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ROGER KIMBALL ON THE ACCURATE REPRESENTATION OF THE WORLD: A reluctance to speak the truth instills an unwillingness or even inability to see the truth.

Had the fates been more generous, one name that I feel sure would occupy a place on that escutcheon is that of Joseph Rago. Joe, who died at the shocking age of 34, was known to the world at large as a brilliant editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal. His labors there won him a Pulitzer Prize when he was still in his twenties.

For more than a decade, he was known to the readers of my magazine The New Criterion as a contributor and, towards the end of his life, as our fiction critic, a post from which he ably lived up to the poet Horace’s injunction to delight as well as instruct. I am happy to note that Joe’s parents, Nancy and Paul Rago, are with us tonight. I wish that he could be as well.

It what was perhaps his last piece for The New Criterion, Joe cast an amused though gimlet eye over the eructations of impotent puerile fury that greeted the election of Donald Trump among the literati. ‘This ages-nine-and-up coping mechanism,’ Joe wrote, ‘does capture something significant about political and literary culture, circa 2017. Too much of politics, and of human experience,’ Joe went on, ‘is being fitted into neat good-bad binaries that appeal to feelings and status, not to the accurate representation of the world.’

‘The accurate representation of the world.’ How quaint that phrase sounds in an era of fake news and the wonton trampling of truth, not least by those entrusted with its dissemination: journalists, yes, but also many educators and other unworthy custodians of the achievements of our culture.

That’s an excerpt from Roger’s acceptance speech upon receiving “the Thomas L. Phillips award at the TFAS Journalism Awards Dinner in Manhattan last week.” It dovetails remarkably well with this item at NewsBusters today: ‘The Unhoused?’ Homelessness Gets the PC Treatment at the Washington Post.

Remember the first outbreak of PC years ago? Back then it was a distant, isolated phenomenon — an exotic STD localized to college campuses. Reality, like a dose of penicillin, would take care of things. Normal people had fun changing “bald” to “follically challenged,” and “hookers” to “horizontal laborers.” Good times.

A Sept. 19 op-ed in The Washington Post harkens back to those salad days. Writing about the West Coast’s homelessness crisis, author Chris Herring uncorks this howler:

But the residents and leaders of these liberal cities are also intolerant of the unhoused.

The unhoused? Is he serious? You bet. Herring is “a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of California at Berkeley.” Any sense of humor he may have once possessed was educated out of him long ago.

In fairness, “unhoused” makes only one appearance in a long, long piece about how mean everyone is to, er, the homeless — maybe it’s a trial euphemism that he’s testing outside an academic journal for the first time.

Seems like yesterday “homeless” became the accepted liberal euphemism for vagrants, drifters, bums or, more romantically, hobos. (It was, I believe, in the 1980s. Those people disappeared the moment Bill Clinton was sworn in, not to resurface until January 2001.)

But it’s a logical progression. “Homeless” removed judgement from the description — in exactly the same way “undocumented” removes judgement from the description of illegal immigrants. “The unhoused” takes the next step by removing agency. The subjects can only be victims deprived of shelter by circumstance or the malign action of others, certainly not by their own weaknesses or poor decisions.

As they say at the Ministry of Truth, “It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”

ARE YOU TIRED YET? Trump’s starting to win big on controlling the southern border.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled to permit the administration to go on refusing to accept applications for asylum from migrants who have passed through another country without being denied asylum there, while a case challenging this common-sense policy works its way through the courts.

That comes on the heels of the court’s decision in July to allow Trump to use money from the defense budget to build the border wall. It was yet another significant victory for the administration’s initiatives and a sign that the left’s judicial guerrilla war that had been stymieing the president is starting to crumble.

Expect liberal efforts to prevent Trump from overturning President Barack Obama’s executive orders that effectively granted amnesty to millions of illegals to meet the same fate.

Fact is, despite the beating Trump has continued to take from the media about government tactics aimed at stemming the surge of illegal immigrants over the southern border, his policies have started to show signs of success.

While no one expects Mexico to pay for Trump’s wall, it is doing something more important: using its resources to stop its people from crossing over into the United States illegally. It has, for example, reinforced security on its southern border and set up checkpoints on highways leading north, dispatching 21,600 police and troops across the nation in the effort.

So far in 2019, the US Border Patrol has arrested more than 400,000 migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras for crossing the border illegally. But only 4,300 Mexicans were caught doing so.
see also
Supreme Court allows Trump admin to deny asylum to certain migrants at the border

It’s all strong evidence that, far from ignoring or rejecting Trump’s efforts to jawbone them into doing something to stop the flood of illegals, America’s most important southern neighbor is listening to him. Recall that Mexico stepped up actions to control the migrants in a bid to avoid tariffs Trump had threatened to impose.

The message has also gotten through to those seeking to come to the United States illegally.

Well, stay tuned.

SO I FINALLY READ GEORGE PACKER’S ATLANTIC PIECE, When the Culture War Comes for the Kids. Two points: (1) The underlying problem here regarding his “meritocracy” complaints is that the New York public schools, under Democrats for decades, suck, and they suck more under DeBlasio and his “woke” schools director; and (2) Despite his reflexive passing slaps at Trump, the wokescold mobs who started ruining his experience in 2013 are the reason Trump got elected. Want more Trump? This is how you get more Trump.

UPDATE: I initially had this as “Greg Packer’s piece,” which is just proof that that guy can slip into any place, even my subconscious.

JOE BIDEN, RECORD PLAYERS, AND RACISM:

As weird as the record player remark was, it’s probably not going to hurt Biden much, if at all. The fact that he’s decades behind the times is baked into the cake of public opinion about the former vice president.

In fact, it may be beneficial to Biden that he made the record player reference. Why? Because it diverts attention from a potentially more harmful portion of his statement, which some are claiming is racist.

Ed Morrissey directs our attention to the claim of Time Magazine editor-at-large Anand Giridharadas that Biden’s insinuation that Black parents don’t know how to raise their kids is “appalling — and disqualifying.” Giridharadas says that Biden may have set a new low for racism in a Democratic presidential debate.

As unfashionable as it might be, perhaps before hollering “racism” we should consider whether it’s true that kids coming from a very poor background will hear 4 million fewer spoken words before attending school then kids from a more prosperous background — and more generally, whether it’s true that they show up at school in a disadvantaged position.

I don’t know whether the claim about 4 million words is true, but it has currency. Actually, the usual claim is that there’s a 30 million word gap. Researchers have said this figure is way too high (which it surely is), and put the gap at around 4 million. I’ve heard liberal friends cite both figures.

They do so as an explanation for why poor Black students tend to be outperformed at school from the get-go. They do so, as Biden did, in support of calls for liberal programs to help poor Black kids get a head start before they begin kindergarten.

Biden didn’t pick up this theme at a KKK meeting. He picked at up in the liberal circles he (or maybe his handlers) frequents.

Nor should Biden’s statement be construed as an attack on poor Black parents. A young child will probably hear more spoken words in a two-parent home than in a home with just one parent. A young child will probably hear more spoken words in a home where a parent isn’t working two jobs or a night shift to make ends meet.

It certainly freaked out the ultra-woke brigade on Twitter including the aforementioned Giridharadas, but as Glenn has written (including in his new book), the wokescolds don’t represent the majority of the Democratic Party. As Ed Morrissey wrote yesterday at Hot Air:

Is this the way African-American voters will take this, though? Biden has a good relationship with this “beating heart of his party,” which is of course why his competitors have taken shots at his record on issues like busing and reparations. He has a long track record of relative goodwill on which to rely when interpreting stream-of-consciousness ramblings like this one. Giridharadas imputes racism when simple ignorance might be a better explanation. Or Biden just being the crazy-but-benign grandpa that Biden has been for a very long time.

If those voters do share Giridharadas’ interpretation of this answer, watch out.

We’ll know soon enough how the polls break for Biden — clearly the far left is willing to throw everything at him to knock him out of the race, but as Jonah Goldberg noted earlier this month, “black voters, particularly black women — the king- or queen-makers of the Democratic primaries — are pragmatically focused on defeating Trump rather than on making the perfect the enemy of the good. And that’s a big reason that Biden commands such a large share of the black vote, particularly among older voters.”

CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD’S FATHER SUPPORTED BRETT KAVANAUGH’S CONFIRMATION:

While there was no evidence to support Ford’s claim other than her testimony, some believed her because they said she would have no motivation to lie. Critics point to the nearly $1 million she raised in GoFundMe accounts and the honors that Sports Illustrated and Time Magazine bestowed on her. New books featuring her cooperation downplay the copious problems with her account.

So what was the point of the cavalcade of unsubstantiated allegations? Ford’s attorney Debra Katz offered not so much a hint as a confession. Ford testified that she had no political motivation. But in remarks captured on video, Katz admitted that Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh were at least in part driven by fear he might not sufficiently support unregulated abortion on the court.

“We were going to have a conservative” justice, she said, “but he will always have an asterisk next to his name” that will discredit any decision he makes regarding abortion. What’s more, she added, “that is part of what motivated Christine.”

As Noah Rothman of Commentary wrote last week in a piece titled “Giving up the Game,” “This is an admission entirely against interest, in part, because you do not have to announce the presence of an asterisk if it truly exists. The Democratic partisans who insist Justice Clarence Thomas has been similarly undermined are screaming into a void. His concurrences and dissents still carry as much moral and intellectual weight as any other justice. He still influences the evolution of legal thought as much as or more than his colleagues on the bench. His clerks still get confirmed to federal judicial appointments in striking numbers. The notion that Kavanaugh’s reputation had been irreparably tarred in some way by his confirmation hearings isn’t an observation. It’s a self-affirmation.”

THIS IS CNN: America’s 9/11 Amnesia: Right-Wingers Are America’s Deadliest Terrorists.

CNN’s Brian Stelter tweeted a segment by his colleague John Avlon, with the chyron reading, “America’s 9/11 Amnesia.”

Avlon attacked President Trump, before pivoting to what he calls, “another form of violent extremism: white nationalist terrorism.”

“Here’s a startling statistic,” he drones on. “Since 9/11 right wing terrorists have killed more people in the United States than jihadist terror. That’s according to New America.”

‘New America’ is one of your classic D.C. think tanks packed to the gunwales with establishment foreign policy impresarios, including — though not disclosed — Avlon’s CNN colleague Fareed Zakaria.

Amongst New America’s donors are the same old names: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, the Omidyar Network, and of course George Soros’s Open Society Foundations.

But New America didn’t publish such a report, it simply aggregated an article written by the far-left Slate magazine. The author — Daniel Byman — has written about “right wing” terrorism almost every other month this year for Slate, with headlines ranging from Right-Wing Terrorism Could Get Even Worse After Trump” to “Trump’s Rhetoric Is Raising the Risk of Right-Wing Terrorism.” Breadth, perhaps, is not Byman’s strong suit.

On Aug. 5, 2019, he published what CNN laundered as a think-tank article by New America, titled: “Right-Wingers Are America’s Deadliest Terrorists.”

Byman’s article in turn leans on research conducted for New America, by author Peter Bergen, another CNN employee. You see how the D.C. merry-go-round works?

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: “Pretty f***ing bold to use the chyron ‘America’s 9/11 Amnesia’ while showing articles claiming ‘Right-Wingers Are America’s Deadliest Terrorists’ which memory hole the fact that, um, al-Qaeda’s attacks on 9/11 killing 3,000 people were by far the deadliest in American history,” Jerry Dunleavy of the Washington Examiner tweets in response.

GIVING UP THE GAME: “Even before attorney Debra Katz took on Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s primary accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, as a client, she was someone the abusive and unscrupulous should have feared. At least, that’s how she was portrayed in the press:”

As it turns out, Katz wasn’t as opposed to a “highly politicized environment” as she maintained. “In the aftermath of these hearings, I believe that Christine’s testimony brought about more good than the harm misogynist Republicans caused by allowing Kavanaugh on the court,” Katz told attendees at the University of Baltimore’s Feminist Legal Theory Conference this past April. “He will always have an asterisk next to his name. When he takes a scalpel to Roe v. Wade, we will know who he is, we know his character, and we know what motivates him. And that is important; it is important that we know, and that is part of what motivated Christine.”

Only someone with a lawyer’s gift for prevarication could fail to comprehend Katz’s meaning. In this textbook definition of the Kinsley gaffe, Katz has revealed that not only was she motivated to litigate the claims against Kavanaugh for the advantageous political effect they would have but that her client was, too. And what was that desired effect? Affixing an “asterisk” to Kavanaugh’s record so that his judgments and decisions would be regarded as animated by biases and prejudices and would be, therefore, suspect if not entirely illegitimate.

This is an admission entirely against interest, in part, because you do not have to announce the presence of an asterisk if it truly exists. The Democratic partisans who insist Justice Clarence Thomas has been similarly undermined are screaming into a void. His concurrences and dissents still carry as much moral and intellectual weight as any other justice. He still influences the evolution of legal thought as much as or more than his colleagues on the bench. His clerks still get confirmed to federal judicial appointments in striking numbers. The notion that Kavanaugh’s reputation had been irreparably tarred in some way by his confirmation hearings isn’t an observation. It’s a self-affirmation.

Read the whole thing.

WELL, YES: Here’s One Way to Stop Cancel Culture — Stop Canceling.

Earlier today a Bloomberg reporter named Ben Penn published one of the more dishonest mainstream media attacks I’ve ever read. It was an extraordinary hit piece on a recent Trump Labor Department appointee named Leif Olson. To make a long story short, he took Facebook posts that Olson obviously intended as insults and mockery of the alt-right and then cast them as actually anti-Semitic. In doing so, he omitted a segment of the Facebook thread that made the sarcasm and mockery crystal clear. Olson’s targets were Paul Nehlen and Breitbart, not Jews.

To get a full sense of the sheer obvious bad faith of the attack on Olson, I’d urge you to read Michael Brendan Dougherty’s excellent piece on our home page.

All this would be bad enough, but it gets worse. Olson is now out of a job. After Penn’s inquiries, the Department of Labor accepted Olson’s resignation “effective immediately.” An unfair journalistic hit has now cost a capable attorney his job. It’s absurd. Cancel culture has reared its ugly head . . . again.

But wait. Why did he leave? Perhaps there are personal reasons for the resignation that aren’t apparent from any of the public reports. If that’s the case, then we should accept his decision and focus our attention on Penn’s terrible report. But if the Labor Department tossed him overboard on the basis of Penn’s report alone, well then that’s a different situation entirely. Penn has no power over the Labor Department. It could have easily stood by its man, and it would have had a legion of defenders — and not just conservatives.

But Penn is now bragging that he bagged a deregulator. I think if people get him fired in response, that’s only fair. I don’t like tit-for-tat, but it works. An eye for an eye is less likely to leave the whole world blind, than it is to make people be a lot more careful not to put out eyes.

ANDREW KLAVAN: ‘Watergate’ Doesn’t Mean What the Press Thinks It Means.

Recently, reading Mark Levin’s Unfreedom of the Press, I was reminded that, before reporters went on their great crusade against Richard Nixon, they had overlooked a whole lot of corruption in the Democrat presidents who preceded him.

Levin tells how John F. Kennedy, with the knowledge of his brother and Attorney General Robert, nudged the IRS into auditing conservative groups. With Kennedy approval, the FBI was also employed to investigate those the administration disliked, including Martin Luther King Jr. Lyndon Baines Johnson would later increase the politically motivated auditing and spying. None of this was uncovered until later on.

Ben Bradlee — the editor of the Washington Post, where Woodward and Bernstein broke the Watergate story — was well aware of his pal Kennedy’s misuse of the tax and investigative agencies. Not only did he not report it, he allowed himself and his paper to be manipulated by information JFK had wrongly obtained.

This totally changes the Watergate narrative. Nixon’s dirty tricks and enemy lists may have been creepy and wrong, but the press exposure of these misdemeanors came after years of ignoring similar and worse malfeasance by Democrat administrations.

That changes what Watergate means. That transforms it from a heroic crusade into a political hit job, Democrat hackery masquerading as nobility. The press turned a blind eye to the corruption of JFK and LBJ, then raced to overturn the election of a man they despised—despised in part because he battled the Communism many of them had espoused.

What is it Karl Marx said: History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce?

Read the whole thing. While the left launched Watergate to destroy Nixon, the discovery by the American people that It Didn’t Start With Watergate, as Victor Lasky accurately titled his 1977 book did much to make the distrust of government an “unexpectedly” bipartisan affair in the 1970s. Or as David Frum puts it in his 2000 book How We Got Here: The 70s The Decade That Brought You Modern Life — For Better Or Worse: 

Some blame Watergate for this abrupt collapse of trust in institutions, but not very convincingly. For one thing, the decline in trust begins to appear in the polls as early as 1966, almost a decade before the Watergate was known as anything more than a big hole in the ground alongside the Potomac River. For another, the nation had managed unconcernedly to shrug off Watergate-style events before. Somebody bugged Barry Goldwater’s apartment during the 1964 election without it triggering a national trauma. The Johnson administration tapped the phones of Nixon supporters in 1968, and again nothing happened. John F. Kennedy regaled reporters with intimate details from the tax returns of wealthy Republican donors, and none of the reporters saw anything amiss. FDR used the Federal Bureau of Investigation to spy on opponents of intervention into World War II—and his targets howled without result. If Watergate could so transform the nation’s sense of itself, why did those previous abuses, which were equally well known to the press, not do so? Americans did not lose their faith in institutions because of the Watergate scandal; Watergate became a scandal because Americans were losing faith in their institutions.

Which brings us back to Andrew Klavan’s article above, in which he writes, “History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce…Like the Nixon takedown, the attacks on Trump come after years of turning a blind eye to the corruption of a Democrat. Obama’s IRS campaign against the Tea Party? His lies about Benghazi? His Fast and Furious fiasco? His shutdown of a massive drug investigation to appease Iran? No big deal. Obama was, as almost every mainstream outlet has declared, ‘scandal free.’”

Read the whole thing.

THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Media’s no good, very bad week (and what’s coming next).

I think this week is a harbinger of things to come. Why? Because the Mueller report didn’t work out as Democrats and the media hoped. There’s no public appetite for impeachment. Progressives are getting nervous and the NY Times has signaled privately and publicly, through its 1619 Project, that the 2020 election will be all about racism because that’s the best chance Democrats have to activate their base.

So what’s coming next? A lot more careless mistakes by the usual suspects looking to drag Trump and the GOP down. What this week demonstrates is that many of them care less about their credibility than ensuring the desired outcome. This isn’t really new of course. In fact, some version of this happens every four years. See dog-abusing-vampire-capitalist-with-80s-foreign-policy Mitt Romney for a previous example.

Which dovetails well with Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel’s look at how things went this week with the Democratic Party operatives without bylines, aka the politicians: Crackup in the Democratic Party.

Imagine you’re Biden’s political director, sitting offstage. All of a sudden, Biden wanders into the unscripted territory and says, “Imagine the assassination of Obama.” This is not an attack on Biden, but he’s not going to be the nominee. So the actual race comes down to Warren’s and Sanders’ competing visions of how to achieve the same socialist fantasy. Warren is promising reparations based on skin color. That’s popular. Sanders wants a government takeover of the entire energy sector. They will be working to out-crazy each other for the next six months. That is a dynamic guaranteed to produce even more extremism. And it has some Democratic leaders worried. The Democratic National Committee voted on a proposal to hold a debate focused exclusively on climate change. Why wouldn’t they? Well, because the solutions the candidates would promise live on television are insane: spend $16 trillion, ban airplanes, seize control of the entire U.S. economy.

The Trustafarians love stuff like that. Normal people find it terrifying. Even the party hacks here in D.C. don’t like it, and that’s probably a compliment. Do you really think Nancy Pelosi believes climate change is an existential crisis? Of course, she doesn’t think that. Plus, she flies private. Obama can say whatever he wants about carbon emissions. He can shake his chin and be concerned, but when you’re spending 15 million of your own dollars on a beachfront estate on Martha’s Vineyard, you’re not too worried about the oceans rising. But the Democratic base doesn’t get the joke. Democratic primary voters believe the talking points. And very soon, they will be powerful enough to nominate their own presidential candidate. And when that happens, it’s going to be a very different party.

Nobody should be getting cocky in this election cycle.

Classical reference in headline, from a time when the left still viewed satire as a weapon, before the revolution devoured its own.

DAVID KOCH, RIP:

When I really want to creep out a liberal, I tell them that I not only have met the Koch brothers, but once visited Charles Koch at the Death Star in Wichita, and dined with David Koch once in New York (in addition to some very friendly and thoughtful meetings in his office a long time ago). But then I usually like to deepen their dismay by going on to tell them that I also once had lunch with George Soros and some of his foundation board members (at his invitation and expense), where I had great fun pointing out how much Soros and the Koch brothers had in common, on immigration, foreign and defense policy, drug policy, and so forth. At this point, you can almost see the synapses frying and shriveling up inside the simple-minded Manichean liberal brain.

As Nick Gillespie of Reason joked in 2011, quoting a Reddit post: Why the Evil Koch Bros. Must be Stopped: They Support Drug Legalization, Gay Marriage, Reduced Defense Spending.

