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TWO JERRY BROWNS IN ONE! Gov. Brown vetoed 2016 bill aimed at power line, wildfire safety.

Flash-forward to last Sunday: Trump to Gavin Newsom on California Fires: ‘Get Your Act Together.’ Newsom responded like a snotty teenager, “You don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation.” Though as Joel Pollak writes at Breitbert.com, “there is no scientific link between the current fires and climate change. Scientists have said that a warmer California could be more susceptible to fire in the future, but recent fires are partly a product of conditions already endemic to California, and wind patterns that have little to do with climate change. One scientist called Jerry Brown’s effort to link wildfires to climate change an example of ‘noble-cause corruption’ — i.e. making incorrect scientific claims in the service of a ‘noble’ cause that most scientists might in fact support politically.”

And then there’s 2015 Jerry Brown versus 1970s Jerry Brown: As Victor Davis Hanson wrote in 2015 during California’s long, largely self-created drought, “Brown and other Democratic leaders will never concede that their own opposition in the 1970s (when California had about half its present population) to the completion of state and federal water projects, along with their more recent allowance of massive water diversions for fish and river enhancement, left no margin for error in a state now home to 40 million people.”

KRUISER’S MORNING BRIEF: Judging Trump on the Judges Edition. “Trump’s infusion of constitutionalist judges into the federal judiciary is a wall of sorts, a barrier keeping activists judges from reshaping American society according to the whims of fringe progressives. It may end up providing more security for America than the border wall, at least for a generation.”

Yes.

Plus:

You may have noticed the “Join VIP” graphic that appeared at the top of all of the PJ Media pages on Wednesday. We are in the middle of a soft launch of a new premium offering. There will be more details in the days to come as the technical issues are resolved. Here is some basic information, and some of the premium VIP content will begin showing up on the site today.

The economics of pageview-generated ad revenue never really meshed with quality writing, or the kinds of topics which drew people like Kruiser and me to blogging in the first place. Overall, the economic necessity of generating clickbait hasn’t been kind to the right side of the blogosphere, and skittish advertizing algos have forced us to either preemptively demonetize or avoid some topics completely. That’s a lousy way to have to run a commentary site. But on the ad-free VIP section of all the Townhall sites, we’re focusing on quality, and can cover any topics we choose. Best of all, the content you have to choose from won’t be at the mercy Google’s algos.

If you decide to join, use the promo code VODKAPUNDIT and get a nice little discount.

UPDATE: Wow. There’s been enough interest that signups have blown up the signup system. That’s fantastic, but hold off for now and I’ll post an update once the tech crew has the kinks unkinked.

TOUGH LOVE: Trump Threatens to Cut California Wildfire Funds.

In a Sunday morning tweet, Mr. Trump alleged that California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, wasn’t doing enough to stop the fires, accusing him of doing a “terrible job of forest management.”

“Every year, as the fire’s rage & California burns, it is the same thing – and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help. No more. Get your act together Governor,” the president wrote.

Mr. Trump again called on Mr. Newsom to “clean” the state’s forest floors to help prevent the spread of fires, an argument he has been making publicly for months.

Why should the rest of the country continue paying for California’s bad decisions on forest management and urban development?

SEE, THIS IS WHERE THE MEDIA BEING DEMOCRATIC PARTY OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES HURTS THEIR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES: The “Bonfire of the Democratic Party’s Once-Rising Stars,” with forensic analysis by Jim Geraghty:

But the other lesson is that running for president is really hard, and a lot of these candidates have spent most of their careers in heavily Democratic areas and states where the political wind was always at their back. Gillibrand certainly wasn’t going to sweat Senate races in New York. Booker’s Newark and statewide races never had that much tension. Despite the redness of Texas overall, San Antonio and El Paso were dots of blue, meaning O’Rourke and Castro never faced tough general elections. (Credit O’Rourke for coming close against Cruz, but in the end all of that glowing coverage wasn’t because the media expected him to just “come close.”)

In a way, getting good press is just not that difficult for a young-ish Democratic lawmaker with decent public speaking skills. Just invite a big newspaper or magazine reporter to hang around for a few days, let them marvel as you charm little old ladies and speak some eighth-grade Spanish to a local Latino organization, offer some trite observations that “technology changes everything” and “government can do so much more if we only have the will,” and then roll up your sleeves and pose for your looking-off-in-the-distance photo shoot. Presto! Instant presidential “buzz.”

In contrast, when it comes to conservatives and Republicans, as Moe Lane wrote in 2011 before abandoning political blogging, “The Media hates you, and wants you to die in a fire.” That’s the first of his “Ten Media Truths for Conservative/Republican Legislators,” which remain valid to this day. As does this 2014 CNN article headlined: “Inside the GOP’s secret school,” on the Obama-era GOP’s disciplined approach to dealing with the media. Although at least one quote sounds remarkably dated post-2016:

Spicer and Reince Priebus, the RNC chairman, embarked on an overhaul of the organization’s media operations, hiring web-fluent staffers, streamlining their surrogate database and stepping up their media-training operations to instill discipline over candidates. The latter move, Priebus said, became essential after witnessing Republican candidates up and down the ballot in 2012 ruin news cycles with offensive or tone-deaf comments on issues like abortion or rape.

“I’d rather have candidates being careful to a fault than, you know, having a fountain of blabber coming out of their mouth that’s not disciplined,” Priebus says. “We are training candidates, training state parties, training operatives to appreciate that communicating isn’t just a free-for-all, natural-born type of activity. People need to be trained and disciplined.”

If you’re not Donald Trump, that’s still excellent advice for a Republican politician dealing with a media that, unlike when reporting on youngish Democratic lawmakers with decent public speaking skills, hates you, and wants you to die in a fire.

HOUSE FORMALIZES IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY IN PARTY-LINE VOTE:

Meanwhile, the GOP Senate majority has warned that the resolution is a non-starter in the upper chamber.

“They have denied President Trump basic due process and are cutting his counsel out of the process in an unprecedented way. House Democrats’ new resolution does not change any of that,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday. “The draft resolution that has been released does nothing of the sort. It falls way short, way short.”

