go back to covering the really important issues, like gay marriage.

If a Republican president got very busy on social issues at a time of economic stagnation and disappointment, there would be earnest hand-wringing of the “What’s Wrong with Kansas” variety about how American rubes were being diverted from their true economic interests by the skillful manipulation of emotionally charged social issues and identity politics. This would be taken as a sign of the cynicism of the ruling party and the clueless credulity of the hypnotized voters.

Fortunately, we aren’t going to have to listen to any of that depressing rhetoric now. Social issues are good and important; economic questions like jobs and incomes and growth are a distraction from the real business of the people.

Indeed. Plus, from the comments: “Most important number: 63.3% labor force participation rate – lowest since 1979.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: The Administration’s Jobs Debacle.

MORE: Austan Goolsbee: Jobs Report A “Punch To The Gut.” But gay marriage!!!!

STILL MORE: March jobs number are ‘a punch to the gut’ as Americans flee workforce and young people lose optimism.

When Dow Jones asked a group of economists to predict the number of new jobs the US economy added in March, the average answer was about 200,000. Friday’s numbers, released by the US Department of Labor, were just 44 percent of that figure, an 88,000-job showing that paled in comparison to February’s 268,000 and represented the lower number since June of last year.

And although the official unemployment percentage figure decreased slightly from 7.7 per cent to 7.6 per cent, analysts say that only happened because, as in past months, so many Americans dropped out of the workplace entirely.

Young workers in particular are feeling the pinch of disappearing opportunities.

How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya?

DEMOCRATS’ “CONTROVERSIAL COMMENTS” ON RAPE cause anti-gun bill to be defeated.

Plus, dumb comments not about rape: Selling a gun-control bill with excessive honesty: “I make no assertion that this bill will either increase or reduce violent crime. That is not the premise of this bill.” In all honesty, it’s not the premise of gun control in general. The crime stuff is just to fool the rubes, who seem to be harder to fool, on this subject at least, lately.

THE RUBES ARE CATCHING ON? Youth abandoning Obama; just 43% approve. “The just-released Economist/YouGov poll reports that only older Americans age 65 and above have a worse view of the president, with 53 percent disapproving of his performance and 47 approving.”

NICK GILLESPIE: State of the Union: Will Obama Tell Young People He’s Screwing Them Big Time?

Listen up, kids! Your parents are robbing your futures blind and you’re chumps enough not only to go along but to say – like the adorable title orphan in the classic baby boomer musical Oliver! – please, sir, I want some more.

From virtually every possible angle, Obama is helping to diminish the prospects for today’s younger generation. First and foremost, his response to the Great Recession – stimulus and the massive piling up of debt – is slowing the recovery. Ginormous regulatory schemes such as Dodd-Frank and the creation of huge new soul-and-bucks-sucking programs such as Obamacare weigh heavily on the economy now and in the future too. His refusal to discuss seriously old-age entitlement reform – Medicare and Social Security and the 40 percent of Medicaid that goes to old folks – is a massive storm front on the economic horizon. His preference for secrecy and overreach when it comes to executive power won’t screw young people as obviously as his economic policies, but when he leaves office in 2017, he will have created far more terrorists than he needed to.

Yet The New York Times reports that not only did 18-to-29-year-olds vote for Obama by far-higher-than-average percentages than folks over 30 years old, they believe that by far-higher-than-average percentages that the government needs to be doing more, not less. This, despite record levels of government spending and debt – and awful results – for the whole of the 21st century.

Hey, rubes! Related thoughts here.

BEN SMITH: Obama Prepares To Screw His Base: Young people re-elected the president. Now they get to pay disproportionately for ObamaCare. “The near-total silence on this issue is a mark of a class that is either utterly selfless (hard to believe, honestly) or, as usual, singularly bad at seeing and defending its interests.” Hey, rubes!

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION EXPERIENCING BLOWBACK ON ITS CAYMAN CAMPAIGN ISSUE: Cayman Islands investment snags Jack Lew nomination. “An investment Jack Lew made in the Cayman Islands has been flagged as an issue in the Treasury secretary nominee’s vetting by the Senate Finance Committee, according to multiple sources close to the confirmation process.”

Hey, the campaign’s over. You’re not supposed to take that stuff seriously. It’s just for the rubes!

STRATEGYPAGE: Austin Bay: More Benghazi Questions.

The Benghazi attack, if it proved to be a planned attack rather than a spontaneous response to a video created without Obama’s approval, would call into question at a politically inconvenient moment the fundamental assumptions that guide his administration’s Middle Eastern diplomacy — in particular, the history-changing impact of his own personality and his insistence that his diplomacy is smart. A planned attack would also demonstrate that the Terrorists War on America continues, no matter what George W. Bush and Barack Obama call the conflict, and that al-Qaida remains capable of orchestrating terror attacks that have strategically deleterious effects on U.S. policy.

The video-did-it narrative gave Obama a political shield to deflect criticism of personally dear policies and achievements. It also gave the old community organizer a rhetorical cudgel to wield against intolerant, Muslim-despising bigots in America. Partisan Democrats connect those code words to bitter clingers — Republican rubes who cling to their guns and religion while waging war on women. Obama went with, then stayed with, the video narrative because he and his campaign advisers believed it was a foreign policy shield and domestic political sword.

