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VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR DAILY INSANITY WRAP: Video Proof that Trump is the Funnest POTUS Ever.

Insanity Wrap needs to know: Is it fun to stay at the M.A.G.A?

Answer: You’re damn right it is.

Before we get to the sordid details, a quick preview of today’s Wrap.

  • #BLM goes to bat for a thief, woman-beater, and thug.
  • Why there might never be a GenX president.
  • U.K. police predict Christmas party raids and riots this holiday season.

And so much more at the link, you’d have to be crazy to miss it.

AL PERROTTA: The Landslide America Will Be Glad to Have.

Oh, I could point to little signs. Like Trump building a lead in Florida. Or even The New York Times reporting that Trump is polling about 10 points better in Philadelphia than he did in 2016, which would all but guarantee him a win in Pennsylvania. Or his stunning rise among Blacks and Latinos.

I could point to more Trump supporters showing up at Biden rallies than Biden supporters, or wild Trump car rallies in places where having a GOP sticker on your car used to guarantee your car getting keyed. I could point to the enthusiasm gap, which is massive.

Or Kamala Harris blowing her big audition, voters understanding she is the real candidate in this election, and going, “No, thank you!” Or the common sense observation that few people will stand for line in hours just to vote against Trump.

I could point to the fact that Donald Trump is actually out there working to earn votes while Biden is, well, barely trying.

Or that Biden thinks he’s running for Senate and running against George Bush … or George Lopez … or George Jetson. George someone.

I could point to that, but no, I am talking about a sense. A feeling in my bones that a spirit of division and rancor is being broken. That something’s changed in recent weeks. Almost overnight.

Read the whole thing, which is about much more than just a single election.

Related: Chins Up, Buckaroos: Donald Trump Is Going to Win.

That one was originally just for our VIP members, but today I’ve unlocked it for everyone.

Still, don’t get cocky.

BYRON YORK: The big Trump rallies you don’t see.

“I can’t believe there aren’t any newspeople here,” said Linda of Greene County, Pennsylvania, as she stood among hundreds of cars and pickup trucks idling in long parallel lines in a vast big-box-store parking lot Saturday, waiting to join the Interstate 70 Trump Train. Indeed, although there were carloads of Trump supporters as far as one could see, and many more on the way from Ohio and West Virginia, and this enormous political event was happening less than two weeks before the presidential election, as far as I could tell, I was the only newsperson there.

It was the biggest political rally no one saw. And gatherings like it have been happening for months in some of the places President Trump needs most to win if he is to be reelected. And, remarkably, the rallies are not the work of the Trump campaign. The road rally in Washington, Pennsylvania, was organized and staged by local Trump supporters, linked together largely by Facebook, who want to show that enthusiasm for the president in western Pennsylvania and surrounding areas is not just strong but stronger than it was when Trump eked out a victory in Pennsylvania in 2016. If Trump wins this critical state, it will owe in significant part to this organic movement and the energetic organizers who have nothing to do with his campaign.

That’s genuine grassroots, quite unlike the astroturfing the Left specializes in.

ROGER KIMBALL: How Things May Look on November 4.

So what happens next? “We need to show that we’re ungovernable under a continued Trump administration. . . . That can mean blocking traffic at major intersections and bridges, shutting down government office buildings . . . or blockading the White House.”

But you again ask, What if Trump wins fair and square?

Super loud siren blast, followed by a full minute of ear-splitting static . . .

Didn’t you listen? Trump cannot win. If he does, he didn’t. If he says he did, it’s a coup. And how does one respond to a coup? Pullman quotes from a document that worked up its advice following the direction of the Bill-Kristol-endorsed Transition Integrity Project.

“We’ll keep it going until Trump concedes,” they promise. “We could be in the streets throughout the fall and into the winter—maybe as lots of rolling waves of action or possibly as a few major tsunamis! In other parts of the country, as vote counts conclude, our focus will turn from protecting the vote counts to themselves being ungovernable.”

Sound like fun? There’s more. “As it becomes clear that Trump’s coup is failing, institutions and the elites will start to abandon him – or we will approach them as part of the problem. Either Amazon will shut down AWS for the Trump loyalists in the government or we’ll shut down their fulfillment centers. Either governors will tell their national guards to stand down or we’ll shut down their state capitals as well. Over time, Trump will grow increasingly isolated and his empire will crumble down around him.”

But If Trump Wins

To be frank, I do not think this will happen.

I think that Donald Trump will win on Nov. 3 (or shortly thereafter, after the fraudulent votes have been sorted through) and that the people writing this sort of thing will go nuts.

Then police will arrest some scores of activists and the hangers on will be frightened and discouraged and trudge home grumbling about how unfair life is.

It won’t be the end of Trump Derangement Syndrome. That’s bred in the bones of these folk. But a goodly amount of air will have been let out of that party favor.

The exact lineaments of what awaits us are unclear. We have to live our lives forward, after all. But soon enough we’ll be in a position to make that sweeping backwards glance. The owl of Minerva will do her thing.

If Trump loses on Nov. 3, he will leave office on Jan. 20, as ordained by the Constitution. The country will then be in the hands of the radical Left and we’ll come to know first hand what authoritarian tyranny is really like.

But if, as I expect, he wins, there will be much wailing and gnashing of liberal teeth, but widespread peace and prosperity will dull the pain and transform the anguish into the guilty pleasure of histrionic self-indulgence.

As for this week, as Glenn wrote at the beginning of the month, “don’t get cocky. You should be donating and working on this election, and putting out the max effort, because everything is up for grabs. And encourage your friends to turn out and vote too.”

 

BERNARD GOLDBERG: American Journalism 2020: R.I.P.

As a personal favor, I ask you to please not laugh out loud when I say: Let’s take journalists at their word when they tell us the only reason they’re not running the Hunter Biden story is that, because they’re unbiased, honest, trustworthy professionals, they don’t want to traffic in an unsubstantiated smear campaigns.”

Okay, you can laugh your heads off now.

Let’s be generous and say that at the outset they had reasonable concerns. How could they know if the emails were real? The story might be Russian disinformation. Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer and pal, is involved — that’s a reason to be skeptical. The story broke in the New York Post, a tabloid owned by the conservative tycoon Rupert Murdoch. Fox News, another Murdoch property, ran with the story. How could they even know the computer in question belonged to Hunter Biden? Isn’t the computer repairman almost blind? And what a coincidence, they say, that all of this comes out just days before the presidential election!

It’s not their reasoning, dishonest as it is, that’s so annoying. It’s the sanctimony of these journalists that’s galling. They’re not running the story because they don’t want to be participants in a smear campaign that might affect a presidential election – and they want us to really believe that?

Let’s make sure we understand that these are the same people who ran story after story about a fake dossier that was packed with lies about Donald Trump.

They’re the same people who ran countless stories informing us that Donald Trump was a Russian asset.

These are the same noble journalists who gave Adam Schiff more airtime than their own anchors get – all because he said he had solid proof that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians.

Where was their concern for authenticity and their aversion to smear campaigns back then? Do they think reasonable people don’t notice how hypocritical – and corrupt – they are?

So if the story about Hunter Biden and his father Joe were about Donald Trump and his son or daughter, are we supposed to think that these journalists would show the same restraint they’re now showing?

Do they think anyone who’s been paying attention would actually believe that?

And speaking of American Journalism: RIP: Glenn Kessler, Brian Stelter laud NBC News for adding an editor’s note to its piece on ‘four more years of George.’

Just think of the media as Democratic Party operatives with bylines who have gone all-in to drag an aging Biden across the finish line.

ARE MILLENNIALS AND GEN Z DOOM FOR THE GOP? Earlier in the 21st Century, the demographic silver bullet for Democrats was the “Rising Electorate” of Blacks, Hispanics and other “voters of color.” Now, Ronald Brownstein says the silver bullet is the Millennial and Gen Z generations.

And why do these younger voters — who will soon make up the largest generational voting block — represent the end of the line for Republicans? Here’s Brownstein’s governing assumption: “Given that the younger generations align much more closely with Democratic ideological views on almost all policy questions …”

But is that “given” actually a given? What if Trump wins another four years, gets the economy expanding again, as it was just prior to the pandemic lockdown, and continues the trends of increasing household income, record low-unemployment among Blacks, women, Hispanics and young people, and new-job creation?

Where will Democrats find a new silver bullet?

VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR DAILY INSANITY WRAP: Another Debate, Another Partisan Hack Moderator.

Insanity Wrap needs to know: Could we maybe get just one debate with a moderator who isn’t a partisan Democrat swamp creature?

Answer: No. Don’t be silly.

Before we get to the sordid details, a quick preview of today’s Wrap.

  • Joy Behar is thankful for Jeffery Toobin’s schwanzstucker.
  • Memo to NeverTrumpers: It’s OK to admit you’re Democrats.
  • Meet the restraunteurs who deep-fried Pennsylvania’s lockdown.

And so much more at the link, you’d have to be crazy to miss it.

JIM TREACHER: In New Biden Ad, Michigan Millionaire Claims Trump Is Killing His Nightclub.

My first thought when I saw this ad was: Bro, you live in Ann Arbor. Which is in Michigan. A Democrat-led city in a Democrat-led state. Under Gretchen Whitmer’s iron fist, you Michiganders are subject to the strictest lockdown in the country. Yet somehow your plight is the fault of the Republicans? Even a blind pig can do better than that.

But it’s even more dishonest than I thought. With Biden, it usually is. Collin Anderson, Washington Free Beacon:

The struggling Michigan bar owner at the center of a Joe Biden campaign ad is actually a wealthy tech investor whose startup was seeded by a large family inheritance.

The ad, which the Biden campaign released Thursday, identifies Michigan entrepreneur Joe Malcoun as co-owner of the Blind Pig, a bar and live music venue in Ann Arbor, Mich…

According to a 2018 interview with local NBC affiliate Click on Detroit, Malcoun became a well-known “angel investor” in local tech startups after receiving a large inheritance from his wife’s late grandfather roughly a decade ago. He described the inheritance as “almost like winning the lottery…”

Malcoun has also repeatedly praised Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer’s (D.) coronavirus response, saying she “is doing it right” in an April tweet.

So, millionaire tech investor Joe Malcoun is blaming Trump because Whitmer’s lockdown is ruining the small business he runs as a hobby. That seems a bit dishonest, no matter who you’re voting for or why.

The Biden campaign has pulled the ad, but here’s a copy of it; I’ve downloaded the video in case this one gets, as Jeffrey Toobin would say, yanked:

Note the use of the Beastie Boys’ classic thrash-metal song “Sabotage*” in the ad, which having since been (again, as Toobin would say) pulled, is a classic case of “self-sabotage” by the surviving Beasties, who have now politicized a body of work that had plenty of followers on the sides of the aisle. (Including Treacher himself.)

* Recorded so long ago, as Treacher notes at the first link, it was back “when Joe was a mere 51 years young.”

MICHAEL WALSH: Held Captive by Pandemic Lies.

Instead, based on no meaningful “science” whatsoever—but rather guesswork and computer modeling of the crudest kind—most governments adopted the Chinese ant-farm approach, treating their citizens as captives, muzzling them, and charging them with crimes should the comrades step out of line.

This way is unbecoming to the free peoples of the West, an insult to personal sovereignty, a flagrant violation of both the law and the social compact, and an act of hostile aggression against the citizens of the democracies.

Having unwisely acceded to this flagrant bait and switch, Americans and others now find that the goal posts have been moved from last Easter to some indefinite future in which either a vaccine will be found against a disease that kills almost nobody, or the virus itself is eradicated—a fool’s errand if there ever was one.

The commissars have also decreed that it’s not the number of fatalities that now matters, but the number of infections—“cases,” to use the scare term—with the added proviso that even one “case” is unacceptable.

We’ve also swallowed the misrepresentation that the more people we test the closer to liberation day we move because we can now contact-trace the infections to their sources, when in fact the more people who get infected the better it is for our health as a society.

But the governments don’t really care about any of this. Covid-19 is apparently the Worst Thing of All Time and must be dealt with on an immediate draconian basis as if it were World War Three. They’ve thoroughly frightened the population into believing that no price to pay is too great for us to wreck our way of life and our essential humanity, and then to thank—and pay—them for it.

What’s Different

In previous pandemics, the bug was allowed to burn its way through the body politic, its toll just part of the cost of being human. So what’s different about this seasonal malady?

For one thing, it’s occurring in an election year, at the start of which the American economy was firing on all cylinders in a way it hasn’t in decades. When President Trump’s political enemies realized the Covid shutdown could be wielded as a wrecker’s ball against the American and global economies, they jumped at the chance.

For another, a society that has moved from “pay any price, bear any burden” to “if it saves just one life” is no longer capable of facing or dealing with reality. With atheism ascendant, the extension of life (except for that of the unborn, of course) has become the cardinal social virtue.

In the absence of an afterlife, there is literally nothing worth dying for. Saving just one life, however, is meaningless in the scheme of things. Risking and perhaps sacrificing your own existence for the preservation of society and the future of others has become unthinkable.

For a third, governments now have a taste for it, and plan to extend the punishment indefinitely by deeming it the solution to another imaginary threat—“climate change.”

Almost from the start, the Left understood that if they could make the link between consequences of the shutdown and the decline in “carbon emissions”—something that has little or nothing to do with the Earth’s natural cycles of warming and cooling—they could keep the scam going forever.

Flashback: Woodstock Occurred in the Middle of a Pandemic.

MEANWHILE, OVER AT VODKAPUNDIT: Chins Up, Buckaroos: Donald Trump Is Going to Win.

If all you read is the headline poll numbers, you could be mistaken for believing that Joe Biden has insurmountable leads in all the traditional Blue states, has a lock on most swing states, and is so popular around the world that other countries are petitioning for statehood just so they can vote for Good Old Joe.

Well, that last part is kinda-sorta true, if we’re talking about Communist China and Russian/Ukrainian oligarchs. But that’s another story, and one I’m sure you already know far too well.

Just so we’re clear, here it is one more time: Donald Trump is going to win.

“Have you been day-drinking again?” is a question I get all the time.

The question I might get after this column is, “Are you day-drinking the Kool-Aid?”

Well, maybe.

But almost every indicator other than the big polls says the same thing: Donald Trump is going to win.

Let’s take just a couple of minutes together to look past the headlines, to the stories that really count — and that the Democrat-Media Complex largely ignores.

The rest is just for VIPs, so if you’ve been thinking of becoming a member, you can do so here — and don’t forget to use that VODKAPUNDIT discount code.

Today’s regular column is for everyone: EXPOSED: The Democrats’ Soros-Connected Debate Commissioner.

This column also includes my modest proposal for how to make the debates both fair and substantive.

VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR DAILY INSANITY WRAP: (Literally) Demonic BLM/Antifa Wants to Kneecap Trump Voters (Literally).

Insanity Wrap needs to know: What does it take to kill the phony Russian Collusion narrative?

Answer: Seriously. This thing has more lives than Dracula, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Micheal Meyers, combined.

Before we get to the sordid details, a quick preview of today’s Wrap.

  • Four seconds of BLM/antifa video you’ll never forget.
  • Venezuela’s environmental catastrophe that almost no one is talking about.
  • Wikipedia goes to bat for Hunter Biden.

And so much more at the link, you’d have to be crazy to miss it.

VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR DAILY INSANITY WRAP: ‘Antifa Is Just an Idea’ Myth, Obliterated.

Insanity Wrap needs to know: Is a Joe Biden rally still a Joe Biden rally when Donald Trump protestors outnumber the Joe Biden supporters at the Joe Biden rally?

Answer: We aren’t sure, but it sure is fun watching the clip.

Before we get to the sordid details, a quick preview of today’s Wrap.

  • It isn’t that Claire McCaskill lies, it’s that she’s so bad at it.
  • Ignorant wokescolds take over your weather app.
  • The Biden Snapchat filter no woman can go without, even if she doesn’t want it.

And so much more at the link, you’d have to be crazy to miss it.

ROGER SIMON: China and Iran Want You to Vote for Biden.

It’s no secret the totalitarian governments of China and Iran favor Joe Bidenin the presidential election.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would like nothing more than to go back to the status quo ante, the pre-Trump world when American politicians convinced themselves (or pretended to) China would turn democratic if we gave them favorable trade terms and shut up about their monstrous repressive policies, including the hundreds of thousands—or is it millions—languishing in “reeducation” camps while the rest of their population becomes subject to the pervasive Orwellian surveillance of the “social credit“ system.

Then there’s the little matter of the as yet still mysterious provenance of the novel coronavirus, appropriately called the CCP virus hereabouts, that has wreaked such havoc across the globe. When we will know the truth about what really happened in the Wuhan virology lab?  Would a Biden administration even want to know?

And, yes, as most of us realize, there’s considerably more, but it was all okay in the view of Democrats like Biden and Sen. Dianne Feinstein—she of the Chinese chauffeur who, mirabile dictu, was suddenly exposed as a spy after twenty years of service to her—as long as there was money to be made.

And there was, a lot, as Hunter Biden, not to mention Feinstein’s husband and Michael Bloomberg, can attest.

Hunter’s father had to revise his initial praise of China, pooh-poohing the idea they might be an enemy, when things started to get a little obvious and handlers whispered in his ear this was not exactly the road to the White House.

So it’s hard to feel reassured about how Joe would behave toward the communist regime once in office. There’s a great deal more reason, actual evidence of deals, to believe the Chinese have “special leverage” with Biden than there ever was that the Russians had something on Trump.

And politicians like Biden and Feinstein are far from alone in their fealty to Beijing. They have plenty of support among American progressives. As is well known, many of our universities, from Harvard on down, have been bribed with huge sums by the CCP to regard them favorably, even have had spies on the faculty, with Confucius Institutes, essentially communist propaganda arms, installed on many campuses.

Would a President Biden fight this network of corruption that actually justifies and teaches totalitarianism to our youth?  Does he even think or know about it?

We know Trump would because he already has. He does it.

Related: Biden stands up for China:

 

ROGER SIMON: The Presidential Debate Commission Should Resign Now.

Now it turns out CSPAN’s Steve Scully—the would be moderator of the third debate—allegedly was tweeting notorious Trump enemy Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci, of all people, for advice on how to question the President. (Why not Michael Avenatti?)

Scully, not surprisingly, denies this and says he “believes” he was hacked, which is possible, but so what?

The man got his start in the political world as an intern for Joe Biden, again of all people. Then Scully worked in the media department of Ted Kennedy. Unbiased?

Next you’d think he flacked for Nancy Pelosi!

Oh, wait, that was number two moderator Susan Page who is currently working on a hagiography (excuse me, biography) of the Speaker. How did that pass muster with the Debate Commission? Or was it considered an asset?

Worst of all, in a less obvious way, was initial moderator Chris Wallace, who hides his bias under the Fox label but is not in the slightest conservative or even neutral.

In fact, he pulled out some of the most discredited liberal canards of all of the “When did you stop beating your wife?” nature in order to “get Trump.”

One of the more obvious ones, harkening back to Charlottesville, was asking the president, for the umpteenth time, to repudiate “white supremacy,” when, as Wallace had to be aware, the full, not cherry-picked, text of Trump’s Charlottesville remarks had the President clearly disavowing such supremacists, including David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan, as he had many times before and since.

Including previously to Chris Wallace himself:

SOME PEOPLE — DEMOCRATS — DON’T SEEM TO BUY THE POLLS:

Related thoughts from Ace:

So yeah: Political types whose job it is to state their political opinions and voting intention are still so cowed by anti-Trump peer pressure that they’re lying to their audiences (and editors and publishers) with anti-Trump sounding magazine copy while actually getting ready to pull the lever for Trump.

That makes me think that the Shy Trump Voter effect is very real.

Another point made: If there were a lot of Trump defectors, the media would be profiling them and lionizing them and promoting them 24-7.

But I haven’t seen a single story about Trump 2016-Biden 2020 defectors.

The media hasn’t found any — despite the fact that by announcing that you’re now a full-on Democrat Liberal, you gain employment opportunities and social prestige.

So if the media can’t find any of these people… do they even exist?