The Trump campaign immediately slammed the resolution, calling it an “attempt to remove a duly-elected president for strictly political reasons” and adding that “voters will punish Democrats who support this farce.”

As Rick Moran adds at the PJ mothership, “If you’re going to overturn the election of a president, you would think that you’d want a few brave souls from the opposition to at least give the appearance of bi-partisanship. Democrats are realizing that this simply isn’t going to happen and it calls into question the legitimacy of their entire inquiry… Democrats don’t think they’ll be hurt much by the partisan appearance of their inquiry. It will certainly please the hysterical, anti-Trump vote — the real power in the party. They don’t care what impeachment looks like, they just want it done. That may well be their undoing.”

Trump himself tweeted in response, “The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!”

UPDATE: Byron York dubs today’s vote “The Adam Schiff Empowerment Act:” “‘There’s no guarantee we can call any witnesses,’ said Republican Rep. Brad Wenstrup, a member of the Intelligence Committee, in an interview Wednesday. ‘The rules the Democrats rammed through simply confirm the absolute control Schiff has been exercising this entire time,’ Nunes said. ‘He shouldn’t be involved in impeachment at all since none of this has any intelligence component, but Pelosi obviously thinks Nadler is incompetent.’”

MORE: We’re putting the band back together! “Striking that in House Rules Committee meeting on impeachment inquiry resolution, No. 2 Democrat, Rep. Alcee Hastings, has actually been impeached. (Was federal judge, impeached, convicted, and removed for bribery in 1989.)”

THIS JUST IN: CLASSICAL LIBERALS* ARE CLASSICAL LIBERALS. The Intellectual Dark Web is more liberal than you’d think.

The issue that commands the most consensus, not surprisingly, is free speech, with 89 percent of us agreeing it should always be allowed and 83 percent believing ‘people should be allowed to say and believe whatever they want, even if others think those words or beliefs are hurtful’. We’re also very respectful towards those who disagree with us, which is what you’d expect from a group committed to viewpoint diversity. More than half the respondents said they had a high tolerance for members of the political party opposite to them and wouldn’t mind if one of their children was going out with someone with diametrically opposed views.

What struck me on reading this is that most of us hold opinions that 70 years ago would have placed us to the left of the Overton window and 20 years ago would have put us squarely in the middle. But the shift to the left among the educated intelligentsia has accelerated so significantly in the past 10 years that it’s now commonplace to describe a group of ‘moderate secular liberals’ (Michael Shermer’s phrase) as ‘alt-right’ extremists.

Which dovetails well with the “America’s Delusional Elite Is Done” essay in the American Mind we linked to yesterday:

The failure of the conservative establishment to address the insanity of the new left is the chief negative cause of the phenomenon or movement in question. The new left has alienated large swathes of younger men especially who otherwise would have been sympathetic to its causes. Many voted for Obama and were very much of the “green” faction for example. They weren’t doing so because they were antifa or communists or radicals—in temperament, background, profession, many would have probably been young Republicans before George W. Bush—but did so because the Republican party of the time, the party of Romney and Paul Ryan, was bankrupt in ideas and spirit and had nothing to offer. Obama was promising accountability for the extremely destructive financial crisis of 2008 and for the Iraq War before that. But he didn’t deliver; he became instead a protector of a corrupt ruling class, and a racial demagogue.

The anti-male and anti-White rhetoric of the new left is extreme. The racial attacks on whites in particular approaches exterminationist propaganda seen only in, e.g., the Hutu against the Tutsi in 1990’s Rwanda.

For anyone who doubts this, consider the following few examples, which are far from complete:

A columnist for the Huffington Post, a major leftist publication, wrote an article titled “Towards a Concept of White Wounding,” apparently calling for racial violence.

The New York Times hired a columnist who had repeated vulgar racial attacks on whites, calling “whiteness” “awful,” whites “only fit to live underground like groveling goblins,” expressed great joy at “being cruel to old white men,” and declared that whites will be “extinct soon.” The Paper of Record stood by her when these attacks were exposed, and only quietly let her go recently when she supported a boycott against her own employer.

Symone Sanders, currently a senior adviser to Joe Biden and previously the national press secretary for Bernie Sanders, mocked a disabled white teenager who was tortured on camera in 2017 by a black mob screaming “Fuck Trump! Fuck white people!” and otherwise called cases of antiwhite political violence “a protest.”

The New York Times—again, hardly an unknown blog—published an opinion column by Michelle Goldberg with the eliminationist titleWe Can Replace Them,” ostensibly against “white nationalism,” but in fact directed against a demographic white majority as such, which the author seeks to replace with nonwhites for what she imagines to be political advantage.

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, a major organ of the Left that pushes the security establishment’s Russia Hoax conspiracy theories, called this summer for “a literal or figurative war” on whites and a “race war” that the DNC must be willing to get “Lincolnesque” about.

Major leftist and establishment media such as Newsweek publish cover stories titled “Is Your Baby Racist”; major publishers promote books titled White Fragilityor The Dying of Whitenessand CNN—not white nationalist outlets—runs graphics on “The Vanishing White American.”

Again, all this is par for the course these days; as everyone knows, state-funded universities routinely hold “white privilege” seminars and orientation sessions, promoting a concept the plain meaning of which is to dispossess people of property and civil rights based on their biology.

And again: “In New Jersey, two high school boys stand accused of racially harassing and intimidating four younger black girls. The accused are of South Asian (Indian) descent. You might think that this ugly display is a reminder that the sin of racism is a universal part of the fallen human condition. You would be wrong, according to Princeton historian Nell Irvin Painter. Writing in The New York Times, the L’Osservatore Romano of the Cult of Social Justice, Painter tells us that it’s really whitey’s fault.”

* “Progressives” hijacked the L-word beginning in 1919, after the hash Woodrow Wilson made of their ideology during WWI.

BILL KRISTOL HAS HIS SEVEN DAYS IN MAY MOMENT:

In October of 2018, as NewsBusters spotted, “On MSNBC, Rosie O’Donnell Suggests a Military Coup Against Trump.” The previous August, former comedienne turned far left activist Chelsea Handler called for “a military coup to overthrow Trump,” the New York Post reported. Glenn’s 2016 paper on military coups in the United States just keeps getting more timely!