The KOCH brothers must be stopped. They gave $40K to Scott Walker, the MAX allowed by state law. That’s small potatoes compared to the $100+ million they give to other organizations. These organizations will terrify you. If the anti-union thing weren’t enough, here are bigger and better reasons to stop the evil Kochs. They are trying to:

  1. decriminalize drugs,
  2. legalize gay marriage,
  3. repeal the Patriot Act,
  4. end the police state,
  5. cut defense spending.

Who hates the police? Only the criminals using drugs, amirite? We need the Patriot Act to allow government to go through our emails and tap our phones to catch people who smoke marijuana and put them in prison. Oh, it’s also good for terrorists.

Wikipedia shows Koch Family Foundations supporting causes like:

  1. CATO Institute
  2. Reason Foundation
  3. cancer research
  4. ballet (because seriously: FUCK. THAT. SHIT.) …

If there’s one thing I know about billionaires, it’s that they only care about money. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and George Soros. They aren’t fooling me. Bill Gates isn’t fooling me with his vaccination campaign in Africa. He’s just trying to make African children live longer so they will buy more copies of Windows. Wow. Not even trying to hide it.

Now, I don’t know why the KOCH brothers want gay people to have the right to marry. Everybody knows marriage is for a man and a woman. Even Obama said that. Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve amirite? I haven’t figured out the angle. Maybe it’s like this:

  1. legalize drugs
  2. legalize gay marriage
  3. sell drugs and oil to gays
  4. ????
  5. PROFIT$$$

I don’t know exactly how it would work, but we can all agree that they’re evil.

The New York Times sure can. Read on at the first link for the Gray Lady blaming the Kochs for Trump’s election win in David Koch’s obit, despite their loathing of him.

More on Koch’s philanthropy:

Koch, who fought prostate cancer after being diagnosed 27 years ago, donated a record $150 million to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in 2015 through the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation. The hospital named a cancer center in his name after getting its largest donation ever.

The Upper East Side facility is described as one that offers innovative outpatient and ambulatory care to cancer patients.

In 2013, he also gave $100 million — another record — to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, which has a building in his name…

He was a generous donor to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, which named its ballet and dance theater in his honor after receiving $100 million in 2008.

Koch’s network also donated millions of dollars to promote charter schools through two groups, the Libre Initiative and Americans for Prosperity, to provide more opportunities to disadvantaged youths.

All pure evil, right there.

TRIUMPH OF THE NARRATIVE WILL:

Here are two ‘narratives’ for you to consider:

  1. a) Donald Trump is a New York Republican who became president by accident. His primary interest for future historians will be his use of new digital technologies like Twitter.
  2. b) Donald Trump is a white nationalist. His primary interest for future historians will be his mobilization of white resentment to build a Fourth Reich in North America.

Narrative A is probably closer to the truth than Narrative B. But it’s certainly less exciting than Trump being Hitler, or a Russian agent. Narrative B is far more dramatic. It’s darkly historic. It’s going to be all over the New York Times for the next year. It shifts books. It drives engagement. It gets people out on the street and to the voting booths.

There is an obvious objection to this: aren’t the president’s lies more important than those of the Times? Trump lies with breathtaking alacrity, there’s no denying or excusing it.

But the most interesting thing about this presidency is that reactions to Trump have unveiled truths far greater than any lies he has told. Like Tony Montana at the end of Scarface, Trump somehow always tells the truth – deep truths about America – even when he lies.

* * * * * * * *

How they react to him tells you who they really are, and what they really want. The ‘narratives’ they weave, and the facts they’re happy to omit from those stories reveal even more.

Related: Trump Unmasks the Media’s Liberal Advocacy.

(Headline via Power Line.)

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Trump Isn’t the One Dividing Us by Race: He hardly mentions it, while his adversaries are obsessed with ‘whiteness’ and ‘white privilege.’

Long before the El Paso massacre, President Trump’s political opponents accused him of sowing “division” with his “racist language.” Mr. Trump “exploits race,” “uses race for his gain,” is engaged in a “racially divisive reprise” of his 2016 campaign, stokes “racial resentments,” and puts “race at the fore,” the New York Times has reported over the past several months.

Yet Mr. Trump rarely uses racial categories in his speech or his tweets. It is the media and Democratic leaders who routinely characterize individuals and groups by race and issue race-based denunciations of large parts of the American polity.

Some examples: “As race dominates the political conversation, 10 white Democratic candidates will take the stage” (the Washington Post); Mr. Trump’s rally audiences are “overwhelmingly white” (multiple sources); your son’s “whiteness is what protects him from not [sic] being shot” by the police ( Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ); white candidates need to be conscious of “white privilege” (South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg ); “white supremacy manifests itself” in the criminal-justice, immigration and health-care systems ( Sen. Cory Booker ); “ Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri” ( Sen. Elizabeth Warren ); whiteness is “the very core” of Mr. Trump’s power, whereas his “predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness” (Ta-Nehisi Coates in the Atlantic).

Liberal opinion deems such rhetoric fair comment, even obvious truth, not “racially divisive.” America’s universities deserve credit for this double standard. Identity politics dominate higher education: Administrators, students and faculty obsessively categorize themselves and each other by race. “White privilege,” often coupled with “toxic masculinity,” is the focus of freshmen orientations and an ever-growing array of courses. Any institutional action that affects a “person of color” is “about race.” If a black professor doesn’t get tenure, he’s a victim of discrimination; a white professor is presumed to be unqualified.

That interpretive framework explains asymmetries in how the political and media elites analyze the Trump phenomenon. . . .

But according to the academic template, to criticize a “person of color” is inevitably “about race.” Mr. Buttigieg ran afoul of this rule after firing South Bend’s black police chief for secretly taping officers’ phone calls. The idea that the mayor fired the chief because he was black is absurd, yet Mr. Buttigieg inevitably faced charges of racial insensitivity. Likewise, advocates and the media deemed Mr. Trump’s nonracial denunciation of Baltimore’s leadership racist. Never mind that the victims of the city’s almost daily drive-by shootings are black. Race shields minority politicians from criticism.

Ms. Warren recently provided an unwitting summary of academic identity politics. Mr. Trump’s “central message” to the American people, she declared, is: “If there’s anything wrong in your life, blame them—and ‘them’ means people who aren’t the same color as you.” She has in mind a white “you,” but change the race and you encapsulate the reigning assumption on college campuses—that white people are the source of nonwhite people’s problems, and any behavioral or cultural explanations for economic disparities are taboo.

The academy’s reflexive labeling of nonconforming views as “hate speech” has also infiltrated popular rhetoric against Mr. Trump. The president’s views on border control and national sovereignty are at odds with the apparent belief among Democratic elites that people living outside the country are entitled to enter at will and without consequences for illegal entry. To the academic and democratic left, however, a commitment to border enforcement can only arise from “hate.” Such a pre-emptive interpretation is a means of foreclosing debate and stigmatizing dissent from liberal orthodoxy.

Identity politics, now a driving force in the Democratic Party, celebrates the racial and ethnic identities of designated victim groups while consigning whites—especially heterosexual white men—to scapegoat status. But its advocates should be careful what they wish for. If “whiteness” is a legitimate topic of academic and political discourse, some individuals are going to embrace “white identity” proudly.

They’ve been trying to conjure that into existence for a decade, but they may not like the result. As John Podhoretz tweeted in November of 2016, “Liberals spent 40 years disaggregating [the] U.S., until finally the largest cohort in the country chose to vote as though it were an ethnic group.”

Related: Roger Simon: 90% of the Racism in America Comes from the Democratic Party and the Left. I’d say we’re up to 95% by now.

UM: Dem rep: I’m not surprised to see Trump taking sides against peaceful protesters like … Antifa. “What’s odd, and ominous, about this more ambitious spin from freshman Rep. Deb Haaland is that it whitewashes violence by Antifa *while also* implicitly justifying it.”

Standard practice with Dems. Plus: “We shouldn’t be surprised. If the country is far enough along into its Weimar period to have gangs of ideologues swinging at each other in the streets, it’s far enough along to have members of the legislature defending their own side’s gang.”

As I’ve said before, you don’t get Hitler because of Hitler — there are always potential Hitlers hanging around. You get Hitler because of Weimar, and you get Weimar because the people in charge of maintaining liberal democracy are too weak and corrupt to do the job. And there are a lot of those now, not exclusively in the Democratic Party. Related item here.

Flashback: Lubricating the Slippery Slope: The Intellectual Astroglide of the Elite.

EMBRACE THE HEALING POWER OF “AND:” Is The New York Times a Newspaper, Or the Oberlin Faculty Senate?

If you keep your eye on media news, you know that The New York Times, the most important newspaper in America, has been roiled internally over whether or not a headline it published over a Trump story (about his post El Paso speech) exonerated the president from racism. The original headline read “Trump Urges Unity Vs. Racism.” After a staff revolt, the headline was later changed to “Assailing Hate, But Not Guns”.

The paper’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, met with the staff about the headline, and the paper’s coverage of race. Slate published the transcript of a leaked recording. I encourage you to read it to get an idea of how the people who put out the most influential newspaper in the world think about this stuff. They go on and on and on, torturing Baquet over this one measly headline that accurately and neutrally described Trump’s speech.

Rod Dreher includes a link to a Times page that illustrates just how badly Oberlin-style identity politics have seeped into the Gray Lady’s product:

The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times memorializing that event on its 400th anniversary. The goal of the project is to deepen understanding of American history (and the American present) by proposing a new point of origin for our national story. In the days and weeks to come, we will publish essays demonstrating that nearly everything that has made America exceptional grew out of slavery.

As Dreher writes:

The importation of the first slave into the land that would become the United State is the “true founding” of America? That is a breathtaking — and breathtakingly ideological — claim. This is substantially different from claiming that slavery was a key part of this country’s identity — a claim that is indisputably true, and important to recognize. The Times — our newspaper of record — is on record now saying that the establishment of slavery was the Ur-event of American history. If you want to know how they managed to come to that conclusion, well, that transcript will give you an idea. A staffer who “feel[s] like racism is in everything” asks the executive editor why racism isn’t in every single story they write — and he responds not by challenging the premise of the question (if only from a professional journalism point of view), but rather by pointing him to the 1619 Project.

In the weeks and months after 9/11, then-editor Howell Raines dusted off Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals #13 to “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it,” and aimed the massed reporting resources of his newspaper in the early days of the War on Terror on a target he deemed far more horrifying than Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein: the Augusta National Golf Club. In the era of Trump, current editor Dean Baquet has scaled Rule #13 up a bit to go after America itself as “the 1619 Project” and its identity politics-obsessed coverage of America’s first manned moon landing last month illustrate. Thankfully, we can still rely on the Times’ coolly objective look back at the Soviet Union to help balance things out.

(Curiously though, despite “the 1619 Project,” Ralph Northam remains entirely off the Times’ radar. Funny that.)

Read the whole thing.

MORE ON THE SAN ANTONIO ICE OFFICE SHOOTING:

Let’s keep in mind that this isn’t an isolated incident. Here are the attacks on ICE offices just from this summer.

Aug. 13 – San Antonio, TX
July 16 – Washington, DC
July 14 – Tacoma, WA
July 12 – Aurora, CO

* * * * * * * *

The thing is, you can’t have it both ways. If you’re going to blame Donald Trump’s rhetoric on immigration for shootings targeting minorities, you can’t simply turn around and ignore this. We have Democratic presidential candidates, “squad” activists, cable news anchors and editorials from major newspapers constantly demonizing ICE, calling for it to be abolished and blaming all manner of human misery on immigration enforcement offices who are simply upholding the law.

How can you observe all of this in context and not blame their rhetoric for the fact that people are shooting up or trying to bomb ICE offices and last night came within inches of murdering someone? The answer is that you can’t, at least if you want to label yourself as an unbiased observer of events.

Well, you can always label yourself an unbiased observer. But we all know the reality:

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

Shot: As this NewsBusters post from 2011 highlights, MSNBC went on a jihad against Sarah Palin in January of 2011, attempting to magically connect the dots between her clip art and the Tucson massacre:

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell continued her crusade against Sarah Palin today, reiterating the fallacious contention that the former Alaska governor is at least partly responsible for the shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona that left six dead and a congresswoman critically injured.

On her eponymous afternoon program, Mitchell criticized Palin’s “campaign tactics” in an interview with former Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, who was targeted in the 2010 election by SarahPAC, Palin’s political action committee, as a vulnerable incumbent.

“Ann Kirkpatrick was also targeted by Palin’s campaign and lost her reelection bid after also experiencing a number of threats while she was in office,” reported Mitchell, who attempted conflate political opposition to Kirkpatrick with personal threats made by extremists. “Let’s talk, first of all, about what it felt like going through that campaign and what were the specific threats? Was anything ever verified? How did you deal with it?”

Chaser: MSNBC Contributor: ‘I Want Pitchforks And Torches’ Outside Trump Fundraiser’s Home.

Apparently, the recent boycotts of Ross’ businesses didn’t go far enough for [contributor and legal blog editor Elie Mystal]. He said:

People of color are already targets under this administration. I have no problem on shining the light back on the donors who fund this kind of racialized hate. I mean I go further. I want pitchforks and torches outside this man’s house in the Hamptons. I’ve been to the Hamptons, it’s very nice. There’s no reason why it has to be. There’s no reason he should be able to have a nice little party. There’s no reason why people shouldn’t be able to be outside of his house and making their voices peacefully understood.

“Totally. There have been peaceful protests outside Mitch McConnell’s house.” replied Hayes.

Yeah, totally Chris. During the peaceful protest outside of McConnell’s home, a protester is heard saying she wished McConnell had “broken his little, raggedy, wrinkled-ass neck” and that someone should “just stab the motherf—er in the heart.”

Hayes continued:

Your point is how does civil society deal with what we’re seeing, right? How does civil society deal with the most powerful person in the world, like, painting a target on someone’s back and inveighing against the Congresspeople and (inaudible). The peaceful means by which civil society responds is through more free speech and also more protected activity and pressure.

This is surreal. They appear to have no idea of how crazy they sound. In civil society, Chris, people don’t say “someone should stab the mother—ker in the heart.” They don’t show up to protest a private political fundraiser with pitchforks and torches. It’s the symbolism Chris. Even if the protestors refrain from physical violence and damaging Ross’ property, it sounds like hate speech to me.

Protesting a person in front of his home is also straight out of Saul Alinsky’s playbook; yet another of his tactics  condoned by the left — right up until it’s used against another leftist.

THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH ABOUT THE EL PASO SHOOTER:

Who wrote ‘Our lifestyle is destroying the environment of our country … creating a massive burden for future generations. Corporations are heading the destruction of our environment by shamelessly over-harvesting resources … the next logical step is to decrease the number of people in America using resources. If we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can become more sustainable’?

The answer, if media reports are accurate, is Patrick Crusius, the man accused of the El Paso massacre. The words appeared in his testament, entitled (in homage to Al Gore?) The Inconvenient Truth, which he seems to have put online before decreasing the number of people in America by 22.

Who said, on Twitter, ‘I want socialism, and I’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding’? Connor Betts, the man accused of shooting nine people, including his sister, in Dayton, Ohio.

This week’s reporting of the two atrocities has painted Crusius as a white supremacist. This does not seem to be accurate. In his manifesto, he is against ethnic mingling and mass immigration, but his view that immigrants should be killed is based not on racial superiority theory, but on his sense that too many people pollute the environment of America. He despairs of persuading his fellow Americans to change their consumerist lifestyles, so he decides to attack the ‘invaders’ instead.

Meanwhile, Rod Dreher asks, “Patrick Crusius: On The Spectrum?

Let me emphasize strongly: I am not in any way saying that all people on the spectrum are at risk of becoming mass killers! What I am saying is that if Patrick Crusius is on the spectrum, and suffered from the torments of sensory processing disorder, then there are treatments that could have helped. Maybe the people in his life — his family — could have known to look for signs of obsession and perseveration on certain topics. Maybe Crusius himself could have found some relief for his suffering. The fact that he couldn’t go to school because his clothes didn’t feel right to him — you might think that this is a sign of fashion anxiety, but for people with SPD, it’s a very serious tactile issue. It is physically painful for them to be in clothes that don’t seem right. Something as minor as a tag in the collar of a shirt can be a kind of torture. It might sound ridiculous to you, but I’m telling you, it’s very real.

If Crusius suffered from this kind of thing, and didn’t know what was happening to him, or how to fix it, well, that might explain some things.

Read the whole thing. Though as with the post-Christchurch “manifestos,” it’s worth remembering Brian Cates’ take from last week: “Mass shootings done for **fun** as the ultimate troll where these shitposters write confusing manifestos and then sit back & watch the fun as both sides claim he belongs to the other.”

SALENA ZITO: Civility is dead — except in real life.

Nowadays, being civil to the other side is possibly unsafe. It’s a sure way to get attacked by your own side. Consider the meltdown by the Left when the New York Times ran a banner headline titled, “Trump Urges Unity vs. Racism”, the day after President Donald Trump spoke to the nation after the weekend massacres, urging unity against racism.

“Lives literally depend on you doing better,” tweeted 2020 Democrat Cory Booker of New Jersey, upset that the headline didn’t make Trump look bad. But New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was far more aggressive: “Let this front page serve as a reminder of how supremacy is aided by and often relies upon the cowardice of mainstream institutions.”

Twitter vitriol then increased over the week. One congressman’s campaign tweeted out names and occupations of his own constituents to shame them for donating to Trump.

It’s all a striking contrast to the normal interaction between Gardner and two of his potential opponents. Seeing these real human interactions should be a reminder that when you turn on cable news and watch the panels of pundits, candidates and experts explaining how their side is better and the other side is the devil, you are watching “experts” who rarely ever observe people outside of social media.

There is a simple reason why the interaction between these candidates in Yuma didn’t make the news or trend on Twitter: It was normal and civil, which reflects the character of this country more accurately than what you see on cable or social media.

Yep.

BYRON YORK: Has anyone actually read the El Paso manifesto?

Much discussion was spurred by an article in the New York Times with the headline, “El Paso Shooting Suspect’s Manifesto Echoes Trump’s Language.” The story quoted just 28 words of the nearly 2,400-word manifesto. It noted that Crusius specifically wrote that his views “predate Trump.” And it warned that “linking political speech, however heated, to the specific acts of ruthless mass killers is a fraught exercise.” Nevertheless, the Times declared that even “if Mr. Trump did not originally inspire the gunman, he has brought into the mainstream polarizing ideas and people once consigned to the fringes of American society.”

Democratic contender Beto O’Rourke, an El Paso native, was much more blunt. “22 people in my hometown are dead after an act of terror inspired by your racism,” O’Rourke tweeted to the president.

So what did Crusius actually write? The Times story did not link to the manifesto, nor did many other media accounts. Most news organizations decided that even though the manifesto is clearly part of the El Paso story, they should not give Crusius the exposure he sought by linking to its full text. So many stories have included just a few snippets from the document. (The Washington Examiner has also decided not to link to the manifesto, but it can be easily found on the internet.)

But since the manifesto has become such an important part of the moment’s political debate, it is worth looking at the whole thing. And the impression one gets after reading the manifesto is quite different than some press accounts.

Shocking, that. I think that it’s unprofessional to simultaneously not link to the manifesto to deny it attention — and then talk about the manifesto a lot, especially in a misleading way. But then, “unprofessional” is what journalism is all about these days.

AT LONG LAST HAVE THEY NO DECENCY? NO DECENCY AT ALL? Baltimore Sun Attacks Trump Supporter Who Organized Massive City Clean Up.

For the writers at the Baltimore Sun, Presler’s visit simply “reinforces the tired image of our failing urban cores. That the poor people in this dilapidated city can’t take care of their own neighborhoods and all the public officials around them have failed as well.”

“The bureaucratic, all-talk Democrats strike again. If a crowd of volunteers could clean up 12 tons of trash in 12 hours, how incompetent and helpless must Baltimoreans be if they can’t manage it in decades, right?”

One would point out to the editorial board that this isn’t just a “tired image” but a reality of the fact that Democratic policies and politicians have failed.

And the Baltimore Sun is running cover for those policies and politicians. Well, think of them as Democratic operatives with bylines and you’ll realize that they neither possess nor desire decency. It might get in the way of their job.

YOU’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BLOG: How Barack Obama Contributed to the Left-Populist Wave.

It’s easy to forget, but way back in 2008, Barack Obama ran as a populist. Long before Donald Trump turned “drain the swamp” as his rallying cry, Candidate Obama said he would ban lobbyists from working in the government. As a candidate, Obama said he was going to amend NAFTA, declaring “our trade agreements should not just be good for Wall Street, they should also be good for main street.” He certainly spent enough time criticizing Wall Street and the big banks, never mind the fact that he voted for the bailout in 2008.

Right now, you’re probably scoffing, “yeah, Obama made a lot of promises he couldn’t keep.” And you’re right. As a wise man said, “all statements from Barack Obama come with an expiration date, all of them.” But that dynamic — a bold new president, promising to hold the privileged elites accountable — explains a lot about our current era of politics. In short, a lot of people believed Obama when he made those promises.

Read the whole thing.