One more point, from Vashta Nerada:

Biden is so far ahead, he is campaigning in states Clinton won in 2016.

What’s the story among the people you know? Do you know any Trump-to-Biden flippers?

How many NeverTrump to Reluctant Trump Voters do you know? How many Reluctant Trump Voters to Enthusiastic Trump Voters do you know?

Indeed. If Trump wins despite the polls – and my gut says he will, though my gut’s track record is imperfect — then this is why.

JOE BIDEN TWEETS DEBUNKED CHARLOTTESVILLE ‘VERY FINE PEOPLE’ HOAX TO BLAME TRUMP FOR MICHIGAN.

Earlier: Suspect Charged in Gretchen Whitmer Kidnap Plot Had Anarchist Flag.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): More:

*REALLY* DON’T GET COCKY: Trump is losing. Badly. That’s what the recent polls shows. That doesn’t mean he will lose. There’s almost a month left, and if he can turn around 2.5% of current Biden voters, and thus get within around 4% of Biden, plus pick up a few “shy Trump” voters, he can win the electoral college while losing the popular vote by several points. But right now he’s losing, and it’s not because the polls are biased, not because of any conspiracy by the media to cover up his success. He’s basically getting the vote of every voter who approves of his job performance, and no one else. He’s more popular than he was in 2016, but Biden is much more popular than Clinton was. Worse yet, a lot of people think the race is much closer than it is right now, and are sending in early ballots voting for Democratic Senate candidates to “check” Trump. I’m telling it like it is, and I’m sorry that’s bad news for most Instapundit readers. And note that I am totally not averse to calling things for Trump against the media consensus when I see things going his way.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Really, don’t get cocky. You should be donating and working on this election, and putting out the max effort, because everything is up for grabs. And encourage your friends to turn out and vote too.

ANOTHER UPDATE (FROM GLENN): A Facebook friend sends this:

Someone asked me what feedback I am getting with door knocking in Bristol/Levittown PA. I’ve been doing this 3 days/wk, for 3 wkends. Working class to upper middle neighborhoods, all registered voters, all ages, roughly equal by party.

1) if it’s Biden they usually say Biden, occasionally apologetically.
2) if they say I’m undecided but don’t close the door, if you ask what are your issues or how will you decide, they say Trump or give you clues it’ll be Trump (ex: “I’m pro life.”)
3) I always ask if anything in the debates changed their mind – so far always no, they already were going to vote for that person.
4) So far no mind changes at all, or they didn’t say.
5) sometimes they refuse to say, period, and close the door.
6) if Trump – they are going to vote in person.
7) if anti Trump – why? 2-3/day – emotional negative reaction to him (“he’s disgusting”) or media memes (“wants to be a dictator”)
8) I always get maybe 1 in 25 who are vociferously Democrat or pro-Biden and let me have it.
9) but most aren’t home or don’t answer the door.

10) this weekend I want to ask if Trump’s covid diagnosis and choices around that changed their minds.

Interesting.

CHRISTIAN TOTO: Hyper-political Hollywood gives us little reason to return to theaters.

Ellen DeGeneres whined about being stuck in her mega mansion, the first of several news cycles that damaged her populist appeal.

Later, when ordinary Americans fought back against the lockdowns decimating their livelihoods, stars mocked them as hicks who didn’t understand science and wanted to kill grandma while their paychecks kept a-coming.

Not a nice look. It got worse from there.

The usual celebrity angst against President Trump ramped up, if one can believe that was possible. The ugly comments got uglier, with some directly targeting Trump voters.

You know, the folks who also like to unwind at the local cineplex.

Some stars took their activism in a ghastly direction, donating to the Minnesota Freedom Fund which bails out jailed protesters. Celebrities like Seth Rogen, Steve Carell and Janelle Monae didn’t care if their money sprang unfairly arrested protesters (unlikely) or folks who eagerly set the city on fire (or committed even worse crimes).

This reporter proved their lack of concern.

Other stars directly poured digital gasoline on the fires, including Trevor Noah, Ice Cube, John Cusack and Michael Moore.

More recently, stars reassembled their classic TV show casts, something that could have proved a fun diversion in our locked down world.

Instead, they turned these reunions into Democratic fundraising efforts.

Twitter isn’t real life, but chances are the cacophony of vile, divisive messages coming from Celebrity Nation seeped into the national consciousness.

It’s one thing to swallow hard and watch a new Samuel L. Jackson film at home. It’s another to snag a sitter and/or fork over $30-plus for a Jackson movie knowing he just insulted anyone voting Trump on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

Think that sentiment isn’t a factor in the anemic box office receipts we’re seeing these days?

Stars got hyper-political, and nasty, at the worst possible time. The theatrical model is on life support thanks to COVID, and media outlets which have scared us silly by downplaying hopeful news and exaggerating terrifying tidbits.

Will anyone be itching to pay $15 for an overhyped sequel coming Spring time, knowing they can watch it on their big-screen TV in a few weeks?

It’s been fascinating since the early days of our current unpleasantness, seeing the moral equivalent of war comparisons that used to be reserved for fighting global warming being transferred over to fighting the pandemic. (The latest bit of silliness: Boeing’s bête noire, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted “What aircraft carriers were in World War II, masks are today” on Tuesday.) If you’re going to play that card, I expect to see Hollywood doing their part as well, the modern-day equivalent of when Hollywood Republicans like Bing Crosby committed themselves to supporting FDR’s war effort:

As Michael Jordan reportedly said, “Republicans buy sneakers, too.” They buy movie tickets as well – until after being hectored to death by Hollywood, they don’t.

SCOTT MCCAY: The Polls, or the Fundamentals?

We don’t really need to go back through all of the double-digit leads Hillary Clinton had on Trump, and the alleged mathematical certainties of a Hillary win and so on. Everybody knows the pollsters blew it then.

What’s different now? Anything?

Not really. Not fundamentally.

There were shy Trump voters in 2016 that pollsters couldn’t pick up. There are just as many now. Probably more — if anything the Left has been more oppressive and more fearsome in its attempts to shame and disparage Trump voters where it can. Deranged Democrats are recording themselves vandalizing Trump signs, some even on private property. Cars with Trump bumper stickers get keyed. People attack strangers for wearing MAGA hats.

What we found out in 2016 is those tactics don’t persuade people not to vote for Trump. Such tactics drive those votes underground, and they resurface in the secrecy of the voting booth. There is no penalty for straight-up lying to a pollster, at least not yet.

In 2016 it was Hillary Clinton calling those voters deplorables. This year it’s Antifa beating them up in the streets.

Do you not think Trump’s voters are even more shy than they were before?

Enthusiasm is if anything even greater than it was in 2016 among uncloseted Trump voters, but for quieter voters, genuine physical fear of being outed as a Trump voter must be greater than it was four years ago.

VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR DAILY INSANITY WRAP: So Much Crazy We Don’t Even Know How to Headline It.

Insanity Wrap needs to know: What happens to men who lock their stuff in a “chastity cage” with an internet-accessible lock?

Answer: Pretty much exactly what they deserved in this age of the Internet of Thingies.

Before we get to the sordid details, a quick preview of today’s Wrap.

  • Joe Biden: Ready to Cave to Foreign Despots from Day One!
  • Introducing the Great Barrington Declaration.
  • Did Donald Trump just self-own, or seal in his second term?

And so much more at the link, you’d have to be crazy to miss it.

VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR DAILY INSANITY WRAP: McCabe Turns McChicken, Gives Unbelievable Excuse for Not Testifying.

Insanity Wrap needs to know: What’s a good excuse for refusing to testify before Congress, even remotely?

Answer: Pretty much any excuse but the one former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe just gave.

Before we get to the sordid details, a quick preview of today’s Wrap.

  • The Wuhan Flu death rate is dropping faster than Ted Kennedy’s pants.
  • Finally, a mostly peaceful protest.
  • ABC News wants a non-practicing doctor to practice on Trump, because reasons.

And so much more at the link, you’d have to be crazy to miss it.

“FAR-LEFT FASCISM:”

President Trump’s July 4 speech at Mount Rushmore celebrated American history, with invocations of the Founders, the Revolution, and 1776 in Philadelphia. The monument provided an appropriate backdrop to review the legacies of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Panegyrics to past leaders and expressions of faith in the American spirit are standard fare for Independence Day oratory, as much to be expected as are fireworks displays. But this year was different. July 4 occurred amid a wave of protests in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, public efforts to raise awareness of anti-Black racism, and a renewed push to remove public symbols of the Confederacy. As protesters tore down historical monuments of Southern generals, George Washington too was attacked, as well as figures on the Northern side of the epic battle around slavery: Ulysses S. Grant in San Francisco, the Saint-Gaudens memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Regiment in Boston, the abolitionist Hans Christian Heg in Madison, Wisconsin, and even monuments to Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. At this moment of widespread vandalism, the presidential choice to speak at the perhaps grandest of monuments was destined to elicit controversy.

Amid his expected patriotic appeals, Trump also called out the “merciless campaign to wipe out our history” being carried out by an ideological movement that he described in attention-getting terms as “a new far-left fascism.” That designation is more historically specific and pointed than one associates with standard political attacks and should therefore give us pause. It provides an opportunity to think through some of the complex historical connotations of the accusation of “left fascism,” just as it challenges us to consider the applicability of the term to the current developments in the country.

* * * * * * * *

Trump’s accusation of left fascism stings because it contradicts the standard political map. Fascism is typically treated as an exclusively far-right phenomenon, a conservatism on steroids, as distant as possible from the left end of the scale. However, there is also a long-standing discourse around “left fascism” that originates in the early 20th century, not as an insult from the right but with critiques made by prominent leftists directed at their own movement. Two Jewish women, both associated with the left, though different parts of it—Hannah Arendt and Rosa Luxemburg—each played a crucial role in developing the intellectual framework necessary to describe and criticize left fascism. The concept has taken on other meanings as well over the course of its history, at times coming from fascists themselves. Examining these various strands of left fascist meaning and political tradition can shed some light on our current predicament. Since historic fascism was largely a European phenomenon, it is important to start in Italy and Germany, the crucibles of historic fascism, before coming back to our American predicament.

And then there was early “Progressive” H.G. Wells:

By 1932, a frustrated Wells found his superior wisdom bypassed time and again by the superior mass appeal of fascism and Communism. In a talk at Oxford provocatively titled “Liberal Fascism,” he called for liberalism to be “born again.” After his customary denunciation of parliamentary politics as an anachronism, he let out his frustrations, calling for fascist means to serve liberal ends by way of a liberal elite as “conceited” and as power-hungry as its rivals. “I suggest that you study the reinvigoration of Catholicism by Loyola,” Wells said. “I am asking for a Liberal Fascisti.”

The intertwining ideologies of the international socialists and National Socialists sounds like it would make a great topic for a book.

VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR DAILY INSANITY WRAP: Obsessed Left Wants Everyone Who Isn’t Them to Just Die Already.

Insanity Wrap needs to know: Remember that whole “Love Trumps Hate” thing?

Answer: Yeah, us neither. We would like to take a moment to wish Donald and Melania Trump and Hope Hicks swift recoveries.

Before we get to the sordid details, a quick preview of today’s Wrap.

  • Hammertime! The video antifa doesn’t want you to see.
  • Former White House doc expects Donald & Melania to be just fine.
  • Progress: Biden’s coronavirus number is off this time by only 873-to-1.

And so much more at the link, you’d have to be crazy to miss it.

WHEN “SOCIAL JUSTICE” IS PRIVILEGED WHITE PEOPLE DESTROYING BLACK NEIGHBORHOODS: The Truth About Today’s Anarchists: “Insurrectionary anarchists” have been protesting for racial justice all summer. Some Black leaders wish they would go home.

On the last Sunday in May, Jeremy Lee Quinn, a furloughed photographer in Santa Monica, Calif., was snapping photos of suburban moms kneeling at a Black Lives Matter protest when a friend alerted him to a more dramatic subject: looting at a shoe store about a mile away.

He arrived to find young people pouring out of the store, shoeboxes under their arms. But there was something odd about the scene. A group of men, dressed entirely in black, milled around nearby, like supervisors. One wore a creepy rubber Halloween mask.

The next day, Mr. Quinn took pictures of another store being looted. Again, he noticed something strange. A white man, clad in black, had broken the window with a crowbar, but walked away without taking a thing.

Mr. Quinn began studying footage of looting from around the country and saw the same black outfits and, in some cases, the same masks. He decided to go to a protest dressed like that himself, to figure out what was really going on. He expected to find white supremacists who wanted to help re-elect President Trump by stoking fear of Black people. What he discovered instead were true believers in “insurrectionary anarchism.” . . .

Mr. Quinn discovered a thorny truth about the mayhem that unfolded in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis. It wasn’t mayhem at all.

While talking heads on television routinely described it as a spontaneous eruption of anger at racial injustice, it was strategically planned, facilitated and advertised on social media by anarchists who believed that their actions advanced the cause of racial justice. In some cities, they were a fringe element, quickly expelled by peaceful organizers. But in Washington, Portland and Seattle they have attracted a “cultlike energy,” Mr. Quinn told me.

Don’t take just Mr. Quinn’s word for it. Take the word of the anarchists themselves, who lay out the strategy in Crimethinc, an anarchist publication: Black-clad figures break windows, set fires, vandalize police cars, then melt back into the crowd of peaceful protesters. When the police respond by brutalizing innocent demonstrators with tear gas, rubber bullets and rough arrests, the public’s disdain for law enforcement grows. It’s Asymmetric Warfare 101.

In other words, their goal is to get black people shot by police. For the greater good, of course. Or at least to imbue their own, generally sorry, lives with a spurious sense of importance.

VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR DAILY INSANITY WRAP: Is That a Pipe Bomb in Your Pocket Or Are You Just Happy to Arrest Me?

Insanity Wrap needs to know: What should the New York Times say in a COVID-19 that shows Trump was right all along about travel?

Answer: Orange Man Bad, hater.

Before we get to the sordid details, a quick preview of today’s Wrap.

  • This is CNN: Chris Cuomo lies for Andrew Cuomo even though Andrew was already busy lying for himself.
  • The Media-Democrat love that dare not speak its name.
  • Another George Carlin bit becomes real.

And so much more at the link, you’d have to be crazy to miss it.

NO WONDER BIDEN POO-POOED SWINE FLU: Issues & Insights points out this morning the reasons why former Veep Joe Biden didn’t want to go there when President Donald Trump brought up the H1N1 epidemic:

“According to the Centers for Disease Control’s latest numbers, out of the more than 200,000 people who died with COVID-19, only 92 were under age 18.

“But 1,282 children died from the H1N1 pandemic of 2009-2010, when Barack Obama was in the White House and Joe Biden was vice president.

“The number of children hospitalized from COVID has been around 8,000. The number hospitalized because of H1N1 – 86,813.

“The swine flu was particularly worrisome because, unlike COVID and the seasonal flu – this one targeted the young more than the elderly. In fact, fully 10% of the deaths from H1N1 were age 17 or younger, while just 13% were over age 65.”

‘HE’S SORT OF LIKE GOEBBELS:’ Biden compares Trump to Nazi propagandist.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Saturday compared Donald Trump to a German Nazi propagandist for the president’s barrage of attacks against him on the campaign trail.

When Biden was asked during an interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle how he would combat Trump’s repeated claim that he was pushing a socialist agenda, the former vice president didn’t mince words.

Trump is “sort of like Goebbels,” Biden said, invoking the name of Joseph Goebbels, the mastermind of Nazi Germany’s propaganda machine. “You say the lie long enough, keep repeating it, repeating it, repeating it, it becomes common knowledge” among voters.

“The Big Lie,” you say? Joe’s former boss received the “Lie of the Year” award in 2013 from his fellow Democrats at “Politifact:”

In other Godwinized news, Dana Milbank is partying like it’s 1934:

Related: Fascism: the most abused term in America.

UPDATE: Republican Jewish Coalition Calls on Biden to Apologize for “Goebbels” Comment.

MORE: Jeff Dunetz: Biden “owes an apology to the people who suffered at the hands of Hitler. their families, and the entire Jewish people. Making Biden’s insensitivity worse is that Yom Kippur is Monday.”

Nearly every Republican president or presidential candidate has been called a Nazi by Democrats since 1940. When does a political playbook from the leather helmet era get tossed out?

(Updated and bumped.)

ROGER SIMON: Time To Dismantle the FBI.

Fox’s Sean Hannity—Lord love him—has long been in the forefront of the fight to expose the Trump-Russia probe which, we learn increasingly virtually every day, was even more immoral, seditious, and anti-American than we had imagined.

Most recently, it has been revealed the sub-source for the Steele Dossier—the guy Christopher Steele relied upon for his vile lies—had already been investigated by the FBI as, of all things, a Russian agent, making the Dossier itself likely deliberate Russian disinformation that was accepted by the FBI anyway because… well… by any means necessary. (The shameless liars at Mueller’s operation claimed the Russians favored Trump, which is ludicrous given this revelation plus the content of the Dossier.)

It’s amazing it took three years for us to learn this.

But Sean H. evidently made one, I regret to say serious, mistake, probably because he’s basically a nice guy from a law enforcement family. He insisted all along that the problems in the FBI were only at the top, the so-called “Seventh Floor,” the domain of Comey, Strzok, McCabe, and the others.

Unfortunately, no. Also just revealed after three years are 302s (near-contemporaneous notes made after an interview) and texts that show lower-ranking FBI agents too were aware of the malfeasances that were occurring in the early stages of the Michael Flynn case.

In fact these agents were so alarmed they were considering professional liability insurance lest they be sued for the dishonest—one could even say treasonous— activities in which they were being forced to participate.

Frankly, I never imagined a FBI agent could even buy such insurance. The implications are unpatriotic on their face. But live and learn.

It’s interesting too, given the nervous chatter among themselves, not one of these agents became a whistleblower. I guess you have to be a friend of Adam Schiff for that. Or prodded by him.

What this adds up to, of course, is that although the direction of Obamagate or Spygate (call it what you will) came from the top—the “Seventh Floor” and above—others down the food chain knew about it. They too were guilty, although less than their superiors. They were the cowardly soldiers who went along.

How many such people there were we don’t know and, needless to say, there still are plenty of good men and women in the FBI, but it’s clear the organization has been so corrupted it needs to be dismantled—or reformed so entirely it might as well be dismantled.

Christopher Wray, the current director of the FBI, is about as far from the man to accomplish this as you could conjure. A Deep State apparatchik par excellence he has had difficulty going so far as to acknowledge the existence of Antifa. (He finally did). He preferred the canard of saying the real danger was white supremacists. Apparently, he doesn’t get out much. Most likely he will be gone very shortly if Trump is reelected.

A new national law enforcement agency should be built from the ground up with its headquarters far from Washington. I would like to think some version of this is on the agenda for Trump II.

But what if Biden wins?

Well, we know whose side the FBI is on.

VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR DAILY INSANITY WRAP: Donald Trump Is Literally Hitler™ (Not).

Insanity Wrap needs to know: Why should a President step down even if he wins reelection?

Answer: Because ORANGE MAN BAD, hater.

Before we get to the sordid details, a quick preview of today’s Wrap.

  • Mostly peaceful rioters go back to committing mostly peaceful arson and mostly peaceful assaults.
  • Kristi Noem is one helluva woman.
  • Meet antifa’s newest member, Comrade Speedbump.

And so much more at the link, you’d have to be crazy to miss it.

YES, THE 1619 PROJECT ACTUALLY SUGGESTS THAT YEAR WAS AMERICA’S TRUE FOUNDING, AND NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES ADMITS IT:

“One thing in which the right has been tremendously successful is getting media to frame stories in their language and through their lens,” wrote Hannah-Jones in a subsequently deleted tweet. “The #1619Project does not argue that 1619 is our true founding. We know this nation marks its founding at 1776.”

* * * * * * * *

In an interview with Tomiko Brown-Nagin, dean of Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute, Hannah-Jones stated explicitly that the 1619 Project makes evocative arguments such as, “What would it mean to consider 1619 our founding and not 1776?” Here is video of the conversation, which took place not a year ago, or even several months ago, but just last week: September 15, 2020.