Read the whole thing.

OUR PRO-TORTURE PRESIDENT: Barack Obama’s Department of Justice Railroads CIA Torture Whistleblower Into Reduced Guilty Plea.

President Obama has said that waterboarding is torture, as has Attorney General Eric Holder, who runs the DOJ. Given that, combined with Obama’s repeated insistence that his administration must encourage whistleblowing, you would think that the administration, led by the DOJ, would celebrate a CIA agent who exposes such practices, and seek to punish those who carried them out.

Instead, we have the reverse.

Yeah, it’s like all that stuff was just a bunch of malarkey to fool the rubes or something. All the Democratic apologists who are still riding Obama’s bus might want to rethink. Oh, who am I kidding — they’ll want to avoid thinking about this at all. And, I predict, they’ll succeed entirely. Probably while saying something bigoted about Mormons.

CARDINAL TO RAHM EMANUEL: So what exactly are “Chicago Values.” I think it’s all about the Benjamins, with a veneer of moralizing to fool the rubes.

HOW’S THAT ARAB SPRING WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? Egypt’s Liberals: We Were Duped. “We met with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces on Feb. 14, and they were very cute. They smiled and promised us many things and said, ‘You are our children; you did what we wanted to do for many years!’ Then they offered the same smiles and vague promises the next week, he said, and the next month after that.”

Over here, we use the term “rubes,” but “dupes” works just as well. . . .

RUBES AROUND THE WORLD.

CAN THE “SMART DIPLOMACY” WORK ONCE THE RUBES HAVE CAUGHT ON? Ah, hell, it’s not like it was working before. . . .

FROM STEPHEN GREEN’S DEBATE DRUNKBLOGGING:

6:11PM A SOPA question!

6:12PM Newt: “You’re asking a conservative about the economic interests of Hollywood.”

I think Newt has been reading Instapundit.

6:12PM The GOP, by and large, is so RIGHT about SOPA — and techies will still give and vote overwhelmingly to Democrats who love SOPA.

Why?

6:14PM Every single candidate on this stage hates SOPA. Damnit, techies, what’s wrong with you?

6:14PM Excuse me. Rick Santorum only mostly hates SOPA.

And the techies will latch on to that as they write their checks to Obama 2012.

Rubes. But there’ll be fewer than in 2008.

#OCCUPYFAIL: Chris Christie heckles ‘Occupy’ protesters in Iowa.

“Here’s the way I feel about it: They represent an anger in our country that Barack Obama has caused,” he said, drawing cheers from the crowd. “He’s a typical cynical Chicago… politician who runs for office and promises everything and then comes to office and disappoints, and so their anger is rooted not in me or Mitt Romney, their anger is rooted in the fact that they believed in this hope and change garbage.”

Christie called them disillusioned and said he “feels bad” for them.

“Now they are angry but they’re not mature enough to know they should be angry with themselves,” he said.

In other words: Hey, rubes!

WASHINGTON EXAMINER: So much for Obama’s ‘new era of open government.’

Justice Department documents made public Tuesday by Judicial Watch exposed an “accomplishment” of President Obama that his many admirers and enablers in the liberal mainstream media likely don’t want to talk about: a secret meeting on transparency in government. It happened on Dec. 7, 2009, and was convened by the Office of Information Policy in the Justice Department headed by Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder. The meeting’s purpose was to train Freedom of Information Act officers from federal agencies how to respond to FOIA requests, including tips on resolving disputes over what government documents can be made public.

Judicial Watch obtained a series of pre-conference emails in which Justice Department officials sought approval from White House media officials for closing the meeting to reporters. That the December meeting was closed was no isolated incident. In one of the emails, Melanie Pustay, OIP’s director, said she has “always held parallel meetings, one for agency ‘ees [i.e. government employees] and then one that is open.” We can only wonder what Pustay tells government FOIA officers that she doesn’t want journalists to hear. . . .

Unfortunately, keeping the meeting secret isn’t the only area in which the Obama administration’s record on this issue has proven to be woefully short of what the president promised. In both the Fast and Furious and Solyndra scandals, for example, Obama appointees have held back thousands of documents legitimately sought by congressional investigators while defending their refusal with arguments coined by President Nixon.

Similarly, Obama’s secretary of labor, Hilda Solis, has gutted transparency regulations that required labor unions to disclose information about the organizations’ financial health, including union officers’ total compensation packages. Also killed was a requirement to report on union trusts, which often function like offshore accounts for corporations in providing a means of hiding assets. And gone is a requirement that would have made unions report on “no-show” jobs — positions for which the union is paid but nobody actually does the work. The biggest losers when unions are able to conceal such information are union members.

It’s as if all that good-government talk was just B.S. to fool the rubes.

SNICKERING AT THE RUBES, I THINK: Where Is Barack Obama Now That We Need Him? “I am absolutely certain that generations from now we will be able to look back and tell our children that . . . this was the moment when we ended a war.” Ha, ha. That one still gets me.