THE KNIVES ARE OUT: Tulsi Gabbard Is No Peacenik:

Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran, has made opposition to war her signature issue. During the second round of the Democratic debates, she was the only candidate who promised to “end wasteful regime change wars” and “take the trillions of dollars that we’ve been wasting on these wars and … redirect those resources into serving the needs of our people right here at home.” But that doesn’t make her a peacenik; it makes her an America-Firster, just like President Trump. Indeed, although she went out of her way to condemn Trump as a “warmonger,” there isn’t much daylight between her position and his — which is no doubt why the former White House aide Stephen Bannon, the notorious architect of Trump’s America First campaign, interviewed her for a position in the administration.

Question for InstaPundit readers: After reading this piece, do you like her more, or less — bearing in mind that you’re probably not the target audience.

COLD WAR II: Heidi Heitkamp: Countering the China threat will take much more than tariffs.

Chief among these threats is Chinese state-coordinated theft of intellectual property and the use of such property to assert technological dominance over other counties. In 2017, the Commission on Theft of American Intellectual Property estimated that the U.S. economy loses $225 billion to $600 billion annually because of Chinese theft of IP from U.S. agricultural research firms, pharmaceutical companies, and electronics manufacturers. Though the Department of Justice has been able to prosecute select cases of theft, their current efforts have had a limited impact on the growing problem.

While economic espionage accounts for significant domestic financial losses, Chinese requirements for foreign investment also contribute to the problem. The Chinese government often requires foreign businesses hoping to operate within China to join with a local partner, effectively forcing international firms, including American businesses, to share technology in exchange for market access. Businesses who choose not to operate with a local partner often face tariffs on exports to China. As a result, companies eager to gain access to the Chinese market make a devil’s bargain that trades short-term access for the long-term loss of their IP and trade secrets.

China’s assault on our economy does not stop at economic espionage and IP theft. Their military capabilities extend well into the cyber realm, where they have hacked into university networks to steal military technologies and taken down the network of U.S. Naval contractors.

President Xi has ample opportunity to expand his offensive.

If you can get past the obligatory Orange Man Bad stuff, Heitkamp does make a couple of good points about the full spectrum of threats China poses. But the Orange Man Bad stuff isn’t easy to get past, given that Trump is the only US president in decades to take China seriously at all.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: The 99% Get a Bigger Raise: New data show much faster growth in wages and incomes.

Political discourse nowadays is enough to depress anyone, and the media don’t help by ignoring good economic news. But buck up, Americans: Worker wages are growing much faster than previously reported.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on Tuesday published its annual revisions to personal income data, and the surprise was the huge jump in disposable income and employee compensation.

The revisions show that employee compensation rose 4.5% in 2017 and 5% in 2018—some $4.4 billion and $87.1 billion more than previously reported. The trend has continued into 2019, with compensation increasing $378 billion or 3.4% in the first six months alone. Wages and salaries were revised upward to 5.3% from 3.6% in May year over year. And in June wages and salaries grew at an annual rate of 5.5%, which is a rocking 4.1% after adjusting for inflation. . . .

The BEA also revised overall personal income up by 1.7% for 2017 and 2018 and transfer receipts down 0.7%. In sum, Americans are earning more and relying less on government. Personal savings estimates were also increased by $217 billion for the last two years and are now $1.3 trillion, which means Americans are socking away more of their earnings.

The personal savings rate was revised upward to 8.1% from 6.1% in May, which is much higher than the roughly 5% before the last two recessions. This should make the current economic expansion more durable since consumption isn’t being pumped up largely by increased household debt. Instead consumer spending has increased as wage growth has accelerated amid a tight labor market.

Recall how liberals blamed “secular stagnation” as the reason worker incomes weren’t growing faster during the latter years of Barack Obama’s Presidency. Yet employee compensation has increased by $150 billion more in the first six months of 2019 than all of 2016. Compensation increased 42% more during the first two years of the Trump Presidency than in 2015 and 2016. This refutes the claim by liberals that the economy has merely continued on the same trajectory since 2017 as it was before.

The economy barely skirted recession in the final Obama years, and economic policy changed in 2017. Deregulation has unleashed repressed animal spirits, especially in energy. Tax reform has also spurred business investment in new facilities and equipment, which over time should translate into higher worker productivity and wages.

Are you tired of winning yet?

HE PLAYS ON THEIR EMOTIONALISM AND LACK OF DISCIPLINE: Jon Gabriel: Dems, Media Keep Handing the Narrative to Trump.

There’s much to criticize about anyone, let alone a president, constantly flinging personal insults. It’s uncivil, tacky, and just not done. But, damn, if it isn’t politically effective.

What else has the political world talked about in the past week? Mueller and impeachment got 24 hours. Anyone discussing Kamala Harris? No. In fact, she’s lost her poll bump from the last debate. How about Biden? Haven’t seen him. Warren, Buttigieg, Beto? Nada.

If you’re a masochist and follow these candidates’ social media accounts, they’re trying to get attention. Oh, how they’re trying. Tulsi Gabbard just posted her Lion King workout video. But the only politician going viral lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

What’s odd is that the Democrats and the media are helping Trump to control the news cycle. If Trump’s a rageaholic, the Beltway left are his enablers.

In the middle of an ugly Pelosi vs. Squad grudge match, the Donald praised the former and insulted the latter. DC Republicans wondered why he would step into a red-on-red battle. But establishment Democrats immediately tied themselves to their socialist wing, with Pelosi going so far as to sanction a GOP get-of-the-vote photo for the ages. Their feud might be papered over today but it boils just beneath that rictus grin.

Then, Trump mocks Baltimore, which everyone knows has been a tragic mess for years. All of a sudden, Dems and journalists insist Charm City is an urban paradise rather than the setting for “The Wire.”

By Monday, the political-industrial complex was praising the nobility of antisemitic grifter Al Sharpton. After all, if Trump doesn’t like someone or something, they must be beyond reproach.

Quick question: Do they know an election is coming up?

Read the whole thing. But I don’t think this suggests that Trump is a “rageaholic,” but rather that he knows how to capitalize on the rage of others.

CLARICE FELDMAN: Mogadishu Mon Amour.

The French movie Hiroshima Mon Amour is based on human memory and forgetfulness as recounted by two lovers. The tale of the congresswoman who calls herself Ilhan Omar is a tale of an anti-Semite bred-in-the-bone corruptocrat whose rise in political power rests very largely on complicity by the media’s airbrushing of her history because they thought this physically attractive African Moslem “refugee” was just the ticket to defeat Donald Trump. The media counts on our forgetfulness and ignorance.

Hard work by independent media, however, has exposed her and her media apologists and the Democrats have little choice: Condemn her and remove her from her committee assignments or suffer the consequences. Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s repeated defense of her, (doubtless for fear of being targeted by the leftist nutjobs in her ranks) has placed her party’s continued majority in serious jeopardy.

* * * * * * * *

The President succeeded this week in nailing the Democratic Party to its four anti-American female harpies. As for Omar, I’d be astonished if the FBI hasn’t finally opened an investigative file on her. Voters have had more than their fill of political figures breaking the laws without consequences. It’s your party, Pelosi, you can cry if you want to.

Read the whole thing.

Related: Omar Refuses To Denounce Al-Qaeda, Islamic Terrorism.

IT’S DEAD, JIM: Trump Administration & Pelosi Negotiate $2 Trillion Budget Deal Over the Corpse of Fiscal Conservatism. “Trump’s proposal to cap some domestic spending was DOA in the Democrat-held House, and there’s a deadline coming to raise the debt ceiling or risk default — a chance Mnuchin reportedly doesn’t want to take. Pelosi on the other hand isn’t afraid to play chicken with the debt ceiling. When Republicans hold the House and the there’s a government shutdown, that’s the Republicans’ fault. When Democrats hold the House and there’s a government shutdown, that’s the Republicans’ fault, too. You can thank the Democrat-Media Complex for this impossible situation.”

Much more at the link.

APOLLO SHRUGS:

That we had seen a demonstration of man at his best, no one could doubt — this was the cause of the event’s attraction and of the stunned, numbed state in which it left us. And no one could doubt that we had seen an achievement of man in his capacity as a rational being — an achievement of reason, of logic, of mathematics, of total dedication to the absolutism of reality. How many people would connect these two facts, I do not know.

* * * * * * * *

The response of Congress to Apollo 11 included some prominent voices who declared that NASA’s appropriations should be cut because the lunar mission has succeeded.(!) The purpose of the years of scientific work is completed, they said, and “national priorities” demand that we now pour more money down the sewers of the war on poverty.

If you want to know the process that embitters, corrupts, and destroys the managers of government projects, you are seeing it in action. I hope that the NASA administrators will be able to withstand it.

—Ayn Rand after attending the Apollo 11 launch, September, 1969.

“The Apollo program was designed by men, for men. If we do not acknowledge the gender bias of the early space program, it becomes difficult to move past it.”

—Tweet by the New York Times, today.

“The culture that put men on the moon was intense, fun, family-unfriendly, and mostly white and male.”

—Tweet by the Washington Post, yesterday.

The two northeast corridor newspapers are getting a strong negative ratio on their tweets. As James Barrett writes at the Daily Wire:Washington Post Torched For Woke Apollo 11 Tweet.”

The Post’s Apollo 11 piece paints the team who put man on the moon as retrograde compared to the rest of the country. “The space program imagined the future. Yet the community of trim haircuts, shaved chins, white shirts (with contractors’ company badges emblazoned on their pockets) and pressed slacks, led by many veterans of World War II, seemed decades removed from the prevalent culture that was shaggier, angrier and sometimes stoned,” writes Heller.

Yes, because they were busy putting men on the moon, not sitting in the mud in Yasgur’s farm. Evidently, the latter is the more impressive accomplishment according to the Post. (But couldn’t the Post’s Sally Quinn have simply used a magic talisman to will the astronauts there?)

Related: “A top-scale rocket projection will cover the east face of the Washington Monument in honor of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and when man walked on the moon. The 363-foot Saturn V projection is a first display of its kind for the Monument and will light up the historic site starting Tuesday at 9:30 p.m.”

They told me that if Trump were elected president, we’d see over the top sexism and racialism on full display in Washington — and they were right!

(Last item via Small Dead Animals.)

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): The “Golden Quarter Century” of stunning progress ended in 1971. Weirdly, that’s when the regulatory explosion took off. And it’s when economic inequality started to get worse, so it’s a two-fer for the left.

CHARLES C.W. COOKE: On Gratitude And Immigration.

Legally, Ilhan Omar has exactly the same rights as someone born here. And she should, without exception. Culturally, though, the idea that Omar does not “owe a special debt of gratitude to the” United States is ridiculous, as is the idea that Omar’s views of the United States should not be affected by that debt. Of course she should be grateful! The United States saved her from a warzone, let her stay, accepted her as a citizen, and then elected her to Congress. If one can’t be grateful for that, what can one be grateful for?

Should Omar “temper her critiques of American politics and culture”? That depends. Again: Legally, Omar should enjoy every Constitutional protection available. And, as a matter of course, she should feel able to take part in the political process on the same terms as everyone else. But, culturally, it is absolutely reasonable for Omar’s critics to look at her behavior and say, “really, that’s your view of us?” It’s absolutely reasonable for Omar’s fellow Americans to dislike her and to shun her as a result. It is absolutely reasonable for them to consider her an ingrate — or to believe, as David does, that she is “a toxic presence in American politics.” And it is absolutely reasonable for them to wonder aloud how a person who hails from a dysfunctional, dangerous place built atop dysfunctional, dangerous institutions can exhibit the temerity — the sheer gall — to talk about America in the way that she does. There is a big difference between saying “I oppose current federal tax policy” or “I want more spending on colleges” or “the president is an ass,” and saying that America needs complete rethinking. As this Washington Post piece makes clear, Omar isn’t just irritated by a few things. She thinks the place is a disaster.

Interesting that recent immigrants like Cooke, or Sarah Hoyt, seem to get this point more clearly than virtue-signaling natives.

And this is just disgraceful:

This is the logic of a domestic abuser: I only hit you because I love you, and you’ve let me down so badly.

Related: Trump is not a racist; he’s pushing the Overton window to normal. “Trump stated the obvious. And by his willingness to state the obvious, he has returned the obvious to the realm of public discourse. He has shifted the Overton window back to a more normal, common sense debate. It wasn’t a mistake of epic proportions. It was a brilliant insistence on having public debate occur in reality world, not in the Leftist’s dystopian fantasy world.”

OWN GOAL: As Democrats Fight A Civil War, Trump Strips Naked And Runs Onto The Battlefield.

The Democrats are currently embroiled in a civil war so damaging that you have members calling each other racist and threatening to primary one another. For the first time since their election, the self-described “squad” of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her minions are on their heels, not sure how to react to the fire they are taking. Even the liberal media are infighting about which side to take as the volleys are launched.

Meanwhile, the economy is booming and President Trump is enjoying one of the more positive stretches of his tenure.

Well, he was at least. For some reason, he thought it would be a good idea to wake up this morning and tweet this.


********

If I could ask the President one question, it’d be this. Why make it so difficult for those who are trying to get you re-elected?

Democrats are collapsing in on themselves. All he has to do was sit back and not distract them. Instead he rips his shirt off and runs out on the battlefield screaming to be shot at. I know, 3-D chess and all that, but this just makes no sense.

I agree, but is there some 3-D chess going on here? Have at it in the comments.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): This is barely even 2D chess. Trump is pointing out that these “it” girls are ungrateful asses who don’t like America. By not naming them, he’s forcing their defenders, and his critics, to admit that they’re ungrateful asses who don’t like America before they can even talk about the issue. This isn’t hard. But if you want more, there’s this way of putting it: All the Democrats have to do is not be crazy, and Trump’s making it impossible for them to do that.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Interest Groups Ready to Fight Trump’s Citizenship Exec. Order. “The president held a press conference with A.G. Bill Barr to announce the administration would not continue to fight to get the citizenship question onto the census. Progressive left interest groups sued the administration and for some inexplicable reason, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the nutters. Do you ever wonder if ‘certain people’ have some dirt on Roberts? He sure delivers for the left on really important issues. I digress. AG Barr reiterated that the SCOTUS determined that putting a question on the census was legal but due to time constraints, the administration would not furnish a more agreeable rationale to the court and continue to fight. Instead they were taking new path using an executive order.”

THE MEANING OF MARIANNE WILLIAMSON: “There’s more in heaven and earth than what’s dreamed of by normal politicians,” Ross Douthat, the New York Times’ token conservative writes:

A recurring question in American politics since the rise of the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition has been “where is the religious left?” One possible version has been hiding in plain sight since the 1970s, in the form of Williamson’s style of mysticism, the revivalism of the Oprah circuit, the soul craft of the wellness movement, the pantheistic-gnostic-occultish territory at the edges of American Christianity’s fraying map. We don’t necessarily see it as a “left” only because it has acted indirectly on politics, reshaping liberalism and the wider culture from within and below, rather than acting through mass movements and political campaigns.

In which case the Williamson candidacy is an interesting milestone, a moment when an important cultural reality enters into politics explicitly, inspiring initial bafflement and mockery (in this case, via journalists digging up Williamson’s most Moonbeam-y old tweets) but also exposing something important about America that normal, official media coverage ignores.

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The liberal intelligentsia has long prided itself on taking the side of reason and science against first religious conservatism and now right-wing populism — defending a particular version of the Enlightenment against televangelists and superstition and Fake News. But because man does not live by Neil deGrasse Tyson memes alone, and because the mix of hard scientific materialism and well-meaning liberal humanitarianism has always been somewhat incoherent, the cult of reason necessarily shares space in liberal circles — especially liberal circles outside the innermost ring of the meritocracy — with other cults, other commitments, of the sort associated with “A Course in Miracles.”

The spirit of deGrasse Tyson and the spirit of Williamson can certainly coexist, especially when politics supplies a common enemy as vivid as Donald Trump. But they can also fall into war with one another, over differences more significant than the debate over Medicare for All.

Meanwhile, the L.A. Times explores “How millennials replaced religion with astrology and crystals:”

She’s one of a growing number of young people — largely millennials, though the trend extends to younger Gen Xers, now cresting 40, and down to Gen Z, the oldest of whom are freshly minted college grads — who have turned away from traditional organized religion and are embracing more spiritual beliefs and practices like tarot, astrology, meditation, energy healing and crystals.

And no, they don’t particularly care if you think it’s “woo-woo” or weird. Most millennials claim to not take any of it too seriously themselves. They dabble, they find what they like, they take what works for them and leave the rest. Evoking consternation from buttoned-up outsiders is far from a drawback — it’s a fringe benefit.

“I know this work is weird,” Lilia said of her breathwork practice. “But it makes me feel better and that’s why I keep doing it.”

The cause behind the spiritual shift is a combination of factors. In more than a dozen interviews for this story with people ranging in age from 18 to their early 40s, a common theme emerged: They were raised with one set of religious beliefs — Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist — but as they became adults, they felt that faith didn’t completely represent who they were or what they believed.

But this isn’t all that new a phenomenon — it dates back to the Beatles hooking up with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the summer of 1967, and while they would have a falling out with him the following year, during the late ‘60s, and early ‘70s, it became de rigueur for lots of superstar guitarists to be associated with his own Indian guru. It’s right there in the second part of the headline of Tom Wolfe’s ‘70s-defining article, “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening,” which was first published as the cover story of the August 23rd 1976 issue of New York magazine. And as Michael Graham wrote in his 2002 book, Redneck Nation: How the South Really Won the War:

That’s why I find it hard to share the dismissive attitude Northerners have about Southerner evangelicals and born-again Christians. Do you know how exasperating it is to have a New Ager make fun of your religion? As a graduate of Oral Roberts, I am a magnet for people who want to talk about their spiritual beliefs and/or their loathing of Christianity. My ORU experience was part of my stand-up comedy act, and it was not uncommon to be harangued after the show by audience members who wanted to get their licks in against organized religion.

After a set at a hotel in Washington State, I was dragged into a long, drawn-out discussion with a graying, balding New Ager who just couldn’t get over my evangelical background. “You seem so smart,” he kept saying. “How could you buy into that stuff?” Here’s a guy wearing a crystal around his neck to open up his chakra, who thinks that the spirit of a warrior from the lost city of Atlantis is channeled through the body of a hairdresser from Palm Springs, and who stuffs magnets in his pants to enhance his aura, and he finds evangelicalism an insult to his intelligence. I ask you: Who’s the redneck?

Come to think of it, I’m not sure if this guy—who believed in reincarnation, ghostly hauntings, and the eternal souls of animals—actually believed in God. It’s not uncommon for Northerners, especially those who like to use the word “spirituality,” to believe in all manner of metaphysical events, while not believing in the Big Guy. “Religious” people go to church and read the Bible, and Northerners view them as intolerant, ill-educated saps. “Spiritual” people go hiking, read Shirley MacLaine or L. Ron Hubbard, and are considered rational, intelligent beings.

To be fair, they believed they found God in 2008.

ROSS PEROT WAS THE POPULIST WHO BETRAYED POPULISM:

Trump entertained a Reform party run in 2000 himself, and perhaps to satisfy Perot, as well as because of bad advice from consultants, Trump denounced Buchanan at the time. But Trump had the good sense not to seek the nomination of a party whose founder preferred to see it die than have a life after him. Instead, Trump learned from the failures of Perot and the Reform party. Trump, like Perot, campaigned as something of a moderate on social issues — but he did so without excluding social conservatives, and since becoming president he has served his coalition allies better than many a professed true-believer conservative Republican ever did. Trump also realized, as Perot should have recognized a quarter-century earlier, that third-party politics was a waste of time, when the same resources could be used to take over the GOP from within. Republican voters, if not Republican elites, still wanted the party to be that of Nixon and Reagan, not just the Bushes — the party of the Rust Belt and Reagan Democrats, not just the party of Social Security privatizers and military contractors. Trump put the politics of Perot and Buchanan together into a winning force on the right and a winning force in the 2016 election. Whatever happens next year, this has changed American politics in a way that Perot’s symbolic achievement in 1992 never did. Yet if Perot had been more far-sighted in 2000, he might have hastened the populist realignment — and spared the country some of the hardships and disgraces of the last 20 years.

He was a self-made billionaire, a brilliant if eccentric businessman who could have been an equally significant figure in politics — if only he had been willing to treat populism as something more than the private possession of H. Ross Perot.

By siphoning away votes from George H.W. Bush in 1992, Perot’s third party candidacy paved the way for eight years of Bill Clinton, who got cold feet over capturing Osama bin Laden, and massively expanded Jimmy Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act. Both 9/11 and the 2008 economic meltdown were twin hangovers from the Clinton years. In “The Complicated Political Legacy of H. Ross Perot,” Jim Geraghty notes that “Jonah Goldberg [once] wrote that someone could write a good book on how in the short span from 1988 to 1992, Ronald Reagan’s America became Bill Clinton’s America. At least one chapter in that book would have to cover H. Ross Perot, who passed away” on Tuesday:

Back to Jonah’s point, you might think that the time with the biggest interest in candidates outside the major parties would be a time of major crises and national instability. And yet . . . the United States of America in 1992 doesn’t look all that bad at all from the perspective of today. Yes, the country was emerging from a recession, but unemployment peaked at 7.8 percent in June, which looks pretty modest by the standards of the Great Recession. The tech and dot-com booms were just around the corner. The Cold War was over, Kuwait had been liberated from Saddam Hussein, and the United Nations had rarely looked more effective. The worst horrors of the Balkans still lay ahead. Al-Qaeda was just a bunch of unknown guys. North Korea had no nuclear weapons, nor did Iran — nor did India or Pakistan yet. Perot and Bill Clinton lamented that Washington was allegedly paralyzed by gridlock, but the partisanship of that era looks mild compared to today. The legislation passed during Bush’s presidency was pretty substantive.