BOTTOM STORY OF THE DAY: You Won’t Have Alec Baldwin’s Trump Impression to Kick Around Much Longer. “Baldwin’s been singing this song ever since Trump won. Again and again, he insists he’s done playing Trump, and again and again, he’s not quite done. If NBC wants to keep paying him to do something that makes him so miserable, it seems like a suitable punishment. Besides, putting him in a TV studio gets him off the street, where he does much more harm to the community.”

ALSO, A LOT OF GOP POLITICIANS: Don Surber: How the media blew the Syria story.

This morning at 8, BBC posted a story, “Turkey’s Erdogan ‘threw Trump’s Syria letter in bin.'” It was Fake News.

This afternoon at 2, President Donald John Trump announced Erdogan agreed to a cease-fire along the Syrian border.

Once again, the press got the story all wrong. President Trump knew what he was doing and succeeded where his predecessors had failed. He removed American troops in order to bring peace to a section of the Middle East. He used tariffs, not soldiers, to force the issue.

The Washington press corps covering President Trump is incompetent and corrupt as it violates the public trust by deliberately trying to sabotage the man the American people elected president.

President Trump’s mediation of the Kurd-Turk dispute is award-worthy. The press blew the story by attacking our president. Amid all the false reports of coming calamity and impending genocide, I advised readers to Trust Trump. He earned it.

And of course I was right because getting President Trump right is the easiest thing in the world to do. Just accept that he is better informed than the press, and he knows what he is doing.

But the media is a bunch of garbage peddlers. You have your garbage collectors who help keep America clean and safe, and then you have your garbage producers at CNN and the like.

The fog of war expelled by the American media was a historic embarrassment to anyone who is now or has ever been a member of the Fourth Estate. Obamanauts — including generals — were allowed to say whatever they wanted to try to undermine President Trump’s peace efforts without bothering (in most cases) to allow the Trump administration to respond.

Crazy talk of genocide filled the cable airwaves.

ABC was caught using training footage from Kentucky to depict a non-existent “Slaughter in Syria.”

Has it issued an on-air apology or correction yet?

Last I heard ABC was stonewalling. But do follow the link as he recaps the press coverage. Note that quite a few GOP pols were snookered into joining a resolution condemning Trump here. But as Surber notes, that worked to Trump’s benefit, too:

Lindsey Graham and a comically bad House resolution demanding war in Syria were an unexpected gift to President Donald John Trump in his talks with Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Or maybe the Great Deal Maker figured his enemies (Democrats and the media) and his hawk friends (Senator Graham) would squawk about withdrawing U.S. troops from the battlefield, which we would give the president leverage in peace negotiations.

President Trump can tell his NATO ally, look, I want to stay out of this mess but if you fail me, the chicken hawks and Graham will force me to take military action. . . . The press is getting President Trump’s deal-making wrong, just as it has every past deal.

Really, read it all.

Related: Congress Claims Situation In Syria Is Bad But Not Bad Enough For Them To Actually Declare War.

“It’s really bad over there and Trump is really evil for not sending more troops and fighting Turkey,” said Senator Mitt Romney. “I mean, just to clarify, it’s not bad enough for Congress to actually do its job and declare war. But still, it’s pretty bad.”

I remember when the Babylon Bee was just a satirical news site, not America’s paper of record.

UPDATE: James Carafano: Syria cease-fire follows completely appropriate actions by Trump – Avoids needless bloodshed. I’m sorry, but all the best people told me there would be needless bloodshed.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

● Shot:

All around the world, young people are having less sex than previous generations. At the forefront of the so-called global “sex recession” is Japan, which has one of the lowest fertility rates on Earth, and it could serve as a cautionary tale for the U.S. and other industrialized countries.

Shota Suzuki works as a building custodian in Tokyo. After work, he likes to hang out in an area known for anime and manga with his friends. But at 28, Suzuki has never had a romantic relationship, and he’s pessimistic that he ever will.

“Yes, I’m a virgin,” he told CBS News. “I would like to get married, but I can’t find a partner.”

Suzuki is far from a rare case. It’s not difficult to find other young adults, like 27-year-old Kakeru Nakamura, who are surprisingly candid about their sexual inexperience.

“My parents want me to hurry up and get married,” he said. “I tell them I’m too busy.”

A review of Japan’s National Fertility Survey reveals virginity is on the rise; one out of every 10 Japanese men in their 30s is still a virgin. That puts Japan’s virginity rate well ahead of that of other industrialized nations.

“The cautionary tale of Japan’s ‘sex recession,’” CBS News, September 27th.

● Chaser:

In the decade leading up to the publication of The Population Bomb and the creation of ZPG in 1968, a range of non-fiction films and television broadcasts engaged with population. Millions had viewed CBS Reports’ Emmy-award winning “The Population Explosion,” a television documentary about India, in 1959. Canada’s National Film Board produced People by the Billions (1960) and Population Explosion (1967), while the Ford Foundation’s National Educational Television (NET, later replaced by PBS) broadcast a six-part series on The Population Problem in 1965. The Squeeze (1964), a short experimental film about overpopulation by time-lapse pioneer Hilary Harris, won a Golden Gate Award for best fiction at the San Francisco Film Festival. And most famously, the Population Council commissioned Walt Disney’s Family Planning (1967). Translated into over twenty languages, the ten-minute cartoon starring Donald Duck cost $300,000 to produce and was accompanied by supplementary filmstrips, slides, leaflets, comics, posters, and other materials.