* * * * * * * *

But the claim is inarguably part of the 1619 Project, and it’s absurd for Hannah-Jones to pretend it isn’t—especially while she continues to describe the project in exactly these terms. To say that conservatives imagined or manufactured this is ridiculous. It’s gaslighting—and it undercuts the credibility of the author and her work.

It’s a good thing the Times doesn’t have a history of Pulitzer-approved leftist gaslighting dating back to the 1930s that would have caused more cynical readers to believe this is but the latest example.

TRUMP’S GET-OUT-THE-VOTE EFFORT ENTERS A NEW PHASE: Some Protests Against Police Brutality Take a More Confrontational Approach: The protests are moving into white residential neighborhoods, where activists demand that people choose a side.

“It went from a peaceful march, calling out the names, to all of a sudden, bang, ‘How dare you fly the American flag?’” said Mr. Moses, who is Black and runs a nonprofit group in the Portland, Ore., area. “They said take it down. They wouldn’t leave. They said they’re going to come back and burn the house down.”

Mr. Moses and others blocked the demonstrators and told them to leave.

“We don’t go around terrorizing folks to try and force them to do something they don’t want to do,” said Mr. Moses, whose nonprofit group provides support for local homeless people. “I’m a veteran. I’m for these liberties.”

Nearly four months after the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, some protesters against police brutality are taking a more confrontational — and personal — approach. The marches in Portland are increasingly moving to residential and largely white neighborhoods, where demonstrators with bullhorns shout for people to come “out of your house and into the street” and demonstrate their support.

These more aggressive protests target ordinary people going about their lives, especially those who decline to demonstrate allegiance to the cause. That includes a diner in Washington who refused to raise her fist to show support for Black Lives Matter, or, in several cities, confused drivers who happened upon the protests. . . .

A small free literature selection was set up on the grass and overseen by three people in ski masks. It was a popular offering, and people crowded around, craning to see the pamphlets.

Titles included “Why Break Windows”; “I Want To Kill Cops Until I’m Dead”; “Piece Now, Peace Later: An Anarchist Introduction to Firearms”; “In Defense of Smashing Cameras”; and “Three-Way Fight: Revolutionary Anti-Fascism and Armed Self Defense.” . . .

Neighbors in impressive Craftsman-style homes pulled down their shades and turned off their lights, though many could be seen peering out of dark windows. One woman stepped out of an expansive home looking angry; upon seeing the crowd, she quickly retreated indoors. A few young couples stood in their doorways. A Black woman driving past honked and cheered.

One white man stepped onto his patio clapping and hollering in support of the passing march. The group called for him to join. He smiled and waved them on, still clapping. They began to chant that he was spineless. He looked worried. But the march moved along, and he went back into his house.

“You’ll never sleep tight, we do this every night,” the protesters chanted.

This isn’t protest, this is domestic terrorism.

VDH: The News as We Once Knew It Is Dead.

An embargoed and bankrupt Iran is teetering on the brink. Its international terrorist appendages, including Hezbollah, are broke.

China is increasingly being ostracized by much of the world.

The U.S. has cut its carbon emissions, often at a rate superior to those nations still adhering to the Paris climate accord targets.

Cross-border illegal immigration has been reduced, according to many metrics.

ISIS was bombed into near dissolution. Moderate regimes in the Middle East are ascendant; radical cliques like Hamas and al-Qaeda are not.

More NATO members are meeting their commitments. The alliance’s aggregate defense investments are way up.

Is any of that considered news? Not really.

Instead, every three or four days the public is fed a series of fantasy “bombshells” much like the daily hysterias of the Robert Mueller investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump team and Russia — a two-year, media-hyped dud.

In recent weeks the media warned us that Trump was dismantling the Post Office to disrupt mail-in balloting.

Trump, we are told, has decided never to concede his sure loss in November and might have to be forcibly removed, perhaps by the military.

We read that Trump defiled the memory of fallen American soldiers in cemeteries abroad. We are lectured that Trump supposedly never took COVID-19 seriously.

All of these stories were either demonstrably untrue, were supported only by anonymous sources, or were the sensationalism of authors hawking books.

Yet such concocted melodramas will continue each week up to Election Day, while fundamental geostrategic shifts abroad brought about by American diplomacy will by intent go unnoticed.

The news as we once understood it is dead.

Well yes, but it’s been dead for well over a decade. In 2008, PJM alumnus Michael Malone wrote at ABC News(!): Media’s Presidential Bias and Decline.

Why? I think I know, because had my life taken a different path, I could have been one: Picture yourself in your 50s in a job where you’ve spent 30 years working your way to the top, to the cockpit of power … only to discover that you’re presiding over a dying industry. The Internet and alternative media are stealing your readers, your advertisers and your top young talent. Many of your peers shrewdly took golden parachutes and disappeared. Your job doesn’t have anywhere near the power and influence it did when your started your climb. The Newspaper Guild is too weak to protect you any more, and there is a very good chance you’ll lose your job before you cross that finish line, 10 years hence, of retirement and a pension.

In other words, you are facing career catastrophe — and desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if you have to risk everything on a single Hail Mary play. Even if you have to compromise the principles that got you here. After all, newspapers and network news are doomed anyway — all that counts is keeping them on life support until you can retire.

And then the opportunity presents itself — an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career.

With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived fairness doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.

And besides, you tell yourself, it’s all for the good of the country …

See also: the career arc of James Bennet, late of the New York Times, who was such a true believer that he bought into the Sarah Palin clip art myth, before his woke underlings came for his scalp: The Day the New York Times Redefined ‘Liberal’ as ‘Closed-minded Outrage Mob.’

HMM: Chinese regulators may block Nvidia’s $40b Arm buyout.

The Nvidia-Arm merge brings together Nvidia’s leading artificial intelligence (AI) computing platform with Arm’s vast ecosystem to create a colossal computing company, helping Nvidia expanding into large, high-growth markets. SoftBank is expected to keep about 10 percent of Arm’s stakes.

Arm, which was acquired by SoftBank in 2016, is seen as an independent entity that gives equal treatment to all licensees, with its major customers including Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm and Huawei.

“As part of Nvidia, Arm will continue to operate its open-licensing model while maintaining the global customer neutrality that has been foundational to its success,” the US firm said in a statement.

However, the “neutrality” is in serious doubt as Arm will become part of a US firm, which means the Trump administration could contain China’s growing chipset industry from the design side, following its crackdown on Huawei, Ma Jihua, a veteran telecom industry analyst, told the Global Times on Monday.

“The acquisition will affect the development path of China’s chipset industry as most of its products are based on Arm architecture,” said Ma.

Squeeze Beijing until it hurts, and then squeeze some more.

XI’S GOTTA HAVE IT: Woke, Anti-Trump MCU Stars Silent on Disney-China Ties.

It’s worth noting a crush of progressive stars reportedly refused to work in Georgia last year after the state enacted strict laws regarding abortion. Disney co-CEO Bob Iger was part of that movement, saying it would be “very difficult” for the mega company to use Georgia locales following the decision.

The company had previously shot parts of both “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Endgame” in Georgia.

Need more context on what’s happening in that Chinese province? Here’s some testimony from citizens who were detained in the concentration camps, again courtesy of PBS:

Of life inside the camps, she remembers being surrounded by bars and mesh wire, cameras everywhere, and brutal treatment.

Twice, she says, she was made to sit on a hard chair for 24 hours. She went to the bathroom where she sat.

And “if you exceeded two minutes in the toilet, they hit our heads with an electric prod…”

“They beat us, hit us and shouted at us,” Rahima says, adding that some people being held at the camps killed themselves.

Disney’s reliance on China as a filming, distribution, and theme park location also explains their soft news coverage of the Communist nation:

Flashback: Biden Sold Out America To China While Working For Hollywood.

And from America’s Newspaper of Record: Disney Editing Blunder: An Uighur Concentration Camp Can Be Clearly Seen In The Background Of ‘Mulan.’

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Tall tales about election polls.

In his presidential address a couple of years ago to the American Association for Public Opinion Research, Timothy Johnson said: “If you’re like me, seldom does a day pass when you are not obliged to correct the declaration of a friend, an acquaintance, or a university administrator that ‘the surveys got it wrong in 2016.’ This is going to be with us for a long time.”

Nationally, the polls were pretty close, in aggregate, thanks to Ms. Clinton’s wiping out Mr. Trump in California. She carried the Golden State by more than 4 million votes, a margin that erased Mr. Trump’s popular vote advantage in the rest of the country and gave Ms. Clinton an overall lead of 2.1 percentage points. According to the final pre-election compilation of Real Clear Politics in 2016, the national polls overall placed Ms. Clinton ahead by 3.3 points. So the national polls overall didn’t deviate greatly from the final result.

But there’s more to the story of the polls in 2016 than the misunderstood popular vote. In decisive states the polls clearly misfired, especially so in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and to a lesser extent Michigan. Mr. Trump defied the polls in those states and won them all narrowly. Had Ms. Clinton carried Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan — as had been expected — she would have won the Electoral College and the presidency.

Anyone who takes more than passing interest in election surveys surely has heard the tale that pollsters were so confident Republican Thomas Dewey would win the presidency in 1948 that they stopped taking surveys weeks before Election Day. The blunder, it is said, caused them to miss a late surge of support for President Harry Truman.

It’s a plausible excuse for what was an epic polling failure. But it’s not entirely true.

Read the whole thing; Campbell’s new book is Lost in a Gallup: Polling Failure in U.S. Presidential Elections.

SUPER GAFFE-O-MATIC ’76: A Bad Day for the Biden Campaign.

If only the Democratic nominee could have remained cosseted in friendly media’s comforting embrace until November, but there are voters beyond the base to reach. And as the Biden campaign has begun to emerge from its cocoon and engage with more adversarial reporters, the results suggest this campaign and its candidate are more flatfooted than their image-makers would have you believe.

The first sign of distress came from the Fox News Channel. On Thursday, Biden campaign national press secretary TJ Ducklo sat down with anchor Brett Baier to discuss policy and respond to the Trump campaign’s criticisms. But the dyspeptic performance Ducklo turned in suggests the Biden campaign has bathed in soft coverage for so long that its political muscles have atrophied.

If Ducklo conveyed anything to Fox’s audience throughout his seven-minute appearance, it was his intention to avoid answering questions—none of which were particularly difficult.

Related: NYT: Here’s how Biden might already be blowing the 2020 election.

And this brings us back to the point about 2016. Hillary Clinton had a huuuge money advantage and the good fortune of running against a candidate who was easy to personally dislike. She blew those advantages by running a national-messaging campaign rather than doing the retail politicking necessary to generate turnout. Even then, Clinton had at least some parity, as Trump also disdained that kind of GOTV effort, preferring to do rallies to stoke enthusiasm and then use targeted ads to replace the ground game.

This time around, though, Trump and the RNC are investing heavily in that kind of retail politicking, while Biden isn’t investing at all in a ground game. He’s doing nothing but national messaging and occasional bungee visits to places where polling indicates trouble — which is why he’s heading to Minnesota next week, a state he should easily be carrying. If Russonello is correct about Biden’s strength in the suburbs, this state shouldn’t even be on Biden’s limited radar — and yet he’s breaking his bubble to appear here instead of, say, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, or Arizona.

Russonello’s right that Biden and Democrats should worry. He just is a little off on how much they should worry, and why it matters — and not just in the presidential election.

And one last item on Ducklo’s train wreck interview: No, Biden Didn’t Support Trump’s China Travel Ban. Biden spox falsely claims Biden favored travel restrictions.

“CONGRATULATIONS, ESTEEMED COLLEAGUES: YOU DID IT.” People trust the media less than Trump on COVID. Here’s why.

On Wednesday, audio of President Trump talking to Bob Woodward leaked, on which the President said he purposely downplayed the virus, so as to not cause a panic. Journalists from several outlets sprung into action, again blissfully ignoring their own track record of downplaying the pandemic. In February, the New York Times published ‘Who says it’s not safe to travel to China?’. In January, BuzzFeed wrote, ‘Don’t worry about the coronavirus. Worry about the flu.’ The Washington Post published, in their health section of all places, ‘Get a grippe, America. The flu is a much bigger threat than coronavirus, for now.’ The Associated Press wrote in February, ‘Is the new virus more deadly than the flu? Not exactly.’ The Daily Beast ran ‘The virus killing US kids isn’t the one dominating the headlines.’  Vox even deleted tweets and amended a story which downplayed the virus. When White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany brought this all up to members of the press, they sneered at her with all the condescension of the cool kids welcoming a new girl to class.

Flashback: MSM: Riots COVID Safe, Trump Rallies Are Hot Zones. Just NBC the gaslighting!

TO BE FAIR, THAT’S BEEN A BIG PART OF THE BIDEN-HARRIS BRAND: Kamala Harris throws #MeToo under the bus… again.

It’s been quite a week for Kamala Harris. In addition to promulgating anti-vaccination conspiracy theories about any coronavirus vaccine released during the Trump presidency, she met with the family of Jacob Blake, a man famous for fleeing from the police with his children in tow when he violated an existing restraining order after being charged with sexual assault…

Yet, it’s not just the radical Left that has embraced Blake. Harris decided to wade into the active criminal investigation and take the side of a man charged with sexual assault and domestic violence.

“I mean, they’re an incredible family,” said Harris after meeting with his family while Blake called in. “And what they’ve endured, and they just do it with such dignity and grace. And you know, they’re carrying the weight of a lot of voices on their shoulders.”

And it is an incredible family! Right-wing media calls attention to anti-Semitic posts by Jacob Blake’s father.

Flashback: Joe Biden Accused of Groping Breast of Secret Service Agent’s Girlfriend During 2009 Photo-Op.

Flashback: Democrat Makes #MeToo Claim Against Joe Biden: He Smelled Me and Kissed My Head. “Flores said that pictures of Biden touching other women inappropriately made it more difficult to keep silent, referring to Biden nuzzling the neck of Secretary of Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s wife, kissing Sen. Chuck Grassley’s wife on the lips, whispering in women’s ears, and snuggling women on the campaign trail.”

Flashback: It’s time to talk about former Vice President Joe Biden, the open sexual predator.

Biden Swims Naked, Upsetting Female Secret Service Agents:

“Agents say that, whether at the vice president’s residence or at his home in Delaware, Biden has a habit of swimming in his pool nude,” Kessler writes in the book – due for release Aug. 5.

“Female Secret Service agents find that offensive,” he writes.

“Biden likes to be revered as everyday Joe,” an unnamed agent told Kessler. “But the reality is no agents want to go on his detail because Biden makes agents’ lives so tough.”

Plus: Washington Post: What Are We Going To Do About Creepy Uncle Joe Biden?

And: ‘Creepy Veep’ Joe Biden ‘nuzzles’ wife of colleague and claims he is friends with lots of Somali cab drivers.

Also: Joe Biden’s Woman-Touching Habit.

Related: Talking Points Memo: Why Does Creepy Uncle Joe Biden Get A Pass From Liberals?

Plus:

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 9.04.03 AM

DON’T STEAL THIS BOOK: On In Defense of Looting.

Steal This Book could stand alone as a work of assiduous experimental journalism, filled as it was with “survival techniques” for life underground he’d gleaned in multiple innovative ways, including responses to ads placed in revolutionary newspapers. Hoffman even supposedly fact-checked the anonymous tips about places on the map to find free food, get treated for sexually-transmitted diseases, score drugs, etc.

Steal This Book was also an equal opportunity offender, as cutting toward phonies within the revolutionary ranks as it was toward the “Pig Empire”:

The duty of a revolutionary is to make love and that means staying alive and free. That doesn’t allow for cop-outs. Smoking dope and hanging up Che’s picture is no more a commitment than drinking milk or collecting postage stamps.

There are a lot of things one can say about Abbie Hoffman, but he was no LARPer. He wrote the introduction for Steal this Book in jail, doing time for contempt for his memorable lunacy at the Chicago Seven trial, when he among other things told the judge to “stick it up his bowling ball.” He once tried to halt the Vietnam war by using psychic energy to levitate the Pentagon 300 feet in the air, where it would turn “orange and vibrate until all evil emissions had fled.” Abbie Hoffman was interesting.

Then there’s Vicky Osterweil.

Like Hoffman, Osterweil is a self-proclaimed leftist revolutionary who justifies stealing on the grounds that property is a crime. The similarities pretty much end there.

Plus:

Adherents to this theology are characterized by a boundless, almost Trumpian capacity for self-pity, even as they’re advocating setting you on fire. They can make wrapping fishwiches sound like digging coal in Matewan, being deprived of a smartphone like being whipped by Centurions, and they matter because everyone, including especially Democratic Party politicians, is afraid of the fallout that comes with telling them to shut the fuck up. So their “ideas” spread like cancer.

If no one in the party says anything, Trump will argue, with some justice, this is the true face of his opposition. The first Sister Souljah moment was a drag, but this moment actually calls for one. Will there ever be a more perfect candidate than this book?

I doubt that what’s left of Joe Biden’s cerebral cortex agrees with Osterweil’s In Defense of Looting. But since Joe’s far-left handlers are running the show, it’s difficult to see him making an easy lay-up of a Sister Souljah moment. As Ben Shapiro noted last week, during Biden’s speech on generic violence, “Biden name-checked ‘white nationalists’ once, ‘white supremacists’ once, ‘right-wing militias’ twice and ‘armed militias’ once in his supposedly unifying anti-violence speech yesterday. He did not mention Antifa or BLM. This is gaslighting and cowardice.” No enemies to the left.

CATS KEEP CHASING THE LASER POINTER: I was asked to join the Legal Talk Network’s “Lawyer2Lawyer” podcast and talk about Trump’s spokesperson claiming to be building a dossier on Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold. My view?
Meh. Trump is very good at poking the media in the eye and they can’t help themselves  from freaking out. Moreover, they conveniently forget that previous administrations spied on James Rosen, The Associated Press and Sharyl Attkisson. In fact, bullying, badgering and bribing is nothing new with politicians and the press. So the breathless reporting and use of words like “astonishing revelation” are just silly.

FUN FACT: According to the Truman Library, in 1950 Truman — on White House letterhead — threatened to beat a music critic who gave his daughter a bad review:

“Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!”

Now that’s intimidation!

JIM TREACHER: Colorado Woman Beats Up Child for Carrying Trump Sign.

And get ready for more of this madness. Just today, WaPo has informed us:

This sounds like extortion, doesn’t it? “Vote for our team or there’ll be trouble.” And it’s a tacit admission that Trump supporters won’t get violent if he loses. That would poke a hole in the ol’ liberal media narrative, if they allowed themselves to stop for a minute and think about it.

Could somebody please explain to me why I should vote for a political party that’s expected to explode into even more rioting, looting, public assaults, and other chaos if they lose? I will not be coerced, by either side. If you can’t earn my vote, you’re not going to get it under threat of violence.

To be fair, Democrats have been the party of extortion long before Trump; I created this Photoshop back in 2010:

Oh, and note who the Post used to represent the Trump side in their “wargames scenario:”

For obvious reasons, we couldn’t ask Trump or Biden — or their campaign aides — to play themselves in these exercises, so we did the next best thing: We recruited participants with similar backgrounds. On the GOP side, our “players” included former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, conservative commentator Bill Kristol and former Kentucky secretary of state Trey Grayson. On the Democratic side, participants included John Podesta, chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and a top White House adviser to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama; Donna Brazile, the campaign chair for Al Gore’s 2000 presidential run; and Jennifer Granholm, former governor of Michigan. Other participants included political strategists, journalists, polling experts, tech and social media experts, and former career officials from the intelligence community, the Justice Department, the military and the Department of Homeland Security.

I wasn’t familiar with Trey Greyson (you can check out his bio here) but I’m obviously familiar with Michael Steele and Bill Kristol. These were the people picked to represent the Trump administration. Steele recently wrote, “Instead of fighting for that future, Republicans gave credence to a man who traffics in conspiracies, fear, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and believes that he can rewrite the Constitution in his own image.” Not a fan I think it’s fair to say.