Depending upon your point of view, Perot and Clinton either tapped into latent American anxiety in the early 1990s, or they convinced Americans that things had gone terribly wrong when in fact things were going okay. As I noted when George H.W. Bush passed away, on the campaign trail, Bill Clinton described a struggling, desperate America:

Unemployed workers who’ve lost not only their jobs but their pensions, their health care, and even their homes. Laid-off defense workers who now make their living driving cabs. Elderly couples whose refrigerators are bare because so much of their monthly Social Security check has to go for prescription drugs. Middle-class families everywhere who’ve taken second jobs to make ends meet.

H. Ross Perot declared in his book, “Unless we take action now, our nation may confront a situation similar to the Great Depression — and maybe even worse.” That looks pretty hyperbolic, considering how the 1990s turned out.

While the economy of the early 1990s looks pretty solid today, there was a genuine fear back then that the stock market crash of 1987 was the harbinger of very bad times to come, one that George H.W. Bush didn’t help by raising taxes in 1990, a year in which he was consumed by foreign policy decisions. A gesture that Bill Clinton repaid by declaring the mild recession of 1991-’92 as “the worst economy in fifty years” and by running to Papa Bush’s right by excoriating him for violating his 1988 “read my lips” pledge. While both Clinton and Perot “convinced Americans that things had gone terribly wrong when in fact things were going okay,” it would take the dot com boom — and a media, with a Democrat in the White House to once again report good economic news, to solidify that belief.

Which remarkably, survived until the fall of 2008.

#JOURNALISM: In a piece asking if Joe Biden is too old to run for president, The Atlantic writes that Donald Trump “was 71 when he was inaugurated.” Donald Trump was born June 14, 1946, which means that when he was inaugurated on January 20, 2017 he was still 70. As Jon Althouse Cohen points out on Facebook, “When the media get basic facts like the candidates’ ages wrong, you have to wonder how much to trust their reporting on more complex matters.” Not much. And while anyone can make a mistake, there’s a certain directionality to their errors most of the time.

JOHN NOLTE: Democrats Just Had Their Worst Week in 47 Years. “Not since the 1972 discovery that George McGovern’s vice presidential pick, Thomas Eagleton, had been hospitalized and given electroshock treatments have the Democrats had a worse week than the one we just concluded.”

The Fake News Media Is the Only Shrinking Institution in America’s Booming Economy

Before 2019 is over, there will be upwards of 12,000 job cuts within the American media. That’s 12,000 fewer Democrat foot soldiers; 12,000 fewer propagandists, serial liars, cheerleaders, and toadies to hold Antifa’s jacket as they beat elderly Trump supporters to death with crowbars.

Every industry in Trump’s America is expanding and thriving … except for the media.

What’s more, the Democrats primary propaganda outlet, the far-left CNN, is hemorrhaging viewers like an Ebola victim hemorrhages solid foods.

Where’s your god now, Jeff Zucker?

Democrats Lost “The Sane One” Joe Biden

Slow Joe will always be the stupid one, the gaffe machine on the verge of imploding, but he has now openly embraced gun confiscation, taxpayer-funded abortions, the banning of every gun currently being manufactured (except those stupid “smart guns”), raising everyone’s taxes, and putting an end to deportations of illegal immigrants. And now, we don’t really know where Creepy Joe stands on awarding health insurance to illegals and decriminalizing illegal immigration because he’s flip-flopping all over the place on those two.

The so-called “sane one” is an aging moron ready to take our guns, ban all the others, and force us to pay for an illegal alien’s abortion.

Much more at the link, but as always, don’t get cocky.

DISPATCHES FROM THE WORLD OF JACOBIN KNITTING: How Tech Bias Became A Kitchen Table Issue.

Ravelry announced yesterday that they would ban all pro-Trump material from the site, in a statement that was brutally accusatory of all his supporters.

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Now, of course Ravelry’s within its rights to do this. It would be within the rights of any platform or community to do this. Any private community could legally make the same announcement tomorrow if they wanted.

But we should pause to appreciate how incredibly toxic this behavior is, and the negative ramifications for our culture and our communities. Some of the more foolish analysts are apt to argue that the biases of digital are just a representation of grievance culture, unimportant to normal Americans.

Developments like this show how wrong they are. This is not a conversation limited to activists or media members when families are talking about mom losing her income and her friends.

Knitting communities often bring together people with very different politics. Some of our writers who have used Ravelry for years experience it as a community that exists outside of the political arena, one that lowers the walls between factions.

A step like this raises those walls back up, and while there is some backlash, the size of Ravelry as a player in the market means there isn’t an obvious “just build your own” dynamic. Conservative pattern makers who paid money and built a following are being booted from the community they helped build, losing content they paid for, and find themselves in an instant sealed out of the single biggest market for their creative wares.

Somebody should write a book about social media’s increasingly toxic politics.

BILL DE BLASIO: Let’s face it, anti-Semitism is a right-wing movement.

Fully 60 percent of hate crimes in NYC this past year were committed against Jews, easily the largest share of any targeted minority. I assure you that not all of the perpetrators were right-wing. New York being New York, it’s possible if not likely that few were. What is Blas thinking?

Mainly he’s thinking about his no-shot presidential candidacy. A mayor who’s interested in being a mayor would have little reason to apportion ideological blame for a rising tide of hate crimes. His interest would be in uniting the community to solve the problem. Instead de Blasio’s hinting to NYC’s great liberal majority that this isn’t really “their” problem, hoping that that message will be carried to the great mass of progressive 2020 primary voters whom he’s trying to woo. The left imagines a straight line from growing anti-semitism to Trump’s admirers in Charlottesville to Trump himself. De Blasio’s trying to ingratiate himself to them by validating that belief, and of course by preemptively spinning about why NYC has become more threatening to Jews on his watch. Simply deflect all questions about anti-semitism to the right, never mind the gory history of that prejudice among ideologues of both sides.

The Corbynization of the Democratic Party continues apace, and apparently, Bill De Blasio doesn’t seem to mind.

YES, IT IS: It’s Time for a Thoroughgoing Revamping of the Intelligence Community.

Among the urgent tasks we must quickly undertake, few are so urgent as a thoroughgoing revamping of the intelligence community. At the moment, it isn’t very impressive in either of the two main activities with which it’s entrusted: spying on our enemies and supporting our friends. You can see this easily enough. The Israelis, not the CIA et al., made off with the Iranians’ secret nuclear plans. So much for effective espionage. And there are two very closely linked enemies, Iran and Venezuela, that should be prime targets for subversion, but we don’t seem to be making good progress.

On the other hand, the intelligence community seems to do well, or at least try harder, at subverting our own political order, as we’ve learned over the recent past.

Or maybe not. Although the attempted subversion of Trump and associates produced the downfall of Lt. General Michael Flynn, the centerpiece of the intel operation—the Mueller show investigation—came up empty-handed, and the top levels of the FBI and CIA now face inquiries from Attorney General Barr, Justice Department Inspector General Horowitz, and the U.S. Attorney in Connecticut. Some of our top spooks have been fired.

Rather like Iran and Venezuela, isn’t it?

It’s an opportunity. For decades, Congress and various special committees and duos (such as Robb-Silverman) have invariably responded to intelligence failures by adding more bodies to the agencies and expanding their budgets. The predictable result? Today we’ve got too many spooks collecting too much money, with predictably bad results. Among other bad consequences, intelligence is typically churned out by committees, guaranteeing that we don’t identify our best analysts. We need to drastically reduce the numbers of both budgets and bureaucrats, in order to figure out who’s good. Then we need to promote them, within a much smaller system.

It’s hard to imagine this happening under normal circumstances, but today’s circumstances aren’t normal.

Time to clean house, and take out the trash.

JOSH KRAUSHAAR: Kamala Harris Is Undermining Her Campaign.

If there was a primary for the most self-destructive presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California would be the front-runner of the 2020 field. Instead of leveraging her profile as a pragmatic prosecutor who has distinguished herself in the Senate as a tough litigator of top Trump officials, she’s run a campaign that has embraced seemingly every half-baked idea from the party’s left wing.

Supporting Medicare-for-all legislation that would all but eliminate private health insurance? Check. Decriminalize sex work? On it. Reparations for the descendants of slaves? Let’s study it. Criticize Rep. Ilhan Omar for invoking anti-Semitic tropes that even the Democratic party leadership condemned? Hard pass. Voting rights for the Boston bomber? Let’s talk about it, at least before backtracking the next day.

Her latest policy proposal would penalize businesses that fail to demonstrate gender pay equity, but without contextualizing salary data for merit and experience. “Companies would also be required to report the share of women who are among the company’s top earners, the total pay and total compensation gap that exists between men and women, regardless of job titles, experience and performance,” according to the Associated Press.

The plan combines the heavy hand of government with a mission that’s near-impossible to implement effectively.

The point isn’t to fix a problem, the point is to create more opportunities for corruption and graft. At that, Harris’s idea would prove a huge success I’m sure.

Getting elected though, as Will Collier noted, is “Harris’s Achilles Heel: she’s spent her political life in the Bay Area, where there’s no penalty for going another step further to the Left of your opponents. It’s her go-to tactic, and she has no idea how to modulate it, or what to do outside that bubble.”

21ST CENTURY HEADLINES: Cruz warns ‘Space Force’ needed to prevent space pirates. He’s not wrong, you know.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said this week that it was important to fund President Trump’s proposed “Space Force” in order to prevent possible space pirates.

“Since the ancient Greeks first put to sea, nations have recognized the necessity of naval forces and maintaining a superior capability to protect waterborne travel and commerce from bad actors,” Cruz, the chairman of the subcommittee on aviation and space, said at a hearing Tuesday.

“Pirates threaten the open seas, and the same is possible in space. In this same way, I believe we too must now recognize the necessity of a Space Force to defend the nation and to protect space commerce and civil space exploration,” Cruz said.

The Trump administration’s current plan to create Space Force would cost more than $2 billion to get off the ground, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office.

The report found that a Space Force military branch would need 5,400 to 7,800 in new personnel for overhead and management, adding more than $1 billion to the Pentagon’s annual costs.

Trump proposed creating Space Force within the Air Force, similar to how the Marine Corps operates with the Navy. The Pentagon, however, has said Space Force should exist as its own branch of the military, arguing its necessity is inevitable as China and Russia sharpen their focus on space.

With a new bureaucracy, you get roughly a decade of increased energy and creativity before things ossify. Is this the crucial decade? Quite possibly.

STABBING IN SCHOOL? WHAT STABBING?  Schools don’t like the public to know all the gory details about school violence.

Since the Trump Administration (unlike the Obama Administration) is allowing schools to set their own school discipline policies, maybe more problem schools will be able to get a handle of this sort of stuff.  That’s the plan anyway.  (For my discussion of the very misguided Obama Era policy, you can go here.)

DAVID BROOKS: Democrats Are “Making A Terrible Mistake” On Contempt, Destroying Checks And Balances.

This constitutional crisis is just for show. Partly the Democrats want the show because it just feels good to bash the administration. “This has had a cathartic effect on the Democrats because we have finally been able to find a way to fight back at the obstructionism,” Representative Jamie Raskin told my Times colleague Sheryl Gay Stolberg.

Partly they are trying to appease the wing of the party that is calling for impeachment right away. The party leaders generally opposed impeachment for sensible reasons. It would be impossible to win a conviction in the Senate without some Republican cooperation and overwhelming popular support — which doesn’t exist. It’s much better for the Democrats if they focus media attention on their presidential candidates. A Trump vs. Nadler media war is exactly what Trump wants.

The problem with any policy of appeasement is that it rarely appeases; it only emboldens. And that’s what’s happening. You can feel the atmosphere in the Democratic Party changing, getting more passionate, getting more caught up in the back-and-forth combat with Trump, getting more whipped up into impeachment furor.

A bunch of needless “But Trump did it first!” stuff aside, when Brooks is right, he’s right.

WILLIAM MURCHISON: Joe Biden: Soul Man. “The former senator and veep thinks Trump-era America needs some moral straightening out.”

The second problem with the “soul” stuff is easily more important. It is the assertion that politics fundamentally shapes our souls. The truth is, our souls shape our politics, maybe more so than Aristotle anticipated in an era unblessed with talk shows and the internet. In any kind of democracy, the majority tends, over the long if not the short term, to get the kind of government it wants. That could be one of honorable men and women acting—to speak broadly, as you have to in politics—with honorable intentions for the sensible cure of public problems. On the other hand, you might get a coterie of mush-brained incompetents. You open yourself, in theory, to government by a gang of rascals and crooks and thoroughgoing immoralists.

You do the best you can. But everything depends on premises. With the right premises, the voters win; with the wrong ones, they lose. No politician can render it otherwise, not even Biden.

So what are premises? They are moral understandings—what else? It’s what’s stuffed in human heads and hearts at various levels of pre-political life. By preachers and priests. By good parents and grandparents. By good teachers and the authors of good books. I can’t refrain from mentioning, for that matter, a technicolor world that faded some time ago to sepia: the entertainment industry and its semi-commendable premises of wisdom and good taste.

From hereabouts come the ideals, the ideas, the assumptions that the voter carries to the polls. They guide the hands that shade in the ovals that register our choices on election day; they do so more tellingly, more lastingly, than all the solemn rants that pass for political wisdom on the talk shows.

Biden, the Moses who would straighten us all out if you take him at his word, has in mind a miracle nearly as large as the parting of the Red Sea.

And on a more practical level, I’m not sure the country wants to hear an 18-month-long lecture on morality from a guy who made his son filthy rich playing footsie with Moscow and Beijing.

HOW DO YOU DO, FELLOW KIDS? That Time Bernie Sanders Interviewed Some Punk-Rock Kids in a Mall.

Bernie Sanders had his own TV program from 1986 to 1988, back when the socialist senator was mayor of Burlington, Vermont. The show was called Bernie Speaks, it aired on public access TV, and Politico just had the full run digitized. As Sanders makes his second bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, those digitized episodes have now been posted on the cable access channel’s website, where anyone with an internet connection can explore them.

“Over the past few weeks, I watched them all,” Holly Otterbein writes in Politico. “The production values are so low that they’re sometimes hard to hear and see, which makes them feel more valuable, like an archive of lost secrets.” The show’s topics, she reports, “include Plato, Ronald Reagan, Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign, the ‘immorality’ of the war in Nicaragua, the ‘stupid’ property tax, the effects of the looming nuclear apocalypse on children, Burlington’s waterfront, Burlington’s trash dump, Burlington’s snowplow operation, the ‘incredible increase’ in crime, the close-fisted state Legislature, the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer and the reasons that punk rockers wear black.”

Right around the same time that he took a ten day “honeymoon” in the Soviet Union:

As he stood on Soviet soil, Sanders, then 46 years old, criticized the cost of housing and health care in the United States, while lauding the lower prices — but not the quality — of that available in the Soviet Union. Then, at a banquet attended by about 100 people, Sanders blasted the way the United States had intervened in other countries, stunning one of those who had accompanied him.

“I got really upset and walked out,” said David F. Kelley, who had helped arrange the trip and was the only Republican in Sanders’s entourage. “When you are a critic of your country, you can say anything you want on home soil. At that point, the Cold War wasn’t over, the arms race wasn’t over, and I just wasn’t comfortable with it.”

Sanders had visited Nicaragua in 1985 and hailed the revolution led by Daniel Ortega, which President Ronald Reagan opposed. “I was impressed,” Sanders said then of Ortega, while allowing that “I will be attacked by every editorial writer for being a dumb dope.” At the same time, Sanders voiced admiration for the Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro, whom Reagan and many others in both parties routinely denounced.

Sanders, in turn, said Americans dismissed socialist and communist regimes because they didn’t understand the poverty faced by many in Third World countries. “The American people, many of us, are intellectually lazy,” Sanders said in a 1985 interview with a Burlington television station.

As Jim Geraghty adds, “You can tell a lot about a man by what he chooses to praise and what he chooses to criticize.”

NEWS FROM WAPO: Facebook has banned “far-right” Louis Farrakhan.

What’s ironic about Farrakhan landing on Facebook’s hit list is that he’s likely there *because* he’s in the left’s tribe. Tech companies know that right-wingers believe that liberal Silicon Valley is biased against them in its choice of whom to bar from its platforms. Employees at both Facebook and Twitter have complained that they don’t feel comfortable sharing political views that break from the left-wing consensus. The more antagonism there is between tech giants and the right, the more willing Republicans will be to regulate them. At the same time, tech platforms are under heavy pressure from the left to deplatform fringe right-wing populists. How do you dump Alex Jones, then, without being accused of ideological favoritism? Simple: You toss Farrakhan onto the garbage dump with him, Milo, Nehlen, etc, to show you’re being evenhanded in purging yourself of “dangerous” material. I don’t think Farrakhan was the target of their purge, I think he was collateral damage added as an afterthought because of his alignment with Democrats.

And yet here’s WaPo and the Atlantic trying to pin his continued salience in American politics on the right anyway.

That theory from Allahpundit dovetails well with this thread from Ted Frank of the Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute: “why is everyone calling Farrakhan ‘far right’? I have no inside information, but what happened is pretty obvious and easy to reverse-engineer if you’ve seen sausage being made in crisis communications.”

VIRGINIA CLOWN SHOW UPDATE: Democratic Party of Virginia Tells Justin Fairfax They Don’t Want His Money, and His Office Is Fuming.

Meanwhile, CNN’s Brian Stelter “forgets” Gov. Ralph Northam’s infamous January 30th statement during an interview broadcast on Washington DC’s WTOP radio:

When we talk about third trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of the mother, with the consent of the physician. More than one physician, by the way. And its done in case where there may be severe deformities, where there may be a fetus that is non-viable.

So, in this particular example, if a mother is in labor I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.

Here’s video of Northam uttering those words shortly before his medical school era blackface scandal erupted.

Related: Gaslighting in progress: Ilhan Omar, Bernie, CNN and others are covering for Ralph Northam’s abortion extremism to bash Trump.

Just think of the media as Democratic Party operatives with bylines, and their amnesia makes perfect sense. Or as a New York Times headline put it at the start of the month, (with a nice use of the passive tense), ‘‘‘It Just Went Poof’: The Strange Aftermath of Virginia’s Cascade of Political Scandals.”

THIS AGED WELL: If Trump thinks he can get more than 3% economic growth, he’s dreaming. But while 3.2% is good, if Congress had overturned ObamaCare — thanks, John McCain, you egotist — we might have gotten 4% by now.

LYNNE LECHTER: Trump’s army of ‘the uncovered.’

A funny thing happened on the way to the 2016 presidential election. The unelectable, uncouth, unintelligent, unpolitical, unlikeable, and utterly unthinkable guy won. Clearly, the “deplorables” assisted, as did the “bitter clingers” — owners of guns and Bibles — and the so-called uneducated, unsophisticated, and ridiculed patriotic swath of the American people.

But it took more. The uncovereds carried President Trump over the finish line to unbelievable victory.

Who and what are the uncovereds? They are the silent army who are passionately pro-Trump but wouldn’t and still won’t admit it. Why? one might ask. Were they cowards?

In the months leading up to the 2016 election, the reasons for secrecy were very different from and far more benign than those dictating secrecy today. In 2015, Trump’s inner circle was aware of the phenomenon, as were the ancillary Trump campaign volunteers who walked the streets, knocking on doors, and toiling for hours at phone banks.

What did they collectively discover? Diverse but large groups of people were committed to voting for Trump. However, while they would admit their pro-Trump predilection to anonymous pollsters or door-knockers or phone surveyors, they would not tell their family, friends, co-workers, bosses, or teachers. Universally, their response would be “I’m voting for Trump, but I’m not telling my spouse, or anyone else.” In 2015, it just wasn’t worth the hassle and ridicule to them. They didn’t want to argue with friends and relatives, teachers and students. And they didn’t want to be perceived as dumb. . . .

In 2019, going into the upcoming presidential election cycle, the uncovereds’ reticence stems from far more profound fears. There is a fear of violence. There is a fear of being fired. There is a fear of grade retribution. There is a fear of a car with a pro-Trump bumper sticker being vandalized. This fear radiates in America. Incredibly, the Democratic Party has created an atmosphere of free speech suppression — “if you disagree with us, we will silence you.”

The Democrats, with their anarchistic thug minions, blackmail serial con artists, and monolithic control of public education and social and print media, have terrorized many Trump aficionados into diving underground and undercover. By doing so, they have perpetuated the inevitability of their second and seemingly more comprehensive demise. That is because, by pushing more uncovereds underground, they don’t know how many uncovereds exist.