In roughly the same period, fictionalized narratives about overpopulation and population control also flourished. A thriving subgenre of science fiction, subsequently dubbed demographic-dystopian, or “demodystopian,” was not only published in paperback, but also broadcast on radio and television. Following Malthusian episodes of radio’s Exploring Tomorrow (1958) and television’s ABC Stage 67 (1966) and Star Trek (1969), ABC Movie of the Week aired “The Last Child” on October 5, 1971, just three months before Z.P.G. opened nationwide. Set in New York “sometime in the not too distant future”, the made-for-TV movie follows a young couple’s attempt to save their unborn child from state-administered abortion by fleeing the overpopulated police state America has become to Canada, where population control laws are more lenient. The narrative structure of defiantly reproductive heroes on the run from draconian authorities as well as the conservative (pro-family, anti-abortion) subtext of “The Last Child” was soon echoed in Z.P.G., the first demodystopian film to be seen not on television, in the privacy of homes, but in cinemas across the nation. The name of the film, identical to that of Ehrlich’s organization, brought ZPG into direct conflict with Z.P.G. 

—“Malthus at the Movies: Science, Cinema, and Activism around Z.P.G. and Soylent Green,” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, October 18, 2018.

Similarly, as lefty historian Douglas Brinkley noted in his 2012 biography of CBS’s longtime anchorman Walter Cronkite, Cronkite became obsessed with radical environmentalism right after the first manned moon landing in 1969 — which, curiously enough, was precisely when the Democratic Party became obsessed with radical environmentalism. As Brinkley wrote:

[N]ow that Neil Armstrong had walked on the Moon, Cronkite sensed that ecology would soon replace space exploration as the national obsession. CBS News producer Ron Bonn recalled precisely when Cronkite put the network on the front line of the fight. “It was New Year’s Day, 1970, and Walter walked into the Broadcast Center and said, ‘God damn it, we’ve got to get on this environmental story,’ ” Bonn recalled. “When Walter said ‘God damn it,’ things happened.” Cronkite pulled Bonn from nearly all other CBS duties for eight weeks so he could investigate environmental degradation. He wanted a whole new regular series on the CBS Evening News— inspired by Silent Spring, the philosophy of René Dubos, and those amazing photos of Earth taken by the Apollo 8 astronauts. The CBS Evening News segments were to be called “Can the World Be Saved?” “We wanted to grapple first with air pollution, the unbreathable air,” Bonn recalled. “But then we wanted to deal with the primary underlying problem, which was overpopulation.”

Finally, as Jazz Shaw writes at Hot Air on “the Sex Recession,” “There may well be other factors, too. We have teenagers running around the world convinced that the Earth is melting down and they’ll all be dead in 12 years. What are we doing in response to this mass paranoid hysteria? We’re handing out awards for best performance, that’s what. That’s not exactly an incentive to invest in the future, is it?”

CNN’S LGBT TOWN HALL COLLAPSES INTO TRANS MADNESS:

As a mild-mannered woman stood to ask a scripted question to Beto O’Rourke (who did not appear as his drag alter-ego Frieda Migrants), a black transgender snatched the microphone and bum-rushed the stage. She introduced herself as Blossom C. Brown and screamed at moderator Don Lemon, accusing him of being an example of ‘how anti-blackness works among people of color.’

‘Black trans women are being killed in this country and CNN you have erased black trans women of color for the last time. Our lives matter!’ she roared. During the nearly two-minute long spectacle, Brown raged against CNN for not giving a microphone to black trans women. ‘Blossom, you’re a black trans woman, you have the mic now,’ Lemon condescended, causing Blossom to fumble, fume, and walk back to her seat.

Unfortunately for Blossom, later in the show CNN already did have a black trans woman scheduled to ask a question. When moderator Nia Henderson introduced the audience member, Shea Diamond, pronouncing the name ‘Shay-a’, Diamond snapped. ‘It’s ‘She-a’! Get that on the record. It’s violence to misgender or alter the name of a trans person. Always get that right first.’ Should Henderson be faulted for thinking, as she read her cue cards, surely, no one was obnoxious enough to have renamed themselves to the phonetic ‘she’s a diamond’? Turns out, someone was.

Related: In the latest edition of the G-File, now at the Dispatch Website he co-founded, Jonah Goldberg writes:

Consider Beto O’Rourke, who seems to think that the shortest path to the Oval Office is to become a hipster Noam Chomsky. Last night, he said he wants to revoke the tax exempt status of any church that doesn’t perform same-sex marriages:

There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break, for anyone or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us. And so, as president, we’re going to make that a priority, and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans.

If I were of a more QAnony bent, I would suspect that O’Rourke is a Russian sleeper agent determined to sow social discord by serving as a right-wing strawman made flesh. Or maybe he’s a kind of strawman golem? If enough liberals say, “Oh come on, that’s not what liberals actually believe!” a straw Beto O’Rourke suddenly comes to life:

“Liberals don’t want to confiscate everyone’s guns!”

[Sproing!] “Hi, I’m Beto O’Rourke. We’re gonna get the guns.”

“Um, why are you standing on my table?”

“No liberal thinks the government should force the Catholic Church or Orthodox Jews or devout Muslims to perform same sex weddings! That’s just a strawman.”

[Sproing] “I’m not straw! I’m a real boy!”

As Stephen Miller tweets, “Stop saying churches. Start saying Mosques.”

Or as leftist journalist Katie Herzog concludes, “The Winner of the LGBTQ Town Hall? Donald Trump.”

HILLARY ATTEMPTED TO BLOCK RONAN FARROW’S HARVEY WEINSTEIN INVESTIGATION:

Weinstein also attempted to leverage his long-term relationship with Hillary Clinton to pressure Farrow, he writes. In summer 2017, while Farrow was trying to lock down an interview with Clinton for his foreign policy book — while also still working on the Weinstein story — he received a call from Clinton’s publicist, Nick Merrill, who told him that the “big story” Farrow was working on was a “concern for us.” Then, in September 2017, according to an email cited in the book, Weinstein wrote to Deborah Turness, the ex-president of NBC News who now runs NBC News International, to propose a docuseries on Clinton. “Your Hillary doc series sounds absolutely stunning,” Turness responded.

Weinstein’s tentacles even stretched to Farrow’s own estranged father. Days before the Times story broke, Weinstein is said to have called Allen on a film set in Central Park, soliciting advice about how to deal with his son. Allen declined: “Jeez, I’m so sorry. Good luck.”