ALL THAT FINDING-INNER-PEACE STUFF WAS JUST FOR THE RUBES ANYWAY: Deepak Chopra Mocks Sarah Palin In Angry Rant. Alternative argument: The two-minute hate is actually cleansing.

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN WE’D SEE THE IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY EXPAND: And they were right! “Civil libertarians once looked to this president to right the constitutional balance. But what Obama has wrought is the same old ‘Terror Presidency’ with new rhetoric.” You were expecting a Chicago machine politician to support civil liberties? Rubes!

MICKEY KAUS: “The idea that President Obama is playing Latinos on the immigration amnesty issue has now become near CW. . . . It’s a good thing if Latino commentators and voters now feel Obama played them, because it’s true. . . . But the ‘we were played’ meme has also become an excuse that absolves Latino immigration activists of any culpability, avoiding the annoying need for introspection or self-criticism. To read Navarrette’s piece you’d think Latino pols and lobbyists were at worst innocent rubes (at best noble civil rights leaders) waiting for Obama to deliver long-sought justice–when they were cruelly and cynically betrayed.”

THE ECONOMIST: China’s new rulers: Princelings and the goon state. “Since the late 1970s, when China began to turn its back on Maoist totalitarianism, the country has gone through several cycles of relative tolerance of dissent, followed by periods of repression. But the latest backlash, which was first felt late last year and intensified in late February, has raised eyebrows. It has involved more systematic police harassment of foreign journalists than at any time since the early 1990s. More ominously, activists such as Mr Ai have often simply disappeared rather than being formally arrested.” The nomenklatura take their privileged position in the Workers’ Paradise seriously. God help anyone who actually wants equality or freedom. All the talk about that stuff is just for the rubes.

BARACK OBAMA, THEN AND NOW: Remembering the wild praise of 2008. Rubes.

YOU DON’T SAY: Obama Embraces Policies He Opposed As A Candidate.

Ah, remember when Obama supporters called McCain McSame, because a vote for him was a vote to continue Bush’s policies of bombing Muslim countries and keeping people locked up in Guantanamo? Rubes.

UPDATE: Well, here’s some change: Ex-Congressman in Libya to ‘Help’ Once Proposed Arming Gadhafi.

During the last decade, former Congressman Curt Weldon traveled repeatedly to Libya, becoming so close with the Gadhafi regime that the firm Weldon worked for even floated the idea of selling arms to Tripoli.

So now that Gadhafi is under assault from NATO airstrikes and rebel ground troops, it should come as no surprise that Weldon is back in Libya, “to try to help negotiate a political settlement with Gadhafi and family,” according to CNN.

And while Weldon’s there, the controversial former vice chair of the House Armed Services Committee is looking to do a little image re-polishing for himself. It wasn’t long ago — April, 2008, to be exact — that Weldon was boasting in a report that he had become the “1st non-Libyan Board Member of the Ghadaffi Foundation [sic].” During a trip to Tripoli the month before, the self-proclaimed “friend of Libya” carried “a personal letter from Libyan Chamber [of Commerce] President to US Chamber President.” Weldon also visited with with the country’s “Nuclear Ministry Leadership and agreed to reinforce US nuclear cooperation/collaboration.”

Finally, Weldon agreed “to quickly return to Libya for meetings with [Moammar Gadhafi’s] son Morti regarding defense and security cooperation.”

Just another dictator-suck-up. There are a lot of them. Funny that the New York Times is giving him a pass. Well, not that funny.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails: “Since John McCain was referred to as John McSame should we now refer to President Obama as Barack HuSame Obama? Just askin’.” I’m sure that would be racist.

HELL, GREENWALD, I was just angling for a Nobel Peace Prize. But it turns out you have to actually bomb people for one of those, not just post blog entries.

Who knew? I guess I didn’t put in enough hope and change! But by all means, bash me if it makes you feel better about how things have gone under Obama. My skin’s thick enough, and there are a lot of rubes out there suffering cognitive dissonance as they self-identify. If I can ease the pain that comes from realization of how you were played, I’m glad to endure a few blog attacks. Unlike Tomahawk Missiles, those don’t actually draw any blood. But if all this bombing stuff is so bad, well, I just blogged about it. You voted for the guy who’s doing it, and — despite the occasional criticism now — you know you’ll vote for him, and blog for him, again in 2012. So sorry if I’m unimpressed with your moral posturing. . . .

UPDATE: Again? Why not?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Nathan Wood writes: “Mission accomplished for Greenwald. I just clicked on Salon for the first time in maybe three years. You were too kind to link it, Professor!” Yeah, I knew I was being trolled — but on the other hand, I couldn’t resist rubbing it in again on the whole hope-and-change thing. So, win-win! Yay, blogosphere!

MORE: Obama and Executive Power: How’s that Hope and Change Working Out? Meh. A few pundits are squawking, but they’ll still support him in the election. Call me back when Maddow endorses Nader or Kucinich in the primary. Or Paul (either one) in the general. Most of the Obama supporters are saying, “Those are our jets now!”