Yet despite massive intimidation, another funny thing is happening on the way to the 2020 presidential election: Many of the heretofore uncovereds are banning together and openly bursting forth from the Trump closet. These include the Jewish groups Jexit and Jexodus and the ever-expanding black American and Caucasian movement #walkaway.

The groundswell of Jewish appreciation for President Trump, in some Jewish enclaves, is so overwhelming that it has permeated the 2019 Jewish celebration of Passover.

Read the whole thing.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: The Mueller Report Beat Goes On and Much, Much More. “I’ve been right all along about this entire special counsel fiasco. The report is a political document, not a legal one. If you did not buy into the false RUSSIA collusion narrative, you will read the second part of the report outlining the ‘obstructive’ behavior of Trump as the actions of an angry man who was unjustly accused. You will see Trump’s behavior as that of someone who was getting absolutely pummled all day and all night in the media and by Democrats who were making it impossible to for him to govern and were undermining his legitimacy as president. Trump wanted to stop the Democrat-media harrassment not cover up a crime. You may remember the #resistence’s plan was to delegitimize Trump and the goal of the Mueller team was to wait until the Democrats took control of the House to turn the report into a political weapon if they couldn’t charge the Trump folks with RUSSIA-related crimes.”

HOW OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY DO YOU HAVE TO BE, TO THINK THAT TRUMP IS “SLAVISHLY SUBORDINATE” TO PUTIN?

Reality: Democrats, Join Trump Against Russian Aggression: His administration has been tough on Moscow’s meddling, both in U.S. elections and abroad.

Mr. Mueller did indict 13 Russian nationals for offenses related to election meddling. We know Moscow spent money on Facebook ads designed to exploit America’s divisions, targeting voters on both sides of the aisle. And Mr. Trump and the Republicans have responded. Under legislation enacted by a Republican Congress, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Russian oligarchs and intelligence agencies.

Beyond the meddling, Mr. Trump has slammed Russia with bold moves designed to weaken Mr. Putin on the world’s stage. This administration imposed sanctions on Russia for violating nonproliferation laws by supporting weapons programs in Iran, Syria and North Korea. The Trump administration also issued more sanctions in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine and its continuing occupation of Crimea. In 2017, the administration expelled 60 Russian intelligence officers and ordered multiple Russian consulates to close after Russia used a military-grade chemical weapon in the U.K. Mr. Trump even blocked Mr. Putin’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which could generate hundreds of millions of dollars for Russia if it goes ahead.

These tough actions have had an effect. Between January and July 2018, the Russian ruble declined 9% against the U.S. dollar. Russia’s Economic Development Ministry expects its economy to grow only 1.3% in 2019. The U.S. economy grew 2.9% in 2018 and is headed for another strong year.

In 2017, Mr. Trump supplied Ukraine with weapons so it could defend itself against Russian attacks. Remember, it was President Obama who stood idly as Russia invaded Crimea in 2014. Under the Trump administration, the U.S. has also engaged in hard-fought battles with Russian mercenaries in Syria.

In a sense, Russia succeeded in its mission to stoke division and fear within America. Some top Democrats have played right into Moscow’s hands by pursuing endless partisan investigations. If Democrats care about thwarting Russian meddling and aggression, they will disavow their conspiracy theory that our president is Mr. Putin’s puppet, and stop wasting taxpayer money peddling disproved collusion narratives. Instead, they can support this administration’s efforts to stand tall against the consistent threat Russia poses to America’s national security.

As Walter Russell Mead wrote in 2017:

If Trump were the Manchurian candidate that people keep wanting to believe that he is, here are some of the things he’d be doing:

Limiting fracking as much as he possibly could
Blocking oil and gas pipelines
Opening negotiations for major nuclear arms reductions
Cutting U.S. military spending
Trying to tamp down tensions with Russia’s ally Iran

That Trump is planning to do precisely the opposite of these things may or may not be good policy for the United States, but anybody who thinks this is a Russia appeasement policy has been drinking way too much joy juice.

Obama actually did all of these things, and none of the liberal media now up in arms about Trump ever called Obama a Russian puppet; instead, they preferred to see a brave, farsighted and courageous statesman. Trump does none of these things and has embarked on a course that will inexorably weaken Russia’s position in the world, and the media, suddenly flushing eight years of Russia dovishness down the memory hole, now sounds the warning that Trump’s Russia policy is treasonously soft.

Think of them as Democratic operatives with bylines, and no particular loyalty to the country’s best interests, and you won’t go far wrong.

But remember while America’s political class is focused on Russia, Chinese influence is running wild. That’s not an accident.

I LIKE DAVID FRENCH, BUT THIS IS AHISTORICAL BULLSHIT:

I mean, let’s just look at the presidents of my lifetime: JFK: Adulterer, drug user, made his brother (!) Attorney General, shady mafia connections, stole election. LBJ: Adulterer, much cruder than Trump, started Vietnam War. Nixon: Honestly, better than LBJ but the source of the term “Nixonian.” Ford: Nice guy, failed president. Carter: Nice guy, failed president. Reagan: The GOP gold standard, but a multiply-divorced Hollywood actor whose administration was marked by nearly as much scandal-drama as Trump’s. (Just look up Justice Gorsuch’s mother). George HW: Nice guy, but longtime adulterer and failed president. Bill Clinton: I mean, come on. George W. Bush: Personal rectitude in office, though he’s been a bit of a dick since Trump beat his brother. Iraq War thing didn’t turn out too well. Mediocre judicial appointments and little attention to domestic reforms. Gave us TSA. Obama: Far more scandals, and far more abuse of power, than Trump. And does French forget that Trump was running against Hillary?

But at any rate, the American people had a chance to decide if they wanted a man like Trump in the White House, and they decided that they did. And Trump’s now polling better than Obama did at this point in his presidency, and will almost certainly rise in the polls post Mueller report.

I mean, most of our successful presidents weren’t nice guys — FDR makes LBJ and Nixon look like pikers — and most of the nice guys in that office were failures as president. And Trump’s behavior in office is, by comparison with his predecessor, better, if cruder.

And in terms of his actions, well, Trump’s actual performance in office is looking pretty good. The economy is booming, foreign policy is going better than under his creased-pants predecessor, regulations are being slashed, and the courts are being better-stocked than any Republican president in my lifetime, including Reagan, ever managed.

Against that record, schoolmarmish disapproval pales in importance. But you want an America where a better man than Donald Trump can be a successful president? Then you have to make a better America, not least by crushing the power of the existing, awful, ruling class. And guess what: That’s what Trump’s doing. The NeverTrumpers, meanwhile, have chosen to ally themselves with the problem.

As James Taranto says, NeverTrumpism seems to be primarily an aesthetic phenomenon, and to indulge in it you have to think that our existing ruling class is more attractive than Trump. De gustibus non disputandum est, but I don’t feel that way at all.

Related:

Plus:

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL: Mueller’s Report Speaks Volumes: What’s in the special counsel’s findings is almost as revealing as what’s left out.

President Trump has every right to feel liberated. What the report shows is that he endured a special-counsel probe that was relentlessly, at times farcically, obsessed with taking him out. What stands out is just how diligently and creatively the special counsel’s legal minds worked to implicate someone in Trump World on something Russia- or obstruction-of-justice-related. And how—even with all its overweening power and aggressive tactics—it still struck out.

Volume I of the Mueller report, which deals with collusion, spends tens of thousands of words describing trivial interactions between Trump officials and various Russians. While it doubtless wasn’t Mr. Mueller’s intention, the sheer quantity and banality of details highlights the degree to which these contacts were random, haphazard and peripheral. By the end of Volume I, the notion that the Trump campaign engaged in some grand plot with Russia is a joke.

Yet jump to the section where the Mueller team lists its “prosecution and declination” decisions with regards the Russia question. And try not to picture Mueller “pit bull” prosecutor Andrew Weissmann collapsed under mountains of federal statutes after his two-year hunt to find one that applied. . . .

As for obstruction—Volume II—Attorney General Bill Barr noted Thursday that he disagreed with “some of the special counsel’s legal theories.” Maybe he had in mind Mr. Mueller’s proposition that he was entitled to pursue obstruction questions, even though that was not part of his initial mandate from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Or maybe it was Mr. Mueller’s long description of what a prosecution of the sitting president might look like—even though he acknowledged its legal impossibility. Or it could be Mr. Mueller’s theory that while “fairness” dictates that someone accused of crimes get a “speedy and public trial” to “clear his name,” Mr. Trump deserves no such courtesy with regard to the 200 pages of accusations Mr. Mueller lodges against him.

That was Mr. Mueller’s James Comey moment. Remember the July 2016 press conference in which the FBI director berated Hillary Clinton even as he didn’t bring charges? It was a firing offense. Here’s Mr. Mueller engaging in the same practice—only on a more inappropriate scale. At least this time the attorney general tried to clean up the mess by declaring he would not bring obstruction charges. Mr. Barr noted Thursday that we do not engage in grand-jury proceedings and probes with the purpose of generating innuendo.

Mr. Mueller may not care. His report suggests the actual goal of the obstruction volume is impeachment: “We concluded that Congress has the authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority.”

Note as well what isn’t in the report. It makes only passing, bland references to the genesis of so many of the accusations Mr. Mueller probed: the infamous dossier produced by opposition-research firm Fusion GPS and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign. How do you exonerate Mr. Page without delving into the scandalous Moscow deeds of which he was falsely accused? How do you narrate an entire section on the July 2016 Trump Tower meeting without noting that Ms. Veselnitskaya was working alongside Fusion? How do you detail every aspect of the Papadopoulos accusations while avoiding any detail of the curious and suspect ways that those accusations came back to the FBI via Australia’s Alexander Downer?

The report instead mostly reads as a lengthy defense of the FBI.

Good luck with that. I suspect accountability is on the way there.

JON CALDERA: The Colorado legislature snatched your Trump tax cut.

Your Colorado income tax is based solely on your “taxable income” from your federal 1040 form. For your Colorado state income tax form you take your federal taxable income and multiply by our flat income tax rate, 4.63 percent.

But, for most folks, that federal taxable income actually goes up because there are now fewer allowed itemized deductions. For instance, you can only deduct so much interest from a home loan. This larger taxable income isn’t an issue because the new income tax rates are so much lower, your overall federal tax bill goes down.

But when you use that same, now larger, federal taxable income number for your state taxes, your state tax bill goes up because, wait for it, the Colorado state legislature didn’t lower the state tax rate to adjust for the new Trump Bump. A bill to do so passed out of last year’s Republican controlled Senate to, of course, die in the Democrat controlled House.

So, this year you get to pay for yet another tax increase you didn’t get to vote for.

Fortunately, there is a safety valve in our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) to make sure excess revenue, like that coming from the Trump Bump, goes back to you the taxpayer in a refund. When the state takes in more revenue than what it did the previous year, plus inflation and population growth, it has to refund that money back to you.

So, the Trump Bump should still be refunded back to you. But, wait for it, it won’t.

Because Democrats.

And do read the whole thing.

WORD OF THE WEEK IS “NIMBY”: Forget the Categorical Imperative for a second. If I save a drowning person in hopes of getting a big reward, is she no less saved? It seems to me that the hubbub about Trump’s sanctuary plan is simply “we don’t like his motives.” This is the worst NIMBY I’ve seen since Ted Kennedy blocked wind energy farms off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.

It’s more than a masterstroke of trolling by Trump, it’s actually a lesson in “be careful what you ask for.” But NIMBY is old chapeau for the faux-liberals. There is no more solidly Democrat neighborhood than the People’s Republic of the Upper West Side. Yet, when the beloved “diversity” (virtuous!) was proposed for THEIR schools, these Hillarybots went markedly Galt: Said one parent: “You’re talking about telling an 11-year-old, ‘You worked your butt off and you didn’t get that, what you needed and wanted.”

I simply cannot help but be reminded of this Christopher Guest classic:

TRIPLING DOWN ON STUPID: Democrats Will Regret Not Walking Away When They Could. “The Democrats’ continued obsession with opening the pandora’s box of the Mueller report will only make things worse for the get-Trump crowd as the hoax chickens increasingly come home to roost.”

Mueller’s team has played dirty from the start. Contrary to the public narrative that the team was “leak-proof,” the opposite is actually true. As I recently wrote, “It has been three years of innuendo and leaks, leaks, leaks, leaks, and uncountable more examples of leaks dripping poison into the poison-addicted pens of the partisan media. The Mueller team has never had to prove anything involving Trump-Russian collusion to anyone because the special counsel needs no proof to function as a potent political weapon.”

To name two awful examples: the leak of the Cohen/Trump audio recording that appears to have been seized by the feds and the leak of the written questions to the president. Add to that list a new leak reported by the New York Times, “Some of Robert S. Mueller III’s investigators have told associates that Attorney General William P. Barr failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry and that they were more troubling for President Trump than Mr. Barr indicated, according to government officials and others familiar with their simmering frustrations.”

Did you get that? Anonymous sources claiming to be familiar with other anonymous sources on the Mueller team are the source for the New York Times article. Double secret hearsay. My editor would laugh in my face if I tried to publish an article with such flimsy of sourcing. But no standard is too low in the pursuit of getting Trump.

So much fake news, so little reporting.

THIS IS HOW YOU GET TRUMP BREXIT: The other day, the EU Parliament voted to destroy the Internet in Europe. Now it appears that several MEPs voted for the measures by accident. Although they have had their recorded votes changed, the result still stands.

Meanwhile in the country that voted to get away from such lunacy but can’t, the House of Commons upended the constitution (yes, there is one) yesterday to vote on eight different measures to find a consensus way forward. All eight measures failed. Moreover, the Cabinet abstained from the votes in protest at the unconstitutionality, meaning that they would all have failed by more than it looks.

In one last effort to get her awful-but-at-least-it-gets-us-legally-out deal through the House, Theresa May has promised to resign if it gets passed, which is a strange inversion of how things usually work. The power-mad Speaker of the House, however, may refuse to let it be put to a vote.

This will all probably have changed by the time you read this…

TENN. CONGRESSMAN MARK GREEN: Democrats, Join Trump Against Russian Aggression: His administration has been tough on Moscow’s meddling, both in U.S. elections and abroad.

Mr. Mueller did indict 13 Russian nationals for offenses related to election meddling. We know Moscow spent money on Facebook ads designed to exploit America’s divisions, targeting voters on both sides of the aisle. And Mr. Trump and the Republicans have responded. Under legislation enacted by a Republican Congress, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Russian oligarchs and intelligence agencies.

Beyond the meddling, Mr. Trump has slammed Russia with bold moves designed to weaken Mr. Putin on the world’s stage. This administration imposed sanctions on Russia for violating nonproliferation laws by supporting weapons programs in Iran, Syria and North Korea. The Trump administration also issued more sanctions in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine and its continuing occupation of Crimea. In 2017, the administration expelled 60 Russian intelligence officers and ordered multiple Russian consulates to close after Russia used a military-grade chemical weapon in the U.K. Mr. Trump even blocked Mr. Putin’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which could generate hundreds of millions of dollars for Russia if it goes ahead.

These tough actions have had an effect. Between January and July 2018, the Russian ruble declined 9% against the U.S. dollar. Russia’s Economic Development Ministry expects its economy to grow only 1.3% in 2019. The U.S. economy grew 2.9% in 2018 and is headed for another strong year.

In 2017, Mr. Trump supplied Ukraine with weapons so it could defend itself against Russian attacks. Remember, it was President Obama who stood idly as Russia invaded Crimea in 2014. Under the Trump administration, the U.S. has also engaged in hard-fought battles with Russian mercenaries in Syria.

In a sense, Russia succeeded in its mission to stoke division and fear within America. Some top Democrats have played right into Moscow’s hands by pursuing endless partisan investigations. If Democrats care about thwarting Russian meddling and aggression, they will disavow their conspiracy theory that our president is Mr. Putin’s puppet, and stop wasting taxpayer money peddling disproved collusion narratives. Instead, they can support this administration’s efforts to stand tall against the consistent threat Russia poses to America’s national security.

As Walter Russell Mead wrote in 2017:

If Trump were the Manchurian candidate that people keep wanting to believe that he is, here are some of the things he’d be doing:

Limiting fracking as much as he possibly could
Blocking oil and gas pipelines
Opening negotiations for major nuclear arms reductions
Cutting U.S. military spending
Trying to tamp down tensions with Russia’s ally Iran

That Trump is planning to do precisely the opposite of these things may or may not be good policy for the United States, but anybody who thinks this is a Russia appeasement policy has been drinking way too much joy juice.

Obama actually did all of these things, and none of the liberal media now up in arms about Trump ever called Obama a Russian puppet; instead, they preferred to see a brave, farsighted and courageous statesman. Trump does none of these things and has embarked on a course that will inexorably weaken Russia’s position in the world, and the media, suddenly flushing eight years of Russia dovishness down the memory hole, now sounds the warning that Trump’s Russia policy is treasonously soft.

Think of them as Democratic operatives with bylines, and no particular loyalty to the country’s best interests, and you won’t go far wrong.

But remember while America’s political class is focused on Russia, Chinese influence is running wild. That’s not an accident.

[WILFORD BRIMLEY VOICE] MR. TRUMP, ARE YOU THAT SMART? NEVER MIND, YOU AIN’T GONNA TELL ME THAT, ARE YOU?

I suspect it’s going to turn out that Trump was doing more than tweeting throughout all this, and that it reflected a strategy that has now paid off. But Republicans — including NeverTrumpers still capable of some degree of rationality, if such exist — should ask themselves what other Republican candidate in 2016 could have withstood this sort of assault. As with the Kavanaugh character assassination attempts, I think the answer will be damn few. Maybe Ted Cruz, but nobody else really comes to mind. And, say, Mitt Romney? It is to laugh. We got Trump because of a media/political environment that only Trump could survive and flourish in.

And note that the past week has been a bad one for Trump’s enemies in general: Higher education is facing its biggest scandal ever, the SPLC is folding, the Democrats are split over anti-semitism and more or less open Marxism. . . . Stay tuned. It’s going to get interesting.

UPDATE: Battenfeld: Great job, Democrats, media … you’re on your way to re-electing Trump.

ANOTHER UPDATE: “It is a complete rout for Democrats and the media.”

Related: ” I can’t resist a moment of triumph. . . . I think it has been a foregone conclusion for a while that Mueller would acknowledge there was no collusion, because 1) there was no collusion, 2) the charges Mueller brought against Trump underlings and associates did not involve collusion, and 3) the meeting with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya proved there was no collusion, since had the Trump campaign been conspiring with Russian officials, there would have been no reason to meet with an obscure lawyer who claimed to have (but did not have) dirt on Hillary. (That meeting, by the way, appears to have been a setup by the Clinton campaign, since Veselnitskaya was in the United States on a matter in which she was working with Glenn Simpson, and she met with Simpson both before and after her brief meeting with Donald Trump, Jr.)”

Flashback, March 2017: “Hypothesis: The spying-on-Trump thing is worse than we even imagine, and once it was clear Hillary had lost and it would inevitably come out, the Trump/Russia collusion talking point was created as a distraction.”

MORE: From the comments: “The unions and some companies can make the economy tank. Get ready for it.” They’ll be playing into his hands if they do.

MICHAEL BARONE: Old political rules of thumb are yielding to even older ones.

One reason old political rules stop working is that one generation of voters has different experiences from those of the generations before. Voters who remembered the Depression and World War II in the 1940s rewarded incumbent presidents who seemed to have produced prosperity and peace with landslide re-elections.

They were willing to cross party lines to express their gratitude for policies that seemed to prevent horrors that were then all too familiar. So incumbent presidents of both parties won between 57 and 61 percent of the popular vote in 1956, 1964, 1972 and 1984. Since 1988, only a shrinking sliver of voters remembers what Americans used to call “the Depression” and “the War,” and no president has won more than 53 percent.

Just as Trump has not been able to raise his job rating to the improving economy, so his political enemies have not been able to lower it significantly. Each new supposedly shocking personal revelation has failed to shock; each eagerly whispered allegation of criminal collusion has failed to disenchant.

It’s apparent now that Trump’s support (the 21st-century Republican core, minus a couple million white college grads, plus a couple million white non-grads) is sticking with him pretty much regardless of events or outcomes. And the coalition that makes up the 21st-century Democrats, with the reverse adjustments, is solidly arrayed against him.

This is actually in line with old political rules, rules with origins going back long before the 1930s and 1940s. The Republican Party, from its formation in 1854, has been built around a core of people considered to be ordinary Americans, but not by themselves a majority. The Democratic Party, from its formation in 1832, has been a coalition of those regarded as out-peoples, often at odds with each other, but together often a majority.

Both parties’ voters today are acting in characteristic fashion. The vast body of Republicans has no truck with the complaints of Never Trumpers. The Democrats are in turmoil, panicking at the possibility of having enemies on the Left, to the point that House Democrats couldn’t pass a resolution decrying the blatant anti-Semitism of one of their own.

Well, it’s hard to decry blatant anti-semitism when a major constituency of yours consists of blatant anti-semites.

THE NEVERTRUMPERS GET STEADILY MORE RIDICULOUS:

Related: “It’s been a tough two years if you’re a post-Reagan era, Bush-flunky fake conservative.”