At Breitbart.com, John Nolte adds, “Please note that Merrill is Hillary’s longtime publicist. He works for her, and it seems unlikely he would do such a thing without her instructions. What’s more, as of now, Merrill has not denied the reporting…this Hillary Clinton bombshell could not come at a worse time for the two-time presidential loser, a time when she appears to be seriously flirting with the idea of a 2020 rematch with President Trump. She might want to remember that during their 2016 battle, Trump was not afraid to remind voters that Hillary played a leading role to personally destroy the women who claimed to have been raped, abused, molested, and mistreated by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.”

Flashback: “Hillary Clinton Gets More Big Bucks Support From Harvey Weinstein, JLo & Sarah Jessica Parker,” Hollywood house organ Deadline reported in June of 2016.

TWO TAKES ON THE SYRIA DECISION THAT DISAGREE WITH THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM: (1) Security Studies Group: The Syria Decision.

As we warned at the time, the American position was much more exposed and much less tenable than was commonly understood. . . .

Just as allowing Iran to run wild hurts China much more than it hurts the United States, China is harmed by our allowing the Turks to provoke an insurgency that will bedevil the stability of the very region where China intends its massive investments. The wars that China’s own allies are starting are going to be the biggest tax on China’s growing power and influence, which means it will become China’s problem — and not America’s — to stop those wars. That means that China and Turkey, and not America, will end up paying the cost of Middle Eastern security. The danger they face is that they will overextend themselves, and provoke fights they cannot walk away from in the process. It may be a bigger burden than Erdogan or Xi imagine that they are taking on here.

It is unlikely that President Trump thinks so strategically or so ruthlessly. More likely he is simply convinced that these wars drain American blood and treasure in an unacceptable way, and he just intends to stop doing it whatever it costs.

(2) Trump’s Syria withdrawal bravely puts America First, the establishment last. “His decision will stop risking American lives and wasting taxpayer dollars on policing Middle East politics. This is long overdue, seeing as our security goals in Syria have already been accomplished. To recap, the U.S. military first intervened in the Syrian conflict in 2014. Our goal was to destroy the Islamic State Caliphate, as the terrorist group had built up territorial control of much of the conflict-ridden region. Mission accomplished.”

Well, I’m fine on reducing our commitments to the region. Trump’s diplomatic approach has the Arab world allied with Israel, and Saudi Arabia liberalizing internally. And thanks to fracking, the mideast isn’t that important to us anymore. On the other hand, the Kurds are good people, and I don’t like leaving them hanging, which is what this looks like to me. On that point, I’m in general agreement with Tom Rogan: “We relied upon the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and other Kurdish militias in order to substantially degrade ISIS. Yes, Western special operations played a crucial role in this effort. But the Kurds took the brunt of the casualties. And the Kurds kept fighting alongside us even after their northern heartlands had been retaken. Their tenacious courage saved American lives by denying ISIS the space and time to plot attacks against Western homelands.”

UPDATE: Two more: Walter Russell Mead: Trump’s Jacksonian Syria Withdrawal.

Explaining his decision to pull U.S. troops away from the Turkish-Syrian border at the cost of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, and open the way for Turkish forces to create what Ankara calls a “safety zone,” President Trump tweeted early Monday that “it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home.” . . .

Mr. Trump isn’t the first U.S. president to try to hold America back from a Middle East conflict. President Obama made a similar, and similarly hasty, decision in 2013 when he chose not to respond to Syria’s violation of his chemical weapons “red line” with a military strike. Many of the same people criticizing Mr. Trump today criticized Mr. Obama then, and the subsequent course of the Syrian war underlined both the humanitarian and the strategic case against Mr. Obama’s decision. Mr. Trump’s Syria decision may also prove to be a mistake, but it should give the establishment pause that two presidents as different as Messrs. Obama and Trump reached similar conclusions about the political risks in the Middle East.

The U.S. may be the most powerful actor in the region, but it can’t resolve the economic and social conflicts that destabilize the Middle East. As long as this is the case, those who want presidents to commit to long-term military engagements, however limited and however advantageous, must expect a skeptical hearing in the Oval Office.

Plus: Syria Could Be Turkey’s Vietnam. “Erdoğan may talk about a terror threat emanating from northern Syria, but he has yet to prove that one exists. Quite the contrary: Not only were Syrian Kurds the most effective indigenous fighting force against the Islamic State, there is also overwhelming evidence that Turkey cooperated, profited from, and at times coordinated with Syria’s Al Qaeda affiliates and the Islamic State. . . . Erdoğan may be cocky, but he could be falling into a trap. Turkey’s drones may give it a qualitative military edge in mountains and rural regions but may be of substantially less utility in the northern Syrian cities if limiting collateral damage is any concerns. The Kurds have extensive experience fighting on the ground. Meanwhile, recent political purges of the Turkish military make the Turkish Army a shell of its former self. With Kurdish insurgents voluntarily going into Syria at Turkey’s request as part of the previous peace agreement, Syrian Kurds simply have no place to go. A century ago, Turkish forces slaughtered the Armenians by marching them into the desert to their deaths; the Kurds refuse to be the sequel. Turkish invasion and ethnic cleansing—Turkey’s stated purpose is to settle a couple million Arabs in the region—will spark insurgency in northeastern Syria and across Turkey.”

Things have changed in the mideast, but when your decisions about Syria are compared to Obama’s, it’s not a good sign.

Plus, it’s a NATO thing.

I am speaking, of course, of president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is, increasingly, Turkey’s effective dictator. But it’s crucial to emphasize that these are Nato forces. This not only means they are supplied with state-of-the-art weaponry; it also means those weapons are being maintained by other Nato members.

Fighter jets, helicopter gunships, even Turkey’s German-supplied Panzer forces – they all degrade extremely quickly under combat conditions. The people who continually inspect, maintain, repair, replace, and provide them with spare parts tend to be contractors working for American, British, German or Italian firms. Their presence is critical because the Turkish military advantage over Northern Syria’s “People’s Defense Forces” (YPG) and “Women’s Defense Forces” (YPJ), those defenders of Kobane that Turkey has pledged to destroy, is entirely dependent on them.