As for Bill Kristol…

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase garbage in, garbage out? Having the “all Republicans must go” guy play the role of team Trump is like asking AOC to represent Joe Biden in a simulation of the Democratic primary. The outcome is surely going to be heavily biased by the contempt the players hold for their team. And so, sure enough, the outcome of the game was a disaster:

In 2009, the Post, through its then-subsidiary magazine Newsweek declared “We Are All Socialists Now.” And evidently, that applies to their RINOs they interview as well.

WOW, HOW BAD MUST THEIR INTERNAL POLLS BE? Biden to Air Law-and-Order Ad Condemning Rioters and Looters. A friend on Facebook writes:

Two things must be happening for the Democratic nominee to cut ads against “rioters and looters.” It must be showing up in polling in negative ways; and it must be attributed mostly to the left. The last item is of course entirely correct: the overwhelming responsibility for the civic violence of the past several months is the left’s, as is the overwhelming responsibility for most of the civic violence of the past decade. There is a direct line from the Occupy violence (a leftist movement) to the first iteration of the Black Lives Matter violence (a leftist movement) to the violence in the early Trump administration (a more distributed leftist movement) to the latest iteration of the Black Lives Matter — and Antifa, depending on what sort of opaque analysis you adhere to — violence (again, the left). As has been noted in this very space time and again, in the context of the various left-wing city-center seizure exercises of the past few years — think back to the various mass marches and their expeditious nature — there is an apparatus that has been honed here, and it is willing to act.

There is also a cadre of veterans by now, from Manhattan to Ferguson to Portland to Kenosha, with a great deal of experience and understanding of how the system works, and how it breaks.

A few items on this:

1) The Democratic nominee, and the Democrats in general, will denounce specific acts — when compelled — but they aren’t going to denounce the ideological precursors to those acts. This matters a great deal, because the violence is not actually going to end until those ideologies lose their grip on the huge segments of the public psyche. The reality is that if you adhere to a certain set of propositions — for example, that policing in 2020 is morally indistinguishable from slave-catching in 1850, or that the American republic is fundamentally a white-supremacy superstructure, or that immorality is literally impossible for a person of color versus a white person — then violence is both inevitable and, by those premises, justified. There’s a direct line from the 1619 Project to Minneapolis and Portland wracked by unrest. If you are opposed to the existing insurrection on anything more than tactical grounds, you have to directly address this. They won’t.

2) The on-the-ground foot soldiers of the insurrection have no structural imperative to actually heed the Biden plea. They’re in control of the ideological narrative on the Democratic side — remember, this same Presidential campaign has literally been bailing some of them out of jail — and they don’t feel themselves under any particular constraint or pressure from the mostly Democratic city and prosecutorial officeholders in whose jurisdiction they operate. Ending violence means giving up the source of their own power, and no institution is going to do that. Furthermore, assuming for the sake of argument that their actions are in fact a boon to the President’s re-election, the smart radical might ask: so what? If you’re interested in accelerating a cycle of radicalization on the left-base, doesn’t that help?

3) The attempts on the right to mobilize counter-violence will be alternately stupid and doomed. (To be clear, I do not mean here Americans who defend their own property, lives, and livelihoods: but then, who can doubt that the famous 1992 rooftop Koreans would not today be jailed and prosecuted by aspiring Kamala Harrises in Democratic DA offices across the country?) Stupid because the way out of this is not bigger and better brawling street militias; and doomed because the left’s well-honed apparatus will beat them. The recent Portland incident, with a right-wing mob rolling into town with paint guns, and having one of their number literally executed by a left-wing mob with real guns, is the template. Anyone considering getting into the fight and taking on the bad guys, in a manner and place of the bad guys’ choosing, should stay home.

The last item begs the question: what is the way out of this? The proximate answer is simple: use the police, National Guard, and regular military available to nearly every chief executive at every level across the nation. Lawful authority, the sole actual voice of the American people, must assert itself. Every single mayor and governor presiding over a city in turmoil could do this immediately, and America could be at peace within a fortnight.

But they don’t.

Ask why.

Indeed. But once Biden comes out and condemns the rioters and looters, he won’t be able to complain when Trump starts arresting them.

Flashback: This Leftist Tantrum Is an Information Operation and Trump Is Winning It.

VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR DAILY INSANITY WRAP: Seattle Burns, Biden Spurns.

Insanity Wrap needs to know: When is cowardice the better part of valor?

Answer: When it involves a Democratic presidential nominee, silly.

Before we get to the sordid details, a quick preview of today’s Wrap.

Seattle’s peaceful protestors peacefully attempt to burn cops to death.

Matt Yglesias is still the world’s worst and most desperate gaslighter.

Mr. Trump Goes to Kenosha (but Mr. Biden won’t).

And so much more at the link, you’d have to be crazy to miss it.

TO THOSE CLAIMING THE RIOTS AND LOOTING AREN’T AN AUTHENTIC EXPRESSION OF THE BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT, NOTE THAT ACADEMICS ARE COMING FORWARD TO CLAIM THE OPPOSITE: Vicky Osterweil’s “In Defense of Looting” makes the case that looting isn’t a betrayal of protests for Black lives, but a vital aspect of the movement.

Of course, there’s no action so vile that you can’t find an academic to defend it, particularly if it’s undertaken by someone who can be characterized as oppressed.

Related: “I don’t know if other people in ‘the movement’ are happy to see that idea spoken aloud. I’ve been hearing that there are 2 groups of people — the peaceful protesters and these mysterious other people, who, I’ve noted, the journalists don’t seem to care to identify and investigate. Osterweil is saying these are not 2 different groups. It’s one movement, and it’s been going on for a long time.”

Plus: “Osterweil’s looting is a switch from making the argument against property in words and to speak with actions — the destruction of property. But that doesn’t make the argument more convincing! It’s a nasty tantrum thrown because you can’t convince people with your ideas. Ironically, fortunately, it makes the argument for the other side.”

If the Black Lives Matter movement were being run by Roger Stone as a vote-getter for Trump, what exactly would it be doing differently at this point? As the saying goes, Oft evil will shall evil mar.

THEY NEVER OBJECT TO VIOLENCE WHEN IT’S THEIR PEOPLE DOING IT: Seen on Facebook: “Liberals are now upset about ‘armed vigilantism’ but still not upset about riots and looting.”

I’ve been warning for a while that the breakdown of law and order won’t go as they hope. Ultimately, the police are there to protect criminals from the populace, not the other way around. Get rid of the police, and armed vigilantism is what you’ll get. And what you’ll deserve.

UPDATE: Some people are figuring it out, as this article in The Atlantic illustrates: The Violence Could Get Much Worse: Unless police and political leaders begin to crack down on the armed vigilantes monitoring protests, more bloodshed could soon follow the killings in Kenosha.

THIS IS IT: Night 4: Liveblogging the 2020 Republican National Convention.

UPDATE: A friend on Facebook comments:

Faced with the need for a dispersed convention, the Democrats chose to visually and rhetorically emphasize the situationally coerced quality of it all. Grainy Zoom conference calls, staged shots emphasizing cavernous emptiness, apologetic second-tier celebrity emcees, virtue-signaling mask wearing, et cetera. It was all grim, threatening atmospherics, and the celebratory culmination — the masked nominees strolling to receive the accolades of a large and darkened parking lot — displayed as bathos rather than triumph.

The party of Hollywood was handed what should have been its most natural task — excel on television! — and fumbled it.

This week, we are at the close of four days of Republican conventioneering. Set aside what you think of the substance of it, or that of its counterpart. Look at production values and aesthetic. The RNC nailed it. Against the mystifying Democratic decision to consciously present its own second-best, a televised would-be convention, the Republicans discarded the old form altogether — and embraced the new one.

The DNC production was deliberately despite the medium. The RNC production was deliberately of the medium.

On the one hand, Trump produced a hugely successful reality TV show, so yeah. On the other hand, the Democrats are a subsidiary of Hollywood (or maybe vice versa) so you’d think they could have done as well.

MORE:

MORE STILL:

VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR DAILY INSANITY WRAP: Biden Will Move the Country Foerwad, Plus Your Duty to Get Robbed.

Insanity Wrap needs to know: If video killed the radio star, then who killed the sitcom star?

Answer: Progressive politics did, and it was premeditated.

Before we get to the sordid details, a quick preview of today’s Wrap.

• It’s your bourgeois duty to get robbed, says a man with much more money than you have

• Biden got trumped in his home state

• Virus gonna virus, yo.

And so much more at the link, you’d have to be crazy to miss it.

THE MEDIA GASLIGHTING ISN’T WORKING: Most say ‘protests’ have become ‘riots,’ new high in support for police.

Support for police has surged past 4-1 in key battleground 2020 states, likely driven by concerns that “peaceful” Black Lives Matter protests have become more violent.

A new survey for Heritage Action For America found that opposition to defunding the police, part of the Black Lives Matter movement, has jumped to 79%, with just 16% supporting the defund plan.

That opposition to slashing police is the highest of any recent poll, and a strong indicator that the type of law and order message pushed by President Trump and the GOP has support in Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, where the survey was conducted.

Well, as we’ve seen, even the black community opposes defunding the police:

“The worst place for a black person to live in America is a Democrat-controlled city.”

Heck, even Talcum X has figured out that “systemic racism” is a Democratic Party problem.

MICHAEL ANTON: THE CASE FOR TRUMP.

Yes, President Trump enjoys the overwhelming loyalty of Republican voters—but his hold on Republican donors, and especially officials, is much more tenuous. He ran against them and won—and most of them will never forgive him. They play nice to his face and undermine him behind his back. That’s before we even get to the ones in open rebellion. No president—Democrat or Republican—has ever come to power facing organized efforts by his own party’s middle management to tally lists of people declaring on the record that under no circumstances will they work for the incoming administration. It’s been hard, to say the least, to staff up when a good chunk of the party is dead-set against their leader, and nearly all the rest spent their careers furthering policies diametrically opposed to those he ran—and won—on.

And that’s just President Trump’s ostensible own side. Then factor in all his open enemies from the other party, and virtually every other power center in our society, plus the steadfast opposition of the so-called “deep state”—i.e., the very federal bureaucrats whom he was elected to oversee and direct. Viewed from this angle, one may fairly wonder how it’s been possible for him to accomplish anything at all.

More fundamentally: where do you think the country would be without him?

In the crapper.

MOSTLY PEACEFUL ARSON: Portland Antifa Rioters Again Try to Burn Down Police Union, Police Stand Down to ‘Deescalate’ the Riot.

Since antifa rioters have a well-funded network that bails them out after they get arrested, and since the local district attorney has announced he will not prosecute various crimes — even when rioters violently attack police — perhaps the police decided it was not worth their time to arrest the rioters. Or perhaps Wheeler directed them to stand down on the ridiculous hope that not enforcing the law would somehow “deescalate” the situation.

Although Wheeler has finally vocally condemned the violent antifa rioters, it appears he is triangulating in the race against self-described antifa candidate Sarah Iannarone. Wheeler rightly condemned violent antifa rioters for “attempting to commit murder” by trapping police officers inside the Penumbra Kelly building before trying to light it on fire. Iannarone refused to condemn the attempted murder, saying, “I understand why they’re angry.”

These are the two candidates who will face off in November — the mayor who waited for months to condemn the violence and the challenger who still refuses to condemn attempted murder.

Related: Portland police officer on nightly protests: ‘They’ve been hijacked by anarchists’

“I believe that we would have buildings on fire. I truly do,” [Sgt. Brent Maxey] replied. He continued, “The people that have been coming out to the justice center and to the police precincts, they want to abolish the police…They’re basically trying to bankrupt the Portland Police Bureau. I think if we didn’t respond to these things I think that we would have buildings on fire.”

As for what Sgt. Maxey sees as the solution to this ongoing situation, he says it has to be about conversations rather than screaming matches. He describes one incident where someone shouted something vulgar at him. He engaged the person and they wound up speaking for 90 minutes. He said that at the end they didn’t agree but they both shook hands and he felt like there was some mutual understanding. “All I see anymore is screaming. We go out and nobody is interested in a dialogue,” he said. He added, “If I do find somebody who wants to talk, other people come and shut them down.”

At this point I would just interject that there are reasons the woke won’t debate people, including the officers they are protesting. As James Lindsay put it, “Conversation and debate are part of our game, and they are not part of their game.” Their game, in the case of the Portland protests, is tactics of conflict and “direct action.” Conversation is counter to that goal.

More: Andy Ngo tweets a link to the following video, in which veteran journalist Lisa Balick of Portland CBS affiliate KOIN 6 “reports what happened yesterday when a BLM mob beat Adam Haner unconscious in downtown after attacking his partner. Straight news like this is rare. Most media in Portland have systematically failed or misled the public:”

OUCH: Sanders’ former press secretary: Let’s face it, the Harris pick is a disaster for progressives. “Just what exactly do progressives — especially those with antipathy to law enforcement — get from a Joe Biden/Kamala Harris ticket? The media has spent much of the past thirty hours celebrating this union rather than analyzing it, but not everyone’s tossing confetti. . . . These are not new concerns; last year, back when the New York Times felt more comfortable in drilling into Harris’ record, it laid out the issues in more detail.”

The best thing about a contested primary is that it’s basically the only time the press will report anything negative about leading Democrats.

Related:

Flashback: While Democrats get crazier, Tulsi Gabbard hits Kamala Harris criticism right on the nose.

As Gabbard pointed out, then California attorney general, Harris was responsible for putting “over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.”

Harris’ office also blocked DNA evidence that could have freed a man who may be innocent. And what’s more, as Gabbard said, “She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California. And she fought to keep (the) cash bail system in place that impacts poor people in the worst kind of way.”

Related: Kamala Harris: Introducing a faked confession isn’t outrageous prosecutorial misconduct.

UPDATE: A friend on Facebook comments: “As my conservative friends relish the ‘unwinnable Biden/Harris ticket,’ I’m reminded of when my liberal friends were celebrating the ‘unwinnable Trump/Pence ticket.’ The American voter can be (and usually is) a fairly contrary critter. Taking them for granted is a quick way to get a November wakeup call.”

Yep. And they’ll have that famous five-to-fifteen point media wind at their back. Don’t get cocky, kids. Get out and work for it if you want to win.

Trump’s Big NATO Move Puts Putin on Notice.

While much has been made by the mainstream media — almost all of it negative — about President Trump’s decision in July to remove thousands of American troops from Germany, less has been said about where they’ll end up.

Nearly 12,000 troops will be redeployed from Germany, reducing the American presence there by about one third. Of those being redeployed, around half of them will end up in other NATO ally nations, including Poland and the Baltic States.

A headquarters like the newly reestablished V Corps is a big deal in and of itself, providing “command and control focused on synchronizing U.S. Army, allied, and partner nation tactical formations,” according to Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville. Placing V Corps in Poland send a serious message about serious intent.

In effect, NATO’s front line defenses are moving to the east.

Much more at the link, but it’s exclusively for our VIP supporters.

If you’ve been thinking of becoming a member, you can do so here — and don’t forget to use that VODKAPUNDIT discount code.

And in case you missed it yesterday, I published this for our VIPs for the 75th anniversaries of the atomic bombings: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Myth of American Institutional Racism.

VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR DAILY INSANITY WRAP: Lincoln Project Retroactively Endorses Obama.

Insanity Wrap needs to know: Who will the Lincoln Project endorse next in their anti-Trump delirium?

Answer: Karl Marx, we’re pretty sure.

Before we get to the sordid details, a quick preview of today’s Wrap.

• Portland Mayor admits the obvious.

• A possible cure for lockdown fever: Math.

• Karens, defined.

And so much more, you’d have to be crazy to miss it.

HUGH HEWITT IN THE WASHINGTON POST: The Case For Trump Will Come Down To His Record: It’s A Strong One.

President Trump’s record of accomplishments is easy to compile.

Most significantly, he has brought the existential threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party into the sunlight. No more nice words. No more treating the Tiananmen Square massacre as a bug, not a feature. The light is on. Trump has pulled the cord.

With huge help from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Trump has put two justices on the Supreme Court, 53 judges on the federal courts of appeals, 144 and counting on the District courts, and more than 20 on the specialty courts. The Constitution has been buttressed.

Trump’s tax cuts, along with the massive deregulation he orchestrated, led to 3.5 percent unemployment until the regime in Beijing acted with criminal recklessness toward a virus that has devastated the world. Economic recovery depends on those rule rollbacks, and not just grotesque overreaches such as the Clean Power Plan and “Waters of the United States” rule, but on hundreds of other intrusions into the private businesses and onto the private property of Americans.

Trump took a military operating in President Barack Obama’s last years at about $600 billion and moved that budget by his third year to $738 billion, with more in the budget coming soon. The Navy necessary to meet China on the high seas, all 355 ships of it, is being planned and built.

Trump tore up the so-called Iran nuclear deal, which was a tower of absurd hopes built on a policy of appeasement and a foundation of hostility to Israel.

Trump moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and blessed Israel’s necessary annexation of the Golan Heights. His peace plan is the closest to reality of any since Oslo.

Trump took the United States out of the unbalanced, absurd, doomed-to-fail Paris Climate Agreement and has instead focused on and delivered American energy independence. People have real job security in Pennsylvania as a result, if not in jetting off to Paris for follow-up seminars.

Trump ordered Iran’s master terrorist, Gen. Qasem Soleimani, killed, accomplished the complete physical destruction of the Islamic State caliphate and successfully hunted down its terrorist chieftain, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The former was never contemplated by Obama, the latter couldn’t get done by him even though his scampering from Iraq in 2011 led to the rise of Islamic State and its thousand barbarities. The Syrian butcher, Bashar al-Assad, has twice used chemical weapons and twice had cruise missiles remind him that the red line is back and is real. Russian mercenaries attacked U.S. troops in Syria and were mowed down. Not an American was killed. Those are “Trump rules of engagement.” Even Cuba is back in its box, joined there by Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro.

At home, Trump pushed through the long-overdue justice reform legislation and the reorganization of Veterans Affairs, and, this year, the Great American Outdoors Act that fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund. House Democrats passed a piffling bill when covid-19 arrived, while Trump, McConnell and Senate Republicans advanced the innovative and massive Paycheck Protection Program that kept the U.S. economy from collapsing even as it contracted by nearly 10 percent in the second quarter as the China’s principal export, covid-19, ravaged the country.

Trump’s border wall, proceeding apace, makes obvious sense. More than 200 miles completed, with Trump tweeting Thursday the length with be 300 miles by September. . . .

Trump’s brawling, slugging, tempestuous approach to everything in every hour has worn down many, but his road is marked by these accomplishments. Former vice president Joe Biden’s near-50-year run in government is marked by . . . well, you fill that in. Polls say Biden is far ahead. We shall see.

There’s an aesthetic critique of Trump that has convinced elites that he must be beaten, that he is cruel and beneath the office. But Americans want their jobs and security back. They like the police. And, yes, most of the time they mostly admire Trump’s style and, almost always, his results.

It is a hallmark of elites — and especially decadent elites — that style is valued more than substance. One hopes voters feel differently.

NICE POLL, KID. DON’T GET COCKY. Poll: Trump Takes Lead over Biden. “A new poll released this weekend shows President Donald Trump, the incumbent GOP president, has taken a national and battleground states lead over his Democrat challenger presumptive nominee former Vice President Joe Biden. The survey, from the Democracy Institute commissioned by the Sunday Express newspaper, shows Trump leading Biden 48 percent to 46 percent. What’s more, Trump has opened up a bigger lead according to this poll in the crucial battleground states, meaning the president by this pollster’s estimates currently is projected to win 309 electoral votes—more than he did in 2016.”

May it be so. But if you care, get out there and donate, and volunteer. And if you don’t want to work in a campaign, consider an organization like True the Vote, which fights voting fraud.

AFTER THE ELECTION, WE’LL BE TOLD THAT TRUMP’S OPPOSITION TO MAIL VOTING WAS A NEFARIOUS SCHEME TO GET DEMOCRATS TO DOUBLE DOWN AND SUPPRESS THEIR OWN VOTERS: Poll: More Than Half Of Young People Lack Resources To Vote By Mail. Among other things, millennials don’t know where to get stamps, apparently.