VICTORY GIRLS: Varsity Blues Cheating Scandal Is A Desperate Elites Tale. “While the rest of us honorable schmucks were paying for college board prep tests (my son wouldn’t go) or at least begging our little cherubs to get a good night’s sleep prior to the test (nope to that one, too), these elitists, who are so much better than we are, schemed with a weasel named William Singer to phony up the test scores for the college boards, create phony elite athlete profiles and get their kids into college as athletes or just plain bribe college officials. And, then as if these elitists didn’t disdain us enough, they claimed the costs as charitable contributions on their tax returns. You cannot make this excrement up.”

They call it a meritocracy, but it’s more of a kakistocracy.

Related: Don Lemon: College Admissions Scandal Shows Why Trump’s Message of a Rigged System Resonated With People. Yes, even Don Lemon.

ALL IS PROCEEDING AS I HAVE FORESEEN: White House Might Put Colleges on the Hook for Student Loans: Executive order under consideration would require schools to take financial stake when students don’t repay.

The White House is weighing a measure that would require colleges and universities to take a financial stake in their students’ ability to repay government loans, an effort that could squeeze loan availability to students and reduce defaults.

For several months, Trump administration officials have been discussing enacting such a mechanism or making a push for one in Congress as part of a broader effort to combat rising college costs.

In the administration’s budget proposal released Monday, officials made brief mention of a “request to create an educational finance system that requires postsecondary institutions that accept taxpayer funds to have skin in the game through a student loan risk-sharing program.”

Such a proposal could be included in a coming executive order addressing higher education, several officials said.

You heard it here first. Though remember this? Senate Democrats push for colleges to have “skin in the game” on student loan defaults. “In a call with reporters, Senators Richard Durbin of Illlinois, Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts highlighted a package of new and existing proposals aimed at reducing the burden of student debt. Durbin acknowledged that the senators had had ‘limited success’ in getting Republican support for the measures, but said they will be a centerpiece of the Democratic agenda in the Senate in 2014. One of the more controversial new proposals, to be introduced by Reed, would require colleges with high student loan default rates to pay a penalty to the government that is proportional to the defaulted debt.”

So Trump can honestly say this is an idea with bipartisan support.

Flashback: “Up until now, the loan guarantees have meant that colleges, like the writers of subprime mortgages a few years ago, got their money up front, with any problems in payment falling on someone else. Make defaults expensive to colleges, and they’ll become much more careful about how much they lend and what kinds of programs they offer.”

ROGER KIMBALL: JERRY NADLER’S FRANTIC QUEST TO ‘GET TRUMP.’

No one knows when Robert Mueller will deliver his report to Attorney General William Barr, and no one knows what portions, if any, General Barr will make public. But the hissing sound you have heard over the last several weeks is the air going out of Mueller’s Get Trump probe as story after story has been crafted to manage expectations down regarding ‘Individual 1,’ aka Donald J. Trump. Mueller bagged Paul Manafort for tax related issues a decade or more ago, and folks like Roger Stone and Michael Flynn for making the mistake of testifying before Congress (Stone) or talking to the FBI (Flynn).

But no one not named Bill Kristol now thinks that Mueller’s expensive, long-running entertainment will issue in any actionable charges against the President.

Hence the ‘insurance policy’ being framed by Congressman Nadler. The headline of a column in Politico yesterday cut to the chase: ‘House Democrats open sweeping corruption probe into Trump’s world.’ They’ve sent letters to 81 people associated with Donald Trump demanding ‘documents.’ Which documents? All the ones that show the President in a bad light or that might be used to frame him for misconduct or ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’

Like what? Well, they aren’t quite sure, but it is not stopping them from ‘demanding documents from the White House and Trump’s namesake company, charity, transition team, inauguration and 2016 campaign, as well as several longtime associates and the president’s two adult sons.’ Hoover it all up, boys! There has to be something, somewhere in Trump’s past we can nail him for.

Flashback: Liberals push to impeach Bush: “‘The timing is all wrong,’ said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat. ‘If this were the first two years of his administration I would advocate impeachment. A lot of people at home say impeachment, and I’m sure he committed a lot of impeachable offenses, but think about it practically.’ Mr. Nadler said impeachment hearings would be pointless and would only distract the country from the presidential election next year.”

Alvy Singer could not be reached for comment.

DO YOU WANT MORE TRUMP? BECAUSE THIS IS HOW YOU GET MORE TRUMP. Salena Zito: Bill Maher’s red-state hate will help get Trump re-elected.

STACY MCCAIN: The Left’s Rage Against ‘MAGA.’

Terry Pierce was shocked this month when he found a man pointing a pistol in his face. “All this over a political statement over a hat,” Pierce told WBKO-TV, after a court hearing about the Feb. 16 incident at a Sam’s Club store in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Police say James Phillips was enraged because Pierce and his wife were wearing red “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hats and, after a verbal exchange, Phillips pulled a .40-caliber Glock on Pierce. This was no idle threat. Phillips has a criminal record, including a 2013 charge of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and there was a round in the chamber of his Glock, police say. The man in the MAGA hat was dismayed.

“Everybody has a right to believe how they believe,” Pierce said Friday of the frightening encounter, “but you don’t have a right to tell somebody they can’t believe a certain way.”

Perhaps the most astonishing thing about that incident is that it happened in Warren County, Kentucky, which President Trump carried by a 30-point margin in 2016. It’s such a Republican stronghold that the local GOP congressman, Rep. Brett Guthrie, had no Democrat challenger in 2016 and won re-election in 2018 with 67% of the vote against Democrat Hank Linderman. If anti-Trump rage can make it dangerous to wear a MAGA cap in deep-red Bowling Green, how much more dangerous must it be to show support for the president in deep-blue Democrat-dominated urban coastal enclaves?

As dangerous as they can get away with making it.

QUESTIONS ASKED AND ANSWERED: “Chicago police say today that Jussie Smollett concocted the hate hoax because he wanted to get a higher salary from the producers of his TV show Empire:”

Eddie T. Johnson, the visibly angry Chicago police superintendent, said Mr. Smollett had taken advantage of the pain and anger of racism, draining resources that could have been used to investigate other crimes for which people were actually suffering.

“I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention,” he said at a news conference in Chicago.

The superintendent seemed particularly upset by the fact that Mr. Smollett, he said, had arranged a fake assault that featured a noose hung around his neck. The police say the staged assault was carried out by two brothers to whom the actor had paid $3,500.

“Why would anyone — especially an African-American man — use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations?” he asked. “How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile?

Chicago’s police superintendent isn’t the only person appearing to be vexed by Smollet’s apparent action. As Kyle Smith writes, “‘Why Would Jussie Smollett Do This?’ They Cried:”

[CNN’s Brian] Stelter chimed in again: “This is about why he might — and, so far, we don’t know. But why he might have made this up. It just boggles the mind.”

It boggles the mind! One struggles in vain to think of another profession in which someone could evince or affect as much incompetence as Stelter and Co. and expect to remain employed.

* * * * * * * *

Stelter was a toddler when a black teen named Tawana Brawley made up a story about six white men raping her, smearing her with feces, scrawling “KKK” and “n****r” on her torso with charcoal, and leaving her in a trash bag. He has lived nearly his entire life in the era of hate-crime hoaxes. He surely remembers the Duke-lacrosse gang-rape hoax of 2006, the University of Virginia gang-rape hoax of 2014, the incident just after Trump’s election when a woman on the New York City subway claimed drunken white men had ripped off her hijab. There are lots of other examples. Hey, do you remember as far back as January, when an Indian man tried to portray himself as the victim of a hateful mob of Trump-backing teenage goons? George Will once wrote of campuses, “When they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate.” When the media can be relied upon to credit hysterics and axe-grinders the way campus administrators do, America effectively becomes a vast campus.

The reasons for Smollett’s hoax didn’t boggle anyone’s mind, assuming that the mind in question was functioning above the level of someone who eats a bowl of lead-paint chips for breakfast. In America, victimhood is currency. It is easily converted into actual currency, and if Smollett had gotten away with his hoax, he had every reason to expect that his vastly increased celebrity would have led to the salary bump Chicago police said he wanted from his show Empire.

As Roger Kimball writes, “The less hate there is in the Untied States, the more hate crimes must be manufactured in order to keep the Fraternal Order of Victims afloat.”

THIS IS CNN: Don Lemon: The worst part about Smollett hoax will be all the conservative pouncing, you know.

“Sean Hannity is going to eat Jussie Smollett’s lunch every single second. Tucker Carlson is going to eat Jussie Smollett’s lunch every single second. The President of the United States is going to eat his lunch.”

As Ed Morrissey writes:

Sorry. Mr. Lemon. The media earned every bit of ridicule and criticism it earned by going all-in on Smollett’s weird claim from the get-go. They earned every bit of criticism for doing the same thing with the Covington Catholic High School kids for the same purpose — to pounce, if you will, all over conservatives, pro-lifers, and anyone who might have a little sympathy for Donald Trump.

At least in some corners of the industry, they haven’t learned a damn thing from either failure. Expect more to come.

“Don Lemon completely gives the game away of why CNN won’t simply own up to this and other failings. Because they are paid to act like opposition. Smollet, Parkland, Covington, list goes on… they believe they are political opposition. Not journalists,” Stephen Miller adds on Twitter.

Back in 20s, H.L. Mencken wrote, “It is the prime function of a really first-rate newspaper to serve as a sort of permanent opposition in politics.” If only old media had gotten that message instead of becoming Democratic Party operatives with bylines.

Flashback: Don Lemon Says He Texts Jussie Smollett Every Day Following Attack.

SO WHAT, EXACTLY, IS THE MORAL COMPONENT OF #NEVERTRUMP?

See, you’re really not Solzhenitsyn here. And as far as I can tell, although NeverTrumpers talk a lot about morality and principles, their actual beef seems to be a combination of aesthetic dislike of Trump’s messaging style, and resentment that he’s not hiring them, and never will hire them. I suppose a lot of people confuse their own social standing and economic prospects with morality, but color me unpersuaded.

Perhaps in 2016 you could imagine that Trump would be such an awful President that you had a moral duty to oppose him. But in 2019, it’s obvious that that’s not the case. In fact, he’s pretty darn successful. Instead of gay concentration camps, he’s trying to end discrimination against gays worldwide. Instead of being a warmonger he’s now ending wars — and getting grief about it from NeverTrumpers. The Russia-collusion thing was always twaddle, but nobody is even pretending otherwise anymore. And Trump’s background and personal life certainly don’t stand out as compared to many other occupants of the Oval Office whom the establishment deemed entirely acceptable.

So, again, what exactly is the moral foundation of your very very moral, Solzhenitsyn-like stance?

THE BOSTON HERALD EDITORIALIZES ON SMOLLETT AND THE MEDIA: Alleged Chicago hate crime hoax a bad look for many.

As Jussie Smollett’s account of his alleged assault falls apart, it is important to note that politicians, the media and influential voices did their best to fan the flames of outrage, based on nothing but the dark premise that conservatives and Trump supporters are evil.

It is astounding that so many reputable people took Smollett’s fantastical account seriously. Certainly, hate crimes based on race and sexual orientation are a very real thing, but the details surrounding this particular episode centered around a lampoonish representation of a Trump-era bigot.

It was a flimsy yarn from the outset, which only became more precarious with each passing day. That didn’t stop those most deeply invested in the narrative of Evil Trump to jump into action.

Presidential hopefuls Cory Booker and Kamala Harris each labeled the supposed attack a “modern-day lynching,” with Harris adding that, “We must confront this hate.”

Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted, “This is a sickening and outrageous attack, and horribly, it’s the latest of too many hate crimes against LGBTQ people and people of color. We are all responsible for condemning this behavior and every person who enables or normalizes it …”

Joe Biden tweeted, “What happened today to @JussieSmollett must never be tolerated in this country. We must stand up and demand that we no longer give this hate safe harbor; that homophobia and racism have no place on our streets or in our hearts. We are with you, Jussie.”

It wasn’t only those with presidential aspirations who weighed-in, Democratic-Socialist superstar Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez railed against news accounts that qualified their reporting. “There is no such thing as ‘racially charged,’ She tweeted. “This attack was not ‘possibly’ homophobic. It was a racist and homophobic attack … It is no one’s job to water down or sugar-coat the rise of hate crimes.”

Another freshman congressman, Rashida Tlaib, tweeted, “The dangerous lies spewing from the right wing is killing & hurting our people.”

Not to be outdone, Hollywood notables also reacted as expected. Director Rob Reiner tweeted, “The horrific attack on Jussie Smollett has no place in a decent human loving society. Homophobia existed before Trump, but there is no question that since he has injected his hatred into the American bloodstream, we are less decent, less human, & less loving. No intolerance! No DT!”

The media has comported itself badly as well. Almost immediately after getting the Covington Catholic story so wrong, many in the news industry immediately accepted the Smollett story as true.

Astonishingly, a Washington Post writer named Nana Efua Mumford wrote this: “If Smollett’s story is found to be untrue … The incident would be touted as proof that there is a leftist conspiracy to cast Trump supporters as violent, murderous racists. It would be the very embodiment of ‘fake news.’ And that reason, more than any other, is why I need this story to be true.”

In other words, Trump supporters are violent, murderous racists. That dark premise is a lie, fake news and untrue. Let us hope one half of the country can correct their horrifically jaded view of the other half before we lose ourselves.

Hope is not a plan.

ROGER KIMBALL: The deep blob: Beware the suffocating metastasis of the administrative state.

There follows a few hundred words of brow-wrinkled prose about their ‘so alarmed,’ ‘dire concerns’ that the President had just fired their guy, FBI director James ‘higher loyalty’ Comey, that they got together and wondered how they could entice the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet to collude (ooo, there’s that word!) to invoke the 25th Amendment and jettison a guy they didn’t approve of.

The Times story is cast in their best anodyne prose, carefully tilted to make it seem as if this was perfectly reasonable, business-as-usual stuff.

But it wasn’t reasonable, and it is business-as-usual only in a banana republic or a polity that is essentially ruled by hyper-bureaucratized administrative apparatus.

‘Justice Department Officials Had Discussions About Pushing Trump Out.’ Even for the Times that must have been a twisted cue.

‘Justice Department Officials Had Discussions About Pushing Trump Out.’ Think about it. On May 9. the President fires his employee, James Comey. Panic in Bureau. Scarcely a week later, the Big Boy Scout, Robert Mueller is appointed by Rod Rosenstein to be Special Counsel in charge of the Get Trump battalion. It’s a real flood the zone operation. Pre-dawn raids, full-press intimidation, careers ruined.

It’s been going on so long, and has involved so many nefarious characters in such high positions in the Obama administration and our intelligence and law enforcement services, that it is hard to keep the main fact, the overwhelming point of the episode in mind.

It is this: people in the FBI (aided an abetted by elements in the CIA and the Obama administration) decided that they didn’t like the person who had been elected President of the United States. Their anger and frustration boiled over when the President had the temerity to fire their man, James Comey. So they plotted to get rid of him.

The FBI didn’t like the President. so they plotted to remove him from office. That is the irreducible minimum, class, that you should take away from this whole sordid lesson. Top figures in the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not approve of the President. Therefore, they took steps to destroy him. Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General, several times offered to wear a wire to entrap the President.

The fact that this all took place in May 2017 has led many observers to compare the FBI’s actions to the movie Seven Days in May, which described a plot by the military to take over the government.

What ever have here is nothing so melodramatic. There’s no Burt Lancaster or Kirk Douglas. And there is certainly no Ava Gardner. No, it’s all gray on gray. The oozing, engulfing, suffocating metastasis of the administrative state, a bureaucracy drunk on its own prerogatives, fired by a misplaced sense of election (‘higher loyalty,’ remember) conveniently indistinguishable from its own entitlement and quest for power.

The pious sanctimony makes their power grabbing even more insufferable.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Politics is affecting dating and intimacy, expert says.

Spira said that since President Trump’s election in 2016, politics have started to play a major role in millennials’ dating lives.

“Now we see politics at the top and it’s not just affecting how you date … politics has actually moved into the bedroom,” Spira told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton.

Spira, who is currently on tour promoting her new book, “Love in the Age of Trump,” added that millennials now are starting to prioritize political compatibility over sex.

“Singles now, especially millennials singles, are more interested in having similar politics and talking about good politics than actually having good sex,” Spira said.

The dating site OkCupid told HuffPost last month that for the first time in its 15-year history, the overall number of women who choose shared political views over “good sex” doubled from 2016 to 2018.

Well, if that’s what they choose, that’s what they’ll get.

JUST THINK OF THE MEDIA AS DEMOCRATIC PARTY OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES, AND IT ALL MAKES SENSE. Fail: WaPo & Vox Journos Get Northam Abortion Position Wrong, Accuse Trump of “Inciting Violence.”

The problem with what both Rupar and Gibson asserted regarding Trump “lying” about Northam’s stance on late term abortion? They’re both wrong. Trump got it right.

Here’s Northam’s actual quote from that WTOP interview, with bolded emphasis added:

When we talk about third trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of the mother, with the consent of the physician. More than one physician, by the way. And its done in case where there may be severe deformities, where there may be a fetus that is non-viable.

So, in this particular example, if a mother is in labor I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.

Gaslighting. It’s not just for the Green New Deal anymore!

WELL, TWISTING YOUR WORDS TO FIT THEIR WORST FANTASIES IS A HALLMARK OF THE LEFT, BECAUSE THEY’RE AWFUL PEOPLE:

I’m seeing Trump getting trashed — “Twitter Lampoons Trump for Apparent Trail of Tears Joke Aimed at Elizabeth Warren” (Mediaite).

“The joke here is that the Trail of Tears was a genocide. Get it? Get it?”

I’ll just say 4 things:

1. Trump only wrote (yelled) “TRAIL.” He didn’t say “Trail of Tears.” His haters are zeroing in on the Trail of Tears and insisting that’s what he meant to refer to and that’s what he thought was funny to say. It seems to me that “trail” is a more general term and a term that relates to Native Americans. It’s that more general meaning that makes the specification “of Tears” understandable. It’s as if these anti-Trumpsters have never heard of the Great Trail or the Natchez Trace.

2. If Trump’s opponents really do feel empathy toward those who suffered in the Trail of Tears, why are they bringing it up to score political points? They’re taking something weighty and somber and throwing it around gleefully, because they think they got Trump. Is that a smirk I see on their face?

3. Trump got his opponents to repeat his tweet. They are making it viral, because they think they are hurting him, but they are spotlighting Elizabeth Warren’s worst problem and helping to insure that when we think about Elizabeth Warren, we think about her problematic use of the claim that she’s Native American.

4. The Trump antagonists are giving us another example of the harshness of the left’s demands. Whatever you say may be presented in the worst possible light. It seems that if anything can be portrayed as racist/sexist/homophobic, it will be, and you can be ruined in an instant in the America they have created and want to control. It’s scary.

And that, more than anything, is why you should vote for Trump.

But if we’re going to talk Trail-of-Tears genocide, note that it was perpetrated by a Democratic president, as was the internment of Japanese Americans behind barbed wire in World War Two. So if you want to avoid genocide, you should probably avoid Democratic presidents by . . . voting for Trump. Just sayin’ . . .

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.

DISPATCHES FROM THE NATIONAL FISKING LEAGUE: If you loved James Lileks’ classic “Notes from the Olive Garden” 2003 fisking of a leftwing “Grauniad” columnist trying to explain — and mock — the modern American south to his fellow British lefties, you’ll enjoy his latest “Wednesday Review of Modern Thought,” a takedown of an American leftist writing in London’s New Statesman on an even more impenetrable subject to Brits than the 21st century American south — American football. It features this passage:

The Super Bowl should be pure, or as pure as any comically overblown brand extension devise can ever be. This is not a time to squabble over our differences. It should be a time to get together, eat a whole bucket of chicken, and punch your best friend in the stomach – like God intended.

So you know we’re off to a highly authentic, nuanced start, the Internet equivalent of Alistair Cooke’s Letters from America BBC radio series. As Lileks replies:

Okay, let’s look at some more . . . Trump Trump Trump and so on. Kapernick, whose kneeling showed that “America has a persistent problem with racial inequality that we seem to have no interest in reckoning with.” Nope, no discussion on that issue. You’d think it would come up in elections and political discussions, but it’s just not a big thing. Odd.

Despite the cavalcade of horrific news stories about the rise of white supremacy in the US that bolstered Kaepernick’s thesis – from Charlottesville to the latest tragedy involving Empire star Jussie Smollett –

We’ll just leave that one there, and skip ahead a bit.

The build-up to this year’s Super Bowl has been mercifully free of political squabbling and self-righteous posturing. As much as I’d like this to be a sign that we too can move past the last three years of perpetual in-fighting, this detente is guaranteed to be short-lived. Surely, another front will open up in this rhetorical pillow fight. Maybe halftime show performers Maroon 5 will unfurl a Palestinian flag during their set. Could Patriots quarterback Tom Brady remove his jersey to reveal a “Build the Wall” t-shirt? What if the Los Angeles Rams win the game and refuse to visit the White House, then donate their championship bonus to Kamala Harris?