That’s because, aside from its technological advantage, the Turkish army is a mess. Most of its best officers and even pilots have been in prison since the failed coup attempt in 2016, and it’s now being run by commanders chosen by political loyalty instead of competence. Rojava’s defenders, in contrast, are seasoned veterans.

Plus:

I BLAME HIS INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC — OH, WAIT: Violent Crime Drops, Trump Gets No Credit.

The FBI’s good news about crime got very little publicity, and I can’t find a single publication that gave the Trump administration any credit for the trend. Why should they, you might ask, since homicide and other violent crimes have been declining since the 1990s?

Because that decline was interrupted by a two-year upward spike in 2015 and 2016, the last two years of the Obama administration. The homicide rate then fell in 2017, and more steeply in 2018. Last December, as I noted here, the New York Times reported that the murder rate for 2018 was “on track for a big drop.” It gave us this useful chart, with the 2018 rate projected (the actual rate came in slightly lower). . . .

I conservatively estimated that the 2015-2016 increase in homicides under Obama cost more than 5,000 lives (most of them black). Conversely, thousands of lives are now being saved, as the homicide rate declines. You might consider this newsworthy, but our newspapers don’t. Anything that reflects negatively on the Obama administration or positively on the Trump administration–this is a twofer–is best left unmentioned. . . .

The Times doesn’t speculate about what might have caused a “broad shift in the pattern,” or why that threatened “broad shift” was reversed when Donald Trump took office. The reader is left to ponder the mystery of a “broad shift in the pattern” that coincided with the Obama administration’s campaign against law enforcement.

Weird. Well, not really.

ALWAYS THE LAST TO KNOW: “A very large number of Americans don’t have high levels of trust and respect for the government, and they’re generally OK with Trump being the junkyard dog who digs it all out,” CNBC* discovers, to explain “why Trump’s poll numbers are defying the impeachment mess.”

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.

And from last month: Andrew Klavan: ‘Watergate’ Doesn’t Mean What the Press Thinks It Means.

* Yes, that CNBC.

VIRGINIA POSTREL: Homelessness Isn’t Just a Humanitarian Problem: California activists are undermining their cause by ignoring and stigmatizing legitimate concerns about social disorder.

California has a homelessness crisis, but Californians don’t agree about what it is.

To homeless advocates, social service providers, many politicians and most journalists, it’s a humanitarian problem — a social tragedy of rapidly increasing numbers of men, women and families living without shelter, vulnerable to crime, disease and degradation. This state of affairs, they believe, is a “moral disaster.”

For pedestrians pushed into the street by blocked sidewalks, women afraid of unruly men screaming obscenities, patio diners beset by panhandlers and homeowners discovering human feces in their yards, it’s an environmental catastrophe — the neighborhood equivalent of an oil spill. They want someone to clean it up and prevent it from happening again.

Both are correct. Any serious attempt to address the crisis must take both problems seriously. Activists who ignore, downplay or stigmatize the threat to public order are hurting their own cause.

The compassionate view overwhelmingly dominates press coverage and official statements. It defines the problem and the acceptable ways of discussing it.

Perhaps we should stop deferring to “activists,” who are neither morally nor intellectually serious and are often self-interested.

Most Californians in cities beset by homelessness would never vote for Trump, but he’s voicing their disgust and unease. People who pay their taxes, keep up their homes and consider themselves law-abiding feel besieged and unheard. Whatever empathy they may have had melts away.

“This is about people yelling and screaming at three in the morning and openly flashing weapons,” a woman told the San Francisco Chronicle after neighbors pooled money for large boulders to keep homeless settlements off their sidewalks. “I’m not rich. I’m having a hard enough time making it myself.”

Placed in the “furniture zone” next to the street, the boulders left room for pedestrians and complied with local codes. The public works department said they could stay. But pressure from enraged activists, who began rolling them into the streets at night, led residents to ask the city to haul the boulders away. “We traded criminals for activists and the media,” one told the Chronicle. “We don’t want to feel the fire anymore.”

Ignoring the public-order side of the issue has an ironic side effect. The chaos associated with homeless encampments appears to be fortifying a growing opposition to new housing intended to get people off the streets.

And hey, maybe some of these people will wind up voting for Trump after all. As Trump said to black voters last time, what have the Democrats done for you?

KYLE SMITH: Trump impeachment saga is pointless reboot of 1999 Bill Clinton effort.

If Trump is impeached, he will follow the precedent set by Bill Clinton and ignore calls to resign. Then he’ll follow the second precedent set by Clinton and win in the Senate, which will set up the third precedent, a claim that his tormentors wasted the people’s time and money. Clinton’s approval rating rose by double digits as the process played out and Americans decided he was being needlessly put through a wringer. The lesson we all should have learned is: If you can’t make your impeachment bipartisan, don’t bother.

One doesn’t normally look to The New York Times for pushback to the Resistance, but this week the Paper of Record made an honest attempt to break outside the Acela corridor and ask Americans outside the political class what they think of impeaching the president. What they found was very little interest in impeachment. A recent poll showed 57 percent opposition to impeachment, and the Times’ reporting suggests that figure isn’t going to shift much.

The kindest explanation I have is that the Democrats have been trying to get payback for more than 20 years, finally ran out of patience, and decided to go all in on a weak hand. Voters ought to punish them at the polls next November for it, but we’ll see.

KAMALA HARRIS: “LEAVE JOE BIDEN ALONE!”

“If you were elected president, would you allow the son or daughter of your vice president to serve on a board of an oil company outside this country?” a reported asked.

“Probably not,” Harris responded with a laugh. “The problem that we’ve got, again, with this issue is that it’s a distraction from the fact that, look, as far as I’m concerned, leave Joe Biden alone. Just leave him alone. On this issue of what this president has done that has been about corrupting America’s democracy, being in cahoots with a foreign leader, to yet again, try and manipulate the election of the President of the United States.”

“That a judgement though?” the reported asked.

“I-I-I’m not going to be distracted by what this president is trying to play, which is a game, because he knows that he is actually, probably, probably, looking at an indictment and is then trying to distract from the realities of his behaviors that have been in violation of our moral, our ethical, and probably our legal rules,” she responded.