Related: Despite virus threat, Black voters wary of voting by mail.

FOLLOW THE MONEY… OUT OF NEW YORK:

It’s interesting to watch idiot politicians set out to destroy a city. In fairness, the idiot politicians were elected by idiot voters, so, we must conclude that these voters are getting what they voted for.

Being of less than surpassing intelligence, they vote for the political party that promises to support and care for them. And they discover that the very same political party believes that the best way to do it is through higher taxes on the rich. Since they are not rich they are all for taxing other people. But then when the rich start fleeing the high tax state, the voters who believed that they had voted themselves a living suddenly discover that the goose has stopped laying the golden eggs. So, naturally, they blame Donald Trump.

QED

Anyway, the Zero Hedge blog has offered two recent stories on a slightly arcane issue: taxing stock transactions. You see, in many stock markets around the world, the local government takes a tiny piece of every transaction. Obviously, when you have billions of stock trades, those tiny pieces end up being real money. New York State does not do so because some four decades ago the stock exchange threatened to move out of the city.

Now, with New York’s tax base shrinking and the city and state being in the hands of idiot politicians, the idea is rising from the dead.

Related: New York, London Get Hit Hardest in Mega-Mansion Sales Plunge.

While Covid is mentioned in the brief Bloomberg article, no mention of riots, protests, or other reasons that could be driving the real estate plunge.

(Via Maggie’s Farm, which is loaded with many more links for your reading and blogging pleasure.)

I HANG MY HEAD IN DESPAIR FOR MY PROFESSION: So I’m reading along in Roll Call reporter Jennifer Shutt’s story today on House passage of four spending bills that have little or no chance of passage in the Senate. It’s all the usual legislative blah-blah about billions in this bill, more billions in that one, amendments accepted, amendments defeated, growing concerns, etc. etc.

Then I read the last sentence: “There’s also broad frustration about the Trump administration’s decision to send federal officers, dressed in military-style uniforms, to Portland and Chicago to confront mostly peaceful protestors.” (Emphasis added).

How does such a falsehood make it into a news report presented as a credible, factual account of events on Capitol Hill? Perhaps (and it’s so faint a possibility as to be nearly invisible) Shutt has been too busy to watch any of the countless videos of sustained, organized and increasingly lethal Antifa/BLM violence directed against federal officers and property in Portland and Chicago.

But why didn’t one of her editors catch that glaring error? Has nobody on Roll Call’s copy desk seen the violence? It’s hard not to conclude that this is a disgusting illustration of left-wing narrative presented as credible news journalism. Worst of all, it’s likely the approach she learned in j-school.

I’m old enough to remember when writing a falsehood like that in a story draft more than once would get you canned because every news organization realized its most precious asset was its credibility with readers.

FOGGY BOTTOM FLUNKS THE SCHULZ TEST:

Shot: Pompeo’s Attack on ‘1619 Project’ Draws Fire From His Own Diplomats.

The New York Times ’ “1619 Project,” which examines the role of slavery in U.S. history, was not the central focus of his speech, nor of the new draft report that his controversial Commission on Unalienable Rights produced.

But his comments have sparked fresh debate and criticism among diplomats who continue to raise alarm bells over long-standing issues of systemic racism and diversity challenges in the State Department. Five officials who spoke to Foreign Policy on condition of anonymity described a reaction of shock and fury.

“Pompeo made it very clear where he stands and reaffirmed the purpose of the commission by denigrating the movement for equal justice and the call for racial reckoning and healing in America,” said one State Department official. “Everyone that I have spoken with is horrified and disgusted by the commission, his press conference, and [the] attack on 1619,” said the official.

Foreign Policy, yesterday.

Chaser:

When I was in the first period when I was secretary of state, there was in my office a big globe. And when ambassadors, who were newly going to their posts or in their posts and coming back to visit me, would get ready to leave, I would say to them, “Ambassador, you have one more test before you can go to your post. You have to go over to the globe and prove to me that you can identify your country.” So unerringly, they would go over and they’d spin the globe around and they’d put their finger on the country they were going to, pass the test.

So Mike Mansfield, great elder statesman in America, former Senate majority leader and who had been ambassador to Japan for a while before I was there, and he was a close friend of mine from back when I was in the Nixon administration — so he was visiting and he got ready to leave. I said, “Mike, I got to give you the same test I give everybody else. Before you can go back to Japan, you got to show me that you can go over to the globe and put your finger on your country.” So he went over and he spun this globe around and he put his hand on the United States, said, “That’s my country.” So I’ve told that, subsequently, to all the ambassadors going out, “Never forget, you’re over there in that country, but your country is the United States. You’re there to represent us. Take care of our interests and never forget it, and you’re representing the best country in the world.”

—Former Secretary of State George Shultz on C-Span, April 29, 1993.

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO EPISTEMIC CLOSURE:

The resignations of New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss and New York Magazine writer Andrew Sullivan effectively punctuated a week in which the center-left press went to war with itself over the notion that the atmosphere they’d cultivated might not be the most conducive to free and open debate.

Both writers—centrist but heterodox insofar as they wrote for liberal publications while being sharply critical of the identitarian excesses and groupthink to which the left has succumbed—are frequent objects of abuse. Their views, which remain well represented within the Democratic coalition, are regularly anathematized by their “very online” colleagues in opinion journalism as “controversial,” “bigoted,” “racist” “reactionary”—even targets of the left’s “hate.” As Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo revealingly wrote, Weiss’s conventionally liberal “commentary often appeals to conservatives”—an unforgivable sin.

Criticism of their work bordered on (and regularly veered into) ad hominem. The suppression of their work within their institutions and the internal harassment to which they were subjected simply became too much. So, they will be taking their considerable talents elsewhere.

This mounting pile of dead canaries within the liberal coal mine has inspired not introspection but withering mockery and derision. You see, goes this response, there really is no such thing as “cancel culture.” These voices are free to go wherever they want, just so long as it’s somewhere they can be easily ignored.

There is a sickness settling over the center-left intellectual landscape. It is one the left could recognize when its symptoms were observed in their political rivals: the plague of “epistemic closure.” Bruce Bartlett described it as the condition in which an intellectual movement abstains from the necessary work of questioning itself. Rachel Maddow blamed the Republican Party’s 2012 losses on the “factual bubble” in which the conservative movement was cocooned. As the right’s more self-critical voices became “marginalized, even self-marginalizing,” Marc Armbinder observed, it would only settle deeper into a self-reinforcing feedback loop that would foreclose on the prospect of representing a majority constituency.

So, lefty projection on a massive scale, in other words.

TIME FOR CHANGE: Education or Indoctrination?

Plus this from GWU Law Professor John Banzhaf. I’m quoting extensively because he emailed this with no link:

How Trump Can Legally Crack Down on Colleges’ “Radical Left Indoctrination”
Not Through Tax Status, But Through His Free-Speech-on-Campus Executive Order
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 14, 2020) – President Donald Trump has tweeted that he is ordering the Treasury Department to re-examine the tax-exempt status of some universities, saying too many “are about Radical Left Indoctrination, not Education.” But federal law prohibits the Internal Revenue Service, which is part of the Treasury Department, from questioning the tax-exempt status of organizations “based on their ideological beliefs.”

However, while Trump cannot direct the revocation of their tax exempt status,he might be able to seriously threaten their federal funding, or at least cause federal investigations which, by themselves, can have a major impact, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

Interestingly, organizations, students, or professors who are conservative, or who for whatever reason support his policies, or are simply concerned – like Professor Banzhaf – about protecting free speech on their campus, seem to have the power to trigger just such actions.

There have been numerous reports providing examples of where state universities have allegedly violated the First Amendment rights of students, professors, and/or invited guest speakers – often those whose views oppose or even attack so-called “radical left” positions – and in some cases it appears that even judges have agreed that the university’s action was illegal.

In such a situation, any student or faculty member – or perhaps even an outside organization – might file a formal complaint, anonymous or otherwise, under Executive Order 13864, which was issued on March 21, 2019, and is apparently still in force but untested.

The order mandates that “to advance the policy described in subsection 2(a) of this Order, the heads of covered agencies SHALL in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, take appropriate steps, in a manner consistent with applicable law, including the First Amendment, to ensure institutions that receive Federal research or education grants promote free inquiry, including through compliance with all applicable Federal laws, regulations, and policies.” [emphasis added]

The policy set out in Section 2(a) requires “compliance with the First Amendment for public institutions and compliance with stated institutional policies regarding freedom of speech for private institutions.”

The mandatory nature of the order was made very clear by the President’s remarks accompanying its release:

“Taxpayer dollars should not subsidize anti-First Amendment institutions. . . . Universities that want taxpayer dollars should promote free speech, not silence free speech. . . . protect the First Amendment and First Amendment rights of their students, or risk losing billions and billions of dollars of federal taxpayer dollars. . . . If a college or university doesn’t allow you to speak, we WILL NOT give them money. ” [emphasis added]

So a single simple formal complaint alleging that a state university violated the First Amendment by unfairly and perhaps even illegally impeding – or even threatening to impede – First-Amendment-protected speech which was critical of so-called “radical left” views, but was more tolerant and permissive of speech which aligned with such views, could trigger a formal federal investigation possibly leading to a cutoff of certain federal funds.

According to the executive order, the “covered agencies” from which funding could be terminated are the “Departments of Defense, the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Transportation, Energy, and Education; the Environmental Protection Agency; the National Science Foundation; and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.”

Federal investigations, even if there is little likelihood that funding will actually be terminated, can be very expensive, embarrassing, disruptive, and otherwise harmful to any university unfortunate enough to become subject to one.

Indeed, it has been suggested that one reason for the issuance of the executive order, and for the choice of agencies which are covered, was to provide a strong incentive for faculty members, especially those involved with research, to begin speaking up and defending free speech when violations occur or are threatened on their own campuses.

This is particularly true for professors working in STEM fields or medicine, since they and their universities rely more heavily upon federal research grants than professors in the humanities. Indeed, some have argued that this order, once enforced, could help provide an important counterbalance, since humanities professors (who much less frequently have major federal grants) reportedly have been more supportive of campus free speech violations, with those in other disciplines largely doing nothing.

Now those STEM and health professors dependent upon research grants will have a very powerful incentive to speak up when their university tries to violate the First Amendment rights of students, faculty, or invited speakers; whether their speech reflects the view of the “radical left” or the “radical right,” suggests Banzhaf.

Those who doubt that federal complaints, and the investigations which they often trigger, can have a major impact on university policies need only look at the huge effect complaints filed by students under Title IX have had on university policies regarding date rape and other forms of sexual abuse on campus.

Naturally, students and faculty with what some might characterize as “left-leaning” (if not “radical left”) views can likewise file complaints under the same Executive Order if the First Amendment rights of speakers sharing their positions are violated, but it remains to be seen if such instances are as numerous as those more frequently reported interferences with conservative views, or if executive branch agencies under Trump will treat them as equally serious and as warranting federal investigation.

However, interference with the speech of those on the left would seem to be far less frequent, suggests Banzhaf, since a recent study have shown that the college administrators who interact with and directly affect students – e.g, planning programs, handling discipline, etc. – are even more overwhelmingly liberal (reportedly by a 12-1 ratio) than faculty (estimated at 6-1).

Faculty and students take note, and file complaints as appropriate.

MICHAEL BARONE: The most dishonest, biased news coverage of our lifetimes — and it’s about to get worse.

‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen such dishonest and biased coverage of any event.” That was Brit Hume, who has been covering events for more than 50 years for Fox News, ABC News and investigative reporter Jack Anderson.

The event was President Trump’s Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore.

The speech was, according to The New York Times, “dark and divisive,” designed to deliver a “divisive culture war message.” The Washington Post called it a “dystopian speech” and a “push to amplify racism.”

Absent from their stories were quotations supporting racism. Nor did Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth supply any quotations to support her claim that Trump “spent all his time talking about dead traitors.” Trump mentioned no Confederates but did quote the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

The great bulk of Trump’s speech was a celebration of American history, American principles, American leaders. He spoke extensively of the four presidents whose visages were sculpted on the mountain above him and paid tribute more succinctly to others.

He said: “We are the country of Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant and Frederick Douglass. We are the land of Wild Bill Hickock and Buffalo Bill Cody. We are the nation that gave rise to the Wright brothers, the Tuskegee Airmen, Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Jesse ­Owens, George Patton — Gen. ­George Patton — the great Louie Armstrong, Alan Shepard, Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali.”

Dark and divisive? Dystopian? Amplifying racism?

What really seems to have raised the press’ hackles was Trump’s dissent from their reverent attitudes toward Black Lives Matter and apparent indifference to those tearing down statues of Lincoln, Douglass, Grant, abolitionists and women’s-rights advocates.

Think of the press as a psychological warfare operation aimed at normal Americans and you won’t go far wrong.

LINCOLN’S NEW ASSASSINS AND THE MAOIST NATURE OF THE NEW WAR ON WRONGTHINK. First, in his latest G-File, Jonah Goldberg writes:

Nothing evokes a nice gloomy feel like the German language. The Germans, a people forged under the gray skies and dark shadows of the Black Forest, are a gloomy people, which is why they have such wonderful words to describe gloomy things.

(For instance, there’s schadenfreude, taking pleasure in the misfortune of others. And fremdschamen, the feeling of being embarrassed for someone else who doesn’t have the good sense of being embarrassed for themselves (think of that feeling you get watching Michael Scott humiliate himself in The Office, or President Trump answering a question from Sean Hannity. See below). And there’s my favorite: futterneid—that feeling of jealousy you get when someone is eating something you want to eat. When I go out to dinner with my wife and she orders better than me, my futterneidfuels the Fair Jessica’s schadenfreude.)

So let’s consider the word Einfühlungsvermögen.

Einfühlungsvermögen means “empathy.” And that English word is just over a century old. It entered the English language in 1909 as a translation of Einfühlungsvermögen. It’s an adaptation of the shorter term Einfühlung, a concept pioneered by the German historicist Johann Herder, one of the founders of German nationalism. Einfühlung literally means “feeling one’s way in.” And it was one of the core concepts of the German historicist school, which is responsible for many bad ideas we won’t discuss here.

But Einfühlung, in isolation, is not a bad idea. What Herder meant by “feeling one’s way in” was that for a historian to understand a particular society, one must grasp on both an intellectual and emotional level the cultural currents of the time. One cannot just look from outside the fishbowl using the scorecards of the moment and judge a society from some modern, abstract, standard. You must dive in and understand people and cultures on their own terms first. This is something the best historians do. They make the reader feel like they understand why people did the things they did without the benefit of knowing how events turned out.

Which brings us to this post at the American Greatness Website: Lincoln’s New Assassins:

Now the mob takes the role of John Wilkes Booth in removing perhaps the greatest of all Lincoln sculptures, the Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park, located in northeast Washington, D.C. The preeminent Lincoln scholar of our or any other time, Harry V. Jaffa, said many times that this sculpture, originally referred to as the Freedman’s Memorial, rivaled Daniel French’s Lincoln Memorial creation. The statue was dedicated to honor Lincoln on the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Yet the furious mob blindly objects that the statue shows a kneeling slave before a standing Lincoln. The mob is even more blinkered in its art appreciation than it is in its historical understanding, as I will show in close-up views of the muscular freedman—no longer a slave!—and other details.

* * * * * * * *

If we don’t believe our own eyes, we have the testimony of Frederick Douglass, who delivered the dedication address, honoring his friend Abraham Lincoln. The escaped slave Douglass is famous for his criticisms of Lincoln’s policies, including what he then regarded as his slowness to accede to plans for using black soldiers. But he also conceded the correctness of Lincoln’s measured policies. Douglass’s speech is among his best, his most complex, for its unsparing, many-sided views of Lincoln: it smashes all clichés about both men. His audience, we should note, included President Grant.

Read the whole thing.

Related exit question: Do we erase Black history when we take down statues?

WHY ARE DEMOCRATS BLOCKING CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM? BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEIR BLACK CONSTITUENTS ARE UNHAPPY WITH THEM, AND THEY DON’T WANT TO GIVE TRUMP A CHANCE TO SHOW MORE RESULTS THAN THEY HAVE. Politico: Black voters in Detroit are disgusted with Democrats, and sure that Trump will win.

“We look at Joe Biden and see more of the same. It’s about the era he came up. It’s about his identity—he’s a rich, old white man. What are his credentials to us, other than Obama picking him? It’s nice that he worked with Obama. But let’s keep it real: That was a political calculation. Obama thought he needed a white man to get elected, just like Biden thinks he needs a Black woman to get elected. We can see through that.”

These sentiments resurfaced in almost every conversation I had. First, that Biden choosing a woman of color might actually irritate, not appease, Black voters. Second, that the inferno of June would flicker by summer’s end and fade entirely by November. And third, that Biden does little to inspire a wary Black electorate that views him as the status quo personified. It was thoroughly convincing. Here were high-information voters, giving their personal opinions while also analyzing the feeling of their community, all making the same points in separate conversations.

“We’re all Democrats, but we’re all Black Democrats. So, we can see things for what they are,” explained URSURA MOORE, a 53-year-old real estate agent. “Some people thought just because we had a Black president, he was going to make things better for Black people—he was going to free Black prisoners, wipe out Black debt. That was just ignorance. But the disappointment some of us felt with Obama—more so with the Democratic Party—that was real. And it hasn’t gone away. So, people start to wonder whether the outcome even matters. They wonder whether they should bother voting at all.”

She stopped herself. “I’m going to vote. But Trump’s getting back in office either way.”

This was another recurring theme of my conversations: a fatalism about defeating Trump this fall. Not a single person I spoke with at the cookout told me they believed Biden would win.

Plus:

“If he puts Michelle on the ticket, everybody turns out.”

This much the table agreed on. But there was no such unanimity on Biden’s actual shortlist. In fact, the harshest criticisms were reserved for the person widely viewed as the frontrunner, California Senator Kamala Harris.

“She’s fake. She’s phony. She’s not one of us. She built a political career by over-prosecuting Black kids,” Neal said.

And:

“We’re always the fucking help! And I’m tired of being the help!” she cried. “Don’t wait until it’s an election year, until you’re in trouble, to come to us and ask for help saving your asses. They always say it will be different after the next election. But it never is. And we’re sick of it. And it’s why—”

Neal completed the sentence: “That’s why Trump’s gonna win again.”

The table fell hushed. I asked if anyone disagreed with that prediction. Not a single person did.

Honestly, Trump’s already done more for black Americans than Obama did, and more than Biden would do. But the Democrats are doing their best to make sure he can’t do any more before the election. You sure you want to turn out for them?

And, just because: “Don’t bring some 27-year-old white kid from Oregon, with skinny jeans and an iPad, into my fucking neighborhood in Detroit and tell me how to get out the vote!”

And a question for Pelosi, et al.: You had a supermajority under Obama. Why didn’t you do anything about criminal justice reform then?

Read the entire article — there’s much more than these excerpts, and it’s all really good reporting.

BLUE-COLLAR BATTLE: Review of The Hardhat Riot by David Paul Kuhn.

Friday morning in lower Manhattan, when hard-hatted construction workers demonstrated—emphatically, energetically, violently—that the anti–Vietnam War left didn’t own New York City’s street-protest franchise.

Beginning shortly before noon on May 8, 1970—the 25th anniversary of V-E Day and four days after national guardsmen shot dead four students at Kent State University in Ohio—several hundred helmeted building tradesmen left work sites across downtown, laid into a large anti-war protest near Federal Hall, and undertook a two-hour rumpus that eventually rolled over the steps of City Hall, leaving 70 injured, six arrested, and the city itself in startled confusion.

What quickly became known as—what else?—New York’s “Hardhat Riot” was a noteworthy event in the nation’s protracted Vietnam War drama. Hitherto the role of the working class had been to contribute its sons to the war effort—while leaving the politics, and the moral preening, to its betters.