Dave Schilling is a writer and humorist

I’m hardly the “stick to sports” guy conservative Americans are so fond of lashing out at,

Wait a minute. Hold on. Conservatives lash out at the guys who want sports to stick to sports?

but I also would like to enjoy my Bud Light commercials in peace.

And what prevents you from doing so?

Certainly nothing this year, as Anheuser-Busch’s latest round of Super Bowl ads were consistently designed to please elite American leftists and cop Clio awards from the advertising industry (but I repeat myself). This year the ads featured ill-conceived freakouts over corn syrup, a Leonard Nimoy-esque search for both Bob Dylan and wind turbines, and, plugging Anheuser-Busch-imported Stella Artois, an ad that co-starred that legendary blue collar lager lass, Sarah Jessica Parker.

Exit quote:

The one thing right-wing bloviators are correct about is that sport is meant to be an escape. I’ve grown tired of mixing my personal ideological convictions with the simple, binary pleasures of watching two teams compete in an athletic contest.

As Lileks replies, “So don’t. Or do. No one cares. Who politicized it in the first place?”

Read the whole thing.

BUNCH OF WHITE WOMEN DRESSED IN WHITE NOT APPLAUDING DURING TALK OF RECORD MINORITY EMPLOYMENT — not a good look.

UPDATE: Seen on Facebook: “Why are all the Dem women dressed like Ralph Northam?”

Stephen Kruiser calls it “the Bleached Estrogen Borg section.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: From the comments:

MORE: Well, they didn’t stand for the minority employment, but the women stood for record employment of women. Seems kinda . . . selfish.

Trump: “Don’t sit yet, you’re gonna like this. . . ” And he gets them on their feet again, they can’t resist. This is his pivot to unity, making it hard for Dems to marginalize him with suburban women.

He’s even got the Women In White cheering “USA” now. Is there nothing he can’t do?

MORE STILL: Harsh, but fair:

STILL MORE: Here come the photoshops! (Via Facebook).

Did it just not occur to them that this would happen?

TO LIVE AND DIE IN ATLA: While many online were joking that, “If I wanted to watch guys failing at scoring for three hours, I would have just taken my buddies to the bar,” I quite enjoyed the on-field portion of the Super Bowl last night. Unlike typical 21st century Super Bowls, in which the scoreboard looks like a pinball game, last night was a titanic defensive struggle reminiscent of the Super Bowls of the early-to-mid-1970s. That was the period best summed up by the January 1976 cover of the since long dead Sport magazine, whose headline implored, “Let’s Have A Super Bowl The Pregame Show Can Be Proud Of.” Certainly, Tony Romo and Jim Nanz, while occasionally getting punchy in the announcers’ booth, did their best to make the action watchable.

If the action on the gridiron was a throwback to the NFL’s past, the commercials and halftime show were a preview of America’s Weimar-esque future. What was Anheuser-Busch thinking, when it paid for ads that believed that light beer drinkers care whether or not their favorite beer has corn syrup in it? And that they wouldn’t get called on the number of beers that Anheuser-Busch brews that contain corn syrup. Or that they’d fail to remember what anybody who drinks light beer actually does care about:

Continue reading ‘TO LIVE AND DIE IN ATLA: While many online were joking that, “If I wanted to watch guys failing at…’ »

ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS NOT BE CRAZY, AND THEY COULDN’T EVEN DO THAT. Matthew Continetti: The Democrats Lose Their Minds.

On Monday, in a townhall organized by CNN, Kamala Harris endorsed a Medicare-for-All plan that would “eliminate”—her word—private insurance. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, employer-provided health insurance covers “approximately 152 million nonelderly people in total.” A poll last year by America’s Health Insurance Plan (AHIP) found that 71 percent of Americans were satisfied with their employer’s plan. Most Americans have health insurance, and most Americans are pretty happy with their insurance. Too bad: Kamala Harris says it’s time to “move on.”

Harris’s rival, Elizabeth Warren, has endorsed a tax of 2 percent on assets above $50 million and 3 percent on assets above $1 billion. Now, Warren would like to raise taxes on incomes, capital gains, dividends, and corporations, too. That’s just for starters. A wealth tax of the sort she has proposed—a government claw-back of property in order to make real a subjective standard of equality—would be unique in American history. It might even be unconstitutional. But hey, why worry about that when you can indulge in some light court packing?

The brightest star in the Democratic Party is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, aka AOC. The other week, in conversation with Ta-Nehisi Coates, AOC said, “I do think that a system that allows billionaires to exist when there are parts of Alabama where people are still getting ringworm because they don’t have access to public health is wrong.” Don’t worry, “It’s not to say someone like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet are immoral people.” AOC’s complaint is with the “system” that “allows” Gates and Buffet—and Schultz and Bezos and George Lucas and Mark Zuckerberg and the rest—”to exist.” Presumably, then, Gates and Buffet are safe, existentially speaking. But the “system” of relatively free enterprise that allowed them to grow rich—and finance or innovate remarkable advances in technology and productivity that have benefited the world—should be altered drastically. Hence AOC’s call for a 70-percent marginal tax rate—backed by the same genius from Berkeley who designed Warren’s expropriation of wealth—to help pay for the “Green New Deal” that will give us “a 100% greenhouse gas neutral power generation system, decarbonizing industry and agriculture and more.” Currently, 17 percent of American energy is renewable. The scale of coercion required for such a transformation would brighten any Jacobin’s day. Don’t think too hard about the details of the proposal, though. AOC says there isn’t time to worry about cost, implementation, and unanticipated consequences. “The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change,” she told Coates. Nice while it lasted, I suppose.

AOC also has a message for Schultz, who has been the recipient of sustained, ferocious, and panicked attacks from members of his former party outraged that a moderate billionaire might spoil their plans for replacing Trump with an unreconstructed left-winger. “Why don’t people ever tell billionaires who want to run for president that they need to ‘work their way up’ or that ‘maybe they should start with city council first’? ” she Tweeted. Well, plenty of people do tell them that—I seem to recall a lack of government experience being an issue in the most recent presidential election—but if anyone has “worked his way up,” from the poorhouse to being the first in his family to graduate from college to turning a coffee shop at the Pike Place market into the global behemoth that is Starbucks, it’s Howard Schultz. I’d even go as far to say that Schultz’s company has done more for its low-wage workers than the corniest socialist dreams of AOC.

Let’s see … what else happened in the busy world of crazy … excuse me while I flip through my files … Ah yes, there was congresswoman Ilhan Omar, parroting the Kremlin-Havana-Tehran line on the democratic uprising in Venezuela, calling it “a U.S. backed coup.” A few days later, Omar, a supporter of the anti-Semitic Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement whom the Democrats have awarded with a place on the House Foreign Relations Committee, said she “almost chuckles” because “we still uphold” the Jewish State of Israel “as a democracy in the Middle East.” I chuckle—and begin seriously to worry—that someone who cannot distinguish between tyranny in Latin America and democracy in the Middle East commands such acclaim and receives such attention. Omar has former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett in her corner. When Omar dismissed Congressman Lee Zeldin’s criticism of her views by Tweeting, “Don’t mind him, he is just waking up to the reality of having Muslim women as colleagues who know how to stand up to bullies!”, Jarrett replied, “Shake him up!” Zeldin is a Jewish Republican.

Trump has been the Great Clarifier.

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: Elizabeth Warren Finally Packs Up Her Wigwam.

Now, speaking as a cuck RINO NeverTrumper, I know I’m not supposed to admit when Trump gets something right. But he sure did get this one right. He saw Warren’s biggest weakness and exploited it. He used what Saul Alinsky called “man’s most potent weapon”: ridicule. Warren could have ignored all his taunting and teasing and trolling. Instead, she ended up doing more damage to her own campaign than Trump or anybody else ever could.

Nevertheless, she persisted. Whoops!

Read the whole thing.

JIM TREACHER: I’m About Ready to Buy a MAGA Hat Just to Spite These Child-Hating A-Holes.

Remember when wearing a MAGA hat meant you were certain to lose an election to Hillary Clinton? Remember the days before a red baseball cap became a symbol of all evil in the universe?

I’ve been typing words on the Internet to pay the bills for, I dunno, 12-13 years now. I spent eight of those years disapproving of a cult of personality centered in the Oval Office, and I’ve spent the past few years disapproving of the subsequent cult of personality centered in the Oval Office. I don’t like tribal groupthink, and I’m as immune to Trump’s charisma as I was to Obama’s, so in 2019 that means I have even fewer friends and admirers than usual.

But as we head into week 2 of the MAGA Kid Saga, I’m finding common cause with my Trumpkin brothers and sisters. Whatever our differences, I’ve always agreed with them that the media is astonishingly biased and corrupt. The abject shamelessness of our moral, ethical, and intellectual betters, the self-appointed gatekeepers of the truth, has never been more apparent than it’s been over the past week.

If you attend a march in Washington, D.C. while wearing a cheap red hat that can be purchased at any gift shop or souvenir stand in the city, there’s every chance you’ll be branded a racist for maintaining your composure while complete strangers scream at you and pound drums in your face. And even when irrefutable video evidence proves you’ve done nothing wrong, a pack of bigots with press passes will still blame you for angering them. . . . See, this is balanced journalism. Yesterday, Savannah Guthrie asked the kid who didn’t do anything — he stood stock-still and did nothing — if he thought he should apologize. Today, she asked the fraud who lied to her whether the kid who didn’t do anything should apologize. Gotta get both sides! (And I just love being lectured by Guthrie, the woman who stood by and did nothing while her co-host raped half the building.)

You know, the Kavanaugh smears charged up the GOP base, and these smears seem to be taking things to another level. I wonder how much Roger Stone paid Nathan Phillips?

THEY ARE DESTROYING THEMSELVES WITH TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME, AND EVEN THE ATLANTIC HAS NOTICED: The Media Botched the Covington Catholic Story. And the damage to their credibility will be lasting. “The full video reveals that these kids had wandered into a Tom Wolfe novel and had no idea how to get out of it.”

As have we all. Well, I have some idea.

UPDATE: Okay here’s more:

How could the elite media—The New York Times, let’s say—have protected themselves from this event, which has served to reinforce millions of Americans’ belief that traditional journalistic outlets are purveyors of “fake news”? They might have hewed to a concept that once went by the quaint term “journalistic ethics.” Among other things, journalistic ethics held that if you didn’t have the reporting to support a story, and if that story had the potential to hurt its subjects, and if those subjects were private citizens, and if they were moreover minors, you didn’t run the story. You kept reporting it; you let yourself get scooped; and you accepted that speed is not the highest value. Otherwise, you were the trash press.

At 8:30 yesterday morning, as I was typing this essay, The New York Times emailed me. The subject line was “Ethics Reminders for Freelance Journalists.” (I have occasionally published essays and reviews in the Times). It informed me, inter alia, that the Times expected all of its journalists, both freelance and staff, “to protect the integrity and credibility of Times journalism.” This meant, in part, safeguarding the Times’ “reputation for fairness and impartiality.”

I am prompted to issue my own ethics reminders for The New York Times. Here they are: You were partly responsible for the election of Trump because you are the most influential newspaper in the country, and you are not fair or impartial. Millions of Americans believe you hate them and that you will causally harm them. Two years ago, they fought back against you, and they won. If Trump wins again, you will once again have played a small but important role in that victory.

All they have to do is not be crazy. And they just can’t do that.

WELL, THAT’S THE TRUTH: Joy Behar: We jumped to conclusions about the Covington Catholic kids because we desperately want Trump out of office.

God love ‘er for betraying no shame in recognizing that the proposition that All MAGA Hat-Wearers Are Bad in this case seems to require the continued pummeling of a bunch of children. And I stress “continued.” I jumped to conclusions too when the first carefully edited clip of the confrontation emerged but it’s one thing to render judgment rashly and regret it and another to double and triple down after evidence to the contrary emerges, as some of the Lords of Tolerance have done over the past 48 hours. . . .

My thought last night was that the last thing this clusterfark needed was Trump weighing in. Every controversy he touches turns more bitter; God knows what he might say about it off the cuff to damage his own side; and it’s a bad look for him to be taking time out for something like this when the government’s shut down and federal workers are looking at another missed payday. The right has done quite well without him over the last few days prosecuting the case in the kids’ defense too, with help from Fox News. The more I think about it, though, the weirder it would be if he *didn’t* weigh in. This sort of cultural brawl is why he was elected, after all. Ann Coulter has convinced herself that it was because of the wall, but no, it’s because Trump is willing to grab the left in a headlock unapologetically whenever a nasty bar fight like this breaks out. Fans will forgive him sooner or later (spoiler: sooner) if he doesn’t get a wall but Trump refusing to throw a chair at SJWs trying to smear a bunch of kids for “the cause” really would be a “Why did we elect this guy?” moment.

Well, when you’re in a bar fight, it’s nice to have a guy at your side who realizes that you’re in a bar fight.

UPDATE: Related:

“BUZZFEED EDITOR-IN-CHIEF BEN SMITH IS HAVING A TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO-GOOD, VERY-BAD DAY,” Twitchy notes; but we’ll come back to them in just a second. First up, Colby Hall of Mediaite writes, “Buzzfeed News Bombshell Reporter: No We Have Not Seen the Evidence Supporting Our Report:”

Anthony Cormier is one of the two investigative reporter at BuzzfeedNews who co-authored the bombshell report published Thursday night — a report which claimed President Donald Trump directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie during Congressional testimony over discussions between the Trump Organization and Russian authorities about a Trump Tower Moscow project.

Cormier appeared on CNN’s New Day and revealed that he had not seen the evidence underlying his report.

Who is the other “investigative reporter” on BuzzFeed’s article? “One Of The BuzzFeed Reporters Behind The Trump Report Has A History Of Making Things Up” Joe Cunningham of RedState notes:

One of the authors, Jason Leopold, has quite the history when it comes to bad reporting. Most folks know of his claim that multiple sources told him Karl Rove was going to be indicted in 2006 and how it turned out to be utterly false.

But, as Columbia Journalism Review noted back then, it wasn’t his first problem with facts.

When Leopold’s story was first called into question a few weeks ago, Salon’s Tim Grieve reminded readers of Leopold’s checkered history with the publication. Salon removed Leopold’s August 29, 2002 story about Enron from its site after it was discovered that he plagiarized parts from the Financial Times and was unable to provide a copy of an email that was critical to the piece. Leopold’s response? A hysterical rant (linked above) which claimed that Salon’s version of events was “nothing but lies,” and that “At this point, I wonder why Salon would go to great lengths to further twist the knife into my back. I suppose the New York Times will now release their version of the events. I can see the headline now ‘Jason Leopold Must Die.’”

That is pretty big. But, like always in cases like this, there is more.

Read the whole thing. “There are reasons to believe there’s something to the story too, though,” NeverTrumper Allahpundit speculates at Hot Air:

Leopold, Cormier, and BuzzFeed’s editors are obviously keenly aware of the magnitude of the charge here. They’re accusing a sitting president of a crime that makes his removal from office conceivable, even with a Republican majority in the Senate. They also must be aware that we’ll know whether they were right or wrong sooner rather than later. This charge won’t hang out there forever unresolved, like Michael Cohen’s alleged trip to Prague per the Steele dossier. Mueller’s working on his report, it may be ready as soon as next month, and this claim — if true — will be a key part of it. If the report emerges and there’s nothing in there about suborning perjury, BuzzFeed’s reputation will never recover. This isn’t a case like the dossier where they’re publishing someone else’s work product with no claims as to its veracity. They’re putting their own names to it. Every political scoop they publish for the next 20 years will be challenged by citing to the Leopold/Cormier fiasco. It’s basically professional suicide unless they really do have good reason to be confident in the reporting.

And so maybe they do. We’ll know soon!

But in the meantime, back to Twitchy:Rake, meet face! BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith accidentally admits his site’s guilty of lazy ‘journalism’ [screenshots]:”

Click to enlarge.

In addition to his Freudian slip about BuzzFeed itself, that’s a pretty nasty (albeit likely unintentional) subtweet from Smith aimed at former BuzzFeed staffer Andrew Kaczynski, who has since taken his habit of “resurfacing” old news to Time-Warner-CNN-HBO.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Oops:

Ouch:

ANOTHER UPDATE: Shep Smith and Chris Wallace: Why haven’t any media outlets been able to corroborate BuzzFeed’s Trump story? Why, indeed?

MORE: #JOURNALISM.

STILL MORE: Yes.

Plus, from the comments: “This ‘story’ was the top of hourly radio news all damn day today. And now we hear it’s crap, straight from the godhead, Mueller. The anti-Trumpers apparently just ate a dick the size of Oumuamua. Again.”

In two successive days, Trump’s owned Pelosi and the press, without even breaking a sweat. Welcome to 2019!

MAKE THE RUBBLE BOUNCE:

I DUNNO, I’M STARTING TO THINK THAT YOU ARE:

GABBARD, CASTRO FACE THE LONGEST ODDS IN 2020 WHITE HOUSE BIDS: There was a time when some folks thought Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) brought hope of a revived moderate, independent-minded wing of the donkey party. But then she decided to run for president.

Then there’s former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who like Gabbard last week announced a loooonnnnnnggggg shot bid for the Democrats’ 2020 presidential nomination. He was a young, rising-star Texas Democrat. Then Beto happened.

Much more here about both Democrats (much of which you may not know). They have virtually no hope of actually being nominated, but keep an eye on both as potential veep nominees or cabinet members should whoever does get the Democratic nomination defeat President Donald Trump in November 2020.

#JOURNALISM: Press Outlets Dunk on Rand Paul for Going to Canada, Land of ‘Socialized Medicine,’ for Surgery. But the Clinic Is Private.

Some media outlets and activists are suggesting that Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) is guilty of hypocrisy because he will travel to Canada for surgery related to his 2017 assault at the hands of a neighbor. Paul, after all, has warned loudly against adopting the Canadian health care system.

“Rand Paul, enemy of socialized medicine, will go to Canada for surgery,” tweeted Talking Points Memo. The tweet includes a link to a Courier-Journal story that reminds readers that “Paul has called universal health care and nationalized options ‘slavery.'” Newsweek went a similar route. . . .

Checkmate, libertarians? Nope.

Those who chuckled at this supposed irony missed a major detail, even though it was noted in the press coverage: Paul’s surgery will take place at the Shouldice Hernia Hospital in Thornhill, Ontario. The clinic is private, and run for profit; The Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale, who is from Thornhill, notes that it was “grandfathered in to Ontario’s socialized health system.”

Get beaten nearly to death by a Democrat, go for medical care, get mocked by Democratic Party operatives with bylines. And the press wonders why people hate it.

Related: Rand Paul’s attacker: ‘I lost it and became irate.’

Flashback: Bernie Bro James T. Hodgkinson, Attempted Assassin Of Steve Scalise, Already Being Erased From History.

Plus:

● Hillary: ‘You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for.’

● Former Attorney General Eric Holder: “Michelle [Obama] always says, ‘When they go low, we go high.’ No. No. When they go low, we kick them.”

Politico: After failing to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Democrats wonder if it’s time to be more ruthless.

Democrat Doxxer Threatened To Reveal Senators’ Children’s Health Information.

DC restaurant: We’ve received death threats after Ted Cruz, wife forced out by protesters.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ): We Are Less Than 60 Days From Totally ‘Kicking the S–t Out of the Republicans.’

Networks Silent On Attempted Stabbing of GOP Candidate By Anti-Trump Attacker.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) Jokes About Threatening Trump Supporters ‘All The Time.’

As a sidenote, I was disappointed to see the Knoxville News-Sentinel pushing this bogus story on Facebook.

THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS: One of the fundamental elements of good journalism is “show, don’t tell.” This means that reporting facts are preferred over interpretation or characterizations. But it’s not hard to see why distrust in the legacy media is ever-rising.

“Americans blame shutdown on Trump over Democrats by wide margin, poll finds” blares USA Today. Wide margin? The poll actually shows that:

When asked, “Who do you think is mainly responsible for this situation?” 53 percent of Americans told pollsters they blamed Trump and congressional Republicans.

Three points is a “wide” margin? Moreover, the story’s kicker admits that “The poll of 788 Americans was conducted Jan. 8-11 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.” When the spread is less than the margin of error, that’s usually called a “split” or “close” race.

What more, this important fact isn’t revealed until the third paragraph. Given the fact that as many as 25 percent of American adults get their news from Facebook, and given that too many people never read past the headline, this is especially egregious. “Fake news”? No, but “Wrong” news? Absolutely.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Trump to Visit NOTACRISIS Border and Much, Much More. “Can you imagine all the things you could get out of Trump if you were willing to negotiate over that wall? If I were a Dreamer, I’d be pissed. If I were any one of the special interest groups that the Democrats claim to represent I would be angry too, here is an opportunity to get some stuff out of Trump and Chuck & Nancy are blowing it. But we all know that the Dems want Trump to lose his wall, more than they want their constituents to win.”

MEANWHILE, BACK ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA: Kim Jong Un reaffirms denuclearization commitment, vows efforts for second summit with Trump.

Dig:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reaffirmed his commitment to the denuclearization and vowed efforts to produce good results from his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese state media said Thursday.