Kamala and other Democrats can say President Trump was in “cahoots” with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but they seem to forget that Ukraine and the United States have a diplomatic relationship. It was signed in the 1990s under President Bill Clinton. Trump knew of the Biden’s wrongdoings. He had an obligation to bring it to Zelensky’s attention. If he didn’t, he’d be in violation of the bilateral agreement.

It’s amazing though. Democrats are more upset that Trump discovered what took place with the Bidens and wanted to get to the bottom of it than they are about the swampy behavior Joe and Hunter displayed.

Kamala Harris was attorney general of California from 2011 through 2017.

Related: As She Sinks In Polls, Kamala Harris Is Betting Everything On ‘F—ing Moving To Iowa.’

CANCEL CULTURE, THEN AND NOW: At Quillette, in an article titled, “‘Cancel Culture,’ Roaring Twenties-Style,” Kevin Mims looks in detail at legendary prizefighter Jack Dempsey, and silent movie superstar Fatty Arbuckle, whose careers were derailed by moral outrages – Dempsey for rumors of draft-dodging, Arbuckle for, well, as they say in Hollywood, rumors of violating his moral turpitude clause rather badly:

The 1920s—and the cases of Dempsey and Arbuckle in particular—offer warnings in these overheated and confusing times about the dangers of trial by media and a rush to judgment. Reputations and careers, once tainted by accusation may never recover, even if those accusations turn out to be based on nothing but hearsay and lies or motivated by nothing more noble than score-settling. There are those who may argue that people like Dempsey and Arbuckle are acceptable collateral damage in the fight over values. But it is more important still to ensure that we establish the truth of the matter at hand, and that the punishment fit the crime…should one turn out to have been committed at all.

But today’s cancel culture has been working at a much faster rate of attrition, simply because of how easy it is to gin up the mob – and aim it at people with far less social standing than today’s equivalents of Dempsey and Arbuckle, often simply for kicks and grins.

Consider these recent stories:

1. Local Indiana TV reporter walks into an Walkerton (population  2,248) pizza parlor and asks the owner a hypothetical question about catering a gay wedding. When the interviewee’s traditional morals are viewed as doubleplus ungood crimethink by the local TV reporter and her bosses, her segment serves as the Bat-Signal, and then ”The Internet has unleashed its wrath.” as BuzzFeed passively described it at the time. As Scott Ott wrote, “All of those eyeballs benefit the TV station, which sells advertising on its website. It also helps several young, minor-market reporters who hustled and stumbled their way into the national spotlight. But don’t blame them. Blame the editor.” Meanwhile, “Over on Facebook, the restaurant’s 5-star average rating rapidly plunged to one star, as non-customers slammed away at Crystal’s little business.”

2. Woman tweets poorly written joke based around white privilege before boarding a plane to Africa. “‘We are about to watch this @JusticeSacco bitch get fired. In REAL time. Before she even KNOWS she’s getting fired,’ one Twitter user wrote. Sacco lost her job and endured months of harassment online and offline.”

3. Man creates a silly animated gif with a CNN logo placed atop a wrestler getting body-slammed. Silly gif is retweeted by President Trump. CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski (formerly of BuzzFeed, where he led the Twitter mob against the aforementioned Sacco) doxxes man into submission on the Fourth of July of 2017 by keeping his name private because “he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same. CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.” To paraphrase Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi, no anti-CNN gifs for you – forever!

4. And just this week, Iowa’s Carson King loses a sponsorship from Anheuser-Busch because a former BuzzFeed writer employed by the Des Moines Register digs into tweets he wrote when he was 16, which they later Orwellianly described as a “routine background check.” Naturally, the editor sacks the former BuzzFeed writer and refuses to acknowledge her own role in not striking out that passage from the article, and possibly giving Anheuser-Busch an advanced screening of the piece.

And by pillering King, her paper brags that they’ve done a great public service:

As H.L. Mencken famously wrote, “Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”  But now, with just a click of a button on social media, Internet puritans can make that person’s life a living hell. And as Allahpundit noted last week, after Saturday Night Live creator-producer Lorne Michaels caved to the mob and fired comedian Shane Gillis, “Pity [Gillis], though, for having endured one of the special cruelties of cancel culture, having your dirty laundry aired *right after* you’ve achieved your professional dream. It’s like Kyler Murray getting zapped for offensive tweets he sent in his younger teenaged years days after he won the Heisman. No one cares about policing wokeness in people until the very moment they become hugely successful and potential cultural influencers. And so inevitably one of the best days of their lives becomes one of the worst.”

A DEMOCRATIC HOUSE WAS ALWAYS DESTINED TO IMPEACH PRESIDENT TRUMP:

You may recall that for much of 2018, House Republicans campaigned on the message that Democrats would impeach Trump if they took control of the House. The assessment in many corners of the media was that this was a reflection of Republican paranoia, a desperate hyping of an implausible scenario designed to motivate the party’s base through fear.

In April 2018, representative Dina Titus of Nevada told the New York Times, “They’re trying to encourage us to be more out front on impeachment so then they can use that to rev up their base and say, ‘That’s all the Democrats care about.’”

In August, Perry Bacon Jr. wrote at FiveThirtyEight, “If the Democrats are planning to impeach Trump if they win control of the House, they are doing a really great job of hiding it. Congressional Democrats aren’t talking about impeachment.” That same month, New York magazine explained, “Republicans, not Democrats, want the midterms to be about impeachment.”

In September, CNN’s Rebecca Buck reported, “many Democrats [are] downplaying or rejecting the prospect of impeaching President Trump, while Republicans, including the President and his closest allies, insist his ouster is all but certain if their party loses power in Washington.”

Clearly, some of the newly elected Democrats didn’t get that memo; Representative Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.), famously vowed on her first day in Congress to “impeach the mother****er.” By March, Tlaib claimed, “I think every single colleague of mine agrees there’s impeachable offenses. That’s one thing that we all agree on. We may disagree on the pace.”

As Investors Business Daily noted in 2017, with flashbacks to the Reagan and George W. Bush eras, “Democrats Want To Impeach A Republican President? What Else Is New?”