No longer, as journalist David Paul Kuhn details in this very fluid account of the event, its context, and its aftermath. Kuhn presents it as an inflection point in America’s journey from Franklin Roosevelt to Richard Nixon to Donald Trump, and to some degree it might have been. Certainly, the hardhats had laid down a cultural marker of some significance. Looking back, though, we can see that it was as much a civic spasm as an actual riot—just one more insult to an obsolescent and teetering post-WWII social order.

Read the whole thing.

Flashback: Happy ‘Hard Hat Riot’ Day! Remembering the coolest 1970s protest you’ve never heard of.

MY LATEST FOR THE PJMEDIA MOTHERSHIP: Let It Burn and/or Give Them What They Want.

President Trump has been walking a fine line with the rioters, the sometimes less-than-peaceful protestors, and the looney leftists trying to eliminate the police in Minneapolis and actually seceding from the union in Seattle. On the one hand, the Let It Burn theory will doubtless provide an object lesson in what happens to once-fine cities once the looney left takes charge. On the other, how long can we afford to let so many cities go on under such anarchy?

Fine line or not, until today I had wished Trump were being more decisive. One doesn’t float the idea of sending in regular troops to back up the Guard and local police, and then just let it wither on the vine. And if he’s going to run on a law and order platform in the fall, as he’s indicated, then eventually he’s got to supply some of both. Trump is the incumbent, not a challenger like Nixon in 1968, running against a sitting Democrat who’d lost control of the streets and let our cities burn.

But that was yesterday. Today I thought, “Let it burn.”

With a special appearance by Alan Arkin as “Simon.”

This one is just for our VIP supporters. If you’ve been thinking of becoming a member, you can do so here — and don’t forget to use that VODKAPUNDIT discount code.

THIS DOESN’T FIT THE NARRATIVE ON THE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE:

Lost in the coverage is the fact that today less than 6% of Americans tested each week are found to have the virus. Cases have stabilized over the past two weeks, with the daily average case rate across the U.S. dropping to 20,000—down from 30,000 in April and 25,000 in May. And in the past five days, deaths are down to fewer than 750 a day, a dramatic decline from 2,500 a day a few weeks ago—and a far cry from the 5,000 a day that some were predicting.

The truth is that we’ve made great progress over the past four months, and it’s a testament to the leadership of President Trump. When the president asked me to chair the White House Coronavirus Task Force at the end of February, he directed us to pursue not only a whole-of-government approach but a whole-of-America approach. The president brought together major commercial labs to expand our testing capacity, manufacturers to produce much-needed medical equipment, and major pharmaceutical companies to begin research on new medicines and vaccines. He rallied the American people to embrace social-distancing guidelines. And the progress we’ve made is remarkable.

We’ve expanded testing across the board. At the end of February, between Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labs and state public health facilities, the U.S. had performed only about 8,000 coronavirus tests. As of this week, we are performing roughly 500,000 tests a day, and more than 23 million tests have been performed in total.

We’ve also vastly expanded our supplies of crucial medical equipment. In March, there were genuine fears that hospitals in our hot spots would run out of personal protective equipment like N95 masks, gloves or, even worse, ventilators for patients battling respiratory failure. The Strategic National Stockpile hadn’t been refilled since the H1N1 influenza outbreak in 2009, and it had only 10,000 ventilators on hand.

Since then, we’ve increased the supply of personal protective equipment by the billions. Our administration launched Project Air Bridge—a partnership between the federal government and private companies—that, as of June 12, had conducted more than 200 flights from overseas to deliver more than 143 million N95 masks, 598 million surgical and procedural masks, 20 million eye and face shields, 265 million gowns and coveralls, and 14 billion gloves. In addition, we’ve worked with the private sector to ramp up ventilator production. Today, we have more than 30,000 ventilators in the Strategic National Stockpile, and we’re well on our way to building 100,000 ventilators in 100 days. No American who required a ventilator was ever denied one.

Yeah, you never hear about ventilators anymore. I can remember when they were a big deal.

THE MEDIA SAYS A LOT OF STUFF. The Media Said Trump Didn’t Have a COVID Testing Strategy. The Media Was Wrong.

The story of how the country went from nothing to more than half-a-million COVID tests on some days is a tale of inspired private–public cooperation. After bad initial stumbles when the Centers for Disease Control fouled up the initial test (at a time when it had a monopoly on testing) and when a Food and Drug Administration regulatory bottleneck stymied the development of testing in the private sector, the administration found its footing.

It used cooperative data, governmental authorities, relationships with the private sector, and improvisation-on-the-fly to work through supply shortages and other problems. Giroir’s team, a group of trouble-shooting aides around White House adviser Jared Kushner, the FDA, and the Department of Health and Human Services all played important roles. Meanwhile, private companies — often working hand-and-glove with the administration — quickly innovated and scaled up their production of everything from swabs to test kits.

At the beginning of March, there were fewer than 1,000 tests in the country on most days. By the end of March, there were more than 100,000 a day. The number climbed again before hovering somewhere around 150,000 a day for much of April.

Then it bumped up again, to more than 200,000 at the end of the month. It surpassed 400,000 for the first time on May 17. On May 29, it was nearly 500,000. It’s been in the range of 400,000 to 500,000 most days since, with a high of more than 580,000 just this just Friday.

More than 23 million tests have been run altogether, more than 3 million over just the last week. In April, 32 million tests were produced, and in May, 39 million, with the trajectory further upward. Giroir expects to be able to perform 50 million tests per month by September.

It’s obviously not an apples-to-apples comparison, but the hard-hit states like New York (151,000 per million), New Jersey (124,000 per million), and Massachusetts (111,000 per million) have higher rates of per capita testing than the major countries — including Spain (96,000), the United Kingdom (100,000), and Portugal (96,000) — with the highest levels of testing per capita.

The positivity rate of tests, a key indicator of whether enough people are being tested, has been dropping nationally since mid April and is now below 5 percent. The World Health Organization has set a rough benchmark of 5 percent. (If you’re above it, you aren’t testing enough.)

Stephen MacMillan, the CEO of the diagnostic manufacturer Hologic, says of the roughly 10 million tests that were conducted in May, “there had never in the history of diagnostics been a test to develop faster or used in this volume.”

You can’t expect much press coverage because stories that make Trump look good are verboten.

JONAH GOLDBERG: The Growing CHAZm in Seattle. Anarchists take over a neighborhood and … build a border wall?

I love CHAZ. That’s the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, a six-square block Wokeistan in the middle of Seattle, though I fear that they’ll change the name to something more euphoniously transgressive any minute now. And, while I feel bad for the businesses and homeowners in the area who are watching their property values plummet like one of those applause-o-meter dials at a focus group for Sean Spicer’s new one-man song-and-dance show at Branson, CHAZ is just too perfect not to talk about.

For starters, we’ve been hearing for years that borders are terrible. Some wokevolk talk about borders the way you talk to a dog that craps on your new white rug: “Bad borders! Bad!”

But what’s the first thing the Chaztopians establish? Borders, baby. The chief of police explained that, in a generous act of appeasement, she ordered the removal of police barricades at the request of protesters who said they wanted to march “because we really wanted to establish trust. Instead of marching, the protesters … established their own barricades. So the streets we wanted to be clear are now no longer clear.”

Read the whole thing.

Meanwhile, at America’s Newspaper of Record: Trump Enacts Tariffs, Travel Ban On CHAZ.

To enforce the travel ban, the president has ordered a wall built to protect the people of America from immigration from CHAZ. The wall will be “tremendous” and will have a moat and “maybe some sharks.” All foreign aid will also be suspended effective immediately.

Sharks with frickin’ lasers should get the job done.

Related: Tucker Carlson Runs Tourism Ad for CHAZ Antifa-Anarchist Autonomous Zone in Seattle:

Oh, and speaking of Tucker, “Disney ended their partnership with Tucker Carlson over his ‘offensive’ comments but not with the Chinese Communist Party over their millions of Muslims in Concentration Camps. Let that sink in,” Charlie Kirk tweets.

It’s all about keeping the overseas revenue from the Star Wars and Marvel franchises flowing in China, along with the Disneylands in Hong Kong and Shanghai:

Earlier: China’s Long Tentacles Extend Deep Into American Media.

SEATTLE MAYOR COMPARES ARMED OCCUPATION OF HER OWN CITY TO A ‘BLOCK PARTY:’

Police in Seattle returned to the East Precinct which was abandoned when Antifa-led protestors took over a six-block area of the city earlier this week. On Thursday afternoon, officers entered the precinct and tensions remain high at this hour.

During a joint press conference with Chief of Police Carmen Best and Mayor Jenny Durkan, Durkan blamed Trump and his narrative for everything that’s happening in downtown Seattle. She denied that there are armed militants, even though press has covered it.

Durkan compared the abandoning of the East Precinct and the the so-called Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone to a block party.

When asked about the occupation, she said, “We’ve had blocks of Seattle and Capitol Hill shut down every summer from everything from block parties to Pride and this is really not much of an operational challenge.”

Meanwhile, this is how AP describes the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone:”

Following days of violent confrontations with protesters, police in Seattle have largely withdrawn from a neighborhood where protesters have created a festival-like scene that has President Donald Trump fuming.

The kicker? That AP article is on the Snopes.com(!) Website. As Frank J. Fleming tweets, “You can only trust The Babylon Bee any more.”

Related: The Warlord Will See You Now. Armed Rebels Illegally Require ID to Get Into Seattle ‘Autonomous’ Zone.

I’d compare the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” to the Lord of the Flies, but as its author finally admitted, “The real Lord of the Flies is a tale of friendship and loyalty; one that illustrates how much stronger we are if we can lean on each other.”

THE PANDEMIC SEEMS TO BE HITTING TRUMP’S ENEMIES — HOLLYWOOD, COSMOPOLITAN BLUE STATES AND CITIES, MULTINATIONALS, HIGHER EDUCATION — HARDEST: The Price of a Virus Lockdown: Economic ‘Free Fall’ in California. California’s strengths — as a hub for commerce, tourism and education in the Pacific Rim — have become liabilities in the pandemic. “California has a hugely diversified economy, and many of the industries that have made it so strong are also the ones getting hit the hardest. By many measures California, which has the nation’s largest tourism industry, public university system, entertainment industry and port system and produces far more food than any other state, stands to lose more in the coronavirus-induced recession than anywhere else.”

If a single event hits so many of your industries at once, maybe you’re not as diversified as you think. Or maybe you’re measuring diversity along the wrong axis.

Plus: “With the state mandated by law to balance its budget, experts and officials are urging the federal government to step in and shore up the state’s finances with an immense bailout, a matter subject to partisan bickering across the nation, including in Washington, where many Republican lawmakers are opposed to it.”

Nope. Gavin Newsom has been talking about California as an independent “nation state.” Let him live the downside for a while.

THE KING OF GERMANY WILL ACCEPT YOUR BANK DEPOSITS NOW: Who Is Germany’s Self-Proclaimed King Peter Fitzek?

King Peter’s subjects are adherents of the Reichsbürger movement, whose members believe Germany doesn’t exist. The republic, they contend, is a limited liability company controlled by the Allied victors of World War II—and, according to the more anti-Semitic, the Rothschild family. Reichsbürgers print their own passports, often refuse to pay taxes, and clog courts with paperwork, along the same lines as the U.S. “sovereign citizen” movement.

And like their other American kin, QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory alleging a “deep state” plot against Donald Trump—they’re products of the digital age of unreason. Reichsbürgers are indoctrinated by low-budget YouTube talk shows hosted by the likes of Jo Conrad, who says Freemasons, lizard people, and child-murdering cults have overrun Germany.

Big if true.

SUPER GAFFE-O-MATIC ’76! Joe Biden tells young black man, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.”

Related: “Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only Republican African American senator currently in office, slammed Biden’s remarks. ‘1.3M black Americans already voted for Trump in 2016. Joe Biden told every single one of us we ‘ain’t black.’’ Scott wrote on Twitter. ‘I’d say I’m surprised, but it’s sadly par for the course for Democrats to take the black community for granted and browbeat those that don’t agree.’”

More: “This morning should end once and for all the question of which party is more eager to get Biden out of his basement.”

TARGETED: EXCLUSIVE: The Treasury Department Spied on Flynn, Manafort, and the Trump Family, Says Whistleblower.

President Barack Obama’s Treasury Department regularly surveilled retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn’s financial records and transactions beginning in December 2015 and well into 2017, before, during and after when he served at the White House as President Donald Trump’s National Security Director, a former senior Treasury Department official, and veteran of the intelligence community, told the Star Newspapers.

“I started seeing things that were not correct, so I did my own little investigation, because I wanted to make sure what I was seeing was correct” she said. “You never want to draw attention to something if there is not anything there.”

The whistleblower said she only saw metadata, that is names and dates when the general’s financial records were accessed. “I never saw what they saw.”

By March 2016, the whistleblower said she and a colleague, who was detailed to Treasury from the intelligence community, became convinced that the surveillance of Flynn was not tied to legitimate criminal or national security concerns, but was straight-up political surveillance among other illegal activity occurring at Treasury. . . . This ruse was to get around using classified resources to surveil Americans, she said. Once the Treasury personnel had enough information about someone they were targeting from the black box, they would go to the white box for faster and more informed search.

It was routine for these searches that had no criminal nor national security predicate, merely a political predicate, she said.

People need to be jailed for this kind of thing. If not shot.

PEGGY NOONAN, The Lockdown Class War.

There is a class divide between those who are hard-line on lockdowns and those who are pushing back. We see the professionals on one side—those James Burnham called the managerial elite, and Michael Lind, in “The New Class War,” calls “the overclass”—and regular people on the other. The overclass are highly educated and exert outsize influence as managers and leaders of important institutions—hospitals, companies, statehouses. The normal people aren’t connected through professional or social lines to power structures, and they have regular jobs—service worker, small-business owner.

Since the pandemic began, the overclass has been in charge—scientists, doctors, political figures, consultants—calling the shots for the average people. But personally they have less skin in the game. The National Institutes of Health scientist won’t lose his livelihood over what’s happened. Neither will the midday anchor.

I’ve called this divide the protected versus the unprotected. There is an aspect of it that is not much discussed but bears on current arguments. How you have experienced life has a lot to do with how you experience the pandemic and its strictures. I think it’s fair to say citizens of red states have been pushing back harder than those of blue states.

It’s not that those in red states don’t think there’s a pandemic. They’ve heard all about it! They realize it will continue, they know they may get sick themselves. But they also figure this way: Hundreds of thousands could die and the American economy taken down, which would mean millions of other casualties, economic ones. Or, hundreds of thousands could die and the American economy is damaged but still stands, in which case there will be fewer economic casualties—fewer bankruptcies and foreclosures, fewer unemployed and ruined.

They’ll take the latter. It’s a loss either way but one loss is worse than the other. They know the politicians and scientists can’t really weigh all this on a scale with any precision because life is a messy thing that doesn’t want to be quantified.

Here’s a generalization based on a lifetime of experience and observation. The working-class people who are pushing back have had harder lives than those now determining their fate. They haven’t had familial or economic ease. No one sent them to Yale. They often come from considerable family dysfunction. This has left them tougher or harder, you choose the word.

They’re more fatalistic about life because life has taught them to be fatalistic. And they look at these scientists and reporters making their warnings about how tough it’s going to be if we lift shutdowns and they don’t think, “Oh what informed, caring observers.” They think, “You have no idea what tough is. You don’t know what painful is.” And if you don’t know, why should you have so much say?

The overclass says, “Wait three months before we’re safe.” They reply, “There’s no such thing as safe.”

Something else is true about those pushing back. They live life closer to the ground and pick up other damage. Everyone knows the societal costs in the abstract—“domestic violence,” “child abuse.” . . . .

Meanwhile some governors are playing into every stereotype of “the overclass.” On Tuesday Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf said in a press briefing that those pushing against the shutdown are cowards. Local officials who “cave in to this coronavirus” will pay a price in state funding. “These folks are choosing to desert in the face of the enemy. In the middle of a war.” He said he’ll pull state certificates such as liquor licenses for any businesses that open. He must have thought he sounded uncompromising, like Gen. George Patton. He seemed more like Patton slapping the soldier. No sympathy, no respect, only judgment.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called anti-lockdown demonstrations “racist and misogynistic.” She called the entire movement “political.” It was, in part—there have been plenty of Trump signs, and she’s a possible Democratic vice presidential nominee. But the clamor in her state is real, and serious. People are in economic distress and worry that the foundations of their lives are being swept away. How does name-calling help? She might as well have called them “deplorables.” She said the protests may only make the lockdowns last longer, which sounded less like irony than a threat.

When you are reasonable with people and show them respect, they will want to respond in kind. But when they feel those calling the shots are being disrespectful, they will push back hard and rebel even in ways that hurt them.

And if your words and behavior cause such a reaction, you’re doing “public health” wrong.

Related: Protests show two Americas — those who lost their jobs and those still getting paid.

Also: A bitter class war is raging between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ of lockdown.

Plus: Nearly 40% of low-income households hit by job loss.

WELL, GOOD: U.S. to Get Sanofi Covid Vaccine First If It Succeeds, CEO Says.

That’s because the U.S. was first in line to fund Sanofi’s vaccine research, Chief Executive Officer Paul Hudson said in an interview with Bloomberg News. He warned that Europe risks falling behind unless it steps up efforts to seek protection against a pandemic that’s killed more than 290,000 people worldwide.

“The U.S. government has the right to the largest pre-order because it’s invested in taking the risk,” Hudson said. The U.S., which expanded a vaccine partnership with the company in February, expects “that if we’ve helped you manufacture the doses at risk, we expect to get the doses first.”

Huh. All the best people told me Trump just wants people to die.

Impeachment Boomerang: The wheels are coming off the Russia Collusion Hoax train. JustTheNews.com is reporting that hundreds of documents now show that Former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch who testified to Congress that “she knew little beyond an initial briefing and press reports” about Burisma Holdings, had in fact been extensively briefed on the Ukranian energy company that paid Hunter Biden as much as $50,000 a month.

State Department memos obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show Yovanovitch’s embassy in Kiev, including the ambassador herself, was engaged in several discussions and meetings about Burisma as the gas firm scrambled during the 2016 election and transition to settle a long-running corruption investigation and polish its image before President Trump took office:

“The discussions about Burisma inside Yovanovitch’s embassy were so extensive, in fact, that they filled more than 160 pages of emails, memos and correspondence in fall 2016 alone, according to the State Department records obtained under FOIA by the conservative group Citizens United.”

Yovanovitch, you’ll remember, was the ambassador fired by President Trump over the hysterical keening of outfits who lauded her as a heroine. NBC — who seems to get fooled a lot these days — said “Yovanovitch’s testimony hewed very closely to what she’d told investigators in her closed-door testimony last month.” CNN said America “would see former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch as the national hero she is” and that her “testimony was powerful, credible and moving.”

It’s all coming apart, and this explains the former Obama Administration officials — including The Lightworker Himself — bellowing about the “rule of law.” It’s more projection. Heroes don’t lie under oath to Congress. Read the whole thing.

THE DEATH OF EQUITIES REDUX: The Booming Market for Gloom.

NBC News speculated that the shift millions of Americans have made to working, learning, and interacting with friends and family online will be difficult to roll back. “The major question will be whether ‘normal life’ ever returns,” this report concluded. And what about those of you who enjoyed socializing in the Before Time? Presumably, you won’t want to do that anymore.

Once you engage in this line of thinking, there’s no failsafe that stops the speculation from accelerating. “The way that we touch each other, the way that we hang out in parks, the way that we eventually will get to organized sports—which will probably be the last thing that we get to do—all of these things will change because of this virus,” said Dayton Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley.

At CNN, the transformation of our lives will be total, “says public health journalist.” It is “almost impossible” to forecast what our lives will look like in this pandemic’s wake, but “there will not be a single aspect of our lives that’s been unchanged.” I don’t know about you, but I can all but guarantee that, whatever comes next, I will continue to wear clothes, consume calories at least daily, and reside in a free-standing structure.