Kim made the pledge during his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Tuesday, according to Xinhua News Agency. Kim was in China for a four-day trip, his fourth visit to the neighboring ally in about 10 months.

“The DPRK will continue sticking to the stance of denuclearization and resolving the Korean Peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation, and make efforts for the second summit between DPRK and U.S. leaders to achieve results that will be welcomed by the international community,” Xinhua quoted Kim as saying during talks with Xi.

Yeah, Instapundit readers, Kim’s a Commie liar, like Angela Davis. But he’s a scared Commie liar.

So we’re on the same page, check out this column which discusses South Korea’s close encounter (inspection) with North Korea’s utterly abysmal railroad system.

In December…South Korean railroad experts conducted a close inspection of North Korean railroads. Over two weeks, a South Korean train crept along some 2,000 kilometers of North Korean track, gathering highly granular data on North Korean rail infrastructure and verifying its miserable condition.

Pyongyang wants Seoul to help rebuild its railroads. South Korea says it will — after denuclearization. Denuclearization requires inspection and verification within the secretive North Korea. Paranoid North Korea let South Korean railroad experts inspect and verify. Was it a tentative first step toward accepting the nuclear weapons inspection and verification regimen CVID requires? Perhaps 2019 will tell provide a few more clues.

CVID = Complete, Verifiable and Irreversible Denuclearization.

Where can you get more details? Yes, of course. Cocktails from Hell. Go ahead. Do it. Order now. Rejoice. Finally, reality is a sales gimmick.

SHOT: ‘It could go either way’: China and the United States ready for trade war talks in Beijing.

US-based Politico reported that US officials were expected to look closely at whether China had carried through on earlier promises. In late 2018, Chinese officials gave the United States proposals to address its government subsidies, market access barriers and intellectual property theft. Those documents, and a more recent US response, are expected to be the focus of this week’s talks.

“If Gerrish hears that the Chinese are really serious about doing some hard things, putting meat on the bones of vague commitments and willing to work with the US on verification and enforcement mechanisms, then I think you’ll see negotiations move forward at an accelerated clip,” a US industry official told Politico.

If not, “it’s going to be more difficult”, the official said.

Inside the US delegation for China trade war talks: Washington’s big guns will be absent

Observers said both sides needed to tackle the problems because the tariffs had taken a bite out of the economy, sending US stocks tumbling and adding to downward risks in China.

The stock market isn’t the “real” economy, which judging by last week’s jobs report, the business and consumers who do the actual hiring and spending are feeling much more confident than Wall Street is.

Which leads us to the…

CHASER: Apple’s stark warning may be ominous news for China.

“China’s economy is definitely slowing quite a bit across a bunch of sectors, and this slowing momentum is likely to continue for another couple of months at least,” said Arthur Kroeber, the founder of Gavekal Dragonomics, a research firm in Beijing. “And consumer confidence is definitely down, which is probably part of what’s behind the Apple numbers.”

Months after Starbucks announced a massive China expansion this year, it said that China sales would increase just 1 percent, far below those in the United States. Jaguar Land Rover briefly shut a factory in Britain after September sales in China dropped by a half. LVMH, the luxury giant that owns Louis Vuitton and has often been used as a barometer for consumer spending in China, said the Chinese were spending “a little bit less.”

Although Chinese officials report that GDP have been growing at more than 6 per cent a year for a few years, “it looks truly like some sixth grader got out their ruler and drew a straight line with a slight downward slant,” said Christopher Balding, an expert on the Chinese economy at Fulbright University in Vietnam. “It’s totally unrealistic.”

Car sales have been shrinking for the first time since 1990, when most of the country was peddling bicycles. A key manufacturing survey at the end of the year showed Chinese factory activity actually contracting. And revenue from consumption tax was down 72 per cent in November from a year ago, Balding said.

It won’t be easy going, but I suspect Trump will get most of what he wants out of Beijing, given the real weakness in the Chinese economy, and the brittleness of authoritarian regimes that stop delivering the economic goods.

ROGER KIMBALL: The Pathetic Crusade of Mitt Romney. “Many commentators noted that Romney was happy to have Trump’s endorsement when he ran for President in 2012 and, just a few months ago, when he ran for the Senate. As Tennessee State Senator Frank Nicely put it on Twitter, ‘Mitt Romney has always been there when he needs you. The American people sensed that and he lost.’ . . . Mitt Romney thinks that Donald Trump has not risen to the ‘mantle’ of the presidency. But that mantle has been denied to Trump by an establishment that refuses to countenance his legitimacy and, moreover, by implication refuses to countenance the legitimacy of those who elected him.”

Like so many of Trump’s critics, Mitt is a coward masquerading as a brave truth-teller. Mitt could have won in 2012 if he’d shown 1/10 of Trump’s ability to punch back. But he was afraid of being called a racist for going after Obama and he lost. (And they called him a racist, and Hitler, and homophobic, and everything else anyway.) And worse, Romney seems to have learned nothing from his own experience. A sad start to his Senate career.

Plus:

Donald Trump campaigned and was elected on rolling back the regulatory state. He has made a good start on that Herculean project. He campaigned and was elected on taming illegal immigration. He is hard at work attempting to achieve that. He campaigned and was elected on cutting taxes. He managed that last year. He campaigned and was elected on rolling back political correctness. He has done that through Betsy DeVos’s department of education and in other ways. He campaigned and was elected on populating the judiciary with judges who were Constitutionalists after the pattern of Antonin Scalia. He has made astonishing progress in doing just that. He campaigned and was elected on rebuilding the United States military and, with a military budget of some $716 billion, he is well on the way to accomplishing that. He campaigned and was elected on making America energy independent. We are now the world’s largest energy producer. He campaigned and was elected on helping black and hispanic minorities, who now enjoy the lowest unemployment in history. He campaigned and was elected on a promise to challenge the spread of radical Islamic terrorism. During his first year in office, he obliterated ISIS as a fighting force. He campaigned and was elected on challenging North Korea’s nuclear program and has made historic progress on that front. He campaigned and was elected on reversing China’s unfair trade practices and expansionist policies. He has made significant progress on that front as well. He campaigned and was elected on moving our Israeli embassy to Jerusalem. He did it.

Mitt Romney thinks that Donald Trump has not risen to the ‘mantle of the office.’ I’d say, on the contrary, that he has lifted the bar and then vaulted over it.

I voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. Doubtless he is a nice man. Possibly, Donald Trump is not as nice. But he won in 2016, as Mitt Romney failed to do in 2012. And his tenure has been a litany of achievement in the light of which Mitt Romney’s complaints appear not just churlish and beside the point but slightly rancid and pathetic, not unlike the establishment he embodies.

Indeed.

UPDATE: Seen on Facebook:

CHRISTIAN TOTO: Golden Globes Hosts Vow No Trump Jokes (Right…).

Let’s go through the following quotes, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter, to share what’s spoken between the lines:

SAMBERG … Everyone is depressed [Hollywood liberals haven’t gotten over Hillary Clinton’s loss … yet!], and maybe that’s as good a reason as any that everyone could use a little time to laugh and celebrate. Not to ignore anything [I’m already hedging my bets], but we spend so much time every day wallowing in a lot of things that are happening in our world that are really depressing [like record low unemployment rates?], and with good reason — that stuff needs to be paid attention to — but there’s also power to being positive and celebratory in the tougher times as well.

OH: …I don’t really think that [getting political] is for the hosts necessarily [reciting talking points from the show producers who fear a ratings debacle]. You make it an open and safe place for whoever wants to use that platform to speak. [of course we openly encourage anti-Trump rants despite our ‘no politics’ pledge]

SAMBERG: The most memorable moments from the last two years of the Globes have been the DeMille speeches, Meryl Streep and Oprah Winfrey. [Remember when I said the show should shy away from politics? Just kidding!]

OH: …And I’m not interested in [talking about Trump] at all. What I’m interested in is pointing to actual real change.

That’s entertainment? Anyway, much more at the link.

Trump phases Arab forces into Syria vs Iran ahead of US pullout. Egyptian/UAE officers on the scene.

When Sen. Lindsay Graham said Monday, Dec. 31: “I think we are slowing things [exit from Syria] down in a smart way,” he confirmed DEBKAfile’s Dec. 22 report: “US troops will leave eastern and northern Syria, but America is not deserting this part of the country and will continue to maintain a presence after the pullout.” On Monday, the Republican Senator, who sharply criticized President Donald Trump for the troop withdrawal as a “huge Obama-like mistake,” stated: “The president assured me he is going to make sure he gets the job done.”

Our sources can now reveal the nature of that presence and the process afoot for the gradual US withdrawal. In the last few days, Egyptian and UAE military officers visited the contested north Syrian town of Manbij. They toured the town and its outskirts, checked out the locations of US and Kurdish YPG militia positions, and took notes on how to deploy their own troops as replacements. On the diplomatic side, the White House is in continuous conversation with the UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammed Bin Ziyad (MbZ) and Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi. The deal Trump is offering, is that they take over US positions in Manbij, where the Kurds have sought protection against a Turkish invasion, and American air cover will be assured against Russian, Syrian or Turkish attack.

Trump’s decision has been played in the media and Official Washington as the most reckless act since Napoleon decided to march on Moscow, but if Debka has the story right, this is a measured and responsible move. It’s certainly much more measured and responsible than President Obama’s “red line” fecklessness which got us into Syria in the first place. But that’s not a story that you’ll get from the media or Official Washington.

ELIZABETH WARREN’S “DUKAKIS TANK” MOMENT:

The release of her DNA test results right before the midterms is almost uniformly seen as a public relations disaster, from which she still is trying to recover. Rather than confirm the validity of her claim when she was climbing the law professor ladder to Harvard to be Native American, it turned her into a laughingstock.

Then Warren announced her candidacy on New Year’s Eve day. What were her handlers thinking? The timing could not have been worse. Perhaps they thought that in a slow news cycle her announcement would dominate the headlines in a good way. Instead, with little else going on, it gave even left-leaning media the opportunity to express doubts about her. And that slow news cycle ended up being dominated by Trump announcing on television that only Warren’s psychiatrist knows whether Warren actually believes she can win.

All those mistakes are dwarfed by what Warren did on New Year’s Eve. She went on Instagram live to drink beer in her kitchen. Seriously.

It’s obvious that she was trying to mimic Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the far-left Democrat rising star, who has made a name for herself, among other ways, by live streaming her meal preparation from her kitchen.

As Jaclyn Cashman adds at the Boston Herald, “Just hours after announcing her 2020 Exploratory Committee, with her first Iowa stop freshly booked, Warren went full Dukakis:”

Beer has a time-honored place in presidential politics. But this resident of Cambridge’s la-di-dah Linnaean Street and erstwhile Harvard elitist is really an extra oaky chardonnay kind of lady. Her poor husband was so befuddled — apparently not fully clued in on the stunt — that when she offered him one he declined. More of a 20-year-old tawny port sipper, no doubt.

The most authentic thing about the video, in fact, was its bogusness: Warren once again trying to pretend she is something she is not.

This time, an average beer-drinking American. Warren looked about as natural as former President Barack Obama in that awkward “Beer Summit” after he insulted the Cambridge cop.

Speaking of bogusness, it’s also a John Kerry moment:

The liberal firebrand pointed to her dog, Bailey, who was also in the kitchen and who accompanied her earlier in the day.

“And I went out and talked to the press, and Bailey went out — it was his first press conference — and my husband Bruce [Mann] was with me,” Warren said.

Seconds later, Warren’s apparent craving struck: “Hold on a second — I’m gonna get me a beer,” she said, as she walked out of view of the camera.

“Can I get a me a hunting license here?”

(Bumped.)

LOUIS CK’S POLITICALLY INCORRECT COMEDY DIDN’T CHANGE. YOU DID:

You might not think this kind of humor is funny, and that’s fine. Moreover, you might think Louis C.K., who initiated sexual situations with unwilling women, is a creepy person who has lost the right to joke about uncomfortable subjects. That’s also fine. But it would be silly to pretend that Louis C.K. has undergone some sort of change or deliberate pivot. He’s just doing his same old shtick.

But many in the media have seized upon the idea that Louis C.K. has suddenly became a right-winger—that his new material is some dramatic departure from his pre-scandal days as a woke comedy icon. “Audio of a New Louis C.K. Set Has Leaked, and It’s Sickening,” warns Slate, striking the tone of a nun listening to Eminem for the first time. The Daily Beast accuses Louis C.K. of “pandering to the alt-right,” which is quite the broad categorization; the tons of people—New Yorkers, presumably—who can be heard laughing in the background of the leaked footage would probably be surprised to learn that they take their cues from Richard Spencer.

I can’t recall very many people on the left complaining that Louis C.K. was pandering to pedophiles when he joked about normalizing child rape so that rapists would be more likely to let their child victims live. On the contrary, GQ placed that joke on its list of the 10 best Louis C.K. skits, hailing him as the most transgressive and celebrated comedian “of his generation.”

Those who suddenly find themselves balking at Louis C.K.’s edgy material should admit that the comedian didn’t really change. They did.

As Richard Fernandez has said, the torpedoes the left fired into the water to get Trump keep circling back on them. To the point where the left have become the far right Moral Majority of the late 1970s. Or as Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote in a piece titled “Hugh Hefner, Gangsta Rap & The Emerging Moral Majority, after Hef entered his “After Dark” mode permanently in September of 2017, on the eve of Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K.’s fall from grace, and the concurrent dawn of the #MeToo era, “Moral concerns pop up one decade in right-wing clothes, and, in the next, change into another outfit.”

WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING, BESIDES EVERYONE WITH A BRAIN? It Sure Looks Like This Obamacare Program Has Led to More People Dying: Under the health law, Medicare started penalizing hospitals for too many readmissions. Now mortality rates are up.

To determine whether a government program is successful, it’s often necessary to look not only at how well it does what it’s supposed to do, but what it’s doing that it isn’t supposed to. For example, killing people.

Take the hospital readmissions program built into Obamacare. The program derived from a simple observation that hospitals were treating lots of people who would then return for more treatment within the month. Unnecessary readmissions cost Medicare an estimated $17.5 billion a year. If hospitals were treating people effectively, the thinking went, those people shouldn’t need to return so soon.

So the health law instituted a Medicare payment penalty for hospitals with too many readmissions for pneumonia, heart failure, and heart attack. Since 2012, Medicare has assessed about $2 billion in penalties on hospitals with too-high readmissions rates.

Hospital groups have argued that these payments are punitive and unfair, particularly to so-called safety net hospitals that serve the poorest, sickest patients. These patients tend to have higher readmissions rates, and the hospitals that treat them were more likely to be hit with payment reductions. (Earlier this year, the Trump administration changed the penalty structure for safety net hospitals.)

But the program has often been labeled a success because it accomplished its primary goal. Readmissions dropped between 2.3 and 3.6 percentage points for the conditions targeted. Readmissions associated with other maladies dropped by 1.4 percent. The authors of one 2016 study suggested that the lower readmission rates “point to how Medicare can improve the care that patients receive through innovative payment models.” It offered proof, and hope, that with the right incentives, Medicare could save money and provide better care.

A new study appears to dash that hope, at least as far as readmissions are concerned.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and conducted by by researchers associated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical and Harvard Medical School, looked at hospitalizations between 2005 and 2015. It found that “30-day post-discharge mortality”—the number of people who died within a month of leaving the hospital—increased for heart failure patients after the readmissions penalty program was implemented.

But remember, if you opposed ObamaCare, it was because you wanted people to die. All the best thought leaders said so.

A FRIEND ASKED ME WHY I HAVEN’T POSTED ANYTHING YET ON LAST FRIDAY’S ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION THAT IT IS RESCINDING THE NOTORIOUS OBAMA-ERA SCHOOL DISCIPLINE GUIDANCE: Well … I meant to. But I wanted first to take a moment or two to celebrate.

I suspect many teachers and principals are celebrating too. Polls showed the guidance, which applied disparate impact liability to school discipline, was unpopular with teachers.  Rescinding it will make their classrooms more orderly, and it will also ensure that  students—of all races—will be treated more fairly. When teachers and principals are in control of discipline, the decisions they make will be a lot more sensible than when distant bureaucrats are telling them what they have to do.

Doubtless there will be more pushback in the media about this. Even before the guidance was rescinded, the New York Times was already defending the Obama Administration’s policies by saying they were “adopted after strong evidence emerged that minority students were receiving more suspensions and tougher punishments than white students for the same or lesser offenses ….”

This actual evidence of discrimination is astonishingly thin. It’s true that African American students are disciplined more often than white students (and that white students are disciplined more often than Asian students). But upon thorough examination it turns out that the teachers who refer students for discipline are not flaming racists who make up out of thin air offenses by minority students. Rather, it’s a question of which students are misbehaving.

I have been working on getting this policy reversed for over eight years. (Yes, even before the rescinded guidance went into effect, the Obama Department of Education was going after schools whose policies led them to discipline African American students at disproportionate rates. I had the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights investigate.)

I’ve posted it before, but if you want to understand the issue, read The Department of Education’s Obama-Era Initiative on Racial Disparities in School Discipline: Wrong For Students and Teachers, Wrong on the Law .

THE JANET COOKE OF HAMBURG. WAPO: A reporter’s dispatch from Trump country featured a ‘Mexicans Keep Out’ sign. But he made it all up.

What motivated [Claas] Relotius to lie? “It was the fear of failure,” he reportedly told editors at Der Spiegel, confessing that the pressure had grown as his career took off. After the 2016 election, his editors suggested that he write about Trump voters in rural America, and made plans for him to rent an apartment in Fergus Falls. But once he got there, the article failed to come together, Der Spiegel editor Ullrich Fichtner wrote:

When asked about the Fergus Falls story, he admitted that he knew perfectly well that the editors wouldn’t have reprimanded him if he had dropped the whole thing. “I think,” Relotius said last week, “a normal person would have said: ‘Listen, this just isn’t working. I’m stuck and we can’t do the story.’” But Relotius is evidently no normal person. “I tend to want to have control,” he said, “and I have this compulsion, this drive, to somehow make it happen. Of course, you don’t make it happen. You make a fabrication.” When he says “you” here, he can only mean himself and no one else.

According to Anderson, however, there was a story to be found in Fergus Falls. It just may not have been the one that Relotius was looking for. What he had overlooked, she wrote on Wednesday, were the community programs supporting local artists, the excellent coffee shop, and all of the residents who traveled to Washington for the Women’s March, planted Black Lives Matter signs in their yards and wept when they realized that Trump had been elected.

“This is just a hunch, but it seems to me that Relotius’ overseas readers might appreciate knowing that small American towns are more complex than they imagine — that die-hard liberals like me can still magically live alongside conservative Republicans — that sometimes we even find some common ground and share a meal together, and take the time to try to understand each other’s viewpoints,” she wrote.

You mean, we’re not all socialists now, as the Washington Post once pretended?

(Classical allusion in headline.)

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Remember James Lileks’ epic takedown of a foreign report from a Birmingham, Alabama Olive Garden shortly after 9/11? They’ve always got the story pre-written before they talk to anyone.

SHOWMANSHIP: Wall funding to be State of the Union demand, direct challenge to Pelosi.

Anxious over the image of shutting down the government four days before Christmas, the White House and congressional Republicans shifted the budget fight over border wall funding to February to make it the focus of President Trump’s State of the Union.

With the administration under fire in some conservative quarters for “caving in” after making repeated threats to shut the government down Friday if a deal for more wall funding wasn’t cut, officials Wednesday afternoon pushed back, claiming it is part of a broader plan to heighten the war with Democrats over securing $5 billion for border security.

“It’s not a retreat, it’s actually a bigger attack,” said a Trump adviser.

The shutdown date was pushed back to Feb. 8, after Trump is scheduled to give his State of the Union to a joint sitting of Congress. It is always the biggest speech of the year.

“The date after the State of the Union gives the president the biggest visible platform,” said another source familiar with the agreement cut today. “This positions us to have the fight when we have the most visibility,” added the source.

Yes, but you won’t have a GOP House anymore. Then again the GOP House you have now hasn’t been any good on this either. I suppose this makes sense if you figure Trump wants a victory — or even a defeat — on the wall to be a 2020 presidential campaign issue, not a midterm issue.

THERE ARE CERTAIN TOWNS IN MINNESOTA I WOULD ADVISE YOU NOT TO INVADE MAKE UP FAKE NEWS: Don’t Mess with Fergus Falls.

In 2017, the German magazine Spiegel sent a reporter to Fergus Falls, Minn., to write a story about Deep Trumplandia.

Unfortunately for Spiegel, Fergus Falls residents Michele Anderson and Jake Krohn read the story (which is no longer available, for reasons you’ll discover below), and wrote a stunning exposé on all the things he got wrong. “Got wrong” is too benign a characterization. The reporter, Claas Relotius, just made things up.

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How on earth did Relotius think he was going to get away with this stuff? Truth is, prior to the Internet, he probably would have, given that few if any of the town’s residents would have seen the article, which flatters the prejudices of liberal Europeans, and if they had seen it, who would have heard their protest?

There’s a happy ending: Spiegel fired Claas Relotius today for being a lying liar who has lied about more than Fergus Falls. 

Read the whole thing.

(Bumped.)