THE DEATH OF BUFFET-STYLE POLITICS:  Bridget Phetasy‘s open letter to the Democratic Party.

If you try nuance or engage in ‘wrong-think’ on sacred issues, you won’t just get into a tiff with the neighbors; now there’s every chance you will have your personal life dragged into the public square in order to shame you into obscurity. The days of buffet-style politics are no longer allowed. You either check all the boxes of the ‘good’ party, or you belong to the ‘bad’ one. When I dared to push back by writing articles, I was struck by how quickly the left rejected me. Millions noticed this too: they watched in stunned silence as leftists demanded books be censored, scrutinized language and called anyone who disagreed a Nazi.

Flash forward three years into a Trump administration and instead of learning from mistakes, the loudest members of the party are heading for the same brick wall. At this point the 2020 Democratic platform feels like a barely veiled threat: ‘Vote for us or you’re racist.’

The progressive push to fully embody the promise made in the Declaration of Independence that ‘all men are created equal’ used to feel aspirational and attainable. Now, the open-mindedness and tolerance that attracted me to the Democratic party seems like a thing of the past. Gone is the party that stood in direct opposition to the rigid moralizing of conservatism.

In its place is a movement that feels less about liberation and more about obedience. Progressivism is no longer interested in ideological diversity and instead demands rigid adherence to dogma. Dare to defy and risk being, as we say on Twitter, ‘canceled’.

As Glenn noted in the very early days of Instapundit, “As the old saying has it, the left looks for heretics and the right looks for converts, and both find what they’re looking for. The effect is no doubt subliminal, but people who treat you like crap are, over time, less persuasive than people who don’t. If people on the Left are so unhappy about how many former allies are changing their views, perhaps they should examine how those allies are treated.”

 

 

WASHINGTON POST: Democrats’ Double Standard On Ukraine.

We don’t yet know whether President Trump delayed some military aid to Ukraine as leverage to get Ukraine’s president to reopen an investigation into Hunter Biden. But if we are concerned about U.S. officials inappropriately threatening aid to Ukraine, then there are others who have some explaining to do.

It got almost no attention, but in May, CNN reported that Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) wrote a letter to Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko, expressing concern at the closing of four investigations they said were critical to the Mueller probe. In the letter, they implied that their support for U.S. assistance to Ukraine was at stake. Describing themselves as “strong advocates for a robust and close relationship with Ukraine,” the Democratic senators declared, “We have supported [the] capacity-building process and are disappointed that some in Kyiv appear to have cast aside these [democratic] principles to avoid the ire of President Trump,” before demanding Lutsenko “reverse course and halt any efforts to impede cooperation with this important investigation.”

So, it’s okay for Democratic senators to encourage Ukraine to investigate Trump, but it’s not okay for the president to allegedly encourage Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden?

That’s different because shut up. Plus:

And then there is Joe Biden. In 2016, the then-vice president threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees to Ukraine if the government did not fire the country’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin. According to the New York Times, “Among those who had a stake in the outcome was Hunter Biden … who at the time was on the board of an energy company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch who had been in the sights of the fired prosecutor general.” The Post reports that it is “unclear how seriously Shokin — who was under fire by U.S. and European officials for not taking a more aggressive posture toward corruption overall — was scrutinizing Burisma when he was forced out.” But what is clear is that Biden bragged about getting him fired, declaring last year: “I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a b—-. He got fired.”

This weekend, Biden told reporters, “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.” That is flatly untrue. Hunter admitted in an interview with the New Yorker that his father expressed concern about the Burisma post at least once: “Dad said, ‘I hope you know what you are doing,’ and I said, ‘I do.’” Moreover, the New Yorker reports that, “In December, 2015, as Joe Biden prepared to return to Ukraine, his aides braced for renewed scrutiny of Hunter’s relationship with Burisma. Amos Hochstein, the Obama Administration’s special envoy for energy policy, raised the matter with Biden.” That same month, the New York Times published an article about how Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine undermined the vice president’s anti-corruption message, which quoted a Biden spokesman saying it had no impact.

So, Biden was fully aware of his son’s involvement with Burisma when he pressured Ukraine to fire the prosecutor in 2016. He should have known that his using U.S. aid as leverage to force the prosecutor’s dismissal would create, at a bare minimum, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Federal ethics regulations require “all employees to recuse themselves from participating in an official matter if their impartiality would be questioned.” Biden violated these rules. Imagine if Trump pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who was investigating a company that employed Donald Trump Jr. as a board member. No one would be giving Trump a pass.

Again, that’s different because shut up.

DO WE NEED TO START DISCUSSING JOE BIDEN’S ANGER ISSUES?

Bullying Biden Yells at Fox’s Doocy: ‘Ask the Right Questions!’

Biden Accused of Sexism After Remarks to Female Moderator.

Biden Explodes When Confronted On Lying About Charlottesville. Video Proves Biden Wrong.

Joe Biden Says There Are Three Genders; Grabs Student’s Arm When She Asks ‘What Are They?’

And these classics from the Obama era:

VP Biden’s Office Apologizes For Locking Reporter In Storage Closet During Fundraiser.

Vengeance: Biden’s Office Seeks Investigation Into Unfriendly Journalist.

And of course, ground zero, from 1988: Why Joe Biden’s First Campaign for President Collapsed After Just 3 Months.

Related: Biden camp thinks the media just doesn’t get it.

In mid-June, when I spent a few days on the Biden campaign trail, one of the biggest stories on Twitter to circulate about his swing through eastern Iowa was about a young female activist who said she felt intimidated by Biden when she asked him a question about his reversal on the Hyde Amendment. A photo of the encounter went viral, with almost 25,000 likes and retweets. To many influential commentators on lefty Twitter, where Biden is sometimes accorded only slightly more respect than Donald Trump, it was a disrespectful and blatant act of Biden mansplaining. Vice reported breathlessly, “In the photo, Biden, the current Democratic frontrunner, is pointing his finger in Cayo’s face with his eyebrows raised.”

Careful Politico — or Joe will lock you in the closet!

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.

* * * * * * * *

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.

* * * * * * * *

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?