So, are these prognosticators right? I don’t know, but neither do they. One thing this unforeseen disaster should have taught us is a sense of humility, but that’s become yet another scarce commodity. The relentlessness of these and many more reports informing you that life as you knew it ended in March does strike a note of pornographic catastrophism, though. And the omnipresence of reports like these suggests there’s a substantial audience for sullen fortune-telling.

Related: Nate Silver Almost Explains How Liberal Media Lies.

But when he comes to the goal, or the intention of the media in their misleading, his answer is curious. He claims that these journalists want to craft a narrative that makes them “sound smart.” But why would intentionally misleading the public regarding the coronavirus sound smart?

This is a very important question. The answer is that for months now, the media “narrative” Silver refers to has been that smart people know Trump bungled the response and to reopen the economy before the medical experts say it’s OK is tantamount to murder. The dumb people say that the Trump administration responded well in unprecedented circumstances and it’s time to start thinking about opening up.

So when Silver says these journalists want to “sound smart” what it really means is that they want to promote a progressive anti-Trump agenda. Now, let’s be honest that isn’t some deeply-guarded industry secret, but it’s telling that Silver won’t just come out and say it.

(Classical reference in headline.)

MORE LIKE THIS, PLEASE: Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany Reminds Media How They Downplayed Coronavirus Outbreak.

Reuters reporter Jeff Mason asked McEnany, “In a previous life, before you were press secretary, you worked for the campaign and you made a comment, I believe on Fox, in which you said President Trump will not allow the coronavirus to come to this country. Given what has happened since then, obviously, would you like to take that back?”

“I guess I would turn the question back on the media and ask similar questions,” McEnany responded. “Does Vox want to take back that they proclaimed that the coronavirus would not be a deadly pandemic? Does The Washington Post want to take back that they told Americans to get a grip, the flu is bigger than the coronavirus? Does The Washington Post likewise want to take back that our brains are causing us to exaggerate the threat of the coronavirus? Does The New York Times want to take back that fear of the virus maybe spreading faster of than the virus itself? Does NPR want to take back that the flu was a much bigger threat than the coronavirus? And finally once again The Washington Post, would they like to take back that the government should not respond aggressively to the coronavirus?”

Video at the link.

SPENGLER: The Chinese Challenge.

American strategists seem to think we’re dealing with the Soviet Union of the 1980s. If only it were that easy! Communism is a bankrupt ideology, a miserable failure at social and economic organization. China is something entirely different. Soviet Communists told their most talented scientists, “Invent something new, and we’ll give you a medal, and maybe a dacha.” China says, “Invent something new, launch an Initial Public Offering, and become a billionaire.” By the end of 2019 there were 285 billionaires in China—including Alibaba’s Jack Ma, who, like many of his fellow billionaires, is a Communist Party member. There are more Marxists in Cambridge, Massachusetts, than in all of China. I met a professed Marxist over dinner in Beijing a couple of years ago—a pleasant fellow who taught Marxist-Leninist doctrine at the Communist Party’s cadre school. His daughter had just graduated from a top American university; he asked if I could help her get a job on Wall Street.

We aren’t facing drunken, corrupt Soviet bureaucrats, but a Mandarin elite cherry-picked from the brightest university graduates of the world’s largest country. America confronts something far more daunting than moth-eaten Marxism: a 5,000-year-old empire that is pragmatic, curious, adaptive, ruthless—and hungry. China’s current regime is cruel, but no crueler than the Qin dynasty that buried a million conscript laborers in the Great Wall. China was, and remains, utterly ruthless.

Read the whole thing. But on the flip side though: Revealed: China fearing reshuffle of balance of powers with Western nations.

China reported a 6.8 percent drop in economic output for the first quarter, its first contraction on record since the death of party founder Mao Zedong in 1976. In recent weeks, President Xi Jinping has launched a New Deal-esque construction campaign, while touting poverty relief and investment in advanced technology to help jump-start coronavirus-hit factories and consumer spending.

Since Xi came to power in 2012, he has fast-tracked political preparations for the end of economic growth. He’s flooded the airwaves with wartime-esque propaganda that lauds individual sacrifice for the national interest, while quashing budding pockets of dissent before they could grow.

“Xi Jinping’s political control policies all along have been guided by a recognition that someday the economic miracle will begin to sputter,” said Richard von Glahn, a China economic historian at UCLA. “The coronavirus has accelerated the timetable.”

In 2010, China’s top leaders commissioned a team led by Liu to study the Great Depression and 2008 financial crisis. The project included officials from China’s central bank and banking regulator, and resulted in hundreds of pages of analysis and policy recommendations published three years later.

This early preparation may give China a head start in its crisis response. As most of the world remains engulfed in day-to-day pandemic relief, China has begun broader strategic pushes, inching outward its sphere of influence in the Pacific and declaring greater control over Hong Kong. Beijing’s overseas push has been made easier by the Trump administration’s domestic focus, with the United States withdrawing from some of its traditional international roles.

However, Beijing’s leaders could face a deeper domestic economic challenge than they initially projected. With the coronavirus outbreak fueling grassroots anti-China sentiment, the Trump administration and other governments are seizing the moment to push for manufacturers to return from China.

Japan announced last month that part of its covid-19 stimulus package will go toward reshoring factories from China, while Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said she and other U.S. lawmakers are pushing for similar incentives for American pharmaceutical companies.

“Supply chains are going to move as quickly as they are incentivized to,” she said in an interview.

Flashback to last fall: How to Conduct Business with Chinese Companies That See a Dark Future.

I am writing about this now because China today is feeling a lot like Russia in the 1990s. I am getting the sense that many Chinese companies are pessimistic about their futures and they are acting accordingly. Our China lawyers are seeing evidence of this everywhere.

China’s economy is hurting right now. On the one hand, food prices are soaring. See China’s consumer prices rise at fastest clip in nearly 8 years, as pork prices continue to soar. On the other hand, exports are plunging. See China’s exports decline for third successive month in October. Reliable economic indicaters (as opposed to official government statistics) paint an economy in trouble.  See China’s economy is in more trouble than markets think. See also China’s car sales drop for 16th consecutive month as October falls 4 per cent. The tariffs are not helping nor is the Chinese government’s crackdown on private businesses.  On top of the economic issues, many Chinese companies have become both wary of and angry at the West, particularly the United States. This too makes things riskier for foreign companies.

We are seeing the results of all this in many ways.

Practically every week one of our China lawyers will get an email or a phone call from someone who bought product from China and received nothing in return or nothing even approaching what they actually ordered. This sending of “junk” instead of real product has spread to pretty much every industry in China and ordering your products from allegedly reputable online sites provides little to no protection.

In any case, as a Facebook poster spotted by Glenn wrote last month, “The main event is coming — and it is hastened by a Zhongnanhai calculation that the United States possesses neither the attention span nor the competence to do something about it. You can pick your metaphor: August 1914, December 1941. Just be aware that what they’re contemplating will end up a metaphor all its own.”

Whatever happens, there are certain sections of Texas that I wouldn’t advise you not to invade, Xi…

JULIE KELLY SAYS THE SOCIAL DISTANCING EXPERIMENT HAS FAILED:

“We expected that we would start seeing more significant declines in new cases and deaths around the nation at this point, and we’re just not seeing that.”

In fact, Gottlieb pointed to rising daily COVID-19 cases in 20 states, including heavily locked-down states such as Virginia and Maryland.

But this seems to defy the “science” that governors and lawmakers repeatedly pledge to follow in order to keep people safe from the virus.

After all, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued his first social distancing order on March 17 to “stop the spread of the virus in the Commonwealth,” as he promised. A few weeks later, Northam, a physician, joined Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to announce a collective shelter-in-place decree after residents failed to obey their original commands.

“What we’re seeing now is the result of how people interacted two or three weeks ago,” Northam scolded on March 30. “What we will see a few weeks from now will be determined by how people behave today and in the following days.”

But five weeks later, the area is reporting a record number of COVID-19 cases. Yes, of course, testing is ramping up, too—but considering the harsh stay-at-home orders, how and why are people still getting infected?

It turns out, as I wrote last month, “social distancing” is untested pseudoscience particularly as it relates to halting the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. On its website, the CDC provides no links to any peer-reviewed social distancing studies that bolster its official guidance.

Well, to be fair, you only need double-blind studies when you’re assessing drugs that President Trump mentions favorably.

But seriously, the lockdowns were sold as, and were originally meant to be, stopgaps to ensure that the number of cases didn’t outrun healthcare capacity. That’s not an issue — not even in NYC, where they’re closing field hospitals for lack of patients — and that means it’s time to reopen.

Related: Sean Trende: Policy and Punditry Need to Adapt to New Virus Data.

When we began our foray into quarantine seven weeks ago, there was a unifying and eminently sensible rationale behind it: “Bend the curve.” The idea was this: If allowed to go unchecked, COVID-19 would overwhelm hospitals, leaving patients without beds. Short on ventilators, patients would be left to suffocate. In short, by slowing the spread of the virus we would prolong the amount of time it spread through the country, but would reduce the total number of deaths. Moreover, we would buy time for the nation’s testing apparatus to ramp up, to produce more ventilators, and to expand hospital capacity. . . .

If this really was the goal, then “job well done,” as they say, or at least largely so. . . . There are many interesting stories within these data, but the main takeaway should be relatively clear: No states are on anything resembling an exponential growth trajectory, almost all states are past a peak, and most states are substantially so. This would suggest that in many states, the question really should be how to reopen while keeping hospitals from being overwhelmed again.

This is especially true given that the situation on the ground has changed dramatically since early March. Most states have substantially expanded hospital capacity, both by securing emergency locations to be used in case of overflow and by suspending elective surgeries, to the point where many hospitals are facing financial crises. Moreover, the arrival of the first COVID-19 therapeutic, Remdesivir, will help, since hospital stays are shortened when the drug is used. Personal protective equipment and ventilator availability has expanded, we’ve developed techniques for sanitizing PPEs, and ventilators may not be as useful as once thought. As of this writing, we’re testing over 200,000 people a day, which eclipses the rate South Korea achieved when containing its viral outbreak.

Perhaps most promisingly, the death rate looks lower than initially expected. It isn’t clear how much lower – studies disagree – but most of the serological studies find an implied fatality rate lower than the 1% used to arrive at the conclusion that 2 million people would die if the virus were allowed to run its course. Likewise – this is much less commented upon although it might be more important – the hospitalization rate looks substantially lower than initially anticipated.

Read the whole thing. We hear a lot about science. Science means changing your understanding based on the data.

And speaking of success at bending the curve here’s a chart prepared by Chapman U. lawprof Tom W. Bell showing how little pressure there is on California ICU beds:

WE’VE DESCENDED INTO SOME SORT OF BIZARRE HELL-WORLD IN WHICH ANDREW SULLIVAN IS A VOICE OF SANITY: By Biden’s Own Standards, He Is Guilty As Charged.

If I were asked to detail an incident that happened a quarter-century ago, absent serious trauma, I’d be completely stumped. There’s a reason for statutes of limitation. And a reason that in a liberal society an individual is deemed innocent until proven guilty.

Nonetheless, I tend to believe women on these matters as a starting point. They have to endure all sorts of exposure and embarrassment for coming forward, and their claims should always be treated respectfully, compassionately, and fairly. It’s been a serious gain for civilized life that women are not routinely ignored or universally trashed for protesting against their assaulters and harassers. Some trust for all women is vital.

But just as vital in a liberal society is verification. I believe strongly in due process, especially with grave allegations of sexual assault. Revolutionaries, like those behind the Shitty Media Men list, don’t care if an individual is unfairly accused because, well, in the grand scheme of things, the ends justify the means.

And Andrew has quite a bit of experience in the “ends justify the means” department. Andrew’s othering of Sarah Palin in 2008 — and by extension her supporters — was a key mile marker on the road to Trump.

Related: Tough new Trump ad: The Democratic double standard on believing women.

As a matter of raw politics, the Reade allegation will benefit Trump by deterring Biden from making an issue of alleged sexual misconduct by the president. The more Team Trump flaunts its hypocrisy by targeting Biden over Reade, though, the more Democrats will want to hit back. That’s what’s clever about the ad — it doesn’t go so far as to claim that Biden is actually guilty, merely that he should be judged guilty by his party’s own dumb standards. That’s safer ground.

While the New York Times is finally talking about Reade, note the line at the end of this excerpt of Ben Smith’s column:

You don’t have to believe Mr. Clinton assaulted Ms. Broaddrick in 1978. If you’re a journalist, it doesn’t really matter what you believe, as long as you report what you know. But the handling of Ms. Broaddrick’s story was one of the most damaging media mistakes of the Clinton years. And the treatment of Mr. Clinton’s accusers by the Democratic Party and the media alike is one of the original sins that led to today’s divided, partisan news environment.

The mainstream American media in 1999, for reasons that are hard to explain or excuse today, got cold feet on a credible allegation of rape against the president.

“Hard to explain.” Ben Smith is bensmithing away the second half of the 1990s in Washington, DC.

More: Tara Reade Is Joe Biden’s Eighth Accuser. Possibly ninth? Woman says Biden sexually harassed her when she was 14.

And finally, in yet another tone-deaf move by Biden and his handlers signaling the end of the #MeToo era: Biden nominates Chris Dodd of ‘waitress sandwich’ fame to help shop for female vice presidential candidates.

EVERGREEN HEADLINE: Blame Bill de Blasio.

New York City’s population density is off the charts compared with the rest of the U.S., as is its usage of mass transit. A map of COVID-19’s lethality maps fairly neatly onto the subway map, with infections increasing for the lengthiest commutes. The metropolis is especially vulnerable to infectious disease, as its epidemiologists are well aware.

Yet on March 2, de Blasio urged New Yorkers in a tweet to go out on the town. On March 10, de Blasio said on MSNBC, “If you’re under 50 and you’re healthy, which is most New Yorkers, there’s very little threat here. This disease, even if you were to get it, basically acts like a common cold or flu. And transmission is not that easy.” On March 11, the day Seattle closed its schools, de Blasio said in a press conference, “If you are not sick, if you are not in the vulnerable category, you should be going about your life.” De Blasio didn’t acknowledge until April 3 that asymptomatic transmission was taking place, claiming he had learned this in the last two days. It had been 63 days since Anthony Fauci declared that asymptomatic transmission was certainly happening. Meanwhile, governor Andrew Cuomo, who often makes a point of publicly opposing de Blasio, this time joined the mayor in lethal obliviousness. “We should relax, because that is what is dictated by the reality of the situation,” Cuomo said on March 2, promising that most of the afflicted would recover easily and that “we don’t even think it’s going to be as bad as it was in other countries.”

This was mayor-from-Jaws-level happy talk, times a thousand. The two leaders’ science experts were horrified by what de Blasio and Cuomo were saying, according to the New Yorker piece. A former head of the city’s Department of Health told the magazine that there’s always a divide between political appointees and public-health professionals, “who sometimes have to make unpopular recommendations. But, with the de Blasio people, that antagonism is ten times worse. They are so much more impossible to work with than other administrations.”

Read the whole thing.

Of course, there’s plenty of blame to go around: Cuomo orders NYC subway trains sanitized every night.

That’s a headline The Hill ran today; not a month ago. It comes in the wake of Cuomo’s presser on Tuesday: NY Gov. Cuomo Calls Homeless Situation In Subways ‘Disgusting.’ Imagine If A Republican Said That.

At his daily coronavirus briefing, Cuomo was discussing the homeless people in the subways and brandishing a copy of the New York Daily News that showed pictures of the homeless, then stated, “That is disgusting, what is happening on those subway cars. It’s disrespectful to the essential workers who need to ride the subway system,” as The Gothamist reported.

Cuomo added, “We have to do better than that, and we will.”

The Gothamist noted that Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Tony Utano stated, “Mayor de Blasio has to direct the police to escort the mentally ill and the homeless out of the system. This is a life-and-death situation, not a quality of life issue.”

And then there’s Fredo: CNN host Chris Cuomo’s coronavirus quarantine timeline scrutinized.

The “Cuomo Prime Time” namesake said he was “past quarantine” on April 12, the day of the encounter with the bicyclist, but that same day his wife had blogged that he had a “100 fever in afternoon and evening.” The encounter also occurred at an unfinished construction site that Cuomo owns, miles from his posh Hamptons residence where he was quarantined.

Cuomo even told CNN viewers on April 13 that he couldn’t shake his fever.

Unfortunately, other members of Cuomo’s immediate family have said they tested positive for coronavirus following the April 12 incident.

Meanwhile, Cuomo now claims he was “past quarantine” on April 12, but over one week later he staged a dramatic “official reentry” into society after recovering from coronavirus. The video was labeled his “Brian Williams Iraq moment” after critics claimed he wasn’t being truthful because he had already admitted that the Easter Sunday altercation took place outside his second property.

Cuomo’s so-called “emergence” was extensively mocked on social media and continued to raise eyebrows when his colleague, CNN’s in-house media critic Brian Stelter, included the controversial video in his nightly media industry newsletter.

Exit question: “So when you ‘left your basement for the first time’ CNN was lying?”

Perhaps this article in Hollywood Reporter headlined “‘It’s Good TV:’ CNN’s High-Drama Coverage of the Pandemic Hits Close to Home” provides the answer: “But another current CNN employee who spoke with THR criticized Cuomo’s appearances, particularly the dramatic moment last Monday when he was filmed leaving the basement where he was quarantined to reunite with his family, as ‘reality TV.’ ‘Him coming out of the quarantine with the cameras there, that’s all Jeff Zucker reality TV, and that screams Zucker,’ the person says, referring to the network president who brought The Apprentice to NBC and helped make Trump a star.”

THE MAIN RULE OF JOURNALISM IS THAT TRUMP IS NEVER ALLOWED TO BE RIGHT. An Experimental Ultraviolet Light Treatment for Covid-19 Takes Political Heat: Trump’s musings prompt social-media censorship of information about an experimental treatment.

I ran an obscure pharmaceutical company until a few days ago. Then we got famous. Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, Aytu BioScience made a commitment to find ways to help. One of those ways came through our newly formed relationship with a prominent Los Angeles hospital.

On April 20 we put out a press release titled “Aytu BioScience Signs Exclusive Global License with Cedars-Sinai for Potential Coronavirus Treatment.” The treatment is called Healight, and it was developed by research physicians at the hospital’s Medically Associated Science and Technology Program. The technology, which has been in development since 2016, uses ultraviolet light as an antimicrobial and is a promising potential treatment for Covid-19.

Aytu and Cedars-Sinai have engaged with the Food and Drug Administration to pursue a rapid path to human use through an Emergency Use Authorization. But hardly anyone noticed—until Thursday, when President Trump mused, “. . . supposing you brought the light inside the body . . .”

My team and I knew the president’s comments could trigger a backlash against the idea of UV light as a treatment, which might hinder our ability to get the word out. We decided to create a YouTube account, upload a video animation we had created, and tweet it out. It received some 50,000 views in 24 hours.

Then YouTube took it down. So did Vimeo. Twitter suspended our account. The narrative changed from whether UV light can be used to treat Covid-19 to “Aytu is being censored.”

These days, politics seems to dictate that if one party says, “The sky is blue,” the other party is obligated to reply, “No, it’s not, and you’re a terrible human being for thinking that.” That leaves no room for science, in which the data speak for themselves, regardless of ideology, and only when they’re ready. Unfortunately, the visceral excitement of political conflict draws far more clicks and better ratings than the methodical world of science.

Technologies like Healight, which if borne out through clinical studies may represent a viable way to kill coronaviruses, aren’t provided the clear-headed consideration they deserve but are instead flushed into the political mosh-pit of “us vs. them.”

Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo are under enormous pressure from political activists. They also need to ensure that information on their platforms is safe and accurate. That’s exactly why Aytu decided to post videos and tweet about Healight.

We at Aytu BioScience are confident that treatments for Covid-19 will be found. We hope we can help. But above all we hope science will ultimately speak louder than politics.

Hope indeed. I’d just be happy if social media companies weren’t complete tools of politicized lefty “activists.”

JOE BIDEN’S PROBLEM: “The Times article ends with a quote from Robby Mook, who was Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager: ‘If money was the key, 2016 would have gone very differently.’ The obvious retort to that is that Donald Trump was great at getting by on less money, and you’re facing Donald Trump again.”

Tell me more, Robby, about Joe Biden’s compensating charisma.

AS IT SHOULD: Harris Poll: The Coronavirus crisis is turning Americans in both parties against China.

Republicans and Democrats now largely agree that the Chinese government bears responsibility for the spread of the pandemic, that it can’t be trusted on this or any other issue, and that the U.S. government should maintain a tough position on China on trade and overall, especially if Beijing again falters in its commitments.

“It’s as much of a consensus issue as you can get in today’s divided world,” said Mark Penn, chairman of the Harris Poll. “Overall, there’s very little trust for anything that the Chinese government says or does, especially its premier. Xi Jinping has less than half the credibility of President Trump in this poll.”

Which is surprising, given how much more supportive the press has been of Xi than of Trump.

STACY MCCAIN ON THE ‘ORANGE MAN BAD’ DISEASE:

On Jan. 29, Farhad Manjoo published a column in the New York Times with the headline “Beware the Pandemic Panic.” Manjoo downplayed the danger of the virus and instead cautioned, “What worries me more than the new disease is that fear of a vague and terrifying new illness might spiral into panic, and that it might be used to justify unnecessarily severe limits on movement and on civil liberties, especially of racial and religious minorities around the world.” One thing we can never expect from elite journalists is accountability. Rather than admitting his own errors, Manjoo simply pivoted to blaming Trump: “Coronavirus Is What You Get When You Ignore Science” was the headline on his March 4 column, in which he asserted that the president had “gut[ted] the United States’ pandemic-response infrastructure.”

This is the “Orange Man Bad” theory of causation, where everything bad is ultimately Trump’s fault, and the proponents of this theory evidently can’t understand why it has cost them their credibility. When journalists insist on interpreting every event from a partisan perspective — “How can we spin this to hurt Trump?” — their errors follow a predictable pattern. Thus, at one point, the danger of coronavirus was Trump’s “xenophobia,” which threatened “racial and religious minorities.” Now, we are told, the problem is that Trump is “anti-science.” Last week, one New York Times columnist blamed “the science denialism of [Trump’s] ultraconservative religious allies” for the coronavirus pandemic. The “evidence” cited in such tendentious arguments is irrelevant; what matters to liberals is the conclusion, i.e., Trump, is always wrong.

Because they imagine themselves infinitely superior to the rest of us, the journalistic elite think we don’t notice the methods by which they dishonestly manipulate the narrative.

Read the whole thing.

I’M OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER WHEN HE WAS LITERALLY HITLER: Trump Is an Authoritarian Weakman. “Coronavirus would be the perfect opportunity for an autocrat. Trump isn’t taking it.”

Are you kidding me with this, John F. Harris?

The notion of Trump as authoritarian strongman, however, has been cast in an odd light in this pandemic. Would-be tyrants use crisis to consolidate power. Trump, by contrast, has been pilloried from many quarters, including many liberals, for not asserting authority and responsibility more forcefully to combat Covid-19. Rather than seizing on a genuine emergency, Trump was slow to issue an emergency declaration, moved gingerly in employing the Defense Production Act to help overburdened local health systems, and even now seems eager to emphasize that many subjects—closure of schools and businesses, obtaining sufficient ventilators—are primarily problems for state governors to deal with.

Trump’s apparent personal affinity with Putin, and other dictators, has caused foes to conclude that he has an aesthetic attraction to leaders who don’t let procedural niceties of democracy or law get in their way. But he has shown passivity in what by all rights would be a dream scenario for an authoritarian strongman.

Perhaps the way to think of Trump is as an authoritarian weakman.

I guess the argument here is that we’ve been cursed with a dictator who won’t dictate.

Our chattering class has collectively lost its damn minds.

OUR BRAVE JOURNALISTS: In an uncertain time, the media falls back on the thing it knows best: dividing people.

Two years ago, CNN infamously tracked down a person responsible for creating a wrestling GIF lampooning their corporate logo, which just happened to be retweeted by President Trump. Reporter Andrew Kaczynski and CNN threatened  to reveal the monster’s identity unless he apologized.

CNN reporter Drew Griffen tracked down a senior citizen in Florida and parked a camera crew on her front lawn, accosting her over her Facebook group which he claimed was a Russian front group that bought ads on Facebook that swayed the 2016 election.

This browbeating of everyday people on social media by activist journalists has become all too familiar. The problem with publishing stories like Marc Fisher’s in the Washington Post is that there are more people with a voice to pushback on this kind of random targeting.

Within minutes of Fisher declaring on Twitter that he had contacted McMillen’s parents, he faced a tidal wave of backlash from people with plenty more than 495 followers.

A very well-deserved Twitter ratio; read the whole thing.

UPDATE (Charlie):

Nothing says serious journalist like “DUUDE I’m calling your MOM!”

THE SOFT BIGOTRY OF LOW EXPECTATIONS: Stay Alive, Joe Biden. “Democrats need little from the front-runner beyond his corporeal presence.”

Unhinged:

In all likelihood, the desire to oust Trump will be piercing in the coming days, as death and chaos escalate. The president has been reckless, duplicitous, and morally hazardous in his leadership during a pandemic that is likely to be the defining event of a generation—forget about a campaign cycle. But the many union members looking at their closed casinos and the mothers in lockdown with their children and the students forced off their campuses and the older Americans living in complete isolation may find it impossible to imagine that their earlier fears about another four years of Trump have abated, or that the ferocity of their desire to get him out of office has lessened. Indeed, the emotion of this moment may displace any that has come before it.

Biden’s team appears to understand this, and to believe that what matters most now is keeping their candidate alive in the American imagination as an alternative to Trump. His appearances these days have an almost parallel-universe quality to them: Biden’s audience-less remarks from his home in Delaware have the suggestion of an Oval Office address, and their content seems intended to offer a glimpse into the twilight zone where someone else, someone more empathetic and capable, is president. It’s as if Biden is telegraphing to his public: You have already imagined that I can beat Trump; now imagine what it will be like when I am president.

The Atlantic published this column from CBS News’ Alex Wagner, and in almost 20 years of blogging I’ve never read so many words bearing so little relation to reality, all to promote a Weekend at Bernie’s-style Democratic White House.

ADVICE: Cancel Everything. Social distancing is the only way to stop the coronavirus. We must start immediately.

Related: When Danger Is Growing Exponentially, Everything Looks Fine Until It Doesn’t.

There’s an old brain teaser that goes like this: You have a pond of a certain size, and upon that pond, a single lilypad. This particular species of lily pad reproduces once a day, so that on day two, you have two lily pads. On day three, you have four, and so on.

Now the teaser. “If it takes the lily pads 48 days to cover the pond completely, how long will it take for the pond to be covered halfway?”

The answer is 47 days. Moreover, at day 40, you’ll barely know the lily pads are there.

That grim math explains why so many people — including me — are worried about the novel coronavirus, which causes a disease known as covid-19. And why so many other people think we are panicking over nothing.

During the current flu season, they point out, more than 250,000 people have been hospitalized in the United States, and 14,000 have died, including more than 100 children. As of this writing, the coronavirus has killed 29 people, and our caseload is in the hundreds. Why are we freaking out about the tiny threat while ignoring the big one? . . .

But go back to those lily pads: When something dangerous is growing exponentially, everything looks fine until it doesn’t. In the early days of the Wuhan epidemic, when no one was taking precautions, the number of cases appears to have doubled every four to five days.

The crisis in northern Italy is what happens when a fast doubling rate meets a “threshold effect,” where the character of an event can massively change once its size hits a certain threshold.

In this case, the threshold is things such as ICU beds. If the epidemic is small enough, doctors can provide respiratory support to the significant fraction of patients who develop complications, and relatively few will die. But once the number of critical patients exceeds the number of ventilators and ICU beds and other critical-care facilities, mortality rates spike. . . .

The experts are telling us that here in the United States, we can avoid hitting that threshold where sizable regions of the country will suddenly step into hell. We still have time to #flattenthecurve, as a popular infographic put it, slowing the spread so that the number of cases never exceeds what our health system can handle. The United States has an unusually high number of ICU beds, which gives us a head start. But we mustn’t squander that advantage through complacency.

So everyone needs to understand a few things.

First, the virus is here, and it is spreading quickly, even though everything looks normal. Right now, the United States has more reported cases than Italy had in late February. What matters isn’t what you can see but what you can’t: the patients who will need ICU care in two to six weeks. . . .

Second, this is not “a bad flu.” It kills more of its hosts, and it will spread farther unless we take aggressive steps to slow it down, because no one is yet immune to this disease. It will be quite some time before the virus runs out of new patients.

Third, we can fight it. Despite early exposure, Singapore and Hong Kong have kept their caseloads low, not by completely shutting down large swaths of their economies as China did but through aggressive personal hygiene and “social distancing.” South Korea seems to be getting its initial outbreak under control using similar measures. If we do the same, we can not only keep our hospitals from overloading but also buy researchers time to develop vaccines and therapies.

Fourth, and most important: We are all in this together. It is your responsibility to keep America safe by following the CDC guidelines, just as much as it is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s or President Trump’s responsibility to lead us to safety. And until this virus is beaten, we all need to act like it.

Indeed.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Florida reports 2 dead from coronavirus, first known fatalities on East Coast.

Pope modifies engagements to avoid crowds gathering amid coronavirus outbreak.

Leader of Italian Democratic party has coronavirus.

Coronavirus in India: 2 Fresh Cases Reported From Ladakh, Total Number Reaches 34.

US prisons, jails on alert for spread of coronavirus.

Traveling Amid Coronavirus: What You Should Know.

Trump Not Halting Rallies Over Coronavirus.

Despite the coronavirus dread, biomedicine is more equipped than ever to fight it.

Coronavirus Pressures Supply Chain for Protective Masks.

In case of coronavirus closures, NJ schools can teach students at home, says state.

NBA tells teams to prepare to play games without fans amid coronavirus fears.

Iranian MP Fatema Rahbar dies due to coronavirus.

Coronavirus: Death toll rises to 145 in Iran as officials work to contain virus.

Coronavirus: PM Modi holds review meet, asks people to ditch handshake, greet with namaste.

The Two Most Common Symptoms in Coronavirus Patients.

Trump signs $8.3B coronavirus spending bill.

China ‘coronavirus quarantine’ hotel collapses with 70 people trapped under rubble.

UPDATE: A high-school friend who lives in Italy now writes:

The news that I want to share is that the numbers being reported don’t seem to include those admitted to the hospital. In Italy we have (approximate numbers) tested 20,000, 4,000 confirmed, 200 deceased, 500 cured in the hospital and 600 currently in intensive care. I don’t know if anyone is in the hospital with covid19 and not in intensive care. Anyway, that’s 1300/4000 (32%) requiring hospitalization. I sure hope the US finds a way to help the uninsured (and under-insured) masses!

Well, they’ll get treated and then their bills will get written off or passed to Uncle Sam. But that’s an awful lot of people requiring hospitalization. The ratio looks awful, but that may just be a function of who’s getting tested. At least, I certainly hope so.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Stanford University Cancels All In-Class Courses for Remainder of Quarter Due To Coronavirus Concerns.

IN 2020, HE’S NOT CRAZY ENOUGH FOR THEM: Breaking: Chris Matthews resigns from MSNBC.

UPDATE: It’s really because he dissed Bernie. The rest is just window dressing.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Chris Matthews, MSNBC’s Least Woke Host, Retires Amidst #MeToo Allegations. “The sudden resignation shows the punitive power of a #MeToo movement that has often failed to draw important distinctions between genuinely disturbing behavior and mere boorishness. Moreover, the other two recent criticisms of Matthews—his handling of Warren, and a comment about Sanders—were incredibly overblown.”

At this point, #MeToo is just a tool for purging inconvenient straight males from the media world. If you’re, say, Don Lemon you get a pass.

MORE: What’s the real reason for Chris Matthews’s MSNBC exit? If MSNBC didn’t care about Matthews’s alleged transgressions in 2017, why would they care now? “The truth is that Matthews’s real transgression was challenging the leftward lurch of the Democratic party. Matthews apologized last Monday after outrage over his comparison of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s win in the Nevada primary to the Nazis invading France in World War Two. His comparison was certainly ill-chosen, but it would’ve played just fine if he weren’t talking about the Democratic frontrunner — MSNBC hosts across the board have compared Donald Trump to Hitler with no major backlash. Matthews only got into real trouble when he challenged Sen. Elizabeth Warren for reflexively believing a woman who claimed former mayor Michael Bloomberg told her to kill her baby upon discovering she was pregnant.”

WINNOWING THE FIELD: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. With 7 Candidates Debating In South Carolina, The Stage Is, Umm, Getting Larger? “We’re at the point in the election cycle — after three states have voted — that the debate stage is supposed to shrink, not grow. But apparently the 2020 Democratic field didn’t get the memo. After six candidates debated in Nevada last week, seven have now qualified for this Tuesday’s showdown in South Carolina. The debate will reunite the six debaters from last week’s heated fracas and also welcome philanthropist Tom Steyer back to the stage.”

More than anything this is an indication that the party elders no longer have the muscle or clout to winnow the field in advance. The GOP has the same problem, but the result was Trump and a lot of #winning. We still don’t know what the same chaos will produce on the Democratic side.

I’M HEARING VARIATIONS ON THIS FROM A LOT OF PEOPLE: I Didn’t Vote For Trump In 2016. Here’s Why I Hope He Gets Four More Years.

A friend on Facebook who probably wants to remain anonymous posted this: “So, this morning I cast my first-ever vote for Donald Trump for President — a development that would have profoundly shocked 2016 me, but in 2020 is mostly an act of self-defense.”

UPDATE (FROM STEVE): You’ll also read comments right here on Instapundit along the lines of: “I voted for Trump reluctantly (or as the not-Hillary) in 2016, but I’d crawl over broken glass to vote for him in 2020.” What you won’t see much — or any? — of at all is: “I regret voting for him last time and will vote Dem in 2020.”

Movement is almost entirely in Trump’s direction.

ED LINKED THIS OVER THE WEEKEND, BUT THIS BIT FROM CHRISTIAN ADAMS’ PIECE ON THE DOJ SWAMP IS WORTH BREAKING OUT:

Justice is no longer blind. Investigations, charges, and even prison terms depend on the ideological views of the targets.

If you are a friend of the President, the Justice Department “career lawyers” will do all they can to find venue in the District of Columbia where they know a rabid population of Democrat jurors will do all they can to send you to Big Sandy.

If you doubt me, you haven’t heard of Tomeka Hart, the nasty partisan jury foreman in Stone’s trial who should have never been on the jury in the first place.

The Scales of Justice come in two versions, one for Democrats and one for Trump.

Let’s examine those Justice Department “career lawyers.”

It is now plain that “career lawyer” isn’t a euphemism for unbiased and impartial. It’s exactly the opposite. It usually means Democrat, leftist, elitist, culturally hostile to middle America and feverishly anti-Trump.

The DOJ’s behavior is an argument for ending the civil service system and returning to something more like the “spoils system.” The notion of a nonpartisan career civil service isn’t just a mirage, it’s a self-serving lie.

YOU’D THINK ENVIRONMENTALISTS WOULD BE CHEERING: Emissions Accomplished — Trump Wins on Fracking.

After three years of apocalyptic wailing and gnashing of environmentalist teeth over President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the job and economy killing Paris Climate Accord, it is ironic that the one country that faces the brunt of criticism from climate change zealots such as Greta Thunberg is leading the world and the European Union in lowering emissions and promoting cleaner energy, such as natural gas, all the while not hurting the economy:

Despite shrieks of terror from the left about how President Donald Trump’s presidency threatens the existence of Earth and thus mankind, the fact is that under his leadership, America continues to lead the world in total emissions decline.

“The United States saw the largest decline in energy-related CO2 emissions in 2019 on a country basis — a fall of 140 [million tons], or 2.9%, to 4.8 gigatons],” the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) revealed in a report Tuesday.

The entire European Union, which consists of 28 nations, meanwhile only lowered emissions by 160 million tons total, or roughly 5.71 mt per nation.

This achievement by the United States occurs amidst an economic boom led by President Trump’s unshackling of the fossil fuel industr, including ending the war on coal. While the European Union achieves its reductions through draconian energy mandates and economic stagnation, the U.S. has unleashed hydraulic fracturing or fracking to produce abundant oil and natural gas, a fossil fuel that has made our emission reductions happen without laying waste to the economy with job-killing regulations as the Europeans have done and Democratic Socialists like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and, yes, Michael Bloomberg want to do. . . .

The United States, with fracking and without the Paris Climate Accord, is leading the world in economic growth with wages that are rising fastest among lower incomes, soaring household median incomes, fatter pensions and 401-K retirement funds thanks to a Dow nearing 30,000, and record unemployment, especially among minorities, record labor force participation as millennials get off their parent’s basement couch and others that couldn’t find work under Obama’s environmental and regulatory straitjacket find jobs. Those who have jobs have no fear in looking for better ones, as we have more jobs than skilled applicants to fill them.

The 2020 Democrats would take all this away from us, including the record-setting emissions reductions.

It’s as if their policies aren’t about the environment at all.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Trump Charges the Liberal Hacks’ Latest Ambush.

It’s equal to a death sentence, but then it’s a Trump associate so there are apparently special rules. And you’ll notice few of the Dems whining about this say this is an appropriate sentence – at least not with a straight face.

They did it to make Trump react. They knew the establishment and its submissive media would freak out. They thought they could derail his most epic run ever.

Well, Trump reacted. He tweeted the manifest and undeniable truth – that the liberal persecutors were treating Lady Justice like Harvey Weinstein treated eager starlets, except without the sop of a minor supporting role in a Gwyneth Paltrow flick.

Trump charged right into the ambush.

The reaction was predictable, especially after the DOJ brass realized these punks had bait and switched their sentencing recommendation. The DOJ promised to revise the recommendation and the media and liberal pols went nuts. This is the same media and the same liberal pols who want actual criminals to go free, who think arresting illegal alien thugs is a crime against humanity, and who want to close our prisons and turn them into Billy Jack-esque Rainbow Schools to teach hugging and climate paranoia to children.

Then he questioned the judge’s impartiality, which you are not allowed to do because of reasons unless its Gorsuch or Kavanaugh. Then it’s totally principled, the principle being “the elite gets its way.”

It’s not Trump who’s wrecked out institutions. But his opponents are discovering that the rubble doesn’t make for great cover, or even concealment.

Related: Juror 1261 In Roger Stone’s Case: Was Justice Undone? “If this information was withheld by Hart, it raises a question about the veracity of her testimony and, more importantly, the fairness of the trial. It certainly seems Hart had no place on the Stone jury.”

THIS SEEMS PLAUSIBLE: The Joe Biden Theory and the Ukrainian macguffin. “At first Biden is reluctant to run. But in the spring of 2019 he gets wind of Trump investigating his corruption in Ukraine – and he immediately enters the race on 4/25/19. On the trail he looks old, tired, and his heart just isn’t in it. Why do it then? Because it’s about a lot more things than simply running for president. If Trump isn’t stopped, the entire Biden family’s dirt will come out. At this point, the only way to avoid or at least to delay it is Biden being in the race: the news of his corruption can then be discredited as usual electioneering and Trump’s dirty tricks. . . . What are the Dems covering up in Ukraine? It must be big if they staged an impeachment and risked their entire political capital over it.”

UPDATE: Flashback: Ukrainian to US prosecutors: Why don’t you want our evidence on Democrats?

AN OBSERVATION FROM A FRIEND ON FACEBOOK: “A caller to Rush’s show made an excellent point: If Romney believed just a week ago that there was not enough evidence to convict Trump without additional witnesses, how can he vote to convict today when there have been no additional witnesses?”

There’s nothing sadder than people who talk about standards and principles while engaging in transparently self-serving doubletalk. You can get the same point, made rather more pungently, at Ace’s.